Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review: The "Final" Wave of Star Wars Vintage Action Figures, Part 3: Clone Wars, Expanded Universe.

Here's the final part of my far-too-long look at Hasbro's last wave of vintage-design 3 3/4 action figures, covering The Clone Wars and The Expanded Universe. There's only three figures left to show you of this online exclusive wave starting with Anakin's baffling padawan... Ahsoka Tano!

And I have plenty to say about her... after the jump!

So when you and I were watching the Star Wars saga, what we didn't realise is that the galaxy's biggest, blackest bad motherfupper, Darth Vader, used to have a sassy teenage girl apprentice called Ahsoka Tano. I guess you keep that sort of thing a secret lest Tarkin laughs at you.

Plus I think it's weird that they only include her first name on her card. They don't release cards that just say Luke or Darth. Pull it together, Hasbro! In fact the card art is a little weird. Obviously they don't have any photos of her but I think this painting was based on the model who cosplays as Ahsoka at official events. Something not quite right about that face though. The colours are great, but I think the artist might have been drinking scotch.

So Ahsoka was introduced in The Clone Wars animated series much to everyone's chagrin but, to her credit, as the series progressed she became less of a jive-talking valley girl and became a little more competent/coherent (at one point even cleaving off multiple Mandalorian heads!).

She's been previously released in action figure form as part of the animated line, in the animated style, but this is the first time she has been given the "realistic" treatment, designed to fit in with all of your regular figures. This is the Ahsoka intended to stand proudly next to your Aunt Beru or Jek Porkins. Does it work?

It's really not a bad sculpt, but I guess the question is: is it really different enough to stand apart from the animated line? It really comes down to her having more realistic proportions and a more detailed costume. (Including her largely inappropriate titty window. Man, that must have been the focus of some very awkward conversations between her and the young Darth Vader).

The face is less cartoony too as you can see here...

She's packed with her twin green lightsabers (which are significantly shorter than your standard issue) and she also has two un-ignited hilts which clip onto her sassy double belt. She has a heap of articulation too which I think is appropriate for this kind of action oriented character. The soft goods skirt means she can kick a dude in the head.

The Clone Wars has introduced a ton of new characters, some of which are quite interesting (especially the villains) so I'm a big supporter of them releasing this guys in this style to fit in with the regular line. And whether you can tolerate her or not, Ahsoka is an obvious early choice to get this treatment. I do wonder what her future will be? I'm sure Disney would love to add her to their "princess" line if it was at all possible. I wonder if we'll see an older version turning up in Episode VII. "Hi Luke! I'm the sassy teen padawan your father never told you about! Want to go get ice cream?"

Next up is another Clone Wars character getting the realistic treatment...

It's General Obi-Wan Kenobi in his jacked up clone armour! In the show he looks like he's been lovingly carved out of wood, but here he has the likeness of beardy Ewan McGregor.

Another super-posable action oriented figure, this one has permanently attached armour, a lightsaber and an unlit hilt. He's serviceable but nothing too spectacular, and is a little light on the paint. The "dirt" on his armour looks like an afterthought. Or a pudding attack.

This one's really all about adding the Ewan McGregor head. Look, he even has a tiny sculpted forehead mole...

Not bad, but not the best.

And finally we have a figure from The Expanded Universe. Don't worry, it's not from some dumb novel that you actually have to read. It's from a video game! Relax!

This one is a Republic Trooper from MMORPG The Old Republic...

This bulky, fully kitted out trooper represents one of the classes you can play in the game. It's ironic too that he's so hi-tech, considering that the game takes place thousands of years before The Phantom Menace. I guess as time wore on, people grew dumber.

He's a pretty nifty army building trooper with pimped out armour and over-the-top accessories. Look at the size of that daunting man-cannon!

It actually took me a while to figure out exactly how he was supposed to hold it! As you may (not) be able to see from my too-dark photography, the handle/trigger of the gun points upwards rather than down and it takes two whole hands to handle this whopper. 

There's even more to him than that. Take off the helmet and you'll discover a guy that you totally don't recognise...

Remember that this guy was cloned thousands of years before the proud birth of Jango Fett. So I don't know who this guy is cloned from. Probably Matt Le Blanc.

He also has a pistol that fits into a holster on his left hip and an army knife that slides into a sheath on his right. There are not enough knives in Star Wars for my money. Or for that matter, laser knives.

This is the third (I think) figure from The Old Republic game and, seeing as how that game is apparently struggling, I'm not sure we'll ever see more. But I'm glad we got this one at least. He's a unique addition to an ever-expanding collection of clones.

And that's the end of part 3, meaning that, if you got this far, you've now seen all twelve figures in this epic online only wave. And I also think that this may be, to some extent, the end of an era. I'm not sure what Hasbro has planned for 2013 but I think change is definitely on the way, and things are really going to change up by the time Episode VII gets here. I'm curious to find out...

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