Author Topic: New JD Review: EE Comic Packs - Baron Fel & Yssane Isard  (Read 641 times)

Offline Jesse James

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New JD Review: EE Comic Packs - Baron Fel & Yssane Isard
« on: December 7, 2010, 03:39 AM »
Entertainment Earth Exclusive 2010 Comic Packs
Baron Soontir Fel & Yssane Isard


Ah, comic packs...  Where did you go wrong?  That's a matter of debate to many.  If you talk to some collectors, they'll tell you the key to that sub-line of EU glory succeeding was more new figures and tooling, less repetition.  If you talked to others, you would hear that it's all about Dark Horse material.  Still others will demand that the Marvel Comics get their share of the pie.  And what sold where is just as mixed.  Some areas, the packs made for the army builder, from Rebel Pilots to Ewoks to Clonetroopers, flew off the shelves.  Elsewhere, the Marvel stuff did great, while it was the Dark Horse sets that stank it up, even with collector-demanded characters getting made.  This sub-line was a tough nut for Hasbro to crack just right.  They dealt with price hikes that saw the packs jumping from $9.99 at their start to $15-ish, and then balancing the costs of the sets with tooling budgets.  Then doing the same balancing act by wave...  It really was anything but a cakewalk I suppose.

Flash forward to Fall 2010.  Jedi Defender sponsor, Entertainment Earth, start shipping what is (for the foreseable future) supposed to be the last wave of comic packs, and collectors receive them well.  Hasbro now is back to deciding if the line needs some kind of reboot or not. 

Love or hate the EU, the comic packs have made some pretty slick figures...  and at the same time, they've made some dismal choices too (Leia with cankles, we're looking at you, and your absurd feet).  The sets from Entertainment Earth may have fans, but they're not immune to the problems the regular releases to mass retail had.  I'm going to take a look at at least one of the sets, maybe more as time allows, and give my thoughts on the character choices, the figure designs, and all the details that make these "hit or miss", at least in my eyes.

And first up, we're going to check out the set that I was most looking forward to!  I'm going to review the Baron Soontir Fel & Yssane Isard from the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron series.  Who the hell are they?  Well, they're an Imperial fighter ace, and a weird Imperial chick with 2 different colored eyes, red outfit, skunk stripes in her hair, and a pretty strong following...  at least from the people who follow the EU.

Hasbro knows that these two characters have some fervent support among the fans of non-movie characters, and so they seemed like logical choices as figures.  Did they succeed in satisfying the collecting world?  Read on!

PROS

-Isard Sculpt:  Isard rocks the re-used mold, for the most part, of the Force Unleashed figure, Juno Eclipse.  She had a solid sculpt to begin with, with hidden joints, a small/feminine frame, and scads of detail.  There's lots of wrinkles in the uniform at places which make perfect sense, such as just above the belt but below the chest, at the knee and elbow joints, and so on.  There isn't too much though, which is perfect since she's a high-level Imperial, and as such, she should have a fairly pressed and proper uniform to reflect her level of authority.

When was the last time you saw a General or Admiral looking like a schlub, ya know?

One minor flaw is the character's rank badge, which I'll get to later.  Otherwise the sculpt's pretty sharp, even with texturing to avoid the overly smooth look of early POTF2 Imperial officer uniforms.  Not much else is new, but it's a solid base to do a female Imperial from anyway.

The headsculpt is new, and it's really incredible.  There is a lot of depth to it because Hasbro's sculptors/designers made the head and hair, two separate pieces.  This is nice for figures with longer/bulkier hair because it generally gives that greater 3-dimensional look to it.  Her facial expression is nice because it has a stern look to it, and reflects the character's fairly ruthless and evil nature.  It's nowhere near over-the-top, however.  It's just the right ammount of "evil" to look neutral, or focused as well.

So, sure it's re-used mostly, but it's not a bad re-use besides the rank badge.

-Accessories:  The accessory count for the pack isn't attrocious by any means.  It's also not knocking much out of the park, but these two characters really can't come with too much gear beyond what they come with, and Hasbro went the extra mile on the Baron Fel figure. 

Isard comes with a pretty basic Imperial Rifle...  Besides maybe an officer's baton, or giving her a pistol (since she's an officer), then that's about right.  Fel comes with the same Imperial E-11 Isard has, and so many other Imperial characters come with, but he also has some headgear.  Hasbro included his black Imperial kepi hat, which was pretty nice since not all officers get a removable cap like they should.  He also came with a big surprise though. 

Fel ultimately defects to the Alliance and winds up flying for them.  As such, he winds up wearing some more Alliance-like flight gear, including an X-Wing helmet, decorated in a unique all black paintjob with red striping and a Rebel logo.  Hasbro included the pilot bucket as well despite the figure being in his non-flight uniform.  It's a cool little "extra" thrown into the package, and was appreciated.  It also was a surprise because early images of the figures didn't picture this.

So hats off (nyuck nyuck) to Hasbro for giving the, basically, appropriate gear and then a little bone thrown to the fans of the storyline these figures are from.

-Articulation:  Both figures rock a good ammount of articulation, and Hasbro's stepped this side of their line up on most all accounts.  On comic packs though, it's great to see two figures with articulation sufficient to meet "minimums".  Or at least minimums as I choose to define them, as a collector who likes to be able to pose his figures any way he chooses.

Baron Fel features articulation at:

  • 2 Ball/Socket Shoulder Joints
  • 2 Ball/Socket Elbow Joints
  • 2 Cut Wrist Joints
  • 2 Cut Hip Joints
  • 2 Ball/Socket Knee Joints
  • 2 Ball/Socket Ankle Joints
  • 1 Ball/Socket Neck Joint
  • 1 Cut Waist Joint

For a total of 14 points of articulation.

Yssane Isard Features Articulation at:

  • 2 Ball/Socket Shoulder Joints
  • 2 Ball/Socket Elbow Joints
  • 2 Cut Wrist Joints
  • 2 Cut Hip Joints
  • 2 Ball/Socket Knee Joints
  • 2 Ball/Socket Ankle Joints
  • 1 Ball/Socket Neck Joint
  • 1 Cut Waist Joint

For a total of 14 points of articulation.

This allows for a lot of poseability on both characters, and generally when you have this much articulation, not much can mess it up...  However, a molded "skirt" piece on a figure can accomplish that negative, and Fel has that issue.  Isard's molded skirt extension of her officer's coat actually doesn't inhibit the legs much at all.  It's shorter and the plastic is more flexible, which both help. 

Still though, both figures pose pretty well.  I've had them both in action poses, firing blasters 2-handed, standing at attention, and at ease with their hands clasped realistically behind their backs.  It's a great thing when the figure can do pretty much anything you want.  Hasbro just needs to make a standard for molded skirts where they are flexible, and have cuts at the side that let them flex so the hip articulation isn't inhibited.  That, or go with cloth instead.  Will fans accept cloth on an Imperial Officer's "skirt" piece though?  That remains to be seen!

CONS

-Fel Sculpt:  Right off the bat, I was disappointed in the sculpt choice Hasbro made on Baron Fel.  Again he's mostly re-used, except the headsculpt and hands, which aren't great.  However, the bigger letdown to me was the choice of re-using the Captain Needa sculpt from 2008.  Unfortunately, with that figure, you often got an oddly wide leg stance, the pants didn't have have the poofy look at the thigh that Jagdpur pants officers wore should have, and which is utilized on the Vintage Collection AT-AT Commander figure.  Hasbro dropped the ball by not at least using that figure as the base, as most agree that it's a good deal superior.

That's not to say the sculpt is horrible.  There are lots of small details in this sculpt that, on another figure, don't look so off.  It just has the very odd leg stance (and some may be better than others.  That was the case with Needa, and the Death Star Trooper the original sculpt was based on) on my figure, and the figure's rank badge wasn't changed as well.  Hasbro even sculpted the badges on Needa to be interchangeable now, so they could actually swap out a different and more accurate badge if they chose to.  Unfortunately on Fel they chose not to go that route, probably for cost reasons.  It would've been nice though since it was more a choice than on Isard's figure.

Add to it that this sculpt was made for a more average/slimmer built guy, and Fel's supposed to be a fairly large/muscular character, and it really was just a poor choice as the base.  Isard's was pretty spot-on (it was really their only choice as well), but the male Imperial Officer probably needs a ground-up resculpt in general, and Fel probably needed his own unique officer sculpt to really look accurate.

The hands and head on Fel are all that's new then, but not great.  The hands are simply gloved ones like a pilots, but Fel's headsculpt doesn't really resemble the character in the comics as much as I think it should.  It's more narrow looking, more gaunt it seems, and it features another angry/focused look to it.  On a typical Imperial I think this would be cooler looking, but on a guy who's changed to the Alliance supposedly, I find it odd.  It's not horrid, but it's not great either.  It just isn't what I had hoped for from them I guess, especially since their first Fel figure they did (also a comic pack figure) wasn't too great either.

-Paint Aps/Decoration:  Both figures I got were lacking a little bit in the paint aps department.  This is really something that can vary, or you can see a trend, and it just simply depends on factories and such.  Since you can't pick these out in a store, you're kind of stuck with what you get.  I have no clue if this is a trend, but it stinks.

On Isard, her deco is fairly good till you get to the face.  One of her defining features is her different colored eyes, and unfortunately my figure's eyes are lopsided.  The left is significantly lower than the right.  The eyebrows are painted on in a "raised" look for the right eyebrow, but something looks off on my sample there as well.  Like they're too far apart and the raised right brow is too sharp upward.  Also Hasbro didn't paint the code cylinder in her left pocket silver.  Since it's sculpted there, it should get a paint ap so it doesn't look goofy.

On Fel, the paint aps are a bit better on the face, however the shoulders are where he loses it some.  This is actually a common problem, but Hasbro generally casts the pin of a ball/socket joint in the color of the costume.  In Fel's case though, he has black/red pin stripes on the sleeves of his coat and shoulders.  With the pin of his shoulder joints cast in grey, it stands out pretty significantly against the black/red piping when right at the shoulders there are big grey gaps.

Paint aps are cut these days, it's just a fact of life.  When you're costing things out, you have to make cuts, and Hasbro's making it in the deco.  It's a shame sometimes because it impacts some fantastic sculpts.  The deco highlights the fine work some of the artists have put into these figures.  It's always a shame when small things like that impact the overall look of a character though, like it does with both these figures.  It's particularly disappointing on Isard though, who is really a fantastic figure till you get to her spooky eyes.  I hope others have better luck with the paint aps on her.  Fel, I wasn't wild about the sculpt either, so it's less of a disappointing paint application I guess.

-Fel's Rank:  I'll reiterate the disappointing find that they didn't change Fel's rank.  This was particularly annoying because Hasbro specifically designed Needa's torso to have the ability to change the ranks, if they needed to.  His rank in the comics has a lot more bars than the Needa rank did from the films, so for Hasbro to use a sculpt that wasn't maybe the best choice to begin with, and to then not change the rank on that sculpt when they specifically made that a possibility, well that's just a little bit of a bummer.

Had the legs been changed to the Jagdpur style pants that the current AT-AT Commander has though, I probably wouldn't have cared about this nearly as much.  Sometimes one thing can offset something else.  But on Fel it is sort of a situation where when it rains, it pours.

OVERALL

Sometimes I include price, or availability, or some other factor into my reviews...  Not this time though.  The prices varied depending on when you got your order in, and when it's an exclusive and you have to order it, the price is going to inevitably be a little more than you probably wanted to pay.  I got mine in a case I split on a pre-order we made the day they went on sale.  So for myself, these sets were pretty much as cheap as I was going to get them if I wanted them now, and I was content with that. 

Likewise, availability...  they're at Entertainment Earth, so that was simple at least, but you're not going to get to play the price-comparing game much.  It's a trade-off.

So I'm left with really just the product to stand on its own without the other factors.  In the case of these two though, they just don't stack up to what I personally would've liked.  These seemed to be the sets that were the "filler" for the wave.  For me, I was disappointed in them then as I probably was most interested in these two, and more importantly I was geeked at getting a new Baron Fel.  I'm a huge pilot fan from the Original Trilogy, and Expanded Universe.  So Fel's now had two figures out, and both are sub-par in some capacity or another.  I'd love to see both redone but I hold no hope for that. 

Isard's good enough for me though, and so I'll happily display her on the Imperial shelf as soon as I'm done writing this.  She's not flawless, but she's passable.  Fel is going to need a little modification from me though I'm afraid.  I may even slip him into my Imperial shelf without the stripes on the sleeves or something.  This set gets a failing grade from me then as I really think Fel's the anchor of it and Isard's more like a bonus.  Others will view that ratio differently probably, but it's my column so tough toenails.

Will the rest of the EE comic packs hold up though?  Well I just opened my others tonight, and I can tell you that I was happier with the other three sets.  A couple in particular were really fun, and I think Hasbro could make the comic line work if they rethought it, set some "standards" with it, and maybe tried to limit it a little more.  When it was at mass retail, it was out of control at times the number of sets that a store would have from a single wave.  Like was said at the start of this review though, what works and what doesn't work has a big gap between areas around the country.  Only Hasbro knows the truth, and they've deemed it not worth going on with the line for the time being. 

Here is to seeing more sets in the future though.  Or at least some exclusives coming out here and there to satiate the die-hard fans of this line.  I really want that friggin' Noghri and Wookiee we got teased with. :'(
2011 Rebel Fleet Trooper Gets My Seal Of Approval!  But Where's The Friggin' Holster On Him!?
Jedi Defender.com Contributing Editor, Twitter @JediDefender & @Jesse_James77

Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: New JD Review: EE Comic Packs - Baron Fel & Yssane Isard
« Reply #1 on: December 7, 2010, 12:04 PM »
Great review as always, Jesse.  I'm glad you're doing these again.

I think every set of comic packs had a stinker in there (usually the marvel set), and it looks like you started with the one from this wave.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: New JD Review: EE Comic Packs - Baron Fel & Yssane Isard
« Reply #2 on: December 7, 2010, 03:48 PM »
Yeah, I was disappointed so I ran with it...  I wanted to vent.  It was the first set I opened over the weekend when I picked the set up off my buddy (thanks Steve), and these two just sorta were meh...  Which sucks.

Fortunately though, it was all uphill from there.  I didn't even care about the one set, and they were vastly superior figures ultimately.

At this stage I'm thinking a ground-up reworking of Fel...   :-\

And thanks for the compliments Matt.  Writing them is time consuming when you've got a billion other things going on, so I'm going to try to keep things going along, at least for some stuff, and not worry about being too constant with it.  I'm glad you're reading and enjoying though.  :)  I miss it, really, but it's just hard to stay up on everything I have going on with normal life, much less on here too, haha.  LIfe's just too busy sometimes.
2011 Rebel Fleet Trooper Gets My Seal Of Approval!  But Where's The Friggin' Holster On Him!?
Jedi Defender.com Contributing Editor, Twitter @JediDefender & @Jesse_James77

Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: New JD Review: EE Comic Packs - Baron Fel & Yssane Isard
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2010, 03:45 PM »
I just got my hands on these yesterday and I agree that these are the weakest in the wave.  Honestly, I probably would not have gotten this pack except it was a set.

The rest of the figures are nice although the KOTOR pack has me wondering on the figure choice.  Although he's very cool minus the ankles, the Bounty Hunter was only in one fram (with helmet on)...why did they make that figure?  I would think a Zayne Carrak would've been a better choice.
Peacekeeper, when it absolutely, positively has to be nuked in 30 minutes or less.  Or the next nuke's free!