Showing posts with label Vintage Wednesdays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vintage Wednesdays. Show all posts

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Vintage Wednesdays: POTF2 Biggs Darklighter Review

Star Wars Rebellion against the Empire

Yesterday (April 29th) marked the anniversary of the 1997 release of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, the single greatest Star Wars video game experience available. Some other Star Wars news overshadowed this monumental date for some reason or another, but to ensure XvT gets the love it deserves this week I’m celebrating with a Vintage Wednesday look at Luke Skywalker’s best buddy, Biggs Darklighter!

POTF2 card front freeze frame

First of all then, the packaging. Biggs comes on the iconic green blade POTF2 card with the distinctive Vader cut edge, and also comes packed with my favourite of the 90’s era promotions – the freeze frame. I loved these things for a few reasons back in the day; firstly, they were a neat memento to the character’s appearance in the films in a way that harks directly back to the medium of film itself, and secondly they marked the start of a significant upturn in quality for the POTF2 line. This is a US cardback and so doesn't have the trilingual descriptions that I normally saw on my figures - a nice added bonus of being able to pick these guys up for peanuts on eBay nowadays...

Star Wars Power of the Force 2
Released in Wave 14, Biggs benefits massively from a slimmed down sculpt and realistic proportions in comparison to previous human characters, a change for the better that the line started to take in 1998. Whilst still dynamically posed, the figure has a good centre of gravity and stands easily.

Star Wars Biggs Darklighter Hasbro

In addition to the more realistic sculpt Biggs also has much better detailing than the earlier releases, such as the pipes that run along his flight suit and a strong facial likeness. The paints are a nice combination of colours, with the dull, screen accurate orange much better than the day glow Black Series version that’s currently available, and the recreation of Biggs’ helmet design is superbly done. There is some unfortunate sloppiness with the paint apps on my figure, such as some spill from the black glove onto his arm, and a little grey splodge on the back of the white tabard which does count against him. Other sections such as the helmet and the chest panel are as sharp and clean as possible, however.

Power of the Force 2 Biggs

He comes with two weapons, the standard Correllian Blaster that came with nearly every Rebel POTF2 figure, and a larger blaster cannon. Both are fun (and he looks mean carrying one in each hand), but the larger gun works best in his left hand, due to the sculpt of his right elbow. The helmet isn’t removable, but given how the Wedge Antilles from the Rebel Pilots Cinema Scene set turned out, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

POTF2 Biggs and X-Wing

Anyway, there’s one area in particular where the POTF2 Biggs Darklighter excels, and that is in the cockpit of an X-Wing fighter. The first actual X-Wing pilot figure released in the modern era (Luke and Wedge were both previously released in their Snowspeeder gear), Biggs needs a slight push on his arms but once he’s in the cockpit it’s like he was made for it. I’ve had a POTF2 X-Wing for a while now without a pilot, and Biggs here does the job perfectly. I just need to make sure I keep him away from any Death Stars…

Biggs Darklighter Admiral Ackbar X-Wing

The 1998 Biggs Darklighter is a fantastic figure, and was a sign of the great things to come with the Hasbro Star Wars line. If you have an old style X-Wing kicking about in desperate need of a pilot, you could do far worse.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Vintage Wednesdays: G1 Transformers Panini Sticker Album

If it's old school, it must be Wednesday, right? I'm marking the return of Vintage Wednesday with this cracker of a find from A Most Marvellous Place to Shop, Northampton's premiere retro and vintage rummage market. I present... The 1986 Transformers Panini Sticker Album, 3/4s complete!

Ah, sweet memories...
Now, some of you may be wondering what the appeal of a part-used sticker album that I'm unlikely to complete is, but for 50p I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity for some shameless reminiscing. My older brother had this album and he used to give me the spares - I remember one sticker being on the wall next to my lower bunk bed for quite some time. And besides, my collection of vintage TF paraphernalia is the largest claim to a genuine (pre-1990) vintage collection I have, so I guess you could consider this a focus piece...

S.O.S. Dinobots
Following a slightly confusing introduction to the Transformers on the inside front cover, the majority of the book is split into chapters that re-tell several G1 episodes, with the stickers providing the pictures. 'The Beginning' covers 'Arrival from Cybertron', 'S.O.S. Dinobots' and 'War of the Dinobots' introduces Grimlock and crew, 'Fire in the Sky' covers Jetfire's brief return, and then the album bows out with 'The Heavy-Metal War' and 'Fire on the Mountain'. Sounds kind of like a prog-rock album when I put it like that.

Cover Fire!
Two-colour illustrations sit between the sticker boxes, showing various scenes from the episodes. Nowadays this kind of crude picture, with its questionable accuracy, would be derided by kids and collectors but for the 80's this was as good as it got.

In addition are the profile pages that use shiny one-stickers for a TF's robot and alt mode, and then a larger six-sticker collage of them in action. The profile is similar to but not the same text as the on-box Tech Specs, and is enough to give kids an idea of what that character is like. For example, Inferno here 'does not follow orders very well' - goldmine info for setting up an Autobot vs Deception game.

Triple Cool Spread.
Finding this sticker album has been a genuine blast from the past, and is one of my favourite second-hand purchases I've made. It wasn't all I picked up though, so look out for more Vintage Wednesday action soon...

Pow! Right in the - uh... Yeah.
Any info on how to complete the gaps in the collection would be much appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Vintage Wednesdays: POTF2 R2 D2 & C-3PO

Well, this seems like a relevant time to return to Vintage Wednesdays, and who more apt to focus on than Luke Skywalker's loyal droids, Artoo Deeto and See-Threepio?

"I don't know what all this trouble is about, but I'm sure it must be your fault."
Despite the background, these shots aren't from my new lightbox - I took them some time ago, and have been storing them up for this very day. Anyway, what do you need to know about these guys?

R2 D2

Height: .96 meters average
Navigator, T-65 X-Wing Fighter
Astromech Droid
Rebel Alliance 

I'm pretty sure most Star Wars fans would count R2 as their favourite droid. The ultimate robotic Swiss army knife, it's his mission that sets the whole chain of events of A New Hope into motion and pulls Luke Skywalker into the Civil War. After that he serves as Luke's loyal and trustworthy companion throughout the evacuation of Hoth and both his trips to Dagobah, and he also plays a key role in the rescue of Han Solo. None of us had ever seen such devotion from a droid before (although granted, we'd never seen a droid before either); it's kind of amazing Obi Wan Kenobi forgot all about him. Almost like a huge, unresolved and unnecessary plot hole. Anyway, I digress...


"But, sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid."
Height: 1.67 meters
Human-Cyborg Relations Droid
Rebel Alliance 

And, let's face it, Threepio is harder company to have around. Despite being the most annoying character in The Empire Strikes Back, I now realise how that's part of the measure of the heroes of the film that they never leave him behind - Han Solo ensures 'Goldenrod' makes it out of Echo Base on the Falcon, and Chewie carries his destroyed body around Cloud City, despite being insulted for doing so. I think that's why I like C-3PO; he brings out the best in his compatriots. He's a lot more tolerable in Return of the Jedi, and the way he's revered as a God by the Ewoks is a great touch, and a nice little way for Lucas to say 'thanks' to the character for being such a superb heel. I'm not sure about his being created by Anakin - don't get me wrong, I do like how coincidences hang together in stories, but that felt like a stretch too far for me, even if it did yield a superb comic that plugs a gap from ESB.


The Power of the Force line was launched in 1995 by Kenner (who had been purchased by Hasbro in 1991), and was quickly dubbed 'POTF2', after the original Power of the Force line from 1985. Despite the beefcake sculpts the series was a massive hit, and continued to run until 2000, and completely reinvigorated interest and sales for the Star Wars merchandising juggernaut. This line is probably the main reason this blog even exists...

Anyway, back on topic. The first I knew about POTF2 was seeing Luke Skywalker in X-wing Fighter Pilot Gear (actually Snowspeeder Gear) in Milton Keynes Woolworths, where I bought it outright. Shortly afterwards I picked up the R2 D2 featured above, and gradually built up a mish-mash collection of various figures that provided hours of fun. Honestly. I played with vintage figures growing up, but these were my Star Wars vintage toys, and they were most excellent. Which I guess brings us nicely to today's hot topic...


So, it's finally happened. After decades of the 3 3/4 inch scale toy line, Hasbro is now preparing to launch a six inch, super-articulated, OT-centric and collector focused line, 'The Black Series'. I for one couldn't be happier. Yeah, I have a lot of 3 3/4" figures, and I will keep a lot of them. But look at that figure! It may be a prototype, but if the quality of the mass-produced ones is anywhere near that, it may become my favourite line ever. The launch, in August, consists of Luke, R2-D2, a Sandtrooper and Darth Maul - that's a definite OT three out of four for me.

Coming back to collecting late has had both good points and bad but I'm glad to be here, and now I'm really excited to get in on this line from the ground floor. And what better way to start a collection than with a Luke Skywalker in X-Wing Fighter Pilot Gear?

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Vintage Wednesdays: An Autobot Shall Rise from the Ranks

88 posts per blog. That can only mean we're time travelling for the return of... Vintage Wednesdays!

Ba-Weet Gra-Na Weet Ninnybomb!
So, Hot Rod. Since you're on this site I can assume you probably know who this guy is, but the capsule version goes something like this... Hot Rod, a young, fast tempered Autobot, fought in the 2005 battle of Autobot City. At the defeat of Unicron, Hot Rod reclaimed the Autobot Matrix of Leadership and became Rodimus Prime; however the weight of leadership proved a difficult burden to bear. Following the resurrection of Optimus Prime, Rodimus gladly relinquished the Matrix, and returned to the ranks of the Autobot warriors.

Yesterday's Car... Today!
Due to the success of the Transformers line, by 1986 Takara and Hasbro no longer needed to rely on toys from various Japanese lines, and Hot Rod was one of the first to be modelled after his animated design. As the film was set nearly two decades into the future, he was given a sleek, futuristic-car alt-mode. Needless to say, we don't really have cars like this today. But then, we don't have huge, militarised cities built and populated by robotic alien lifeforms either, so he gets a pass!

I loved this toy as a kid. Alongside Kup, Springer and Ultra Magnus I had a full on post-movie Autobot strike force (which was good, since Galvatron was freakin' huge in comparison!). Unfortunately, in an incident which shall not be named, I lost all my Transformers in one fell swoop. Much like the Ghostbusters this isn't my original version of Hot Rod, but instead a re-issued one that a friend gave me for my birthday almost ten years ago. I'd like to say that I've kept him in good condition, but see for yourself - we've got a peeling decal sticker on the leg from too much transforming, and neither of his two blasters. Sigh. I am a bad Autobot owner :(

In a straight fight, with this articulation - I would be concerned about Hot Rod's chances...
Anyway, he still takes pride in my collection, and is the only Transformer I have who has ever wielded the Matrix - this is good when you consider I have a toy shelf that includes both Galvatron and Megatron...

Well, that's this Wednesday sufficiently vintaged. Till all are one!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Vintage Wednesdays: Ghostbusters

Welcome to the first in what is sure to be an occasional and short lived series: Vintage Wednesdays! This is basically my opportunity to showcase the older figures in my collection, be they pieces I've held on to for years, or more recent (but equally old and interesting) acquisitions. Without further ado, I present... Peter Venkman and Egon Spengler, of The Real Ghostbusters!

Peter Venkman was most kids' favourite Ghostbuster, and who can blame them? Bill Murray blatantly stole all the best lines in the first film (my memory is hazy of the second, mainly because I think I blocked it from my mind out of unbridled childhood fear), and in the cartoon he was like the *slightly* more serious Michelangelo of the group, forever sparring with Slimer and looking for the easy way out. He was cool, man!

My favourite though, was Egon Spengler. Not sure why but between Egon, Leonardo and Ultra Magnus, my favourites were always the hapless, geeky ones of the group (I know Donatello was the scientist of the Turtles, but c'mon, Leonardo was the uptight serious one, right?). Egon built the kit, used the P-K Meter, and generally knew how to get them out of the countless jams they found themselves in. That was cooler to me than sarcastic one-liners; mainly because those probably went over my slow-witted head...

I had all four when I was younger, along with the Ecto-1, and the roleplaying Proton Pack, which provided hours more fun than a hollow blue plastic box should. I would've loved the Firestation, but I was pretty damn spoilt for Ghostbusters stuff, and certainly couldn't want for more.

These two, however, aren't from my childhood collection, which has been long since lost. In 2004, during my ill-fated first attempt at University I picked up these two from a car boot sale, and they've been with me since. Sold as seen, with chipped paint and no accessories, they still stand proudly on my shelf. I've looked into trying to buy a cheap Proton Pack or two to plug the holes in their backs, but according to the 'Bay it'd be cheaper to buy new versions of the figures outright, which seems a tad unnecessary; guess I'll stick to scouting charity shops and car boots until the day they turn up...

Still, Proton Packs or not - they ain't afraid of no ghost!

Peace out!

You may like...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...