Playskool Heroes: Star Wars Jedi Force
Darth Vader and Stormtrooper
By: Hasbro Playskool
$4.99 to $5.99 Retail
Today was a heck of a haul. I found a Tron 3-Man Lightjet on clearance for $7.50 (retail 29.99), I found Green Lantern Classics series 2 on clearance for 9 dollars apiece. Bought the whole set. Found the Halo wave 4 Brute figure. Snatched it up. Heck, I even found the new exclusive Samurai series Imaginext toys I’ve been waiting for weeks for at Target. Get.
But no matter what toys I found and for what deals, there was only one toy I couldn’t wait to open when I got home.
So let’s be real about this. This is clearly Playskool’s (read: Hasbro’s) response to the immensely successful Fisher Price’s (read: Mattel) Imaginext line of toys. I’m not knocking it at all. In fact, I love the idea! Now I can have cheap, cutesy versions of Marvel and Star Wars heroes to go along with my DC or Toy Story ones. It’s a whole new Minimates! SAVE ME FROM MYSELF!!!
Err…anyway, one of the first things you’ll notice before cranking them open is their box style. Hasbro has apparently completely ditched their previous Heroes lines in favor of these figures, and the new packaging is much more akin to the Imaginext boxes than previous Hasbro efforts. The box features no outer bubble, so the characters arms and heads can be moved while still in package. This is just about as close as you can get to Imaginext without slapping a Mattel logo on the box.
Just a fun little thing to note. Hasbro went with their new paper ties to hold the figures in place. Notice anything interesting about them? That’s right, they’re color-coordinated! Super! The Stormtrooper has his standard white paper tie and the Lord Helmet knockoff has a black one. I have no idea why they decided to do it that way as it likely had to cost money somewhere in there, but they did. I don’t really have any emotion toward it other than to say that it’s nifty. Don’t know why they did it, but it’s nifty.
Because these guys are so little I’m going to condense a lot of what I have to say about them.
They look great! I love love love the shortened designs of them. With the big hands and heads but trimmer bodies, they’ve maintained all the charm of the Galactic Heroes designs while giving them articulation identical to Imaginext. And Darth here even has soft goods for both his cape and his skirt. That way he can still interact with vehicles. Sweet!
You can see that Hasbro didn’t skimp on the details. These are great adaptations of the characters and I admire how much sculpting went into them considering the molds can’t be re-used much.
Well, I mean other than Spirit Vader, Commlink Vader, Force Fire Vader, Hot Rod Vader, Stealth Trooper, Shadow Trooper, 501 Trooper, and of course the Evolutions boxed sets. Still, thanks for the details, Hasbro!
Paint is not perfect, but is good for the scale. They have a lot of painted details like Vader’s Try-Me buttons on his chest and the bits and bobs on the Trooper’s helmet. Note that none of the weapons are removable.
You’re lookin’ at it.
That’s about the extent of it, honestly. Swivel necks, swivel-hinged shoulders, swivel wrists, and swivel (connected) hips. I had really hoped when I saw them in package that Hasbro would one-up Mattel so that the companies would have to compete to make the best toys, but it looks like both are going to rely on their licenses to sell the toys.
The articulation works to move their arms around a bit and fit them into vehicles, but I would have liked at least a ball neck. Oh well.
What can I say? At 6 bucks, these guys are a pretty great deal. I wanna say that the old Galactic Heroes and their equivalents were 7 or 8 bucks. These are taller and better articulated, but with that same great style.
They work great with Imaginext figures, which is going to go a long way toward making them accessible to parents. And for collectors, you’ll be happy to know that they do seem to feature some semblance of scale.
For instance, Vader is just barely shorter than the Imaginext Space Cop Guy, while the Stormtrooper only comes up to about his glasses. I would guess Chewbacca is even bigger than Vader, but I didn’t pick him up yet so I can’t say for sure.
As you can see, they are compatible with your existing Imaginext toys (or at least the ones I have). The guys are definitely affordable, and being that they’ve already gone whole-hog with tiered vehicle sized and multiple properties (Transformers and Marvel Universe are already in) I’d say these guys are a bona fide shoo-in for Hasbro and won’t break your wallet.
The cheapest I have found these is at K-Mart, by the bye. There, they were $4.99 for a two-pack. I bought mine at Target for $5.99.
The only thing really holding these guys back value-wise is the fun factor. With two heroes, you get a lot of fun with the characters alone. But with Imaginext you get a vehicle or gadget or something else that keeps you interacting with the toy past having an affinity for the character. The Transformer toys in this scale seem to be keeping with the Imaginext trend and look to be fun, but these guys will be limited to how they can interact with other playsets.
The only quality issue I ran into was in the legs. Without knowing if the articulation was exactly the same as Imaginext, I attempted to move the legs of both figures individually. They can do that, but not because they’re supposed to. The plastic in the legs is very soft (no doubt to help them fit in various vehicles) and the bar that connects them will absolutely twist inside the body. Be careful to move both legs at the same time and you should be fine. I expect by series 2 or 3 of these Hasbro will be using a much denser plastic there.
Aesthetics: Adults: 9, Kids: 10
Articulation: Adults: 5, Kids: 7
Value: Adults: 8, Kids: 9
Overall: Adults: 7.3, Kids: 8.7
The figures are very cool. The Trooper is especially awesome and the reason why I went with this pack over Han and Chewie. I mean who doesn’t love a Stormtrooper? Honestly. There are only two points that hold this back from being a perfect set.
1. The aforementioned fun factor: Hasbro had the opportunity to break the mold here with articulation, but they went with the safety of what Mattel has already been doing for years. I’m not saying it’s not going to work out for them; it’s just not anything you haven’t seen before. Couple that with the decision for two-packs instead of the obvious marketability of one character and one action-feature droid per pack and you’ve got yourself a toy that’s waiting for another toy to make it awesome. If you already have plenty of Imaginext stuff, this will likely be less of an issue.
2. The troop builder phenomenon. You include a troop building figure with an established character? Whaaaaaa? Darth should have been packed with the Emperor. Hands down. If this had been a Stormtrooper and Sandtrooper or Scout Trooper or Imperial Officer or Tie Fighter Pilot or ANY kind of non-descript military unit, Hasbro could have put any exponent on the end of their profit and expected it to pay off. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need 5 Darth Vaders, Luke Skywalkers, or Landos on my desk.
Okay, maybe five Landos. But you’re pushing it!
The set is still great and comes recommended, especially is you liked the Galactic Heroes series. They’re cute and fun versions of characters that probably everyone who has ever visited this site loves and with the included playsets you can have one heckuva massive (and FUN) display at your creezy.
Thanks for reading and as always, it’s just a toy. Open the darned thing.