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

Rounding out the set is an Episode V-themed Darth Vader, which is the most average figure in the set. As a small statue, he’s nothing short of wonderful. Vader’s left hand is outstretched menacingly with fingers separated in a display of pure power. The right hand is sculpted to hold a fairly traditional lightsaber, set aside from fighting so he can talk to his son about joining the family business. There’s a lot of personality in this pose, but the real issue I have with him is that he’s stuck this way. Sure, his arms and head swivel, but the legs are more or less stuck because of the lower cape around his waist. This figure simply can’t sit down, he can bend at the hips but he’ll never pilot a vehicle.

Darth Vader’s sculpt is quite good, particularly when compared to other recent releases. He doesn’t have bulky soft goods like the 2005-present releases based on the Evolutions sculpt, nor is he beefy like the admittedly cool and fun 2012 Movie Heroes release with the light-up lightsaber. The two 2012 releases look good, but the superior red plastic in his lightsaber and the excellent sculpture make for a spectacularly good display piece or desk toy.

Along with the Duel on Naboo Battle Pack, these figures look better than most others in Hasbro’s current Star Wars offerings. Just like those other figures, they’re nearly impossible to find off the internet. Old-school fans should love this set, even if it has the card game elements which, frankly, you really don’t need other than the display stands. I would be giddy to see Hasbro do more sets like this from other movies, as the simplified 5-joint style seems to combine superior sculpts with superior ability to stand without assistance. They’re fun, they look good, and the price isn’t too bad. It could be better, but that’s true about everything these days! Do yourself a favor, and give this set a chance if you see it for sale. (And Hasbro, if you’re reading: why yes, I would love to see a set from Star Wars with Han Solo, Greedo, and Obi-Wan Kenobi in this format, thank you for asking.)

–Adam Pawlus 16bit.com, Galactichunter.com, Twitter @Adam16bit

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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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