« on: September 28, 2004, 03:21 PM »
An interesting idea. I'm game. I typed mine up after reading Msonab's premise, but without reading his reviews (to keep my reviews clean). A lot of my analysis lines up with Mosnab's, but htere are some interesting differences
From the beginning, a line of ten-dollar action figures was a hard sell to me. I thought, packaging aside, they had better be some darn nice figures to warrant the 100% markup. I'm an opener, the packaging means nothing to me whatsoever--even the OTCs, I just rip 'em open and throw 'em away. I have seen all of the VOTCs (At one time, in one store, even.) and I have come home with seven of them. First, I'll go through the ones I didn't buy, and why:
Obi-Wan--I really liked the looks of him at the store, I still pick him up and look at him when I see him. He looks great in the package. But the pictures I've seen of him around have turned me off to buying him at the ten-dollar price--he's just not as fully posable as he could've easily been, and the soft goods didn't work well. If there's a clearance/deal/repack somewhere down the road for cheaper, I may yet get him. There aren't any great Obi-Wans, he's as close to the best Obi-Wan there is, but still terribly flawed.
Yoda--I passed on Yoda at first sight. The robe is ugly, the face is ugly. All he has going for him to me is the accessories--the snake and the flute necklace are nice, but not enough. I don't need a Yoda with sculpted little green legs to feel like I have the best Yoda. OTC beats him on everything, so I bought two of that instead.
Threepio--I don't like the Coin/Hall of Fame/OTC version of this figure that a lot of folks tout as the best Threepio, but I like the VOTC one even less. It simply doesn't look like Threepio. The detail is there, but the proportions are lacking. The lack of articulation on the "ultimate" version was a let down (I almost wrote a smack in the face, but that's a little overboard I think.) that my view of the figure never recovered from. I still have not seen a definitive Threepio action figure, but I feel it's only a matter of time.
Boba Fett--This is another figure I've gone around and around with myself about. On the one hand, I really want a good posable Fett, and this is it. On the other, the buckethead is just too big for me, it's not good, it doesn't please my eye. The gauntlets, also, are too bulky for my taste. and, in the end, he has the ROTJ colors. I'd prefer correct proportions in the ESB colors, and so I'll stick with the 300th version as my "definitive" Fett.
Artoo--Let's face it, asking ten dollars for Artoo is always going to be a tough sell. Sometimes asking five dollars for him is a bit of a stretch. Hasbro did what they could with him (removable 3rd leg, removable tools that look accurate) but in the end the chromedome and lightpipe eye just turned me off. It doesn't beat Bartoo as the Artoo in my collection.
Okay, so that's the misses. Here are the hits:
Han--The first figure I picked up. I did not like the ultra-realistic look of him when I first saw pics last winter, but the figure came out much better than it looked. This Han beats the Commtech version so easily, I almost wince when I look at that old version now. This is the high-water mark for human characters thus far.
Leia--At first I passed on Leia, but reviews and pictures on the web brought me around. The cloth skirt is a bit of a distraction, but the fact is it allows the figure to use the leg articulation to the fullest. The cut elbows could've been a failure, but her shoulders are sculpted so that you can swap shoulders and armpits to effectively straighten out the arms or bend them to cradle her gun. The face is good--the least ugly Leia we've gotten (to be as harsh as possible--I actually think it looks kind of cute.)
Luke--I never planned on buying Luke. I don't like the soft goods. They always fail to please my eye. But when I saw this Luke at the store, I realized it could work. I had to bunch the tunic way together in the back, and tuck his collar under, but he looks good. Again, it was necessary to use the soft goods this way to include the articulation. Luke can lean, squat, sit, and pretty much contort to any pose you want, even more than Han, really. About the hardest thing to have him do is put his arms up over his head, the sleeves kind of shrink up on him (though I guess the costume would flop down like that too.) I don't expect to ever get a more posable Luke.
Vader--Ah, Vader. I knew I wanted Vader as soon as I opened Han. All this articulation would work for Vader. And even though his ankles don't bend, his elbows are cut joints, and his cloak is cloth, I still love Vader. The cloth cloaks are the best soft goods of the line, they have a nice flow to them. Vader's arms look okay either bent or straight. The removable saber hilt is something I want to see in all Jedi figures, and really takes this Vader from great to outstanding, even with the glittery chain not working well.
Lando--I thought I would pass on Lando as well but wound up buying him. His arms don't go straight like I'd like, but otherwise he's Han's match as far as articulation perfection. His cape is better that the POTJ version (something I would've doubted was possible a year ago.) But the best thing about Lando? His shoes. Man, I love Lando's shoes!!
Stormtrooper--I have a large army of CT Stormtroopers (thanks to the fan club store, who sent me double my order and promptly went out of business) so I wasn't really looking forward to an upgrade, just based on the fact that I had a large army already. Add on top of that I didn't expect ot ever see one of these, as I've yet to see a SA Clone, and my interest was middling. When I found it I was happy, and became only more so when I popped it open. This is the top of the line for Star Wars figures, it really is. There is no real flaw, even the unorthodox holster tickles me in its look and uncompromising design. You can't beat this Stormtrooper. I, who had hemmed and hawed about ten dollar figures, who already owned so many stormtroopers some of them haven't found there way out of the little white mailer boxes, I wound up buying a second one. Because it was that good.
Chewbacca--Again I didn't think the Saga CCC Chewie could be much improved upon, short of adding the ability to straighten his arms. I prefer the ESB slicked back Chewie hair-do over the Mechanic "blow-dryed" look as well, so a ROTJ Cheiwe was of low interest. How wrong I was to doubt what more could be done. With my VOTC Chewie, I have been able to pose him like no other--I've even had him standing on one foot, punt-kicker style (and without peg-holes, that's saying something for this figure's ability to balance.) To top it off, this is not "ugly" articulation, it's well hidden. Again, the best done alien figure ever. Period.
So, at the end of the day, I have to say the VOTC line won me over against all my better judgement. At this point, if Hasbro said they were cutting back Star Wars figures to only doing twelve of these types of figures a year, even at ten dollars a pop, I would be happy. Getting these ultimate versions has really been worth it.