Wednesday, August 24, 2011

2011 Clone Wars Figures: Kiss Your Hamiltons Good-Bye

I haven't seen the New Clone Wars figures on the store pegs, but they have crossed into the sanctuary of the Past Generation Toys shop. Under my overly critical collector's eye I came up with a quick list of the Top 5 "must have" figures.

The full list of contenders are as follows:

First Case
- Clone Commander Jet
- Plo Koon (Cold Weather Gear)
- Savage Opress (Shirtless)
- ARF Trooper (Kamino)

Second Case
- Saesee Tiin
- Clone Trooper (Stealth Ops)
- Kit Fisto (Cold Weather Gear)
- Seripas
- Captain Rex (Jet Pack)

Third Case
- Even Piell
- Savage Opress (Armored)
- Chewbacca
- R7-D4

As I've said before, the current Clone War figures are taking one step forward and two steps back. The molding and paint applications are improving, but at the cost of poseability. Sure, the smaller head and hand sculpts more accurately fit the body proportions, but did we have to loose the hinges in the wrist joints AND ankle joints? I understand; the cost of the new molds are offset by the reduction in articulation. But did you have to take away both wrists AND all ankle joint articulation?

Alright. Alright. That's enough of my complaining... right after this!

Hey, Hasbro. What's with Yoda's eyes? Why did you decide to paint them looking down? He's the smallest guy in the Star Wars universe, why's he looking at feet? An even better idea than the obvious straight ahead glare would have been to have Yoda looking slightly upward. Then he can be posed darting along the ground, saber lit and held behind him, ready to throw a beatin' on anyone who says he sounds like Grover.

Ahhhhh. That felt good to get out. Now that I'm no longer hyperventilating, I guess I can step down off my righteous soap box and get to the 5 figures to spend your hard earned coin on.

5) Cold Weather Gear Plo Koon

Remember when Spider-man figures covered the toy shelves like wallpaper? We had Skydiving Spider-man, Skateboarding Spider-man, and even Soccer Player Spider-man. Hopefully, Clone Wars won't slide down this slippery slope. With that said, Snow Bunny Plo Koon looks impressive... most impressive. The figure comes with his trusty lightsaber, clip on snow shoes(!), and a winter mask. The winter breathing mask was cool enough to push him into the threshold of the Top 5. Kit Fisto is in similar garb and gets some sweet goggles, but his tentacle neck warmer seemed too much of a stretch for me. Isn't Kit Fisto more like a fish guy? I just picture him needing to keep his face moist. Fisto should have had a climate control fishbowl dome or something. Anyway, Plo Koon isn't super poseable in his snowmobile suit, but neither were Obi-wan and Anikin in their snow fatigues.

4) Commander Jet

Jet is mash-up of a couple of other figures with a Geonosis repaint. His helmet earmuffs are actually tolerable with the little antennae sprouting out of them. Yes, I'm angry about the wrists having only a swivel joint, but the ball hinged ankles settle me down a bit. Plus, I'm a sucker for the double pistols and the holsters that actually hold them. I know the paint is suppose to be the Geonosis paint scheme, but ever since the Flame Thrower troopers, (repaints of the Snow Gear Rex), I just see these colors as the Clone Trooper Fire Brigade. Commander Jet is going to look sooooo cool posed in front of the other Geonosis troopers from the Target 2 Packs. My army of repainted firemen.

3) Chewbacca

Our favorite Wookie made an appearance in the season finalie of Season 3 of the Clone Wars. He's a prisoner along with with Asoka and some other captured Padawans. They're being hunted by whatever race of creature Bossk is. I'm only mentioning this because I was disappointed that when Chewbacca is revealed he looks EXACTLY the same as we know him from the first Star Wars films. He even has his bandolier belt/pouch thingie. You would think they would have taken it off him. I'm thinking it would have been cooler to make him a little skinnier. Maybe he could arrive without his pouch and we get the bags origin story. Maybe we observant viewers see the pouch on one of the lieutenants and after Chewbacca beats up this guy, he lifts it off him. It comes in handy a couple of times so he keeps it. I'm just saying.

When this figure was first released by Hasbro he was called the Kashyyyk Warrior giving you no indication that this was actually Chewbacca. The Chewie sculpt is brand-spanking-new and honestly looks more Star Wars-y than Clone Wars-y. This version of Chewbacca would look right at home with any of your Star Wars figures from the vintage line. My favorite part of this figure is his face; specifically the eyes. He has some dark paint applications which really make the details in his blue eyes pop. Someone must have put some extra time into programming the machine that would paint Chewbacca's blue eyes. That machine deserves some extra oil. Chewbacca comes with his patented bow blaster and another bow blaster that belongs in the garbage next to the game pieces.

2) Armored Savage Opress

Cool character with a decent story, but when the episode ended, I wanted more. I could say the same about the figure. Why not give this guy the points of articulation he deserves? All the Jedi jump here and flip there, so why not splurge and give him wrist and ankle joints? Not only that, but I don't remember him being so yellow in the show. I jokingly heard him called the Simpsons Sith. I also noticed that his double saber is a little short. It should be the length of two lightsabers, plus the middle handle. Even with these beefs, this figure lands pretty close to the mark. The sculpt and paint is very subtle and detailed. His orange and yellow eyes, the sneer on his face, and his skull horns all look great. Hasbro even painted his fingernails! I am most impressed with the idea of combining plastic and cloth for his skirt. Instead of having a chunk of plastic with slits on the sides, this skirt has plastic only in the front, while the rest of the waist is surrounded by black cloth. Opress is free to do the Russian splits now, if he so desires. I wish they would do this combination with all Jedi figures.

1) Serapis

"The galaxy is on Orion's bea...bea...belt." Remember that little guy from the first MIB movie? Well, this is the Clone Wars version. Serapis made a showing in a Clone Wars homage to the Seven Samurai movie by Akira Kurosawa. Serapis and a group of other bandits were hired to defend a town from some space pirates. Embo made his first appearance in this episode too. Now that they have two from that particular episode, mark my words, you'll see a 3 pack with Serapis, Embo, and either the hooded sniper or the Darth Maul looking girl.

Out of all the new figures released in these 3 waves, Serais is the cream of the crop. The battle suit is full of moving parts and hidden gems. For one, the left forearm hides a saw blade just like in the episode. By pressing a small button on the bottom of the right forearm releases the second surprise; a forearm missile launcher. The best feature is the flip-top helmet that reveals Serapis in the suit's cockpit. Serapis is even removable! Though his arms have some minor articulation, his legs do not move. That won't stop me from purchasing 3 of these when they finally make it to the toy shelves.

And there you have it. Surfing ARC Trooper didn't make the cut and neither did the no-joints-below-the-waist pink Yoda. Jet Pack Rex almost broke the Top 5 with that cloth skirt of his, but then I noticed not only did he loose his ankle and wrist joints, but lost is torso articulation too! If that wasn't enough, his extra large helmet fits like he's wearing a bucket. On the bright side, it's worth mentioning that included in the new cases are Commander Wolfe and that other impossible to find figure, Commander Colt. So we get a second chance to scoop up these guys.

I'll see you in the toy aisles,

R. Ticulation

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