Released December, 2003
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on December 22, 2003
The first real total revamp of a beast that isn't a sentient character finally comes as part of the late 2003/early 2004 assortments with the Wampa. This completely new sculpt has a lot going for it, but it it missing the spring-loaded arm action of the vintage and POTF2 versions.
This figure is packaged with a base and a drumstick.
Not only is it new, it's big and it's a fairly cheap $10-$11.
The fur isn't exactly fluffy, but it's very obviously intended to be fur from the sculpt. The fur hangs everywhere, covering the face which is based on the Special Edition Wampa. It's not better or worse than the previous release, but it is different.
The decision to include blood will undoubtedly spark debate in the fandom, as it does make sense and at the same time, it seems gratuitous. Since he's supposedly chowing down on some meat, a little bit of blood does make sense from the perspective of authenticity. However, there was much less blood on the prototype-- certainly none running down the chin-- and the phot from the film only has blood around the mouth, it really doesn't look as sloppy as the toy. The face does have a brutish personality, but the mess really doesn't make him look more dangerous or deadly, just hokey. If Hasbro were so inclined to release a variant without the blood, I know I'd be happy as I find it very distracting. Blood aside, it's more or less right on the money.
While the ball joints in the arms are now a thing of history, he is jointed at the hips, shoulders, neck, and a whopping three places in the torso which allow for a variety of different poses. So if you want him hunched over, or rearing back in pain, you can do that. The decision to bring back the leg articulation from the vintage figure was a good one, especially since the limbs are made of a very rubbery plastic that might require some careful posing to compensate for potential eventual sagging.
One of the stranger things about this toy is that it's made of two distinct kinds of plastic. The torso is made of a harder material, as is the head, which seems to show off the furry detail quite well. The detail is considerably softer in the limbs, though, which can be bent a little and can be squeezed like a dog toy. While we can't be sure why this decision was made, it does make the figure look a little less harsh and at the moment, all the parts match nicely. So here's hoping one color of plastic doesn't discolor in the long run.
The palms and soles of this Wampa are painted with dark brown pads, which are important but seem to be an afterthought. The older version seems to be sculpted so you can't miss them, while here it almost seems like they just painted them on at the last minute. It's a nice touch, but not an impressive one and definitely not one on par with previous releases. The figure itself has a large amount of yellow detail which, after looking at the photos of the movie costume, seem excessive yet again. In some places on multiple samples, it appears the yellow has rubbed off, giving the toy a fairly worn-in look which is, frankly, not cool for a new toy to have unless it's supposed to be battle damaged. And while this is one of those toys, it's not that kind of battle damage.
As far as gimmicks go, this one has the same one we saw on the POTF2 Wampa-- a removable arm.
It pops right off and you can see some little bits of gore where the cut was made. It seems a little lacking in this department, especially when compared to the face, but it's a nice detail to see. It pops off and on quite easily, and the peg isn't really all that much of an eyesore. However, this is another sad reminder of that which could have been, as a magnet would have been really great to have had here. But I digress.
This set includes a Wampa cave base, the removable arm, and a piece of meat.
The arm is an arm-- it's designed well and can be removed easily. More importantly, it was designed to handle to the piece of meat. One finger and his thumb slide right into the grooves, and for the most part it stays put fairly well, but he could have had a slightly better grip. The meat is painted well, looking like it's in the process of being eaten with a bit that looks like it's in the process of being ripped from the bone and, if you pose it right, it fits right into his mouth. For the most part, it's a great accessory and it's also one of the first accessories in Hasbro's Star Wars line that represents a creature that was just killed and is now being eaten.
The larger cave component is pretty spectacular in and of itself, but it really shines when combined with the little segment included with the recent Hoth Attack Luke. But first, by itself, it looks great. The column of ice has a lot of detail work on it, and the decision to make the spikes at the top connect to the other base rather than having some unnatural looking plastic pegs was a stroke of genius. The coloring is more or less wonderful, with the only real awkwardness being where the column meets the base of this piece, because it's obvious it was glued and not especially well. The paint looks sloppier around the seams, but from a few feet away this is hard to notice. And now, for the connectivity.
Luke hangs upside-down quite nicely, and is articulated to look like bits of him are dangling and not merely posed to look like they're acting in accordance with the laws of gravity. The most important thing, though, is that the Wampa doesn't look like it's missing anything if he's not there, although I can't say the Luke base stands alone especially well on its own. Combined, they form one of very few Wampa caves, and only the second to have a Luke figure designed to dangle hanging. (The first, of course, was the fantastic Hoth Wampa Cave from the old MicroCollection. The Action Fleet one wasn't nearly as good as either version.) It's not a complete cave, of course, and while it would have been awesome to have a small background or more icey plastic to give this set-up a fuller appearance, we'll take what we can get. And what we got was good.
Aside from the bones sculpted into the base, we should also point out there's a space for Luke's lightsaber. In another "wouldn't-it-be-cool-if" moment, we're sad to report there are no magnets here either. A small lever to eject the saber would have been nice, especially if the magnets were present so Luke could "will" the saber into his hand. But, again, we take what we can get.
This toy comes in an extra large, extra thick Saga-style cardback. The design is fairly identical to that of the basic figures, but it's bigger. It would have been nice to have had it be just a little more distinctive, though, but I should also note I'm not a big fan of the gold-striped late-2003 Saga packaging anyway.
When Hasbro releases a brand-new assortment, like the Ultra figures, they tend to make a pretty hard and fast splash. As such, these are showing up at numerous stores, even Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us.
Since the beast assortment is dead in the water, this is a fine alternative and priced right. In 1998, Hasbro/Kenner made a Wampa figure with a hanging Luke and a lightsaber for $15. There was no cave, no goggles for Luke, no meat. In 2003, Hasbro made a $5 Luke and a $10 Wampa loaded with accessories and display material that convert the two from nice toys to must-buys. If you can get both the Wampa and Luke, consider this an order to do so. You won't regret it.
Our regular sample was obtained from Entertainment Earth in December 2003.