Last weekend the hot new toy news was flying in from San Diego Comic Con (that’s SDCC to nerds like you and I), but as I had something a little more urgent to attend to I’m only now getting around to this round up. And as far as Hasbro’s Star Wars offerings went, there’s quite a bit to digest…
Let’s get to it!
(Note: unedited versions of these pictures were originally on Rebelscum)
6. Darth Vader and Probe Droid (3.75” Star Wars Universe)
Hasbro is rebranding their 5POA line as Star Wars Universe, a name which implies it’s going to cover the entire film series (at least for as long as it runs). At SDCC they announced the line would launch with a Hoth-themed wave, leading with a new Darth Vader and Imperial Probe Droid set.
The Vader looks as you’d expect, featuring an excellent sculpt in a neutral 5POA stance and wisely using a plastic cape rather than soft goods. It’s the Imperial Probe Droid that makes this set though. Excellently sculpted, well-proportioned and with paint details that perfectly capture the on-screen Probot, this looks like a brilliant update to the still-in-demand POTF2 version.
5. Luke Skywalker and Wampa (3.75” Star Wars Universe)
This release is a bit more of a turn up for the books. Much like the Darth Vader set listed above the set contains a Luke Skywalker figure that lives up to 5POA expectations (and your mileage may vary on how much you enjoy that) – but it’s the pack in that’s exciting.
If this set is anything to go by, Hasbro’s relaunched creature sets are where we’re going to start to see some worthwhile tooling come back to the main line. The Wampa in this set looks like a scaled down version of the 6” Black Series release, complete with a lot more than five points of articulation and even a removable arm! Is this the direction the Star Wars line is moving in? The answer may be below…
4. Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul (3.75” Star Wars Universe)
At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking that these excellently sculpted Darth Maul and Qui-Gon figures are standard 5POA – but it’s the addition of wrist articulation that makes all the difference.
It’s a little touch that gives these figures so many more display options, as we already discovered with these very characters back in 1999. It’s great to see Episode One get some love once more, and even at 7POA these figures have become must-buys. This set marks a definite step in the right direction for Hasbro!
3. Emperor Palpatine (3.75” Star Wars Universe)
Continuing with the developments to the 5POA line, Emperor Palpatine from Return of the Jedi looks like Hasbro’s best attempt at ol’ prune face yet.
Whilst being yet another limited articulation offering, this version of the Emperor brings something unique to the table with the addition of interchangeable Force-lightning wielding hands, a fine improvement on 5POA. The mean face sculpt and additional walking stick means that this Emperor works whether you need him hobbling along the new Death Star or frying young Skywalker.
In short: this looks like an ideal replacement for the definitive POTF2 version.
2. Imperial Assault Tank Driver (3.75” Vintage Collection)
As much as it looks like the main line is getting better, articulation still rules this collector’s world – and Rogue One is still the best Star Wars film since 1980. Put the two together for the relaunched Vintage Collection and you get the Imperial Assault Tank Driver.
One of several new Imperial outfits introduced in Gareth Edwards’ anthology film, the Assault Tank Driver has all the style and functionality you’d expect of the Empire (after all, the same regime brought us the infinitely cool Scout Troopers). The VC figure looks set to bring all that home, with decent articulation and at least a standard issue Imperial blaster for armament.
Of course, there’s one big reason to get excited for this figure…
1. Imperial Assault Tank (3.75” Vintage Collection)
Scaled vehicles are back! After the lacklustre U-Wing and very cool but small TIE Striker, we’re back to accurately sized vehicles with the announcement of the Vintage Collection Imperial Assault Tank.
At the presentation Hasbro revealed that the tank will feature working treads and removable containers, allowing you to access the Kyber crystals inside. It’s a vehicle that uses every detail from the Lucasfilm archives, even including a coffee cup for the driver(!).
It’s a great looking rendition of a key vehicle from one of Rogue One‘s best moments – making it a must buy for this collector.
For sure there was the 6” Luke and Rey two pack and the larger scaled Dewback to get excited about, but everyone knows the heart of Star Wars collecting is 3.75”. It was a relief to see that the original scale is going to get much more attention in the coming year.
The thing is, Hasbro had a pretty staggering SDCC with their Star Wars display. Several years ago, when there was only one line, the fan base would have been buzzing over all the reveals and their incredible diorama. The issue is that now the license is so fragmented across different scales and articulation levels that the collectors have followed suit. Whilst pre-2013 this selection of characters and vehicles and beasts would have kept most people happy, now collectors are cherry picking with what they can get.
Hasbro’s disappointing Q2 results, the decision to make Doctor Aphra in 3.75” scale and the increase in articulation for the main line could mean that a change back to a unified scale is finally coming. I doubt I’m alone in hoping that Hasbro sorts out where it’s going with Star Wars and starts making the figures that collectors want once more, but there’s enough good stuff here to be getting on with.
And oh man, am I getting that Assault Tank.