The Revenge of the Sith blitz put a nice emphasis on Wookiees even if they didn’t get the screen-time we were all expecting them to have. Right off the bat there was the Preview Wookiee Warrior, then the April 2nd launch saw immediately a Chewbacca figure as well as the subject of today’s review, the Wookiee leader Tarfful.
While the news of Tarfful, and his early images, seemed very promising due to the Preview Wookiee’s greatness, I can’t help but say that the final product disappointed a little since it didn’t meet the standard set by the preview figure. Just fell a bit short, and that’s a shame since the Wookiee characters were probably among the most appealing to collectors and kids short of the Clones. Hasbro could’ve just given us a little something extra with this figure but didn’t come through, but that’s not to say he’s all doom and gloom either. He has his strong points and he suffices for a character that didn’t see any combat action in the film really.
So what are these pro’s and con’s? Well, I’ll get into that right now to show you just what this figure needed to make it a winner. Read on for “The Good… The Bad… & The Ugly” on Tarfful, as I always dish it out for you straight.
-Sculpt: Tarfful features the new sculpting Wookiee figures have been sculpting that utilizes their long stringy hair to cover up articulation points pretty well, and that’s a good way of keeping a figure realistic looking while retaining poseability.
The long thick dreadlocks that are Tarfful trademarks act as a good means of covering all signs of a neck joint, as they dangle down the majority of his back and cover his shoulders and part of his chest in the front. There’s also fur covering joints at his knees, as the fur is sculpted from his thigh above the joint to somewhat envelope the knee joint. While the knee joints are all they could be, there is a point of articulation there that’s quite well hidden.
Much like the fur covering the knees, there is also the same style of sculpting at the elbows where fur covers swivel joints there again. The fur dangles in strands, seemingly hanging off the figure itself in a realistic manner and covering the point of articulation nicely.
The sculpt of Tarfful, of course, features mostly a lot of lines of long hair since he’s the Ewok’s big brother. The sculpt looks good and about what you should expect out of any Wookiee figure at this point. It’s sharp, has a lot of waviness and uneven looks to it just as it should. There’s little tufts of fur at his feet sculpted out here and there to look like they’re forming to the ground beneath his toes, and that’s a nice little touch of realism.
Tarfful features very little attire to speak of, but sculpted onto him is the Y-Harness that some Wookiees were seen wearing in the film. He has decorative shoulder pads as well, and the armor is multi-layered so the lower layer of the pad is sculpted to his upper arm while the upper pad of the shoulder armor is sculpted to the shoulder on the body of the figure. The result is that the ball/socket shoulder is so well hidden (and a rather stiff joint at first) that I don’t know everyone would even be aware that it is there. Some may just think it’s a regular standard shoulder joint under there, but it’s a nice poseable ball/socket joint just incredibly well hidden by clever sculpting on Hasbro’s part. Also on the harness are a number of decorative armor bits, clips, straps, and generally a lot of detail, so while he’s not well clothed he sports a nice sculpt on what he does have.
Tarfful’s headsculpt is very nice and unique. He’s instantly recognizable as being a much different looking Wookiee than Chewbacca or the two Wookiee Warrior sculpts we’ve received. The most noticeable difference in the sculpt are Tarfful’s giant dreadlocks that, as noted above, hide the neck articulation well. Tarfful has a slightly open/growling mouth, but nothing too wild or pre-posed looking. For some reason Wookiee’s just look ok with their mouth agape I guess.
The sculpt is everything you should expect out of a Wookiee figure with the foot pads and claws, finely sculpted fur, stringy hair covering articulation, and all the like. He gets a big thumbs-up from me for being an aesthetically pleasing figure.
-Accessories: The good General Tarfful comes with a fair number of accessories, or at least a number of individual pieces for the one accessory, and another accessory that wasn’t totally expected. While I’d have liked some more “Command” type accessories like a holograph of the battlefield or some such, the gear this big fur ball has isn’t too bad.
The first piece is actually 3 separate pieces. Tarfful comes with a Wookiee bowcaster gun that was also packed with the basic line Wookiee Warrior (both flavors). It consists of the main gun assembly, the bow string/frame that snaps into the front of the main assembly, and then there’s also a blast accessory that snaps into the gun and can be “fired” by pushing it out of the gun.
The bowcaster is a little bit lame though, and not my favorite accessory to come out of the ROTS line. That’s not to say it’s all bad, and it’s nice they packed any gun in since Tarfful wasn’t seen in combat at all in the film. It would’ve been nice if he had been seen duking it out with Clones actually, but I guess that maybe hit the cutting room floor. The gun’s a nice extra for what it is though.
The second accessory is a nicely sculpted wooden club/cane that I don’t honestly even recall from the film, but this seems a much more befitting accessory for a seemingly older looking member of his species. The club’s a neat piece for use with Tarfful’s action feature, and it also functions nicely if you have him leaning on it as a cane or something. Like he has it for multiple purposes, just in case he gets in a little hand-to-giant-Wookiee-paw combat.
The club’s sculpted to look all gnarly and detailed with lots of wood grain and knots and twisting details hidden in there for a relatively secondary piece. This is the simpler accessory overall though, but I have to say it’s the one I appreciate a lot more. Both are good pieces to have though, I just think something more appropriate to Tarfful’s “commander” status at the battle of Kashyyyk would’ve been cool to have since he seemed to be overseeing the battle more than fighting in it. Even some little holographic vehicles or droids would’ve been neat, like are in the War Room 3-packs from a few years ago.
-Paint Aps/Decoration: While I’m listing paint application as a positive mark, I am also going to be listing it as a negative due to one overall paint application I was disappointed in. That said though, I liked a lot of the detail work they did on Tarfful’s paint to make him stand out and look realistic.
My favorite aspect is probably the shoulder armor which has a very copper-ish hue to, and looks like it’s old, maybe handed down through generations, and it appears as if it has the whitish tarnishing and discoloration that copper seems to get. Like if you found a penny that’s been sitting outside, it gets that discoloration to it, well that’s a neat little paint application that seems to have worked well on Tarfful’s shoulder plates and looks really nice.
The other paint applications vary by piece. For instance his belt’s a noticeably leathery brown and painted separate, but blends into the figure some due to the figure being a dark brown. You can see it’s different if you look close but just hanging on the pegs it is kind of tough to tell. The leather Y-harness also features a number of “gunmetal” looking decorative armor plates, like on the front of the armor and on the buckle. Silver clips then line the Y-harness and there appears to be very little bleeding of the silvers and browns on each other or even onto the fur sculpt of the figure.
Tarfful’s ape-like hands and feet have dark grey padding, and look very leathery and realistic. At the end of each finger and toe is a long black claw the Wookiee race uses for climbing high into their tree cities and homes, and Hasbro made sure to paint each of them nicely, and even with a little bit of a shine to them.
All that’s left then is the details on Tarfful’s headsculpt. He has his huge dreadlocks a noticeably darker color than the rest of his fur, and tied/bound by silver rings at various points. The rings are nicely painted and the dark dreadlocks stand out on the figure and really are his distinguishing feature. Also on the headsculpt are details like Tarfful’s eyes and mouth. The eyes are recessed into the figure a lot so paint applications are small and tough to see, but the eyes seem to have a lot of variety in color for as small as they are, and they may even be the typical 3-layer eye paint application seen on most figures. The mouth has a lighter brown lip paint application and an off-white color used to paint the imposing looking teeth that Tarfful is baring at someone or barking an order.
The end result is a nice paintjob on everything I noted however my complaint with the paint application lies with the paint applied to the fur, which is the majority of the figure’s paintjob unfortunately. It left something to be desired.
-Articulation: Tarfful was a figure I figured the kids would go nuts over. Heck I thought most people were going to be Wookiee crazy after Episode 3’s release ultimately, and really I think that was the case. I know Tarfful was tough to find around here that first day but he became easier and easier to find right away and people (especially the kiddies) were sure to get their hands on Furry leader.
I felt certain figures needed a heavier push at retail to capitalize on reeling in the “new blood” to the hobby, especially in the critical times like during the film’s release, in the month leading up to the film, and in the film’s 1 or 2 month aftermath when you have to keep the attention of the kids to really hook them. Hasbro and retail seemed to have this figure and he and Chewbacca did seem to do fairly well. He’s a little bit of a pegwarmer now but not terribly so like some, and that’s a major positive mark on this one.
-Action Feature: While I’m rarely ever filled with glee by an action feature, I like them if they work well and don’t obstruct the figure’s poseability or looks at all. The feature Tarfful has is a simple one where you twist the waist of the figure, and it springs back to where you had it. The feature works and doesn’t inhibit the poseability at all really, so I’m pretty well happy with this one.
The feature also is kind of fun if you’re into having Tarfful knock some Clones around, or slap a battledroid squad that managed to get to him. Maybe he’s knocking a Trandoshan Slaver around if you’re a fan of the Republic Commando game? I don’t know. The feature works well though in that it really moves the figure with some force so he can really biff another figure with his massive paw. If only all action features were this kind of quality! So yeah, I give a positive mark for the feature, but laugh it up you fuzzballs at Hasbro because I know this isn’t going to happen often!
-Paint Aps/Decoration: The problem with the paint application on Tarfful that I noted earlier is really only one problem, but it’s all over this figure so it certainly stands out. His fur is molded in a dark brown color, and due to the character’s age (I assume), he’s to have grey/white streaks and highlights throughout his long fur. The problem with the paint then is that the white/grey is very sloppy and looks more like cheap frosting more than grey hairs earned through age and experience.
Actually, Tarfful looks quite a bit like an iced animal cookie, if you can imagine that analogy. That’s not to say he’s all bad because of this somewhat uninspired paintjob on the fur, not by any means, but this is a single flaw in a figure that has bigger issues with it, so it stands out a little bit more to me.
I’m also a little extra disappointed with this lackluster paint application because it encompasses so much of the figure’s end look. The white highlights really do stand out poorly on this figure since they’re covering so much of Tarfful. Also the sculpt of the figure’s rather impressive and it seems so wasteful to let such a nice sculpt be let down by not putting a strong effort into the paint. Hasbro’s proven they can paint Wookiee figures nicely with the VOTC Chewbacca or the Preview Wookiee, which were both impressive looking figures ultimately. They just let their leader down on his paintjob I guess.
-Articulation: Unfortunately Tarfful falls prey to my number one peeve. He’s got lackluster articulation, especially when the Preview Wookiee Warrior set the bar so high for future Wookiee figures to follow. I’m not sure why but Hasbro saw fit to omit any really useful knee articulation as well as limiting his arm articulation a bit. This knocks Tarfful down quite a bit in my book.
Tarfful features articulation at:
-2 ball/socket shoulder joints.
-2 swivel elbow joints.
-2 standard hip joints.
-2 swivel knee joints (why?).
-1 standard neck joint.
-1 standard waist joint (with action feature).
The total is 10 points of articulation however that number is a little bit deceptive since not all of that articulation is really all that useful. While I like the head sculpt, the head is a bit hard to turn as it is on many Wookiee figures, but that’s generally ok with me in instances like this. Also the action feature doesn’t allow the waist the poseability that a feature-less waist would, but it still works well enough so that’s ok too. The flaw is with the knee joints mostly, and the arms some too.
Hasbro, rather than giving Tarfful ball/socket knees like the Preview Wookiee, chose to make a joint that only swivels. This allows you to spin Tarfful’s feat around if you want (oh joy), but that’s it. He can’t be posed running at all, he can’t kneel down to chat with Yoda. There’s a lot he really can’t do all because they cut the knee articulation on our beloved furry hero and that really just sucks. What’s worse is that they made the legs separate so it’s not like making ball/socket knees would’ve been adding any additional cost to them. The figure already has a joint there, just make it a ball/socket joint instead of a swivel… otherwise save a buck and don’t articulate it at all since the swivel joint at the knee is 100% pointless. Very weird.
Also, while I applaud the ball/socket shoulders on Tarfful, and they are hidden so well, I think it was rather shoddy to not give the figure the articulation at the arms that the Preview Warrior had since he could hold a rifle with 2 hands or stand with his arms at his sides, raise them above his head in rage, “grapple” a battledroid (or Clonetrooper), or any other number of poses. It’s a shame Hasbro basically cheaped out on Tarfful since this is a figure that could’ve used a lot of additional articulation. I think I really would’ve liked to have had my Wookiee leader posed in a combat pose on my shelf but that’s my opinion.
My opinion of Tarfful’s been mostly shaped by the lacking articulation. The sloppy paint on the fur is something I could’ve easily overlooked had this just been a poseable figure, but Hasbro saw fit to cut some corners so I’ll either have to get cracking with customizing or hope for a new one I doubt is ever going to come. I’m not TOTALLY down on Tarfful though.
I think it’s worth having him in your collection for sure, and buying one is a must, but he’s just not all he could’ve been and he’s not all Hasbro’s proven they can deliver, and that’s where my beef is. They set the bar to a certain level and fell short. They turned what could’ve been another great Wookiee figure into a mediocre one. I’ll keep him at the head of my small army of Warriors, and he looks good, but he isn’t fun to pose with them tearing up a Clone squadron to help Yoda escape the planet. I can’t put the Preview Warrior figure down while Tarfful went on my desk on 4/2 and hasn’t gotten picked up much since. That’s a shame.
He’s one to have though and likely all we’ll ever get of him. I’m going to definitely try making an “ultimate” Tarfful at some point though, just for my own satisfaction, and because I really liked the character for his brief appearance. I still wish we’d gotten to see more Wookiee ragin’ in that film.
Anyway, pick him up but beware he may underwhelm you some. He’s not a Senator-ish figure, so why Mas Ameda would get better articulation is beyond me. That’s Hasbro for you at times though, and trying to figure out the “why” may just give you a nosebleed, so don’t bother.