Thursday, May 22, 2014

Toy Review – K-Mart Exclusive Star Wars Ewok Assault Catapult from Hasbro

I am a fan of the Ewoks.

I’m not quite sure when this happened, but I am. Oh sure – I went through that phase where I thought they were stupid, but that was mainly because of the Ewok TV movies. I didn’t like those. Not because of the Ewoks, but because of the kids. Even when I was younger I never liked media that centered around children, so I was really disappointed when this new Star Wars experience that I had been so excited about ended up being a children’s movie.

Some years ago I finally got over that and appreciated the furry little natives again. Mostly because they’re vicious little monsters that were going to eat Han, Luke, and apparently even Chewbacca. Sure, they’re cute. And sure – they were almost certainly put into Return of the Jedi to sell stuffed animals. But as far as the narrative is concerned the Empire was one shiny, golden droid away from complete victory thanks to the appetites of some pantsless bear people.

I don’t go to K-Mart. Unless they’re having a sale their toy prices are shitty and the only one that is anywhere near us never has their own Exclusives in stock. But we were on that side of town one day for a movie and had half an hour to kill. So we went to K-Mart. Much to my surprise they had this set and both Imperial Scanning Crew sets in stock and the prices weren’t terrible. I mean, for modern toy prices. Of course they were overpriced, but all toys cost way too much now.

This is an exciting set because it’s an update of a thing from later in Kenner’s Star Wars toy line and I can clearly remember seeing the original on the shelves in Lionel Playworld alongside the Ewok Glider. Also because it comes with two more Ewoks. I have a lot of Ewoks right now. And I always want more.

FIRST GLANCE

I love Hasbro Star Wars. You pretty much always get exactly what you’re expecting. Sometimes a little nicer, rarely disappointing. This set is no exception – it’s a box full of things, but no corners were cut. Each of the Ewoks could be a carded release and the catapult looks slightly nicer than I expected.

PACKAGING

I’m not gonna lie – the Vintage style packaging was a factor in my decision to buy. I would say that I am twenty percent more likely to buy something that is in this kind of package. And not just Star Wars – that goes for the Mego-style stuff and the ReAction figures as well. I’m telling you – once I start seeing those ReAction figures at retail I’m not going to be able to help myself. And I can almost guarantee you I’ll regret buying them. But buy them I will.
This box is a perfect update of the original catapult box. It looks wonderful. Well, except for the big “K” burst on the front. That’s the worst Exclusive sticker I’ve ever seen.

LOOKS

The set comes with two Ewoks – Chubray and Stemzee, their hoods, two spears, two boulders, and the catapult. Excuse me – Assault catapult. As opposed to, you know, a vacation catapult.

The catapult comes in two pieces attached by a string. Or a cord. Twine? I dunno. I’m not sure what to call it. It’s like kite string so I guess it is string. I wish it weren’t like kite string. I suppose that maybe the Alliance gave the Ewoks some rope, but it just doesn’t look right. Hasbro did at least give it a brownish color so it wasn’t too out of place. I guess I’m just being nitpicky.

Once you attach the arm to the base you have a functioning catapult. The sculpt is really neat. The logs have a lot of texture and the cut ends taper down and are smooth. The sculpted ropes are well done. Everything in the design makes sense because this is a working toy and it has to. The paint job is pretty simple but up to Hasbro Star Wars standards. The logs and ropes are each one color, but the green lichen or moss painted on the logs gives it that finishing touch.

The boulders have a great stony look. They’re both the same sculpt, but that’s fine because it’s so varied you don’t really notice. Each one has a hole in the bottom for the peg on the arm of the catapult to fit in.

Stemzee is the tall Ewok mold that we’ve seen before. The joints are pretty visible, but the sculpt is still good. The fur has a nice depth and texture. I don’t know is this is a new head, but the paint on the face makes Stemzee seem pretty unique. His eyes are looking off to one side and his mouth appears to be slightly open. And I’m not actually sure this is a “he”.

Chubray looks like he should be named Chubray. And his face looks kind of like Barf from Spaceballs. This is definitely the ugliest Ewok I own. I’m sure both of these guys have an Expanded Universe backstory (that is no longer valid; not that it technically ever was), but I don’t know it. This is the short Ewok buck that has been used several times before. It doesn’t have as much articulation, but actually looks better than the taller buck because of it. I also prefer this shorter, stockier shape.


ACCESSORIES

The set comes with two spears and two hoods. They’re interchangeable between the two Ewoks.

The hoods fit snugly and are kind of a pain in the ass to get on and off. You’re going to pull off their heads at least a couple of times before you figure out how to hold them. Quite frankly I found that somewhat satisfying. And the heads do pop right back on. I think these are both new hoods, but at the very least they’re old hoods in different colors.

The spears are different. In addition to the color variances, one is longer and has a smaller head. They’re both made out of a firm but pliable plastic, so they’re not going to break but they also aren’t all warped.

FUN

This set is a ton of fun and I’d recommend it to anybody. The catapult totally works. It doesn’t fling the boulders quite as far as I’d like, but it throws them just far enough to be acceptable. My only concern is the stress on the arm. The arm is a softer plastic than I’d like, so I’m afraid that over time it’s going to just start staying bent. Be sure you don’t store or display this thing wound up.

The boulders are a soft plastic that’s almost like foam and the catapult doesn’t have enough force to get any real momentum, so you and your friends can shoot boulders at each other all you want.

The Ewoks are just as fun as all the other Ewok figures because they’re the same as all the other Ewok figures. They have just enough articulation to be fun to mess around with. The interchangeable accessories give them a little extra oomph, too.

OVERALL

I’m totally satisfied with this purchase. It looks good on the shelf, it’s fun to actually take down and play with, and it has added valuable members to my Ewok tribe. I couldn’t have asked for anything more out of this one.

5 out of 5

This is a K-Mart Exclusive, but I bet I can find something similar for you to buy from Amazon:


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