Imperial Officer Figures are almost always a home run choice for Hasbro to put out in the line without too much fear of the figure failing miserably at retail. Are they boring? Thatís probably in the eye of the beholder really, but usually theyíre just old guys in grey suits so thatís not a lot to cartwheel over at first glance. The reality though, is that Imperial Officers have a few things going for them on other levels. Thereís usually a strong fan base for the Officers from the films. Theyíre fairly generic and uniform so thereís an army builder aspect to them and as customizing fodder theyíre almost always well received. Youíd be amazed what one person may be willing to spend on custom fodder. Those folks could be the ones helping clear your store of pegwarmers, trust me.
That brings us to todayís review of the latest incarnation of the Empireís finest soldiers; the new sculpt of General Veers. This is a figure that has been a long time coming utilizing some of the innovative ideas Hasbro implemented in this toy, and it certainly is a replacement to the AT-AT Pack-In Commander most of us have from around 1998. But as a basic figure, is Veers measuring up to snuff? Does he set standards, or does he even meet them? Well, Veers has some really cool ideas that worked out nicely but he also unfortunately has corner cutting going on that would have made him a tremendously better figure. Without the corner cuts, they could have even re-used the sculpt down the road for repaints and maybe a new Death Star Trooper base... Read on and see how I cut right to the chase on whatís right and wrong with this one. Thereís good, bad, and ugly in this figure and Iím determined to point it all out.
-Sculpt: The Imperial Officer is an up-and-down sort of evolutionary process for action figures, as far as sculpt goes. With the first couple figures (Tarkin and Piett), the uniforms had the smooth sculpt, little life really there when you look at it, and itís noticeably ďblockyĒ compared to today. Then came Motti who, to me, has been the best sculpt till now with great details, nothing over the top on it, just a nice accurate and simplistic figure. Ozzel came out in 2004 then, and while the figure looked good, the uniform was a little ďoverlyĒ detailed with cloth texturing and it didnít quite fit the look from the films.
General Veers takes over the top spot in sculpt though, as the uniform is nailed down with a totally accurate sculpt, but one that is full of life, and has just the right amount of detail work to it that makes it not blocky like a POTF2 sculpt, but not overdone like the Ozzel body was.
The uniform has a generally smooth, and ďhigh qualityĒ sort of look sculpted to it, as the Impy uniforms werenít sloppy looking. There is some texturing sculpted into the figureís uniform, donít get me wrong. The texturing is just very subtle and ďjust rightĒ. Itís tough to see the thin vertical lines but theyíre there if you inspect it closely and thatís just as it should be. There are plenty of folds and wrinkles too at just the right spots like where the trousers bunch up at the boot tops, or where they push out at the mid-thigh. The jacket bunches at the armpit and sleeves, with a tight fit at the chest (Veers looked like he could lose a couple pounds in the film, so this looks quite accurate).
The figureís headsculpt is very accurate by my eyes and probably the most accurate of any of the modern Imperial Officer figures if I were to rank them all. The headsculpt is nice and neutral, almost sort of concentrating on something or leering at a subordinate. The hat is sculpted to the figureís head which was a disappointment, but itís like all the other officerís hats so far as well. Itís got sharp lines at the brim and the folds on the top, and the button on the front is crisp and raised. The uniformís detail pieces are few, but the rank plaque is nice and subtle, as are his code cylinders in his chest pockets. The belt on the separately sculpted skirt piece is nice and smooth with a nice large (but not too large) working holster for a stormtrooper blaster.
The arms are sculpted perhaps in an awkward fashion unfortunately but thatís a point for later on.
-Paint Aps/Deco: The paintjob on this figure is simplistic but what it does have is well applied, even, and features little or no bleeding or spreading of the paints to random parts of the figure. Itís what you should really expect overall these days, but itís also nice because there are some little detail bits that havenít been so nicely painted on other Impy Officer figures in the past so itís extra nice to see it done well on Veers.
The headís paintjob is where most of the work is, as is usual on most figures, and while itís not terribly complex itís done well for what it is. Veers has evenly placed eye paint, and since the eyes are a darker color I donít see as many layers as on other figures but they still look nice with a white eyeball, a dark iris/pupil and a dark line across the top for an eyelid effect. The eyes are even and not crossed, so you gotta love that for the guy in charge of the AT-AT right? The hair is a fairly simple wash of brown but it seems accurate and sufficient.
The uniformís details are few really. The disc on the hat is painted with a dab of silver. The rank badge on his chest has 4 red and 4 blue squares that arenít bleeding together at all and you actually can see the badge underneath and between each square too which is nice. The badge seems to be white, not silver, which isnít accurate but itís a very minor point I wonít nitpick on really. The belt is a nice glossy black, as is the holster, which makes it sort of pop out at you against the stark grey backdrop of the drab looking Imperial Uniform. The holster and belt each features a silver tab that is seen on these items in the film so itís accurate. Beyond that the figure has no paint wash to highlight details but heís also an Officer in the Imperial Army so heís not gonna be too muddy or grimy looking and get to the rank of General.
The paint applications are simple like I said. Simplicity is good so long as itís done well though, so itís everything you could want with this figure really.
-Accessories: While I have some complaints that Hasbro didnít deliver everything I would have liked, the General Veers figure does come sporting a lot of stuff compared to other figures in the 2006 lineup weíve seen. Quite a bit more than some actually, so thatís a positive for certain. Like I said though, this figure is a lot of good ideas that didnít always go so well.
Veers comes with a piece of chest armor, a helmet, a blaster, and of course he sports the 2006 standards of an embossed/personalized stand and a random miniature holographic figure. The great thing about the armor and helmet is that it makes for two distinct looks that Veers sported in the films as his at-ease officer style aboard a Destroyer but also his battle armor for when he rode headlong into battle for Vader. This is cool because it may entice some to own two Veers figures just to display them differently.
The chest armor is nice and includes a buckle piece that covers the figureís belt to sort of imply a whole different war belt is on him. Itís sort of neat, itís creative. The armorís very nicely sculpted and painted as well, and it is very thin so thereís no bulk added to the figure that looks unnatural. Itís a very good fit. The details on it are great and it even has a great paintjob with red, blue, and white details painted on. So what could go wrong? Three words: No Back Armor.
Onto more goodness though, the figureís helmet is a nicely sculpted and nicely painted accessory as well. Of course, it too has its flaws weíll touch on later, but the overall look is really nice, and the paintjob is great with small silver details highlighting the excellent sculpt, and the lenses on the goggles are a different shade of black to the gogglesí straps and frames. Itís pretty spiffy looking overall.
Add to all this a little E-11 Stormtrooper blaster that fits in the holster (yay!), and the stand and miniature holographic figure, and you do get a good bit with this Veers. I think Hasbro should have given more and just delivered everything on this figure and been done with it. I mean, itís not like most of what you had to make you couldnít use again at some point in some way. Either way though, Veers comes packed with more accessories than most figures Iíve seen so far in 2006 so heís gotta get a thumbs up for that right?
-Removable Armor: Fans have been asking for a General Veers for some time now around the various forums online. I know I too have asked for Veers as one of my top Imperial figures Iíve wanted to see, and I know too that Iíve asked for removable armor and helmet with him as well. Itís a great feature; it really adds value to the figure and the character who is arguably boring without the battle gear (or more boring anyway). So Hasbro decided to run with the ideaÖ I wonder where they got it from though. Hmmmm...
Ever since I saw a custom figure made some years ago that had a set of removable armor, helmet, goggles, belt and hat, Iíve been obsessed with seeing that from Hasbro because obviously theyíre the company that has the means to deliver that right? They didnít quite hit the quality mark that I wanted but the idea was there, and it was a good one. The armor should have a back piece to it at the very least though so itís an idea Hasbro I wholly believe took directly from what customizers have tried with their Veers figures over time. At the end of the day the big H decided a cost cut was ok on this feature, unfortunately, and our Veers will be backless till we fix it ourselves I guess.
-Working Holster: When this wonderful feature comes about I really need to applaud it more specifically. It really needs to be standard in the line of course as itís not impacting the cost in any way, but itís slowly seeming to have been adopted as something weíll see with all figures that have a holster.
The way Hasbro made the holster is nice as well. Because the E-11 is a bulkier blaster accessory than, say, Hanís pistol, the holster has to have a bit of bulk to it as well. On Veers the holster is part of the ďskirtĒ piece that extends his Officerís jacket down over his legs and lower torso. What Hasbro did was basically make the skirt piece hollow underneath the holster. This letís the blaster rest against the figureís leg, making the holster appear small and accurate on the outside but if you took the figure apart, thereís no ďinsideĒ to the holster. It gets the job done, it looks good, it allows for an accurate holster sculpt instead of something oversized. Thumbs up to the innovative thinker at Hasbro who designed the figure and sculpted it so that features and sculpt didnít clash. He got this little detail down right.
-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 itís 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. Thereís also an insert depicting the specific character and the characterís 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.
Thereís 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.
-Articulation: Articulation continues to be underwhelming for collectors in 2006 by my estimation, as thereís a noticeable step in the WRONG direction with most of these figures compared to what we got in 2005 overall. Knees seem to be the area getting cut, and if youíre into playing with your toys (or if you like calling it ďposingĒ to make you feel more mature) then youíre NOT in luck with Veers. The irony here though, is that Veers has 12 points of articulation, and yet none of them are knee joints. Hasbro I guess figured boots that swivel were more important than articulation you actually could use in some logical fashion when posing your figure, but what do I know? Maybe Veers had deleted scenes where his toes pointed in a variety of directions.
Anyway, General Veers sports articulation at:
- 2 standard shoulder joints
- 2 angle-cut elbow joints
- 2 standard wrist joints
- 2 standard hip joints
- 2 swivel boot-top joints
- 1 ball/socket neck joint
- 1 standard waist joint
Thatís a great total of 12 points of articulation on paper, but a disappointing selection in where the articulation went. Itís especially disappointing when you figure that Hasbro had to go to the effort of articulating those stupid boots, which cost something in the figureís development, and which adds nothing to the figureís poseability whatsoever. So why did they do this? Well, these are the cosmic questions that, when you run into them at a toy show you probably wouldnít get an answer.
If Iíd have developed this figure I would have made sure Veers had ball/socket (or even just hinged) knee articulation for walking/running poses. Iíve said it with other reviews this year and the point stands that in this day and age figures simply need the knee joint in most cases. If a robe obstructed Veers at the legs Iíd understand omitting that joint but as a potentially great army builder figure due to how generic the general looks, I think knee joints are important.
Add to this the fact that if Hasbro had developed the General Veers figure right and articulated it at the knees, it really could have been a decent base figure to re-use to make a new Death Star Trooper, one of the most asked for Imperial Army Builders on many peopleís lists these days. A little mold tweak, new headsculpt, and youíre pretty much there.
Anyway, articulation is the way of the futureÖ Sadly it has been since the 1980ís and Hasbro just still havenít caught the modern Star Wars line up on all these trade secrets. At least they havenít caught onto this overall, but it would be great if they brought things up to a higher standard. Iíve said it with other figures and Iíll say it with Veers here that there should be a 12 points of articulation standard, and knee joints should be one of those articulation points if the legs arenít obstructed by something like a robe. This year sure has made me appreciate 2005 a lot more.
-Sculpt Flaws (Height & Arm Pose): Veers has two slight problems with his sculpt that, while theyíre not really the kind of things that ruin the figure, they are the kinds of things that mount up when thereís a number of other flaws on the figure that you notice. The first flaw is the articulation obviously, and the biggest flaw in my opinion. The next thing I noticed as have many others, is that General Veers is a fairly tall figure when compared to the rest of the line.
Little flubs like that make you wonder if whoever sculpted the figure had anything to compare him too. The height on Veers is a whole head taller than what I personally consider an ďaverageĒ height figure from the line. If you compare Veers to, say a VOTC Stormtrooper or Super Articulated Clone youíll notice the height right away. A better comparison that shows how the height looks odd is putting Veers next to the VOTC Han Solo figure.
Along with the odd height on Veers, thereís also a little nuisance with the sculpt of his arms. Veers has his arms sculpted so theyíre bowed. You can pose them behind his back or ďon his hipsĒ. Thatís all well and good but I prefer a more neutral sculpt that makes the angle-cut elbow joints a little more versatile. Due to the bowed sculpt of the arms though itís a little limiting to their poseability.
As I noted, theyíre minor complaints but they stand out more as other bigger things mount up. The height is really the most noticeable though. Itís kind of like the Bail Organa figure from last year that simply towers above the rest of the line. It just doesnít display quite as well. Thought maybe the actor who played Veers is really tall and Iím just barking to hear myself. Still it looks odd to me.
-Accessory Flaws (Back Armor and Helmet Fit): The accessory count with General Veers was obviously a fantastic one. Itís tough to be disappointed with that really but at the same time because Hasbro didnít go ďall the wayĒ and cut some corners (I assume due to cost) here and there, the figureís accessories could have been better and I think Hasbro could have delivered on this figure and made it up what with all the repacks and repaints they are surely throwing our way.
First thing was the lack of a complete set of armor. The customs of Veers I have seen have a full set and a belt, which I believe is excessive for Hasbro (but makes for amazing customs), but Hasbro I believe owed at least a FULL set of Veersí battle armor. The front piece is fantastic, so would it really have been that costly for the second largest US Toy Manufacturer to give us the back piece to the armor as well? I mean, seriously here, that was simply a lazy effort to save a penny there.
The armor is a welcomed idea, but the execution just fell flat due to someone simply feeling it wasnít of importance. It takes something away from the figureís quality to me though and I see it as a negative.
The second accessory issue was that the helmet is made to fit on the figure OVER his sculpted-on hat. Hasbro again, in what I assume was a cost-cutter, didnít give Veers a removable Officerís Kepi and decided to try fitting the helmet over it which failed Iím afraid. Iíve seen two samples of Veers opened and both seemed to have this flaw. My figureís helmet bows outward because it just doesnít fit over the hat properly. For Hasbro to have gotten this right they simply had to give us a removable hat and helmet, and thereís not much excuse for them not to have done so I believe. I was disappointed in the way they executed this overall.
I could make an argument that a miniature holographic Vader would have been ideal, or other bits, but I wonít. I just simply feel that the armor feature, which is a great idea, was mishandled by Hasbro for the sake of saving what was likely a negligible amount compared to the number of figures theyíre going to sell. Couple that with all the rehashes, repaints, and repacks theyíre throwing out there in 2006 (and Iím sure to come), and the stellar year that Star Wars did for Hasbro in 2005, and I feel that all these cost cuts for the few new figures we are getting are becoming excessive and they take the overall quality of this toy line a big notch below where it was just a year ago.
Am I disappointed? Thatís an understatement at this point I think.
-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 Iíll buy fewer extras of any figure I maybe wanted extras of. Iíll 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.
Well, so where does General Veers stand then? For me, he went from a figure that if Hasbro had done him right with the proper articulation, and with the proper accessories (even though he does have a lot as it is), that I know I would have bought many multiples of General Veers. Even the height and arms aside I would have bought up Veers figures every time I was in the store and saw them (one here, one thereÖ Itís a good steady way to army build). There are a lot of people that yap at you that the best way to tell Hasbro anything is to not buy anything, which is sound advice in a way. But for the die-hard collectors you have to take the good with the bad from Hasbro. How am I to give you my honest opinion here if I donít own it? And if all my reviews were rave ones filled with praise my writing would get dull fast. So I buy my one...
What Hasbro misses out with me now though is that Iím not buying a dozen General Veers figures. At the $7 price tag heís at around my area, I canít justify buying extras of a figure that is simply so lacking in quality. Iíll buy one, heíll go into my Imperial display, and thatíll be the last I touch the figure till I clean. Veers could have been the first really poseable Imperial officer for our Stormtrooper armies, for customizing, for whatever, but Hasbro dropped the ball Iím afraid and decided those boots just had to swivel! I still donítí get the logic in that articulation point, seriously.
Veers is a marked improvement over his AT-AT pack-in figure from 1998 that is without a doubt. Many people, especially those who donít play with their toys, will be quite content to buy this and put it on their shelf. It fills a void there. But those of us who play with toys (me included) just donít have a lot to enjoy with VeersÖ General Veers is simply ok, heís not great, and Hasbro is capable of delivering better, as has been said about a lot of 2006ís offerings. Donít fool yourself, youíre a consumer and yes you CAN ask for more with your toys despite what some will tell you.
If you donít voice your opinions, you wonít ever be heard and see changes made folks, so if youíre unhappy disregard what your local trolls are unloading on you in the forums and say what it is that you truly think about anything. Just because something is sculpted all nice and pretty, doesnít make it a ďgoodĒ action figure. Articulation is a big letdown this year and General Veers is just another casualty to Hasbroís cutbacks so if youíre unhappy let it be known, and just hope that people are sympathetic or at least respectful of how you feel about it.