The Vintage Collection
Wave 3 (Return of the Jedi)
Wicket W. Warrick
The next review I wanted to focus on a character I liked, but who was also not easy to find for me, at least as far as this wave stands now in the middle of December. It's still fairly new, so certain figures are going to be tough finds like the Gammorean Guard or Endor Rebel, but this one surprised me that it's still a tougher item to get.
So for my next review, I'm taking a detailed look at the latest Ewok upgrade with Wicket
, possibly the most important Ewok figure in the line, and which hasn't seen a new figure since the 1990's. It's really kind of shocking that Wicket hasn't seen any upgrades for so long though, given that he was quite the marketing image from the 1980s, and had two films that kind of focused on him, as well as a cartoon series. Sure, it's not 1983 anymore and Ewoks were the placeholders of Jar-Jar levels of hatred for many years, but it still is surprising Hasbro had a pretty weak sculpt of this character out for a long time without any upgrades.
But now here we are, it's 2010, and Hasbro's looking back at a lot of their efforts from the early part of the modern line, and we're getting substantially improved figures. Wicket shows all the love and attention that a full-sized figure gets these days as well, however he faces the uphill climb of being one of the tiniest figures in the line, and packaged in a card/bubble style that doesn't lend itself to doing 2-packs very well. Can Hasbro make up the tiny stature of a figure for a full-sized price? It's a balancing act Pawtucket bean counters know all-too-well, and they took an interesting direction to add value. Read on, won't you?PROS
: This was a figure that I immediately went to my Endor shelf to scarf the POTF2 figure, and compare with the new sculpt. If you think there aren't lightyears of difference between figures then and now, you're not paying attention! First, the sharpness of almost every detail, from the eyes and mouth, to the shape of the ears, to the fur, is completely different. It really is like looking at a bootleg, when you compare old with new.
Wicket's body is sculpted to give the fur a bit more depth than his predecessor, and it's a shorter more curly looking fur as well, which seems to match the costume a bit better than the POTF2 figure, who has a longer fur look to it. The hands and feet both have some nice detailing on the digits as well, with unfurry fingertips and toes that each sport a sculpted fingernail or toenail. Turn Wicket up on his head, and you'll see his bottom's of his feet have the same unfurry "pad" look to them as his fingers and toes, like the little pads on the bottom of a cat's foot.
OK, take a trip with me into the weird and creepy for a moment as well... come on, stick with me on this.
Wicket has a butt crack. Weird? Yes. Weirder that I noticed this? Absolutely. An Improvement? Compared to the POTF2 figure's lack of one, I think it shows a greater attention to detail and realism, I guess. The POTF2 figure completely lacks this... oddity. It's some strange level of anatomical correctness I guess. If you're a Wookiee, I guess you've got longer fur to cover your pooper. But for Ewoks, and their shorter/curly fur, Hasbro had less options and decided to make the character have a little bit of evidence of a butt.
Anyway, from one end to the next, Hasbro really put the most detail into Wicket's face sculpt, which is quite detailed and full of his fierce, yet somehow cute, personality.
First up, he's got a toothy smile, showing his 2 little bucky chompters jutting out from his slightly opened mouth. It's not much, and Wicket's mouth on the costume didn't seem to be able to open a lot anyway. It's just right to give him personality without completely closing the mouth, nor opening it too wide to look odd. It also was cool of the sculptor to give the puffier cheeks to the figure, compared to the broad and flatter face sculpt of the previous figure. Add in then the nicely recessed eyes under a furrowed brow, and there's just a lot of "life" sculpted into the face. The POTF2 figure looks just like a smiling face, but the new Wicket could be scowling, concentrating, smiling... There is a lot of different looks in this one sculpt.
Overall though, night and day. This is just a vastly superior sculpt, and it's the kind of figure that proves that Hasbro can go back to countless figures they've already done, and make vast improvements people will be glad to buy. All 6 films have figures in need of resculpting, so this line has a lot of years in it yet.
: Hasbro painted themselves into something of a corner with the new packaging. 2007 maybe spoiled collectors a little bit too, as that line dolled out some of the greatest accessories packed in with basic figures that the line had ever seen. 2008/2009 didn't help with Build-A-Droid figures helping each wave give you an extra figure or two if you bought them all. The new cardbacks are great looking though, but the bubbles and staying true to the vintage look means that you cannot really pull a "2-pack" of figures off without compromising the card, and the bubbles are much smaller than the past several years. That means a diminutive fellow like Wicket is $7.99 for what ammounts to a figure half the size of any average figure. Where do you make that up then to consumers?
Well Hasbro went the rout of packing in somewhat obscure accessories that no previous Wicket ever came with, and at the same time giving you a completely unique way to display the little furball! Of course, this tricks many of us into buying a 2nd figure to display with the extra gear, but it's the kind of trick most of us are pretty happy to pay for.
Wicket comes packed with:
- Movie Style Hood
- Ewoks Cartoon Style Hood
That's a lot of gear for one little furball, and I'm sure it's making a number of collectors ecstatic that they can now do a realistic styled "Ewoks The Cartoon" Wicket figure. Does this mean Hasbro opened the door for other Ewoks Cartoon figures? If they're realistic sculpts, I'm for it. We got Droids Boba Fett afterall, right?
The gear is all pretty great too, which is the really cool part. The extra hood is very nicely decorated and colorful. It's a large cape/hood, forrest green in color, with a black wash that highlights all the cool stitching sculpted into the hood. Check around the ears, as I thought that was a particularly nice detail that they put the stitching sculpt into. It also features a leather belt that must wrap around underneath it, with some kind of little bone button thing sculpted onto it and painted light tan and white. At least I assume it's bone.
Wicket's spear is sculpted to look like a simple wood shaft with a stone head tied on the end. It's a great sculpt though that makes the shaft look uneven and very "wooden". Unfortunately the plastic it's molded in is the color they kept, and it's oddly shiney. However the stone head is decoed nice and light grey, and the binding wrapped around it is a light tan. It's a lot of deco on the weapon, and pretty cool.
Wicket's sachel is another great sculpt for a tiny accessory, but lacks paint aps at all. It's sort of a shame because there's even more stitching and a little clasp for the flap to keep it shut. It's sculpted to fit snugly over the figure's torso, and you actually have to remove the head to get the sachel onto him. I believe the sachel only should go with the Ewoks Cartoon hood though, and doesn't really fit well with the cartoon hood on. It really only fits really well with the movie hood, but that's ok to me.
Wicket's film hood is then his final accessory, and again it's filled with detail. What I really liked here though, is that Hasbro cast the hood in the same forrest green plastic they cast the cartoon hood. They then painted a leathery-brown deco over the green, but it's not super thick so just the slightest, tiniest hint of the forrest green shines through. Go get your Wicket figure, and check this detail out. It's barely noticeable, and incredibly under-appreciated. Hasbro also saw to painting some dark brown stitching on the front of the hood, something you can see in the films on the costume, and that's a cool little detail they made sure to catch.
By the way, both hoods are sculpted incredibly tight to the figure's head. It's a little difficult getting the green hood on/off the headsculpt, as both are sculpted to rest in the head's fur detailing snugly so it's as close a fit as is possible. It makes interchanging the hoods complex, but if you're buying 2 figures or don't swap hoods much, then it's no problem really at all. Love these accessories because they're fantastic pieces made with lots of attention to detail.
: This is the first time that a truly diminutive Wicket has been done, and that's a glorious thing unto itself. This is somewhat an extension of gushing over the sculpt, but I sort of consider proper scaling a separate positive because scale is such an important aspect to an action figure line to me. Wicket was like so many other figures in that he's look absurd on the shelf for a long time.
For instance, POTF2 Wicket next to any Leia? You're laughing at it. Leia is, herself, quite small. Carrie Fisher was just a petite woman, and yet she was picking Wicket up off a log with ease, and he was tiny next to her. POTF2 Wicket is almost as big as the current Endor Leia figure! It's comical looking, and so getting a finally accurate height/dimension version of Wicket is great.
Compare your new Wicket to other current Ewok sculpts though, and you'll see that he's a good deal smaller than any of them. I have him next to several of the new sculpts, and it's great seeing him look tiny compared to even these new, smaller sculpted Ewok characters. This is the same way I felt when hasbro made their first tall Chewbacca figure with the Power of the Jedi line. They got this one right, and now Leia can stand with Wicket on my shelf and not have me cringe at the comparison of the two.
: Articulating Ewoks isn't totally easy, but the Hasbro designers manage to squeeze a fair ammount of poseability into characters so tiny, and still hide it. With Wicket, they cut back in one aspect of articulation, but moved forward in another aspect, making a character as poseable as his tiny frame is probably able to be, and making these little bears able to fight with the best of the Empire!
Wicket features articulation at:
- 2 Ball/Socket Shoulder Joints
- 2 Cut Wrist Joints
- 2 Ball/Socket Hip Joints
- 2 Ball/Socket Ankle Joints
- 1 Ball/Socket Neck Joint
For a total of 9 points of articulation
on a figure who stands just a hair over 2 inches tall! That's some serious poseability, and it also marks the first time Hasbro added ball/socket hip joints to an Ewok. This is an articulation point we're seeing more and more from Hasbro in the Star Wars line. So far most are insert-molded, however Hasbro's also used traditional "ball/socket" joints where simply tension holds a ball joint into the socket (such as on the current Battledroid sculpt). It's something I hope more figures get in the modern line because it's hidden and adds a good deal of range of motion to a figure's poseability.
Wicket did regress in one articulation point though, compared to other modern Ewoks. Others feature a cut waist joint, and unfortunately Hasbro saw fit to remove this point on the little guy, but it's not impacting the figure's ability to be posed in a myriad of positions. One of my favorites is him holding Leia's hand, leading her away from danger on Endor, however I've had him throwing his spear, sitting down, running, and even crawling up on some prey. He's a really cool little figure to play with, so enjoy your Ewoks responsibly.
: I'm not overall completely happy with Hasbro's paintjob on the figure, it's where they cut back a lot, but they did do something pretty cool worth mentioning here on the eye's paintjob. Hasbro got the simple glossy black of the recessed eyes down perfectly, but what I liked that they did was added little white dots to each eye, for the glint of light off Wicket's eyeballs.
It's a little detail, but a cool one. When you're watching Return of the Jedi again, take note of Wicket's eyes and the glint. They almost seem like pupils of his eyes, but they're the light glare (Greedo has a similar thing going on), and Hasbro made sure to add that glint to them. You have to appreciate that even if the rest of the paintjob is lacking.
: How can you not love this line's packaging? Even as a non-carded collector, I'm tempted to buy figures and leave them packaged. I've always opened and pitched, it's been how I've done things since some years ago I realized carded collecting was a virtually futile effort, reinforced by Hasbro's love of repacking virtually everything they ever make. The Vintage Collection gets even the most stalwart opener to take a second thought about opening that toy though.
So far I've not kept anything carded except a Rocket Firing Fett, but I am on an effort to save the cardbacks of every figure I buy. It's a work in progress to try and preserve them, but I'm trying. At least they're flat and don't take up a lot of room.
Still though, there's something about the Vintage packaging that was really special. It's colorful, it's bold, it's uniformed, it's diverse, it's iconic, and it's expanding with this line to encompass the prequals. There is a lot to love and Hasbro knows it.
The obvious drawback is the space on the blister to add extra gear. We were given so many great characters wth great gear for the last 5 years. Changing to a small coffin-style blister meant less cool pack-ins. Hasbro has kept up somehow and given us decent gear with some figures, but others are getting the shaft and it becomes somewhat noticeable. Other figures seem like they've come with quite a bit though.
They have to get high marks all around for what they're doing with this line's packaging designs though.CONS
: Unfortunately, while the eyes are neat, the rest is pretty simplistic, or completely lacking, or pretty sloppy. Let me break each of those down though, respectively.
First, the figure's largest paint application is the blonde-ish highlighting of the fur sculpt on the body and face. The paint is blotched onto the body's front belly ok, but on the face it sort of goes everywhere and seems sloppy. It also has a glossier look compared to the belly's color. It's nothing flashy, and on the face it's more of a wash than anything. It's not the worst though, or why this category is a negative, but it's not great either.
Second though, although the figure has fine detail sculpted into the fingers and toes so that he actually has fingernails and toenails, Hasbro completely neglected adding any paint aps to them. It's a small paint detail if it's added, but it would highlight the sculpt significantly because some effort was put into adding those details by the artist who did this figure. Paint aps are getting cut, it's a fact of life with the line, but you hate to see it when it happens is the point.
Third, my figure's paint ranges from good in a lot of spots, to sloppy in others. Some of the washes strayed, but some of the details like the lips, eyes, teeth, and even the insides of the ears are nicely applied. The wash just got a little sloppy, and really since Hasbro doesn't do them often, I appreciated seeing 2 distinct washes/highlights being done to this figure. It's just when it strays or gets sloppy, and it gets onto some of the finer paint details like the mouth, that it becomes a little disappointing.
I'd say the paint applications are disappointing, but only slightly. If I had a category for in between Pro or Con, I probably would've put this into there instead. I'm not bothered enough by any of this to let it ruin the figure for me.
: What's a good review without a good major gripe, and with this line (and lately, the line in general), the price is pretty out there. $7.99 is the base price for The Vintage Collection. That's a good bit of money for a little bit of action figure, generally. The lack of accessories, and the easy comparison with figures right on the pegs beside any Vintage Collection figure really makes you question some purchases.
When compared to Legends and Clone Wars figures, which are all to be $6.99, and then the fact that they come with their Galactic Battles card, stand, and dice, and that Legends figures feature a mix of extra weapons as well... well how can you not compare? They're all Star Wars figures obviously, so you really can't help but look and think that the Vintage Collection is at least $1 overpriced.
Since prices jumped above $5.99 though, I've been pretty focused on doing my army building and custom fodder buying when there are sales. Sales don't always hit when you want them to though, so you're stuck shelling out quite a bit or cutting back. Myself, I've largely cut back. Figures I'd have not thought twice about buying 2 of in the past, I now put one back. Army builders I'd have bought 20 of (I'm, sadly, serious about that) I now only buy a couple of, or wait for sales all together. It's a rough time out there to afford the hobby, so price factors into the review I'm afraid.OVERALL
So where can I put Wicket? Well, clearly I'm pretty pleased with him. The paint aps were a very minor gripe to me, but it just detracted from the finer details enough for it to catch my eye, so I was annoyed. Honestly, Wicket's hood covers up most of the paint blotches on my sample even, so I'm even less distracted by them once he's all put together.
I, like probably many, picked a second Wicket up to put the Ewoks Cartoon hood onto him. He's tiny enough that he doesn't look too different on my shelf, so I can't really consider him a completely unique Ewok with the other hood on. I prefer the Movie hood then, and will just have the cartoon one standing next to him as a comparison. My extra cartoon hood I am hoping I can fit onto another Ewok I have laying around. I love army building Ewoks so extra hoods are always nice. I haven't tried it yet, but I imagine it works.
By the way, here's your "Tip of the Day" from me!
Did you buy Indiana Jones figures? Did you get the Ugha Warrior? If you did, A) you have two great Ewok weapons, but B) you have a great Wicket-specific weapon. Take the Ugha's bolo/sling weapon and, at least to me, it looks really awesome in Wicket's hands over his head for the classic scene where he slaps himself in the face trying to use the sling weapon. Sling... Bolo... It's all the same to me. And the Ugha's axe makes a neat stone axe weapon for a random Ewok you have who doesn't have a "can opener" handy for using on Stormtroopers.
Anyway though, I love Wicket's new action figure. He's rocking tons of poseability with his articulation count, he's got a fantastic sculpt, he has great accessories, and he has an adequate paintjob with some neat extra tiny detailing. You'll feel better owning two of this figure rather than one, though the price may be the biggest hurdle for anyone to really get over. $8 is a tough pill to swallow when paying for a figure who is about the actual size of some pills I've had to take, haha.
If you can get over the cash hurdle though, or simply find them cheaper (which I did, so I'm guessing many others did as well), you're good to go on picking up two of these fantastic, and long overdue resculpts.
Hasbro, resculpt EVERYTHING from Power of the Force 2. Figures like this prove you've got a deep well of figures that need redone, and that you can really blow away those old figures at this point. Seriously, that old Wicket looks like a knock-off by comparison, it's that bad. The old figures only make me appreciate the quality of the new ones even more.
By the way, as of me writing this, Wicket is still not common anywhere I shop. Hopefully this wave will be out in more abundance soon. Figures like this shouldn't be difficult to find because everyone deserves awesomeness like this little guy.[/list]