Or, The long and sordid tale of my attempt to acquire the Walgreens exclusive Black Series prototype armor 6″ Boba Fett. The story that follows is told as I remember it, backed up with actual facts when possible.
So round about June or so Hasbro and Walgreens announced the first Walgreen’s exclusive figure would be the 6″ Black series Boba Fett in prototype armor. I was pissed. We don’t have any Walgreens here. I was promptly corrected by my wife, there’s one near my best bud’s house. Close enough I could swing past on my way home from work without to much of a detour. A quick Google search revealed 2 more that could serve as back ups if need be.
On July 23 my twitter blew up, you can pre-order though their website! Perfect. I’ll happily pay the shipping to save the trips to find it. Having never bought anything at or from Walgreens before, and not anticipating doing so again, I chose guest checkout rather than create an account.
Fast forward to, what, the end of October right? Twitter starts to blow up, Facebook starts to blow up, Rebelscum.com has a post, prototype Fetts are showing up in stores! What? Weird. Mine hasn’t come yet. I look it up on the website and it’s no longer available through the website. I can’t look up my order because I don’t have an account so I give them a call.
“Hello Walgreens customer service..”
“Hi, I’m calling to check the status of a website order”
“What’s your account #?”
“I did guest checkout, I have the order number if that helps….”
“What is it?”
“Thank you. … I’m sorry sir but the item is not available at this time”
“OK, do you know when it will be because it’s showing up in stores”
“I’m sorry sir I’m just website customer service.”
“Is there anything else I can help you with?”
“Actually yes. Can I update my credit card info on this order? BofA changed my credit card number on me.”
“In order to do that I will have to cancel this order and place a new one. Shall I go ahead and do that?”
“Well hold on, according to the website this item is no longer available. If you cancel it will i lose it?”
“Never mind, let’s keep it for now and I’ll call my credit card and see what they say.”
“Thank you for choosing Walgreens.”
So I call my credit card to see about that. The associate I spoke too seemed to think I’d be OK because they had pinged my credit card to authorize the pre-order but she’d make a note too.
Time goes buy and I read about more and more people picking it up in the stores and canceling their pre-orders. I decided to swing by the closest one to see if I could find one. I learned it what would be my only trip to that location that, much like the closest WalMart to me, the toy section is at the absolute bottom of their priorities. I ask the only associate that I can find and he has no idea what I am talking about. So I go home and try Walgreens customer service, this time through a web-chat…
So I decide to leave it to the fates. If the pre-order comes through great! But at this point I an as content to just be pissed at Walgreens as I am to get the figure. Fast forward to December 18th when i get an e-mail from Walgreens saying that my credit card had been declined but they would hold it for me if I acted quickly to provide a valid credit card. So as soon as I see the e-mail I call and the associate doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. She keeps placing me on hold obviously struggling with trying to figure out the pre-order since it technically wasn’t in stock anymore. I did get a new order number so it was time to wait and see. On December 23rd I find a box on my doorstep that it totally trashed. Fortunately Boba and his packaging was safe and sound.
Hasbro and Walgreens have already announced their next exclusive. Hopefully they can handle that one better.
Recently I finished reading Empire And Rebellion: Honor Among Thieves. This was significant for two reasons; first I finally caught up with publishing. Between college and the birth of my daughter I had fallen behind the publishing schedule a couple of times. Despite this I made sure to continue my reading in order of publication because I’m picky like that. Second it signaled my finishing of what is now referred to as the Legends series.
To catch you up if you don’t know, Disney and LucasFilm decided that every thing Star Wars published before and including Honor Among Thieves (except the 6 films and the The Clone Wars cartoon series) was no longer canon. Everything was rebranded “Legends” with the intent that everything published from there on out would be canon and part of the official timeline.
Having invested heavily in Star Wars fiction over the last 22 years this news was quite surprising. When I began buying the books I had no idea what it would lead to. I currently have every adult fiction novel that was published, purchasing the hard covers when available. One of the things I liked about our new house from when we were hunting was the huge book shelves that the previous owner had built into the bedroom that has become The Boba Room. Coupled with all my reference books, many of which are now also legended, it makes for an impressive picture.
At the time of the announcement I was angry and disappointed. So many good books and series were just being tossed aside. Heir To The Empire, the X-Wing series, I Jedi, The Republic Commando series, Kenobi, all pushed aside seemingly so the mouse could make more money. At the announcement of episode VII I was skeptical of what a new trilogy and additional spin off movies would bring. The cancellation of The Clone Wars shortly thereafter confirmed my fears. The announcement of Legends seemed to be the second nail in the coffin.
Strangely though the rational behind the decision appealed to my need for logic. Continuing a film franchise in a timeframe so heavily polluted by books, comics, and games would make continuity a challenge. Slowly my brain started to win me over. While the previous books were authorized by LucasFilm, the were no overarching direction to them all. The creation of a story group to manage everything regardless of format seemed like a great idea. Time, coupled with the first couple teases of VII and Rebels made everything a little more palatable.
Then I started to read posts and articles about people who refuse to accept this decision. I was sympathetic at first. I understood them being upset at the time and money they had invested in the expanded universe. How do you just put away over 20 years of books, comics, games, and even toys based on characters and events that don’t exist anymore other than some alternate universe? But then the protests and the hate started rolling in. I started reading stories about people protesting booths at cons, and spamming message boards and Facebook pages. I’m sorry but that isn’t was SW fandom is about. All the sniping and bullying and taunting is more indicative of the Sith, definitely not the Jedi way.
So I have a message for all the “true fans” trying to sabotage this new era. I’ve watched Rebels, and I love it. I’ve started reading A New Dawn, and I’m enjoying it. And for everyone crying reboot, it’s not a reboot. The original trilogy has always been at the heart of the Star Wars Universe. Now we’re adding 3 more films featuring not only the same characters, but the same cast. You can’t reboot that. That will continue to separate SW from the rest. And for those of you who don’t think SW will survive this, watch these next couple of years through kid’s eyes. Watch my daughter laugh and giggle at Chopper fighting R2. Hear the sad confusion in her voice when she asks why Ashoka is leaving the temple. Kids who have grown up on the Clone Wars and Rebels and the new films will carry the SW torch into the future. It will live on beyond our time. For those of us who grew up on the original trilogy it’s time to drop the “get off my lawn” attitude with the prequels and Legends. While I may shelve the new books separately, I will keep the Legends up there for all to see. And the stories I enjoyed the most, Kenobi, Mercy Kill, Scoundrels, I will continue to reread them.
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.
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?
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….
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?
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.
At $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!
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.
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.