When Hasbro bragged during their speedy presentation at this year's Toy Fair that these new Battle Pack figures are the best they've done of these characters yet, they were somewhat correct... from a certain point of view. The regression in articulation has caused much controversy and debate in the collector community since. Yes, these figures feature excellent sculpting and awful POTF2 era poseability. No, it doesn't have to be this good and that bad.
Includes: Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett
Appearance: The Empire Strikes Back
Accessories: Lightsaber (Darth Vader), Lightsaber (Luke Skywalker), DL-44 Blaster (Luke Skywalker), EE-3 Carbine Rifle (Boba Fett), Blaster Pistol (Boba Fett), (3) Galactic Battle Game Character Cards, (3) Bases, (1) Die
Released: April 2012
Description: During his Jedi training, Luke has a vision that his friends are in danger. He rushes to Bespin to rescue Han and Leia, where her encounters Darth Vader and the bounty hunter Boba Fett. The Sith Lord's plan has worked: he lured Skywalker to the planet and intends to deliver him to the Emperor. While Fett collects his long-sought quarry, Luke battles Vader in a menacing duel.
DARTH VADER: The sculpt on Vader is really well done, with nice details on the folds of hisESB era get up. The sculpted cape is removable and also has fine sculpting details that allow him to be posed in two to three ways, because with only 5 points of articulation, that's all you can do with this figure. Hasbro added good paint detailing on the chest piece and belt, but the helmet would have been better served if it was a shiny plastic rather than matte. He's a little short for a Sith Lord when displayed with recent Vaders released the past 5 years, but should do fine within the scope of this Battle Pack.
LUKE SKYWALKER: Hasbro paid a little homage to the Vintage Kenner Bespin Luke by giving him yellow hair. Heck, while they're were at it, they should have given him a yellow lightsaber as well to notch up the novelty factor. I like the sculpt on this Luke because it's well proportioned and aesthetically looks good due to the lack of ball joints and the 5 points of articulation. His right arm is bent to give a little taste of action, but otherwise you're stuck with upright generic poses. But he does seem to be scaled well with the Vader in the Battle Pack, and compared with the Vintage Collection Luke, I must admit that where this figure has woeful shortcomings in articulation and paint detail, he does win on some beauty points and facial likeness.
BOBA FETT: He's a 1995 action figure in terms of 5 points of articulation, but does that sculpt and proportionality sure shine, especially in Hasbro nailing that helmet. Fett is my favorite of this bunch, and like Luke, even out-Fett's that 2008 sculpt in many respects. There's a pre-posed right arm that you can do only so much with, but he looks great on display. There isn't as much weathering detail on this figure as recent releases, but the shade and tone of his armor appears to be right on. Fett's rocket pack and cloak are detachable and he comes accessorized with his standard EE-3 Carbine Rifle and blaster.
PACKAGING: The 2012 Battle Packs have been minimized and simplified to a large blister card which means less packaging materials and friendlier for the environment. It shares the same Maul packaging theme as the Movie Heroes assortment without the designation. A beautiful rendering of the Bespin Freezing Chamber composes the packaging background. The back of the card interestingly (and somewhat sadly) shows the figures in action poses they could never possibly be manipulated to, but Hasbro puts a "Product shown in Fantasy Situation" disclaimer on the bottom. Thanks for torturing us, Big H.
TOPPING THINGS OFF: While the severe lack of articulation greatly diminishes what are excellent executions in sculpt, this Battle Pack works well within its own environment and even displayed with another product of that less articulated era, the Power of the Jedi Bespin Chamber playset. I can agree where a kid shops a toy aisle and sees these 3 focal characters and want to pick this set up and their parents wouldn't be as sticker shocked as a $10 Vintage figure. Hasbro is marketing a good portion of this Movie Heroes segment to that audience and chose to economize with less articulation and less tooling. For adult collectors, you can't help but appreciate the quality of the sculpt despite its shortcomings, but you won't get much action from these figures and have to decide if that's enough for you.
Unlike the first wave of 2012 Battle Packs, I bet this set won't linger on the shelves, so the good sculpt, novelty, and collectibility factor warrants a WANTED rating.
RATING: WANTED (4 out of 5 Bounty Points)
Review sample provided by Entertainment Earth.