By Adam Pawlus
Photography: Adam May
FEBRUARY 11, 2007-- Every February, groups of intrepid reporters trek to the chilly concrete jungles of New York City with a mission: to bring you news and pictures of toys that, most likely, you were going to buy anyway later this year. This year's key words were new vehicles, Force Unleashed, Vintage Round 3, and of course, Basic Figures. Lots and lots of them.
When first revealed, we heard the terms "Untitled Star Wars Game for Next-Generation Platforms" and "Force Powers Unleashed" tossed about-- now it's just "Force Unleashed," which will usher in a new term of us having to keep clarifying what we mean by the word "Unleashed" relating to Star Wars collecting. (For the record, there's Star Wars Unleashed 7-inch figures, Star Wars Battle Packs Unleashed 2-inch figures, and a new line of Transformers Unleashed 7-inch figures.)
Right now, we do not have information at Galactic Hunter HQ regarding just who these characters are. Well, that's a half-truth-- we know Darth Vader when we see him, but everybody else is still a little mysterious. As the game itself hasn't been officially announced for specific platforms, it's tough to say just who will be able to play it. (Right now, the rumor mill seems to have its fingers crossed for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 as sure things, with the Wii as being a bit of a long shot.)
While lists have appeared that may give away some of the names, LucasArts and almost all projects relating to LucasFilm tend to change names around so for the time being we'll just let the images speak for themselves. The current plans seem to indicate these new figures will hit stores around the end of 2007 along with the game, but considering how little has been said about the game and which platform(s) it will be on, this is all subject to change.
The line does seem to encompass most of what so many of us love about Star Wars, which is to say Darth Vader, cool guards, amazing Troopers, Jedi, Imperials, and token girls in bikinis.
After being what seemed like a one-time thing in 2004, the Vintage line returned in 2006, and fans loved it so much Hasbro is bringing it back for 2007. This year, the mail-in offer is said to be for a boxed set of coins-- which, while nice, isn't quite as jaw-droppingly cool as a Stormtrooper George Lucas figure. Still, we love coins, and we love mail-ins.
This year's batch includes a Snowtrooper, IG-88, Bossk, Han Solo in Hoth Gear, Luke Skywalker in Bespin Fatigues, and Princess Leia Organa in Battle Poncho. Not much is known yet, but it appears IG-88 will be a more appropriate height, Han Solo will have some removable head gear (but, sadly, not a flip-up hood), and many figures will have their obligatory working holsters and extremely good levels of articulation. Unfortunately, it seems Leia is borrowing some parts from Luke-- and they're a little big for her.
With an increased level of detail, we can only hope the prices stay the same when these figures see release, according to some reports, some time in the late Spring of 2007.
The core of the line are the basic action figures-- especially since there aren't a lot of vehicles to be had most years. This year's fantastic selection will wow you, and let's just get started with the pictures.
Each wave this year (except for, we're told, Wave 9) will have a McQuarrie Concept Figure based on the designs of Ralph McQuarrie. Above, you may note Darth Vader (with multiple helmets), Chewbacca, Boba Fett, and of course, a redeco of the Stormtrooper originally sold in 2003. The Stormtrooper should be out any day now, with the others showing up over the next several months.
Here, find M'iiyoom Onith and Elis Helrot from the Cantina (eachs upposedly to include pieces of the curved bar section), CZ-3, Luke Skywalker with Moisture Vaporator, and of course Darth Vader, with what's left of Obi-Wan Kenobi. While the Cantina aliens and Droids seem mostly new, Luke is made up of new parts and bits of the Early Bird Luke, while Darth Vader seems mostly based on the 30th Anniversary Tin Darth Vader from the original Star Wars.
Here, find Animated Debut Boba Fett, Biggs Darklighter, Stormtrooper with Removable Helmet, Luke Skywalker (Jedi Knight), and Umpass-Stay with half of the big drum. Hopefully this means Ak-Rev isn't far behind. While we're told it wasn't Hasbro's intent to make the cloth robes on Luke removable, if you look closely, it seems the sculpt underneath is very close to what he wore on the Death Star at the end of the film-- and it seems he's super-poseable. So if nothing else, this should provide the basis for the much-requested Death Star II Luke at a later date. Also, we don't know where Biggs' cape is at this time-- hopefully the figure will include one. If not, well, get your letters of protest ready.
As one of the worst-kept secrets of the year, Hasbro finally showed us their neat and $19.99 price point V-Wing Fighter and Darth Maul's Sith Infiltrator. Obviously, these are going to be scaled down a little as the market for a large Episode I vehicle and a ship that was barely seen in Revenge of the Sith might not make good $60 toys in today's marketplace-- especially given Hasbro will be competing against themselves in a summer with Spider-Man 3, Transformers, and other big licensed properties.
Darth Maul's ride is slightly scaled down, but includes pop-open panels with rockets (for the kids), an opening seating area seemingly designed for a figure with articulated knees, and deco that's surprisingly brighter in color than one may have expected. Perhaps a battle damaged redeco is on tap for a double-dip with this mold in 2008? Either way, what we see so far is excellent and it's just the beginning.
The V-Wing has moving panels, an opening cockpit, dedicated (non-removable) Astromech droid, and most of the trimmings you would come to expect from a ship of this size and price point. While we would've preferred an empty droid socket so we could pick the droid that goes in there, well, such is life. The vehicle has a lot of battle damage and dirt on it, and since it's been making some appearances in recent Star Wars comics, maybe it wouldn't be too much to ask for an enclosed-helmet Clone for a V-Wing Pilot in the future? It looks to be a great little toy for the money.
But Wait, There's More!
You can see the full showroom in our awesome Toy Fair 2007 Hasbro Image Archive, with nearly 400 photos of more Star Wars toys like the Darth Vader Death Star Transformer, tons of new tiny Unleashed Battle Packs, and the Carbonite Block, previously unseen for Galactic Heroes. There's even Spider-Man Superhero Squad, new Transformers: The Movie toys, and those awesome 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe figures you've heard so much about. Don't miss them!
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