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Never Forget - The ICMG Petition

Brian's Toys

Garindan

The 2006 ďTatooine WaveĒ 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 weíre looking at my personal favorite of the resculpts in this wave, yes even above and beyond R5-D4 who really was on fanís 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. Itís amazing how sometimes your early opinion based on photographs can change wildly upon actually getting the toy. Garindan, who Iíve always found his species alone to be interesting and great toy material, is one of those action figures that I didnít give a chance early on but Hasbro wound up catching my attention.

Thatís not to say I donít have my negative thoughts on this one though either. Hasbro can do better, and unfortunately a corner or two was cut. Thereís good and not-so-good on this figure and itís a real interesting mix/match this time, seeing how one feature can counter a flawÖ Read on and see what Iím talking about.

PROS

-Sculpt: Hasbro knocks one out of the park with this figureís 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 figureís costume, Garindan has a sort of workerís jumpsuit type outfit on. Hasbro sculpted a highly visible sloped ďVĒ 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 heís 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 figureís back forming to the wrinkles in the fabric. Itís a nice detail that really makes an otherwise dark and ďplainĒ 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 figureís collar, which is largely obscured by the head, actually has a small button to show itís snapped tight around the figureís 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.

Thereís 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. Hasbroís 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. Garindanís belts are both fantastic details, and oneís even obscured. If you look closely though youíll notice his belt UNDER his gunslingerís 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 ďProísĒ this week.

Garindan of course also features an all-new headsculpt, and for the first time that Iím 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, Garindanís 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 LucasfilmÖ I donít recall even the Role-Playing-Game laying out what the Kubaz look like physically.

The figureís facial details are great, and while Iím disappointed to see they didnít 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 figureís 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 Iíd say one of the best of 2006 as of right now, including the VTSC deluxe line. Itís a great testament to the sculptorís ability with this one.

-Holster and Belt Sculpt: I separate this aspect of the figureís sculpt with good reason. First, I can only rave about the sculpt overall so muchÖ I pointed out a lot of the figureís best details I think, and there are a lot of them to point out, but what I didnít touch on much was the gunslingerís belt/holster that Garindan has.

The pistol belt is a separately sculpted piece, something Hasbroís 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 figureís 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 (Iím under the assumption right now it is indeed the smallest accessory for a Star Wars figure ever). Add to that a fantastic sculpt thatís 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 ďsafety strapĒ (on real holsters theyíre used to hold a pistol in the holster securely) hanging down on the pocket, and on the left side of Garindanís 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 canít see any of this in the film. But thankfully Hasbro even goes the extra mile and includes the communicator pocket so your snitch doesnít lose his little extra accessory. The holster belt is easily the nicest one Hasbroís ever done, and it surpasses even BOTH the Vintage Collection Han Solo figures that have holsters that really needed the working thigh-strap this figureís belt has. Itís a shame those premium figures lacked this kind of detail actually.

-Paint Aps/Decoration: Garindanís ďlookĒ isnít 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 isnít bad in this case. There is a small silver dab on a metal communicator piece on Garindanís left forearm just above his gloves, and also a silver button is painted on both leg pockets as well as the collar of Garindanís shirt. The figureís 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.

Garindanís 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 youíll never even see the paint application there. Itís 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, thereís lots of LITTLE detail here, and itís all pretty decently applied on my sample so itís going well so far.

Garindanís 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 ďemblemĒ between both lenses. Thereís a tan strap then running around the back of Garindanís 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 itís 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 Iíve been critical of Hasbro skimping on ďqualityĒ with figures this year, I find it refreshing that if theyíre going to cut back in one area (articulation for instance) on a figure, that theyíd 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.

Garindanís gear doesnít end there though. He comes with a great new pistol as well as an incredibly tiny communicator just as heís 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.

Garindanís communicator then is the last piece worth noting much, and really itís got to be the smallest accessory for any Star Wars figure ever. Itís even smaller than Yodaís lightsaber hilt I believe, and really itís something kids will lose instantly Iíd imagine. Fortunately the great pocket on Garindanís belt does hold the accessory snugly, and Garindanís 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 werenít 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). Thatís a lot of little detail on just a small chunk of plastic that most of us wouldíve 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 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 (from the Waist Up): Iíve 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 Garindanís articulation right on his upper body. This figureís upper body articulation really where our ďstandardsĒ should be for the line overall and itíd be great if Hasbro realized this and didnít short-change us like they did with Momaw Nadonís resculpt unfortunately. Unfortunately as well, Garindanís lower body gets some articulation cut out that wouldíve 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

Thatís a total of 12 points of articulation, however only the figureís upper body really measures up to what I think Hasbroís 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 heís 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 ďgesturingĒ to a Sandtrooper as he rats out someone. Iíve 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 hereÖ Basically, you can do a lot with this style of articulation, even if the elbows werenít 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 Iím 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 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.

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 thatís about it.

Garindan features no knee articulation as Iíve already pointed out. Hasbro recently said in their weekly Q&A that the ball/socket joints theyíve mastered are a costly process during production to pull off, so I say to Hasbro that if you canít 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 Iíve noted before, articulation shouldnít 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 ďstandardĒ 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 Iíve said, itís the quality of the toy more than what is accurate to the film, that is ultimately of importance. And when youíre paying $7+ for any Star Wars basic figure, I think asking for poseable knees isnít a bad thing. The price increase justifies the demand for articulation increases in this reviewerís 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, itís a shame when any modern figure has limbs that donít move much (if any) better than figures from 1978-1983. Hasbro needs to really increase what poseability there is at this point in the lineís life, irregardless of the characterís actions on-screen. Theyíre ďactionĒ 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. Thereís so much depth to the sculpt that I was fooled prior to opening him, and I guess my hopes were really up there that weíd 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 characterís species ultimately looked like.

The gripe here is overall fairly minor. Itís sort of wishful thinking to get Hasbro to define the looks of an alien overall, but it wouldíve been a great addition to the figure I believe, and the removable goggles are obviously within Hasbroís 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 Garindanís 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 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.

OVERALL

So that wraps up the Kubaz snitch of Mos Eisley, Garindan. I have to say that while Iíve been disappointed in articulation overall in 2006ís basic Star Wars line, Garindan actually has me on his side despite the cutback on knee joints. I know, itís hard for me to believe Iím saying that too. And donít get me wrong, I still think this figure could have, and should have had knee joints.

At the same time, Iím impressed Hasbro gave him a softgoods cloak. Iím a huge fan of cloth accessories on any Star Wars figure where theyíre applicable, and Garindan Iím 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 Iím not as upset since you get the great cloak. Plus Garindanís upper body is very poseable, you get the little pistol and communicator, and the pistol beltís 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 ďProĒ column that he was able to rebound from lacking leg articulation, and thatís a good figure to me.

If you havenít 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 Hasbroís 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 heís great generic fodder. Pick up your snitch today and proudly display him with you Sandtrooper armyÖ Just really beware you donít lose that communicator!

 

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