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Boba Fett – Sideshow Mythos Statue

Disclaimer:I didn’t realize how bad these pics were until I uploaded them from my phone.  I’ll re-shoot these next photo session.

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More pics at the bottom.

No single item in my collection has exceeded my expectations more than the Sideshow Mythos Boba Fett statue. When the mythos line was announced I didn’t immediately realize that the concept art would so closely resemble the final piece. When I did finally make that connection I was actually a little turned off. While some of the elements from the design are borrowed from some of the original concept work as seen in the Chronicles book, even more of it seemed to have no Star Wars source reference at all. He’s got a knife strapped to his boot a la Rambo, a rifle slung over his shoulder VERY reminiscent of a US Army M-60, and a skirt holding three lightsabers. And he had this insanely large blaster rifle that almost doubles the height of the statue (not including the base). The one reason I didn’t cancel my pre-order was the figure’s pose. As I’ve touched on before a lot of Fett figures and statues have somewhat lame poses. This one is perfect. Poised, pensive, ready to strike. I hemmed and hawed the entire pre-order period; it’s really pricey, it doesn’t look like the films, it’s got a cool pose, I don’t have to pose it myself… I finally decided that if I didn’t like then I’d just sit on it and eBay itwhen it had appreciated enough to get my money back.   …and then it came.

As I continue to preach, Sideshow kills it when it comes to packaging. Their boxes have amazing photo/art on the panels, and everything just screams Star Wars and quality. Opening the box there’s this cool envelope with even more concept art that is as equally amazing on both sides. Inside the envelope is the story. A very cool touch to the piece adding back story to the statue. After splitting open the layered foam packing I was surprised to see how many separate pieces the figure was/is broken down into. Equally surprising, for me anyway, was how well the magnets hold everything together. Granted it is designed to have a little assist from gravity, but it definitely has solid attachment.

The two part base has a great look.  First a metallic cylinder with some nondescript design work on it that has a weathered look to it.  Sitting atop that is a red sandy/rocky terrain that suggests a plateau or ledge from which Boba is tracking his quarry.

The first piece of the figure are the legs and waist.  For the most part it has the same thigh pouches, shin tools, knee pads, and boots we’re all used to.  The first difference is the machete.  He’s got a huge machete in a scabbard (vibro-blade?) strapped to his right calf Rambo style.  Seems to real worldly but it’s grown on me.  Also new to this portion is what i call the kilt.  It wraps around the back and splits open in the front.  It also has pouches similar to what would normally be the hip pouches on one of the film versions of the armor.  Hung on the backside of the right hip of the kilt are three lightsabers, presumably trophies from other hunts.  The kilt is held up by a ROTJ style girth and ammo/pouch belt.  Also on the belt hung on the right hip is an ESB style pistol and holster.  Lastly hung off the left hip, attached fanny pack style is a black pouch more similar to what one might keep binoculars in.

The next piece added is the torso and arms.  It features the standard chest armor, and ESB styled gauntlets in a ROTJ color scheme.  The right breastplate has the same insignia we’ve always seen, however his cloak is draped over his left breastplate and shoulder hiding the LED read out and the left shoulder pad.  As the mythosaur skull is the most iconic/symbolic representation of Fett I find this to be a very bold and interesting design choice.  Overall the look of the piece isn’t negatively impacted, yet that iconic symbol is not on display.  Imagine an Optimus Prime figure without an autobot logo.  The jetpack magnets on, and while the color shading might not be entirely screen accurate it is essentially the ROTJ jetpack and paint scheme, weathered and all.

Next up is where I wish there had been instructions.  There are two right shoulder accessorries.  The first is the traditional wookie scalps that wrap around as one peice.  The second is a rifle that looks very reminiscent of a US Army M-60.  It’s been modded up a bit to make it look sci-fi but I’d lay money down the the M-60 was the base weapon for the design.  Boba has a hole in his shoulder and the M-60 strap has a peg to hold it in place.  It took me a while to get both the scalps and the M-60 to sit right to have both at the same time.  I’m not sure it’s meant to accommodate both, but I pulled it off.  It’s hard to tell from the pics on the website.  The right hand is holding the stock BlasTech EE-3 from ROTJ.  TIP: It’s easiest to add all the right shoulder/hand accessories with the torso removed from the waist/legs.

All that’s left are the helmet and left hand.  I did a little comparison but was not able to match up the paint/scratch /dent scheme to either film.  It does however have the wolf ear outlines as seen in the Chronicles book as part of the initial color prototype pre-ESB.  You get two choices with the left hand, and they are to the extremes.  If you want to go small there is a tiny holdout sized blaster.  Think chirping cricket from MIB.  It’s similar in style to the blaster on the Gentle Giant animated maquette, and the vinyl “Screamin” 1/4 scale model from the late 90′s.  It also shows up in some of the color concept photos (publicity style?) in Chronicles.  None of the other current Fetts I’ve seen have that tiny blaster with a shoulder stock.  If you want to go big there is what seems to be a Clone Wars era heavy blaster.  The rifle itself is as tall as Boba and definitely impacts how you display the statue.  I ended up rearranging the my cabinet so I could display it with the larger rifle.

The irony for me in this piece is that the elements that were the biggest turn off to me prior to receiving it turned out to be some of strongest parts to the design.  Looking at pictures during the pre-order he just seemed so out of character being so heavily overtly armed.  But then getting it, being able to see it in 3D, and look at it from various angles, it’s more a sense of this is what he is capable of.  Someone is about to get seriously messed up.  This statue for me is 99% perfect. The only negative criticism I have is that when assembling it, the right hand doesn’t fit tighty/properly because of the way the rifle stock gets pinched between his waist and forearm.  In fact (unfortunately) I broke mine without even realizing it while assembling it.  I didn’t notice it until disassembling it for these pictures.  But the break isn’t visible when assembled. So between that, the amount of time that had past since I purchased it, and lack of motivation, I’ve left it that way.  Besides, right now it’s my favorite piece, and I’d hate to ship it back and not have it to look at.

P.S.  Sideshow, if you’re reading this…  How about for the next Premium Format Fett you do the ESB armor, and the exclusive addition comes with a Cloud City style base for both Boba and the PF Han in Carbonite…  please?

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Boba Fett – Sideshow’s 1/6 Prototype Armor

I have a love/hate relationship with Sideshow.  Their customer service is top notch, their promotional material makes everything drool worthy, but then you actually get the product.

The prototype armor figure is my 5th Sideshow made piece; 1/4 scale Boba, 1/4 scale Han in Carbonite, 1/6 scale Boba (Scum and Villainy), and the Boba Fett Mythos statue round out the other 4.  I hope to add reviews for the rest later so I’ll focus my critique on the prototype figure.  I will however go on record and say that the Mythos piece is probably the favorite of my entire collection at the moment.

I always found the prototype Fett a curious piece of Star Wars lore.  I’m pretty sure no other character has been so heavily documented, both officially by LucasFilm, or though fan research.  Tip of the hat to The Dented Helmet.  As a fan of the character I was fascinated by the black and white introductory video featuring Ben Burtt narrating the costume design.  However when Hasbro introduced the McQuarrie Concept, and had their mail away offer I wasn’t really interested in hunting them down.  Sideshow’s release of a 1/6 scale figure however peaked my interest, and now having gotten it I’m scouring eBay for the Hasbro figures.

So here he is, in all his glory, the Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 scale prototype armor Boba Fett….

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More pictures to follow the post.

The packaging is nice.  An enlarged t-visor on the front with a picture of the figure on the back. The front also has a flip open panel that offers a brief history of the prototype armor on the backside while allowing us to see the actual figure through a plastic window. And thus began my frustration with this particular piece. I immediately noticed that his right breast plate was detached and hanging out in the bottom of the figure tray. I quickly realized however that it was simply the Velcro used to affix the armor that wasn’t holding as opposed to a more permanent attachment method having failed. The packaging inside the box is well designed, the figure sits in one layer of the tray while all the accessories sit in custom molded recesses in a second layer of the tray. Plastic sheeting helps protect some of the parts and a piece of tape is used to keep the shin tools in their slots.

After pulling the figure out and reattaching the breast plate I was feeling a little better. Then I checked the gauntlet hoses and was happy to find they weren’t kinked or bent.  I finally got him to stand up on his own so I started pulling out the accessories. First the stand. Sideshow packed this in a way so that it was stuck together in the wrong configuration. It literally took me 5 minutes to figure out how to separate it (why no instructions?) so I could reassemble it. I was disappointed to find that Sideshow’s method of packing left some minor damage to the base where the stand is inserted. While it is incredibly minor, and wouldn’t be noticed without me pointing it out, I know it’s there. The next thing I noticed was that the holster belt wasn’t positioned like it was in the picture. In my attempt to address that the cod piece fell off. This part isn’t velcroed. The front half of the cod piece clips into the back half and friction is basically supposed to hold the two pieces together. I managed to wiggle the belts into a position to help hold it in place and got the holster belt repositioned but not without a lot of time and frustration.

My next challenge was to actually put the pistol in the holster. The holster itself isn’t a pouch but a strap that somehow wraps around the pistol. I did my best, and you can see it in the pics, but again no instructions. The other tricky attachment is the cape. The attachment point on the shoulder is a single looped stitch to hold the hook on the corner of the cape. Luckily the jet pack helps hold it in place because it flops out pretty easily on it’s own. Next up the shin tools. The shin pouches can barely contain them, in fact a couple have to go under the knee pads to be hidden. It appears to be a scaling problem because even the picture on the box has the tools sticking up under the knee pads. My final production criticism is the coloring. While the soft parts are practically pure white, the armor has a bit of a cream hue. On the box everything looks exactly the same shade, while on the figure there is a distinct difference in color. It actually isn’t as bad as the pictures seem to make it out but it’s still off.

The only artistic criticism I have is the base. Not really a fan of the design, probably because it matches the beach towel. Kudos though to Sideshow for making the extra effort to include the beach towel cape which is a nice nod back to the introductory video. I doubt I’d ever display it on the figure but still a nice gesture.

Believe it or not there are some other things I like about this. The figure itself is a lot less stiffer than the other 1/6 Fett. It’s easier to manipulate and pose, and the hands interchange MUCH smooth than the other Fett. Also the vest and chest armor are worn better by the figure. The chest on the other 1/6 Fett looks like it’s caving in, not the case on the prototype version. The packaging is well put together and aside from a couple pieces of tape I didn’t have to destroy anything to open it.

I also want to give a huge shout out to Sideshow’s customer service. I was hoping to change the shipping address last minute and due to the timing of my call they literally pulled it back off the truck so they could make the change. I may be critical of their products sometimes (because I want the perfect piece) but every interaction I’ve had with their customer service associates have been incredible, and this put them over the top.

Amazingly Proto Fett’s arrival closes out the last lone existing pre-order I had.  Now what?

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Boba Fett – Hasbro’s Black Series

New Year, new computer.  I’m back.

Finally, thanks to the Disney store of all places, I finally (finally!) found a second Black Series Boba Fett.  Which really means three because I broke down and picked up the San Diego Comic Con exclusive version with Carbo Han on eBay.

IMG_4874 IMG_4898At $20.00 a figure ($25 at Disney) I have to say I’m pretty impressed.  I picked up the SDCC version first and opened it most of the way.  I didn’t remove the figures or accessories because they are rubber banded in there in a way that prevents you from re-securing them.  I did however see enough that made me decide to pick up 2 more.  One to open, one to not.  The first one I lucked out rather well in that I found it at target within 2 weeks of the second wave hitting the shelves locally (only about a month behind the rest of the country judging by twitter and facebook).  The second took me about another month and a half.  I was about to give up and eBay it thinking the mark up online would be cheaper than what I was spending on gas when low and behold the Disney store finally started carrying Star Wars.  Finally one to open.  Here’s my review, pictures to follow.

When the 6″ Black Series was announced I wondered if a figure that’s less than double the size was worth more than double the price.  The collector answer is yes.  As a toy…  For some families the price tag might be too hefty to make this line a playroom reality.  One or two figures maybe, but the series, probably not.  Like the regular line of action figures these are also marked for ages 4+.  My daughter qualified for that 29 days ago.  Would I trust her to play with these figures?  Yes, but I wouldn’t give her the accessories.  Knowing her the guns would disappear into the vortex of her toy chest.  The jet pack might be safe.

Hasbro has found a very nice balance with this figure between sculpting a replica, and articulating play.  The amount of articulation is intially impressive.  However trying to manipulate it, first into some bad ass looking poses, then finally just trying to make him stand up by himself was a bit more challenging than it should have been for an adult.  I’ll chalk some of it up to stiff joints that may just need to be broken in, but the torso swivel above the hips doesn’t feel like it’s set right.  The elbows are also very tricky because there’s a ton of articulation there.  There’s the forearm swivel above the elbow, the elbow joint itself, and another forearm twist below the elbow.   The wrists also twist a little but they are hindered by the gauntlets.  On top of all that articulation, Hasbro completely went for it on the right elbow.  Being the ESB armor, the right gauntlet has a hose that feeds off of it and up the right sleeve above the elbow.  Hasbro incorporated some slack into the hose to allow for movement with the articulation.  It looks super cool and it moves with the figure like it would on a real costume.  The only downside I can see if that it’s still molded plastic.  I’ll be curious to see if/when it fatigues and breaks free on figures that are played with more frequently.  One choice Hasbro made  that I was surprised to see, and actually agree with, was making the antenna stalk static.  Boba never moves his on screen, and it’s just potentially another small hinge that could easily break.  I don’t have all the variations so correct me if I’m wrong but I believe the 300th release figure is the only one with a swivel antenna.  I was also impressed with the knees in that the knee pad is a center peice with a hinge above to the thigh and a hinge below to the calf, as if he has a real kneecap.  One final highlight of the articulation, if this counts, are the belts, pouches and holster.  The ammo belt, girth belt, hip pouches, and pistol holster are all one piece, but float freely around the waist.  Aside from being cool from a design stand point, it also helps with the hip/waist articulation to free up the movement and make it look more natural. Some additional figure design highlights for me; the cloth cape (although proportionally it appears to be a bit to long reaching down to his ankle), and the back plate detail matching up perfectly to the jet pack anchor points.  The only criticism I have is the pistol grip hands, which seems to be a problem on every single figure that needs to hold a firearm.  It’s a pain to get the weapon in there, when he’s finally holding it by himself it doesn’t look like a natural pose, and I’m always afraid I’m going to break a finger off inserting or removing it.

The figure packaging is another nice win for the 6″ series.  It looks nice, and you don’t have to destroy it to get the figure out so you can reuse it for storage/display if you wish.  The detailing in the SDCC version packaging is super nice too.  I’m not a big fan of convention exclusives because I don’t live anywhere near the conventions that offer them, but I do appreciate the extra effort that all the different licensees put in to the ones they offer.  Hopefully down the road Hasbro will offer a stand alone carbo Han because it would look great to display them together, but after the eBay mark up I’m not ready to completely bust open the SDCC packaging.  Pics below, thanks for reading!

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Book Review: Scoundrels (spoilers)

There’s a reason Timothy Zahn is the gold standard for Star Wars authors, and this book is the prime example.  This book masterfully weaves together a huge ensemble cast representing a number of different interests, with a Sixth Sense rivaling twist at the end.

Hired to recover a huge sum of credits, Han and Chewie assemble an Ocean’s Eleven style team of theives, hackers, and specialists to retrieve it from a seemingly impossible fortress.  Most of these rogues have appeared elsewhere in Star Wars fiction, either book or comic, most notably Lando and Wynter.  Add to that the fact that the current holder of said credits works for Black Sun, and is hosting a visit from a Vigo, and being watched by an imperial intelligence agent, and you’ve got some big time paranoia all around.

I had always wished that for some reason Tom Clancy would write a Star Wars book, both for the length, and the complexity.  While sadly that is no longer a possibility, the way Timothy intertwines all the various factions and interests might almost be a tribute.  What seems like such a simple straight forward job, recover the stolen property for a big pay day, quickly devolves into near chaos as a number of different competing interests reveal themselves, as well as a possible prize that would rival the value of the credits they were hired for.  Add to that the wry humor that always bubbles up when Han and Lando are together and this book becomes an instant classic.

There’s one twist that bubbles up on the last two pages that totally turns the whole book on its side.  I’m going to save this one for you because some endings just shouldn’t be spoiled.  This is a definite must read.

Book Review: TOR Annihilation (spoilers)

More Old Republic books please.  Having just finished Mercy Kill I was ready for a let down.  Not that I expected this book to be bad, or even mediocre, but the writing for Mercy Kill was so smart, quick, and witty I didn’t think Annihilation would keep the same pace.  Lo and behold it did!  Theron Shan is a great character, the screwed up love child of a Jedi, Satele Shan, and a republic commander, Jace Malcom, who by the time this story rolls around are both Grand Master of the Order and Supreme Republic Commander respectively.  Let the Supreme Commander discover he has a son, all while fighting a Dark Side fueled super weapon, and mix in the mercenary female Twi’lek Teff’ith and voila!  An awesome book.

Teff’ith is the one character I wish had been better developed.  I think the author, Drew Karpyshyn, was intentionally leaving blanks to make her connection to Theron more mysterious, but it didn’t quite work for me.  For as large a role as she plays in the plot I would have liked to know her better.  However the little mentions of the Republic Intelligence Director Marcus’ flirtations with Jace’s receptionist are hilarious little peeks into an everyday life we almost never hear about in any SW book so that almost balances out for me.

Overall another great read.  I’ve loved all TOR books and hope more are coming.  Next up in fiction is Scoundrels, Timothy Zahn never disappoints.  In the non-fiction realm I need to work up the conviction to crack open my unexpectedly sealed copy of The Blueprints.  I really wish I could have justified the large format version of that book but $500 was just way to much.  Unlike the deluxe copy of Sculpting the Galaxy, I don’t think Blueprints is going to come down to justifiable affordability so I bought the $100 marked down to whatever I actually paid for it version of the book.

Book Review: X-Wing Mercy Kill (spoilers)

When this book came up in the rotation I half-jokingly tweeted that I had hoped the highlight of the book wasn’t the fact that they used an E-Wing in the cover art.  I was only half joking because I love the X-Wing series.  They are the funniest, and most well written books in all of the EU IMO, and I was prepared to be disappointed.  I was a bit nervous because it had been so long since one had been written.  I had hope because Aaron Alston was still involved, and Wraith Squadron was more or less his baby.  To cut to the chase, the book lived up to the hype.

Likes:  It’s quick, witty, and funny, just like all the previous books.  Opening the book with Voort participating in a gamorrean male revue is priceless.  I also liked how the story is set a good deal of time after the previous book in the series rather than trying to pick up where they left off.  I also thought the weaving together of old and new characters was well done.  Especially when bringing the rest of the gang back in halfway through.  And an added bonus, there actually were E-wings in the book.  I’m always disappointed when a book (any book, not just SW) throws something into the cover art that has nothing to do with the story inside.

Dislikes: None

Hopefully this will be a rebirth of the X-wing series.  Even my wife liked it.  As she is visually impaired I got her the audiobook through the library and she loved it.  Now I have to track down the previous books for her.  Next up for me, Annihilation (The Old Republic).

Book Review: Scourge (spoilers)

Star Wars books are to short.  Scourge is the perfect example of a book that could have been greatly enhanced by lengthening the book to expand on the characters.  As this is one of the few books whose events occur after ROTJ that does not contain a single character from any of the films taking some extra pages to develop the characters could have greatly enhanced their depth.  Still I wish we could get more books that don’t involve Luke/Leia/Han etc.  There is plenty of things going on in the universe that we don’t always need to include them.

What I liked most about this book is that it’s almost a real world premise.  It’s a good old fashioned detective/gangster story set in the SW universe.  “Cop” gets killed, drugs are to blame, let’s go get the drug lord.  You’ve got elements of local cops, then the Feds come in and argue about jurisdiction, then the rogue cop bends the rules to make sure the bad guy gets caught.  Throw in a lightsaber, some force, and you’ve got Scourge.  All the characters were great, and I especially loved Angela Krin.  Star Wars has always excelled with creating strong female characters and making the instantly credible.  Angela is no different.  Again, it would have been great to expand her back story and give her some more depth.

The only negative criticism I have of the book is the brief appearance of Toro Irana.  He dies in the prologue, and his death basically kicks off the book.  His part should also have been expanded.  Give him a couple of chapters to build the intrique and mystery.  Especially since his sister Reen is so hell bent on avenging him, it would help to somehow build that relationship since Jedi family life isn’t really consistent within all the different eras.

IMO the best part of this book is our heroes chasing the spice lord.  Making it about drugs does wonders to help tie it to the real world and make the story more authentic.  Not everything has to be about super weapons or super villains.  Scourge is another great book.  Sure there could be improvements, but everyone will have different opinions.  For my money, keep bringing in or developing characters from outside the films, and keep tieing in different genres.  We’ve done horror with Death Troopers and Red Harvest, and now we’re venturing into crime/gangster.

Next up in my attempt to catch up on my reading is X-Wing: Mercy Kill.   Definitely looking forward to that because the X-Wing books are IMO the best ones out there.  Well, at least the first four written by Michael Stackpole.  Now I just need to find time to read it.

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