THE EMPEROR Old Sculpt
The Vintage Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.: Asst. E7763 No. F1902
Includes: Energy bolts, cane, hood, robe
Action Feature: n/
Availability: October 2021
Appearances: Return of the Jedi
Bio: Scheming, powerful, and evil to the core, Emperor Palpatine restored the Sith and destroyed the Jedi Order. (Taken from marketing copy. There is no bio.)
Image: Adam’s photo lab.
Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!
Commentary: I feel like I say “this is a weird one” a lot. This The Emperor figure is meant to be an update of the 1984 figure… and the funny thing, it’s an update of a 2005 figure. This is the Revenge of the Sith Evolution figure with a new robe. The head is pretty much the same (PulseCon got a really nice new sculpt for the throne version), but you get some hands with short lightning and a cane too. So Hasbro gets to cash in on 16-year-old tooling, and because the robes are a bit improved (I think) most fans will not recognize the body sculpt is a reissue.
I didn’t like the head sculpt before. Slicked-back hair and visible teeth were very, shall we say, extreme? Even for the time this was a stylized choice, and on a vintage cardback it just looks sort of like someone did a swap-out. The hood is nice, the face paint is fine, but the face says “I am from one shot of the movie and not a good all-purpose Emperor figure.” The make-up is exceptionally well-painted, given that the figure has very little paint elsewhere I assume they could put the entire budget into the head – including painted hair you may never actually see. They did a nice job with the task at hand.
The joints are tight, and it’s very good for a figure of that (ha ha) vintage – ball-jointed knees and elbows were all the rage, so he can sit on a throne if you got one. Also keep in mind, way back in 2005 the idea of getting super-articulated Star Wars figures was a new thing – our first one was a late-2003 Clone Trooper, followed by three waves of the very first Vintage Original Trilogy Collection in 2004 and 2005. (And some of them had only swivel joints, with C-3PO having 5 total – one fewer than his 1995 figure!) These “Evolutions” figures were the Vintage follow-up and were the standard collectors expected from then on (and did not get, by and large, for quite some time.) It just goes to show you that you can use really good designs for a long time, but I also went back in my old toy vault and was very happy with the 1997 Jedi Final Duel Emperor Palpatine (on the throne, no moving legs) and the 1997 carded Emperor Palpatine (basically a salt shaker with arms.) This is nice too, but getting the robes to look perfect is kind of tricky – that’s cloth for you. The molded plastic ones limit your options, but look good. Which is better? Well, you decide. (Plastic. The answer is plastic.)
Carded fans may like this figure, as it looks good in this presentation. Openers may prefer the PulseCon version, which I will post here shortly. But it’s a nice Emperor if you don’t have one, and certainly not any worse than the many, many previous releases to use this mold. It may well be the best figure that uses this tooling, but after 16 years, it really ought to be. I’m just unexcited due to its “more of the same”-ness.
Collector’s Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.
Day 2,885: December 28, 2021