Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Star Wars Vintage Collection VC89 – Lando Calrissian (Sandstorm Outfit)

I admit, out of the original trilogy (and the six movies together), Return of the Jedi wins the bronze. But you know what? It comes in a pretty strong third, and if you win bronze, you still make it on the podium. Hey, it’s an Olympic year, the analogies are allowed. Well, if you’ve picked up the Blu-Ray set, you’ve been treated to a handful of deleted scenes, including the infamous “Sandstorm Scene”. The latest wave of the Star Wars Vintage Collection brings us some more figures from said Sandstorm scene, including Lando Calrissian. And, if you don’t know (I didn’t), there’s a secret surprise that practically throws you a two-for-one Lando.

 When I first heard about the deleted scene wave in the Star Wars Vintage Collection, my reaction was lukewarm at best. When I heard the cards were going to have art instead of photos, I was even cooler. My mistake. Pictures just don’t do the card art justice. The paintings are extremely well done, and if you don’t have your glasses on, half of these could be mistaken for photos. Well played, Hasbro. Out of the set, the Lando is probably the most “art-like”, but still, well done.

It’s a Star Wars Vintage Collection figure, so the sculpting looks great. For the most part, that is a given with this line. I’m digging the head sculpt, and the face does a good job of capturing the essence of Billy Dee Williams(minus the Colt 45). For Lando, my main issue comes with the “Sandstorm” aspects of his outfit. Overall, Hasbro has done a nice job blending the soft goods with molded parts, but it looks a little wonky to me. I had some trouble getting the molded hood to sit as well as I would like it to. To be honest though, I don’t know that I could come up with a much better way to do it, so I’ll just sit back and criticize.

Articulation-wise, Lando Calrissian is flexibly, particularly considering his attire. The molded hood/robes are out of the way enough to still allow him good range of motion in his arms. Beyond that, he’s got more or less all of the articulation you could want from him. I didn’t try sitting him down, because Lando doesn’t get a whole lot of breaks. Besides, what are you going to do? Sit down in the middle of a Tattooine sandstorm??

I’m really digging how many accessories Sandstorm Lando comes with. The Star Wars Vintage Collection can be a little thin on accessories, so this was a nice surprise. Not quite G.I. Joe level nice, but still good. As mentioned before, he’s got a molded hood/robe, a cloth poncho, wrap-around goggles, a communicator, a pistol that fits well both in his hand and his holster, and… uh oh! A force pike and a helmet? Speaking of a nice surprise…

So maybe this was public knowledge, and I just missed it, but Hasbro has packed in everything you need to make a nice Skiff Guard/Jabba’s Palace Lando Calrissian… and a great version at that! The sculpt and paint looks great, with some fairly well done weathering on his armor. Boots, belt, skirt, helmet, force pike, all look great. This is another one of those toys that I loved as a kid, so I’m really happy to see him receive a well done update.

Hats off, Hasbro. You could have cheaped out, held back on the helmet and force pike,  and released this separately. For all I know, you will release it as Skiff Guard disguise Lando Calrissian, with the appropriate cardback, in which case I will gladly buy another. I was thoroughly uninterested in a Sandstorm Lando, and you turned it around and made it my favorite of the bunch. You want this figure! Track it down at retail, or order one now from BBTS or another trusted online retailer.