Wrapping up the Vintage Saga Collection set of reviews has been fun for me, so I hope you enjoyed the read-through on all 5. To be honest, these are the types of figures that make me happy to still be in this hobby. With 2006’s basic line having a dramatic decrease in articulation for the most part compared with 2005 and some of 2004, I’m really happy to see new, super articulated figures on the pegs… I’m highly disappointed they cost me an arm and a leg, especially when I want multiples of all 5 figures.
It’s hell being a collector who enjoys the finer action figures in life, but for this die-hard I just can’t accept Hasbro and retail jacking up prices on us this year, and then cutting back on the quality level of toys we get… So the VTSC were and are a breath of fresh air to me… pricing aside.
And with that, we come upon the last figure of this premium series, the Biker Scout. How would you describe this guy? A great army builder or the greatest army builder ever (thank you Stephen Colbert)? Well, even the greats in history have had flaws and the Biker Scout is no different, but who are we kidding here, you all will want a minimum of two of these I predict, and if you’re like me you’ve already amassed a nice army of the all new super articulated Biker Scout to support your Stormtrooper army.
Check out the full review as I get down to the juicy details that make this figure great, and just how Hasbro could’ve delivered something even better. Yes, it is possible folks! But man, they came close to perfection with this one, I have to admit.
-Sculpt: Hasbro’s sculpting ability is pretty good. It’s uncommon to be let down by them completely, and the Biker Scout ranks up there with the best in my book. I’ve heard complaints about the Scout having a slightly small headsculpt but I think it’s picking nits on an otherwise amazing figure.
The details of the armor pieces on the figure are great. From the tiny recessed rectangle on the figure’s right chest armor to the very detailed sculpt of the built-in-pack on the figure’s back, there’s a lot to like. The other pieces of the armor look fantastic as well, with Hasbro sculpting lots of recessed panel or hinge lines on the kneepads, the chest, and elsewhere. A nice little extra too is that every armor plate that is exposed anywhere on the figure is also featuring the straps that hold it on. For instance the knee pads have the straps around the back of the leg, as do the bicep armor plates, and the elbow pads. It’s a little detail but one Hasbro made sure to cover in this figure’s sculpt.
The fabric portions of the figure are nice and feature lots of wrinkles and folds. This would include the boots as they have heavy creasing at the ankles to show some life to the character’s feet and like there’s a real person in there. It’s nice and lifelike, and this was the kind of sculpt detailing the big H missed out on with figures for a while. Add to that the fact Hasbro sculpted a working holster on the figure’s ankle, and that’s some snazzy footwear on this figure. Other fabric details though, like the wrinkles and folds of the black body glove, are really nicely done. Also the figure’s mid-section/torso is nicely detailed with a quilted looking sculpt for the padded body armor. Again, a lot of little details in the sculpt to show depth to the fabric instead of just a smooth “painted on” look.
The figure’s gloves and belt are great for detail as well. For instance his hands both feature a lot of “stitching” details on the gloves. In particular, look at the back of either hand at the ribbing sculpted into the glove. That’s nice detail… And it doesn’t end there either. The figure’s right hand has 2 fingers up for holding the pistol accessory which is spot-on accurate. It was the same on the POTJ figure so one should expect it, but it’s appreciated nonetheless.
The belt I noted because it’s actually a separate sculpt on the figure. There’s a lot of detail on the armor chunks of the belt, and the little greeblies and boxes and whatnot, but what I like is the two either packs, or thigh plates, that hang down off the belt. The way they’re not sculpted to the figure allows for him to sit pretty well on a speederbike so it’s a nice extra from Hasbro to get a separately sculpted belt on this figure.
Lastly the Biker Scout’s helmet is pretty nice despite any possible flaws in its proportions. The visor piece is nicely recessed into the helmet’s face; they got the nose ridge vent sculpted nicely, and the little “button” details are even sculpted into the nose/mouth area. The helmet has little venting details and lots of raised and recessed surfaces. It’s a very nice sculpt if perhaps small (I think that’s debatable anyway), and like the rest of the figure it’s worthy of replacing all previous Biker Scouts on your shelf, not doubt.
-Paint Aps/Deco: Paint application on a Storm (or in this case, Scout) Trooper is usually pretty limited. There’s some black, some tiny grey bits… Not a lot to talk about one would think, but there’s more to this Biker Scout than meets the eye. Or at least there’s more than meets the eye right away.
The helmet alone has a number of fine paint details on it. For instance there’s the small “aurabesh” (the font used to type out letters in the Star Wars films) letter on the helmet’s left “cheek” area. It’s faded and scratched looking on my sample, possibly to show wear and tear? It could also just be that mine got scratched too. There are also grey panels on the back of the helmet, and lighter grey “vent” lines painted smooth and evenly on the back. The front has small ear pieces painted black on either side, and the visor is a nice striking gloss black. Also the bridge of the nose features tiny black and grey details, and the nose/mouth on the very front of the helmet a dark grey color lined in black. That’s a lot of LITTLE paint details in just the helmet area alone.
From there though, most of the paint details become less and less. The figure’s boots feature a brown sole painted on them which is nice and accurate if you watch the film closely. There’s also a dirty spray on the boots that lightens up the higher up the boot it goes, which looks like nice, but not overdone, wear and tear from being on Endor (or any other planet you wanted your figure to visit).
The torso where the figure features a fabric piece to the armor is where I noticed the next major paint application. It’s white, but features a heavy wash on it that really brings out the details of the sculpt, like the “quilted” look of the torso padded cloth armor. It also shows the details like the flaps on the two torso packs, and the wrinkles sculpted into the back piece of the torso armor.
One other small decoration detail some may notice is that the figure’s gloves seem to have a bit of a higher glossy look to them, as compared to the black of the body suit. The shine seems like it was intentional and must be part of the Biker Scout’s costume. It looks nice and stands out just slightly, so it’s barely noticeable but appreciated.
-Articulation: The poseability of the new Biker Scout is pretty much anything you could want. Short of ball/socket thigh articulation, which is maybe something this figure could’ve used for riding speederbikes, the articulation is Hasbro’s high super articulation standard we’ve all (well, most of us) come to love.
The new Biker Scout features articulation at:
- 2 ball/socket shoulder joints
- 2 ball/socket elbow joints
- 2 standard wrist joints
- 2 standard hip joints
- 2 ball/socket knee joints
- 2 ball/socket ankle joints
- 1 ball/socket neck joint
- 1 ball/socket torso joint
With a total of 14 points of articulation, and nearly all of them ball/socket joints, the Biker Scout is up to the standards set by the “Vintage” runs of modern Star Wars figures. The figure’s sculpt and costume style hides almost EVERY articulation point flawlessly as well, just another positive on a great figure.
For posing, there’s been very little that I’ve been disappointed in with this figure. Though, holding a rifle of any kind isn’t easy to get out of the new Scout, which I’ll note later on as a flaw… Sure he doesn’t hold a rifle in the films, but in the Expanded Universe he does and I do like that option since I like to mess around with my toys instead of letting them attract all the dust.
The poses I’ve gotten with my Biker Scout army are pretty vast. They look great running, walking, talking, fighting, shooting, or lying around dead as a doornail at the feet of your favorite Ewok. This is easily one of my favorite army builder figures ever now though, and the articulation is what I wish every figure had in the modern line. It’s just great.
-Packaging: The packaging on the Vintage Saga Collection figures is probably the most ornate and eye-catching package for a Star Wars figure since the VOTC line. While the basic Saga Collection line that ships alongside the VTSC figures is nice, the VTSC definitely draws your attention as something special.
A downside to the dazzling packaging is the cost, which like other features I’ll touch on that shortly in the “Cons” portion, however it was a cost a lot of people were willing to bite for “ultimate” versions of various figures with the VOTC line, and they’ll do so again with the VTSC line I’m sure.
The packaging is a recreation of the original vintage Kenner action figure cardbacks from the 1970’s and 1980’s. If you were like me, and can recall these figures adorning your local toy store (Ah, Children’s Palace… The days when a trip to the toy store meant something), then you no doubt have a feeling of nostalgia, just as Hasbro intended. The old style cardbacks are nice to see on the pegs, and they really do catch the eye like no modern packaging has been able to.
While Hasbro went to great lengths to recreate the front of the packaging, the back of the packaging was a modern style displaying other figures from the line. The waves system used for the VOTC line is gone though, and all 5 VTSC figures are pictured on the cardback of any given figure in this wave. No more ESB/SW/ROTJ waves, at least not that anyone is aware of at this point, and not for these 5 figures shipping now.
Hasbro’s work to recreate the cardbacks was nicely done, and appreciated. This has so far been the only packaging I’ve wanted to save really. While the VOTC packaging was easy to save though, the VTSC figures are heat-sealed and prone to being basically mangled when trying to open them. If you have extra clamshells from the VOTC line lying about though, you’ll still be able to display your cards on a clamshell with your loose figure standing by it quite nicely.
Either way though, the end result is some nicely displayed toy on the pegs, and that’s what really is helping to up much of the costs unfortunately. A full set of the 12 VOTC and the 5 new VTSC cardbacks looks really nice displayed amongst your figure collection though. It’s very eye-catching overall.
-Give-Away Promotion: Along with all these other fantastic features, Hasbro’s dusting off the old “give-away” gimmick with the VTSC figures. For the second time ever, a promotion for a George Lucas figure is taking place. This time, there is a catch to getting the figure that ties into the “Collect Them All!” mentality.
With the Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot) figure there is a promotional slip. Each figure in the VTSC line then has a little tab you stick to the promotional slip from the Luke figure. You NEED each figure’s tab to mail it in, so you can’t just send 5 Biker Scouts or whatnot and get this figure. You must buy all 5 figures in the series, put their tabs on the slip, and mail the slip plus $4.95 s/h to Hasbro, and god knows when you’ll get a carded George Lucas in Stormtrooper Disguise figure, or “GeorgeTrooper”.
Really, when you think about it, it at least helps ease some of the cost incurred in buying figures that cost you upwards of $13 a piece. I know my first set of VTSC cost about that much actually, so getting a semi-free figure in the mail is a nice extra, even if the sculpt on said “free” figure is a somewhat bogus cop-out sculpt… and who honestly wanted a George Lucas in Stormtrooper disguise for that matter? That’s neither here nor there though.
-Accessories: It’s tough for me to really cite the accessories as being that big of a problem, but for the new Biker Scout I haven’t had a lot to say negative about it anyway and this figure is the least accessorized out of the entire Vintage Saga Collection wave… That is a little disappointing, but the question remains, what else would you pack in with the figure really?
The Scout comes armed and ready with a Scout Pistol… The sculpt isn’t a new one, but it’s still a flawless pistol sculpt. The fact it slips very snug and secure into the ankle holster on the figure is not overlooked either. The weapon is tiny, so the holster holding it secure is a big positive, especially if you have kids playing with this figure. That’s a gun that would be easy to lose (I know I lost my original Biker’s gun back in 1983… Some things just don’t change).
The tiny blaster pistol, while a great little accessory itself, is all you get with this figure. One may say that it’s all that the Biker Scouts had in the film, and they’d be right in saying that, but that’s never been much of an excuse for lacking accessories to me. The other excuse may be that this is all the original vintage figure came with, but I’d cite that the Luke (X-Wing Pilot) figure came with a lightsaber and lightsaber hilt accessory that his vintage counterpart didn’t come with, and other figures had “extras”. But still, what do you give the Biker Scout?
Well for my money, I think it would’ve been GREAT had Hasbro snuck in a little “extra” for the fans. In the game Star Wars: Battlefront, the Scout in the game is actually a sniper as well, lugging around a Sandtrooper rifle with a scope… It would’ve been a cool nod to get that rifle with the new Biker Scout here, but Hasbro didn’t think so. At the same time, I don’t have much complaint in not getting the rifle… It just would’ve been a cool extra really. Still, one tiny pistol hardly makes for a great accessory count, so this is a flaw to me ultimately.
-Arm Posing: The real flaw I found disappointing with the Biker Scout, and again this flaw isn’t enough to keep me from buying this figure in bulk, is the way the arms seem to not bend far enough at the elbow for certain poses. They’re quite poseable, don’t get me wrong, but the elbows just don’t bend quite enough for the arms to be at perfect right angles or even bent inward at the bicep a little bit.
What makes this so important though is that it hurts the figure’s ability to hold a rifle properly. The detail may not seem important to everyone reading this review, but for me, I do like to pose my figures with maybe some “EU” accessories. Namely the sniper rifle mentioned above or anything else that comes to mind for a battle scene diorama. With the Scout, it’s a little tough to get him to hold rifles well though, from the Sandtrooper’s rifle to a regular Stormtrooper blaster or whatnot. It’s not necessarily the biggest deal but it would have been nice from my perspective to have had the option.
-Distribution: The Vintage Saga Collection of figures have yet to hit en masse out here in the Pittsburgh area, so it’s tough for me to really judge how this series will be distributed. Some stores have gotten them in several times but never more than a case or two at a time. As I write this there’s been no report of them trickling into Wal-Mart at all though. Just how many of these are expected to ship then?
Hasbro’s decision to pack two of each figure to a case then leaves a bit of a problem. With the inevitable army building of the Biker Scout by collectors, fans are maybe going to have a hard time tracking down one Biker Scout at retail, much less two or more. The problem is also a double-edged sword as well. If you can’t find a Scout, you can’t complete your Ultimate Galactic Hunt form to get your George Lucas Trooper as well.
Hasbro never seems to “get” the potential for army building within the modern line. People buy these troops in large quantities, myself included, so packing the Biker Scout in the same quantities as Han Solo or Greedo is really a recipe for a lot of Han’s and Greedo’s hanging around while Scouts just fly out the door, and eventually figures back up and cases don’t get re-ordered.
One can hope the VTSC re-ship at some point, and the case is made up of either only Scouts, or Scouts and less of all the other figures packed in with it. I’m not holding my breath for that solution to come to fruition however.
-Retail Cost: Without a doubt, and probably the worst aspect of the VTSC line, is the cost that came with each figure. The figures in my first set cost me around $12 or so per figure, which isn’t the best price for buying multiples that’s for sure. They’re the kinds of figures you want more than one of too for certain.
Why the increased costs? It’s tough to say exactly. The packaging is more ornate and created by hand, that’s for certain. The clamshells over the cardbacks for instance, the chrome plated cardboard inserts, the cardbacks that are recreated by hand to be exact replicas of the original vintage figures (in the front), and the coffin-style blisters to mimic vintage looking packaging… These all come into play when factoring in costs.
The figures are ornate, and the use of cloth inevitably increases the cost a little as well. The poseability and whatnot is arguable though, and with the VTSC building on the VOTC line’s costs for packaging, you’d think that at some point the packaging would become a little less “special” financially and cost us less.
The real debate though is whether or not, packaging aside, these figures are “better” than basic figures or not. To me, after what we got in 2005’s ROTS line, I feel that Hasbro can deliver the VOTC/VTSC quality on basic cards for basic prices. Super articulation isn’t out of their grasp. Hasbro simply choose not to give it to us routinely in the basic line. The line deserves it though, no doubt.
For my money, the VTSC level of quality is nice, but I’d surely be putting more money into more figures if the basic line was on par with the Vintage remakes. Unfortunately Hasbro doesn’t seem to have that kind of plan in mind… At least not any time soon, so we’re stuck with $12 when we want decent toys.
My opinion overall on the Biker Scout is that this is hands down my favorite figure of the latest Vintage wave of premium priced plastic goodness. So far I’ve ordered this figure in some bulk to have an army of them right away. I’m a big army building fan in general so I was willing to shell out the big bucks (and boy was it costly) to get a nice army right away. I figure if I find them in good quantities at retail then, I’m going to buy more.
You’ll want at least two of these guys I think since they were always in pairs in the film. You may want one to stand, and one to put on an extra speederbike even, but either way I can’t imagine many of you out there are only going to want one of these figures.
That is part of the problem though as well… The Biker Scout’s got a huge potential to be a pain in the butt to find for many of us, much less find 2 or more. Hopefully people, through networking like on our own JediDefender.com trading boards, can help each other out some. Keep your hopes up and keep searching for this figure though if you haven’t found it yet. You’ll feel rewarded when you do find it with one of the greatest figures this year, if not in the last 10 years. Is he the “greatest army builder” though? He’s up there, that’s for sure. Now go find your Scouts people!
(I’d like to put special thanks in here to my buddy Mark for helping me obtain my current Scouts. He helped me get them early and in bulk, so a big thanks to you my friend.)