Star Wars Action Figures

Yodasnews Review:  McQuarrie Concept Chewbacca (30th Anniversary Collection) 

By Jeff Gouse (SithLord0498)

 

FIGURE SPECIFICATIONS 

 

 

SCULPT – 4.75 out of 5

While Chewbacca is far from a great figure (and I will elaborate on that in later categories), the sculpting on this figure is virtually perfect. 

First and foremost, the scale is spot-on.  Chewbacca absolutely towers over the Concept Stormtrooper and Fett, and I imagine he’ll tower over Luke and C-3PO too.  Next, the fur has several levels of thickness, which not only adds depth to the figure but also helps the articulation blend into the overall appearance.  The bandolier and vest have at least a dozen sculpted pouches of various shapes and sizes, and quite a few of them look as though you can actually open them.  Obviously, you can’t, but a quick glance can really fool you. 

The facial expression is very faithful to the original McQuarrie artwork, and it works hand-in-hand with the paint application to create a lifelike face.  The boot laces are sculpted seamlessly around the ankle articulation, and the blaster holster is both fully functional and provides a secure fit for the pistol. 

The only major flaw in Chewbacca’s sculpt is the plastic used on the tattered skirt.  Much like the Galactic Marine, the plastic is too rigid and hinders the swivel-cut hip articulation.  Making this a softer plastic or in soft-goods would free up that articulation, and that is something that would make this figure better (again…more on that later). 

PAINT APPLICATION – 4.9 out of 5

This is the best thing going for the figure.  The flaws are extremely minimal.  For example, there is a lack of consistency with the white on the teeth.  My sample has a little paint scraped off on the middle teeth.  Also, the pink inner ear paint has been applied somewhat sloppily. 

But the pros are many.  The eyeballs are painted very cleanly and convey a dazed and/or astonished expression.  Not only is it accurate to the concept art shown on the card, but it adds a sense of personality and life.  It doesn’t hurt that the bright yellow of the eyes stands out against the muted, earthen palette of the rest of the figure. 

There are several shades used in the drybrushing of Chewbacca’s fur:  base brown with black, dark brown, and tan shades mixed in for good measure.  Again, this works with the sculpting to simulate a good 3-D effect.  The concept bandolier and field vest is full of small raised buttons, and all are painted cleanly and evenly.  It’s a little touch that really lends credibility to the piece.  The same holds true for the boot laces and the minute details of Chewie’s belt.

 

ARTICULATION – 3 out of 5 

“Still, the Signature Series will be in fantastic shape if this becomes the standard level of articulation for the remainder of the concept figures.” 

After more deliberation, I believe that statement is true, and I regard Boba Fett’s articulation to be the gold standard of the McQuarrie Concept Series.  Yes, Fett had shortcomings, but a great deal of that is attributed to the poorly-executed disassembling torso.  Overall, his articulation allows for a great deal of poseability. 

Chewbacca, I’m sorry to say, falls short of this standard despite having two additional articulation points (his ball-jointed ankles).  More is not always better in this case.  The culprits here are the lack of ball-jointed shoulders and the lack of mid torso articulation.

Using swivel joints on the shoulders means that you lose lateral range of motion, which is vital to creating dynamic weapon poses.  The best you can do is “shoot-from-the-hip” poses with the blaster pistol.  The bowcaster is not an issue here, which I’ll address in the next section.  The lack of torso articulation shuts out any kind of realistic crouching or hunched over poses similar to the poses found in the Wookiee Warriors “Unleashed” battle pack. 

Granted, Chewbacca isn’t necessarily a character that warrants a wide variety of poses, but this figure is a totem pole.  Through subtle manipulation of the elbow and neck joints, you can get a couple emotional variations here and there, but that’s about all you will get. 

After seeing examples of what Hasbro is capable of doing with regards to articulation in the 3.75 scale arena, the articulation on Chewbacca is very disappointing, and it’s only the sheer number and types of joints that elevate this score above a 1.5 rating.

 

 

ACCESSORIES – 3.5 out of 5 

Sadly, the biggest deficit in the accessories is the cool-looking Concept Bowcaster.

 Chewbacca CAN NOT hold it in a firing position!!  Plain and simple.

Both the cardback and promo images only show Chewie holding it by the barrel as if it were a staff.  There’s a reason.  The handle on the bowcaster is shaped so awkwardly and small that the figure’s sculpted trigger hands can’t hold the weapon in the proper position without needing one of those plastic rubber hands that Hasbro is obsessed with using. 

Yes, that is the way McQuarrie portrayed the weapon in his artwork, but this is a case where it would’ve been perfectly acceptable to take artistic license and create a more figure-friendly handle. 

Beyond that erroneous feature, the Concept Bowcaster is quite a piece of work!  A great deal of sculpting went into this weapon.  While sculpted from a single piece of plastic, all of the ridges, grooves, and blocky areas appear as though they could have been sculpted separately and glued together.  The 3-D effect is very impressive, and the evenly-spread black paint wash augments this effect. 

The sculpting on the accompanying blaster pistol is good although not nearly as detailed.  Plus, it can fit in either hand, immediately trumping the bowcaster as the better functional accessory.

 

“FUN FACTOR” – 3 out of 5 

The poor execution of the articulation really drags this score down.  To truly capture the essence of a Wookiee character in figure form, you need the ability to create raging, heroic poses, and that is something this concept figure cannot provide.  Sure, you can capture the calmer, more reflective side of Chewie’s personality, but that hardly warrants a high “fun factor” rating.

 

OVERALL RATING – 3.83 out of 5 

Regrettably, Concept Chewbacca is a missed opportunity.  The details on the sculpt are second-to-none, but the lack of useful articulation relegates this figure to the stiff statue hall of shame.  The concept bowcaster is a highly-detailed accessory, but the poorly rendered handle means that the figure can’t properly hold it. 

The only way this figure is a must have is if you are a completist, a Chewbacca fan, and/or a collector of the McQuarrie Signature Series.  Casual collectors and kids would do well to save their $7 and put it toward a figure like the VTSC Snowtrooper or buy another figure in the 30th Anniversary line. 

I would say that future McQuarrie figures will redeem the line, but recently unveiled pictures from Celebration IV show that this may not be the case.  Vader, Luke, and the Starkiller hero all feature the outdated swivel-cut elbow articulation, which will greatly affect the articulation scores.  However, there appear to be a few more gems in the form of the McQuarrie Han Solo, Snowtrooper, and Yoda figures. 

Stay tuned because I have both McQuarrie Celebration IV exclusives on order and will be bringing you my typically long-winded thoughts on those figures as well.