Released May 2005
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on June 8, 2005
For years, people have been asking for a new version of Tarkin-- and it seems Hasbro heard this request. This brand new Governor Tarkin from Revenge of the Sith hit shelves around the same time as the movie saw release, and it incorporates a lot of modern figure sensibilities in with a figure design that's very retro and very modern-- heck, with a little paint, this could probably stand in your ANH Death Star dioramas.
This figure includes a "space ship" base in the same deco as most figures that have this base and a short Clone Trooper blaster.
100% new sculpt, and it looks like the same (or at least very similar) to ANH. It's a good one.
If you squint, it looks just like the character as he appears in A New Hope, or as your grandfather called it, Star Wars.
This is an odd duck-- if you look at the figure's head, you might say "Hey, Hasbro did a good job making a figure of a young Peter Cushing." As that's what this character is supposed to be, that's an admirable task. Now, if you look at the photo on the packaging... it's a little creepy. Like someone cut off Peter Cushing's skin and is wearing it as a mask. As such, it would seem Hasbro is the victor here-- their figure looks more like what Lucas was probably going for than Lucas' makeup people managed. Surely, this is a good thing. The sculpt is good and the only real downsides I can see are that he looks a smidgen pale and his liver spots (or whatever) seem overdone.
With no action features, figures like this one have little to go on beyond fan appeal and articulation-- and thankfully, Hasbro made sure this figure has a lot of both.
The figure's sculpt is unique in that the uniform has a lot of texture-- in the movies and in photography, Imperial uniforms don't seem to be quite this bumpy. Yet for this figure and for Admiral Ozzel, it seems Hasbro decided the figure needed some "oomph" visually, and the original Grand Moff Tarkin, Admiral Piett, and other Imperials had a much smoother fabric used for their costumes. The sculpt here isn't bad but it looks like it doesn't quite fit in with what I imagine an Imperial uniform to look like, and as such, I'd have a hard time placing it in a classic diorama setting. It's good, though, and it seems designed to be exactly the same as the uniform in Episode IV as Episode III-- same rank pins and everything. As such, it's hard not to like it.
This figure is articulated at the waist, hips, elbows, wrists, shoulders, and neck for a grand total of 10 points of articulation. You can get a lot out of this figure but ball jointed elbows could have made this The Ultimate Tarkin, one which Hasbro could tweak and reissue as an older ANH version of the character which I and you would happily buy. With the ball jointed neck, the figure has a little added personality and given a glance at the prosthetics from the movie, probably about as much expressiveness as his silver screen cousin. The figure itself is good, and odds are no matter what your opinions are on the prequel trilogy, this would be a worthy addition to your collection-- but what else does it offer?
A gun and a base. If you bought any figures up to this point it's a safe bet you have a few of both of these.
The small gun was included with pretty much every Clone Trooper in recent memory-- you can find this gun (or a recolored version) in with the Clone Pilot, Super Articulated Clone Wars Clone Trooper, Entertainment Earth Clone Troopers, Quick-Draw Clone Trooper (ROTS #6), Super Articulated Clone Trooper (#41), Target's Clone Trooper, the AOTC and Clone Wars Deluxe Clone Troopers with Speeder Bike, and probably more I'm forgetting. It's a good, but common, weapon. Is it a good choice for Tarkin? Despite the fact he wasn't seen armed on-screen, I'd say yes-- he needs to have something, and this is better than nothing. Although an Imperial datapad would be cooler.
New for 2005: the flaming head of Darth Vader.
This is a very ornate package. Despite being somewhat generic across the line, there are numerous layers at work here-- there are two cardboard inserts in the front, a plastic tray, and stickers all over to make this really stand out. The end result is a busy, flaming design you just can't ignore. It isn't as gee-whiz or gosh-golly cool as the packaging used for the Original Trilogy Collection but it looks like the most expensive cardback Hasbro has done to date and the new egglike bubble is a huge departure from the previous two decades and change of product from Kenner and Hasbro. The bubble is much like that of the G.I. Joe figures (two- and three-packs) from 2003-2005 in that the bubble wraps the card, hugging it, where it is taped in the back. This allows you to remove a figure a little more easily, although the folks at Hasbro secured it in more places so you'll probably rip most of these getting the figures out.
While these have been hitting stores, it isn't like they're warming pegs-- in fact, I have yet to see one in the wilds of retail myself yet.
While he isn't mind-blowing, he's up to about $8 well spent. His role in the movie was almost non-existent, but his role in fandom is huge, and as such, it's a great addition to your stash. This is only his second figure in this size in nearly 28 years, so it's a good thing Hasbro cranked him out-- I know I'm happy to have one, so be sure to snag it if you see it, he won't be around forever.
Our review sample was obtained from Entertainment Earth in May, 2005.