The Good: Decent sculpts, Good concept, Decent accessories
The Bad: Overall bland, Balance issues with Wedge.
The Basics: Wedge Antilles and Borsk Fey'lya come in a new Star Wars Comic Pack which will disappoint all but the die hard Rogue Squadron fans.
As the Star Wars franchise becomes more a function of novels, comic books and an increasingly lame CG television series, the merchandising arm of Lucasfilm is looking to keep revived lines like the Hasbro toy line alive and viable. As a result, Hasbro has been working with other companies, like Dark Horse Comics and Lucas Books to innovate and create new figures that will keep interest in Star Wars high and, therefore, profitable. One of the latest attempts are the new Star Wars Comic Packs, packages featuring two new Star Wars figures and a comic book which has both new characters in it.
I'm starting my investigation of these toys with the first one I found, which is Comic Pack #14. Comic Pack #14 features Star Wars: Rogue Squadron Issue #32 - "Mandatory Retirement - Part One" and the figures of Wedge Antilles and Borsk Fey'lya. Casual fans of Star Wars might still recognize the name Wedge Antilles, as he was in the original Star Wars Trilogy, most notably A New Hope (reviewed here!) as an X-Wing pilot who was involved in the Battle Of Hoth and both Death Star attacks. Borsk Fey'lya is unique to the comic books and now this figure.
Comic Pack #14 is made up of three basic components: the comic book and the figures of Wedge Antilles in his ceremonial outfit and Borsk Fey'lya. The comic book is a reprint of Rogue Squadron #32. "Mandatory Retirement - Part One" tells a basic story which introduces new readers to the members of Rogue Squadron and informs them of the plight of the Rebellion after the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of Emperor Palpatine. This book is very much a bridge between stories as it spends much time focusing on relationships between various members of Rogue Squadron - predominately Wedge and Tycho Celchu. The basic plot is that the current Empire made a deal with the Rebels and the Imperial military is now turning on him. As a result, he is detained and the Rebellion sees this as an opportunity to turn the Empire around by rescuing Sate Prestage from the Imperial military. There is no action in the comic as it is largely a setup of events to come and the characters are mostly hooking up (romantically). The artwork is mediocre (Tycho looks like Mark Hamill, which is distracting) and the story is bland, but it is a place to start. Wedge is featured in the issue as he is the leader of Rogue Squadron, but largely this is an ensemble piece. Borsk Fey'lya appears in only four panels in the comic book (his arm is in an additional panel) and one of those shots has his back. He is a cynical politician.
As for the figures, Wedge Antilles is a human, in this case coifed in a white, casual outfit - though the outfit does have a holster for his rebel blaster. The figure has a more buff appearance than the pilot Wedge figures that have been released before now and the head looks slightly smaller than the rest of the body in a disturbing and noticeable way. The facial sculpt looks like the Wedge Antilles of the Rogue Squadron comic book. The casual outfit looks good and the paint job is average. For example, the red stripe that is on the front of the robe-like tunic is not painted fully below the waist and the shoulder area on mine had a red smear that bled into the white. The hair is actually highlighted slightly, so there are copper highlights mixed into the black. The skin tones are monolithically white and the figure lacks such realistic detailing as fingernails. The figure stands 3 5/8" tall and comes only with one accessory.
Borsk Fey'lya benefits from only having a comic persona so it is hard to criticize it for any realism problems with the detailing. The figure is 3 3/4" tall to the top of his pointed ears. This alien has a goat-like head with pointed ears that rise above his gray mane. He is wearing a blue jumpsuit, boots and has monolithic brown skin. He, too, is lacking details like fingernails for this figure and is molded in a soft plastic that allows greater flexibility than some figures. The paint job on this figure includes such decent details as a silver belt buckle painted onto the black belt and details like snaps on the pouches on his belt as well. He comes with a tiny plaster and holster on his hip as well.
The Comic Pack figures do not appear to come burdened with excessive accessories. Instead, Hasbro managed to get the participation of Dark Horse comics for the inclusion of the comic book and so each figure comes with only one accessory each. Both Wedge and Borsk come with firearms, little blaster pistols. For ease of packaging and display, both figures some with their guns in hand, kept there by tiny, near-invisible rubber bands which hold them there.
Wedge's blaster pistol is a 7/8" laser blaster with a mini scope attached. It fits into the holster on his right thigh. Wedge, it appears, is a left handed rebel and the gun looks like a pretty classic Rebel blaster that fans will recognize. Borsk Fey'lya's blaster is a 5/8" choking hazard that is unique to this figure. It looks most like a speeder bike scout's pull-out blaster. While both weapons have decent surface detailing, they are cast in monolithic black plastic. Fey'lya's blaster fits in his holster as well.
Here is the real differentiation in the Comic Packs figures, at least in pack #14. The idea of two packs is a good one; characters can fight one another or one can play as if they have a little team going on adventures. And the presence of a comic book, even a simple one with limited appeal and diction, is a good thing for kids (at the very least). Borsk Fey'lya in this case is the clear winner of the two-pack. Alien figures are almost always more useful for Star Wars play where there is a preponderance of recasts of the same five to ten figures over the years with such disturbing frequency that one wonders why Hasbro bothered. Aliens offer more diversity for play (regardless of their "true" affiliations within Star Wars canon).
Wedge, in this incarnation, is just plain boring.
That said, the figures are a decent improvement over early Kenner/Hasbro lines as far as playability goes. Borsk Fey'lya comes with fourteen points of articulation, while Wedge has only twelve. Borsk has articulated ankles as well as the common points of articulation in the knees, thighs, waist, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and neck. These figures also have more sophisticated joints than earlier Hasbro Star Wars toys. The heads are ball and socket joints, so they may look in any direction and nod up and down. The shoulder joints have both ball and sockets as well as hinges, which allow the arms to both rotate and flap! The knees on both figures bend and that level of articulation would be impressive if either did not have a dangling shirt/tunic that comes below the waist (essentially acting as a skirt) which inhibits their ability to sit down.
Borsk Fey'lya's ankle articulation makes him wonderful for poseability and he may be posed in many action poses that makes him seem like a dynamic hero. Wedge, on the other hand, is a pain to keep standing. Instead, his somewhat more limited articulation gives him one real leg position to take or he will fall over. His balance is terrible, but he does come with holes in his feet for mounting to pegs on appropriate Star Wars accessories.
The Comic Packs are an interesting idea, but they are very much for fans of the toys and comic book series and not more casual Star Wars fans. Even so, they do not appear to be catching on much as the pack I found was on clearance at an Aldi market! Moreover, the overall collectibility of these might - MIGHT! - go down as time goes on based upon Wedge's outfit. Older Hasbro Star Wars figures have suffered mightily for wearing white. It is too soon to see if Wedge's outfit will denature and discolor or if this Wedge will be wearing white forever (in the past, the differentiation has been clear; if the figure is painted white, they stay white, if they are molded in white plastic, they denature. This appears to be molded in white plastic.
Still, these might end up as a surprise investment piece that pays off, though one suspects Comic Packs with better comics and more recognizable/popular characters would be better investments.
One good alien and one boring Rebel make for a mediocre at best Comic Pack and the lack of enthusiasm I have over the Wedge figure outweighs any thoughts that the Borsk Fey'lya figure might be cool. The result is a very average figure set that anyone can safely pass by.
For other Star Wars concept figures, please visit my reviews of:
Legacy Collection HK-50 (Build-A-Droid)
Legacy Collection EVO Trooper
Expanded Universe Air Speeder
For other toy reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |