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The Vintage Collection

Emperor’s Royal Guard - TVC - Basic (VC105)

Name: Emperor's Royal Guard
Collection: The Vintage Collection
Number: VC105
Source: Return Of The Jedi*
Availability: October 2012
License: Hasbro

* The character underneath the helmet and robes is based on the Crimson Empire comics.

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It’s finally come to pass. One of the most recognized characters associated with “Return Of The Jedi” has finally received The Vintage Collection treatment. That of course is in and of itself reason to celebrate, but we wonder if the final action figure is something that all collectors will fully embrace. You see, the Expanded Universe Crimson Empire comics have provided a deep background to the Royal Guards (after the fact) and their lore has become quite popular thanks to the action figures Hasbro has made of them. Now, the new Emperor's Royal Guard a big bulk of its appearance paying homage here as well. Times have evidently changed, much to the chagrin of purists, and Hasbro has found ways to incorporate things into newer Star Wars action figures that many old-timer collectors would never care to see be brought forward into the line. Recall your memories back to 2006’s The Saga Collection when the Death Star Gunner (SAGA 041) came with a removable helmet – only to find a clone head underneath it. Some of us found that quirky, others found it offensive. But there is some overwhelming pressure it seems that toy maker Hasbro feels a need to incorporate this EU take into Original Trilogy (and Prequel Trilogy) action figures. It’s something we’re not exactly sure is necessary. We know plenty of people that would have loved to see this long-awaited Emperor’s Royal Guard figure with a non-removable helmet. That didn’t happen. But the good news here is that instead of giving us a silly clone trooper head underneath, Hasbro has given us a Lemmet Tauk-looking character (with reddish brown hair this time) for a new likeness. Admittedly we think the option of having two characters in one is fairly rewarding.... that’s if you’re open to the Expanded Universe mixing in with your beloved Original Trilogy. Some collectors just can't deal with that.

Before we get to the figure, perhaps we should reference the figure’s packaging, something we don’t normally spend a great deal of time discussing in these reviews. For some disappointing reason, Hasbro changed the original card back art to a completely new design. This kind of thing typically sticks in the craw of most collectors and we personally find it extremely distressing that they didn’t pull out the original designs and did whatever it took to imitate them if original artwork files were unavailable or missing from the 80s. That being said, once you open the package, you almost forget about the packaging issues once your fingers brush against the soft-goods robes. Yes, they’re a bit bulky and yes they’re cut strangely, but let us tell you that Hasbro used a very thick fabric that is nearly identical to the thickness and texture of the original 1983 ROTJ Emperor’s Royal Guard from the vintage Kenner line. It’s a brighter color this time around (and much more accurate in our opinion) and it has a relatively nice drape despite its bulkiness (wideness for lack of a better word). The details that can be seen through the outer robes like portions of the boots and the hands are absolutely perfect. They’re shiny and bright and complement the soft-goods beautifully. Hasbro has also graciously given us the eagerly anticipated Episode VI specific force pike. If you turn the figure’s wrist in a “distorted” direction you can get the force pike to lean up against his shoulder. (It looks really fantastic so just angle the wrist so it's hidden!) Aesthetically this is the greatest Episode VI Emperor’s Royal Guard we have, but it’s just such a shame that it’s been relegated to an online exclusive and will be difficult (and expensive) to army build.

The Expanded Universe phase of this figure should thrill lovers of the Crimson Empire comics. It’s pretty cool that we get two distinct characters in one with this release, provided you can swallow that Hasbro has given this figure EU “flare”. Hasbro has truly designed an excellent version of one of the Royal Guards from Crimson Empire. This bearded warrior has been excellently designed and has all of the necessary detail to tie him to the comics. Altogether the Emperor’s Royal Guard figure comes with a whopping seven accessories. The secondary Royal Guard helmet (from Crimson Empire) and the battle staff have been recycled from the Royal Guard figures from 2008’s TLC Crimson Empire Previews exclusive multipack. Thankfully they’ve aged gracefully and befit this action figure perfectly. The updated paint operations and insignia details have aided this figure's overall pleasant appearances as well. New however is a neck collar which is fascinatingly held in place by the helmet (it’s rather remarkable actually) and then for good measure a biker scout pistol has been included which fits flawlessly into a working holster on the right side of his sash. The Empire’s logo can be found all over the figure. A large emblem is on his back, both shoulders and on the secondary helmet. You may or may not be happy about this figure’s interchangeability and its heavy reference to the Expanded Universe, but it's hard to say this isn't well done. We respect your opinion either way, but we have to admit that while we’re enamored with the official “Emperor’s Royal Guard” look of this figure, the Crimson Empire Royal Guard look is nothing to sneeze at and ignore. Hasbro has done a solid effort on this release. We would love to see an Original Trilogy interpretation of this character at some point, but it’s probably unlikely at this point. But this is the best one out there, so do what you can to secure multiples for your collection.

Collector Notes

Emperor's Royal Guard

Status: Emperor's Royal Guard is an all-new figure. (Accessories have been recycled from the Royal Guards in 2008's TLC Crimson Empire exclusive multipack.)

Articulation Count: 14

Articulation Details: ball-socket head, 2 ball-jointed shoulders, 2 ball-jointed elbows, 2 swivel wrists, swivel waist, 2 swivel hips, 2 ball-jointed knees, 2 ball-jointed ankles

Accessory Count: 7

Accessory Details: removable Emperor's Royal Guard helmet, soft-goods robes, force pike, collar, removable Royal Guard helmet, battle staff, blaster pistol

Date Stamp: 2011

Assortment Number: 38527/37499

UPC: 653569716297

Retail: $9.99 USD

Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on Click here to check the market value on eBay! listings.

The Vintage Collection Wave 16
Mawhonic (Podracer Pilot) (VC71)
Naboo Pilot (VC72)
Aurra Sing (VC73)
Gungan Warrior (VC74)
Ahsoka (VC102)
Obi-Wan Kenobi (VC103)
Lumat (VC104)
Emperor's Royal Guard (VC105)
Nien Nunb (VC106)
Weequay (VC107)
Republic Trooper (The Old Republic) (VC113)
Orrimaarko (Prune Face) (VC114)

Added: September 26, 2012
Category: Vintage Collection, The
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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