I don't usually pick up Star Wars: The Vintage Collection (SW:TVC) figures. The last SW:TVC figure I bought was Snow Bunny Padme but that was just because I've got a huge crush on Natalie Portman.
Movie toy lines are wont to try and capture the images that are presented on screen, which, in my opinion, leads to compromises and overly complicated sculpts. Realism is best left to the the sculpture and stactions (mini-statues with minimal articulation) crowd. Most of the Hasbro movie action figures (with maybe the exception of the Iron Man 2 6" figures and perhaps the new Nick Fury) can serve as examples of that. Every one of their dead faces attests to the fact that simple computerized duplication of actors' facial features just doesn't work.
Fortunately, the figure I'm looking at today doesn't have that problem.
Packaging for the SW:TVC line is a lot different from the Star Wars: Clone Wars line. The original 70’s Star Wars line was made by Kenner, a manufacturer that was acquired by Tonka in 1987. In 1991, Hasbro acquired Tonka, which gave them the rights to the old vintage Star wars line. To cash in on the nostalgia fans had for the original 3.75” toys, Hasbro patterned the design of the packaging and figures for The Vintage Collection off those original toys, including the old Kenner logo.
While I don’t really care how much the cards fit in with the old toy line, I do think the design is something that looks great. The stark black card and the prominent Star Wars typography, along with some great artwork, really attract attention. The blister affords the buyer a great view of the toy itself.
The back of the card has some text about the Star Wars franchise and a picture of the original MagnaGuard toy released during the Revenge of the Sith’s theatrical run (of course, these toys weren’t part of the original 70’s line so they look quite different). There’s also a selection of “Also Available” photographs.
All in all, it’s a nice set up.
The figure is great.
I’ve been wanting to get this toy for a while now, but always passed on it whenever I saw it loose. Many of those times the figure just had its headdress and the staff and just looked odd. It wasn’t until I saw this one unopened at Lanz Collectibles in St. Francis Square for only Php 550.00 ($12.00 US or thereabouts, only about Php 50.00 above retail) that I decided to pick it up. The addition of the cloth cloak made all the difference.
If you’ve seen Revenge of the Sith, then you’re already familiar with the MagnaGuard. These are the robot bodyguards that General Grevious sics on the Jedi when they corner him on the flight deck of his ship at the opening of the movie. In the film, the MagnaGuards are portrayed as weak opponents (as Grevious himself is). I’ve got no idea why Lucas watered them down in the film version since the ease that they are beaten by Obi Wan and Anakin totally kills any suspense the scene might have had, but if you’ve seen the second of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars micro-series, then you know how bad-ass these things are.
The figure itself is impressive.
Instead of the useless infantry droids that litter the screen of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, the MagnaGuard is made to mimic the acrobatics of the Jedi. The joints and pistons look a lot like human figures' limbs. The articulation on the figure lets it get into just about any position you'd need it to, and the lack of any molded skin or clothing means that there aren't many limitations to the hinges and swivels.
Here's the count:
- Ball-jointed Neck
- Swivel-hinge Shoulders
- Swivel-hinge Elbows
- Wrist Swivels (located up the forearm a ways)
- Some kind of swivel-hinge or ball-jointed lower torso joint
- Ball-jointed hips (I think)
- Hinge Knees (with a range better than most double-hinged knees!)
- Hinge Ankles (again with an unbelievable range)
Accessories-wise he's ok. While he doesn't pack as much as say, a Pursuit of Cobra G.I. Joe, what he has is great. The requisite MagnaPole or what every you call it is included, with removable caps that simulate the energy that's supposed to be coursing off the tips of the staff. He's got a hat, or a scarf, made of rubberized plastic that goes over his head. A laser pistol, which I honestly never used since the staff is so great. And finally the cloth cloak.
It's the cloak that really makes the figure, since it gives it a nice silhouette and adds a lot of great lines to it when he's moving. I do wish they'd made it of the same plasticized fabric they used in the Clone Wars Barriss Offee figure (it holds its shape better), but this thing is still pretty good. They've cut some holes in he bottom to simulate the raggedness of the cloaks in the show. How well they've succeeded is up to you. I use the holes as an anchor, sticking a leg through them so that the bottom of the cloak remains at the bottom of the figure.
Removing the cloak is a simple matter, though I really don't know why'd you want to do so. Simply pop off his head and slide it over his neck. The plastic headpiece is a little harder to remove, but you can work it off without too much effort.
Naked, the figure has a nice looking wash (or is it a dry brushing?) that gives the "metal" a nice weathered look to it. The thing looks more realistic with that little extra touch of paint, and it's especially welcome since the off-white plastic would look too translucent without it.
The sculpt of the figure is nice: very slim and sinewy. It's a great look for the droid, but it's made even better by the cloak. at 1/18th scale, you wouldn't expect too much detail, but Hasbro really out did themselves with this one. It's amazing how well the articulation blends in with the features of the toy, but I guess it's easier when you're molding an anthropomorphic robot than when you're trying to make a human in tights.
I especially like his claws, which have two opposable thumbs. They don't hold the staff all that well by themselves, but they look wicked and if you pose him with the staff in both hands, you shouldn't have a problem.
This really is one of the best Star Wars figures out there, even if it's not one of the Jedi or the Sith figures. If it was readily available, I'd get myself several of them.
They're so much better than those retard droids.