On my long list of figures I want to see made in the modern line, I really have less Cantina Aliens or beings from Jabbaís Palace than probably many collectors do. Iím much more a fan of the military characters in the films I guess. On my short list of aliens though, I certainly had the character Hem Dazon at near the top. Heís the first alien you see from the entire Cantina sequence, even though you only ever see his triangular head and his funky glowing eyes.
Hasbro finally comes through in 2006 with the figure for Hem Dazon, and while I do feel itís not a home run figure, I can safely say that Iím glad to finally have this one marked off my want list and in my collection. Hasbro also does a lot right too despite some minor flaws that hold the figure back. He doesnít live up to the Cantina Wave of figures from 2004 I guess but Hasbro puts a pretty good foot forward nonetheless.
So read on to see just what makes Hem Dazon a worthy purchase, or perhaps youíll reconsider this figure in your collection if you donít have him already. The choice is yours of course but my gig is taking a fine toothed comb over Hasbroís wares though so read on to see if I found the cooties on this one or not.
-Sculpt: Hasbro may have trouble with the human likenesses but when it comes to alien sculpts they really deliver some quality work with every figure anymore. Hem Dazon is no different and he looks fantastic.
The figureís body design isnít a Hasbro original though. The actual design was developed by the old West End Games RPG, and Hasbroís just using what Iím guessing they are supplied with by Lucasfilm then. The funky alien legs, feet, and hands, are all very unique among Cantina denizens though and a welcome departure from everyone having human-ish hands/feet. Itís nice to diversify the club I believe.
Hemís costume is a basic sort of blue pilot jumpsuit. Itís very ďat homeĒ amidst other Cantina Denizens, as if he were just another spacer in for a brew, and it has also got the 1970ís feel to it that other Star Wars characters have as well. The costume has light texturing sculpted into it giving the impression of smoother fabric for the costume. There is a really nicely detailed zipper that runs from the characterís neckline all the way down to his beltline and you can even see the teeth sculpted into it, itís just that detailed. There are also of course the usual wrinkles and folds from his pants to his top that give the figure the extra realism and detail needed to set it apart from sculpts we got 10 years ago. Itís really very realistic looking when the shirt somewhat poofs out overtop the belt for instance, or when thereís extra creasing behind the knees or at the elbows. Thatís the realistic detail Hasbro has set as a standard.
There are little additions to the costume though, that maybe Hasbro added themselves (or maybe not?) to make this characterís costume look a little bit MORE than just a space suit. For instance there are a couple little mid-calf pockets on the figureís legs that are sculpted to look slightly ďbulkyĒ as if they are holding something inside. The characterís belt is also full of life with no less than 5 large bulky leather pouches sculpted onto it. Each is unique, some with 3 rivet buttons sculpted on, some with less, and another with 2 long leather buckled straps on it. The packs and pockets all give the costume a very functional look.
Hemís alien physique is also nicely sculpted. Since the character was only seen as a head in the film, the bodyís a bit of a shock to a lot of people whoíve maybe not been aware of what the Expanded Universe had come up with for this speciesí physical shape. The feet and hands both are sculpted to look long, thin, and bony with long claw-like fingernails on the ends of each digit (on both hands and feet). Theyíre somewhat bird-like in appearance, and the way the skin looks taught and stretched around the bone structure underneath really helps set this figure apart from other characters.
Hemís headsculpt is a spot-on match for the head on a stick we all love as it pops up to kick off the Cantina sequence in ANH. The figureís head is a completely alien shape with beady glowing eyes set widely apart on a rather flat face. The sculpt is much like the hands and feet in that the skin looks as though itís stretched tight over a weird looking skull underneath. There are lots of wrinkles and folds that imply musculature as well as giving the head some depth. The way the eyeballs slightly bulge out of their recessed sockets is a nice touch as well.
Hemís got a lot of details from the top of his head to the tips of his toes, so heís definitely a fun figure to look at. He stands out on the pegs too and I feel Hasbro did this figure much justice with their sculpt.
-Paint Aps/Decoration: Hemís colors are a bit more diverse than some figures. Thereís some minor detail work, some color clashing, and other little things that really help to make the figure stand out and to also show off the fine sculpt of the figure.
The costume overall doesnít have a lot of paint applications, and it is instead simply cast in a blue plastic. This is ok though as not everyone is dirty and a mess from their travels, so no wash is exactly necessary, and the sculpt details seem to stand out fine enough without it. There are brown shoulder pads and a grey shoulder/chest piece painted on the figure that also encompasses the costumeís collar. The same grey is used to paint the cuffs of the sleeves and pants as well, and it gives the costume the little bit of color contrast that I believe it can use to make a better display piece in peopleís collections.
There are also stirrups on Hemís pants that are painted black hook down around his ďanklesĒ. This little detail is not only a nice highlight on the sculpt but the painting of them really helps you notice that theyíre there in the first place.
The figureís belt is painted up quite nicely with the holster having a black strap and a grey holster, with a black thigh-strap painted on the figureís right thigh. The belt itself is black belt with a silver buckle (and buckle pin) painted on. The leather bags on the belt are painted brown with some silver button highlights here and there as well. Also of note on the costume is a small armband around Hemís left arm, with a series of small light blue dots on it for some reason. Itís a neat detail that looks simply alien and strange, but as if it has a purpose, so thatís pretty cool on Hasbroís part too.
Hemís skin on his feet, hands, and head is all painted with a grey-brown wash that isnít too dissimilar from his skin color that the plastic is cast in. Itís just a difference enough though, to highlight the depth of the wrinkles, the bone structure, and the other details Hasbro sculptors snuck into the figureís physiology. The claws at the end of his fingers and toes are also painted with a dark color to set them off from the skin tone a bit. Hemís eyes then are what really have his head stand out, as theyíre a metallic yellow-green mix that shines when the light hits it just as they shined when he first popped up on the screen. The effect is really quite cool looking and Hasbro made the perfect paint choice for this feature, and overall on this figure I believe.
-Accessories: Hem comes pretty stacked with gear, which is nice considering sometimes you get a figure sporting a blaster pistol and nothing more. This figure comes with no less than four accessories (before the pack-in stuff like stands and holos), and thatís not a bad count on a very background alien character.
First up Hem comes with a table and glass. The table was re-used with the Momaw Nadon resculpt in this very wave, and itís a very small bar drink table. I donít even recall seeing these kinds of tables in the Cantina but itís a neat little set piece for our figures I think and the effort is appreciated. It wouldíve been nicer had we gotten a full size table or chair from the Cantina but this will suit till Hasbro decides to give us the real deal I suppose. The table is a nice sculpt and does ďfit inĒ with any Cantina diorama. The glass is a re-used accessory from the Outlander Club figures. It comes in several variants too (full, clear-blue, and solid blue/white), and is a nice piece for any figure from the Cantina.
Next up, Hem sports his nifty removable bandolier accessory. The piece is a very nicely sculpted strap thing that goes over Hemís shoulders very easily. Thereís padded shoulder pieces sculpted onto it, and lots of texturing detail as well as small pouches and ďgearĒ sculpted onto the front and back of the bandolier. Heís a guy equipped to be traveling the space lanes and heís got his gear all ready to go on his outfit.
Last but not least Hasbro breaks out an all-new sculpt for the figureís blaster pistol. The blaster is actually the one used by Ponda Baba in the film, and Hasbro is just now doing a really nice sculpt of it. The handle is perfect and angled back sharply just as it should be. These guns also showed up being used by the Alliance on Hoth a lot, so itís kind of neat (as a customizer) to have this blaster sculpted all nicely like this. The paintjob on the pistol is nice too with the gun being cast in a gunmetal color while the handle is a shiny brown paint. Itís always nice to get new blasters as accessories like this. The accessory is a sharp sculpt and will look great with a (hopefully) new Ponda Baba figure some day.
And of course the figure also comes with the usual pack-ins too for figures in 2006 that add absolutely nothing to the toy but somehow wind up costing the fans more at retail. There is an embossed stand featuring the film the character appeared in raised on its surface and a silver name of the character painted on the one edge. There is also a randomly packaged holographic miniature figure snuck into the packaging as well. While the stand and miniature are nice, both required molds and effort to be produced and itís my opinion that the money put into these ďgimmickĒ accessory pack-ins would be better put into the figure itself. I prefer quality toys over gimmicks.
-Articulation (Waist Up): Unfortunately Hem Dazonís failing feature is probably his articulation count. Itís not bad, but Hasbro continues with their trend of 2006 by basically negating leg articulation on figures that certainly could have used the extra couple points. Hemís not a total loss though and from his waist up heís a pretty poseable figure.
Hem Dazon has articulation at:
- 2 ball/socket shoulder joints
- 2 angle-cut elbow joints
- 2 standard wrist joints
- 2 standard hip joints
- 2 swivel feet joints
- 1 ball/socket neck joint
- 1 standard waist joint
Thatís a total of 12 points of articulation however that total may be just a little bit deceiving. The 2 ďankleĒ joints are basically like the articulation at a figureís boot tops. Itís very pointless and doesnít help tremendously with any posing of the figure at all. It wouldíve been much better had Hasbro actually put forth the effort to articulate Hemís knees, but alas this figure (like so many this year) lacks those points of articulation.
Still though, the arm articulation is fantastic, and Hasbro has that standard down pretty well. The angle-cut joints at the elbows allow a TON of poses to be achieved. The ball/socket shoulders also really help with getting the figure to look good fighting, drinking, having a conversation, or just standing there with his arms at his sides if you want.
Hemís ability to pose his feet isnít completely unwelcome, as his awkward physiology is a little tough to pose, so the swiveling feet do have a purpose I guess. Theyíre just not really a major point, plus had the ball/socket knees been included the issues with getting Hem to stand would be a moot point anyway. Unfortunately though Hasbroís really on a mission to not increase articulation to a higher standard across the line and thatís always an unfortunate thing for an action figure.
-Working Holster: A feature I love no matter how many times Iíve seen it now, is the inclusion of the working blaster holster. Hem Dazon is packing heat in the Cantina, like most everyone else there probably, and the holster Hasbro whipped up for him is pretty great. The feature allows you to store the pistol easily and securely, and this is really nice for maybe the kids out there who are prone to losing accessories. At least this 28 year old kid has found the feature useful for that reason.
Hasbroís pretty much made the holsters a standard in the line and thatís a major plus to me, so I can never say thanks enough to them for this. It was a flaw on some figures out there for a while in the line (*cough*FleetTrooper*cough*), but now every yahoo with a gun seems to have the holster working and thatís what complaining will get you... improvement. Kudos to Hasbro for that.
-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 (Waist Down): As noted above, the articulation count on Hem Dazon is pretty impressive on paper with 12 points of articulation total, but the ultimate truth is that Hasbro once again skimped on the knee articulation. This is basically just a trend weíve had to deal with in 2006 (along with higher prices), and itís unfortunate considering all the really greatly articulated figures we got in 2005ís ROTS line.
The knee joints wouldíve really helped with getting Hem to stand up more stably without the aid of the stand, and also it just wouldíve been cool to have been able to put Mr. Dazon in running poses, sitting, kneeling, or other random poses you canít do without knee joints on the legs.
Itís 2006 Hasbro, canít we get knee joints as a standard? Sure the ball/socket joint maybe costs a little extra to do, but if thatís actually the case then why donít you just do the old style hinged knees since itís a cheaper point of articulation to pull off? Or what about the hinge with pin for that extra range of motion? Yes, you can articulate figures better. Iíd rather have hinged knee joints than absolutely NO knee articulation on figures. Itís just terrible when a figureís legs are stuck in one static pose like that.
-Difficulty Standing: Hem Dazon has one of the weirdest physical builds of any Star Wars character with his sort of canine-ish looking legs that bow backward at the knee and sharply forward at the ankles. It makes for a precarious situation as the figure is a bit heavy in the front and thus heís prone to tipping forward due to his weight being oddly distributed on these goofy legs.
Heís a great figure to look at though being as alien looking as he is, but the awkwardness of getting him to stand up right is a slight nuisance. Again though, if the articulation on the legs had been better Hasbro wouldíve alleviated this problem from the start as youíd have the ability to find his balancing point a bit easier. Hasbro basically created this problem for Hem though by cutting the articulation at the legs so this is really something attributed back to poseability, once again.
-Price Hike: Star Wars figures have taken a jump in price at most all retailers in 2006, and while we paid $5 - $6 for most of our Revenge of the Sith figures throughout most of 2005, figures are up to $7 after tax at most retailers, even the usually stalwart for cheap prices, Wal-Mart. 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. With no retailer seemingly wanting to budge on their standard price, things arenít looking good for a decrease anytime soon. So keep your eyes peeled for sales because when they happen Iíve noticed that figures that were sitting suddenly fly off the pegs.
The price hike sucks, and what really is tough to accept is that in 2006 weíve seen many fewer figures with ďgreatĒ articulation like we saw in last yearís line for ROTS. This decrease in overall ďqualityĒ coupled with the price increase just hasnít sat well with me about this yearís line-up. Though those nicely articulated gems like the AT-AT Driver or whatnot do sneak in there.
So here we are at the end of the review for Hem Dazon and my review was a bit mixedÖ There is obviously a LOT to love with this figure. First, itís the first time that Hemís ever been issued as a Hasbro figure. Heís been on my list for a long time, so for that reason alone heís a happy purchase for me. Add onto that Hemís upper body articulation, the accessories, the detailsÖ Hasbro really puts a lot into this figure that is easy to like about it.
At the same time as a reviewer, the articulation is a major issue due to how the figure is prone to falling forward, or so my sample is at least. There is a problem there that is a direct result from Hasbro skimping out on us on the articulation. On Garindan it wasnít such an issue as heíd still stand up at least, but for Hem itís an issue.
Still though I look at Hem and I find myself able to look beyond the leg articulation flaws of this figure. The articulation issue is a much greater impact on figures like Derlin who comes with very VERY little, or Momaw Nadon who has articulation that rivals figures from the vintage line. Hem makes up for it with all the gear and other positives above, so heís an easy recommendation for me.
I was happy to pick up Hem Dazon and I think itís one of those figures you really appreciate more after you have it. The current situation on this one at retail is that I see him pretty often so if you are out and spot Hem and donít have him, easily pick this one up. Heís worth the $7+ I believe.