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Messages - Muftak

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Star Wars Dioramas and Displays / Re: Modular Cloud City
« on: October 26, 2004, 05:58 AM »

Check out my newest "making-of" pictures for a look at what I've been up to this past week.

Revenge of the Sith / Re: Episode III - Preview Figures (SPOILERS)
« on: October 26, 2004, 05:55 AM »
Some early auctions on eBay, with pics...

General Grievous

Wookiee Warrior

Tion Meddon

Hmmm...let's see...

 1- General Veers (with removable/snap-on armor)
 2- Wiorkettle
 3- Medical Frigate Luke
 4- Medical Frigate Leia
 5- Smugglin' Lando
 6- Zev Senesca (Rogue Two; head variants optional)
 7- Closed-jacket Bespin Guard (head variants)
 8- Ice Cream Maker Guy
 9- Super-Articulated Hoth Rebel Trooper (brown coat/white coat variants)
10- Super-Articulated Probot (no missiles, please) with landing pod

Luke X-Wing Pilot  (no teeth showing) -  nah. I had two of them from a few years back, both of which I removed the teeth of already, so I am alright on Lukes. If you couldn't bring yourself to doing the dental surgery yourself, then yeah, the change in the look is substantial enough (and improved enough) to warrant replacing Bucky.

Greedo (paint apps) - yes. I opted to swap up as well. As JesseJames points out, there are enough "Greedo" lookalikes around Mos Eisley and Jabba's Palace to warrant the multiples, especially since each is unique in its way.

Tusken Raider (paint apps) - I skipped this one. I kind of army built him on the cheap when he came with the Massif, plus the principle of the Saga Tusken being a better figure kept me away.

Jawas (paint apps) - Yes. Hasbro could do day-glo Jawas and I'd buy 'em, though. Honestly I haven't ever seen a Jawa two-pack in the store that I've passed up, POTF2-present.

Luke Bespin (clean) - Yes. I was sure he'd be a part of a TRU four-pack some day, but I'll take him on a card instead. This is repainting at its best-used.

Vader Hoth (paint apps) - No. Again, I have two of the Imperial Forces version, so why bother?

Gamorrean Guard (paint apps) - No. I army-built on clearance with these guys too. Just no, maybe I'll buy one to be the Captain or something, if they wind up sitting around.

Bib Fortuna (paint apps) - No. A repainted piece of crap is just that. The proverbial "slap in the face" to collectors, akin to repainting a POTF2 Chewie.

Imperial Trooper (new head sculpt or straight repaint?) - From what I've heard it's the same head, just given much better attention (and blond hair). The one I've seen in person looked like the same old pinhead to me. If it sits I might pick one or two up, but honestly it will be for the scanning boxes (my Death Star needs 'em, and when I bought him back in the day it was off of eBay and the box was not included.)

Original Trilogy Collection / Re: VOTC/OTC Purchases
« on: October 15, 2004, 05:37 PM »
I found a Madine at my Wal*Mart today as well, and that completes my OTC collection. I wound up with:

  • Dagobah Luke (x2)
  • Dagobah Yoda (x2)
  • Spirit Obi-Wan
  • Bespin Leia
  • Lobot
  • Cloud Car Pilot (x2)
  • Greedo
  • Bespin Luke
  • Greedo
  • TIE Pilot
  • Jawas
  • General Lando
  • AT-ST Han
  • General Madine

I actually had a lot of fun with finding these "waves," though the Bespin figures were real hard to find this summer, and I still haven't seen all the stuff from the last case assortment (with the scanning tech, gam guard, etc).

And for VOTC:

  • Han Solo
  • Princess Leia
  • Luke Skywalker
  • Darth Vader
  • Lando Calrissian
  • Chewbacca
  • Stormtrooper (x2)
  • Boba Fett

I finished them last week and continue to see ROTJ figures popping up. Looks like the ESB figures are going to be the tough finds.

It's nice to feel "done" for the year...and I honestly don't know how long I'll feel that way. I'm just not as excited about the rest of the stuff this year, including those Cantina figures. Sure, they're well made, but they were all about dead last in my list of wants. Really, I'm just looking for a Hem Dazon (and a single carded Muftak) to finish my Cantina wants. If I run into them at the store, I'll probably get 'em, but I won't be out searching.

Original Trilogy Collection / Re: 2005 Cantina Wave
« on: October 14, 2004, 07:51 AM »
Looking at these pics over at GH, I'm dissappointed the Cantina figures are not going to be labelled OTC at all.

I guess the real question now is what the Sandtrooper's card will say...

Jocasta's Reading Room / Re: Heir To The Empire series...
« on: October 13, 2004, 04:58 PM »
Yeah, the Thrawn trilogy is pretty good. A great start to the EU, which unfortunatley hasn't lived up to their promise.

The Hand of Thrawn series (Specter of the Past and Vision of the Future) pick up ten years after the events of Last Command. Nevertheless, it revolves solely around all the main characters of the earlier Thrawn books (including Zahn's creations as well as the OT folks) with the notable exception of Corran Horn and Booster Terrik from the X-Wing books (which I'll also recommend highly). It even takes the trouble to explain away some of the cheesiness of the interim books.

I re-read the five Zahn books earlier this year straight through, and I have to say it makes for  a pretty decent arc, easy enough to follow and kind of picking up threads right where they were dropped. The last two don't have the urgency of the first three, but as I understand it they were conceived as "the end" of the novels (they were Bantam's last, and it was thought entirely possible at the time that the Del Rey novels would shift focus to Prequel territory completely.)

I know how you feel, Scott. I haven't worked on my Cloud City playset since April. :(

How about I promise to get some work done and post some pictures if you promise to get some of those customs posted? I'd like to see how that ROTJ Han looks before investing 15 bucks in making my own.

I'm willing if you're willing.

Original Trilogy Collection / VOTC "swap" irony
« on: October 4, 2004, 06:58 PM »
I went to a Target today and saw a VOTC Threepio on the shelf. I'd already passed on him once, but I always look, especially with the sale going on. It actually didn't look too bad, and I thought about buying it after all, but then it hit me...

...somebody had swapped the VOTC Threepio with an OTC Threepio in the bubble! I looked closer and could clearly see where the bottom of the bubble had been sliced thru to pull off the swap. The "OTC" cardboard insert concealed it on a casual glance.

I thought about taking it up to the desk to alert them to the scam they had fallen victim to, but in the end I didn't. Whoever winds up buying it will be getting a superior figure anyway.

(Unless they're a carded collector, but then they can always sell it off on eBay as a "rare error" figure for tons of dough.)

Anyone else seen these swaps around?

Original Trilogy Collection / Re: Target Sale... 10/3-10/9
« on: October 4, 2004, 06:49 PM »
I went to Target today on my lunch break to see what I could find OTC-wise, and ran into a bunch of VOTCs again. I bit the bullet and finally bought Boba Fett. At $8 and change I figured I could get past my issues with him.

Thanks for mentioning the price-matching, too! I'll take my receipts from last week's ROTJ VOTCs and get a little cash back.

Original Trilogy Collection / Re: OTC...Selling that Well?
« on: October 4, 2004, 06:46 PM »
I was another one who thought OTC would tank big. Tonight I'll dine on crow. These things have been moving very well in my area.

I think the thing Hasbro finally got right was case assortments here. These last few cases have for the most part been one-pers. That means every new case is potentially going home with the first customer. Last week at a Wal*Mart near me I had the deeply unsatisfying experince of being the second guy to a new case of figures--the last wave, with the Gam Guard, Bib Fortuna, the Generals and the Scanning Tech. The guy who beat me bought them all--though he was nice enough to let me oggle them first. ;) That put me on the hunt, though--I hit about twenty stores in one day last week and saw just about every figure that's been released in 2004 (even J'Quille and Tanus)except those last few. I found a Lando General but that's been it.

The thing that hurt them was the early cases (with the Bespin and Dagobah figures) and that crap display at the Wal*Marts (with the figure cases). I've seen those figures lining shelves at most of the WMs around here--just way too many of too few figures to sell like the rest.

And the VOTCs have been a totally different story. They sit and sit, even Yodas and Vaders are starting to hang around here more. One WM here has a top shelf piled high with all the VOTCs they couldn't sell off the Falcon display. Maybe I'll buy Ben there when he gets deep discounted.

Original Trilogy Collection / Re: VOTC & VPTC
« on: September 29, 2004, 05:59 PM »
My caveat is only one version of any given character allowed

Episode I

*Darth Maul
*Qui-Gon Jinn
*Jar Jar Binks

Episode II

*Jango Fett
*Count Dooku
*Clone Trooper
*Super Battle Droid

Episode III

*General Grievous
*Anakin Skywalker
*Obi-Wan Kenobi
*Darth Sidious

Episode IV

*Jawa/R5-D4 2-pack
*Tusken Raider
*"Death Squad" Commander

Episode V

*Bespin Han
*Bespin Luke
*Bespin Leia
*Bespin Guard

Episode VI

*Ewok 2-pack (Wicket & Paploo, specifically)
*Admiral Ackbar
*Bib Fortuna
*Biker Scout

EU Clone Wars
*Asajj Ventress
*Mace Windu
*ARC Trooper

I'm really shocked no one has mentioned Jar Jar yet. We may not love him, but a super-posable version with cloth vest and skirt piece would be a really nice figure.

Original Trilogy Collection / Re: Defender Wish Lists 2004: A New Hope
« on: September 29, 2004, 05:05 PM »
  1. R5-D4
  2. Arcona
  3. Vaporator*
  4. SA Stormtrooper Luke
  5. SA Stormtrooper Han
  6. CZ-3
  7. Biggs Academy outfit (cut-scene)
  8. Owen Lars (resculpt)
  9. Rebel Tech
10. Ceremony Luke (resculpt)

*--Yes, I'm serious! If R1-G4 can be a figure, than so can a vaporator!!!

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.

The plot thickens...

Spice: Being close to thirty years since the film was released, do you still hope your action figure will someday be immortalized in plastic?

Christine: I am actually mortally offended it has not already! I am looking forward to seeing it.

Boy, it's a good thing Hasbro has paid such close attention to the likeness rights. Really sounds like a lawsuit just waiting to happen. ::)

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