Palpatine is one of the all-time key players in the entire Star Wars Saga really, but he shined brighter than ever in Revenge of the Sith. It’s fitting then that he should have more than one figure this time around to fit his many moods and outfits. Hasbro used a new technique they seem to enjoy to give us 2 Palpatine’s for the price of one, and a technique that doesn’t hurt the figure’s overall look at all.
Great, right? Well, Chancellor Palpatine (Lightsaber Attack), in his vibrant red robes from ROTS, has a lot of negative qualities unfortunately, and that’s not a good thing for Palpatine fans. It’s especially frustrating given the action-packed sequence this Palpatine fit into from the film. A nicer action figure would’ve definitely been appreciated. Check the Review out and see what I mean.
-Interchangeable Parts: Probably this figure’s shining feature is the fact you get 2 sets of hands and 2 heads to pop on and off for Palpatine as he appeared in his red outfit. The sequence left Hasbro with the option of giving us 2 Red Robed Palpatine figures or their new love of the interchangeable parts that they developed with the Luke Skywalker Dagobah figure, and they’ve chosen to go the cheaper route. I doubt you hear anyone complain about that though, especially with the lack of an outfit change, so the extra body parts are welcomed.
The first head/hand set is Palpatine as he normally appears, calm and collected… His right hand in this set is actually cast in red and painted flesh, as the hand is cast holding a lightsaber so the saber accessory is stronger when using the action feature. I’m not fond of the molded-saber thing Hasbro’s doing and feel it detracts from the interchangeable hand features. It wouldn’t be so bad if a normal right hand was included but Hasbro saw fit not to do that I guess.
The second head/hand set is Palpatine when he’s the old cackling nutjob after he and Mace Windu had a rough encounter. The hands are saber-less, as they should be, and posed with the fingers extended as they unleash some vicious force lightning on their target. They’re the better set, and the way I’m currently displaying my Palpatine since I think that they look pretty great with the force lightning accessories.
Overall, I like the interchangeable parts on figures… Hasbro sort of borrowed this idea I believe from 21st Century Toys who have included pre-posed and poseable arm sets with almost all their 1:18 scale figures for a while. The idea’s sound, however Hasbro does it sparingly with just a piece here and there rather than full sets of arms with articulation and whatnot. It’s ok for what Hasbro’s intended goal is and works nicely.
-Sculpt: Hasbro has Palpatine’s likeness down to a science it seems. And they’re a lock on sculpting ornate robes, so that’s a major plus as well. And when you have 2 likenesses of Palpatine that come with one figure, and those ever-present robes, then sculpt becomes a bit more important! This Palpatine has the usual things you should expect.
The figure comes with 2 heads, as I mentioned above, and neither disappoints. The cackling look of the Sithlord Palpatine is full of wrinkles and folds that are very nicely sculpted and look very realistic. He’s sculpted with a smile… It’s a little static for my tastes, but Palpatine was sort of either moaning and groaning with that face or he was cackling with glee as he bumped off the beloved Mace Windu. It’s tough to choose and Hasbro went with the latter style and it looks nice. His teeth, which Hasbro has sometimes had trouble sculpting on figures, don’t stick out or look too big at all and that’s a major plus.
The other head, Palpatine when he’s actually not in need of medication (that anyone knew anyway) is also very good and accurate to Ian McDiarmid’s physical appearance. Hasbro seems to have had better luck nailing his likeness when sculpting him than any other character I’ve seen I think. The face is nice and neutral, with it being not too happy to see the Jedi Posse, nor is it sculpted too angry like when he realizes the Posse is there to arrest him. It’s just right, so it’s a little bit better than the “Dark Side” Palpatine’s, at least for being a bit more neutral.
The sculpt of the body is simplistic enough in that it’s not multiple layers of plastic, but rather just one piece… He’s one of the infamous “Salt Shaker” figures unfortunately. The robes have a lot of great detail to them though even if they are all one piece. For instance his outer robe features a zig-zagging and woven pattern that goes all around the robes, and there are distinct creases and folds everywhere on this robe. On the inside though, there’s more paisley looking texture to the robe, and yet a 3rd robe inside shows a finer texture sculpted into it. There’s a lot of little detail work there.
I’d have preferred some of these robes were separate pieces though on the figure, and not just one solid piece sculpted all around. It looks realistic though and like it has a lot more depth than it does. It’s a long way from the old “Salt Shaker” figures anyway.
-Paint Aps/Deco: Not a terribly complex paintjob on Palpatine, but part of this is because Hasbro chose to mold the figure in a plastic that has a metallic shine to it. It makes his robes shine just as they did in the film and saved an ornate paintjob on him which is probably a good idea and saved a little cash in this guy’s production.
Beyond that though, Palpatine’s robes feature a nice blackwash on the arms and the inner robe that highlights the sculpt, and gives the appearance of shadow and mimics the colors the robes had in the film. The dark red’s and black’s of the outfit really look Sithly and the figure came out looking nice enough due to the paintjob and sculpt.
Palpatine’s 2 headsculpts also feature nice paint application. The classic Palpatine has nicely painted eyes, eyebrows, and hair which all are perfectly placed without straying or bleeding anywhere on the figure. There’s also a tiny mark of flesh tone darker than his skin applied to his mouth to set it apart from the rest of the skin. It really stands out and gives the figure some life. The hair is white with a wash of grey so that it’s not all just one color/tone. Again, a nice detail that sets it off and gives it added realism.
The Dark Palpatine headsculpt features the tell-tale signs you’re a Sithlord… The eyes, for instance, are the classic orange/red color, and feature a lot of layers of paint. The red around the eyes is subtle and not overdone like Anakin’s dark circles are on most of his ROTS figures. The only complaint I really had about this head is that it could’ve used a little paint on the teeth area to show the gnarled chicklets Palpy sports. And like the other head, this Palpatine features white hair with a grey wash to it making it look very realistic. No paint bleeding or misapplied at all and that’s a good thing.
-Accessories: I’m really disappointed that Hasbro opted not to give Palpatine his own lightsaber accessory, but rather sculpted it as part of one of the right hands. It’s not a terribly nice sculpt on the saber anyway (nor is it accurate), and it leaves you without being able to have an unarmed Palpatine. A 3rd right hand would’ve fixed this of course but wasn’t included.
A nice lightsaber and maybe a saber hilt as well, would’ve been appreciated. However, Hasbro’s sculpt of what seems like Anakin’s lightsaber hilt in Palpy’s hand is a sign that they’d have probably not gotten the right saber in there anyway.
Beyond the lack of a lightsaber and/or disengaged saber hilt, Palpatine only comes with the force lightning which attaches to a set of his hands. If you wanted to get technical you could count his second head/hand set, however I don’t count those as accessories at all. Force Lightning does not make for the most exciting accessories and this figure just felt as though it needed that lightsaber to be separate. I’m NOT a fan of molding sabers to hands at this point.
-Articulation: It’s really rather minimal, though I applaud Hasbro for at least giving a fair amount of articulation on Palpatine’s arms. He can hold a saber with 2 hands, and that’s a good pose for him, however it’s about all he can do.
Palpatine has articulation at:
-2 standards shoulder joints
-2 angle-cut elbow joints
-2 standard wrist joints
-1 standard neck joint
With only 7 points of articulation total, the figure is definitely lacking. Like was mentioned, he’s a “Salt Shaker” as these types of figures have become known, and not only that but my sample likes to topple forward because his feet are sort of leaning forward due to the action feature.
It’s tough to articulate a figure with robes like this Palpatine, however I think it’s something I’d like to see. Perhaps some softgoods robes at some point with an articulated figure underneath? I doubt it happens but Palpatine was certainly hopping all over the place and very animated while wearing this specific outfit. I think cloth robes could be done, and it’s something I’d certainly enjoy seeing at some point because this figure doesn’t appeal much to me.
-Action Feature: It works, for what it is, but it came at a sacrifice… The Action Feature just is rarely something I applaud and on Palpatine it’s something I partly blame for why we got another figure that is just one big chunk of plastic with some poseable arms. I’d have preferred something action feature-less.
The feature also is why I believe we got the lightsaber molded into his hand, and as such results in yet another blight as far as I’m concerned.
The feature is simply pressing the feet of the figure and his right arm raises and lowers a bit. As I said, it works… It’s just sorta lame. Still, a nod goes to Hasbro for still trying to hide action features. Throughout the ROTS Line Hasbro has tried hard to keep action features well hidden and that’s appreciated. I just think this figure could’ve done without any feature and sculpt/articulation could’ve been a focus.
-Wrong Saber: As noted, Palpatine appears to have a red bladed Anakin lightsaber molded into his right hand. Very weird, and from what I understand this mistake is because Hasbro made the figure with the understanding that this was accurate… Lucas changed things though, and by the time Revenge of the Sith came out in theaters the saber Palpatine wields in his duel with the Jedi Posse, he has his own red bladed saber.
It’s a mistake, it’s not accurate, and so it is a negative in this review. One Hasbro couldn’t have helped though.
The articulation is what really kills this figure for me the most… That and the fact he can’t just be old man Palpy there being confronted by the Jedi since Hasbro saw fit not to give him a removable lightsaber (or at least a normal right hand without a saber molded in it). I was pleased to pick this figure up at the time because, well, at the time he was rare… Lesson learned kiddies. Just because something’s tough to find, don’t jump at buying it when you finally DO see it. I really think he’s one I should’ve waited for a sale, clearance, or bought him up in a lot of figures off someone down the road… I recall just being excited to see something new from the later releases though when I did pick this up and now he’s a dust collector.
If you’re a Palpatine fan he’s probably a must-have. If you can wait he’s one I see often enough now that I’d skip… And if you aren’t a completist then I don’t know that I’d buy one at all really. He’s out there in abundance though so if you’re on the market for one then nab him. Personally, I’d love to see the red Palpatine redone with better articulation and a lit/unlit lightsaber, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that one for a while.