The “Star Wars
Saga” action figures are not just packaged differently from the older Hasbro
lines. Many of them are much better made, as well, and seem geared towards collectors
rather than the traditional children’s market. The sculpting
is cleaner and more accurate than it ever has been in the past (shout if you remember Big-Head Han
!) and more accessories
are being packed in with the figures. The poses are dramatic, and most of these figures have some sort of “Force
action” or other gimmicks
built into them - R2-D2
beeps electronically, C-3PO
comes with removable plates
to cover his wiring, and several figures have spring-loaded arms for quick lightsaber
moves. Hasbro seems to have finally realised that the simple poseable 3 3/4"
dolls are no longer as exciting as they were in 1977
. I think we have McFarlane Toys
to thank for this new thinking in the action figure world - as far as I know, McFarlane and their Spawn
figures were the first to mass-produce this type of action figure
Of course, not all is perfect with the Saga figures. One thing I find horribly tacky about them is the deplorable use of bright “crystal” plastic attachments simulating blaster fire and electrical effects. Many of them come with little muzzle flash effects that are meant to attach to the weapons, supposedly making it look like the weapons are actually firing. Not since Darth Vader’s “Look, I’ve got a red plastic wire sticking out of my hand” lightsaber in the original Kenner line, have I seen such an ugly accessory for an action figure. It looks hideous on a figure sitting on a shelf as part of a carefully posed geek army, and I can’t imagine that little kids are playing with it much.
---“ZAP! CRACKLE!! You’re dead, Jedi scum!”
---“No I’m not, you forgot to snap the plastic 40-watt phased plasma effect on your blaster. ZZOOM-SWISH-HUM. Eat lightsaber energy, you poop!”
---“Argh. I’m dead.”
One more thing collectors should note: some of these figures, at least in the ATOC line-up, have variant packaging available in the form of little cardboard backdrop inserts within the plastic enclosing the figures. The backdrops show light blue-tinted photos of the appropriate ATOC scenery. From my personal figure hunts in New York City, it seems that the backdrops are in about 1/3 or 1/4 of all these units. Some stores hardly stock any figures with backdrops, while others (notably Toys’R’Us) have backdrops in every unit. While meatspace stores charge the same price for figures with and without backdrops, online merchants geared towards collectors are charging up to $15 more for backdropped figures. I don’t like the insanity of variant hunting, so I wouldn’t go out and look for the backdrops specifically, but if you see them, buy them.
Here is a list of all figures (so far) that have backdrop versions: