The Good: Decent outfit, Good sculpt, Neat play function
The Bad: Very basic coloring, Play function does not work in reality the way it should, Overproduced, Poor balance
The Basics: The Power Of The Force 12" Ponda Baba is a very basic Star Wars doll that has some neat ideas, but a mediocre execution.
My recent vacation to Minnesota netted me several cool new (to my collection) toys, compliments of an awesome comic book shop that was situated in the strip mall opposite the hotel at which I stayed. While some of the figures were instant slam dunks with me that I picked up and knew I was going to buy the moment I saw it – the Hermie Odle figure (reviewed here!) perhaps chief among them! – others took a little arm twisting to convince me to buy. For that, I looked at the 12” Power Of The Force Ponda Baba Star Wars doll. I have a 12” Star Wars bounty hunter doll collection and I had seen Ponda Baba for years (I guess over fifteen years now!), but I had not honestly considered adding Ponda Baba to my collection before now. Given that the local comic shop had Ponda Baba on clearance – mint in box – for a measly $10, my wife managed to talk me into adding the Ponda Baba as a vacation gift to myself!
Like most of the dolls in the 12" Star Wars action figure line, Ponda Baba is a faithful cloth and plastic replica of one of the criminals from the Star Wars Trilogy. Ponda Baba, for those unfamiliar with obscure Star Wars characters, was in a single scene in A New Hope (reviewed here!) where he threatened Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi until he and his alien mouthpiece, Dr. Evazan, drew down on the farmer and Jedi. Ponda Baba is the walrus-faced character who threatens Luke and Obi-Wan saves the young man’s life by slicing off Ponda Baba’s arm!
It is Ponda Baba with a removable arm in plastic and vinyl and cloth costume that is the subject of the Ponda Baba doll.
Ponda Baba is a criminal who is wanted in a dozen star systems. Ponda Baba is a somewhat simple Star Wars alien who has not been overdone; Sideshow Collectibles, for example, has never bothered to produce a Ponda Baba. The Ponda Baba figure stands 11 7/8" tall. Ponda Baba is dressed in his light brown pants, bright orange jacket and cream-colored shirt.
This toy is a decent sculpt, clearly resembling the walrus-faced alien with big, glossy eyes and a spotted whatever the hell that is that comes out of his mouth. Kenner got the texturing just right on the bottom of Ponda Baba’s head and his hands to make him look like he has hair. The figure is sculpted with such details as the wrinkles on his palms and the cranial plating and nose ribbing. The costume for the character is so well-stiched that it looks appropriately padded and that is very cool.
Ponda Boba’s hair is monotonally colored and the outfit is made in complimentary colors. Hasbro actually got a lot of coloring variation into Ponda Baba’s head and mouth organ. Like the hair, Ponda Baba’s outfit is made of solid colors. Ponda Baba’s pants, boots, shirt and jacket are all colored in monotones. This is a little frustrating given that Ponda Baba’s arm is removable, so Hasbro could have colored the jacket around the amputated arm with burn marks.
Ponda Baba comes with a single accessory: a small blaster. The 1 7/8” blaster is solid black and looks almost identical to Han Solo’s blaster pistol. The blaster is molded with cool detailing like a scope, but there is very shallow level of surface detailing on the side of the pistol. Ponda Baba’s blaster fits in either of his hands.
No one I know plays with the 12" figures, but Ponda Baba would not be great for that. Ponda Baba features only twelve points of articulation, though most are not just simple swivel or hinge joints. Ponda Baba has hinged ball and socket joints at his wrists, shoulders and groin socket. He also bends at the knees and twists at the head and waist. His knees bend enough to allow him sit down realistically and his waist and neck simply turn on swivel joints.
Ponda Baba has somewhat poor balance; he can be maneuvered to stand fairly easily, but he tips over easily as well. Unless posed in an absolute flatfooted position, he requires a bit of manipulation or he falls over. It is difficult, but not impossible, to get Ponda Baba to stand in a stable fashion and he does not come with a stand.
Ponda Boba also has a pretty cool playability function; his right arm detaches from the doll, which is pretty cool (and, I suppose is an extra point of articulation!). Ponda Baba’s orange jacket features a Velcro ring on the sleeve which allows it to be detached and reattached. Unfortunately, the sleeve does not reattach nearly as easily or flawlessly as the arm does.
Ponda Baba is part of the 1998 Power Of The Force Collector Series twelve-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that were released during a time that they were largely being mass produced. As a result, Ponda Baba is exceptionally common, and has not at all appreciated in value. This is a poor investment for Star Wars collectors or investors.
Ponda Baba is a good, but not exceptional Star Wars 12” figure. The removable arm is a cool idea, bit does not work as well as it could. Combined with the balance issue, the cool concept is brought down a bit, making it more average than extraordinary.
For other Star Wars 12" dolls, please check out my reviews of:
Power Of The Jedi Slave Leia
Power Of The Force Dengar
12” Attack Of The Clones Jango Fett
For other toy reviews, please be sure to visit my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |