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Bib Fortuna

As the new The Saga Collection rolls out to retail, one figure is shaping up as early contender for the “pegwarmer” label already. While that’s disappointing, the figure is a resculpt we’ve needed in the modern line for quite a few years now. This figure is of course Jabba’s Majordomo, Bib Fortuna. The funky Twi’lek that acts as the big slug’s right-hand-man on all issues, Fortuna has been a blight in most everyone’s collection now for some years.

Bib really isn’t all that interesting as a character, and he made a rather dull action figure his first time, and now a second time, in the modern line. That’s not to say that boring is bad, but it does generally mean Hasbro has to work a little extra hard to make this figure appealing. They managed to make some pretty cool improvements we expected (sculpt) and some little tweaks that weren’t so expected (the knife). How’s he stack up to other figures in the line though? Well, Hasbro could have done better, but isn’t that always the case? Read on and you’ll see what all I’m talking about.

PROS

-Sculpt: The sculpt is, overall, a nice display of some sculptor’s artistic talents, and it’s easily a huge improvement over what we’ve been used to in our collections, so my hat is off… for the most part. I will say that the face leaves a bit to be desired, and we’ll touch on that shortly.

For now, the figure’s body/outfit is a true display of detail. The brown robes of the costume are sculpted to have a look of many layers overlapping, and it really gives the look of depth to the figure so you at least think you’re getting more to the toy when you look at it. The robe’s texturing is coarse and easily noticeable even from a distance, and looks very realistic.

The interior robes are a different style, with a much finer vertical texturing sculpted into them that looks like a finer style of cloth and something more befitting a man of Fortuna’s place. The same texturing covers the arms exposed at the bottom of the outer robe, and the neck area. It’s also neat to see that the Hasbro sculptors gave the inner robes a slightly open sculpt at the bottom that really helps to add depth, and while the legs and such aren’t poseable at all they are still sculpted with some detail under the figure.

Bib’s head, as noted, is a weaker effort overall but not totally a failure by any stretch. An interesting point though is Bib’s hands are sculpted very intricately with a lot of detail and “life” to them. Fortuna kind of talked with his hands a bit, caressing the droids, pointing at Luke as they had their little conversation… It’s interesting that Hasbro’s sculptors caught this and thus Fortuna’s fingers are posed just so, that he looks perfect if you have him standing with your Jedi Luke figure or touching R2’s dome examining him.

Beyond these little points, Fortuna’s got little details like his cloth belt, or armor body pieces and gauntlets. The armor has a neat look sculpted into it that makes it look like it was hammered out like a piece of plate armor from the middle-ages with small dents and things, and the gauntlets feature nice ornamental detailing on them. Basically there’s just a lot of little detail on this figure’s sculpt that is nice to have since he doesn’t have a whole lot else.

-Paint Aps/Deco: Overall paint applications on this figure are fantastic and feature a lot of unique colors that help bring out the sculpt and also make the figure stand out on the pegs in general. For instance, the body armor plates have a metallic bronze-ish wash over the blue plastic that’s heavy so they appear more armor than blue, but the blue shines through just enough. It almost appears like the fabric is reflecting off the metal, and it’s a neat effect achieved through relatively simple paint application.

My figure’s hands and head also feature a lot of paint detail, despite the headsculpt being weak, and all the applications are even and just generally well applied on my sample. For instance Fortuna’s hands have his long fingernails painted on each fingertip, and it really stands out as a nice, small detail on the figure. And similarly the face is nicely painted despite the sculpt. The eyes are both even and feature Hasbro’s multiple layers of paint in a white eyeball, red iris, and black center. The head (and hands) also have a purple-ish skin tone that has a wash on it that stands out well against the costume and the figure’s lips and teeth are painted without any paint bleeding onto the face to detract from it. Overall it’s a well painted toy with a number of different colors and washes to make it a tad more special.

-Accessories: While Bib Fortuna doesn’t come packing a lot of gear, I applaud Hasbro for being creative with what he does come with and how it interacts with the figure. Fortuna comes with the standard duo for ’06 of a personalized stand and a holographic mini-figure, and also he comes with a tiny little dagger that if you don’t own the Visual Dictionary books you probably didn’t even know he had this weapon on him.

The dagger is true to the Visual Dictionary as well, looking very accurately sculpted and it’s easily one of the tiniest accessories ever to come with any Star Wars action figure. Off the top of my head it’s only rivaled by Lobot’s little communicator piece from 2004. It’s a nicely painted accessory too though as Hasbro took the time to paint the handle gold and the blade silver.

What really is cool about the knife though is that the sculptor designed Fortuna’s cloth belt/sash so that it sticks out just enough for you to slip the knife into his belt. The details here are minor but they’re appreciated nonetheless since the Fortuna figure turned out to be fairly dull and really not all that poseable. If I had one complaint it’s that Fortuna could have used a blaster, or maybe a staff like his vintage counterpart, but the knife’s neat enough for me to give this a positive.

The stand is the new “standard” stand embossed with the figure’s film title on it, and it’s personalized with silver lettering saying who the character is. That’s a pretty cool feature, it’s fun to look at and displays the figures well. The stand is all about collectors I think.

The miniature holographic figure is cool too but the stand and holograph are unnecessary to me, and I hope that these extras aren’t impacting the overall quality of the actual action figure. Miniatures cost money to mold and produce, as do these stands, so I really do hope there’s nothing being taken from the actual toy since that’s what I’m personally buying, not the pack-in stuff.

-Packaging: The Saga Collection packaging for each figure is an interesting mix of styles. You can definitely see some elements of the ROTS line mixed with elements of the OTC line, and that makes for a unique package on the shelves. I really enjoy the black cardback with silver lettering, and I hope it’s something Hasbro is willing to stick with for a long time to come.

I also highly enjoy the unique backgrounds for each figure. Pulling an element from the OTC line, the new Saga Collection packaging uses a film shot that pertains to each unique character, and really individualizes the figures. This is drool-worthy for the carded collector and it makes even the die-hard openers want a figure here and there to keep carded just because of how special the backgrounds are.

The bubble is a little closer to the ROTS line in its overall size and shape, but should lend itself more to staying mint for the carded guys. There’s also an insert depicting the specific character and the character’s name, packaged into the bottom of the package just as the Revenge of the Sith figures had. The insert features the bold blocky silver lettering of the Saga, and lets fans know that this is the universal collection of figures encompassing the entire Star Wars universe.

There’s a lot to like with this packaging so I hope it stays as the standard for a while. I would say that The Saga Collection and Original Trilogy Collection will go down as some of the most liked packaging by collectors for quite some time if Hasbro gives it a while, and this is coming from a guy that rips almost everything off its card at some point or another.

CONS

-Head Sculpt: While I love the robes and the way the whole figure is sculpted from the neck down, well, Bib has an ugly meatball on his head and not because he’s just an ugly alien. There just seems to be something off with the face, and it’s sculpted so it looks generally confused and a bit silly.

Fortuna had a more sinister look to him as I recall, and the gaping mouth open just looks bad to me. I think if that alone had been sculpted differently, with his mouth shut, we’d probably not be listing the face/head as a particularly rough aspect to this figure. Sadly, the face is distracting, and I think neutral headsculpts are where Hasbro should really concentrate their attention, especially when it comes to these versions of figures that in all likelihood are their last incarnations in plastic. Hopefully Hasbro alters plans in the future if they plan to sculpt “yawning” figures like Bib here again.

-Articulation: Hasbro’s capable of better here and I think that denying it because the sculpt is nice is doing a disservice to yourself as the consumer. I mean, I like the sculpt too and yes it’s miles beyond the original POTF2 Bib Fortuna figure, without a doubt, but at the same time the “Senator” type figures, which I believe Bib falls into this category, are dull but Hasbro’s managed to pull off some impressive articulation at times.

Bib Fortuna features articulation at:
- 2 swivel bicep joints
- 2 angle-cut elbow joints
- 2 standard wrist joints
- 1 ball/socket neck joint

That’s 7 total points of articulation. One could make an argument for 8 points as, for some odd reason, Bib’s neck swivels at its base and is a separately sculpted piece plugged into the robe. Why Hasbro did this I’m not sure as that neck requires a mold. It would have saved money to have the neck sculpted as part of the body and thus part of the mold, but I’m not the one making decisions at the big H so it’s their money to waste I guess.

Still, that’s 7 points of useful articulation on this figure. No shoulder joints, and obviously the legs aren’t poseable at all. I’m not upset about the legs at all though, it’s to be expected at this point, but I think Hasbro would have won some praise if they’d have tried to make poseable shoulders. The sculpt of the outer robe allows for the folds to have hidden a cut for working arm articulation without it inhibiting the sculpt. You wouldn’t have had a lot of range of motion, but you’d have much more poseability with the arms than we have currently.

Another option, and one that I think would have been very well received, would have been if Hasbro made Fortuna’s brown outer robe a whole separate piece that you could remove from the figure, and see what his costume looked like completely under the outer robe. This would have required more cost, but it also would have made an otherwise dull figure much more interesting. It seems people have forgotten quickly though that Mas Ameda from last year or Orn Free Ta from the original Saga line. These were good Senator figures. Even Ask Aak and Meena Tills were more interesting this past year and could pull off many more poses with just a couple more points of articulation.

Basically, it’s tough to list just those couple arm points as positives in my book, so Bib fell well shy of what I’d have liked to have seen. He’s going to have to do though since I can’t imagine getting this guy ever again with a new sculpt. I will say though that I agree he’s better than his previous figure, but he only had 6 points of articulation, so this Bib’s only better in sculpt and nothing more. You CAN make poseable robed figures Hasbro, you just have to be creative about it.

-Diorama Accessory?: While I listed accessories as a pro, and I do love the knife bit, I also wonder if Hasbro couldn’t have included something from Jabba’s Palace to maybe make the figure more appealing as a purchase? For instance, maybe packing in a POTF2 Jawa with a fan accessory? I think that it wouldn’t have taken them too much to have included that given the Bib figure’s lacking articulation and accessory count. It would have also given fans the Jawa from Jabba’s Palace which would perhaps just have given the perception that you’re getting a much greater value with your purchase but at little cost to Hasbro.

There’s any number of little wall hangings and random things in Jabba’s Palace that they could have included with this figure though. Little diorama accessories that aren’t necessary and barely noticeable but which would have added some kind of value to this figure and made him a little more appealing perhaps.

-Price Hike: Star Wars figures have taken a jump in price at some retailers, and while we paid $5 - $6 for most of our ROTS figures throughout most of 2005, figures are up to $7 at most retailers with only Wal-Mart sticking to a $6 or less price point right now. Hopefully Hasbro and Retail will see the light that price increases in this day and age means that people may become more tight with their spending.

I know a price hike will affect my buying habits, and I’ll buy fewer extras of any figure I maybe wanted extras of. I’ll cut back on army building, custom fodder buying, and other areas that I otherwise maybe would have spent more freely. That $1 or $2 starts to add up over 60 or so figures though. Hopefully at least Target will adjust to compete with Wal-Mart in the near future, if nothing else, and we all maybe will have more to spend on more figures.

OVERALL

So there we have it. Another figure we’ve needed resculpted in the modern line for some years now, and finally here he is. Bib Fortuna makes for a less than interesting toy though. A good set piece, but he’s really not much better than the Carbonite block accessory we got with Han Solo, so a great toy he simply cannot be.

My final opinion on this one is that I like the figure, in the sense that it does fill a hole. I’ll be content with Bib Fortuna and I doubt I’ll ever be too big on wanting this figure resculpted again. I’ll live without a poseable version in the line, and that’s just how it is I guess. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think we could have gotten a better figure overall though, so I’m slightly disappointed.

He’s already starting to sit in my neck of the woods just a couple weeks after starting to surface, so I think that sometimes quality plays a part in how quick something pegwarms. Of course, Bib was never all that interesting to begin with so that doesn’t help him. You should be able to find him now though, and it’s likely to be as good a Bib Fortuna as you’ll get at this point so I have to say he’s worth picking up. He’ll collect dust well in your palace set up but you won’t see the kids playing with Bib Fortuna against their favorite Jedi figures or anything. He just doesn’t live up well to the “action figure” title I guess… even among the boring figures.

 

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