Monday, February 20, 2012

Terribly Inflexible, The Shadows Of The Empire Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise Guts One Of The Few Chewbacca Variant Figures On The Market!

The Good: Very inexpensive, Cool accessories, Neat idea.
The Bad: Terrible balance issues, Low articulation.
The Basics: The Shadows Of The Empire Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise figure could have been a cool concept figure, but was overproduced and is very inflexible by today’s standards.

Chewbacca is one of the harder figures from the original Star Wars Trilogy to make a variant figure of. The guy was a pretty static character and there is not much one could do with him on the merchandising front. So, when Kenner released its Shadows Of The Empire toy line, it was actually pretty exciting that fans had a chance to get a new Chewbacca. That figure was Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise and he stood up remarkably well compared to duds in the line like Prince Xizor (reviewed here!).

For those unfamiliar with the Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise, he was tasked with infiltrating the criminal underworld, Black Sun, in the book Shadows Of The Empire (reviewed here). Desperately trying to save Han Solo following the events of The Empire Strikes Back, but before Return Of The Jedi, Chewbacca shaved and dyed some of his fur and took on the alter-ego of Snoova. The Wookie bounty hunter then tried to protect Princess Leia and rescue Han Solo.

The 4" Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise figure is a very average action figure and what actually allows him to score so high is that the coloring detail on this figure is actually quite impressive. Snoova might not be articulated well, but he is one of Kenner’s success stories as far as coloring details. To wit. The Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise figure actually stands up well beside the current line-up of Star Wars action figures, at least on the coloring front!


The Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise is the famous Wookie in disguse. The Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise figure stands 4 1/4" tall to the top of his new flattop haircut! This version of Chewbacca features Chewbacca with spiky hair on top of his head, spots dyed in throughout his fur and wearing various pieces of armor. The armored bandoleer is an interesting touch, but the armor is not terribly practical. Outside covering the center of his chest to protect from direct stabbings to the heart or his armored shoulderpads, which prevent his arms from being sliced off, the armor does not cover enough of the character to be truly useful. The eyepiece is pretty distinctive and actually looks good on this figure. The sculpted details get weird, though, with the inclusion of a partial cape. Snoova features a solid black capelette that hangs off a hole in the figure’s back. The hard plastic cape piece is monotonal black, removable, and seems somewhat incongruent with the rest of the figure.

The Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise, looks like he appeared in the video game for Shadows Of The Empire. Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise is colored exceptionally well, though, making his much better than I initially thought (based upon the problems the figure has with balance and articulation). All across the armored bandoleer, there are molded details; buttons and lights that are individually colored. The spots in Chewbacca’s fur that help make him look like Snoova are well-colored and enhance the idea that this solid-plastic figure is a furry character. Snoova’s eyepatch is bright gold and looks good over Chewbacca’s right eye. The coloring detail on his visible eye is good; this Chewbacca features a blue iris with a tiny black pupil inside! The faint lips of Chewbacca are colored pink and Kenner even managed to color his visible teeth white! The coloring details on the figure are the toy’s superlative quality.


The Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise, Wookie out of his element, comes with two weapons as accessories: A big-ass blaster and a Vibro-ax. The blaster rifle is 1 7/8” and is unique to the Snoova action figure. Featuring two barrels and a scope that looks like it might be a missile as well, the blaster rifle is monotonal black, a bit wider than most every other accessory weapon Kenner made and fits in either of Snoova’s hands. While the surface detailing of the firearm is decent, the solid black color of the gun does not match the appearance of the rest of the figure.

That is a similar problem with the 3 3/16” Vibro-Ax. The fact that it is all black and does not feature any sort of metallic color for its triangular head makes it hard to take the weapon as seriously when it is in Snoova’s hands. On the plus side, the Vibro-Ax may be concealed some by attaching it to Chewbacca’s back, which is easy enough with the peg that is on the ax and the corresponding hole in Chewbacca’s back!


The four inch toy line was designed for play and the Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise is poor in that regard. The figure is mildly articulated and has absolutely terrible balance. The figure tips over when the feet are moved even slightly out of a flatfooted position. The Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise has only six points of articulation, with swivel joints at the groin socket, shoulders, neck and waist. The head articulation is just for show; because of the way Snoova’s mane is cut, the head cannot possibly turn.


The Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise is part of the Shadows Of The Empire four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was exceptionally common. This was a pegwarmer at the time and was massively overproduced, arguably because the concept did not catch on with anyone other than the die-hard fans and collectors. Now, it remains easy to find on the secondary market and may be easily and inexpensively replaced should you actually want one. In other words, this figure is a terrible investment piece!


The Shadows Of The Empire Chewbacca In Bounty Hunter Disguise is a very underarticulated action figure that still manages to look good when standing near the new figures. This makes him an ideal background alien for displays, if not a great toy for play.

For other Chewbacca figures or Shadows Of The Empire toys, please check out my reviews of:
Legacy Collection BD3 Chewbacca
Power Of The Force Chewbacca As Boushh’s Bounty
Swoop Vehicle


For other toy reviews, please click here to visit my index page on the subject!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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