Cloud Car Pilot
Released July 2004
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on June 30, 2004
While the Cloud Car Pilot is never seen walking around outside his vehicle, we did get a great figure of him way back in 1982 that, amazingly, is a lot like this one. Supposedly based on conceptual drawings, the figure doesn't look much like a Star Wars character from the era, but it is very striking and looks very much like a futuristic pilot as seen in the late 1970s.
This figure is packaged with a removable helmet, and also has a comlink and blaster very much like the vintage figure.
Score one for the vintage days. Hasbro opted to mimic the old design of this figure instead of coming up with something completely new, and as such, we have a figure that's more true to the vintage line than the figures being marketed as "vintage" later this summer.
Since this action figure was really just based on a combination puppet inside a model vehicle and concept art, obviously, Hasbro gets a little give and take of how authentic it needed to be since there was no existing scrap on which to base this figure. Thankfully, they did an excellent job coming up with ways to make this toy great.
The biggest advancement on this figure is arguably his removable helmet. Once nigh impossible due to the pea-sized heads of any figure with such an accessory, Hasbro made a figure with a removable helmet so nearly perfect that unless you saw the figure with the helmet a little askew, odds are you'd never know it was meant to come off.
The head does not appear to be based on anyone, and as such I'm assuming it's a generic head and not some tribute to some guy who we don't know. But for all I know, that's exactly what it is. There's some nice detail under the helmet, and the see-through visor doesn't look bulky or clunky like on some other figures. The facial expression is pretty blah, but that's probably what Hasbro was gunning for-- after all, this is just a generic pilot figure.
The sculpt is pretty average, with wrinkles and folds where they're needed. Since the costume doesn't have a lot to work with, it's nice to see that what was here was done properly, with lots of little nice touches in terms of stitching and texture that, up close, show that a heck of a lot of work was done to make this figure. One of the real highlights is that the articulation is so well hidden, you might assume it isn't there. Well, I guess this is a highlight... at least it isn't painful and odd like on the OTC Bespin Leia's arms.
You can find joints all over this figure. He's posable at the neck, waist, shoulders, gloves, boots, knees, and hips with a total of 12 points of articulation, most of which you wouldn't even notice. While Hasbro could sneak in more joints at the biceps, it isn't necessary and in a way might be overkill for a figure that's going to either stay in the package or sit on a collector's shelf until someday a Cloud Car is released and fans will want to buy more of it.
Paint on this figure is minimal, with most of the parts being molded in their proper colors. This gives the figure a much cleaner look, and the few painted highlights and buttons tend to be painted well, with the colors staying within the lines and little stray color floating about. There's no dirt or sweat or anything on our review sample, and this is a good thing as it keeps the vintage flavor about it.
This set includes the traditional stand, a comlink, and a blaster.
The base is nothing new. It serves its purpose.
The helmet, as seen above, fits like a glove. It's molded in translucent yellow plastic and is a little flexible, but is ideal for this figure. I hesitate to use the word "perfect," but it comes close. Hasbro really knows how to make a helmet these days.
The unpainted blaster and comlink follow two proud traditions. The first being these are modled very closely after the vintage figure's accessories, and he was special because he was one of very few figures two have had more than one "extra" in the package. The revised blaster is so similar to the original that the untrained fan might assume it's the same one. It has a hole in the back, for some reason, and while it's just as chunky, it is an entirely new sculpt. The comlink has a whole mess of detail on it and a little tab that plugs into the belt, repeating the proud tradition of the POTJ Bespin Guard who could hold all of his accessories on his belt and holster.
Between the helmet, holster, and belt, everything can be attached to the figure with his hands free to do some piloting, which is a nice touch. His index finger was even sculpted to hold the trigger of his gun, so the package is a very nicely integrated whole.
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. Since the figure belongs in a vehicle, we get a big picture of one instead of, say, a Cloud City walkway. The visual implies that the Cloud Car is parked, or he's falling out of the sky to his death. Since he's reaching for his gun and comlink, I'd say he's about five seconds from going crazy while plummeting to the surface of the planet, wouldn't you?
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.
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.
This figure is a must-buy for anyone who considers themselves a collector because it's one of the few as-of-yet previously unmade figures from the original vintage line, it's well made, and it's a pilot to a vehicle that Hasbro will probably release later-- without a pack-in pilot figure, or with just one. While the character is appealing to nobody, the figure is a well-designed one with lots of moving parts and bells and whistles for $4.99. There's no recycled components, and everything fits together nicely.
Getting him to sit is a little tricky, so if Hasbro were to reissue a Cloud Car or to make a new one, I'd like to go on the record as saying a resculpted interior would be a good idea. The comlink, depending on how it's position on the belt, pops off when you move his leg and the holster gets in the way of making a 90-degree angle when he sits. So if it's a sloped seat, like the Snowspeeder, he should be able to sit without a problem.
This is one of those rare no-brainer purchases. If you see it, buy a couple.
Our sample was obtained from some guy in June 2004.