So the top 10 worst figures? That's no easy task.
Hasbro did a lot of pretty crummy figures in the modern line. You really can't deny it. I, like some others, really didn't want to list too many of the Power of the Force 2 figures, however they do get some representation, and deservedly so (I'll explain). The line turned a corner earlier than Power of the Jedi though, and that's a pretty big key. Some figures sucked though for other reasons, and maybe didn't look horrible, but still deserve to make the list because they can be looked at from a different point of view.
Hasbro has come a long way since 2005 though, so really I can't fault them too much beyond that year. Not much fell completely flat, and it really boiled down more to small details like one figure lacking knees and yet including ankle articulation, or a figure like the Training Clone with his stupidly sculpted ankles that make him almost impossible to pose (or even stand). My list focuses on earlier figures than these though. No figure is perfect, not even today, but some really went beyond missing the mark. They missed the entire target. Some even looked like they weren't meant for this toy line at all.
10) 2002 Anakin Skywalker (Outlander Peasant Disguise)
... This is a prime example of Hasbro looking at history, thinking "That was cool!", and not realizing that even Kenner abandoned the concept decades ago, so why resurrect this? (Someone other than me pointed this out first, I just agree with it.) Why would you go that route? Let alone the fact this figure lacked almost any articulation, and wasn't the sharpest sculpt. Hell, there wasn't even a really good Anakin in his outfit he wore for 95% of the movie, and this was the only thing on pegs for people to buy really. Talk about disappointing.
9 ) 2002 Battledroid
... How do you completely **** the bed on the 2nd most wanted army builder for a film's toy line? You make it the wrong color, and you cast in a plastic that prophylactic companies like to use for their own products. You **** the bed twice by finally putting the figure out in the proper color, but you then refuse to improve the materials you're using to make the figure. And you pretty much set fire to the bed by basically putting the same figure out in 2005's Revenge of the Sith line, still pretty much as bad as ever.
I've never bought the, "We had to use that plastic" line from Hasbro. I've got more than a few friends with experience in plastics (and myself), and they've all said Hasbro can do better. They've made the same statements about accessories (Amanaman, I'm looking at you and that limp biscuit of yours), and yet G.I. Joe and other toy lines have managed to have equally intricate and thin accessories that used rigid plastics. Hmmm... Methinks someone was just cutting cost corners on this figure. The line's only now seeing battledroids people really find acceptable. And they're still not perfect by any means.
8 ) POTJ Eeth Koth
... I know you're probably saying, "Well he's pre-posed but he looked nice enough", and to a degree you're right I think. Eeth Koth makes the list because he was the true beginning of a terrible trend. Figures who would be pre-posed to the point they're not much different than plastic army men, yet are still marketed as action figures, for quite some time. This was the sign of the apocalypse to come. He was followed by a wave of Sneak Preview figures that not ONE of them appealed to me, and which screamed that the line was going horribly awry for an entire film's release.
And Hasbro didn't disappoint. But Eeth Koth was the first. Just around the same time we'd gotten some of the coolest figures from Power of the Jedi, like the FX-7 or the Imperial Officer... yet there was Eeth, a guy we'd never seen do anything but stand or sit, gritting his teeth and ready to shove his saber up any Sith's ass he came into contact with. Dynamic and different? You bet! Displayed well? Yup, he was built to "display" for sure. A cool toy? Nope. He sucked. He didn't fit with any other Jedi in his appearance, and he was a statue, and toys had evolved past statues oh, say, around 1982 when The G.I. Joe 3.75" line kicked off. Hasbro failed to go back to the future with the "pre-posed" fad this figure launched.
7 ) 2003-ish Deluxe Anakin w/Swoop Bike
... Hasbro hadn't done a really fantastic Anakin for the Attack of the Clones line, at all really, unless you counted the Wedding Ceremony figure as good. It was different, more poseable, but lacked the articulation fans and kids alike wanted so they could actually have a guy wield a lightsaber properly. So what cooler time would there be to test the waters on some articulation than by making a figure who could look cool on and off a speederbike?
Hasbro chose to do neither, and continue on, stubbornly, with a Swoop Bike Anakin that not only was useless without the bike (a trend they'd sort of bucked in POTF2 with the Endor Luke and Leia... Why the regression now?), but the figure's disturbingly constipated face-sculpt made it the punchline of many action figure jokes from collectors.
Face it, Luke looks like he broke the brakes on the bike while he had it going full tilt. Is it a Toyota bike and he can't decelerate? WTF?
Oh yeah, just to **** on them a little bit more, Hasbro also didn't give the cloak to the figure to even make him a little screen accurate, since he was pretty useless otherwise. Thanks Hasbro! And no, the "I swing my saber while I zoom around" feature didn't really cover up the mess this figure is. At least he was removable from the bike, and the bike looks good next to young Owen and Beru. High marks for that much. Now can I have the extra $5 I spent back for the figure I completely didn't want, but I needed the bike?
6 ) 2002 Mace Windu
... WTF? I mean, seriously, I don't even know what to say that the picture doesn't explain for me. If this isn't on your list, I decree that your list has been rendered illegitimate.
5 ) 2002 Death Star Duel Luke
... OK, this isn't too far off from #6 there, but here's why he's worse.
First, he's Original Trilogy, and Original Trilogy always outranks Prequal Trilogy. Biased? You bet your Aunt Suzy's ass I'm biased. That said, Luke was at least going to come with some cool big accessory base, which I thought would make him almost worth the purchase. It turns out he was just as bad as Mace, just as useless, and featured an equally lame action feature that barely functioned.
One actual redemption? This Luke came with the metal hilt with a removable blade. It's the only Jedi Luke to have the metal hilt, and the metal hilt is pretty bad ass looking. Of course if you used the action feature, you'd break the blade probably (if it worked at all), but I digress.
4 ) POTF2 Death Star Trooper
... This figure makes the list for a myriad of reasons. First though, he was virtually impossible to get at retail, which at this point in collecting history was beyond frustrating. Second though, he was an army builder who Hasbro chose to test the pre-posed waters with... Yes, Eeth Koth is up there higher, and he deserves his spot because he's the gateway drug Hasbro took that they thought the entire AOTC line was going to be a good idea as it was.
POTF2 Death Star Trooper was a flash in the pan of pre-posed-ness (unless you count the POTF2 Biker Scout, who is fair game for these lists I think), and he even transcended being pre-posed and was so poorly done that he could not stand without a stand.
But what really stung was Hasbro giving him a removable helmet! You could almost hear them cackling that they gave one cool, new feature to a figure that people wouldn't want to army build because of the attrocious posed sculpt! If he were neutral posed I'd probably still pick this figure up for relatively cheap these days. It's like a POTF2 Death Star Gunner. He'd still be alright to purchase if you got him for a couple bucks, and he'd blend in ok to your army's background.
As it stands, he's a comical looking marching/lurching guy that had massive potential, that Hasbro simply ignored and went for a more dynamic look.
3 ) 2003/2004 Hoth Rebel Trooper
... Finally! Hasbro's going to redo one of the most prominent Rebel army builders ever! They've taken 2 previous stabs at this guy, and now for sure they're going to knock him out of the park! I can't wait, and I'm opening him right now, and...
OK, let's step backwards a moment. First, he comes at a point when Hasbro had finally shown that maybe they were listening about the Saga line. They had given us a couple guys with some extra articulation (for the time), and neutral poses... OK, things are looking up right? So they "get it" about army builders right?
No. Instead we got a guy with another sort of constipated face (Who's doing these faces?!?), back to a basic original 1995 6-point articulation format, and a sculpt that's definitely updated, other than the figure is about more than a head shorter than anyone else. Is this an Ugnaught Hoth Trooper or a human?
Add into all this that I'm obviously a Rebel-phile, and so great hopes for something cool were compeltely dashed. The upside though? His rifle was actually made using a rigid plastic, which Hasbro claimed wasn't possible on the Saga Endor Rebel's rifle... Uhm, guess they developed a remedy fast? I still refuse to display this guy in my collection. The POTF2 figure was superior to me, and so he held that spot till the Legacy Hoth Rebel debuted.
2 ) POTF2 Rebel Fleet Trooper
... You're probably wondering how 1 and 2 aren't flip-flopped, and I have my reasoning on it. What we have here though is the last gasp of figures that were intended to look like super heroes more than the Star Wars characters they're based on.
It's hard to even pick a place to start with the first Fleet Trooper though. He's sporting the wrong costume for instance, with really the vest and helmet being the only things close to accurate. His holster is not accurate in sculpt nor color. His shirt's style is open instead of buttoned. His pants are tight, and the completely wrong color. His face looks like he lacks a chin completely yet his chinstrap is clinging to something on him. And last his boots are more like Han's than the combat/shorter style boots Fleet Troopers wear.
To take it further, a non-removable helmet was disappointing, as the technology was there and the helmet is even a separately sculpted piece. Why not try to advance the line a little? But at least the vest is so-so and removable. Also the blaster was a weak effort, but at least it was an effort.
The POTF2 Fleet Trooper's biggest flaw though? Hasbro had actually turned a corner where they were trying to get away from the more buff and absurd looking figures, and were trying to do a little more realistic look to the line. So the biggest disappointment is how this figure was a hold-over from something early modern collectors had hoped was now behind them. Fortunately he was the last truly buff character I believe. It's probably the only true positive you can say about the Fleet Trooper from this era.
1 ) POTJ Rebel Fleet Trooper
... Yes, he's worse. You've maybe seen the trend in my top 10 why he makes it higher than the POTF2 figure. I think some of you are even on a similar wavelength by things that you've said about how the line has changed over the years so comparing sometimes isn't always fair. Let's look at all his flaws though, one at a time.
-The holster is Solid/Non-Functional... First it doesn't work, something Hasbro, by this figure's time, had proven they could do for basically no additional cost. Yet they simply didn't do it with this figure. Ellors Madak, Snaggletooth, Commtech Han... The precedent was set, and ignored on this figure. That's a major regression.
-Holster Magically Floats... Next, the holster actually is sculpted without the strap that connects it to the belt. It just magically is stuck to the thigh. This is simply sloppy oversight of the figure's design/sculpt on everyone's part that had to sign off on it at some point. From Hasbro's designers and sculptors to Lucasfilm's team... how do you miss this?
-Pre-Posed Sculpt Details... The pre-posing of this sculpt goes far beyond just the attempt to make the hands both hold the pistol (which didn't work by the way). The sculpt of the ankles had them on a bit of a lean which made the figure difficult to stand. The torso swas sculpted so that it was "caved in" in the chest and sort of humped in the back. There was a little more there than just the arms angled inward. On army builders, it's the biggest disappointment.
-Tiny Pea-Shooter... The blaster Rebel troops were seen with was pretty much as large as the Stormtrooper's blaster. I appreciated Hasbro's attempt to give a new pistol for them, even if the holster didn't work for it, but their effort was still pretty bad. Very undersized, and it didn't even want to sit in the figure's hand well and often would fall out or not sit straight.
-Lacking & Unimpressive Articulation... For me, this was the figure that I thought Hasbro would really wow me with (at the time). Like Commtech Han, I had expectations that this figure be at least as good as that one. Hasbro instead decided to copy the style of articulation that 21st Century Toys had pioneered for figures in this scale, where a 45 degree angle cut-joint was used so a figure could go from standing to a kneeling or sitting position and the joints would be hidden. The pants lent themselves well to this, however that articulation style was limiting and abandoned by the company that designed it in the first place. Add in that they omitted the figure's waist joint, and didn't really add articulation to the arms much aside from the wrists, and I was certainly let-down by this army builder's poseability.
-Non-Removable Helmet... At the time this was probably one of the biggest gripes I had with the figure. The Trooper had a separately sculpted helmet, Hasbro had proven removable buckets were quite acheivable, and yet they omitted it from this figure... even when the helmet was already a separate sculpt! Why not make it a full accessory then? Ah yes, I recall people said "It's not possible with the strap there to do a removable helmet. They can't sculpt the strap", but clearly those people were proven to be talking out their asses. Later figures would give removable helmets to the character with a couple headsculpts, but that didn't make up for all the other flaws.
I think figures have to be judged by one another, regardless of era to some degree. However they're probably best judged by their peers they came out with (or after) first. If that's the case, Cantina Han was the bar, and the POTJ Fleet Trooper didn't come close. As a toy he was limited to a few poses despite articulation additions. He lacked features that were becoming a standard with the line now, and as an army builder he should've been given a little more love.
A lot of folks compared him only to the POTF2 Fleet Trooper. He was clearly more aesthetically pleasing than that monstrosity, but that's hardly a good enough reason to say this figure was "fine". Compared to the Commtech era figures and some of the later POTF2 even, he was a disappointment to me. Sculpt and costume accuracy was a dramatic improvement, but he was still limited in poseability, and Hasbro missed a prime opportunity to set a bar with figure quality and army builders (which weren't taken seriously at this point in the line like they are now).
For me, the Fleet Trooper was the dismal failure Hasbro had to improve, and they have. I've always said once I got a good Fleet Trooper I could quit the hobby with relative happiness... Of course I changed that and now want a new Tarkin too, haha, but I generally still feel the same that once I get my Fleet Trooper upgrade I'd be pretty content if the line ended the next day.
Ultimately though, Hasbro's Fleet Trooper did suck. It still sucks. Once the new one is out, the old one can be made a distant memory. He didn't hold up well to the line's standards of the time though in any way but his sculpt, and that's not a good figure. That's just something that wasn't as bad as the 1997/1998 figure, and that's not good enough for me.
And I could rail on so much more...
-Tons of Deluxe from all the eras it was out.
-Cruise Missile trooper... has he made anyone's list yet? If not, then how'd he slip by? That's one POS.
-Pack-Ins of varying levels of suck (Falcon Carry Case Wedge anyone?).
-The Entire original 1995 line... Come on, old or not, they suck hard. Hasbro knew it too and had to change.
-Exclusive lameness galore.
The line is rife with crap.
You could even dump on 2005 - now stuff... You'd just have to probably think about it a little differently.
BTW, the only reason R5-D4's POTF2 figure didn't make my lsit, is that I just left mine closed and cut the guns off the side... *shrugs* To me he was suitable then at the time. Still lame. If you list him though you almost have to list that Flashback R2 with the firing lightsaber. It was ALMOST as bad.