Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ARC Trooper Figure and the Clone Wars Microseries


I am awaiting eagerly for the postman to deliver my new ARC Trooper action figure from the new Hasbro Vintage Collection. From the pics I have seen, this looks like a great action figure with lots of articulation and a good amount of accessories. It is also nice to see that Star Wars and Hasbro recognize the significance of this Expanded Universe character the role played in the Clone Wars Microseries by Genny Tartakovsky back in 2005.


While we had already seen Clone Troopers in Attack of the Clones (Episode 2) and Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3), the ARC Trooper was a fresh new take for this special elite unit of troopers. The Microseries came about as a test to gauge whether the fan audience would be interested in this kind of show.

In the past, Star Wars animated shows in the mid-80's like Droids and Ewoks were a bit silly and aimed at a younger audience. Prior to that, the only other animated Star Wars came in the infamous 1978 Holiday Special in which we get an Expanded Universe/Infinities story with Han, Luke, Chewie, the droids, Darth Vader and Boba Fett. While it certainly does not fit into the normative Star Wars timeline of events, it gave us original trilogy characters (played by the actual actors), some decent and interesting looking animation and a brief fire-fight with some Imperial Stormtroopers.


The Microseries is unlike either of these two examples of Star Wars TV animation. Each episode is only a couple minutes long although now on the DVDs you can play all episodes back-to-back if you want to watch the full 45-50 minutes in one sitting. While not 3D animation, it is colorful, bold and exciting to watch. Most episodes are action heavy and in some cases lack any dialogue. Although, the voice acting does play well in episodes with dialogue. Standard Star Wars sounds like lightsabers, blasters, ships and droids are utilized and give the fans a small mental reminder that we are watching Star Wars.

My favorite episodes are those that tell the story with little dialogue. Some of my favorites episodes are:
* The ARC Troopers are working together as a well oiled machine
* Mace Windu battles against an entire droid army. Who do you think comes out on top in this battle? :)
* Asajj Ventress proves her worthiness to train as Sith under Count Dooku inside a Roman style arena
* Anakins duel with Assajj...great duel!

While I am a hug fan of the current Clone Wars animated series, I still get a great deal of enjoyment from both volumes of the Microseries. It really is a lot of fun for those who have seen it as well those who have not yet had a chance to see it.

Let us know your thoughts on it!
All the best,
Mark

PS - We might get in the studio and put together an audio commentary for the Microseries! Stay tuned!

PPS - I just got my ARC Trooper figure over the weekend! It looks great! I am working on a display for my 2010-2011 Vintage figures and will post a pic soon!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bastila Shan Revealed at San Diego Comic Con!


The biggest comic con of the year is in full swing! San Diego Comic Con is going on now through Sunday and Star Wars is a big part of the festivities. While today is just the second day of the convention, there is already a lot of great news and pics!

For fans of the Expanded Universe and more specifically the Knights of the Old Republic video game, we are getting our first real look at the 2011 Vintage style action figure and packaging for Bastila Shan. I am not at the convention so I cannot give a real first hand take on the figure but, I can say (from the photos that I have seen from the con), that it is one of the best in the Vintage collection so far.

The figure looks like it has some great articulation, the head sculpt is not that bad and her double bladed yellow lightsaber brings me back to first time you met her in the video game. Remember rescuing her (uh..er..Bastila had a different take on the rescue...play the video game and see for yourself) from the Black Vulkars?

The cardback is a collectible unto itself! I love the EXPANDED UNIVERSE title on the card. This is also being done for the ARC Trooper which is already on the market. And they make this extra enticing by adding CHARACTER DEBUT on the plastic shell covering the figure. The artist rendition of her is just spectacular. Her confident stance and grip on her ignited double bladed lightsaber casts a yellow glow on her that takes you back to a classic time when the Jedi defended the republic with honor and dignity.

It seems that Hasbro has a spotty history when it comes to making action figures of female Jedi. The recent vintage figure of Barriss Offee came out great. A beautiful sculpt that identifies her as a powerful Jedi while at the same time not taking away from her feminine elegance. But I also own the comic pack version of Mara Jade. And while I am a huge fan of Mara Jade, I have to admit that the figure is not the best representation of her. However, with all that said, I think the Bastila Shan figure is one of the best female Jedi figures done. I will give an update to this post once I have the figure...which might not be until the end of year. More updates on the release date as the news comes to us.

As a collector and a fan of the Expanded Universe, I cannot wait to add this figure to my Vintage 2010-2011 collection. In fact, I may have to buy an extra one just to keep in the packaging.

Are you collecting the 2010-2011 Vintage line of action figures? Let us know what you think of the new Bastila Shan figure!

A new episode of the TJW Podcast is on the way...stay tuned!
All the best,

Mark
Co-host of the TJW Podcast

Thursday, July 21, 2011

TJW Podcast - Episode 5


We're back in the studio chatting about Star Wars and the Expanded Universe! We have headlines, an update on what we are reading these days, a discussion of lightsaber duels, a quick review of a Ryder Windham title and another one of Dan's Star Wars revelations! Stay tuned for show notes and our next episode!