It suddenly occurs to me that I still haven’t seen the end of the last season of Clone Wars. This seems like a grievous oversight for a consummate couch potato like me. As a geek, I should be glued to the nearest TV set, salivating while I wait for the latest episode to air. Instead, I’ve found myself lazily awaiting the DVD collection of the season 4 episodes.
Until that time, I’ve bided my time re-watching the first three seasons of the cartoon. In the second season of the show, Obi Wan Kenobi traveled to the planet Mandalore to visit his old flame, Satine, the Duchess of the fifth planet of the system. During a three episode arc, Kenobi uncovers a sinister plot to overthrow the Duchess. Behind the coup was a group of rebels known as the Death Watch. These terrorists wore the traditional Mandalorian Armor, which casual fans recognize as the armor that Boba Fett (or his father Jango Fett) wears in the movies.
The leader of this terrorist group was Pre Vizsla, a human who governed Mandalore’s moon, Concordia. During the arc with Kenobi and Satine, Vizsla was the antagonist, revealing himself to behind the Death Watch at the end of the last episode. It was a pretty good story and the the Mandalorian armor has always been a cool design. Having an army of Mandalorian warriors would have been awesome.
Of course, since I’m not rich, I can’t afford an army. My idea of army building has always stopped at three. In this case, one Pre Vizsla figure and two warriors in support.
Though these are one of the best designs in the entire Clone Wars line, both Vizsla and the Warriors are relatively easy to find on the shelf. I see them pop up every now and then at the main Toy Kingdom branch at Megamall and sometimes see some left over in other malls. I haven’t followed the assortments religiously, but I assume they must have been included in several to keep appearing on the pegs like this.
As always, the Clone Wars packaging is one of the best out there. The branding is clear on the front, and the back has some decent, if rather unimaginative shots of the figure and an explanation of the “Galactic Battles” dice game. Of course, the “Galactic Battles” cards and the dice feature prominently on the front as well and are as useless as all the other cards and dice I've gotten from the other Clone Wars figures. I do love that the packs are all relatively compact and easy to store (if you're into that sort of thing) yet still able to protect the figure well. None of those round blisters or corners that make it so hard to stack other toy lines. Just flat surfaces and geometric angles.
Strong in these ones the Clone Wars aesthetic is. Instead of the bulky, realistic proportions of a man in armor that you’d expect from The Vintage Series, the toys are instead lean and lithe of limb. They look kind of dashing and more “heroic” this way I think, than the battle damaged, scuffed up decos of the Boba and Jango Fetts in the vintage line.
My experience with the Clone Wars line has been a mostly positive one. Hasbro has been good about re-releasing popular toys in later waves so it’s not as hard to find figures as it could be (I still line up to get them by the set during the launch, since some ARE hard to come by in the beginning and you never know when the distributor will drop the line). They’ve also got a great factory for their Star Wars figures and I’ve yet to encounter a figure that is glaringly bad in terms of paint, assembly, missing accessories or breakage. Every figure I’ve bought so far is virtually perfect.
And nothing’s changed with any of these. Both the Mandalorians are nicely detailed and sculpted. Paint applications aren’t numerous or extravagant, but the colors lend themselves well to the cartoon origins of the characters. Their general color scheme is a neon-y blue. It’s not a shade you’d pick in a live action film, but on the idiot box, it works.
Vizsla is made of the same body but with a different head. Well, that’s not exactly true. He comes with a helmet that fits over his head that gives him the same look as his minions, so… Well, whichever way you look at it, it’s something that the other two lack. He’s also done up in much darker shades of blue. I guess it’s so snipers can pick him out easily.
Aside from the different head, Vizsla also comes with a few more things the Mandalorians don’t have (note that the Mandalorians do NOT come with the Jango Fett head). Both figures have a pair of small pistols that fit in their hip holsters and a jetpack. The Mandalorians have a rocket-firing feature on their backpacks which Vizsla doesn’t, but he more than makes up for it with a third, bigger gun, a “soft goods” (i.e. cloth) shoulder cape, and his “darksaber”. Awesome trade if you ask me.
The accessories fit nicely in their corresponding places, except for Vizsla’s backpack, which is a little finicky. I think it may have been meant for another figure and just re-colored and included here, but as I don’t have a comprehensive collection, I couldn’t’ tell you who it comes from.
So that’s quality of sculpting and manufacture, check. Paint applications, check. Accessories, check. Whats’ next?
This is the area where Star Wars: Clone Wars figures’ ratings have usually dipped when I’ve reviewed them in the past. There are few toys in the line that can boast more than the standard swivel hip joint. Before I found these, the only one I had in my box was Mace Windu and I was floored that these figures all share the same wicked swivel-hinge hip joint. And instead of Windu’s superbly articulated ankle, the Mandalorians are fitted with a very, very nice torso ball-joint. I’m not sure which is better, but you sure can get some wacky poses out of the set of joints these guys are rocking:
I’ve got no regrets about picking up these three figures. Having missed out on the Mandolorian Warriors battle pack, this was probably the best way to go about acquiring a set. It’s probably better in the long run, too, since it’s a little cheaper and I don’t really need that many. Of all my non-Clone Trooper Star Wars toys, I think these three easily rank.