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Messages - Muftak

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Original Trilogy Collection / Re: OTC...Selling that Well?
« on: October 4, 2004, 06:46 PM »
I was another one who thought OTC would tank big. Tonight I'll dine on crow. These things have been moving very well in my area.

I think the thing Hasbro finally got right was case assortments here. These last few cases have for the most part been one-pers. That means every new case is potentially going home with the first customer. Last week at a Wal*Mart near me I had the deeply unsatisfying experince of being the second guy to a new case of figures--the last wave, with the Gam Guard, Bib Fortuna, the Generals and the Scanning Tech. The guy who beat me bought them all--though he was nice enough to let me oggle them first. ;) That put me on the hunt, though--I hit about twenty stores in one day last week and saw just about every figure that's been released in 2004 (even J'Quille and Tanus)except those last few. I found a Lando General but that's been it.

The thing that hurt them was the early cases (with the Bespin and Dagobah figures) and that crap display at the Wal*Marts (with the figure cases). I've seen those figures lining shelves at most of the WMs around here--just way too many of too few figures to sell like the rest.

And the VOTCs have been a totally different story. They sit and sit, even Yodas and Vaders are starting to hang around here more. One WM here has a top shelf piled high with all the VOTCs they couldn't sell off the Falcon display. Maybe I'll buy Ben there when he gets deep discounted.

Original Trilogy Collection / Re: VOTC & VPTC
« on: September 29, 2004, 05:59 PM »
My caveat is only one version of any given character allowed

Episode I

*Darth Maul
*Qui-Gon Jinn
*Jar Jar Binks

Episode II

*Jango Fett
*Count Dooku
*Clone Trooper
*Super Battle Droid

Episode III

*General Grievous
*Anakin Skywalker
*Obi-Wan Kenobi
*Darth Sidious

Episode IV

*Jawa/R5-D4 2-pack
*Tusken Raider
*"Death Squad" Commander

Episode V

*Bespin Han
*Bespin Luke
*Bespin Leia
*Bespin Guard

Episode VI

*Ewok 2-pack (Wicket & Paploo, specifically)
*Admiral Ackbar
*Bib Fortuna
*Biker Scout

EU Clone Wars
*Asajj Ventress
*Mace Windu
*ARC Trooper

I'm really shocked no one has mentioned Jar Jar yet. We may not love him, but a super-posable version with cloth vest and skirt piece would be a really nice figure.

Original Trilogy Collection / Re: Defender Wish Lists 2004: A New Hope
« on: September 29, 2004, 05:05 PM »
  1. R5-D4
  2. Arcona
  3. Vaporator*
  4. SA Stormtrooper Luke
  5. SA Stormtrooper Han
  6. CZ-3
  7. Biggs Academy outfit (cut-scene)
  8. Owen Lars (resculpt)
  9. Rebel Tech
10. Ceremony Luke (resculpt)

*--Yes, I'm serious! If R1-G4 can be a figure, than so can a vaporator!!!

An interesting idea. I'm game. I typed mine up after reading Msonab's premise, but without reading his reviews (to keep my reviews clean). A lot of my analysis lines up with Mosnab's, but htere are some interesting differences

From the beginning, a line of ten-dollar action figures was a hard sell to me. I thought, packaging aside, they had better be some darn nice figures to warrant the 100% markup. I'm an opener, the packaging means nothing to me whatsoever--even the OTCs, I just rip 'em open and throw 'em away. I have seen all of the VOTCs (At one time, in one store, even.) and I have come home with seven of them. First, I'll go through the ones I didn't buy, and why:

Obi-Wan--I really liked the looks of him at the store, I still pick him up and look at him when I see him. He looks great in the package. But the pictures I've seen of him around have turned me off to buying him at the ten-dollar price--he's just not as fully posable as he could've easily been, and the soft goods didn't work well. If there's a clearance/deal/repack somewhere down the road for cheaper, I may yet get him. There aren't any great Obi-Wans, he's as close to the best Obi-Wan there is, but still terribly flawed.

Yoda--I passed on Yoda at first sight. The robe is ugly, the face is ugly. All he has going for him to me is the accessories--the snake and the flute necklace are nice, but not enough. I don't need a Yoda with sculpted little green legs to feel like I have the best Yoda. OTC beats him on everything, so I bought two of that instead.

Threepio--I don't like the Coin/Hall of Fame/OTC version of this figure that a lot of folks tout as the best Threepio, but I like the VOTC one even less. It simply doesn't look like Threepio. The detail is there, but the proportions are lacking. The lack of articulation on the "ultimate" version was a let down (I almost wrote a smack in the face, but that's a little overboard I think.) that my view of the figure never recovered from. I still have not seen a definitive Threepio action figure, but I feel it's only a matter of time.

Boba Fett--This is another figure I've gone around and around with myself about. On the one hand, I really want a good posable Fett, and this is it. On the other, the buckethead is just too big for me, it's not good, it doesn't please my eye. The gauntlets, also, are too bulky for my taste. and, in the end, he has the ROTJ colors. I'd prefer correct proportions in the ESB colors, and so I'll stick with the 300th version as my "definitive" Fett.

Artoo--Let's face it, asking ten dollars for Artoo is always going to be a tough sell. Sometimes asking five dollars for him is a bit of a stretch. Hasbro did what they could with him (removable 3rd leg, removable tools that look accurate) but in the end the chromedome and lightpipe eye just turned me off. It doesn't beat Bartoo as the Artoo in my collection.

Okay, so that's the misses. Here are the hits:

Han--The first figure I picked up. I did not like the ultra-realistic look of him when I first saw pics last winter, but the figure came out much better than it looked. This Han beats the Commtech version so easily, I almost wince when I look at that old version now. This is the high-water mark for human characters thus far.

Leia--At first I passed on Leia, but reviews and pictures on the web brought me around. The cloth skirt is a bit of a distraction, but the fact is it allows the figure to use the leg articulation to the fullest. The cut elbows could've been a failure, but her shoulders are sculpted so that you can swap shoulders and armpits to effectively straighten out the arms or bend them to cradle her gun. The face is good--the least ugly Leia we've gotten (to be as harsh as possible--I actually think it looks kind of cute.)

Luke--I never planned on buying Luke. I don't like the soft goods. They always fail to please my eye. But when I saw this Luke at the store, I realized it could work. I had to bunch the tunic way together in the back, and tuck his collar under, but he looks good. Again, it was necessary to use the soft goods this way to include the articulation. Luke can lean, squat, sit, and pretty much contort to any pose you want, even more than Han, really. About the hardest thing to have him do is put his arms up over his head, the sleeves kind of shrink up on him (though I guess the costume would flop down like that too.) I don't expect to ever get a more posable Luke.

Vader--Ah, Vader. I knew I wanted Vader as soon as I opened Han. All this articulation would work for Vader. And even though his ankles don't bend, his elbows are cut joints, and his cloak is cloth, I still love Vader. The cloth cloaks are the best soft goods of the line, they have a nice flow to them. Vader's arms look okay either bent or straight. The removable saber hilt is something I want to see in all Jedi figures, and really takes this Vader from great to outstanding, even with the glittery chain not working well.

Lando--I thought I would pass on Lando as well but wound up buying him. His arms don't go straight like I'd like, but otherwise he's Han's match as far as articulation perfection. His cape is better that the POTJ version (something I would've doubted was possible a year ago.) But the best thing about Lando? His shoes. Man, I love Lando's shoes!!

Stormtrooper--I have a large army of CT Stormtroopers (thanks to the fan club store, who sent me double my order and promptly went out of business) so I wasn't really looking forward to an upgrade, just based on the fact that I had a large army already. Add on top of that I didn't expect ot ever see one of these, as I've yet to see a SA Clone, and my interest was middling. When I found it I was happy, and became only more so when I popped it open. This is the top of the line for Star Wars figures, it really is. There is no real flaw, even the unorthodox holster tickles me in its look and uncompromising design. You can't beat this Stormtrooper. I, who had hemmed and hawed about ten dollar figures, who already owned so many stormtroopers some of them haven't found there way out of the little white mailer boxes, I wound up buying a second one. Because it was that good.

Chewbacca--Again I didn't think the Saga CCC Chewie could be much improved upon, short of adding the ability to straighten his arms. I prefer the ESB slicked back Chewie hair-do over the Mechanic "blow-dryed" look as well, so a ROTJ Cheiwe was of low interest. How wrong I was to doubt what more could be done. With my VOTC Chewie, I have been able to pose him like no other--I've even had him standing on one foot, punt-kicker style (and without peg-holes, that's saying something for this figure's ability to balance.) To top it off, this is not "ugly" articulation, it's well hidden. Again, the best done alien figure ever. Period.

So, at the end of the day, I have to say the VOTC line won me over against all my better judgement. At this point, if Hasbro said they were cutting back Star Wars figures to only doing twelve of these types of figures a year, even at ten dollars a pop, I would be happy. Getting these ultimate versions has really been worth it.

The plot thickens...

Spice: Being close to thirty years since the film was released, do you still hope your action figure will someday be immortalized in plastic?

Christine: I am actually mortally offended it has not already! I am looking forward to seeing it.

Boy, it's a good thing Hasbro has paid such close attention to the likeness rights. Really sounds like a lawsuit just waiting to happen. ::)

Watto's Junk Yard / Star Wars fanboy wish-fulfillment
« on: September 24, 2004, 03:52 PM »
This past summer I read a "wanted" add for short-stories set in the Star Wars Universe to be included in a new fan-based anthology. I've never written any real "fan-fiction" (an oxymoron, perhaps?) but something about this idea struck me, so I put together a story about a frustrated Sullustan and sent it off.

What do you know--they accepted it!

So, the first issue of The Rancor's Tooth arrived in my mailbox yesterday, featuring my story (top billing on the cover too!). It's still a pretty simple, homemade-looking fanzine, but I'm happy to have a bona-fie published Star Wars story to my credit. It was a lot of fun, and if you happen to have the chance, check it out.

(And if you're really interested, you can contact the magazine at

As a sort-of follow up to yesterday, I did in fact go back to Target and snag another Stormtrooper. By that point, not three hours later, all the Chewies, Artoos, Landos, and Threepios had disappeared. Looks like I saw a magical moment in history that may in fact never be duplicated.

But I still got my second Stormtrooper, and gave Boba Fett another hard once-over before passing him up again. After having worried I'd never find one (as I've yet to see in person a SP Clone) I'm glad to have two of'em. Great stuff.

Oh, something else I've noticed--Chewie has no peg holes. Alas.

Out of pure chance I stopped by my local Target this morning and took a look around for some new figures. Walked straight past the always-cramped VOTCs because a General Lando had caught my eye. Never saw him in Saga, so I grabbed it and quickly plied through the pegs looking for Madine and Han.

Nada. I was happy with finding Lando though, and as I turned to walk away, I realized a VOTC Chewbacca was staring me in the face. And above him was a Boba Fett...

I searched and found Stormtroopers and R2s as well. I wound up buying Chewie and Stormtrooper...(as well as that General Lando and a spare Cloud Car Pilot.

The VOTC pegs were filled with all of the figures!! If I had never seen a VOTC before today, I could've walked into that store and bought all 12 and thought nothing of it. I hope this is the trend for the holiday season. (Not that I need to shop anymore, but, you know, out of compassion for my fellow collectors.)

Chewie's bandolier is NOT[/b] removable. Though it is a separately sculpted piece, it is pegged and glued into his shoulder. A little customizing will take care of that, of course (much easier than grinding down the whole piece like you used to) but it was so close to removable that it hurts. Still, he's a great figure. Main problem is the paint on the "blond" fur highlights tends to go a little overboard, resulting in Chewies that look like they just finished a tub of vanialla pudding. His head is not as movable as the CCCapture version, a disapointment as well. Other than that, everything is perfect. His waist works great--think the Wampa, but more solid. I have a Wookiee that can lean through 360 degrees! I'm really happy with him.

The Stormtrooper, on the other hand, is flawless. I was afraid of the working holster, especially after the Concept trooper from last year, but Hasbro nailed it with a new design I haven't heard mentioned before--the gun fits through a "keyhole" slot in the flat holster piece, rather than plugging into a big square cup. It really works and looks right when empty. These will make excellent bases for customized Han and Luke Troopers, too--the head pops of nice to give you a practically-empty helmet already, all the work will come in getting the big white neck ball down to the size of the other headholes. He looks good mixed in with my CT Troopers,even if he makes them look a little tall and lanky. I think I'm gonna have to stop back on my way to work and pick up a's just that good.

I passed on Boba in the end. His head is too big for my taste, and his gauntlets are really bulky, even in person. The rubber cape sealed the deal--the 300th version looks better to me, so I'll keep the 10 bucks.

Artoo would've had a time convincing me. He looks like Artoo, all right, but the chrome dome is a minus to me, and the tools just aren't worth the ten bucks. So it didn't happen today.

Star Wars Action Figures / Re: Star Wars Fan Boy
« on: September 17, 2004, 11:52 AM »
He looks great! The cloak especially is very well done.

As far as a lightsaber, you should look around for one of those Mega Action Obi-Wans from a few years back. It was 6", so the lightsaber should be pretty much in-scale for the Simpsons stuff:

Original Trilogy Collection / Re: Hasbro Update: 2005 Figures
« on: September 16, 2004, 07:50 AM »
GH is reporting the Cantina Wave will also include a Scout Trooper, Stormtrooper, Sandtrooper, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Yoda.

If this pans out, it'll be the first reissue of that Sandtrooper (I'm assuming these others will all be the OTC versions) and will pretty much guarantee the Cantina guys as 2-pers.

Looks like they're trying to get in the swing of releasing army builders, but someone needs to tell them no one is building an army of Cantina Hans (though you certainly could at this point).

I'm impressed with the VOTC Lando, but they could've really nailed the perfect figure if they'd only given him decent arm articulation. The 45-degree cuts at the elbow really serve no purpose if the arms won't straighten any which way you turn them.

There's no reason he wasn't made to the same specs as Han, so in that I'm disappointed. His cape is a real improvement from the POTJ version, it lost all the bulk so it hangs much nicer. It's still not removable, but that doesn't seem to be what VOTC is about (<gulp>Chewie<gulp>).

And his legs are right up there with Han's, if not better because there's no distracting holster hanging all funny lookin'. Lando's shoes are just incredibly detailed.

(On a side note, why is it that now that I have super poseable versions of these guys, I find myself putting them in the wildest of poses, the likes of which put Hasbro's worst posing offenses to shame?)

Original Trilogy Collection / Re: VOTC/OTC Purchases
« on: September 15, 2004, 09:55 PM »
I spent the last two days combing the area to a depth I've avoided for a long while. But they were beautiful days, so why not enjoy the road and some new figures to boot?!

Dagobah wave is really starting to clog up the local Wal*Marts, hopefully the DVDs will coax some more of those out. They had been dead for nearly a year, until August when they actually received some new OTC--I found my Bespin Luke there (much to my surprise.) Now they're overloaded with Yodas, Swamp R2s, Hans, Pilot Lukes, and Spirit Obi-Wans. Not to mention the display shelves full of ANH VOTCs. Oh well, guess I'll check back with them next August...

TRU was where I origianlly found my Luke and Vader VOTCs, but other than that one time they're just crammed with Saga stuff from late 2002. Oh, and OTC Buddies... ::)

KMart has been the only local place I've seen a hint of the Bespin Wave. I finally found a Bespin Leia there today, if I could just find one more CCPilot I'd be a happy man.

Target seems to be the happening place in my area. Not only did I actually find all 8 VOTCs there (at the same time--in multiples!!), but they also had the newest OTCs, including my beloved Jawas! A nice set, indeed, as far as repaints of old figures go, and some of my favorite figures ever anyway. Also picked up a TIE Pilot, since I never saw the Saga version on the shelf around here.

Based on all the great things I've read I picked up a Lando. Threepio I left behind, his head is simply weird-looking to the point of distraction. That brings my VOTC tally up to five-of-eight...actually a couple more than I thought it'd be, so I guess they're a surprise hit at my house.

So not a bad couple of days. Five new figures to show for it, and I'm really done hunting until the OTC Generals show up (which I've yet to see in their Saga versions).

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Sesame Street
« on: September 15, 2004, 05:26 PM »
My birthday cake from 1977.

That said, I've always believed it was because all of us were addicted to Sesame Street that MTV became such a successful cable channel. I mean, by the time we were "too old for that kiddy show," our minds were already so warped our idea of quality programming was three-minute clips featuring catchy music and funky visuals.

When I've seen modern Sesame Street stuff, it may break the heart of the three year old inside of me, but I am glad they've learned to tone down the format.

Original Trilogy Collection / Re: OTC DVD Sets
« on: September 14, 2004, 03:12 PM »
Word on the street is that these sets are gonna be ten bucks or so...that casts them in a different light in my eyes.

Now I'm thinking I might pick up the TESB and ROTJ sets after all.

Does the price of these affect anyone else's view of them?

The best analogy I can give as far as the VOTC scenario I have put forth above, overreacting as it may be, is this:

WAVE ONE (Han, Leia, Ben):  May 3rd Episode I Collection 1 assortment

WAVE TWO (Luke, ESB figures):  Battle Damaged Droideka/Qui-Gon soft goods/Swimming Jar Jar assortment

WAVE THREE (ROTJ figures): Sio Bibble, TC-14, R2-B1

Way to go Hasbro.  You've proven yet again why you're a bunch of morons. >:(

I'm not ready to be quite so pessimistic. The beginning of the Episode 1 Collection was extrememly overproduced. The end was underproduced. Those figures are hard to find because Hasbro was killing the line (which they'd had every intention of keeping going indefinitely) and just plain shut down the factory in the middle of production.

The VOTC, on the other hand, was a limited project from the get-go, more akin to the Target exclusive Clone Wars Cartoon figures. Case breakdowns made it hard to find some of the second wave figures at first, but eventually it all evened out. The truly popular figures (Yoda, Clones a little) sold quicker, the dogs (Dooku, Durge) sat until clearanced, but everything was available if you looked for it.

The end of the line does usually make it harder to find something, but only for a time. If the figures are produced in equal numbers, they'll be out there, but (like BoShek and Pilot Cinema Scenes and Ephant Mon) they might take a while to show up.

My worst case scenario is not finding these until they get blown out at TRU or KB in 2006. Just like I'll be sorting through shirtless Kit Fistos looking for posable Clone Wars Clones next Christmas.

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