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Entertainment Earth

Garindan

The 2006 “Tatooine Wave” as it has been called is basically a resculpt-a-rama from Hasbro. Only one new alien in the bunch, but the resculpts may be the figures people want the most ironically. This week we’re looking at my personal favorite of the resculpts in this wave, yes even above and beyond R5-D4 who really was on fan’s lists for a while now. No, this week we look at the infamous Mos Eisley Snitch, and intergalactic man of mystery, Garindan.

While R5 was direly needing a do-over, I personally have always eyed my POTF2 Garindan figure and wished Hasbro would give him the modern treatment, and in grand fashion to boot. Hasbro actually surprises me a bit with what we get, and this was a figure I changed my tune on (slightly) after actually purchasing it and opening it up. It’s amazing how sometimes your early opinion based on photographs can change wildly upon actually getting the toy. Garindan, who I’ve always found his species alone to be interesting and great toy material, is one of those action figures that I didn’t give a chance early on but Hasbro wound up catching my attention.

That’s not to say I don’t have my negative thoughts on this one though either. Hasbro can do better, and unfortunately a corner or two was cut. There’s good and not-so-good on this figure and it’s a real interesting mix/match this time, seeing how one feature can counter a flaw… Read on and see what I’m talking about.

PROS

-Sculpt: Hasbro knocks one out of the park with this figure’s all-new sculpt. The detail is overwhelming on this denizen of Mos Eisley as Garindan really pops out at you when you open him up. The POTF2 figure is blown away by the updated sculpt, as Hasbro takes a little creative license to give the Kubaz species a more complete look (since we only see the guy in a dark cloak from the waist up in the film, and his hood is up the whole time too).

Starting with the figure’s costume, Garindan has a sort of worker’s jumpsuit type outfit on. Hasbro sculpted a highly visible sloped “V” texturing into the costume giving the outfit a lot of depth and detail. The texturing sculpted into the figure really pops out the bland outfit he’s wearing and gives it life it otherwise might not have had (ala his POTF2 counterpart). The texturing on the back is more straight/horizontal across the shoulders, however it curves as you go down the figure’s back forming to the wrinkles in the fabric. It’s a nice detail that really makes an otherwise dark and “plain” outfit stand out some.

Little details on the outfit like the thigh-pockets are nicely sculpted to appear as though they have something in them that is weighting (and bulging) the bottom of the pockets outward, just slightly. The figure’s collar, which is largely obscured by the head, actually has a small button to show it’s snapped tight around the figure’s neck. Other details on the costume are the usual bunching of fabric where the pants tuck into the boots, or where the belt cinches in the costume at his waist. These details area always greatly appreciated as they give that extra bit of life that earlier figures in the modern line were lacking.

There’s a lot of detail on the boots and other outfit accessories as well. The boots feature straps that wrap, twist, and tie around the feet and legs. The footwear looks incredibly alien and unique. Hasbro’s creative license with his kicks is a nice way to deviate from the regular smooth riding boots like Han Solo wears to show that other shoes do exist in Star Wars. Garindan’s belts are both fantastic details, and one’s even obscured. If you look closely though you’ll notice his belt UNDER his gunslinger’s pistol belt is sculpted with some nice detail like a buckle, buckle holes, etc. The gunslinger belt is the real gem though, and is so amazing it gets its own slot in the “Pro’s” this week.

Garindan of course also features an all-new headsculpt, and for the first time that I’m aware of, Hasbro explores the Kubaz species and what they physically look like beyond the elephant-ish snout we can see in the film, thanks to the removable cloak they included. Yes, Garindan’s figure may very well be the first time we see what the snitch looks like under his hood (at least partially) in any form from an arm of Lucasfilm… I don’t recall even the Role-Playing-Game laying out what the Kubaz look like physically.

The figure’s facial details are great, and while I’m disappointed to see they didn’t sculpt a FULL face with removable goggles, the goggles sculpted on the figure are very detailed and have great depth. I thought they were removable at first actually till the hood came down and I could see otherwise. The figure’s snout has small hole details, maybe pores I guess, and a mouth at the end of his long snout. Hasbro gave him a fairly smooth looking head with some skull bumps, pointy ears, and lots of wrinkles/folds in the skin for added realism. This figure is simply a great sculpt, and I’d say one of the best of 2006 as of right now, including the VTSC deluxe line. It’s a great testament to the sculptor’s ability with this one.

-Holster and Belt Sculpt: I separate this aspect of the figure’s sculpt with good reason. First, I can only rave about the sculpt overall so much… I pointed out a lot of the figure’s best details I think, and there are a lot of them to point out, but what I didn’t touch on much was the gunslinger’s belt/holster that Garindan has.

The pistol belt is a separately sculpted piece, something Hasbro’s taken to doing from time to time on certain figures since really all the way back to 2002. On Garindan though, the holster gets an upgrade in quality. For the first time ever Hasbro sculpted a working thigh safety-strap onto the holster so it actually attaches to the figure’s mid-thigh. Not only that, but the belt also features a tiny pocket for one of the smallest accessories ever made for a Star Wars figure, his communicator piece (I’m under the assumption right now it is indeed the smallest accessory for a Star Wars figure ever). Add to that a fantastic sculpt that’s full of detail, and you can see why this separate piece deserves its own nod.

The belt is simply amazingly detailed though. The thigh-strap itself features a buckle, and small buckle holes all around for tightening it to the leg. The holster and belt as well feature buckles and adjustment holes for buckling the belt, all around the straps. The holster features an undone “safety strap” (on real holsters they’re used to hold a pistol in the holster securely) hanging down on the pocket, and on the left side of Garindan’s belt there is a small patch of pockets. One is a closed squarish ammo pocket while the other is an open circular pocket that very nicely secures the teeny tiny communicator accessory this figure comes with.

For Hasbro to even give the figure a holster is a nice effort on their part considering you can’t see any of this in the film. But thankfully Hasbro even goes the extra mile and includes the communicator pocket so your snitch doesn’t lose his little extra accessory. The holster belt is easily the nicest one Hasbro’s ever done, and it surpasses even BOTH the Vintage Collection Han Solo figures that have holsters that really needed the working thigh-strap this figure’s belt has. It’s a shame those premium figures lacked this kind of detail actually.

-Paint Aps/Decoration: Garindan’s “look” isn’t the most colorful or complex but Hasbro stepped up the paint applications a notch or two in an effort to take the bland look of the outfit and give it as much detail as they could with a limited palette of colors to work with. The work is mostly details instead of large swaths of paint, but sometimes the small details can make or break a quality paintjob.

The costume has little paint application to speak of at first glance. There is no paint on the jumpsuit, which isn’t bad in this case. There is a small silver dab on a metal communicator piece on Garindan’s left forearm just above his gloves, and also a silver button is painted on both leg pockets as well as the collar of Garindan’s shirt. The figure’s boots are cast in black; however a grey wash over them does highlight the detailed wraps sculpted onto them and helps them stand out a bit just where it needed the help.

Garindan’s belt underneath his pistol belt is painted a light grey with a bronze buckle. This belt though is completely obscured by the pistol belt, and unless you put forth some effort you’ll never even see the paint application there. It’s a nice effort even if in vain though. The pistol belt though is cast in black, and features a grey wash similar to the boots, and the wash really highlights the details of the belt like the adjustment holes and such. There are also small silver details here highlighting the buckle on the front, and on the back, as well as the silver button on the ammo pocket and thigh-strap. Like I noted, there’s lots of LITTLE detail here, and it’s all pretty decently applied on my sample so it’s going well so far.

Garindan’s melon gets the most detail in paint applications though. The head itself is a simple charcoal color for his skin, nothing too flashy, but the goggles are painted fantastically. The black lenses are painted with a gloss so they have just a bit of shine. The frames around the lenses are painted with a bronze color and have a small silver “emblem” between both lenses. There’s a tan strap then running around the back of Garindan’s goofy head, and on the back there is a bronze-ish colored plate with silver rivet details. The goggles alone make up probably half of the paintjob on the figure, but it’s nice detailed work. The small work is all pretty decently applied on my sample though, and it all helps give a tad bit of color to a blank canvas for certain.

-Accessories: Garindan is a pleasant surprise when it comes to accessories as Hasbro decided to delve into the pricey realm of cloth/softgoods to improve the figure. While I’ve been critical of Hasbro skimping on “quality” with figures this year, I find it refreshing that if they’re going to cut back in one area (articulation for instance) on a figure, that they’d try to make up for it by including something extra like a cloth cloak or some such. As was noted in a recent Q&A session from Hasbro, cloth/softgoods pieces can cost more in this scale, but Hasbro delivered a nifty black cloth hood/cloak for Garindan who perhaps lacks in some other areas.

The cloth cloak is a nice limp fabric that can be formed to hang fairly nicely and realistically on the figure. The hood is sewn just right as well, so that it rests on the head as it looked in the film. Better than all that though, a softgoods cloak allows for the articulation to move freely without hindrance, so the accessory is a major bonus to the figure overall I believe.

Garindan’s gear doesn’t end there though. He comes with a great new pistol as well as an incredibly tiny communicator just as he’s seen using in the streets of Mos Eisley doing his snitch thing. The pistol is an all-new sculpt, and is based on a pistol design used in Episode I actually, and which has a larger counterpart that was included in one of the Wave 2 Accessory Sets from the Episode I line believe it or not. It is all-new though, and much smaller and more detailed. The small vent holes in the barrel are especially detailed, as is the pistol grip. The gun is cast in a gunmetal color, given a black wash overall to highlight all the tiny details, and the pistol grip is even given a touch of brown as well.

Garindan’s communicator then is the last piece worth noting much, and really it’s got to be the smallest accessory for any Star Wars figure ever. It’s even smaller than Yoda’s lightsaber hilt I believe, and really it’s something kids will lose instantly I’d imagine. Fortunately the great pocket on Garindan’s belt does hold the accessory snugly, and Garindan’s right hand is also sculpted to hold the tiny piece securely so if he takes a tumble from your shelf he should still be holding the communicator. And if the tiny sculpt details of this piece weren’t enough, Hasbro painted the thing white on the ends and the activation button just as it looked in the film when anyone was seen using one of the communicators (Luke used it to talk to 3PO on the Death Star as well). That’s a lot of little detail on just a small chunk of plastic that most of us would’ve been happy to get cast in just black. Kudos to Hasbro once again.

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 it’s my opinion that the money put into these “gimmick” accessory pack-ins would be better put into the figure itself. I prefer quality toys over gimmicks.

-Articulation (from the Waist Up): I’ve decided to break articulation apart for Garindan into the good and the bad separately. I had to do this because I hated to knock Hasbro for doing Garindan’s articulation right on his upper body. This figure’s upper body articulation really where our “standards” should be for the line overall and it’d be great if Hasbro realized this and didn’t short-change us like they did with Momaw Nadon’s resculpt unfortunately. Unfortunately as well, Garindan’s lower body gets some articulation cut out that would’ve been nice to have had just to make him a better toy overall.

Garindan features articulation at:
- 2 ball/socket shoulder joints
- 2 angle-cut elbow joints
- 2 standard wrist joints
- 1 standard waist joint
- 1 ball/socket neck joint
- 2 standard hip joints
- 2 boot-top swivel joints

That’s a total of 12 points of articulation, however only the figure’s upper body really measures up to what I think Hasbro’s capable of doing, while the lower body falls just a hair short due to his lack of knee joints.

The arms though are fantastic for a number of poses. He looks great when you push his cloak over his pistol hip, as though he’s in the midst of a showdown with another miscreant of Mos Eisley. Also the figure holds his communicator up to his snout well for snitching, or looks good “gesturing” to a Sandtrooper as he rats out someone. I’ve had him in hand-to-hand fighting positions with other figures here on my desk, and even standing around leaning on the wall with one hand while gesturing with the other as he chit chats with Foul Moudama here… Basically, you can do a lot with this style of articulation, even if the elbows weren’t ball/socket joints but instead just standard swivels. The poseability for the upper body is nice though, and the cloth cape really helps make this possible so I’m digging this aspect of the figure. Only the legs disappointed me a tad.

-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

-Articulation (from the Waist Down): As noted above the arms and other points of articulation from the waist up are fantastic but Garindan starts to lose ground with his unfortunately lacking leg articulation. The figure actually features swiveling boot tops, which is a point of articulation I have always felt is quite silly. The only benefit you gain from boots that spin is that sometimes you can get a figure to stand a little better, but that’s about it.

Garindan features no knee articulation as I’ve already pointed out. Hasbro recently said in their weekly Q&A that the ball/socket joints they’ve mastered are a costly process during production to pull off, so I say to Hasbro that if you can’t do the costly joint, why not at least give the old style hinged knee joint. A hinged knee is better than no knee articulation at all.

As I’ve noted before, articulation shouldn’t be based on what a figure did, or did not do in the films. The level of poseability is a reflection on the toy itself, and what kind of quality it ultimately is. Joints like knees, elbows, and wrists really ought to be “standard” in the line by now but unfortunately the knees seem to get cut out the most with Star Wars figures. Garindan may not have been sitting around on-screen but his action figure should be able to if a collector or child wants him to do so. As I’ve said, it’s the quality of the toy more than what is accurate to the film, that is ultimately of importance. And when you’re paying $7+ for any Star Wars basic figure, I think asking for poseable knees isn’t a bad thing. The price increase justifies the demand for articulation increases in this reviewer’s opinion.

While I believe firmly that Hasbro IS able to do the ball/socket joint and still profit off this action figure (and others), I also believe that even a less expensive knee like a simple hinged knee held in by a pin would suffice to give the figure more poseability for our ever-stretched dollar. No matter what, it’s a shame when any modern figure has limbs that don’t move much (if any) better than figures from 1978-1983. Hasbro needs to really increase what poseability there is at this point in the line’s life, irregardless of the character’s actions on-screen. They’re “action” figures after all.

-Non-Removable Goggles: Another slight disappointment I had with Garindan was that I honestly thought at first that his goggles were removable. There’s so much depth to the sculpt that I was fooled prior to opening him, and I guess my hopes were really up there that we’d see the Kubaz species for the first time without any facial obstruction. Sadly Hasbro decided not to take it the extra step and sculpt a removable pair of goggles, and truly define what this character’s species ultimately looked like.

The gripe here is overall fairly minor. It’s sort of wishful thinking to get Hasbro to define the looks of an alien overall, but it would’ve been a great addition to the figure I believe, and the removable goggles are obviously within Hasbro’s ability to deliver. Given the other accessories though, and other features this figure carries, I think the goggle issue is fairly minor. It just stuck with me ever since I thought there might be a chance Garindan’s spectacles were removable from the figure.

-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 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. With no retailer seemingly wanting to budge on their standard price, things aren’t looking good for a decrease anytime soon. So keep your eyes peeled for sales because when they happen I’ve 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 we’ve seen many fewer figures with “great” articulation like we saw in last year’s line for ROTS. This decrease in overall “quality” coupled with the price increase just hasn’t sat well with me about this year’s line-up. Though those nicely articulated gems like the AT-AT Driver or whatnot do sneak in there.

OVERALL

So that wraps up the Kubaz snitch of Mos Eisley, Garindan. I have to say that while I’ve been disappointed in articulation overall in 2006’s basic Star Wars line, Garindan actually has me on his side despite the cutback on knee joints. I know, it’s hard for me to believe I’m saying that too. And don’t get me wrong, I still think this figure could have, and should have had knee joints.

At the same time, I’m impressed Hasbro gave him a softgoods cloak. I’m a huge fan of cloth accessories on any Star Wars figure where they’re applicable, and Garindan I’m happy as can be got this treatment from Hasbro. Cloth is more expensive in this scale, no doubt, and so part of me thinks that alone sort of offsets the lack of knee joints. I still want them, but on this figure I’m not as upset since you get the great cloak. Plus Garindan’s upper body is very poseable, you get the little pistol and communicator, and the pistol belt’s extra effort from the sculptors/designers really sets this figure apart.

While Momaw Nadon was a nice sculpt he had very little else going his way, and so his articulation issues caught up with him pretty quickly. For Garindan, he had just so many other nice details in his “Pro” column that he was able to rebound from lacking leg articulation, and that’s a good figure to me.

If you haven’t picked Garindan up, I suggest you do so next time you catch him on the pegs. I see him more routinely these days even though this wave just started showing up in the last couple weeks around me. Garindan is a tremendous update to a lackluster POTF2 figure, and Hasbro’s extra efforts on things like the cloak, communicator, and pistol belt all make him worth having. Customizers will have a field day with him as well, as he’s great generic fodder. Pick up your snitch today and proudly display him with you Sandtrooper army… Just really beware you don’t lose that communicator!

 

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