Star Wars Action Figures

Yodasnews.com Review: Medicom Yoda (Vinyl Collectible Doll)

By Jeff Gouse (SithLord0498) 

When I was in high school a couple years ago (OK…more like ten…), I remember thinking that my ideal wife would be a person who accepted my rather eclectic Star Wars collection and shared that interest as well.  As fate would have it, I got part of my wish when my wife immediately accepted my hobby…even if she didn’t quite understand it at the time. 

It would take another five years to get the second part of my wish. 

And so, today, I’m not reviewing my Medicom VCD (Vinyl Collectible Doll) Yoda.  I’m reviewing my WIFE’S Medicom VCD Yoda.  I was personally holding out for a genuine Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 scale Yoda, but she really wanted this one.  I’m happy she was so insistent. 

 Packaging:  3 out of 5 

 

 I know that I’ve been spoiled by Sideshow’s packaging design for their 1/6 scale line, but I would’ve been underwhelmed by this box regardless.  While it fits in with the layout established by the Star Wars Real Action Heroes line, the layout itself is particularly bland and lifeless.  No movie stills.  No pictures of the product.  Just a plain black box with some faux-engraved silver lettering and logos. 

Ironically, the clamshell design is where Medicom shows an indulgence in excess (as opposed to the outer box design where it would’ve been more welcome).  To be honest, this box could’ve easily been half the depth.  The clamshell is made of two pieces similar to the trays in Sideshow’s 1/6 scale figures, and they snap into place with four pegs and notches molded into the plastic.

 The excessive part is that both halves create a LOT of empty space.  The top tray has roughly an inch of extra plastic extended from the middle to the front of the box, and the bottom tray extends about two inches from middle to back.  To make it easier to understand, just picture this.  You could lay Yoda on a table and place the bottom tray over him like a mini display case!!  That’s how much empty space is created in the packaging. 

On a positive note, the opening flap showcases the product well and provides a decent view of both the figure and accessories.

  

Sculpt:  5.5 out of 5 

Paint Application:  4.5 out of 5 

This is the second time that I’ve given an extra point-five to the sculpt rating and the first time I’ve discussed sculpt and paint application together, so this review is rather unique for me. 

Like Sideshow’s Darth Maul 1/6 scale figure, the VCD Yoda features such an intricate and accurate sculpt that it’s hard to believe you’re looking at a toy.  I’ll be honest—I don’t have the best photography set-up.  I have an HP 5.0 megapixel camera I bought on a Black Friday sale for $90 with a $20 Wal-Mart tripod and a single overhead light bulb.  But in nearly every picture I took, it was extremely hard to tell the difference between this figure and the real Yoda puppet.  The lack of realistic hair was the only tell. 

And the hair is my only real gripe, but it’s not enough to topple the rating.  Medicom gave Yoda sculpted hair rather than rooted doll hair, but the white paint is practically non-existent.  The result:  Yoda appears bald until you take a closer look at it. 

Lastly, the real treat is that the entire figure is sculpted.  Unlike Sideshow’s offerings which only feature sculpting on the head and hands, Yoda’s whole body is sculpted.  If you pull up the pant leg, you won’t find smooth green plastic.  You will find an aged, bony leg painted in pale hues of green.  Kudos to Medicom for going the distance in terms of completeness.

  

Costuming:  3 out of 5  

Yoda’s costume is a mixed bag. 

The upside is that the robe cloth is heavy and hangs very naturally from the figure, and the texture closely matches the figure’s on-screen counterpart.  The pendant is also natural in appearance.  The belt is made of a very thin felt material held in place by a few belt loops sewn into the robe and a knot in the back…although that knot looks extremely loose and I won’t be messing with it.  Yoda’s jumpsuit is similar in texture to the material used for the inner shirts of Sideshow’s Jedi figures, and it is secured via white Velcro (which unfortunately is visible when looking at the figure). 

The downside is this looks like Yoda when he arrived on Dagobah and not the weary and worn Yoda we actually saw in Episode V.  Everything is too new.  The robe is not muddy and stained from years of Dagobah weather, and the tears and holes present in the film puppet’s robe are nowhere to be found.  It is a real pity too because the sculpt is so immensely accurate.  An equally accurate costume would’ve catapulted this VCD into the top 3% of film-accurate Star Wars figures. 

Articulation:  4 out of 5 

This is a tricky category to grade.  I’ve become so used to the wide range of articulation in both Sideshow and Medicom 1/6 scale lines that anything less seems unforgivable.  But this isn’t technically a 1/6 scale figure.  It’s not part of the RAH line.  It’s a VCD, so it should be held to the standards established by that particular line. 

But then, it’s not really a VCD either because a trademark of that line is a cartoonish, super-deformed sculpt.  Yoda clearly doesn’t have that.  This figure exists in a gray zone between VCD and RAH, and so does the articulation. 

The pros first.  The head is attached to a ball-joint and can achieve a direct eye line with true 1/6 scale figures.  This is particularly important for Yoda because his scale fits so closely with the Sideshow and Medicom 1/6 lines and they can easily be displayed together.  The hands also have articulation similar to the RAH figures and allow Yoda some flexibility in posing.

 

The negatives?  Simple.  What I just described is pretty much the end of the articulation.  The elbows are in a fixed ninety-degree angle.  The arms can move but only up and down.  There is no lateral movement whatsoever.  The entire lower body is also one fixed piece.  No waist articulation and nothing in the legs.  This is problematic because certain poses make the figure top-heavy.  With no movement in the lower body, you can’t adjust its center of gravity to balance the figure.

  

Accessories:  4 out of 5  

Since this is Empire version of Yoda, there aren’t too many accessories that could be included with this figure.  What we get is very sufficient. 

The gimer stick cane is adequately weathered in its paint application and sufficiently gnarled.  The ill-gotten lamp from Luke’s crash kit is rather plain in flat gray molded plastic.  Just a dab of yellow-white paint on the tip would’ve gone a long way in adding life to it.  The equally ill-gotten food ration looks just as good as the cane.  The pendant has several layers and shades of paint to give more depth, and the string used to hold it around the figure’s neck allows for a natural hang. 

The only other accessories I think could’ve been included are Yoda’s food bowl and a few of the balancing rocks used during Luke’s Jedi training.  But like I said before, what we get is more than good enough.  The only negative is that bland lamp. 

Here’s a full list of what you get with the Medicom VCD Yoda: 

 “Fun Factor”:  4 out of 5  

No, this isn’t as fun as a typical 1/6 scale fully-articulated figure, but this is easily the best Yoda we currently have to supplement those figures.  The head articulation allows for some very emotive poses.  Hope, sadness, sly wisdom…you can achieve them all with simple twists of the head.  Throw in the hand articulation, and you have a larger emotional palette than you may initially expect.

 This Yoda also manages to stir up the excitement and hope that either Medicom or Sideshow will release a true 1/6 scale Yoda (either prequel or OT) with all the bells and whistles sometime in the near future, and that’s a rather fun feeling in itself.

Overall Rating:  4 out of 5  

A fantastic sculpt and paint job sadly can’t overcome a poor packaging design and inaccurate costume execution.  It’s particularly disappointing because this could be the definitive Yoda if the costume and articulation were more detailed. 

But make no mistake.  At a pricepoint of $50-60, this is a must-buy for Yoda fans and fans of high-end 1/6 scale figures.  Display this figure in an area with some good lighting, and people will not believe that this is just a piece of plastic.  If you’re considering buying this piece, do not hesitate.  This one is a sleeper hit.  It took a long time to sell through at domestic retailers, but now he is becoming harder and harder to come by as word-of-mouth gets around.