Released June 2004
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on June 2, 2004
The OTC has brought a lot of characters to the pegs that we haven't seen in a while, including the first new Yoda from the original trilogy since 1999. Hasbro's latest Yoda is a huge step up from the original release, but that doesn't mean he can sit.
This figure is packaged with a cane and a base, as well as a piece of the Dagobah training backpack.
Unlike some of the other figures in this assortment, Yoda is completely new and made of entirely new parts.
I was surprised to find that the whole figure, hands and all, were created from the ground up. Everything about him is totally new, and this leads to the question "so is it any good?"
If you're anything like me, you looked at that picture and said "well, uh, I guess. Maybe it's good." I'm glad to say that once you see the little guy in person, and he doesn't have what seems to be a lazy eye, he looks most excellent. The head has quite a bit of paint in it, with a few tones of grey in his hair, and two shades of green giving him a slightly more realistic appearance. In the picture, he looks a little dark-- more like AOTC Yoda-- and in person, he seems a little dark as well. The POTF2 version is much lighter, as is the vintage and Episode I edition. While odds are this was done just to keep a more uniform look, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if Yoda will be all-digital in the next release of The Empire Strikes Back and this is our first clue.
The little guy is articulated in a way very similar to the Yoda that came with the Padawans in 2003, with joints at the elbows and wrists. This new release also has a ball-jointed neck and shoulders, and a waist joint that twists, but will not let him sit down. He can be bisected at the waist to cram him in the training backpack, which we'll talk about more below.
The sculpt is top notch, and it's fun to see all the changes made from the Prequel Yodas to this release. The AOTC releases are clean, with sweeping robes and a wise, serene, knowing face. This version is the emaciated homeless Yoda, and it seems that if you live to 900, a lot can change in your appearance during those last 50 years. This face looks a lot more like he did in Empire than many of the previous releases, but the color is a little off-putting. Still, it looks great, as do his hands which are quite tiny. One thing that's sure to confuse you, if you're like me, is his feet.
On the left, OTC Yoda. On the right, Yoda from the set with Yoda and Chian. As you may have noticed, he has three toes on the toys from Phantom Menace and the Original Trilogy (including High Council Yoda, the AOTC repaint of TPM Yoda) and the other versions have five on each foot. The Vintage Yoda from 1980 had three toes, and I've seen numerous references to tridactyl feet in my day. Rather than make comments beyond this, I'll just let you enjoy the pictures.
The outfit is superbly painted and detailed, as it's dirty, gritty, and gnarled. If you were living in a swamp for 30-40 years, odds are your clothes wouldn't look half as nice, and this really stands to show just how great Yoda was at his old job at Coruscant Dry Cleaning and Speeder Repair.
This set includes a base.
The new Dagobah wave has a new base, which is great until you realize that three figures have this same base and they don't connect especially well. I was hoping I could line up the treestumps, but no, that was not doable. It's a bit of a shame to not have unique swamp bases, especially as seeing all the care and detail that went into 2003's Geonosis and Tatooine bases, but you take what you can get.
It's a nice base with some decent details, but nothing fancy like lizards or snakes. All in all, you'll probably like it a lot, and it's a nice departure from the rectangular grey bases in the OTC from here on out.
The Gimer stick is great, and much nicer than the sticks packaged with two of the three AOTC Yoda figures. He can hold it well, and I'm sure it's also quite delicious if you're in to such things, like Yoda supposedly is.
The highlight of the set is this-- the ability to ride Luke and force knowledge into his head from about two inches behind his ear. It's a little weird to look at from the back, but from the front or side it looks quite natural. Unfortunately, this is the think that might make you want to buy extra Yodas and Lukes, so if you're a display fiend, prepare to shell out some extra bucks on this one.
Ladies and genltemen, boys and girls, behold. This is it. This is the cardback you've wanted from the start.
There's a lot to the packaging, surprisingly. The double-border is just like the original Kenner packaging, and the black background is also very similar to the old toys. Also, the font of the name plate is similar to (if not the same as) the old days. Beyond that, there aren't a lot of similarities to the old days. Instead of a big photo, there's a background showcasing the environment that character belongs in, and I'm surprised Hasbro made three different Dagobah backgrounds. Yoda and Spirit Obi-Wan share the same background image.
The back of the card is completely new, but quite colorful and striking. It's a departure from the past few years, but it's a welcome improvement and something I'd like to see more of in the future.
The nameplate for the figures is a sticker, and the plastic bubble is grooved so it fits snuggly in place and won't be off-center. Customizers will probably have a field day with this packaging, as there are a lot of generic elements you can easily change out andcreate a package that's very specific to your tastes.
Lastly, the Jedi Master Points have been eliminated.
As of today, this figure is not yet available in the USA, but looking at future assortments he should be really easy to get and shipping for a good long time.
Easily, the best Empire Strikes Back Yoda to date. Possibly ever, depending on how the Vintage OTC version turns out.
The only real shortcomings on the figure are the unpainted neck (which looks odd) and the lack of an ability to sit. Beyond that, it's great. It would have been nice to have had his flute sculpted on him, but hey, odds are you couldn't see it easily anyway.
He's about the same height as the prequel Yodas and just a hair shorter than the POTF2 versions. He's neat, small, and his proportions are more accurate, or so it seems. His head isn't nearly as large. If you buy Star Wars toys this should be a must-buy, regardless of which Yodas you already have. It's just a joy to look at and there's so much to love here.
Our sample was obtained from some guy in May 2004.