Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Rise of the Ewok Liberation Front of Endor

First off I would like to thank Phillip Wise and the photographers at Rebelscum for their gracious permission to use photos from their archive here at TheAmazingToyland. In the vintage Kenner Star Wars line there were a total of 8 Ewok action figures made: Chief Chirpa, Logray, Wicket, Teebo, Paploo, Lumat, Warok, & Romba. Today we take another look at Ewoks, specifically the modern incarnations. 2012 is the year of the Ewok it seems. Hasbro decided to fulfill the requests of fans like me and release a total of 8 figures this year alone. Although it Hasbro hasn't been kind to Ewok fans over the years. Before revamping the accuracy of the scale of figures, Hasbro handed us six total Ewoks in the course of the first 10 years of the current Star Wars toyline. In 1998 we got Logray and Wicket, 2002 saw the release of Paploo (he however was only released in a $30 Toys R Us exclusive featuring an AT-ST and the stolen speederbike), Also in 2002 Teebo was released in seemingly limited quantities in the last wave of Power of the Jedi sub-line. At some point an unnamed Ewok was released with a glider in the Endor complete galaxies set.
A more distinct, yet un-named Ewok was released in the Saga Ultra Assortment with the attack glider. After this slow and rocky start we start seeing at least one new Ewok per year starting in 2006. The Chief Chirpa of 2006 introduced the new scale to the ewok figures, although supposedly more accurate, the newer Ewoks seem a little small even for space-midgets.
2007 brought us two Ewok repaints in the Target Ultimate Battle Pack renamed as Widdle Warrick and Ochee, which would be the first new names for Ewoks in action figure form. Graak is also a new Ewok released with Romba for the price of a single carded figure. This set a precedent that was followed for the next two years, two Ewoks for the price of one figure.
In 2008 we see two totally new figures Leektar & Nippet. I do believe Nippet was one of the plush dolls released in the vintage line and may have been the introduction of the term "wokling" meaning "baby Ewok". 2009 had arguably 5 Ewoks released, we see the return of Paploo who is accompanied by Nho'Apakk. The second got his name when it was realized that the Ewok in the photo reference for the figure didn't technically have a Lucasfilm approved name. The new name was a Tribute to a young child, Noah, who shared a love for Star Wars yet had a life threatening illness. This would be at least the second time a Star Wars character was named for a sick young Star Wars Fan, the other being R2-KT, the Imperial Astromech with the heart of gold. The next three ewoks of 2009 were inspired by the Marvel Comics and had some rather garish head-dresses, although one of these characters was a dummy to fool Imperials and not a "living" Ewok. There names for these three are Machook, Keoulkeech, & Kettch, and were available in a comic book pack that was exclusive to Walmart. I only recall seeing these at one out of the six "nearby" Walmarts but not the others.
So now Hasbro got our hopes up, but changed gears. In 2010 and 2011 only 2 Ewoks were released, and the were packaged separately now priced the same as 1 full size figure. This should have been a foreshadowing of what happens in 2012. These two were a revisiting of Wicket and Logray that had come out more than 10 years prior as well as within the vintage line. For 2012 Lumat was shown as being in a late wave of the current "The Vintage Collection". As I braced myself for paying $9.99 for a single Ewok, Hasbro announced the wave would be released as an online exclusive rather than to retail stores. This jacked the pre-order price up to $12.99 on Amazon, which has since "pre-sold out". God only knows how much that one Ewok is gonna run me. A slightly less jarring but rather equally appalling pricepoint was announced for the Toys R Us exclusive 5 pack, $39.99. I supposed that's cheaper than 5 seperate figures at $9.99 apiece, but seriously, have we reached the point where 5 figures bundled together should cost nearly $40 at retail? Anyways, we see A revisiting to Teebo in this pack, as well as a realistic incarnation of an old Ewoks Animated character, "Princess Kneesa". Then we get 3 new Ewoks for whom I must learn their names, Tippet (undoubtly named for the SFX master Phil Tippet of ILM), Flitchee, and Nanta. As a bonus however extra headdresses are included which could serve to fix the three Ewoks in the previous Walmart Comic Pack.
2012 Also has K-Mart receiving a two-pack of Ewoks Scouts who overthrew the AT-ST in Return of the Jedi. Although seemingly not identified on there package they are Widdle and Wunka (thanks to Rebelscum again.)
I guess I missed one other Ewok. It came in an Endor Battle Pack with Endor Luke, An Imperial Officer, and an attack glider. Released in 2009 and readily available at Closeout Chains. I guess this Ewok is supposed to be Warok according to our friends at Rebelscum. If that is true, I think all the original 8 Ewoks from the classic line have finally been recreated. So I think the list of characters from the original line must be down to just a couple now.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A week's LEGO Haul: Dinos, Batman, Aliens, & Police, Oh My!

It was a great week for LEGO buying. I picked up the Dino Defense HQ, with the mighty T-Rex, 2 other dinos, and 4 hero minifigures on clearance at Walmart in Aurora, Ohio. It rings strongly of Jurassic Park, a line by Kenner that I never collected. Well actually, I thought about buying the Kenner Dinosaurs when they were on clearance at KB Toys way back when. That was mostly to be opponents for my Alien & Predator figures by Kenner. Actually when I realized how cheap they had gotten which was like 2/$5 I wanted to get some but they had sold out. I asked about them at Kay Bee for months, then the finally got some more back in but at the higher $5 or $6 price point. I suppose I never made it clear that I wanted cheap Dinosaurs. Technically I think the line had done so well as a close-out that Kenner decided to make more just for Kay Bee to sell. Anyways, the LEGO Defense HQ is one of only 3 of the LEGO Dino sets I have interest in.
It's rare that I buy any LEGO that is a new or current theme. I was lucky enough to stumble on the above Batman/Catwoman set, that was not only clearanced but another 50% off at Kmart. It seems I really get into a LEGO line in it's dying days when it is at close-out or clearance. That's when I take a closer look at a given line that I may have previously ignored. So I also found the Alien Conquest Mothership at a price I had passed on months earlier, but now that the collectible minifigure series 8 has an Alien Queen, I decided I should pick some sets up at clearance if I can still find some since the line ended at the end of 2011. So we will jump over my Target find to the next Alien Conquest set I found. It's the one with the Farmer being abducted, very clever. The whole 1950's style of the spaceships in the line had me a bit put off, but at a better price, and a closer inspection of the included figures, I think I am digging on the Alien Conquest range.
So my Target find was the Police Station 7498 it was supposedly 20% off, but it is a $100 set and it was marked on sale to $62, so that's more like 38% off. I definitely like it more than the previous year's Police Station set. Although I am a big fan of two police stations I didn't pick up, set 7237 Police Station with light up figure and World City Police HQ 7035, both of which were released at different points in the last decade.