16bit.Com Reviews: Star Wars
“Bespin Battle” Battle Pack!

This week, IAT will spotlight our favorite sites! Today’s reviewer has been a force in the Star Wars collecting community for decades and done work for some of the best sites out there including 16bit.com & GalacticHunter.com! A special thanks to Adam Pawlus for kicking off Guest Review Week!

Adam Pawlus: For years, Kenner and Hasbro developed and pushed Star Wars action figures into an amazing, refined collectible. 14 points of articulation became the new norm, which resulted in sky-high expectations and, with rising labor costs in China and increases in raw materials, prices shot up as well.

It’s no big surprise that eventually Hasbro would start to experiment with reducing articulation as a cost-cutting measure, like this Bespin Battle Battle Packs action figure set. Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Luke Skywalker have been given completely new sculpts but they’re articulated like the figures from the 1970s and 1980s. Each figure has 5 joints, incredible sculpting, and perfectly appropriate accessories. As of the first week of July, they started showing up in Target stores in addition to online shops where they’ve been for a couple of months.

Fan outcry after seeing these figures was pretty loud and despite the lack of distribution at brick and mortar, they seem to be selling adequately online. The very notion of vintage-style figures has been on fan request lists for years, but this deviates from the “make them look like 1984” and instead incorporates the “make them play like they did in 1984.” With the exception of Boba Fett’s blaster falling out of the holster and Darth Vader’s cape preventing his being able to sit, they’re far more fun as toys than most recent figures since the early 2000s.

Luke Skywalker is arguably the most exciting figure in the set for older fans because he has yellow hair. Modern Hasbro and Kenner figures have mostly erred on the side of realism, but the first few 1970s and 1980s releases had a bright yellow mop on his head and because Hasbro loves us, they tried it again here. The head sculpt looks good, but since Mark Hamill’s face is tricky to render in plastic it’s not quite perfect. The skin is a little shinier than it should be, but the deco is top-notch with black, blue, and white paint on his eyes alone. It really helps bring the figure to life in ways a single black dot never could.

Everybody’s favorite Jedi-to-be sports a lightsaber and a blaster with a matching holster. His fatigues have subtle lines molded in them, and you can make out little tabs and pockets on his costume. His right arm is permanently bent at a right angle, and he has no problems holding a weapon in either hand.

While the deco isn’t quite perfect, Boba Fett has a gorgeous sculpt and on a purely technical level is a huge improvement. he stands well, he has two guns, and the sculpting on his armor makes for a great toy. The whole “removable helmet” nonsense has been dropped and the helmet is his head. There are sculpted damage bits on his armor, although the extensive silver scraping and damage of the previous Vintage and Evolutions figures are nowhere to be seen on this Empire Strikes Back-themed release. It hits all the major marks, though, and that’s important.

The cape stays on nicely, his rifle is superb, and his rangefinder is mercifully not articulated. The figure’s one big flaw is his blaster holster, simply because the tiny gun falls out quite easily. If you aren’t careful, you’re going to misplace it so always be sure he has it on his person when handling this figure. The guns are painted well, and look significantly better than most other releases. Also, Boba’s rocket pack plugs into his back nicely. It doesn’t fall off if you sneeze like the last few versions. Continue to Page 2…

18 thoughts on “16bit.Com Reviews: Star Wars
“Bespin Battle” Battle Pack!

  1. Just to show how clueless I am sometimes (I pretend and call it “busy”), I first heard about Hasbro doing these “vintage” 5 POA figures while Adam and I were discussing this very review.

    At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the idea, but after seeing the figures, it’s so crazy that I like it. So much of what I buy is heavily influenced by stuff people bought for me 20 years ago and this is just one more facet to explore.

    The other interesting thing is my different reactions to the figures. I know I’m guilty of finding way to like things, but it’s funny considering I can’t decide between the Luke or Boba Fett for my favorite here. I think the Luke looks great because he looks like a toy while the Boba Fett in Adam’s pictures, particularly from the chest up, almost looks like the real deal. Definitely a cool set!

    Thanks again, Adam!

  2. Mr. Pawlus has always been a class act in my few interactions with him online, and always ran quality sites like 16bit and GalacticHunter.com. The man’s weekly Q&A’s are always patient and responsive, and I always got some good info from the guy whenever I needed it in my limited Star Wars collecting.

    As for this pack and its concept, sadly I’m in the camp of those this one doesn’t work for. I won’t begrudge my hardcore SW collecting friends this type of figure when they want it, but I’m always happier with innovative articulation and improvement.

  3. Man, I still remember vividly getting my original Boba Fett figure back in the 80’s and how excited I was by him despite not knowing anything about the character. It’s interesting to see Hasbro revisit such an antiquated standard for action figures 30 years later!

    Sadly, none of these can compare to the “Vintage Collection” figures of the same characters for me. As an adult I’m definitely more thrilled by scene accuracy and articulation, and I wish they would just do all new molds with ball joints instead of cut joints. It probably doesn’t help the comparison that TVC Boba Fett and Bespin Luke are some of the best 3.75″ action figures I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning!

    Still, fun review!

  4. I wish the legs weren’t so straddled. That they would sit awkwardly and probably (definitely Darth) not fit in a vehicle kills it for me.

  5. Adam was probably the first person to bestow my now-extinct website with an award (waaaaay back in early 1998), and I’ve had boatloads of respect for him, his achievements, and his opinions ever since.

    But I’ve got to say, as ginchy-retro as this idea is, I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with him and say that this set definitely isn’t my goblet of mead. I prefer figures with oodles of articulation, not only because of the general display possibilities (you can get more than just the one good pose out of them), but also because you can pose them so that their center of gravity allows them to balance better. Plus, you can get them into vehicles. Which is also why I’m an eternal supporter of softgoods, and no statuaryan will persuade me otherwise.

  6. I wasn’t aware of these figures until I stumbled across a review of the Boba Fett on 16bit.com. I almost didn’t even read it as I don’t get many Star Wars figures these days, and I have a handful of Fetts as it is. I skimmed a bit and saw some complimentary words so I thought it must be a new ‘ultimate’ type figure with all the bells and whistles. When I saw it was this retro articulated thing…

    I really don’t understand the praise for these. Different strokes, and all, I guess. I mean, I’m no hardcore articulation junkie, and I can see how people might not want “super” articulation that breaks up a nice sculpt, or causes a figure to be a floppy mess, but just look at those three figure comparison shots, with the new fig between the vintage and the best modern versions. There’s no contest for me. The figures on the right are superior in almost every way.

  7. Easy pass. I’m not an articulation junkie, but no kneecaps or elbows then no buy. Toys need at least DC Infinite Heroes level articulation. This Boba seems like a big step backward from other Mandalorians like Rohlan Dyre, Jaster Mereel, and Montross. Oh well, if this is the direction Hasbro is going then I’ll just have more money to use for tracking down the last few DCIH figures I don’t have like Heatwave and Ravager.

  8. Not a fan of these at all. Luke & Vader need ball jointed elbows to hold their lightsabers with both hands, as does Fett to let him grip his rifle properly. I don’t know why any fan would be in favour of going backwards to a more primitive era by devolving action figures like this. I suppose they’d appeal to parents who want a sturdier toy for their young children, but I don’t see the attraction for collectors. There are better versions already out there.

  9. “..these figures look better than most others in Hasbro’s current Star Wars offerings.” I don’t see how that is true, even if you left out the vintage collection and make a large allowance for personal taste. Much better than expected? Absolutely. Much better than the other SW figures Hasbro makes? Hardly.

    1. I don’t think it’s “terrible decision”. If there is a market for these, then Hasbro should absolutely explore it. I have a giant collection of super-articulated figures all standing in vanilla poses on my shelf due to space consideration. I want the articulation to be there, but I also have to recognize that I don’t always use it. I think low-articulation figures with great sculpts might not be such a bad idea, provided that Hasbro doesn’t stop producing figures that continue to innovate on articulation elsewhere in the line.

      1. The thing is, Noisy, I fear (and I believe others share this fear) that if there does get to be much of a market for these things, toy companies will think: “Oh, look, people don’t want the high-quality expensive stuff; they’ll settle for the cheap stuff, and we can pocket the difference!” And we can then kiss super-articulated figures good-bye, unless we want to spend $80 or £60 to import one fiddly thing from Japan with fragile bits that may snap right in the box.

        Brings to mind the McFarlane “toys,” which for a while were practically pre-posed lumps of plastic. And in his infinite arrogance, McFarlane said (in so many words) that he didn’t want to sell the toys that his customers wanted (i.e. poseable action figures that the buyers could pose how they liked), he wanted to sell the toys HE wanted (i.e. one-pose wonders). Notice how few McFarlane toys are on the shelves these days.

        In my experience, marketing people do not think like everyone else. They have their own skewed vision of the world which, in the long term, leads to weirdness and disappointment for consumers.

      2. I just don’t see these figures as having superior sculpting. There have been numerous figures in the Vintage Collection and so forth that both looked better and were more articulated. And I believe they’re plenty playable. I don’t think this is any more than a cost-cutting measure that, as Beedo pointed out, could mark a general decline in the quality of Star Wars figures. I’m not going to support Hasbro crapping out plastic turds.

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