A barrage of snow storms swept across the country and crippled parts of the South. Political wrangling began anew in Washington, and tragic violence in Arizona set an early dark tone. These scant few weeks of 2011 have pummeled us with so much that 2010 already feels like a distant memory.
A little bit of “nostalgia” would probably do us all a bit of good.
As January winds down, we here at Yodasnews invited you to join us as we fondly look back at the Star Wars market in 2010.
Best Action Figure (Vintage Collection): Gamorrean Guard (Hasbro)
Two figures share the distinction of being our Action Figure of the Year—one from each of Hasbro’s major multi-year product lines.
Our choice for the Vintage Collection is the Gamorrean Guard. With its fantastic portrait, numerous points of articulation, soft-goods loincloth, and a small arsenal of weapons, this can easily be considered the definitive Gamorrean Guard in the 3.75 inch scale line. It will probably get passed over by many younger fans in favor of more action-oriented Clone Wars figures, but this is a real gem for collectors and older fans that grew up on the Original Trilogy.
Best Action Figure (Clone Wars): Boba Fett (Hasbro)
And speaking of the Clone Wars line, the top honor goes to young Boba Fett as portrayed in Season 2 of the Clone Wars. Boba is among the top-tier of Star Wars action figures and wonderfully exemplifies the tremendous strides Hasbro has made in recent years—particularly with regards to articulation. After years of bemoaning the high tooling costs involved, it’s looking like Hasbro finally understand poseability is the key to putting imagination and action back into “action figures”, and young Boba Fett is a sterling example.
Best 3.75 Inch Scale Vehicle: AT-AT (Hasbro)
For those who thought Hasbro peaked with the AT-TE and redesigned Millennium Falcon back in 2008, their brand-new AT-AT debunks that theory because Hasbro upped the ante in 2010. This is one of those rare items for which no review or picture can do it justice. Kids and adults alike can spend hours playing with it and never run out of new experiences. Add other Empire-centric vehicles and action figures into the mix, and the possibilities feel limitless. Just make sure you have enough room to properly display this vehicle.
Best Role Playing Toy: Boba Fett Electronic Helmet (Hasbro)
This year saw the release of many role-playing items, but none of them could hold a candle to Boba’s helmet. Lights, sounds, detailed weathering, and even a moveable range finder—all for under $40! Not a bad deal at all. This was clearly a home run for Hasbro in the role-playing arena. For the inevitable re-release, however, they really need to replace the helmet’s “Down Under” voice. It just rubs you the wrong way.
Best 12 Inch Figure: Boba Fett (Gentle Giant)
2010 clearly belonged to the ultimate Mandalorian. The third of four Boba Fett-related items on our list is a very welcome throw-back to days of old. If you are in your late 20s or early 30s, chances are you probably played with a vintage Kenner Boba Fett figure, and chances are you probably also wished he was about 3.5x bigger but just as cool. Gentle Giant granted your wish—even if it’s 30 years overdue. Add a giant vintage cardback and collector friendly bubble, and you have a whole lot of awesome in your hands.
Best Mini-Bust: 2-1B Medical Droid (Gentle Giant)
Gentle Giant produced many terrific mini-busts in 2010, but 2-1B quickly rose above the competition. This was due in large part because Gentle Giant went the extra mile in remedying any and all quality control issues. Because of this, 2-1B didn’t make it in time to be a Celebration V exclusive as planned, but he was more than worth the wait. The light-up effect, the use of clear torso mixed with resin, and incredible attention to the most minute details easily made 2-1B our choice for Mini Bust of the Year.
Best Statue: Yoda and Clonetrooper (Sideshow Collectibles)
Sideshow really fired on all cylinders with this entry in the Premium Format line. The Clonetrooper is a phenomenal representation of the on-screen CGI model, and Yoda’s face is smoldering with personality and determination. The paint applications are equally impressive whether it’s the weathering on the armor or the dirt caked on Yoda’s nails. Most impressive of all is the way the statue seems to defy gravity with the clone’s buckled knee pose. Topping it all off is the uncanny way Sideshow essentially produced a freeze-frame of an iconic scene. This was an easy win for Sideshow.
Best Prop Replica: McQuarrie Darth Vader helmet (eFX Collectibles)
eFX Collectibles nailed it! It’s as simple as that. The Ralph McQuarrie Concept Helmet Signature Edition is FANTASTIC and something fans have been wanting for a long time. Limited? Yes. Pricey? Absolutely! However, it’s worth every penny if you are a fan of Ralph McQuarrie. The renowned artist designed many variations on Vader’s helmet, but this version remains one of his favorites. That’s probably why McQuarrie was willing to endorse this replica and make it a signature edition. Quite honestly, the McQuarrie Concept Vader helmet had no competition in this category.
Best Art Print: “The Hunter and His Prey” (Artist: Chris Trevas)
The last Boba Fett item on our list is also the coolest from a collector’s standpoint. Trevas, a long-time and frequent contributor to modern Star Wars art, created this dynamic piece exclusively for Celebration V and captures a very powerful off-screen moment from Episode V: Boba Fett beating the Millennium Falcon to Cloud City. Perched high above the floating city, Fett coolly watches the unsuspecting Rebels walking straight into Vader’s clutches. This limited piece reaffirms Trevas’status as one of the best realistic-style Star Wars artists out there today.
Best Printed Media: The Jedi Path – Vault Edition (Author: Daniel Wallace)
Written as “real” training manual for would-be Jedi, this book “explains the history and hierarchy of the Jedi Order and what Jedi must know to take their place as defenders of the peace in the galaxy—from mastery of the Force to the nuances of lightsaber combat”. If that weren’t intriguing enough, this “Vault Edition” places the book inside a container that, with the push of a button, opens with a rush of light and sound effects and presents the book on a rising inner platform. If that weren’t cool enough, this edition also contains a letter tracing the book’s history, a severed Padawan braid, a metal Jedi Credit medallion, a Jedi starfighter patch, a burned poster of the Jedi Code, a map of the Jedi Temple, a lightsaber diagram sketched on the back of a napkin from Dex’s Diner, and a note on the missing pages torn from the book by a Sith.
By the way, Amazon.com is only asking $68 for the whole package. Another easy win here.
Best Visual Media: The Family Guy Trilogy (20th Century Fox)
Star Wars has been the source of many jokes and references in popular culture since 1977 but rarely is it lampooned perfectly. Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs in 1987 stood alone on this top-tier of parody—until now. December saw the release of It’s a Trap!, the final entry in Family Guy’s retelling of the Original Trilogy. Fox concurrently released all three Family Guy entries in a box set aptly named Laugh It Up, Fuzzball: The Family Guy Trilogy. Together, they represent the most direct and hysterical parody of the Original Trilogy to date, ranging from Obi-Wan’s serenading Luke with “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” to Meg’s portrayals of the Dianoga, Space Slug, and Sarlacc.
Fox gets extra points for releasing the Blu-Ray and DVD box sets in packaging that pays homage to the VHS box sets of 1997’s Special Editions.
Best Video Game: The Force Unleashed II (LucasArts)
Expanding upon the first game’s continuity-shattering story, The Force Unleashed II not only deepens the story of Starkiller (Vader’s not-so-secret-anymore apprentice) but also delivers a number of gameplay refinements. The controls are more precise, the combat seems less repetitive, and the graphics are even more stunning this time. While it did get knocked by some for having too short of a campaign (estimates put it at 6-8 hours), it’s still an exciting game to play, and its “Infinities”-style storyline has quite a few intriguing twists and turns.
Best Miscellaneous Item: Star Wars Pancake Molds (Williams Sonoma)
Who hasn’t tried to make a Darth Vader pancake or called his pancake the Death Star when it got burned in an odd design? Well…we’re not going to admit to anything, but Williams Sonoma’s pancake molds will save you the time and trouble of sculpting them yourself. The company released a great line of Star Wars-themed cooking products in 2010, but this one really took the cake.
Pancake, that is.
Achievement of the Year: Tauntaun Sleeping Bag (ThinkGeek)
Never underestimate the power of the Force.
ThinkGeek originally created this humorous nod to Episode V as an April Fool’s Day prank, complete with functioning “Add to Cart” link. Duped consumers, however, didn’t let this prank fade away come April 2nd. In an unexpected show of unity, fans around the world began petitioning Lucasfilm to grant ThinkGeek permission to manufacture and sell the sleeping bag for real. Lucasfilm agreed, and this remarkable grass-roots campaign turned ThinkGeek’s joke into the most creative Star Wars product of the year.
There you have it, dear readers: our picks for “Best of 2010”.
As you can see from the list’s diversity, 2010 proved to be a very exciting year for Star Wars collectors. Hasbro truly stepped up its game in ways never before seen and, along with Gentle Giant, paid deep respect to the Vintage years. McQuarrie’s work received its most elaborate transition yet to the collectibles market with eFX’s Vader helmet, and some very unexpected licensees like Williams Sonoma entered the market. Fans and collectors alike showed the true enormity of their power and influence with their Tauntaun sleeping bag campaign.
Oh yeah, and Boba Fett reigned supreme!