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Never Forget - The ICMG Petition

Brian's Toys

Shaak Ti
(Jedi Master)

Revenge of the Sithís action figure line delivered what Iíve lovingly referred to as ďapology figuresĒ from Hasbro as almost their entire Collection 2 debut line. It doesnít take long to glance at the list and see the multitude of Jedi Masters we got from the Saga line in 2002 like Plo Koon, Sae Sae Tinn, or Luminara Unduli, and theyíre all resculpted for this last installment to the Star Wars Saga. What makes them an ďapologyĒ though? Well, when you compare todayís review of Shaak Ti (Jedi Master) to her 2002 Saga figure, itís clear as day to see that Hasbro is giving us a much better figure this year than we got for the last film, and that has collectors rejoicingÖ or it should anyway.

The new Shaak Ti figure delivers articulation, incredible softgoods/cloth details, and a superior sculpt and paintjob to her previous incarnation in plastic. Basically this figureís for us while the last Shaak Ti figure was sculpted more like an Unleashed Line figure with her ďin-actionĒ pose, and highly limited articulation. Hasbro pulls off something far superior with the new Jedi Master here, but is she perfect? Well she falls something short of a few of her comrades on the pegs, but sheís still a beautiful figure worth displaying proudly amongst the best figures in the modern line. The details as to what went right and wrong on this one are all waiting for you in this weekís installment of ďThe GoodÖ The BadÖ & The Ugly Figure Review ColumnĒ here at Jedi Defender.com.

PROS

-Sculpt: Hasbroís beefed up the quality with ROTSís action figures, and even the Collection 1 figures had some pretty solid sculpts scattered about them. Collection 2 figures like Shaak Ti just took the detailed sculpts to another level though, and were almost all on-par with Hasbroís best work. Shaak Tiís got lots of detail, far surpassing her previous figure, and sheís a stand-out among the odd alien Jedi this year.

Shaak Tiís body sculpt is a wealth of detail in her costume. The most striking piece is the ribbons/scarf pieces that hang off the body and look almost as though theyíre a separately sculpted piece. They flex some and feature a rough texture to them, and are sculpted to look as though theyíre hanging and almost flowing off the figureís body. If you donít look close you really wouldnít know theyíre a single piece with the torsoís sculpt.

The figureís shirt has billowing sleeves with lots of folds and wrinkles in it for realism as well, and a faint texturing sculpted in to give the fabric a life-like quality as well. On the ends of the sleeves are the Jedi Masterís gauntlets which have detailed square patterns sculpted into them.

And the figureís legs, though covered by her softgoods/cloth skirt, are also nicely sculpted with little details. Her boots for instance have straps sculpted to the tops and they arenít terribly noticeable but the effortís appreciated. The pants have a tighter fit to them. Jedi ladies seem to like the tight pants I guess, but they look good and have a nice light texture to them similar to the shirtís look. Shaak Tiís belt is also a wealth of detail with its intricate squigglies, rectangles, Xís, and other markings actually sculpted into the center piece on the belt, while the belt itself is sculpted with the Lightsaber Clip on the left hip (with a hole in it for the figureís Saber Hilt accessory to attach to) for realism.

The headsculptís where 99% of the detail on this figure is though. Shaakís face is expressionless and solemn, which fits all descriptions applied to Shaak Ti in her edited-out death sequence aboard the Invisible Hand in ROTS. Actually, early images of Shaak Ti showed a removable ďplugĒ to her chest that covered a hole there, and this also tied into the figureís death sequence that got cut out of the film, where Grievous ran Shaak Ti through with a lightsaber before Obi-Wan and Anakinís eyes. Wouldíve made Grievous quite the meaner character I think!

Shaakís headtails/horns are detailed as well, and feature lots of leathery texturing sculpted into them. The tails arenít sculpted in any ďaction poseĒ like the Saga figure had, so they rest pretty much straight down. They have a little life sculpted into them so theyíre not just flat on the figure, but they arenít terribly bent to the sides like the Sagaís sculpt was, and still allow for some posing of the figureís head.

Overall you get a lot of detail sculpted into this little Jedi that takes one of the more ornate Jedi costumes to new heights. On a basic brown tunic/robes Jedi itís rougher to make it look like something special, but with Shaak Ti the folks at Hasbro had a good character to do some justice with the sculpt and they succeeded. But what probably deserves the MOST praise for Shaak Ti is that you are getting, finally, a Shaak Ti who isnít stuck in the silly action pose that the original figure was in. You actually are getting a toy you can have sitting around on your Jedi Council or fighting the Separatists, and she looks good doing both. Thatís of course in part due to articulation being beefed up, but the sculpt is where it all starts, and Shaak Ti is almost completely neutral in her sculpt and the articulation only makes her a better toy. Good for Hasbro seeing the light that action-posed figures donít make good toys in the eyes of many kids and collectors.

-Paint Aps/Decoration: Shaak Tiís the most colorful Jedi figure youíll ever see I believe. The head tails/horns are a series of blue-grey and white rings that Hasbro painted with a lot of realism and detail. The rings all seem even and very accurate to the characterís look on-screen. A nice technique to ďfadeĒ the grey rings with the white, especially down at the bottom of the tails, makes the markings look more natural and like a living beings actual coloring rather than systematically applied decoration. IE: It looks like natural pigment and coloring rather than something intentionally done by hand.

The faceís paintjob with its large white ovals at the eyes, grey-ish lips, silver spots, and red skin coloring, all look amazing and they serve to make Shaak stand out in the crowd of ROTS figures. Sheís the Jedi you canít miss even if sheís only on-screen for a split second at any given time, and her figure is equally eye-catching due to the exquisite paintjob. However, the eyes arenít super detailed as we see on some figures, yet her eyes seem to be simple dark spots rather than layers of color like a humanís, so perhaps any criticism here isnít warranted at all.

Shaak Tiís paintjob goes beyond her skin coloring though, as her costume has a number of paint aps as well. The beltís intricately sculpted designs also feature paint to bring the patterns out. Light tan for the center emblems and a brown on the outer emblems make the sculpting job stick out a bit, and bring it to life. The roughly sculpted scarf around the figure also is painted a brown similar to the belt, and her gauntlets feature small brown and tan details similar to the beltís details. I was disappointed to see the saber clip on her belt isnít painted, whereas I think it should be black at least, as it is on other Jedi, but itís just nice that itís there in the first place.

Shaakís got another detail thatís rough to notice, but sheís sporting silver fingertips for her nails, which look nice and complement the silver spots on her forehead pretty well. Not sure if itís a natural thing for her species or what, but itís a little tiny detail Hasbro caught and didnít pass on, and I think itís the tiniest ďfingernailsĒ painted on a figure, at least that Iíve ever seen, and looks fantastic. The paintjobís a top-notch effort on a figure whose decoration is important to the overall quality of how the figure turns out.

-Articulation: While Shaakís articulation is a vast improvement over her Saga figure, I canít help but feel that Hasbro couldíve done a little better. My gripe Iíll file separately though, and Iím certainly more than willing to acknowledge that this figure is a vast improvement over her previous incarnation as far as her poseability goes. Hasbro just didnít live up to other Collection 2 Jedi and thatís a bit disappointing.

Shaak Ti features articulation at:

- 2 ball/socket shoulder joints
- 1 angle-cut elbow joint
- 1 standard wrist joint (right wrist)
- 2 standard hip joints
- 2 ball/socket knee joints
- 1 standard waist joint
- 1 ball/socket neck joint

Jedi Master Shaak Ti then comes in at a whopping 10 points of articulation total, which isnít the best for the Collection 2 Jedi figures but itís enough to have this figure look good in multiple poses. I can get Shaak to hold her lightsaber with 2 hands which is probably one of the most crucial Jedi poses, though she doesnít have many options due to her left arm being basically stuck in one specific pose. The legs are poseable enough though, that you can actually almost duplicate her Saga figureís pose, and that right there is worth the price of the figure if you ask me.

Shaakís right arm is how her left arm should be, and really allows for a wide range of neutral and action stances with her saber. Her head retains movement since the headtails arenít terribly obtrusive to the range of motion, and her waist joint and leg joints really do free the figure from any specific pose. Thankfully Hasbro took a leap of faith with a cloth skirt to make this figure simply great for poseability, and thatís what I want out of my Jedi figures!

-Accessories: Shaak has a bit of gear, though a lot of it is small. Still, itís all appreciated and adds to the value of the figure. Just a lightsaber packed in there would make me question the figureís worth a little bit, but Hasbro went ahead with a stand and a nice little extra piece that some people could care less about, but which is the kind of little extra item that makes me feel like my $6 wasnít quite as tough to part with.

The first accessory is Shaak Tiís lightsaber, which is a two-piece one. Hasbro had said at one time that they werenít going to do the 2-piece sabers but they returned on a number of figures for the ROTS line and I personally like them. The blade pops out of the hilt, and while itís fragile, Iíve yet to break one. The saberís hilt is then sculpted with a peg to snap into the hole/clip on Shaak Tiís belt, and thatís a feature I think all Jedi Knights should have. Itís like holsters on figures with blasters. To me itís a must, and should be a standard for the line at this stage of the game.

The saberís sculpt itself features the ďflaredĒ lightsaber blade, cast in blue, and the hiltís a unique sculpt as well. There are multiple rings and details sculpted into the saber hilt, and the saber has black and gold details on its silver base color which looks like some extra effort was made there.

The second accessory Shaak has is her base, which is a nice little addition. The base is made to connect to similar ones, and is sculpted to look like a shipís deck plating or a street on Coruscant. Thereís lots of little panel lines sculpted into it, and a base to a wall. The base doesnít connect with others terribly well, but itís not bad and features some extra paint application which looks nice.

The final accessory is a perplexing one as nobody is quite sure why itís here, but I still appreciate that we get it. Thereís a little Personal Data Assistant looking accessory included with Shaak. Itís thin silver plastic with black ďkeysĒ and a black screen painted on it. The data pad/PDA thing looks like perhaps it was intended to be something Shaak Ti was using to search the Invisible Hand for Chancellor Palpatine. The figureís left hand is sculpted, seemingly, to be holding this accessory, so Iím assuming this little piece isnít just something extra Hasbro threw in, but rather it was a piece that Shaak Tiís character used in the film but which got cut before the filmís release and into the figureís production. Either way Iím happy to get this tiny accessory even if itís not much to look at. It adds to the figure I believe.

-Softgoods/Cloth Skirt: Iím a huge fan of using cloth on action figures if it means a greater amount of useful articulation for a figure. Shaak Ti, and Jedi like her such as Luminara Unduli or Barris Offee, are the kinds of figures where the only option to make a poseable action figure is to take the gamble of using cloth. On Shaak Ti the gamble pays off as it allows a much more poseable figure, and the softgoods Hasbro uses look absolutely fantastic.

The cloth is a gauze-like material. Itís sort of stretch, and it has a very fine weave to it that really look in-scale with the Shaak Ti figureís tiny stature. While some softgoods look billowy and the stitching looks obviously out of scale, this figureís fabric skirt looks amazing, and has folds seemingly permanently pressed into it that look like wrinkles on the figureís skirt as she twirls and fights in combat or just stands talking with her Jedi friends. To me, Shaak and her ROTS sister figure Luminara Unduli are the perfect argument for using cloth on figures where poseability is important, and I think the cloth actually looks superior to sculpted plastic in this case. Iím pleased to see Hasbro giving us poseability above all other factors and Iím glad to see it worked out in how the figure looks too.

CONS

-Weak Knee Joints: While I enjoy the improved articulation greatly, Hasbroís use of weaker plastics has a major drawback on figures with thinner legs. In general, Battle Droids and female figures are going to suffer from the unexplainable use of this cheap plastic, as the knee joints combined with the cheap-o plastic makes for figures that are prone to leaning.

My Shaak Ti doesnít lean too bad as her knee joints are fairly tight, however if I pose her wrong she sometimes falls under her weight over time. I noticed the same problem with figures like Luminara Unduli, Ayla Secura, and the Pregnant Padme figure. This is also the same problem that Super Battle Droids and regular Battle Droids have suffered from since as far back as the Power of the Jedi line. Hasbro has got to realize that this poor quality plastic they use isnít endearing them to us at all. Itís not for safety standards, and itís not for mold detail. Hasbro is just being cheap and using inferior quality materials, and on thinner-legged figures itís a huge negative. If theyíd at least use something higher quality on these figures alone, it would be ok and tolerable on other figures. Hopefully Hasbroís working to improve this in the future and the ROTS line is the last we see of this constant problem in the line.

Iíd like to buy a battle droid that can actually stand, ya know? And whereís my Amanaman Staff that actually will hold itself under its own weight?

-Left Arm: Shaak Tiís left arm is pretty much sculpted in a bent pose and thatís it. Short of her ball/socket shoulder joint, the figureís not got a poseable arm, and Hasbroís back to their old tricks of articulating one limb but leaving a 2nd limb unpoeseable. The figureís still fun to play with and put into different poses but I really think that she couldíve been substantially better.

In the end, Shaakís probably the least articulated of the Collection 2 Jedi since her left armís lacking 2 points of articulation. Sheís much less poseable with her saber because of this, and it at least wouldíve been nice if she had her wrist articulated if not the angle-cut elbows as well. Itís a minor gripe on a majorly improved figure though but one worth mentioning I believe.

OVERALL

The Jedi from ROTSís toy line have been pretty great so far, but maybe Iím just a little lenient because we had such poor examples of them from the Saga 2002 line? I like to think Iím a harder case than that with Hasbro though so I really just believe that these are a higher quality series of figures. I know that Kit Fisto and Ayla Secura are among my favorites from the entire ROTS line so I think that Hasbro mustíve been doing something right. And when Zett Jukassa came out I was longing for him to be as good as the other Jedi before him but alas he fell drastically short.

Shaak Ti isnít the best female figure but sheís pretty close. Right now Iíd say that Luminara Unduli is probably overall better since she has both arms articulated and rivals Shaak for colorful paint applications.

Theyíre at least in a dead heat though for quality overall, and Shaak Tiís just incredibly realistic looking for a toy. I actually wouldíve liked for Hasbro to have left the ďdeathĒ feature sculpted into her chest if she had plugs for the saber hole that was there. If you look close you can see remnants of the feature on the figure actually, and I think it wouldíve been neat to have even if she didnít meet her fate on screen like was originally planned.

The figureís poseable though, great to look at and display, and mineís not toppling over so Iím pretty happy with her. I recommend picking up Shaak Ti (Jedi Master) if you havenít done so yet. The Collection 2 Jedi were slower to take off compared to some of the main characters but of late they are selling out pretty well in most areas so waiting on sales may not be in your best interest if you really want them. I know Iíve still yet to get my customizing doubles so I have to get on the ball with a number of these figuresÖ Shaak Ti included. A full set of the Collection 2 Jedi is an impressive sight, so pick your Shaak Ti up today and enjoy! These ainít your lame Arena Jedi from í02!

 

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