Star Wars Action Figures
 

Yodasnews.com Exclusive Review: SSC Jedi Master Mace Windu (Regular Edition)

So, guys and gals…I’m finally back for another Sideshow review.  Passing on both Kit Fisto and the SDCC exclusive Darth Vader (Sith Apprentice) figures as well as canceling Bespin Han Solo certainly made for quite a long sabbatical.  I’m happy to say though that my return to the Sideshow Star Wars 1/6 scale arena proved to be a most positive return.

I’ll be upfront about this: Mace Windu is NOT my favorite figure, and that is only because I’m not a huge fan of the character.  That particular “honor” still currently resides with Anakin Skywalker because I love that character.  Don’t get me wrong…I think Sam Jackson is terrific both in his work and as a regular person.  He’s certainly a fellow fanboy.  I just feel Mace was too arrogant to be likeable in Revenge of the Sith.

BUT…I’m here to review the figure…not the cinematic characterization.  As far as I can tell, Mace Windu is the closest that Sideshow has gotten to a perfect 5 out of 5 figure yet!!  I doubt that distinction will stick around for long though.  As I write this sentence, it is seven o’clock in the morning, and my exclusive edition Obi-Wan Kenobi went on the UPS truck for delivery almost two hours ago.  He’ll be in my hands tonight, and everything so far indicates that he’ll be the figure to beat.

 Packaging:  5 out of 5 

  

At this point, there is not much left to say about the packaging.  Sideshow continues their established graphical and physical design patterns.  The magnetic clasps are still there as well as the fold-out box and collector-friendly trays.  I must say…it will be a shame to see the packaging design change next year if reports of a “unified” theme across all high-end licensees pan out as reported.

There is one additional aspect to the packaging that I immediately noticed upon opening the figure tray.  If this was included on Kit, Vader, and/or Han, forgive my ignorance.  This is the first time I’m seeing it.  Mace came packaged with a thin, egg-shaped plastic brace over the figure’s head.  It effectively provides a buffer between the head and plastic tray cover.  This seems to be an extra precaution against the figure rubbing against the plastic and damaging the paint on the nose.  If you remember, I mentioned this in my Luke Skywalker review as a problem that a decent percentage of collectors experienced.  I’m thrilled to see that Sideshow found a workable solution without heavily fixing what really wasn’t that broke.

   

Sculpt:  5 out of 5 

When I consider the accuracy of a likeness on a figure—whether it be a cheap-o Hasbro figure or a Sideshow 1/6 figure—there are two options:  it can either look like the actor or it can capture the “essence” of the character being portrayed.  The best pieces do both within the confines of their medium.  Sideshow’s Luke Skywalker achieved the former while Anakin and Mace achieved the latter.  This figure looks 100% like Mace Windu in terms of facial features and expressions, but it doesn’t quite resemble Samuel L. Jackson.

However, that shortcoming is not a fault in the sculpt.  It’s in the paint application.

   

 Paint Application:  4.6 out of 5 

Overall, the paint apps on Mace Windu are top-notch.  No funky eyebrows.  No gothic lipstick.  No incorrectly shaded hair (this isn’t a Pulp Fiction figure after all).

The problem is in the eyes.  For some reason, the production as well as prototype figures sported a light golden-brown coloring in the eyes.  It helps in terms of giving Mace a more intense and crazed expression.  Now, ordinarily, I wouldn’t score this so harshly, but in this case it throws off the actor’s likeness.  Since I only bought my figure last Thursday, many other collectors have already received their figures.  That includes the customizer collectors too, and a simple black repaint of the eyes goes a very long way in bringing out the SLJ likeness lurking in the face.

If you’re brave, go to www.sideshowcollectors.com and read through the Mace Windu image thread for different repaint techniques.  But I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have the skill to pull it off correctly.  Honestly, it’s not even worth the trouble.  The face is perfect enough the way it is.

 

Costuming:  4.9 out of 5 

I’ll get the negative out of the way first.  Whether a production error or not, the belt on my figure is much more fragile than Anakin’s belt.  This is because the holes in the leather were placed too close to the edge of the belt, resulting in a less secure attachment.  Even more care is required when removing this particular belt.  Fortunately, there is really no reason to remove it often because Mace doesn’t have any features that require removing any clothes (unlike Anakin’s interchangeable arms).  Still, in my opinion, this warrants a slight deduction of the costuming score.

Everything else is top-notch about this costume though.  Eagle-eyed collectors may have noticed that Sideshow, for reasons still unknown to the collecting community, decided to change the tunic material shown on the prototype.  While the prototype’s color was more accurate, I was never thrilled with the patterned texture on it.  The final version is much better.

The material is thick and heavy enough to be realistic, but it’s also loose-fitting enough to allow unhindered movement.  It is also much easier to “futz” around with.  Just give both layers a gentle yet firm tug, and the costume miraculously falls into perfect shape.  And when viewed from a typical observation distance, it just looks totally right.  There’s really no other way to describe it.

The Jedi robe is also more easily manageable around the arms and hands this time around.  Undoubtedly, this can be attributed to the extra-long droopy sleeves, which was a design element unique to Mace’s robe.

One caveat though…the clothes on my figure were heavily wrinkled out of the box.  This was only a minor annoyance because it meant waiting longer to play!!  This is easy to fix.  Take all the clothes off, wet them down with warm water in a spray bottle (I used an old Chloroseptic throat spray bottle), smooth out the wrinkles with your fingers, and let dry.  Simple!

 

 

                

Articulation:  4.6 out of 5

Luke had the grossly-disproportionate arms and the restrictive jumpsuit.  Anakin had the ill-fitting arms that required substantial modifications to correct.  Mace has none of those restrictions.  Out of the three Sideshow Star Wars figures I own (soon to be four with Kenobi…yay!!), Mace has the best range of motion yet.  His costume fits so well that he can explore the full potential of Sideshow’s standard “Art S. Buck” body style.

In fact, that’s the only area where the articulation falls short.  In the time since I reviewed Anakin, I’ve learned a great deal more about 1/6 scale figures and the various companies that produce them (Hot Toys, Medicom, etc.).  In fact, I own a Sideshow GoldenEye James Bond and Hot Toys Robocop in addition to my growing Star Wars collection.

The truth is this: Sideshow’s bodies are becoming obsolete compared to other companies.  There are poses that SSC’s “Buck” body can’t pull off.  One specific example is the “cell phone pose”, which means that Sideshow figures can’t pose their arms close enough to their head and chest as to simulate a person holding a cell phone to their ear.  Is this a gross detriment to Sideshow figures?  Heck no!  These are still immensely enjoyable figures.  But there is clearly room for improvement, and that’s why I can’t give this figure a perfect five in articulation.

 

     

Accessories:  5 out of 5 

While Anakin came with a cybernetic arm that was a work of art in itself, Mace comes with the best and most varied accessories to date for a Jedi figure (nothing beats Bespin Han’s mynock and blaster so far).  Aside from the clothing accessories, here’s what you get with the Regular Edition Mace Windu, which is what I own (the exclusive is a dented Jango Fett helmet, which I’ve heard is not that great of an accessory after all):

As was the case with Anakin, the Jedi holoprojector is again held in the tray by adhesive that still lingers long after being removed from the packaging for the first time.  The holoprojector, aquabreather, and communicator are all identical to the versions included with Anakin and Kit.  If you want a more detailed description as well as pictures of them, you can refer to the accessories section of my Anakin Skywalker (Exclusive Edition) review on this site.

The lightsabers, for me, are both good and bad.  The good is that Sideshow provided both versions of Mace’s lightsaber.  Personally, I have no use for the Episode I saber, but it’s really terrific that they acknowledged the difference and gave collectors those extra options.  The inclusion of the Episode I lightsaber makes this an all-encompassing Prequel Trilogy Mace Windu.

My gripes with the lightsabers are more than likely rare because they appear to be flawed production errors.  First, the hilt clasp on my Episode II/III saber is misshapen and too small to secure tightly to the belt clip.  I can hang the hilt, but it will fall off if bumped.  Also, the blade on my ignited AOTC/ROTS saber is bowed slightly.  Again, both are likely production defects, and neither are more than a minor annoyance…if at all.

My favorite accessory, though, has to be the severed stump.  It is an extremely small piece.  Take care not to drop it, or you’ll spend quite a bit of time crawling on your knees looking for it.  It is in exact scale with the other hands, and the sculpting and paint details on the stump itself are very elaborate for such a micro-canvas.  It also attaches very securely to the wrist pegs.  In fact, all of the hands stay on very tightly this time around, which is a welcome and helpful convenience.

 “Fun Factor”:  4 out of 5 

For all the ways in which it excels, Mace just isn’t as much fun for me as Luke and Anakin.  When I do my Photoshop pictures, I like to come up with concepts and images that have an emotional edge to them.  In fact, my two favorite figures are Anakin Skywalker and Robocop because both characters have so many conflicting emotions associated with them that my design palette is more open-ended.  With Mace…well, there’s just not much there to work with.  His character was too rigid and arrogant to coax any believable human vulnerability and passion out of it visually.  The chosen facial expression further hinders that because he looks way too PO’d.

 Overall Rating:  4.73 out of 5 

Unless you’re a Mace-hater, you will not regret this purchase…especially for the prices that certain retailers are offering.  Not to shamelessly plug a sponsor, but I purchased mine through Razor’s Edge Collectibles and I don’t regret it.  I got it for a great price ($45 plus $9 USPS Priority shipping), and I had the figure in hand two days after ordering.  Mike Richards runs a top-notch outfit there.  He’s a man I will order from again many times in the future.

Do keep in mind that it’s only my personal preferences and styles that interfere with my overall enjoyment of this figure.  Mace Windu is an excellent figure, and I’m absolutely certain that most collectors will love this figure.  The costuming is well done.  The sculpt and paint applications are practically dead-on accurate for this figure.  The range of accessories is superb.  Lastly, the full potential of Sideshow’s articulation is finally unleashed and not hindered by unique design flaws (i.e. – Anakin’s falling arm syndrome) or restrictive costuming (i.e. – Luke’s jumpsuit).

It’s true that Sideshow’s Star Wars 1/6 line has had a bumpy road thus far, and there are collectors out there who have either given up on the line or are very close to it.  My advice is to stick it out.  The figures are getting better.  I have no doubt that Obi-Wan (along with Mace) will signal a turning point in terms of quality and collector interest.  Even pictures of Qui-Gon (taken by collectors lucky enough to have gotten theirs seemingly ahead of time) portray another fine addition to the line.  It’s taken a few pitfalls, but it looks as though Sideshow is finally getting on top of their game.