Friday, April 29, 2011

When Promotions SUCK! The Star Wars Vintage Collection Mail-Away Boba Fett

The Good: Collectible value, Launching backpack is pretty cool.
The Bad: Terrible balance, Ridiculously bad coloring, Mediocre accessories, Awful articulation.
The Basics: Despite being THE Star Wars figure to hunt down right now, the Vintage Collection mail-away promotional Boba Fett is very much not worth it for fans of Hasbro's toy line.

It has been so long since I have had enough to rip a new toy a new one. To be clear, in going back to review older toys, there are plenty I regularly rip apart. But when it comes to new-to-market toys, there are very few I can rightfully and righteously pan the way I am about to light into the Mail-Away Vintage Collection Boba Fett action figure. Having already found two figures in the line to be perfect in the (Twin Pod) Cloud Car Pilot (reviewed here!) and Admiral Ackbar (reviewed here!) figures, discovering this Boba Fett figure to be so defective was a real surprise. For those looking right away for the bottom line, here it is: I believe if you have the technology to make a truly great action figure, you ought to. Going back to make a figure deliberately inferior is a terrible joke on collectors and this Boba Fett is a pretty lousy joke to collectors and fans of the fearsome bounty hunter.

For those few people who might be unfamiliar with Boba Fett, he is the armored bounty hunter first seen in The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!). Boba Fett is the bounty hunter who successfully tracked the Millennium Falcon and led the Empire to Cloud City to capture Han Solo and Princess Leia. Arguably the most popular bounty hunter in the Star Wars Universe, Boba Fett is inscrutable in his helmet and armor, making him a fearsome adversary.

Unfortunately, the new 4" Mail-Away Vintage Collection Boba Fett does what none of the other Vintage Collection figures had done, which was to make the figure more like the original 1980s release of the toy. As a result, fans who sent in the six required UPCs and their $6.99 were rewarded with a figure less articulated, less detailed and with less cool accessories than the ones they bought to get this toy.


The Mail-Away Boba Fett figure stands 3 7/8" tall to the top of his helmet. Or rather, he would if only he could stand up without falling over.

In general terms, the sculpt of the Mail-Away Boba Fett is lousy. The figure is molded with an unrealistic, simplified frame that makes him look like the wimpy kid on a high school basket ball team. Sure, he's armored and has a helmet, but the figure is cast to look scrawny. The sculpt only looks remotely good in the details. This Boba Fett figure features the molded breastplate cast into the figure which mimics the shape of the actual character's armor. Similarly, the wrists are outfitted with things like the grappling wire launcher or flamethrower. And the legs have pouch pockets molded onto them. But the helmet is molded disproportionately small to the rest of the figure and only a passing attempt is made to capture the antenna array on the helmet. Ironically, with everything else so compressed, Fett's backpack stands out disproportionately far away from his back.

The only thing worse than the sculpting for this Boba Fett (and I get it, this is what the original Kenner figure looked like; I grew up with crappy toys and was glad when Hasbro made them better now!) is the coloring. Boba Fett is primarily a light purple-blue color which looks nothing like his actual outfit in any lighting. Passing attempts are made to color the chest panel and accent armor around the outfit, but in the end the Mail-Away Boba Fett looks more like an Animated Series Boba Fett than the villain of The Empire Strikes Back.


Boba Fett is a great bounty hunter and because of that, he only comes with two accessories: the missile for the backpack and his blaster. Boba Fett's blaster is a 1 1/16" long bulky plastic gun which is more flat than three-dimensional. The gun has a thin tab for a handle which barely fits in either of the Mail-Away Boba Fett's slot-like, mostly-open hands.

As for the missile, this is part of the big selling point of the figure. The 3" long red plastic projectile looks like exactly what it is: a missile. It fits perfectly into the hole at the top of Boba Fett's backpack and the slot there clearly guides the vane on the missile so it is properly oriented. Still, it looks goofy on his back, much like the blaster looking ridiculous in this clown-like Boba Fett's hands.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and Boba Fett is absolutely terrible in that regard. Flatfooted, Fett tips over no matter how he is oriented. I've not yet found a way that Boba Fett stands unaided where he does not look ridiculous, like he is doing a hip-thrust in the Macarena to stand. He does have the holes in his feet (and, oddly, a 2009 copyright date there!) which allow him to stand on playsets.

The Mail-Away Boba Fett is also abysmal in the articulation department. This Boba Fett has only five points of articulation. They are all swivel joints and they are at the groin socket, shoulders and head. This means Boba Fett may only be straight-legged or straight-armed in his posing. Yes, Hasbro is bringing back the figures caught forever doing the Nazi salute. Grumble.

The playability of this Boba Fett is only saved by the missile-launching function. Pressed into the backpack, the missile is hot and when a button is depressed, it launches, firing about three feet away. When it is not in his backpack, there is a placeholder which looks about as goofy.


The Mail-Away Boba Fett is part of the Vintage Collection line that was released in 2010 and was only available through the mail-in promotion. The ability to get them at $6.99 + UPCs has since ended and now the secondary market is being flooded with this crappy figure. I suspect the price will continue to drop through 2011 before enough of these are burned in effigy to bring their value back up to the point where collectors are happy with them once again. Despite all my gripes as to the lack of quality to the figure, one suspects the die-hard collectors will not share them as this looks great in the package (actually, it looks doofy even in the package) and the value of this will go back up to the $50 range it was in around Christmastime 2010.


I loathe my Mail-Away Boba Fett figure, making it exceptionally easy for me to not recommend it. This becomes the first Vintage Collection figure - or figure I've gotten in since 2010 - that I've looked to unload. That alone ought to attest to how bad it truly is.

For other figures of Star Wars bounty hunters, please check out my reviews of:
2010 Saga Legends IG-88
2009 Legacy Collection Zuckuss
2003 Original Trilogy Collection Executor Meeting Dengar
Attack Of The Clones 12" Zam Wesell
Original Trilogy Collection 12" Boba Fett Doll


For other Star Wars toy reviews, please check out my index page by clicking here!

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

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