Excitement is what you crave? Action and adventure are all you live for? OK, well these two figures aren't for you then. These are probably two of the most boring characters in the entire Star Wars saga, and their plastic incarnations are absolutely nothing short of dull. With that said, I'm impressed with them for what they are, and am happy I have them in my collection.
To me, the senator-esque figures are some of the only characters I cut Hasbro some slack on if they skimp on features like added articulation or removable headgear. Accessories are about the only area you can make up some ground on with figures like these, but that's still an issue with these two Imperial Dignitaries. Regardless, we're getting two really obscure, old, crusty, decrepit, uninteresting characters made, so that's kind of neat, I suppose. To Hasbro's defense though, they did make them capable of at least a couple poses - as if they're talking to someone, or giving the peace symbol (odd for a ruthless dictator's lackeys, but oh well).
Read on, and be on the look out for both, as I'm sure any self-respecting member of the Empire would want little plastic statues of their favorite boot lickers.
Sculpt: This is a two-for-one deal really, as we get a bit of a rehash between both of the Dignitary figures. Some parts are reused between the two, but it really doesn't affect the end result all that much. Neither figure resembles the other enough to really notice the reused parts, so all's well that ends well, or whatever.
The head sculpts are impressively accurate on both characters, and just look tremendous. This is probably their most impressive feature, but the robes, hats, arms, and hands all have nice attention to detail paid to them as well. The hat sculpts are crisp, and look almost removable on each respective figure. While I'd have loved removable hats from a customizing standpoint, I'm not too concerned with it on these two figures, and think they are just fine as-is.
The arms and robes have equally crisp detail in them, simulating fabric. That's always a nice touch from Hasbro, so it's good to see it passed on to these fairly static figures. The raised details of the fabric make the figure almost come alive. You certainly won't be posing them to look alive, so thank god for good sculpting, right?
The hands are nicely sculpted as well, with open fingers. Janus is even able to “clasp” his hands together (with interlocking fingers) in a similar fashion to the Saga Chancellor Palpatine figure from 2002. Unfortunately, Hasbro did NOT make new hands for the Kren Dignitary figure, and his arm's aren't sculpted for him to clasp his hands together, so the widely spread fingers don't look completely right on him. Still, he looks good as well, so don't let this minor point deter you.
Articulation: It's about as good as it can be, honestly. I can't complain a lot, and as I said, this is one of those areas where I like to give these types of figures a little bit of a grading curve, if you will. They're sort of like Senator figures, like Senator Palpatine or Orn Free Ta, and such. They're dull and in long robes, and as such, you really can't expect these guys to be super poseable really.
With that said, Hasbro actually made a fairly strong attempt to make them able to at least stand in a few “discussion” poses, and things like that. Each figure actually sports 6 to 7 points of articulation, surprisingly.
-2 arm joints at the biceps
-2 swiveling leg joints (not very useful though)
-2 wrist joints
-And Janus has a semi-useful neck joint too, though Kren's neck joint is 100% useless
So all in all, that isn't too shabby, right? Not for these guys, but like I said, only Janus's neck is really useful at all, and Kren's isn't in the slightest. Neither figure's leg articulation is good for much either. This could've easily been an area Hasbro saved a little money by simply making the legs a single piece attached underneath their robes.
With their arm articulation, you can basically eek out a couple decent poses, as if these guys were talking to each other, or intently listening to their Commander-in-Chief, Lord Palpy. Not bad for some dull figures… Tired of hearing that yet? Well, it's a point to be made for their shortcomings as actual “action” figures.
Paint: Overall, the paint application isn't too bad. Some minor gripes I'll slap down in the Cons column, but for what they are, I'm pretty happy with them as they stand. My Janus had some sloppy paint application with the purple highlights though, which I'll expand on in a little bit, as it did negatively affect my opinion of my Janus figure just a tad.
Kren's robes are cast in a lighter purple plastic, and the highlights nicely contrast against the color of the plastic used. The highlights are a bright red, which really shows up well, and the details don't bleed on my Kren at all, leaving a very realistic looking effect. At the same time, Kren's face is painted nicely, though the skin color is debatable as to whether or not it's accurate. Kren's eyes are also VERY nicely and accurately painted and detailed, and look great. Kren almost looks like a likeable kinda guy.
Janus isn't bad either, and has the much greyer skin-tone that I recall for most of the Dignitaries from the ROTJ. Janus has great eye detail as well, just as good as Kren's. The highlights on Janus's darker purple robes are a light purple/violet trim that highlights the raised areas of Janus's sculpt. Overall he's good but I did have some paint smears/bleeding on Janus that I didn't notice on Kren, so I'm going to have to label that as a pretty negative attribute to his figure.
Accessories: Unfortunately this is an area that these two figures greatly lacked in, and something of a disappointment considering Hasbro was making off a little cheaper than usual by reusing some body parts to make these two figures. To make matters worse, these are two dull figures, so some more exciting accessories perhaps would've been the spark that made them a tad more interesting. A holograph of the Emperor perhaps (even reusing the Sidious holograph?), or a holograph of the Death Star, or something.
So what is it that we DID get with them? Well, we got two plain black bases with flat tops (no pegs for foot holes even, which doesn't really matter since neither figure has trouble standing well), so we didn't get anything remotely impressive. The bases do connect, and fit together well, and I guess they're supposed to simulate the Death Star's finely waxed and glossy floors, but instead, they just come off as rather lame accessories packed in with basically lame figures.
I stand by my suggestion that a little holograph or some such gadget would've been a neater pack-in with these two guys. Still, I'm not upset with my purchase on either end. They're nice figures nonetheless.
Janus's Paint Application: My Janus had it's purple highlights smeared on his back robes, and that really just sucked. It looks bad, and I'm hesitant to attempt removing it for fear of what the end result may look like. Janus is pretty common in my area though, so I may try to nab another with a better paint application, but if I can fix my own, I'd rather do that than buy a whole ‘nother figure.
Though this was but a minor flaw, and probably not a common occurrence, it did irritate me enough to mention it here because it's VERY noticeable on my figure. I also mention it because, while I think paint applications are good overall on Hasbro's part, I've been noticing in my own shopping experiences and in online conversations, that paint applications may be taking a turn for the worse. It's possibly a cost-cutting measure by Hasbro, but if it's not nipped in the bud soon then we could see it become more prevalent throughout the modern line. Let's hope not.
Glossy Coating: A minor thing that I wanted to tack on is that I'm finding that many of the Dignitaries in the stores, and my two examples here in front of me, are noticeably glossy. I'm not sure if this was an attempt to get a silky look for their robes or not, but it just looks like a bad clear-coat on the figures to me. My Janus downright shines when light hits it. That doesn't look too great in this reviewer's opinion.
In the end, I'm not disappointed with these figures much at all. My gripes were minor, and I really am happy to have these two in my collection. Rumors are rampant of even more Dignitaries coming out in the future, hopefully one of which will be a remake of the vintage Imperial Dignitary figure, who would look nice with these two - all 3 noses deep within the butt-crack of their Lord Emperor Palpatine.
The accessories aren't great, and the figures themselves are even less than interesting really to anyone but the die-hard fans of Star Wars (a big reason parts were reused), and they're not gonna do much but sit on your shelf and look nice behind an Emperor figure. But in the end, they're fun just to have there to flesh out the old Imperial shelf or Shuttle diorama.
Keep your eyes pealed for Kren, as he's been the one (in my experience) that's been a little tougher to nab. Janus, on the other hand, has been a veritable peg-warmer here in the Pittsburgh tundra, and that means we're going to have an “Orn Free Ta” situation here soon, I think. I may do my civic duty as a loyal Star Wars collector, and nab that 2nd Janus just to help clear the pegs some. You should too! So go pick up your Imperial Dignitaries today!