Friday, December 3, 2010

Balance Issues Are All That Keep Zuckuss From Being The Ideal Bounty Hunter Doll!

The Good: Amazing detailing, Good coloring, Great costume work, Decent accessory
The Bad: Slight balancing issues
The Basics: A good bounty hunter toy, thrown off by the fact that it cannot stand in its boots!

Bounty hunters, they are what separate the Empire from the other, less determined science fiction governments on film and screen. They quickly captured the imagination of fans of the Star Wars Trilogy, for example, so much so that the non-speaking ones are still immortalized as statues, dolls, trading cards and/or PEZ dispensers. One such inarticulate, but impressive bounty hunter is Zuckuss.

I have a collection of 12" Star Wars Action Figures, focused primarily on the bounty hunters and one of my pride and joys is Zuckuss. Zuckuss is a pretty impressive looking insectoid bounty hunter who common lore says pals around with the droid 4-LOM. They are dolls by all accounts with cloth costumes and one of the best they did was Zuckuss. Zuckuss, like many of the bounty hunters, was not a speaking part and he (or it) appeared in a single scene in The Empire Strikes Back (click here for my review of the film!), which is pretty much known as the bounty hunter scene in that movie. For those not versed in Star Wars lore, that's the very brief scene aboard an Imperial Star Destroyer where Darth Vader hires a group of bounty hunters to capture Han Solo in his attempt to trap Luke Skywalker. There are several bounty hunters standing in a line and Zuckuss is passed over quickly as the insect-like bounty hunter standing next to one of the two droid bounty hunters. In the Pan & Scan version of the film, I suspect that poor Zuckuss got the ax.


Zuckuss is an insectoid bounty hunter that had perhaps five seconds of screentime in The Empire Strikes Back. The figure stands 11" tall, though it does appear to slouch some. Zuckuss is a tan and brown color on its head and more of a gray-brown tone on its hands. The figure is made of hard plastic and after four or more years out of its packaging, it shows no fading or wear from light or air sources.

This toy is a wonderful sculpt, looking precisely like the bounty hunter. Zuckuss is amazing in its coloring detail, including dark brown highlights in the facial crevices of the head. As well, the detailing on the breathing assembly and eyes is extraordinary. This looks like a fly-man with real depth and tone to its body.


Zuckuss, feminine insectoid that it is, comes dressed in a robe made of actual cloth, with a leather look to it. Zuckuss's outfit is wrapped around it and I've no idea how it is held on, as it almost looks like it is wearing a shower curtain with arms. I've never tried to undress it, but the costume is accented by a plastic breastplate and that could be what is holding it on. The stitching on the costume is actually fairly impressive and the figure looks good. The outfit is accented with plastic accents like a chest piece that has some pretty extraordinary detailing to it. The breastplate is made to look worn and almost battle-damaged and it looks like Zuckuss has been out in sandstorms. As well, the breathing tubes that come out of the face and wrap around to the back assembly are just awesome for their detailing. This is a level of care and detailing that makes this a superlative display piece!

Zuckuss, like a good bounty hunter, comes with a firearm. This is a three and three-quarter inch plastic blaster rifle that fits perfectly in either hand. The blaster rifle is detailed well as far as containing all of the nooks and crannies the firearm appears to have in the film, including the shiny wooden-looking butt! There is no detailing that makes it look worn or more realistic, though. It is a fairly faithful replica of what appeared in The Empire Strikes Back and it looks good in Zuckuss's hands!


I don't know who plays with these twelve-inch figures. As far as displaying, though, that is where Zuckuss runs into its problems. First, this is a generally well-articulated action figure. Zuckuss is as posable as the costume allows it to be, despite having ten points of articulation. This bounty hunter has joints at the groin socket, shoulders, elbows, wrist, chest and neck. The neck is a simple swivel socket, which is all right. As a result, it can turn its head left to right, but not front to back as any sort of nodding motion. The other joints seem to be simple swivel joints as well, but the stiff fabric of the costume is restrictive enough to make posability virtually impossible. However, the joints are all hidden beneath the fabric costume allowing for decent range-of-motion without looking doofy from inconsistencies in any aspect of the creature or its costume.

There are limits to the arm's range of motion, though. As a result, Zuckuss cannot do things like hold the blaster rifle in a two-handed supporting position. Zuckuss cannot turn at the waist, which does limit some of its posability. More problematic is that Zuckuss is not incredibly well balanced. Zuckuss is a doll wearing boots. Unfortunately, the boots are not the right size and thus there is a bit of play for the foot within the boot, so the figure may be perfectly and carefully balanced but then shift within its boots. That's a real pain, made worse by the fact that there is no knee joint to compensate for that with. This is not the easiest figure to balance at all.


Zuckuss is part of the Power Of The Jedi twelve-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that were released during a time that they were largely being mass produced. Zuckuss was actually fairly common, which tended to devalue the figure quite a bit (though most of the Star Wars figures have taken a hit from overproduction and the sheer number of them that have not been taken out of their packaging on the hopes that someday they might be an investment that pays dividends).

In other words, Zuckuss is only truly worth something to people who have a fetish for bounty hunters or aliens, it is not going to be a gold mine for anyone's collection.


Zuckuss looks great and one wishes from the quality of the sculpt that it was actually a more influential bounty hunter to justify the 12" figure status, but given that it made it there, it's hard to complain!

For other 12” or 1:6 scale dolls, please check out my reviews of:
Sideshow Collectibles 1:6 Princess Leia As Boushh
Boba Fett
Lando Calrissian


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page for an organized listing!

© 2010, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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