Well, the San Diego Comic Con is over and a great time was had by all. If you've been keeping up on our Comic Con thread on the boards, then you'll know there are many pleasant surprises in store for Boba Fett fans in the coming year. Also, as promised, we have an update for our previous article regarding Entertainment Earth's release of a 14-pack of Mandalorian figures.
The Cuy'val Dar
At this years' Comic Con International, Hasbro finally released the rest of the figures from their "Mystery Mandalorian Pack," exclusive only through Entertainment Earth, only now it's being promoted as two "Elite Forces of the Republic" 7-figure sets. As thought, Hasbro stayed with the Cuy'val Dar theme with the rest of figures and as hoped, answered some fans prayers for a complete set of some very endearing commandos. Three new Mandalorian training sergeants have been added to the mix, along with two elite ARC Troopers, and the rest of Omega Squad, first introduced in the Republic Commando novels by Karen Traviss. The elite ARC Troopers are repaints of the Alpha ARC Trooper mold, originally released as a comic 2-pack with Obi-Wan Kenobi. These ARC's, however, sport menacing stealthy black armor. As with the first Omega squad member shown in the set, the rest of the squad are also clad in black armor, and also appear to be repaints of the previously released Delta Squad members, which have their own respective figure pack. For those of you who would like to customize your own commando, fear not. Hasbro also has plans to release a basic white version of a Republic clone commando in a singles pack later in the year.
Personally chosen by Jango Fett to help train special ARC and Commando troopers, B'arin Apma, Mij Gilimar, and Isabet Reau are part of the 100 members that make up the Cuy'val Dar. The Cuy'val Dar is Mandalorian for "those who no longer exist." This title was given to the 100 training sergeants, 75 of which were Mandalorians, who Jango Fett recruited to help run the clone commando training program. They had to disappear; they could not tell anyone they were on Kamino, and because they did not know when the army was going to be activated, they had no idea how long they would have to remain there. Those who had families (although the majority lived alone) just left them. As far as everyone else was concerned, they were dead or missing in action.
Isabet Reau is clad in yellow armor, similar to the female that is in Tom Hodges' art print of a Mandalorian wedding. Remember from our previous article, Dred Priests' armor is also based from this same art print, so perhaps these two are the same couple in the picture? Isabet Reau is described as eager to train the clones in the ways of her people, from their battle tactics to their cultural beliefs, so that the greatness of the Mandalorian people could once again sweep across the galaxy with all its power and glory. This figure shares some parts with the Rav Bralor figure, but features a new head, belt, rocket pack, and skirt with a completely unique paint job.
B'arin Apma is clad in all gray armor and comes with a rocket pack. Brotherhood, stamina, loyalty. These are the three pillars upon which B'arin Apma rested his entire life. These are also the three main tenets that he drilled into the clone troopers he trained. He believed these were as essential to a superior soldier as marksmanship and courage. This figure has arms and a torso taken from existing Jango Fett action figures, but comes with an all new head and legs sculpt.
Mij Gilamar is a natural leader. He has sand colored armor, graying hair, and also comes with a traditional Mandalorian rocket pack. Gilamar is a battlefield medicine expert and a skilled warrior who instills in the clones an unyielding commitment to protect the ideals to which they have sworn their allegiance. This figure mixes new parts with pieces from existing Jango Fett figures. The figure has new legs, which it shares with B'arin Apma, as well as an all-new head and bits and pieces previously used to make various Jango Fett action figures. This figure was first designed to be the Mandalorian training sergeant Kal Skirata from the Republic Commando novels, but Karen Traviss thought the head mold looked too young, so she asked Hasbro if they wouldn't mind changing the name. She named this figure after her good friend James Gilmer (Mij is Jim spelled backwards).
The figures will be released in two separate "Battle Packs." One is titled as the "Mandalorians and Omega Squad Set" (Omega Squad Sniper, Omega Squad Sergeant, Llats Ward, B'arin Apma, Rav Bralor, Omega Squad Communications, and Omega Squad Demolition) and the other is the "Mandalorians and Clone Trooper Set" (2 Clone Troopers, Mij Gilamar, Isabet Reau, Dred Priest, 2 elite ARC Troopers). Both have release dates of 14 December, 2007.
Hasbro's Evolution of an icon
Not enough Mandalorians for you? Not to worry. Hasbro hosted a panel during the convention of their upcoming figures and vehicle assortments. Included in the presentation were enough Fett's for any fan. Continuing their "Battle Packs" line of toys, Hasbro has included "Betrayal at Bespin," which includes Boba Fett and "Capture at the Droid Factory," which includes Jango Fett. Ponchos also seem to be the craze among action figures this year. Not only is Hasbro releasing a Clone Trooper with a battle poncho, but a new sculpt of Jango Fett with a poncho and removable armor will also be released in the coming year.
How many times have we said on the message boards that a Mandalorian Evolution pack would be totally awesome? Well, it may not be what we had in mind, but how about an Evolution pack with some of Mandalore's, well... Mandalores? Listed as an "Evolution of the Fett's" 3-pack, the set includes Jango Fett, Boba Fett with a removable helmet and gray head of hair, and a surprising figure of Mandalore. Although the figure is just listed as Mandalore, close inspection of the presentation slide shows what appears to be Mandalore the Indomitable. He was first mentioned in the Tales of the Jedi comic books series, by Dark Horse Comics, and now plays a more prominent role in their Knights of the Old Republic comic book series.
Still not satisfied? Since we're on the topic of comic books, Hasbro has plans for a comic book 2-pack featuring a Death Star Droid and Boba Fett with Sarlacc goo. This comic pack is based on the old Marvel Comics Star Wars series, issue #81, titled "Jawa's of Doom." In this tale Boba is regurgitated onto the sand by the Sarlacc and found by scavenging Jawa's who mistake his armored form as a droid. They promptly fit him with a restraining bolt and toss him in the hold with all the other scavenged droids (hence, the RA-7 protocol "Death Star" droid). In the end, poor Boba ends up again in the belly of the Sarlacc, sand crawler and all (making it his first of two escapes from the Sarlacc; a big canonical controversy among die hard Fett fans). Although, how a sand crawler will fit into the maw of the Sarlacc is beyond me, but that's a story for another time. This figure features a very nicely done paint job, which is consistent with the coloring used in the comic book artwork. The "Sarlacc goo" is actually painted on the figure itself and looks more like it supposed to be sand, rather than some kind of Sarlacc juice.
Another Boba Fett figure that Hasbro is producing next year is part of their "Mighty Mugg" line of figures. The figure itself looks like it came from the pages of a Japanese anime magazine. This is actually a fairly decent sized figure, standing at around six or seven inches high.
Fett goes Russian
Hasbro isn't the only company cashing in on Boba Fett's fame this year. Museum Replicas is following up their release of a scaled version of Boba Fett's helmet with, what else, but a full sized version. The full sized helmet has been teased for quite some time, but the Empire Strikes Back color scheme version of the helmet should be available for pre-order within the next two months, according to their representative at the convention. The young gentleman couldn't give me an exact price on the helmet, but estimated it would probably be in line with their other full sized helmets, which usually run around $399 a piece. Other items on display at the Master Replicas booth this year also included a scaled and full sized version of his EE-3 blaster. The scaled version is already out and available through many distributors, including our affiliates at Entertainment Earth. The full size version is still due out later in the year, but this was the first chance to get a good look at the finished product before distribution. It was definitely a lot larger than I expected it to be. I guess you never get a full feel for the size of an object when watching it on film, as opposed to seeing it up close and in person (except for maybe a Super Star Destroyer).
I was pleasantly surprised to see something else I've been looking to come out ever since they started making the Star Wars Chubby Nesting Dolls. What these actually are is a take on the Russian stacking "matryoshka" nesting egg dolls. These wooden dolls, which are actually Japanese in origin, consist of a large hand painted doll which housed a smaller similar doll inside of it. This smaller doll also had a smaller hollow doll inside of it, and so on and so forth, until you end up with a doll that is the smallest of the group. Some of these dolls consist of 24 pieces, but the Star Wars Chubby version of the dolls only have three pieces to each nesting doll. Prior releases have been in the way of an evolution of a particular character. The Darth Vader version has Darth Vader on the outside, with an Anakin from Episode II and III as the middle piece, and the very young Anakin from Episode I as the smallest of the pieces. The company "Hot Toys" is set to release a Boba/Jango Fett version of these dolls, as part of their next wave of these highly collectible figurines. The smallest of the pieces is the young Daniel Logan Boba Fett from Episode II, followed by a regular armored Boba Fett as the center figure, and ending with a full armored Jango Fett as the larger outside piece of the set. The Jango portion of the set even has a jetpack attached to his back. I was personally hoping for something along the same lines, but with the middle and outside pieces being a full armored Boba Fett in Empire and Jedi version armor colors, respectively. However, seeing these in the display case I can hardly complain. The artwork on the figurines is very well done. Although the display boasted a very large Jango Fett nesting doll, the actual pieces are shown beside it, and are much smaller. These pieces are approximately 6.8 to 8.2 cm (2.7 to 3.2 inches) tall and have been selling for $9.99 on the Star Wars Shop website.
As you can see, there is plenty of swag for even the most avid Boba Fett collector coming out within the next year. Why the sudden surge in Boba Fett and Mandalorian related collectibles? Maybe the corporations are just cashing in on a sure thing, since Boba Fett is such a popular character. Maybe our pleas for more expanded universe style Fett figures are finally being heard? With this past years' release of the McQuarrie concept and Holiday Special Boba Fett figures and with more on the way, one has to wonder if it might not be both. Hasbro, at least, has announced future plans for Star Wars fan sites to have a more active part in the decision making process when it comes to future projects they undertake for fans choice figures. They haven't announced yet which sites will be part of this project, but it can be assumed they are ones that have some kind of ties with Lucasfilm Inc. Either way, keep talking, because we are being heard. Companies have employees whose entire job is to surf internet boards to see how their merchandise is received by the fans. The more people ask for a particular item or figure, the more likely it is that it will eventually be made. It's that age old equation of supply and demand. I don't know about you, but in the end "he's worth a lot to me."