Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Custom - Clone Wars Micro Series Nelvaanian Warrior

Do you remember the very superb Clone Wars micro series that ran 2003-2005? I am sure you do as that series was so well executed and very memorable. A real testament to that series is the fact that we have been given numerous original figures from the episodes. For whatever the reason (Most likely do to the modern CGI CW series) Lucasfilm has put a freeze on Hasbro preventing them from making any new figures from micro series. Despite the Micro CW figure moratorium a Captain Fordo figure somehow managed to slip through and will be coming out this year. Please note that he will be released under another name - "Arc Trooper Commander". That's a pretty clever loophole to get around the ban. There are still several characters from this series that collectors would love to see made, one of them is the Nelvaanian Warrior. In a key episode that literally lead straight into ROTS, Anakin had an important encounter with this alien species that eluded to his fall to the dark side. I was a bit surprised that we did not get an official figure of the  Nelvaanian Warrior to accompany the 2007 Nelvaanian Tattoo Anakin. On a side note, I have been using the Hellboy 2 figure of Wink to stand in for the mutated Nelvaanians in my collection. That figure is actually a pretty good match!

I recently picked up the brand new Thor Movie Frost Giant to use for parts, I was not sure what I would use the body for but I usually find a use for most things I buy for customs. I came across an image of a Nelvaanian Warrior the following day and that instantly sparked a custom idea that would use this body as a base. I had an extra Bothan head laying around that was perfect for this custom, it is pretty close to the actual Nelvaanian Warrior design. As usual I repainted the entire figure giving him a more furry look but I went one step further and made him a swappable robotic arm to somewhat recreate the episode. Granted they got fatter and uglier post experiment but I really intended this custom to look closer to a generic Nelvaanian Warrior as seen in the picture. It was more of an extra accessory. Here is the final result of my first Nelvaanian Warrior:

As always your feedback comments and hate mail are welcome!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Supporting a young fan - The Toys for Eli Toy Drive

Brian from Customs for the Kid brought a heartbreaking story to my attention last week and I want to help by spreading the word on this good cause. The fine folks from Action Figure Empire are gathering support in the Star Wars collecting community by helping a very young fan with a rare disease. Please take a moment and read about this young fan who could use some support. Here is their blog post:

Today I want to turn this blog's attention to the story of a young Star Wars action figure collector named Eli. Eli is madly passionate about all things Star Wars and Star Wars toys. He's an outgoing little guy with a great big smile and he's also into arts and crafts, and World War 2. Eli is has been diagnosed with a rare life-threatening disease called Severe Aplastic Anemia, a disease of the bone marrow. Severe Aplastic Anemia also affects the immune system making it difficult for those who have it to be out in public. You can imagine how this makes it hard to get out and do things, visit with people, or even shop for Star Wars toys. We here at Action Figure Empire call for your support for young Eli, a fan, and a collector who needs all the support he can get right now. We ask that you donate one or more, Star Wars toys of any kind to Eli. You can Include a message of your own to Eli if you wish as well. Eli will be delighted to receive your generous donations. Please send them to:

Action Figure Empire
114 Oak Street Apt. D
Maybrook, NY 12543

From there we at AFE will then forward your generous donations to Eli. AFE is proud to create and participate in the official Toys for Eli Toy Drive Please take a moment to contribute to Eli's Star Wars action figure collection. Every donation you give helps! Thank you for reading this and thank you so much for your donations!  May The Force Be With You All! 

As parent myself this story is absolutely heartbreaking, no parent should have to deal with this. I am asking all of my readers to pitch in and give this little boy a little joy as he fights this disease. It would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Little Differences - Yavin, Stormtrooper disguise, X-Wing and Rebellion Luke Skywalker & Bonus Han in Stormtrooper Disguise

In the 16 year run of the modern Star Wars line there have been a lot of Luke Skywalker figures released. Some of them have been really great and some of them not so much. It is worth noting that after years of some disappointing releases Hasbro really seems to be perfecting each figure including the main heroes which they have always have seemed to struggle with. In my opinion the current line has never been better in terms of quality and detail. There were some Lukes that were released over the past 3 years that slightly fell short of the perfection mark. The Little Differences segment is all about fixing the flaws of existing figures using existing parts to make them as perfect as possible without a major rework. Unlike all of my past LD segments some of these do require some dremmeling on the swapped heads to sit perfectly on their respective neck posts. I always strive to avoid this but these are very easy to modify. Lets get started and see if these are for you:

Yavin Ceremony Luke Skywalker
Released in 2007 as part of the 30th TAC line this Luke was a really nice upgrade from the 1997 POTF2 one (After 10 years it should be!). Overall this was a well executed figure but he did miss the mark because of his mediocre head sculpt that featured really pale skin and dark hair. (The skin tone color reminded me of when E.T. was found dying in the rain.) I do think we will see a re-release of this figure in the near future with a new head sculpt and a corrected flesh tone. I cannot wait for a re-release as this was one of my favorite get ups for Luke, as usual I decided to fix him. November of 2009 gave us the best ANH Farm boy Luke head sculpt in the modern line in the Resurgence of the Jedi Battle Pack. I stocked up on that figure at the time because I knew I wanted to use the head to fix several of my older Lukes. This head will need to be dremmeled out a little to fit on the Yavin Luke neck post. To match the head flesh tone I swapped out the hands with the AOTC Uncle Owen, they are a perfect color match and fit. I know that is a rare figure as well but fear not, there are other hands that will work just as well. To finish the figure I gave him the new Vintage sculpt Lightsaber to make him as accurate as possible. Here is the final result:

Luke Skywalker & Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise
Next up we have the controversial "too tall" Luke in Stormtrooper Disguise. I agree with most collectors that they should retool some parts to get him more screen accurate. While this is a deal breaker for many I have to be honest, I am not too bothered by it. I am more bothered by the terrible and very narrow head sculpt that looks more like a mouse then Luke. Like the Yavin Luke, I used the Resurgence BP Luke head again. (This mod also requires some dremmeling to get it to fit perfectly.) If you want to slap a Stormtrooper helmet on him you will need the larger sized Legacy Death Star Escape Han helmet, it's still tight. Since I use these in scene displays I have no desire to cover the head but it's really up to how you want to display your collection. I added an extra commlink from Major Panno to complete the figure. Speaking of the Death Star Escape Han figure you can swap that head out on the Stormtrooper body with no dremmeling required, it's a perfect fit. I love having consistency in my collection so these two mods solve the consistency issue. Take a "look-see" at the end results:

Luke Skywalker in X-Wing Pilot gear
Do you notice a trend here? Resurgence Luke head + Dremmel + X-Wing body = A fixed X-Wing Luke. (If you use the Hoth Snowspeeder Luke Helmet it will fit perfectly!)

Luke Skywalker in Rebel Stealth Gear from the Rebellion comic
I really liked the Rebellion comic series, they featured some great EU stories that filled in story gaps during the Rebellion era. The particular issue that this figure was based on was pretty good, I also liked the stealth outfits even though they did not look too "Star Warsish". This was a cool comic pack but Luke's head was a so-so sculpt that looked little too old, it also looked too much like it came from the ESB era. The issue that this was based on actually took place before the ESB, so Luke should look pre Wampa attack with his 70's feathered hair. The head sculpt on Luke was the deal breaker for me with this figure, I hated it. Fear not, I find the perfect head to fix this and it's not the Resurgence Luke head sculpt (See, I can still throw you off!) I did not like the new Vintage Death Star Escape Luke head as much as I did the Resurgence one, They are actually different sculpts which is quite puzzling as to why Hasbro felt the need to redo it again after they finally nailed it. Nevertheless I am glad they made it because it fits this body perfectly without the need to dremmel and it is also more accurate to the comic than the head it came with:

As you can see the "Little Differences" can make a big difference to your figures! Until next time!