Sunday, July 3, 2011

Star Wars Vintage Collection: Bom Vimdin

I finally found Bom Vimdin from Hasbro's Star Wars: The Vintage Collection line yesterday, after several months of looking and more months waiting for the release date. This figure has probably just been released — if so, I really didn't have to wait long. But I had heard months ago — maybe longer — that the release date was to be back in March or April, and I have been waiting and searching ever since.

This is one of the most frustrating things about collecting Hasbro's Star Wars line: they announce release dates months in advance, but either the dates keep changing or supply lines to retailers are slow. Meanwhile, it's a lot of pointless store checking and aggravation.

Another frustrating element here is the price. I bought mine at Target for $8.89, which is ridiculously high for a simple action figure on such a simple card. I don't place any special value on the old-style Kenner packaging, either. In fact, I think this type of packaging — which is far less bulkier and seems to use less plastic than Hasbro's other current Star Wars line, The Clone Wars — should be standard for this type of toy in order to eliminate waste and cost. Hasbro seems to think otherwise, though, and these "vintage" style figures are actually about a dollar more than their Clone Wars kin.

Which is partly why Bom Vimdin has been my first new Star Wars action figure purchase in a long while. Price is not the only reason — I just haven't been interested in the figures in this line — but price is the reason I didn't pick up the Logray I found alongside Bom, or the Han Solo. Back during 2007's 30th Anniversary Collection, I probably would have bought all three, but at $8.89 each, no way. These days I need to focus my collection even more than before — in this case, on the cantina aliens from Episode 4.

Getting to the bottom of this pricing mystery is a challenge worthy of Fox Mulder, though he would most likely conclude it was all a plot of lies engineered by the Cigarette Smoking Man. Hasbro has claimed that it doesn't set prices, the retailers do. The retailers all seem to set just about the same price, though, which suggests something about the price they pay for the figures. Meanwhile, there's the issue of who is buying action figures nowadays, especially of characters from the first three Star Wars movies — kids or collectors? Should collectors need to pay more than kids? Maybe, if they are the only consumers of a line made in less quantity than Clone Wars, though I don't know if they are. In any event, the pricing and less-than-stellar character lineup of the Vintage Collection has kept me from all but Bom Vimdin.

The figure itself, like nearly all Hasbro Star Wars figures that don't use so-called "soft goods" accessories, is excellent: outstanding sculpt, great detail on the costume and guns, and a nice balance of articulation and "default pose". (I typically don't care too much about articulation — I just want a default pose that looks good and allows the figure to stand on its own, if a base is not included.)

The next two Vintage Collection waves are supposedly to include two other cantina favorites, re-sculpts of Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba (originally known as Walrus Man). I am looking forward to these — I just hope I don't have to look too far forward.