Author Topic: New JD Review: EE Comic Packs - Jaster Mareel & Montross  (Read 686 times)

Offline Jesse James

  • Staff Member
  • Grand Master
  • *
  • Posts: 31726
  • Slippery When Poopy
    • View Profile
    • JediDefender.com
New JD Review: EE Comic Packs - Jaster Mareel & Montross
« on: January 12, 2011, 04:11 AM »
    Entertainment Earth Exclusive 2010 Comic Packs
    Jaster Mareel & Montross


    So I wasn't thrilled with the first set I reviewed.  Let's face it.  That was a weak effort on Hasbro's part, and there isn't a really credible way to sugarcoat that Fel figure no matter how many cool helmets you pack in with him.  But that doesn't mean the EE Comic Packs were bad!  Oh no, not by a longshot on that one.  They really put out some cool figures, one pack aside, and that leads me to the focus of my newest review.  This time I'm peeling back the layers on the Jaster Mareel & Montross packs, which are some fine choices in the action figure world.  

    But I hear it now...  "Who the hell are Jaster Mareel and Montross?"

    And you know what?  You're right...  Who the hell are these guys?  Who the hell are half the figures the comic pack line had?  That's probably its biggest problem, and its most likely reason for failure, ultimately.  To shorten their story though, Jaster Mareel is Jango Fett's mentor in a Mandalorian military organization, and Montross is a rival.  If you're a G.I. Joe fan, think along the lines of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow during their training days.  Montross off's Mareel, Jango vows revenge, and in another story Jango off's Montross.

    Montross and Mareel are Mandalorian soldiers though, and who can't happily buy more of those if they look cool?  Kids seem to like these kinds of characters too, so I do think these would've been eye-catchers on the pegs of the local store had they gotten this far.  As it stands, I'm glad that Entertainment Earth picked these up for us because I really didn't realize how much I wanted these two in my collection.  And kids would love them not just because they're random Mando's, but because they just look bad-ass!  Blasters galore, funky paintjobs, cloth capes, removable helmets, and articulation...  They're truly mean looking characters!   Let's break them down some, shall we?

    PROS

    -Sculpt:  Both characters share some old parts, with a health smattering of new ones.  This is, to me, the ideal way for Comic Pack figures to have come out.  You get something new without completely getting something new.  I don't know if this is what the Hasbro bean counters require to spread out the costs in a wave of comic packs, but to me these are just as good as brand new figures of the two characters.

    Mareel is Jango Fett's mentor, and rightfully so, he shares some of the Evolutions Jango Fett figure's parts.  Namely, the feet, shins, thighs, torso, arms...  Holy ****, he basically share everything except the belt.  But this makes sense, as Jango inherits some of Mareel's gear.  In the Gamecube (that's going back now) game "Bounty Hunter", Jango's cruising in Jaster's old ship, so it stands to reason he maybe takes some of his gear as his own.  It doesn't hurt either that Mandalorian armor looks so similar from one warrior to the next, so why not, right?

    The sculpt is crisp and sharp all around with raised armor pieces over a slightly fitted but still wrinkled body-glove.  There is a ton of detail in the armored forearm guards, and the hoses to them are a nice touch (and appear to hide up into the armor).  There is a nice smoothness to the armor, and in general this was a great sculpt when first released.  

    The new parts are the head and belt.  The headsculpt is that of an older man, lines on his face, maybe a slightly "tired" look.  It's appropriate, and seems accurate to the character's likenesses.  It's generic enough that it could be used on almost any figure though, and look decent.  It maybe could use some scarring or something to truly make him look like a soldier for hire, but as it stands I think it's accurate and looks nice.

    The belt is incredibly detailed with pouches, straps, buckles, wraps, and more!  It features 5 sculpted pouches for ammo and gear, all with a very deep look to them, like they could actually open up, and even have little buttons sculpted on like they'd snap closed.  The same can be said about all the belts, holsters, and straps, as they feature adjusting holes for buckles, a leathery look to the holsters, and seams sculpted on.  The belt's a separately sculpted piece, and really a nice effort by whoever made it, as it really sets the figure apart from Jango I think.

    Montross shares parts with Boba Fett, however he shares very few.  He only uses Fett's upper and lower torso pieces.  Everything else is brand new!  Fett's torso armor has some distinct dents and dings, but they aren't a problem at all to me.  I like that they used Boba's armor so that Montross was completely like the Jango torso they used on Mareel.

    Montross' headsculpt is that of a military-man, complete with flat-top haircut.  He's younger in his life at this point, so a lack of scarring seems appropriate.  He has a cool kind of stern/pissed off face sculpt as well, which is appropriate for a guy as scummy as he is.  But I liked that they made sure to sculpt his arms with short-sleeves instead of full sleeves.  It seems to be a signature of his outfit in various EU that he turns up in.  I remember it from the game and how distinct it looks.  Plus they also gave him some pretty big guns too.  Looks like Montross could whip some ass with his popeye forearms and biceps!  This dude's pretty big.

    Just likek Jaster, Montross' belt is incredibly detailed, and sculpted as though it wraps around his waist multiple times.  There are blue straps that hang down off the back of the belt for some reason, and look like they're wrapped in with all the other layers of belt at his waist.  There are more crisply sculpted pouches and buckles, notches, and holsters.  Another great detail is that Montross has thigh-straps sculpted to the holsters on his belt.  They fit over the figure's thighs and thus move the holsters with the articulation.  This is something I truly wish Hasbro would standardize at this point.  Unfortunately, Jaster Mareel does NOT have this feature, but that's not to say he necessarilly needs it.  I don't know if Jango wore them or not, but if he did, he should have them then, and I think Jaster would look cooler with the thigh-straps.

    Montross features some simpler forearm gauntlets.  His legs are 100% new from top to toes.  There are straps sculpted on that wind around both his legs, and he has knee guards and some thigh pads.  He has boots with sculpted treads and some armor on the top of the shoes.  I guess he has to wear them for the Star Wars equivalent of OSHA.  No bounty hunting without metatarsals.

    Overall, both figures feature some old parts, and some new parts.  One figure is almost completely re-used, and the other is almost completely new.  Both are very fine sculpts, sharp details, and pretty great likenesses to how they appear in various EU.  All Montross needs is some weathering, altered paint details, and white-ish hair and he's all set to be re-released as Montross when he is competing with Jango Fett in the "Bounty Hunter" game!  And I'd buy him just for that reason.

    I have to say, I was really quite shocked at how nicely and accurate both these figure's sculpts are.  Tip of the hat to Hasbro on that one.

    -Articulation:  I'd generally rank articulation a little lower in the review, but I wanted to just kind of move it out of the way now because it goes without saying really that the articulation is great on both figures.  But I'll say anyway that it's basically "super articulation" as we've come to know it.  Hasbro didn't add anything, but they didn't take anything away either, and got it just right to me.

    Jaster Mareel features articulation at:

    • 2 Ball/Socket Shoulder Joints
    • 2 Ball/Socket Elbow Joints
    • 2 Cut Wrist Joints (Above the Forearm Guards)
    • 1 Ball/Socket Neck Joint
    • 1 Ball/Socket Torso Joint
    • 2 Cut Hip Joints
    • 2 Ball/Socket Knee Joints
    • 2 Ball/Socket Ankle Joints

    For a total of 14 points of articulation.  

    The gauntlets of the Jango Fett figure's arms have faced a little criticism, however I think they work well enough.  The only addition I'd make that would help a lot is giving Jaster (or Jango) wrist articulation also below the gauntlets.  Ideally, Hasbro could even give him ball-joints at the wrists like they're doing now with some figures.  It would help him hold more weapons properly (his hands are sculpted pretty specifically for his pistols right now).

    Montross features articulation at:

    • 2 Ball/Socket Should 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 Ball/Socket Torso Joint

    For a total of 14 points of articulation.

    Like I said, basically super articulation as we've come to know it, on both figures.  Montross is a hair more poseable due to the different forearm articulation design.  Mareel re-using Jango's parts, and the way Hasbro did those on the Evolutions Jango, does seem a little limiting in poseability.  Montross has basically no problems though.  And both figures sit, run, kneel, shoot, and just stand around fine.  Posing them fighting has been cool on my desk here while I write this.  They look like bad-asses, and they have the articulation to make them fun to pose like bad-asses.  ;D  The articulation is quite sufficient though, on both.

    -Paint Aps/Decoration:  Both figures sport some pretty impressive deco applications at this point.  However, Hasbro still is cutting paint aps as well.  I'm going to focus on the positives at this point though, and I'll just list what's cut later because it's unfortunate.

    Both figures feature some pretty ornate decoes on their costumes first.  Jaster Mareel has a neat yellow diamond on his chest plate, some yellow and black bantha skull logos on his shoulders along with red shoulder armor pads, and the rest of the armor is painted a gunmetal type of color.  His costume is a dull grey-green jumpsuit, nothing flashy really, but appropriate.  The gauntlets got little paint detail added, but the hoses for the flamethrower and other sneaky weapons did get painted black.

    Montross has red triangles on his shoulders and his chest armor, and his armor is mostly a gunmetal color as well, except for blue shoulder pads.  His jumpsuit is a more dull blue color, and his straps around his legs and arms got black paint aps.  His flesh tone of his arms matches his face, which is nice because it doesn't always turn out that way!  Hasbro also dabbed some silver on his holster buckles and belt buckles.  This was something Mareel didn't get.

    Both characters have good face/hair paint applications as well.  Both my characters have perfectly centered eyes, no straying of any of the colors, and no crossed-eye-syndrome.  Jaster's eyes appear more complex, using the 3-layer-technique (white, iris, pupil), while Montross' eyes are more squinty in their sculpt and seem like they're just a simpler paintjob by default then.  Mareel's hair is jet black, which his age implies to me he should have some grey.  Montross has a light wash into his flattop sculpt that gives the impression he's greying a little bit.  I thought both characters have pretty expressive face sculpts, without looking too specific, and Hasbro did a nice job painting them just right.  The skin tones are even perfect to me.

    Like I said, some things were cut.  Mostly on Mareel's deco, but both suffered a lack of "wear".  Otherwise I think they're pretty great.  I like how they display, and with all the other Mando's (like the Clone Training Mandalorians from Entertainment Earth) they really look cool.

    -Accessories:  Both of these guys come armed to the hilt!  They're here to kick chew bubblegum and kick ass... and guess what?  They're both out of bubblegum (god, I love that line).  I'm really shocked, actually, at how many weapons and accessories both guys came with.  They each come with 3 weapons, backpacks, capes, and helmets!  That's a ton of stuff for a Star Wars figure, especially in the comic packs, which seemed to screw you on accessories sometimes, or something usually got left out.  Not these two though.

    Montross sports a blue cloth cape, jetpack, blaster rifle, two blaster pistols, and Mandalorian helmet.  

    The jetpack is just Boba Fett's pack redecorated...  sort of.  It's actually a NEW sculpt.  It's heavily based on Boba's pack, but it's not as smooth, and tiny details got changed on it.  It really isn't the same sculpt though.  The biggest difference though, is that it has a longer peg to compensate for fitting through the figure's cloth cape, and it's gunmetal decoed with blue highlights to make it Montross' pack.  I'm not sure how accurate this pack is to all the character's EU images, but it works for me.

    Montross has a blue cloth cape, which is pretty cool and fairly simple.  It has a little stitching for strengh at the neck, and a hole so the jetpack fits through at the back.  It's neat.  And he sports a re-use of a Boba helmet, complete with dent.  If it were me, I'd have used another Jango helmet without the dent, but it's probably easier to just use the Fett helmet with the Fett body I guess.  The helmet doesn't feature a moving range-finder, as they don't seem to do those anymore, and that should change in my opinion.  It does sport a pretty ornate deco though, with blue and black markings, as well as a yellow emblem on the right front above the visor.  Also nice is tht the visor is glossy black, and the other black details are dull and muted.  It's a pretty cool look.

    The hardware this guy carries into battle is great.  Montross got three blasters, which are new sculpts.  There are two identical pistols which Hasbro saw fit to give ornate decorations to both!  They have tan handles, as well as copper, brown, and gunmetal paint details.  That's a ton of paint for just a couple of accessories, and I'm shocked they did this much for just the guy's pistols.  He also comes with a blaster rifle which is a gunmetal grey color with a couple copper paint details, most notably on the end of the stock.

    One guy, and that's already a ton of gear.

    Jaster Mareel features similar stuff, though less ornate with the paint aps.

    He comes with the Evolutions Jango jetpack, which is unaltered except it's a lighter color than Jango's, with red highlights to make it Mareel's.  It matches Jaster's helmet nicely which is the same basic deco except with a glossy black visor like Montross has.  Like Montross, there is a cape, but it's a dark red since Mareel seems to like red a lot.  It has a black strap sewn to it, and a hole in the back for Jaster's jetpack to fit through as well.  It's a cool look, and works for both figures with the big flowing capes and the packs sort of holding it all together.

    Mareel comes with three blasters also, and they're also a couple of new sculpts.  He features two identical pistols like Montross, but they're a different sculpt and much smaller.  They're lacking any deco, and are simply a simple gunmetal grey color that they're cast in.  That's fine too because there isn't much you could do except some silver highlights or something.  To me, I'm cool with them as they are.  He also comes with a rifle which is a little hard for him to hold like he's aiming it.  It's  really cool sculpt though.

    The rifle's stock is a clearly wood-grain sculpting, and even features the Bantha Skull from Boba Fett's armor emblazoned on it!  It's a neat little tribute and looks really cool sculpted into the rifle's stock.  There is a lot of detail in the rifle overall and it sort of reminds you of Boba's from the classic movies.  It doesn't have a pistol-grip though, and is more like a traditional hunting rifle.  That's what makes it difficult for Jaster to be posed "aiming" the rifle, but shooting from the hip looks pretty cool.  It has little deco, like the pistols, which it actually could use some brown on the stock.  However they did paint the sculpted sling black, and a bayonette-type blade on the end got a silver deco, so that is cool.

    That's 6 accessories per figure.  That's a lot.  And at least half of those are new sculpts, and they're pretty great looking on top of that.  I would REALLY like to see these come back.  Otherwise, they're all great geat and I wish I had extras of all these weapons.

    CONS

    -Non-Moving Range-Finders:  I'm just going to get this out of the way quickly, but basically it's the only gripe I can possibly make about the accessories I think.  Hasbro did the moving range-finders on Mando helmets and ARC Trooper helmets for a while, but suddenly gave it up.  I'd really rather see them bring this back though, as I really thought it was a cool feature on the figures that had it.

    It's possible that they don't want a part that small on a removable helmet, but it wouldn't be the smallest part they ever made, and it could be made pretty secure to the helmets I think.  It's a cool feature, and EU fans surely would dig it for Jango at the very least.  Plus I believe Boba Fett's range-finder is down in Empire Strikes Back briefly.  It's something I'd like to see make a comeback.

    -Cut Paint Aps/Decoration:  I hate to even make a gripe because both figures are incredibly colorful, and both actually do feature a good number of paint applications.  It's just that some were cut that probably would've made sense.

    For instance, neither figure have any kind of wash or wear.  For "soldiers for hire" type guys like Mandalorians, you'd think there'd be at least a little dirt or wear to the outfits.  They're so clean it's like they're ready to parade before the Grand Poobah of Mandalorian's to show what good soldiers they are.  I think a wash wouldn't have hurt as it's something they could've done very lightly, one color, and it would've looked good.  As it stands though, looking really clean has its own coolness I guess.

    Jaster Mareel really is the character that got shafted on deco cuts though.  Especially his belt/holsters, where there is a ton of detail sculpted on that they just didn't highlight at all.  There are no buckles painted silver at all, and that sucks.  Every pouch has a button sculpted on it like it snaps shut, and not one of them got painted.  That's the little details some artist put in that really needed a paint ap to bring them out, and bring it to the collector's eyes what a great job was done to that new belt piece.

    Also both Montross and Jaster have sculpted-on treads at the bottom of their feet, but neither got a paint deco.  Even just black would look cool and make that little detail on both figures stand out.

    Ultimately it's picking nits because these figures both have a lot of deco already.  A little more could've gone a long way.

    -Availability:  It's hard to say this isn't a negative, in my view.  I'd probably have bought three of these sets by now if I could find them in stores.  As it stands, they're online exclusives, and as such they will cost you more than if you got them at the local store.  Entertainment Earth really deserves a lot of credit for getting these to market at all though, and if I don't find anyone with an extra set they don't want, then ultimately I'll be going back to EE to pick up an extra of these.

    Still, it's the kind of set that would've been great to see on the pegs at your local toy aisle.

    OVERALL

    Wow, long review...  I'm winded, or carpel tunneled, or whatever.

    What can I say about Jaster Mareel & Montross that I haven't already blabbed on about?  These two are great, and now that my review's done of them, I can't wait to put them up on my Mandalorian/Clone shelf.  They will blend in nicely there, however I have to say that these characters, and more particularly Montross, actually meant something to me.  I'm scratching my head most of the time with EU figures, and have to research them, but I knew Montross and was so glad he was getting a cool figure.

    The Bounty Hunter game on Gamecube really was a great gaming experience for me, and the story was outstanding.  If you've not played it, you should find a way to do so.  It gives so much insight into Jango's past leading up to Attack of the Clones, and makes you feel bad for him as a character because he's not really a "bad guy".  He doesn't like Jedi, but it seems like he's hardly alone in that mode of thinking.

    And his hatred of Montross is throughout the game till near its end!  I'm now intent on reading more of the Jango backstory as well, as I want to learn more about Jaster Mareel's character.

    Both figures turned out great though.  They're that ideal balance Hasbro sometimes finds.  New parts, old parts, but figures that seem completely new!  Great accessories, above-average decoes overall, very few flaws...  Hasbro hit a homerun with this set.  Not to mention that this would've had kids buying.  I cannot imagine a red and blue version of (basically) a Fett wouldn't appeal to random consumers and kids.  

    And here's a fun tip for you...  Both heads seemingly fit the Hoth Rebel Trooper for some troop diversity (as do any heads on the Boba or Jango bodies, like Jodo Kast).  A cool little extra I guess.  If it fits that body, it fits a number of other army builders as well like the Rebel Technician, and some of the Pilot figures and such.

    So the concensus?  If you don't buy another set of the exclusive Entertainment Earth comic packs, buy this one.  It's hands-down my favorite of the 4 they put out to, at least for now, wrap up this line.

    (Since these reviews are so long, I'm going to bow away from comic packs for now unless someone writes me asking to review one for some reason.  I'm going to try sticking with basic figures for brevity for a while, haha!)[/list]
    « Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 04:13 AM by Jesse James »
    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

    • Jedi Master
    • *
    • Posts: 6319
    • I aim to misbehave.
      • View Profile
      • Every Action Figure Parody has a beginning.
    Re: New JD Review: EE Comic Packs - Jaster Mareel & Montross
    « Reply #1 on: January 12, 2011, 11:56 AM »
    Great review Jesse.  I agree that these two were the gem of the set.
    Peacekeeper, when it absolutely, positively has to be nuked in 30 minutes or less.  Or the next nuke's free!

    Offline Jesse James

    • Staff Member
    • Grand Master
    • *
    • Posts: 31726
    • Slippery When Poopy
      • View Profile
      • JediDefender.com
    Re: New JD Review: EE Comic Packs - Jaster Mareel & Montross
    « Reply #2 on: January 13, 2011, 04:00 AM »
    Thanks Matt, that's appreciated as always. :)

    I think some people leaned towards the two sets I actually won't be reviewing, and I will say that they have some pretty decent figures.  The Mandalorian guy in that KotOR set is really well done and surprisingly detailed and cool.  But the material of the Montross/Mareel set had me right awa, so I had to review it.

    And that Fel/Issard set is dismal.  What a POS it is, especially when looked at against any other set in the EE Exclusive case.
    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