Monday, January 12, 2009

The Top 10 Most Baffling Star Wars Figures

10. Lava Reflection Darth Vader
Obi-wan seemed pretty confident Darth Vader would never revisit his old stomping grounds on Tatooine, and I'm pretty sure Vader would also never come back to see where his best friend cut off his arms and legs and left him to burn to death. And even if he did, I doubt it would look like this. This "lava-reflection" concept paint job was ugly and weird on dueling Obi-wan and pre-armored Darth Vader, but it was at least half-way sensical. With this Darth Vader it's ugly AND nonsensical.

This isn't a figure, it's a journey. A journey into the bizarre self-referential world of re-making a popular toyline. When old Zutton, or Snaggletooth, came out in the vintage line, Kenner was forced to design it off some shaky production art. They orginally produced him as an average size alien dude in a blue jumpsuit. Well when the movie rolled out it turned out Zutton was an alien MIDGET in a RED jumpsuit, so eventually they corrected him. And somehow the Sears wishbook comes into this but I just don't remember how. What we have here is not a Star Wars toy of a character, but a Star Wars toy of a Star Wars toy. Kind of messes up your brain, doesn't it?

8.Mace Windu (Geonosian Rescue)
Poor Mace Windu had some nice figures for Episode 1, but didn't get a decent one until after Episode 3. I'm still waiting for one with a removable arm and baffled expression. But until then I can be baffled by this figures expression. This has to be one of the only figures I can think of to have his eyes closed. I don't care how much you trust in the force, Jedi don't fight blind. This is a case of a figure being ruined by scene specific weirdness. I mean, did he even ever look like that in the movie? Meaning that some executive just decided that kids would like to play with a figure that couldn't see. Heck, with his erratic light-saber swining action feature he looks more like he's throwing a hissy-fit than fighting in a battle.
7.Mace Windu (Arena Confrontation)
Here's another heinous Mace Windu, released right after his Geonosian Rescue counterpart. I don't know why they couldn't just give poor Mace a normal figure, but this time instead of testing the waters of scene-specific expressions, they tested out a bizarre action feature. The only figure in the line I can think of to feature puppetry, Mace is scewered by a metal pole and clear disk that allow you to manipulate his soft, putty-like arms through his body. Alright, it's goofy, but some kid could conceivably have fun with it. Execpt that his lightsaber blade comes removed and relies on an ultra-thin plastic sliver to plug into the hilt. Meaning that most of the blades had trouble staying in, and if the figure toppled once, the saber would break. Thus leaving this figure remote control swinging action.

6.Chewbacca (Dejarik Champion)
Why? Why was this figure posed like that? Sure, Hasbro has pre-posed figures before, but they always have a neutral or fighting stance. There were plenty of logical ways to pose this Chewie like reaching out to manipulate the gameboard or rip a guys arm out of his socket. But instead they chose the most limiting scene-specific pose possible. They might as well called this Chewbacca (Specifically for the Three Second Duration Immediately After He Won Dejarik). Now all he's good for is doing sit-ups or getting arrested by Sandtroopers. Also note that this figure was origninally going to have real fur flocked onto him, which would have made him slightly more fun to touch, but would still have landed him on this list.

5.Han Solo with Smuggler Flight Pack
Seriously, what is this thing supposed to do? Nothing helps you avoid unwanted attention like a 2-ton harness with giant guns on it. I'd hope he uses it in space because otherwise he'd break his back, but he can't even go in space because he's not using a space suit. I guess I can never expect to have a personal jet-pack because even in the futuristic technology of Star Wars a "Flight Pack" has to be the size of 3 refrigerators. I really have to question if they even knew what a "smuggler" is...this toy would have been far more aptly named "Han Solo Single-Handedly Takes on the Empire with Giant Space Cannons".

4. R5-D4
I didn't realize astromech droids were produced as mobile mortar-firing attack stations. Hasbro/Kenner opted not to make the long-rumored "Attack R2-D2" and instead appropriated the features into this unassuming droid with a bad motivator. At a time when Hasbro/Kenner was churning out Neon Battle Armor Batmen hand over fist, they wisely chose to keep Star Wars very authentic. I frightening view of what could have been, I guess after this they finally decided that Star Wars was cool enough without strapping guns and missile-launchers to every 3rd-rate character. The sad thing is it took 10 years before they came out with an R5-D4 that wasn't a flimsy shell for a missile silo.

3. Any Star Tours figure.
Logically these should all get #1 but that feels like a cop-out because these are so far removed from being in any sort of continuity that they barely even qualify. It's a testament to the popularity of these 3 and 3/4 inch action figures that an entire line was produced off of a Disneyland ride. Sure, it makes sense to maybe have the pilot droid Captain Rex to gouge toy-hungry kids in the post-ride gift shop, but then they made every droid decorating the walk up to the ride, including a bunch of recycled Pirates of the Caribbean robots. So you too can own your very own skinless animatronic parrot action figure.

2. R2-D2 (with launching lightsaber)
Just look at this thing. Hasbro eschewed plenty of legitimate R2-D2 variants like Bar2-D2, filthy swamp deco R2-D2, or Battle-damaged R2-D2 in favor of...Elephantitis R2-D2! Well, ok, so the figure is given over to pure gimmickry. But that doesn't even make sense because he shoots out an oddly shaped LIT lightsaber! His head is a little undersized, his foot is gigantic and he has a lighsaber stabbing him throught the head. This figure only makes sense as R2-D2's retarded cousin. Top it off with fact that his paint job makes it look like he was sprayed with diarrhea and you've got one of the most head-scratching figures ever made.

1. Anakin Skywalker
Having already made a see-through Spirit of Anakin Skywalker figure, Hasbro thought they would mine the varient barrel and release a...seemingly living Anakin Skywalker? Ok, this figure KIND of made sense before we knew that Anakin was a whiny 20-something when he was burnt to a crisp, but Hasbro really should have known better realeasing this figure as a "Preview" into Episode 1. As it stands this figure only exists as an alternate univers "What if?" figure where Anakin never goes to the dark side or turns out to be healed under his armor or something. He even comes with Obi-wan's lightsaber for cripes sake! Well, whatever, he could still beat up this guy...

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