Author Topic: Setting the Bar  (Read 1342 times)

Offline Brian

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Setting the Bar
« on: August 4, 2004, 05:43 PM »
Although there are still a few shortcomings in many of our eyes with the recent VOTC releases, overall these are some of the best figures we have likely seen in the modern line.  While some figures can be improved upon (C-3PO with more articulation - knees at least, a "tricked out" R2-D2, etc.), some of the others look to be at their best.  I was just thinking about this today, has Hasbro really set the bar as high as it can be for some of these figures?  For example, are figures from the VOTC such as Han Solo, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Stormtrooper, and Boba Fett as good as they can be?  Since Hasbro's current stance seems to be "no way" on re-releasing these figures later on, I wonder how they can release these characters in the lineups in the future (at least in these specific outfits/incarnations) without them seeming "dull" in comparison to these VOTC versions.  I mean, "New Hope" Han, Vader, Fett, Chewie...these are a few of Hasbro's favorite "main characters" to keep on the pegs.  While there are other routes they can take with some of these characters (new Endor and/or Stormtrooper Han for example), can these particular versions be improved upon?  Unless there is something added on, I don't see what would drive anyone to pick up a New Hope style Han Solo in the future, if it isn't this current Vintage Original Trilogy Collection version.  Anyways, just something I was thinking about, and curious as to some of your thoughts.

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #1 on: August 4, 2004, 06:14 PM »
Excellent Topic.  I agree, why would I want to buy inferior versions of these figures in the future?

They really should re-release these versions again somewhere down the road (and I think they will but don't want to say so just yet) on regular cardbacks.

What could they do though?  

- They could always re-release Han, Leia, Luke, Obi Wan and Lando with different head sculpts with new facial expressions

- Vader could have a removable helmet

- Luke, Obi Wan, Leia could be altered to not have soft goods

 :P

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #2 on: August 4, 2004, 06:18 PM »
Yeah, I have a real problem with calling the Leia, Ben, 3P0, and R2 as anywhere near perfect. Han, and from what I can tell so far Vader, Chewie, Lando, Yoda, Fett, and the Stormtrooper are pretty high benchmarks. I can only gripe about slight omissions on those, like Han's molded vest that should have been a seperate piece, or the apparent missing articulation on the Stromtrooper.

It's interesting to think about the dilemma you bring up. I have a feeling Hasbro will use the 9.99 price tag to hide behind in the future as an excuse why that can't reach that bar again in standard figures; all of which will be BS because we've seen lots of articulation close to the VOTC at a standard price, namely the SA Clone.

That's a bit irritating since I'm certain the day will come when we get things like that Stormtrooper Han and a retooled Biker Scout that should match the level of detail/articulation of the VOTC. Figures that are army builders or that have very distinct costumes not used in other scenes need better articulation and features treatment. Anything less and we'll feel like it's an opportunity lost since they don't exactly do a Stormie Han variation every year.

On others figures, especially more scene-specific core characters that have a visual look similar to their "ultimate" counterparts, I can live with them not matching the VOTC versions. If they can deliver an Ewok Diety C3P0, and just get the knee articulation working, I wouldn't expect or be unhappy if little else "wow" happened with the figure. Same goes for any Vaders, Chewies, et cetera.

I think we'll be going back to standard articulation core characters for a while. Hopefully the VOTC releases will mean they'll put to rest the standard costumes for a bit and crank out some more oddball variants on those characters. It would be nice to get a Lando in Smugglers Gear, Luke in Medical Robes, Leia in Boushh Disguise, Endor Han, and others to fill that need.

Also, considering the percieved "kid interest" Hasbro has dillusions about should all but about die after Xmas 2005, maybe its time for a scaled back line. You know, 25 figures a year. A small core line, and assuming VOTC does ok at the higher pricepoint, a small upscale line that can continue to crank out fan favorites at the VOTC detail/features/articulation benchmark. I'd pay a bit more to keep that quality coming, me thinks.  8)

Offline Darby

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #3 on: August 4, 2004, 06:31 PM »
All I know is I will never buy another Han, Fett, Vader, Stormtrooper, Chewie, or Yoda.  I won't even buy these, unless and until Hasbro repacks them down the line.  If they don't, they don't.  My concern always has been this has been a trial balloon to see if we'll fork over $10 each for EP3 figs, and from the rumor in one thread, maybe they think we will.

Offline JediMAC

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #4 on: August 4, 2004, 06:44 PM »
Yeah, I agree that Hasbro's set the bar with most of these VOTC figures, despite a few of their shortcomings.  What bothers me, is that this is a bar that should've been set a LONG time ago, IMO.  I understand that the added articulation and detail probably results in about a $2 - $3 premium that would have to be paid for figures to be made like this (I think the suped up VOTC packaging likely resulted in the other half of the markup on these to $10).

But I think your point, Brian, is that Hasbro likes to keep the main characters fresh at retail (for the kids, supposedly), by re-releasing them every so often, and that if they intend to continue doing that in the future, it would seem logical (to a reasonably intelligent person, mind you) to put the best respective sculpts of these main characters back out, rather than taking a giant step backwards and re-releasing a far more inferior earlier figure of said character.  God, that was a mouthful, and one helluva run-on sentence...   :P

Did I get that right?  If so, then yes, I wholeheartedly agree, and that was one of the beefs I had with them down at Comic Con a couple weeks ago, when they told me there was NO WAY IN HELL any of these VOTC figures would EVER be re-released again, in any way, shape, or form.   ::)  To me, that's just downright stupid.  If the cost of creating these molds is already recouped through the initial VOTC run, and a potential subsequent release of these figures could be made on a regular (cheaper) basic card, then I see no reason why Hasbro couldn't use these VOTC figures as their perennial re-releases later on down the line.  Heck, they could even raise the figure prices to $6 or $7 to cover the added production costs if they needed to.  But I think another "Hall of Fame" type wave of re-releases like we saw at the tail end of the Saga line, consisting of these VOTC figures sometime in 2006, makes all the sense in the world...

I fully expected the Hasbro reps at SDCC to say "there are no plans to re-release these figures again later, even in different/cheaper packaging", just to keep us all on our toes, assuring them that we'd at least for now be forced to pick up these VOTC figure en masse, at the 100% higher price point of $10.  I just didn't expect them to be so freaking adamant about it...

It's bad enough to finally get some "ultimate" versions of most of these core characters that a lot of us would like to have a couple extras of for customs, dioramas, and such.  But for the exquisite army builder that is the VOTC Stormtrooper to rot away in eternal damnation, that's just a crying shame.

But I still think we may just see some/all of these again on down the line, despite Hasbro's comments to the contrary.  A Stormtrooper army builder pack, at the very least...
« Last Edit: August 4, 2004, 06:45 PM by JediMAC »

Offline Force Guy

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #5 on: August 4, 2004, 08:21 PM »
I have mixed feelings about VOTC.  On one hand, I'm pretty impressed with figures like VOTC Han, Vader, Chewie, and Stormtrooper (despite the funky looking elbow joint).  The likeness is remarkable and the articulation upgrades are awesome.  I mean, they're close to being the definitive versions of Han, Vader, Chewie, and Stormie.  On the other hand, Hasbro leaves much to be desired with some of the others, namely Luke, Leia, Yoda, C-3PO, and Ben.  There's no doubt that both Luke and Leia have loads of articulation.  However, the likeness (IE head sculpt) with both figs is very bad.  The opposite is true for 3PO.  The likeness is spot on, but the articulation is non-existent.  With VOTC Yoda, it's nice to see him with soft goods, snake, etc., but how about making him the right color?!  And I don't know why Hasbro felt the need to include a big brown tent with Ben Kenobi.  His robe is HUGE.  Such shortcomings shouldn't be tolerated given the 100% markup in price.  I'm sure Hasbro will make VOTC figs available again in the future.  They would be passing up on a great opportunity if they decided not to (especially since the sculpts are already paid for).      

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Offline Muftak

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #6 on: August 4, 2004, 10:07 PM »
I can totally see these coming back again someday, as ten-dollar sets with some changes.

Han could have his chest remolded to allow for a removable vest. They could remake his gunbelt to be removable, and slap a removable stormtrooper belt in the package too.

Chewie could have "poppable" head hairstyle changes, and a removable bandolier (if not already. ;) ) and gas mask.

Luke could come with a ton of accessories--all the old T-16s, tools, rifles, floppy hats, maybe even a poncho. Then give us the blastshield training helmet and a new lightsaber with snap-on training remote. Throw all that in and they would have a "new" figure I would pay ten dollars for (whereas I'm not gonna buy him in the VOTC pack).

Vader could be remade with a plastic cape, and removable headgear. Throw in some other accessory and he'd be "new" and worth it too.

I don't think we're seeing the last of "most" of the parts of the VOTC. Definitely never in Vintage packages. I can see why they'd be reluctant to make them 5-dollar figures someday, though. After the "special" Fett became a pack-in twice, I don't think collectors (at least, not openers)would bite on the special 10-dollar figures anymore.
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Offline Vator

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #7 on: August 5, 2004, 02:55 AM »

Well, there's always room for improvement, take TESB Vader for example.

Hasbro decided to go with angle joints on the arms of this figure. This is unfortunate because it makes posing him with two hands on his lightsabre darn near impossible. It also makes the 'hand on hip' pose near impossible. (It can be done, so I have learned, but with some work).

The Inner Cape (the lower part atleast) seems to be to far back in terms of it's relativety to the sculpted part.

The Outer Cape, even though being made out of the same material as the MOTDs Vader, is far to large. It looks great from the front, but from the sides and back the cape is far to large. Think Vinty 12' Vader.


It's still my favorite figure of all time (kicked the Commtech Chip Vader's butt) but it could be improved apon. It still is, despite it's short comings, the nicest Vader figure yet.

Remember, the bar is in constant motion. Until last year, who would have thought these figures would even be possible?
- June 22, 2004 12:13 AM -

Offline JediMAC

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #8 on: August 5, 2004, 01:32 PM »

Well, there's always room for improvement, take TESB Vader for example.

I thoroughly despise his diamond-studded cape chain.  Looks ridiculous!   >:(

Offline Vator

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #9 on: August 5, 2004, 01:45 PM »
It really isn't that bad in person really. I actually happen to like how it turned out. It's nothing like the pictures atleast.
- June 22, 2004 12:13 AM -

Offline JediMAC

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #10 on: August 5, 2004, 01:48 PM »
I was actually referring to the loose Vader figure that I saw down at Comic Con, and the chain on that one looked crazy ridiculous to me.  Hopefully they've toned the final product down a notch though, so it's not so gaudy.  I was actually planning on doing some customizing work on the chain when I got an extra loose one, just so the bling bling wasn't so detracting from the rest of the figure.

Where'd you get your Vader from so early, Andrew?  You get the other ESB ones too?  (nevermind, just saw your response in the VOTC Purchases thread)
« Last Edit: August 5, 2004, 01:50 PM by JediMAC »

Offline Vator

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #11 on: August 5, 2004, 01:54 PM »
www.AllianceCollectables.com

That way I am asured that I get the ones I need ASAP. I really have to give props to them, both my purchases from them got here fast and were as mint  they come.

I don't have the rest of TESB wave though, I'm going to wait for the rest to hit market. I'm mainly interested in '3PO truth be told. The new Yoda is kinda, blah to me. And Lando...well I think he looks crappy.

Time will tell
- June 22, 2004 12:13 AM -

Offline Jesse James

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Re: Setting the Bar
« Reply #12 on: August 5, 2004, 04:21 PM »
Here's something I've thought about since a while back when I first mentioned the idea of a "collector's line" of more expensive, but super posoeable figures and then the basic $5 figure line.

My concept was that the basic figures could still sell in pre-posed fashion if there were to be a SA version of the figure.

For instance, Han Solo in ANH.  You give that SA version (preferably with all the accessories he'd need), and then at the same time in the basic line a figure like Death Star Escape Han sneaks in...

I for one am happy to see pre-posed ANH Han's now that they've made the VOTC Han ANH...  So long as they're really well sculpted, detailed, and accessories should make them more appealing.

So I think there is a market for arguably lesser figures now.  There is no market for the CT Han though, short of the carded collectors.  To me VOTC Han should be the recarded figure then.  Whether Hasbro says "no!" or not.  They can kiss off.

As far as whether they CAN be better than what they are?

-SA Clone...  Easily could use feet holes of course, but also, who would argue with ball/socket hips like the VOTC Luke figure?  I doubt I would, especially if it's well hidden (Luke's seems ok from what Paul showed us).

-VOTC Han...  Same could be said of Han, with the ball/socket hip, but also I think the holster's unsightly.  It's the figure's biggest drawback to me.  The way it "hovers" from the legstrap on his thigh.  Very odd.  I actually think a molded on holster (maybe not the belt, just the holster) would be better, but that's me...  Or connecting it to the thigh and using a much more flexible plastic than the stuff they used?  

Removable Stormie belt wouldn't have hurt either.  He's pretty shy on accessories really.

-VOTC Ben Kenobi...  Well, what COULDN'T be improved?

First, the arm articulation's attrocious.  Angle joints suck to me...  21st Century Toys was the innovator of this articulation style, and they subsequently QUIT doing it.  Why Hasbro would pick up the proverbial "other man's trash" and run with it, I don't know.  Ball/socket elbows on Jedi are doable (Screen Scene Mace Windu for instance), and Obi should've had the same.  

The fact his legs have ZERO articulation beyond the basic hips, I think it's safe to say he could use ball/socket knees, ankles, and the hip splits articulation like Luke wouldn't hurt either.  He was kinda "extreme" posed when fighting Vader after all.

I think his soft-goods skirt is sorta cool, but it's not accurate.  Had it had the layered effect with the ties and straps that hung down, I think it'd be 10x better.  

His outer cloak is a nice pattern, but poor fabric.  Easily they could've used the SAME material they used on Total Control Mace Windu, and that cloak would've looked awesome.  Why they opted not to, one will never know.  It's the perfect fabric for this scale.

No saber hilt or way to clip it on his belt?  Also a let-down to me.  Obi spents most of his time that way, so that's disappointing to me.

-VOTC Leia...  I kind of like her as she is, but she too is missing ball/socket knee articulation as she just sports hinges.  I can see how doing her ankles would be tough, but part of me thinks it is possible still.  

Beyond that thugh, I like Leia's arm articulation well enough, and the only real flaws she has are no feet holes and no sporting blaster.  

I like her headsculpt, though I see others say she's still not close to Fisher.  I think she is.  

Anyway, that's my take on the SA/VOTC figures I have thus far...  Nothing's perfect, and everything's fixable, but Han's damn close, and so's the Clone.  I think even Leia's pretty great.  Only Obi disappoints me.

I also notice a lot of general gripes about the new ball/scket heads.  Honestly, I think it's just cheaper for Hasbro.

They've taken their construction of figures down a notch...  Before they used a more expensive plastic on figure torsos (more rigid) that required 2 torso halves to be fused together.  They've changed that now to a single-piece torso made out of the same pliable plastics used throughout the modern line on heads/limbs.  The old-style ball/socket joints appear to have gone the way of the do-do (though "Dutch" had one, so who knows).

I think they do this now though because it limits construction on the figure while maintaining the greatest range of motion.  Arguably better than figures like the CT Stormtrooper.

I agree it turns out odd sometimes, but I think it's good on VOTC Han and Leia.  Ozzel though...  Definitely odd looking.  That's the sculptor's fault though, not the articulation style.

Look at Antilles...  He looks great I think.
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