Sunday, January 30, 2011

Clearance Rack Special: Zam Wesell's 12" Figure Is A Tough Sell For Bounty Hunter Fans!

The Good: Decent detailing, Good coloring, Good costume work, Decent accessory
The Bad: Does not stand well, Face accessory issues, Proportion issues, Arms!
The Basics: A tough sell, even for fans of the Star Wars bounty hunters, Zam Wesell is poorly-proportioned, excellently detailed and cannot stand well.

When one considers the great bounty hunters of the Star Wars saga, most fans focus on the ones from The Empire Strikes Back. In a single scene of that classic film, six bounty hunters are shown standing (one growls) with Darth Vader lecturing to them and those six are written about in the books, are some of the most popular cards in the Star Wars Customizable Card Game and have a popularity in the toy lines that make them coveted above some of the heroes of the saga. But honestly, what do these bounty hunters do? Five of them stand around in the movie. One finds Han Solo. The others are window dressing. Still, they are all more popular than Zam Wesell.

Zam Wesell, for those who aren't uber geeks, is the first of two bounty hunters seen in Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack Of The Clones (reviewed here!). Wesell sets a droid drone off to try to kill Senator Amidala, which sparks a pointless race around Coruscant with Anakin and Obi-Wan chasing her on speeders. Eventually, Wesell meets an untimely end, wherein it is proven she is not the human she appears to be, but rather a lizard-like creature who can change appearance some. The point here, though, is that Zam Wesell does something (something important, as a matter of fact) in the Star Wars saga and yet she gets no respect even among bounty hunter enthusiasts who consider her pretty low on the bounty hunter totem pole (possibly the lowest, in fact). It is almost a surprise that Hasbro bothered to make a 12" figure of her. It is not surprising that she quickly landed on the clearance racks and has almost no value in the secondary market now.


Zam Wesell is a reptilian bounty hunter who appears as well as a human female who appears in first fifteen minutes of Attack Of The Clones. The figure stands 11 1/8" tall. Zam Wesell is a woman with a butch haircut, angry glare and one suspects that the sculptor for this figure had some serious issues with women. I seem to recall Wesell being a brunette in the film, but under her helmet on this figure, she has close-cropped blonde hair. 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. Wesell is adorned in a royal purple outfit made of cloth, though oddly her arms are not costumed, they are inflexible molded plastic. Wesell's head is disproportionately large compared to her waist and the rest of her body, a factor which is disturbing because in Attack Of The Clones she seemed to have a disproportionately small head. With her helmet on, Wesell looks utterly ridiculous and with it off, she looks like a parody of an angry diesel Vulcan (it turns out she has pointed ears, making me wonder if they simply reused the head from some other figure).

This toy is a weird combination in the sculpt department. The proportions are off and the arms and hands are incongruent with the rest of the figure. However, the detailing is excellent. Wesell's costume is accented by a plastic breastplate that is realistically colored (it appears to have a fair amount of wear and the breathing tubes and belt detailing are amazing) and other accouterments, like something like a communicator attached to her left thigh. Even the problematic gloves are molded with all sorts of surface details that are pretty incredible as far as precision and realism go. Zam Wesell is amazing in her coloring detail, including rough on her human cheeks.


Zam Wesell, crafty lizard creature that she is, comes dressed in a flight jumpsuit made of actual cloth. That is, for the legs, and chest portion of the jumpsuit it is a thin cloth outfit. Zam Wesell's stitched on over a purple plastic body. I've never tried to undress her, but it does appear the costume is not designed to be removed. The detailing on the costume is actually fairly impressive and the figure looks pretty good in that regard. This is because her outfit is accented with plastic accents like a chest piece that has some pretty extraordinary detailing to it. As well, there is a plastic half-skirt or cape that covers her butt, made of plastic as well that adds a look that makes it look like leather, which is what the costume in the film was adorned with. She had a belt with a holster for her sidearm.

Zam Wesell's handgun is a little one and a quarter inch choking hazard which fits loosely in either hand of the figure. The gun is wonderfully detailed in black and silver plastic and while it looks like a ridiculous little gun, it does look like the one in the movie. It does, however, appear a little bit smaller in her hands, making it appear a little silly looking.

Wesell's helmet comes off, making that an accessory, too. The helmet is detailed with the binocular assembly Wesell is seen with in the movie, but that does not fold down to be a practical accessory. What the helmet does have is the cloth veil that allows one to obscure Wesell's face and this is one of the two better looks for the figure.

The other decent look comes with the chameleon face accessory. Wesell's natural face is a lizard face and the 12" figure comes with a piece that slides over the doll's head like a mask to allow the person displaying (or playing) with the figure to make Zam into all the lizardwoman she actually is. Unfortunately, while the sculptors were attentive to the figure's hairline to mold the mask around that properly, the back of the head and neck are still exposed as human and the figure looks pretty ridiculous with the mask on as a half-reptile, partially human thing. Sadly, the helmet's veil will not fit around the face with the natural mask on.

Zam Wesell, like a good bounty hunter, comes with a cool firearm, too. In this case, it is the ridiculous blaster rifle Wesell is seen shooting long range with in the movie. This is an nine and three-quarter inch plastic blaster rifle that fits awkwardly into either of her hands. In fact, the detailing thwarts a proper hold. The trigger prevents her from holding the blaster rifle in either hand. One can almost (but not quite) arrange the rifle for a two handed grip (not in any firing-type position) and ultimately, I ended up posing my Zam Wesell with the rifle like a walking stick for support held in only one of her hands. The blaster rifle is detailed well as far as containing all of the nooks and crannies the firearm appears to have in the film! There is no detailing that makes it look worn, but it does have three colors to it and a firing hole, which is pretty incredible detailing. It is a faithful replica of what appeared in Attack Of The Clones and it looks good in Zam Wesell's hand.


I don't know who plays with these twelve-inch figures. As far as displaying, though, there is not much to recommend Zam Wesell. First, she is a poorly-articulated action figure. Zam Wesell is not very posable, with only eight points of articulation. This bounty hunter has joints at the knees, groin socket, shoulders, waist and neck. The neck is a limited ball and socket, allowing her side to side and up and down head motion. The shoulder joints and groin are both ball and socket joints, so the hunter's arms and legs move realistically! As well, 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 her costume. That would be entirely true were it not for the arms which are both plastic and molded in one pose, severely limiting playability.

Zam Wesell cannot do things like hold the blaster rifle in a decent two-handed supporting position. Even more problematic is that Zam Wesell is poorly balanced. When posed in a flatfooted position, she wobbles. Any positioning of the legs in a knees-bent position makes the figure tip over. As a result, it is virtually impossible to get Zam Wesell so stable that she does not wobble or shake at all from vibrations near one's display. Zam Wesell can be situated such that she does not fall over, but it is all boring, display poses she is relegated to.


Zam Wesell is part of the Attack Of The Clones twelve-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that were released during a time that they were being over produced. Zam Wesell was incredibly 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).

Zam Wesell, specifically, was one of the first Star Wars figures in the 12" line to hit the clearance bins and they generally remained there. This is one of the easiest 12" figures to find in the secondary market as a result and it 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.


Zam Wesell is hardly up to the standards of the other 12" Star Wars bounty hunters and for those collecting and displaying them, despite being shorter than some of the other bounty hunters, she is one that is easy to relegate to the back row.

For other Star Wars doll reviews, please check out my takes on:
Sideshow Collectibles Princess Leia As Boushh
12" Power Of The Force Zuckuss
12" Original Trilogy Collection Boba Fett


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page for an organized listing of them.

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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