Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Different Twist On The Mustafar Lava Miner, The 2006 Saga Collection Mustafar Lava Miner Is All Right.

The Good: Good concept, Decent detailing, Fine balance, Good articulation.
The Bad: Lame accessory, Poorly molded relative to accessory
The Basics: The Mustafar Lava Miner figure fleshes out the Star Wars action figure universe exceptionally well, but is a stronger concept than execution for the alien!

While I worked at the comic book shop, I actually had a good deal of fun with finding new Star Wars action figures to enjoy. For months, there were some I coveted and before I left, I made sure to purchase the ones I truly wanted to augment my collection. Given how few Revenge Of The Sith action figures I have in my collection, it might not surprise my readers to learn that I bought the Mustafar Lava Miner. This also becomes the very first figure from the 30th Anniversary series of figures made and released in 2006 and 2007 that I have acquired, though I did purchase and review the AT-AP Walker toy before now (check it out here!).

For those unfamiliar with the Mustafar Lava Miner, it appeared near the climax of Revenge Of The Sith (reviewed here!) on the planet Mustafar. As Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi began their climactic battle across the lava flows, the Mustafar Lava Miners could be seen standing on floating droids and panning for lava. They were only in the background for a few seconds, yet Hasbro made an action figure of them!

The 4" Mustafar Lava Miner figure from the 30th Anniversary Collection is, to date, the only version of this figure to hit the market.


The Mustafar Lava Miner figure stands 4 1/8" tall to the top of its pointed helmet. The Mustafar Lava Miner is dressed in a navy blue outfit which is augmented by brass-colored armor panels. Exactly what the Mustafar Lava Miner looks like is something of a mystery; it wears a helmet with breathing apparatus and has no skin - assuming it is not a droid of some sort! - showing. The knee guards, boots and gloves make the creature look well-protected and the arms and squat stance of the Mustafar Lava Miner make the being look like it is strong and should be bailing lava out of the ground!

As for the coloring, Mustafar Lava Miner is cast in a monotonal navy blue plastic and a metallic brass color which looks pretty sharp. The figure is far from monotonal, though at things like the boots have realistic shading and accent colors. The shoes, knee pads, and loincloth all have molded blobs which look like molten rock has solidified there and that is properly colored an ash gray color. As well, the eye slot in the helmet is appropriately black and the breathing apparatus has been painted silver, so the figure looks like a functional creature in the real, fantastical, world.


Mustafar Lava Miner is a pretty simple alien life form and it comes only with the skimmer and lava bucket. The skimmer is a 4 3/4" long pole with a clawed end. The claw does not open or close and it fits the 13/16" tall by 3/4" in diameter lava bucket, which comes complete with bright orange lava in it! The skimmer and bucket do not look clean, so they have an appropriately weathered look, which fits the look of the figure. The bucket and the claw head do not swivel, though the bucket may be removed from the skimmer. This lowers the playability, as does the figure's grip on the staff, which does not allow it to be rotated in the figure's hands. So, while the Mustafar Lava Miner may hold it in a two-handed grip, it may not be made to look like he is dumping the lava bucket.

Like most of the 2007 30th Anniversary Collection figures, the Mustafar Lava Miner features a collectible coin. The coin is a silver-colored, metal and plastic coin of the Mustafar Lava Miner. The 1 1/2" in diameter collectible coin features the Mustafar Lava Miner embossed on one side and the Star Wars 30th Anniversary notation and symbol on the obverse.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and the Mustafar Lava Miner is fairly good in that regard, though he has some playability issues. The Mustafar Lava Miner has great balance, though the natural stance for the figure is more a squatting pose, which allows the Mustafar Lava Miner to look like he is weighed down. With his legs spread and knees bent, he has a pretty solid stance and he can even stand pretty well on the Mustafar Panning Droid (sold separately).

The Mustafar Lava Miner is articulated at the ankles, knees, groin socket, waist, shoulders, elbows, forearm and neck. The head is on a ball and socket joint, giving it a great range of motion. While the waist, groin socket and forearms are simple swivel joints, the figure feels like it has a great range of motion because the knees, ankles, shoulders and elbows are all hinge joints on ball-and-socket joints, which allows them to have incredible range of motion!

Unfortunately, while the Mustafar Lava Miner may hold his skimmer in an appropriate two-handed grip, the grip is so tight that the accessory cannot be rotated. This makes it impossible to pose the figure and to play with it where the bucket is not in an improbable angle. In fact, the most natural grip for the figure has the bucket at a ninety degree angle to the ground, as it it is perpetually being dumped.


The Mustafar Lava Miner is part of the 30th Anniversary line that was released in 2007. Mustafar Lava Miner is 30th Anniversary Collection figure #03. The Mustafar Lava Miner was fairly uncommon and this whole set was not widely released, so it is still sought after today. Given that there has only been the one casting of the Mustafar Lava Miner, despite the fact that it is an obscure character, it might well be a decent investment figure.


The Mustafar Lava Miner is a pretty cool alien which will flesh out the Star Wars alien toy collection well, even if it is not perfect!

For other figures from Revenge Of The Sith, please check out my reviews of:
2011 Vintage Collection VC46 AT-RT Driver
2010 Saga Collection SL09 General Grievous
2009 Legacy Collection BD42 Jeremoch Colton
2006 Saga Collection Episode III Heroes And Villains Collection General Grievous
2005 Revenge Of The Sith Collection 62 Neimoidian Warrior


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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