The Good: Generally decent likeness, Two decent accessories
The Bad: Poseability, Balance issues
The Basics: Unfortunately average-at-best, Ric Olie is not about to make Star Wars collectors hunt for this action figure.
In the pantheon of Star Wars figures there are very few indispensable characters that were not made into action figures. As well, there were very few characters who showed up on screen even for only a few frames that did not end up immortalized in plastic. With the gimmick and hype surrounding Star Wars: Episode I and the figures from the movie, Hasbro tried to be a little more discriminatory with the figures they made in the first line, starting with figures that had lines or sound effects in the new movie. As a result, the first run of "Episode I" figures included Ric Olie, the pilot of Queen Amidala's starship. If you don't remember him, it's not a huge surprise, but he did have a little role in liberating Naboo, conversing with Anakin and getting Amidala to safety. Still, before the film came out, it seemed like Ric Olie might have a much bigger role in the movie than he ultimately did.
Ric Olie, the Queen's pilot from Naboo in The Phantom Menace (reviewed here!), was not a very active character. He flew a giant starship and had limited wisecracking, but he did encourage Anakin by talking with the boy about piloting. In the movie, he seemed like a nice guy and he had one or two scenes, but by appearing in the very first wave of Episode I figures, fans thought he would be of vital importance to the film. He was not. Still, he is not the worst figure of all time. In fact, if there is any drawback to the action figure it is how unfortunately average the figure is and how his poseability does not fit the character.
This 4" Ric Olie figure is decent, but problematically inflexible.
Ric Olie is sculpted in his light orange and red flight suit which is pretty much the standard of Naboo pilots. In fact, there is nothing in his costume that sets him apart from the other Naboo pilots. His hands are molded to hold a weapon or steering controls on his vehicle. He looks generally as he did in The Phantom Menace, but things like gloves and the helmet he comes with allow Hasbro to cheat on the finer details. He stands flatfooted, but wobbles as he is poorly balanced and his inability to sit flat because of the bottom of his tunic make him problematic when it comes to putting him in vehicles.
The Ric Olie figure stands a full 3 5/8" tall, without his helmet on. Ric Olie wears a flightsuit that is covered in a harness and the sculpt in that regard looks pretty decent. The figure captures Olie's receding hairline well, but is otherwise light on facial detailing. The skin is also monotonally colored so there is no sense of realism to the figure's face, despite being a generally recognizable sculpt of the obscure pilot.
The figure is mostly cast of solid plastic, but the bottom of his flight jacket - from the waist down - is a softer, more rubbery plastic ostensibly intended to allow Olie to sit in the cockpits of vehicle toys. Unfortunately, that plastic is still a bit too stiff for that and the Ric Olie figure does not sit appropriately level.
Ric Olie, as a pilot and liberator of Naboo, comes with a Naboo blaster and a pilot's helmet. The pilot's helmet is actually remarkably well-detailed with little molded and colored stripes that look great. The helmet fits perfectly on Olie's head appropriately covering the ears and eyes of the character. This might not be the most exciting accessory and fans might be a little bummed by the opaque lenses on the helmet, but it fits the character perfectly.
Olie also comes with a Naboo blaster rubber banded to his right hand. The blaster is a one inch long choking hazard that may be held in either hand perfectly well. The blaster is nicely detailed in that it is sculpted well and it is actually cast in both silver and black plastic so it looks more detailed than many of the earliest Hasbro Star Wars figures. Olie was seen with such a blaster in the movie, briefly, so this is a decent accessory.
As well, this figure comes with the standard CommTech chip for this series of figure. For the "Episode I" figure line, Hasbro toyed with action figures that spoke to those who took them out of the package. Thus, each figure came with a chip that featured an image of the character and a voice chip. When placed on the CommTech reader and read, the CommTech player would play dialogue from Ric Olie on it. This chip has such phrases as Olie saying "Bravo Flight A take on the fighters, Flight B make a run on the transmitters," "Enemy fighters straight ahead," and the ever optimistic "The deflector shield is too strong, we'll never get through it!" The chip utilizes the actual dialogue from the movie, so it sounds perfectly like Ric Olie.
The four inch toy line was designed for play, but Ric Olie is unfortunately designed in that regard. The Ric Olie figure is is poorly balanced, falling over very easily when stood in a flatfooted position. In order to get him to stand balanced, Olie must be flatfooted and either hunched forward of uncomfortably leaning back.
Despite having the flexible tunic bottom, Ric Olie is a poor figure as far as poseability goes. He has only six points of articulation - pretty much the essential ones - and that is a huge letdown considering the overall quality of the figure. The lowered flexibility pretty much mandates collectors pose the figure in very set ways and that the pilot cannot easily sit down, especially when he is intended to be in the Queen's Starship or a Naboo Fighter, is a huge design flaw. Ric Olie, as an action figure, has joints at the groin socket, shoulders, neck and waist. The waist essentially turns around entirely, but the rotation is pointless. There is no articulation in the knees or ankles, which matters less considering that the thigh joint can barely be moved. As well, this pilot may rotate his arms from the shoulder, but not extend his arms. The result is a figure that may rotate slightly and point up and down. This is hardly exciting for play.
Ric Olie is part of the 1998 "Episode I" collection of four-inch action figures. This series of Star Wars action figures was massively overproduced and Ric Olie was a pegwarmer who sold more figures from the clearance bin than the shelf. This is a terrible figure as far as investment goes.
Ric Olie was not a bad idea, especially considering he actually had lines in The Phantom Menace, but his inflexibility and light details make him a generally poor toy, even for a secondary character.
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© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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