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Entertainment Earth

Japanese Star Wars Kubricks:
Series 4 – Lord Vader Arrives!

by Jeff Smentek


Introduction

Medicom, a Japanese toy company, has produced some of the coolest Star Wars products to hit the collecting market in some time. Kubrick figures are small-scaled block figures that are bigger than LEGO figures, but smaller than the normal 3.75" Hasbro figures. These have been increasing in popularity since JediDefender first reported about them early in 2003.

The Series 4 regular figures include: Darth Vader, Stormtrooper, Emperor Palpatine, Luke Skywalker (Bespin Gear), Han Solo (Hoth Gear), and Nien Nunb. The Series 4 chase figures are Darth Vader (Dagobah), Han Solo (Stormtrooper Gear), and Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper Gear). Series 4 was released in July 2005, and the following is a look at each respective piece included therein.

The Figures

Darth Vader


Series 4 offered up quite a few figures that were on everyone’s wish list, but none ranked higher than the Dark Lord of the Sith himself. Darth Vader comes with a cape, a lightsaber, and a two-piece helmet. That’s right, Vader has a fully removable 2-piece helmet and a fully painted “old”, scarred Anakin head underneath!

Darth Vader is a fantastic piece to add to any Star Wars Collection. He was one of the easier to find figures in this series and with all the different display options available thanks to the multi-part helmet, be sure to grab a spare or two!

Stormtrooper


Another highly requested figure makes an appearance in Series 4! The Stormtrooper Kubrick figures includes the trusty Stormtrooper blaster rifle. The helmet is removable (with a little force), but it was not really designed to be removable. Like Vader, the Stormtrooper was a bit easier to find and many Kubrick fans have built up sizable armies of this basic Imperial grunt.

Emperor Palpatine


Yet another highly desirable Imperial figure makes it into Series 4 - the Emperor himself! The Emperor comes with an assortment of accessories. He has a removable hood, his cane, and two “force lightning” effects for dishing out punishment to any young Jedi he finds in his way!

Luke Skywalker (Bespin Gear)


Finally, someone to battle those Imperials! Bespin Luke joins many other Luke figures in the Kubrick Universe. This version of Luke includes a lightsaber, a blaster pistol (with working holster), and a lightsaber hilt that attaches to his belt. The perfect figure to duel your Series 4 Vader and re-create the classic Empire moment – I guess that means you need a fourth Vader now!

Han Solo (Hoth Gear)


Joining Luke is another Empire figure - Hoth Han Solo. Han includes a removable hood and a blaster pistol (with working holster). Medicom sure loves Han Solo, as he’s made an appearance in Series 2, 3, 4, and 5 too! This Han is a great figure. Medicom captures his scoundrel expression with a simple paint job. Now we just need a Hoth Luke and Leia to go with him!

Nien Nunb


Filling out the regular releases of Series 4 is Lando’s Return of the Jedi co-pilot, Nien Nunb! Everyone’s favorite Sullustan has just one accessory, a blaster pistol, but it’s enough. A great sculpt shows off once again Medicom’s ability to capture the feel of the Original Trilogy despite the small scale of the Kubrick figures. Here’s hoping that we get a General Lando in a future series to go with Nien!

Darth Vader (Dagobah)


The first chase figure from this series is a Dagobah variant of Darth Vader. Straight out of the Cave of Fear, this version of Darth Vader has a hole in his mask revealing Luke Skywalker’s face underneath, a dark vision of the fate that awaits Luke on Bespin. The chase Vader also has a multi-part helmet, lightsaber, and cape. A great choice for a chase figure, once again playing into Medicom’s love of all parts of the Original Trilogy! As you may have guessed, the chase Vader can be found in the standard Vader box.

Han Solo (Stormtrooper Gear)


The second chase figure in the set is Han Solo in Stormtrooper Gear. Yes, it’s another Han Solo, and basically an easy head swap with the Stormtrooper figure, but it’s a great choice none the less. Han comes with a Stormtrooper blaster rifle and helmet. Just pop off Han’s hair piece and pop on the Helmet and he’s ready to storm the detention level! Stormtrooper Han was found inside the standard Stormtrooper box.

Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper Gear)


The final chase figure in the set is Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper Gear. Same as the Han figure, it’s a basically just a head swap with the Stormtrooper figure, but it’s a great choice none the less and the perfect partner to the Han Stormtrooper figure. Luke also comes with the Stormtrooper blaster rifle and helmet. We just need a new Chewbacca in Binders figure to finish off the set! Like Han, Stormtrooper Luke was found inside the standard Stormtrooper box.

Case Ratios

Each Series 4 Master Case is composed of 4 boxes of 12 figures (48 figures total per Master Case). Here's a recap of the pack ratios in each box of 12:

4x Darth Vader
4x Stormtrooper
1x Emperor Palpatine
1x Luke Skywalker (Bespin Gear)
1x Han Solo (Hoth Gear)
1x Nien Nunb

Each Series 4 Master Case contained 1x Darth Vader (Dagobah) and either 2x Han Solo (Stormtrooper Gear) or 2x Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper Gear). Stormtrooper Han and Luke were split evenly across the Master Cases produced (50/50).

The overall ratio of each figure is as follows:
4:12 Darth Vader
4:12 Stormtrooper
1:12 Emperor Palpatine
1:12 Luke Skywalker (Bespin Gear)
1:12 Han Solo (Hoth Gear)
1:12 Nien Nunb
1:48 Darth Vader (Dagobah)
1:48 Han Solo (Stormtrooper Gear)
1:48 Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper Gear)

Availability

A full set of 9 seem to be going for between $200 and $250 right now on eBay. Kubrick figures are not cheap by any means, especially if you intend to stay complete with the rarer "chase" and carded figures. To make matters more difficult, they are not available at U.S. retail. Sealed boxes of 12 can be obtained at some U.S. e-tail stores, like JediDefender sponsors BigBadToyStore. eBay or the JediDefender trade forums are two other good options for tracking down Kubrick figures. Expect to pay less for regular release figures and up to $50-$75 each for the three chase figures.

The Future

Star Wars Series 6 is due in the summer of 2006. This A New Hope based series includes the standard 6 basic figures and three chase figures. The Series 6 regular figures are Death Star Trooper, Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot), R4-M9, RA-7, Rebel Fleet Trooper, and a TIE Fighter Pilot. The Series 6 chase figures are Grand Moff Tarkin, Imperial Officer, and Wedge Antilles.

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