Wednesday, 21 November 2012

VC92: ‘Realistic’ Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker Review

Here’s a release that would be pretty much tailored for an eight-year old me. Whilst there have been several iterations of the Clone Wars Anakin, they’ve almost all been in the ‘animated’ style – an acquired taste, to be sure. This is the first figure in Hasbro’s move to release Clone Wars figures in a ‘realistic’ style, more akin to the film-based lines, and was followed by a Clone Wars-style Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka Tano. From the concept up (my friends and I used to imagine endlessly what the Clone Wars were like and how Anakin Skywalker was as a Jedi), this figure was a must-buy for the collection…

The Package

The Vintage Collection packaging is a great look for the Star Wars line, and Anakin Skywalker is no different. The Clone Wars logo from the TV series is used, but the image is a photo-realistic portrait of Hayden Christensen in Clone Wars attire against a Coruscant-esque backdrop. The Kenner logo is present on the bottom of the card, and Anakin is packed with his lightsaber and saber hilt on display. As with all European releases, the back of the card is covered by a boring multi-lingual sticker.

The Figure

Anakin Skywalker comes with 14 points of articulation, a lightsaber and a lightsaber hilt. His look is based upon the 2008 Clone Wars film, with the stylish red, blue and brown armour. He wears a four piece soft-goods skirt.

The Light Side

First of all, the figure looks very cool. Anakin’s Clone Wars armour always had a good look to it, and is a refreshing change to the usual Jedi-in-robes look. The facial sculpt resembles Hayden Christensen enough to pass (although it could also be used for Edward Norton), and the lines in the armour and folds in the fabric are very well done. The proportions are spot-on, and despite the small, in-scale, feet, he can balance very well – no stand required!

The joints allow a great deal of posability, which is a massive plus point. The balance is such that the legs can be posed in an action stance whilst still standing up, which is important for an action figure. The ball-jointed shoulders are a good step forward for Hasbro – previously, we’ve seen shoulder pads restrict arm movement, but on Anakin Skywalker, the shoulder pads actually slide under the body armour, leading to a much greater degree of movement. The skirt works really well, matching the colours of the paint apps and actually being quite posable.

The Dark Side

One of the first things I noticed out of the package was that Anakin Skywalker is slightly hunched – it’s not a huge problem in most poses, but it’s there. Another half-criticism is about the points of articulation – swivel hips rather than ball-joints and the lack of upper torso articulation might be a negative to some, but in all honesty the figure has all the articulation it needs, and looks as good as it could.

One definite change I would make would be a hole in the belt to hang the lightsaber hilt from, but that’s it. There’s really not much wrong with this figure.

On Balance

This is a fine toy, and one that’s been a long time coming. Regardless of your opinions of the Clone Wars series, I’m sure that the idea of a Jedi Anakin Skywalker appeals to Star Wars fans young and old, and this time round Hasbro have nailed it. An unreserved five star figure!


Saturday, 17 November 2012


Somehow or another, I've stuck with this blog long enough to hit 100 posts! 70 of those have been from this year alone (which astonishes me to think about); I guess I finally found my groove with it. The truth is I would've given it all up if it weren't for the rapid escalation in hits that started around last December, and has been gradually increasing since. All I can say is thank you for visiting, and that I hope you enjoy my little bursts of creativity!


Monday, 12 November 2012

MH11: Movie Heroes Clone Trooper Review

As I've mentioned before, I find the period between the Prequels and the OT a fascinating time in Star Wars lore - there's a lot of ground to be covered with many of the 'big' characters in their prime, and a wholesale change in the style and look of the galaxy. This is where the Clone Troopers come into their own, having been on a pretty clear path of evolution from their introduction in Episode II. I have to say, with hindsight and a softening demeanour towards the Prequels as a whole, I'm actually rather fond of the ROTS 'Phase 2' look. With that in mind, it's time to review... The Movie Heroes Clone Trooper!

star wars hasbro clone
Clone Trooper and his Gear
Basic Training

This figure is a re-pack of 2005's Clone Trooper with Firing Jet Backpack, a deluxe figure that was based on unused concept art for Revenge of the Sith. As far as I can tell it's a straight-up repack, with no change to the paint apps. The figure features 12 points of articulation and the aforementioned Firing Jet Backpack (essential for anti-Separatist missions!), and a rifle with a sight. It also comes packed with a Star Wars display base, a Galactic Battle Game Card and Game Die.

For the Republic!

Firstly, it's a decent sculpt. A lot of detail has been crafted into the armour, with lines in all the right places and an impressive level of detail on the belt and the right-wrist controls. The paint apps are really well done, with great detailing on the helmet in particular. The ball-jointed head is the right size, and the waist joint, swivel hips and ball jointed knees and ankles allow for some well-balanced poses (although posing is an issue that will be discussed further below). Even with the heavy weight of the firing jetpack plugged into its back the Clone Trooper can still stand up well. The jetpack itself looks very cool, and both the spring loaded wings and missile firing feature work well enough as play features for me; I'm sure that a kid would absolutely love this toy for that alone!

For the Empire!

As you may have noticed so far however, I've avoided talking about the arms. And if you look at the pictures above, you may notice they're all in the same position - and that right there is the serious flaw with this figure, ladies and gentlemen: swivel elbows. Without any kind of hinge action (and nothing like a ball joint), this Clone Trooper is eternally stuck in either a rigid, double-handed gun holding pose, or with his arms out in a 'what ya gonna do?' kind of stance. I know how he'll sit on my shelf, but it's not a great choice. Another problem I've found is seriously loose joints, and a lower left arm that came off straight out of the packet. The former isn't a huge problem because as yet the Trooper's had no difficulty holding a pose, but the arm has dropped out a couple of times since. The rifle is incredibly under-sculpted as well, but it serves its purpose well enough.

"Why me?" bemoans the MH Clone Trooper as his SL counterpart stretches w-i-d-e...
For Some Ball-Jointed Arms!

My overall impression is that this is a very solid toy with one big minus point; however, the good almost counteracts it. There's a decent sculpt, a very good paint job, great lower-body posability that can make the upper-body poses seem less static, and a very cool and well-made action feature that keeps the spirit of the character whilst also providing a great toy. The arms aren't great, but at least the pose they hold looks natural and appropriate, and I'd have absolutely no second thoughts about putting this guy on display next to my Saga Legends Clone Trooper. In fact, I'd say they look pretty swell together...


Friday, 9 November 2012

Watching Them Escape

I'm thoroughly enjoying the Blu-Ray ESB figure pack, and today can introduce the Snowtrooper to the Blog. I still have to take some shots of the Princess Leia, which is an excellent looking figure, but will get around to that when I'm feeling a bit more wintery. I think building a suitable set for her could take some time as well...

I went a slightly different way to usual with this shot, as it was a black and white image that I've edited a fair amount. As always, Vader's cloak needed some touching up to look heavier, and I added the lights to his chest plate. Otherwise the blue tint was achieved by lowering the colour temperature and increasing the saturation. I think it's worked out alright; for sure it's made Vader's armour look great!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Running into Trouble...

I posted this on my Flickr photostream, but the colour temperature was much colder, so I fixed it for here. Not sure which version I prefer now... :S

Film-making is taking over my life currently, which is probably why this photo has such a cinematic treatment. I'll update when I can!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

I Am Ready!

I already thought it would be interesting, but now I'm finding the announcement of the Sequel Trilogy just plain inspiring. Star Wars influenced and inspired me hugely growing up, and it's fair to say that without the original film series I wouldn't have the passion for film-making that I do today. I've already been at film school for over a year and was fully intending to start work in the industry afterward anyway, but Tuesday's announcement (on my birthday, no less) seals it.

I will be working in the film industry when I finish my course. And I am going to do my level best to contribute, in whatever small way, to the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

It's on! :D

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