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Author Topic: Celebration V Exclusive: Bounty Hunters (4-LOM / Zuckuss)  (Read 4841 times)

napseeker

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Celebration V Exclusive: Bounty Hunters (4-LOM / Zuckuss)
« on: July 18, 2010, 09:49:04 PM »

NOTE: I'm using Imagevenue as the pic host for this review (since it offers the largest thumbs and pretty good  bandwidth). If you are going to click on the thumbnails, turn on your popup blocker to avoid seeing adverts of an adult nature...

This review is in two-parts... for the actual review, jump to the second post!


Has there ever been a previous SW exclusive more directly aimed at older collectors than this one? I think not!  Most of us already have these characters in their mass-market incarnation (that is, as TAC 4-LOM and TLC Zuckuss) so there is only one reason for anyone to repurchase these guys a second time at a higher cost: nostalgia!!!  Do not underestimate the power of the force of nostalgia! It's an energy field created by all older collectors, surrounding them, binding them together in a common recollection of a time when the prequels had not yet been made, and the saga not yet been tainted by the likes of Jar-Jar Binks.



For the collector younglings who do not understand the appeal of this set, it is understandable - after all, it was a different time - a long time ago when Star Wars was still fresh and viewable only in theatres and thus, a rare treat. And every movie character that got made into action figure form, another step closer to kids being able to recreate yet another scene from the movie. Because without the ability to watch Star Wars whenever we wanted to, many kids relived the story of the movie through the novel and comic book adaptations, or by listening to the "story of Star Wars" on LP, or most simply, recreating the story by memory while playing with their action figures! So toys played a much more vital role back then in the total enjoyment of the phenomenon that was Star Wars.

 

Of the three OT movies, without a doubt, Empire Strikes Back yielded the coolest batch of villains: Darth Vader (back with a more fearsome yet still elegant look), our first view of the mysterious, holographic monkey-eyed Emperor that commanded him, the snowtroopers (which to me were far more imposing than the regular stormtroopers), and of course Boba Fett and his gang of bounty hunters.  Yes, that was the big misconception on my part as a kid: seeing Fett standing together with the other hunters on the bridge, I made the mistaken assumption that this was a team of bounty hunters being led by Fett, not realizing these were all guys actually competing with one another to be the first to nab the crew of the Falcon.


 

Kids knew bounty hunters were cool even before the famous scene on the Executor bridge: we got a look at the notorious Boba Fett during the Holiday Special and in the earliest part of Empire, Han acknowledges that it was an encounter with a bounty hunter that spooked him enough to realize that he'd better pay off his debts soon; Han was clearly worried about meeting these guys again. When we finally get to see the other bounty hunters beyond just Fett, it's a moment comparable to the cantina scene from ANH: you get your second reminder of the diverse alien nature of the SW universe. Humans may rule this galaxy, but we realize that there are still many aliens out there, dangerous ones not to be trifled with, and even the mighty Empire sometimes needs their help to go after the good guys.

But no disintegrations!



4-LOM and ZUCKUSS: THE RODNEY DANGERFIELDS OF THE BOUNTY HUNTING WORLD

You could argue that the folks at Kenner knew which bounty hunters, out of the six, would appeal the most to kids and that they released the figures in the order of that appeal:

1. Boba Fett  (obviously the most popular)
2. Bossk      (the first bounty hunter we actually see up close in TESB - feet first!)
3. IG-88      (who mystified children everywhere: how the heck does he walk without falling over???)
4. Dengar     (he's human, he's armored, and he's bandaged up!)
5. Zuckuss    (who was actually 4-LOM)
6. 4-LOM      (who was actually Zuckuss)

Zuckuss (who, as a kid, I would sometimes mistakenly call "Zuck-ass" or even "Suck-ass") and 4-LOM  (whose name I could barely even remember) have certainly gotten the least amount of attention over time. Perhaps it is because they are so outclassed by their cooler classmates but it certainly didn't help that Kenner themselves stirred up a lot of confusion about their identities when releasing their action figures.

   

KID: "Oh, so those are the other two bounty hunters! Thanks Kenner! So the bug guy is 4-LOM, and the droid brain-head guy is Zuckuss... it says so right on the card! Cool, I'll remember that!

...and thus an entire generation of children would be brainwashed into referring to the droid-like bounty hunter who, in hindsight, made more sense to be named 4-LOM, as Suckass. I mean Zuckuss. :)  I know it took me a long time before I stopped thinking of Mr Bughead bounty hunter as 4-LOM...

Other ways in which these two bounty hunters would get no respect: Marvel Comics would make use of some of the bounty hunter characters seen in the movie in a few of their post-TESB Star Wars stories. Who did they choose?  Bossk, IG-88, Dengar and Boba Fett. Who did they leave out? Those other two guys...

Hasbro would also focus on the top three of the bounty hunting gang in their own toy pack (Fett, IG-88, and  Bossk):
http://www.rebelscum.com/sw03ultimatebounty.asp

Even today with the Clone Wars cartoon, Bossk has followed up (young) Boba Fett's appearance on the show by also making his own debut. If it weren't for the fact that it would horribly, insanely, violate continuity,  I'm sure IG-88 would also show up in this era (although you could argue that he already has in the form of the  black IG lancer droids).  4-LOM and Zuckuss? To date, their mark in the SW saga remains a momentary blip of an appearance in Empire. Perhaps they've also appeared briefly in a comic book somewhere or garnered mention in a novel (let's just skip the atrocious "Tales of the Bounty Hunters" book altogether which was uggghhhh); if so, it still hardly compares to the mountain of exposure that their fellow hunters have received since TESB.

 

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napseeker

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Re: Celebration V Exclusive: Bounty Hunters (4-LOM / Zuckuss)
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2010, 09:50:59 PM »

ZUCKUSS and 4-LOM Vintage Exclusive: TRIBUTE TO A BOO-BOO

Hasbro undoubtedly recognizes that our often-snubbed duo is best-known to older collectors mainly for that classic Kenner mix-up. And what better time to offer a tribute to that boo-boo than during the 30th anniversary of Empire, right when the basic figure line is being relaunched on the classic vintage cards?  There simply isn't a more ideal time to reinforce the nostalgic feelings in Hasbro's oldest customers by also giving them the opportunity to partake in this whimsical flub from their youth.  After all it was truly a rare mistake; Hasbro would never make that kind of an error today given all the references and resources at their disposal. That is, aside from referring to Boba Fett as "Bobba Fett" on the mail-in promotional sticker of every single TVC card  :) :) :)

With this particular exclusive, it's just as much about the packaging as it is about the figures themselves.  In that regard, it's a bit of a mixed bag.



Let's start by taking a look at the box which houses the two TVC carded bounty hunters. The box itself is actually covered by a nice wraparound slip that features a depiction of the two original Kenner cards on the  front. Both sides of the slip have the same identical text explaining the famous Kenner mistake upon which this exclusive set pays homage to.  

 


The backside is simply an empty starfield with the usual proof of purchase and other miscellaneous text (I got a chuckle from one line which reads: "INCLUDES 4-LOM AND ZUCKUSS FIGURES. OTHER FIGURES NOT INCLUDED." Huh? I don't think anyone would expect a Boba Fett to be included... although if you notice, Boba *is* on the front of the slip! Overly cautious lawyers perhaps?)



Once we slide off the slip, we see that the box itself also features a reproduction of the original Kenner cards on the front and back. The "4-LOM" (actually Zuckuss) card adorns the front, while "Zuckuss" (actually  4-LOM) is depicted on the back:

 

The box basically opens up like a book, revealing the two reproduction cards inside with their modernized action figures. The cards are well-protected behind a transparent plastic window. To the credit of the package designers, the cards are housed inside a space that is perfectly tight: if you shake the box around, the cards inside do not move at all. They are rigidly held in place. I thought perhaps they might've been taped down but upon opening the top flap of the box I found it easy to slide out the TVC cards with no effort whatsoever. And they slide right back inside very easily and are again, held rigidly in place.

Velcro tabs at the corners do a good job at keeping the box closed up.



But there are some negatives about the packaging: first, I was disturbed to find that the top flap which guards the TVC card for "Zuckuss" was crumpled quite badly. The damage is very noticeable here and for anyone  who wanted a pristine, displayable box in mint condition, it's an indicator that unless you are going to be at Celebration V and can inspect the package quality personally before you buy, you may also end up with a slightly damaged package like mine. So when ordering this set online one should be ready to take that risk. I assume that the flap damage occurred when the factory worker was originally inserting the TVC card into the housing and just didn't care enough to close it gently. If you do care about this type of thing and know someone who is going to Celebration V, you may want to ask them to personally pick one up for you rather than ordering it online.

While not a serious problem, if you do wish to leave the box opened up so that both figures inside can be viewed, I found that the widest angle it can be opened up to be about 93-degrees before you begin to feel compression stress on the fold. You'd also need to probably use some form of restraint to keep the box opened at that wider angle; as seen in the photo above, it tends to stay open more naturally at a lower angle of  about 45-55 degrees.

I dislike that tape was used to seal the top flaps of both housings. There is always the fear that the tape adhesive will eventually degrade and damage the box itself (but I'm no expert in this area, perhaps great strides have been made in the last 15 years so that this won't happen). I can understand that the tape is there to seal in each figure and possibly prevent theft by some convention or factory worker, but it cheapens the look of the box which I think, being an exclusive, needs to present itself more like a premium product and  not something you'd pick up at your local TRU.



Once you do cut the tape so that you can open the top flap, the TVC card can be removed and you now can do something which you couldn't do before: inspect the back of the TVC card. While there's the transparent plastic window in the housings that let you see the front of the TVC card, there's no way to see the backside unless you physically take out the card from its housing. That's not good for those who wanted to keep the package as preserved as possible.



I mentioned above that the wraparound slip has nothing but an empty starfield on its backside. Why couldn't Hasbro have depicted the backs of the two TVC cards in this empty space?  This would've let owners at least  preview the hidden side of the cards and never resort to cutting the tape (which degrades the box's appearance even worse than if the tape remained intact) and removing the cards, risking damage to the box or the cards in  the process.  The other alternative is to put a transparent window on the front and back of the box so that the owner would have an open view of each TVC card from both sides.  Hasbro did this for the Lars/Maul and Fixer/Camie comic pack boxes and it worked wonderfully.



You'll notice from the above photo that there's a lot of redundancy in the package artwork; the wraparound slip depicts the vintage cards of both figures; when you remove the slip, the first thing you see is again the vintage cards and then when you open up the box you again see the vintage cards (this time obviously the real physical cards). Essentially at every step of the unveiling, it's the same visual over and over again. It definitely would've been nice to offer something different to see at each step along the way (like a shot of  the backside of the TVC cards, or some pics of the original vintage figure next to the modernized one (TAC/TLC  versions) and then next to the modernized one now using the vintage scheme). The comic pack exclusives really utilized the comic book artwork to maximum effect on their boxes and after being blown away by the great job done there, the bounty hunter box unfortunately pales in comparison.


ON TO THE GOOD STUFF...



For all of the criticisms about the wraparound slip and the box, this is the part that truly matters. The figure and vintage card. To be honest, as a loose collector the slip and box condition and design would factor about 0.1% in total in my overall decision whether to get this set or not. It simply doesn't matter... the bulk of the decision lies on how well the items inside the box were executed and in that regard, you got a home run.

As you can tell from the photo above, Hasbro chose to use UGH-style silver-foil for the card look and some folks online have taken issue with that. Obviously the more die-hards would've preferred a card that is as close as possible to the original Kenner card. I am inclined to agree, but it isn't a dealbreaker for me. The shine adds a nice premium feel to this set and distinguishes it nicely from the retail TVC offerings.

The cards are punched, so there's another potential sore spot for the die-hards. However it looks like all of the TVC cards are going to be punched regardless of whether they are at retail or a convention exclusive so this is something that those folks will have to deal with. I prefer my cards punched actually (has a nice "just off the pegs in 1983" feeling to them).




As a point of interest, the bubble itself leaves a lot of room behind the actual figure itself. You could almost have two figures overlaying one another inside this bubble. Are all of the bubbles across the entire TVC line the same identical size? These are the only TVC figures I own right now so I have no others to compare against. It would be the most logical explanation.


AND NOW THE HARD PART...  I have to open these guys up and free them from their vintage-esque prisons.  Thus, I destroy most of their future value for the sake of some adult playtime! :)  Not that we collect this stuff as investments or anything, right?

As a loose collector it ought to be a snap, but when it comes to a vintage exclusive like this one in retro-colors, I swear were I not doing this review I would probably just leave them carded for the next year  before finally opening them up. You definitely can appreciate this set both carded and in their loose forms.  This is a point to my fellow loose collectors that you might want to consider ordering TWO of this set if you anticipate a similar apprehension when it comes time to do the deed.

And here they both are all naked and exposed to the harshness of the real world. Come meet your uglier but more accurate cousins, guys!



There's not much that really needs to be said about these figures. They are identical to their TAC/TLC counterparts aside from the retro color scheme and the fact that "4-LOM" has now been upgraded to a very cool leather/pleather skirt piece. The joints are all nice and stiff. I absolutely love both of these figures.




Like many old-timers I have always associated the retro-color scheme as being the correct "4-LOM" colors and I wasn't that satisfied with the dark brown coloring of his TLC Zuckuss counterpart. This version of Zuckuss feels right to me. It's actually the one that I want to use when I display all of my bounty hunters gathered together to answer Vader's call.




The same goes for "Zuckuss" and his more plainer charcoal-grey colored plastic; he actually looks more menacing in his vintage form.

A big positive for the card packaging is that Hasbro is no longer using those rubber bands to keep the weapons  in place inside the bubble. Hence, for a nice change we actually have weapons that come out of the package without being warped and distorted.



Another thing to consider for you collecting buffs: without a doubt this is just the beginning of more retro-colored SW figures. The uproar earlier this year when those "leaked vintage-colored SW figures" posted on rebelscum turned out to be nothing more than an April Fool's joke probably sent a clear message to Hasbro that they have a very desirable sub-line ready to go on their hands... a sub-line that totally reuses existing tooling (i.e. cheap!) and yet makes many collectors as happy as if it were an all-new sculpt. It definitely wouldn't surprise me if a retro-colored Boba Fett were next year's Celebration exclusive (oh please let next year's exclusive be a retro-colored Boba Fett!).




So there you have it... while the outer box may not be so great, it's what's inside that counts (in  Star Wars as well as in life). Go get 'em!!!

 

« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 09:57:47 PM by napseeker »
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FETT1

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Re: Celebration V Exclusive: Bounty Hunters (4-LOM / Zuckuss)
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 10:52:59 PM »

this is simply...an AWESOME REVIEW!!

KEEP IT UP!!

FETT1 :fett:
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mista_t13

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Re: Celebration V Exclusive: Bounty Hunters (4-LOM / Zuckuss)
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2010, 02:33:58 AM »

Hahaha I love the last little comic strip, quite clever :)
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Re: Celebration V Exclusive: Bounty Hunters (4-LOM / Zuckuss)
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2010, 02:48:51 AM »

Great review!

Mit_Othy

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Re: Celebration V Exclusive: Bounty Hunters (4-LOM / Zuckuss)
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2010, 01:51:13 PM »

This is a great review napseeker. Makes me want to maybe add one of these sets the collection one day. I think I have said this before, but I think this is such a great idea for an exclusive. And it probably displays very nicely too.
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napseeker

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Re: Celebration V Exclusive: Bounty Hunters (4-LOM / Zuckuss)
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2010, 03:02:11 PM »

Thanks guys, and I'm going to update that last comic strip now that I finally own the TVC Dengar.  Hated having to resort to using the OTC sculpt at the time  :)
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brianakarobin

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Re: Celebration V Exclusive: Bounty Hunters (4-LOM / Zuckuss)
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2010, 03:19:37 PM »

Super review.  The detail was awesome, as well as the back story.  Great job!
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