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The Black Series [Phase III]

Ponda Baba - TBS [P3] - 3.75 Inch Figures (Exclusive)

Name: Ponda Baba
Collection: The Black Series [Phase III]
Number: N/A (Walmart Exclusive)
Scale: 3¾"
Source: A New Hope
Availability: May 2017
License: Hasbro

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A burly Aqualish thug, Ponda Baba smuggled spice for Jabba the Hutt. Ponda was one of the alien barflies escpaing the heat of Tatooine's twin suns when Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi visited the Mos Eisley Cantina.

He was part of an extremely rare remix case of the Return Of The Jedi/Revenge Of The Jedi wave released in the Fall of 2011 and because distribution was a complete train wreck the remixed wave he was part of arrived before the main wave did. He soon became one of the most sought after single-carded action figures in all of The Vintage Collection. After constant prompting from JTA to Hasbro during our Q&A sessions, Hasbro finally added Ponda Baba to their little black book and secretly worked him into the Original Trilogy wave of the Walmart exclusive The Black Series [Phase III] 3.75” line in the Spring of 2017. Six years is a very long time indeed to wait for an action figure’s re-release, but hopefully it has created an appetite for Ponda Baba and collectors that will be satiated by buying him and the others in the wave up like there is no tomorrow. Ponda Baba’s head sculpt is still too small (albeit beautifully sculpted) and the jury is still out on if his body is ever so slightly too tall, but it is refreshing to see this work of action figure art available once again. And to make things sweeter, Hasbro updated some of the figure’s paint operations and in our opinion looks better than ever. As you know, updates to earliest neo-classic Star Wars action figures is a sweet thing. The Power Of The Force “2” was good line for its time, but literally every figure from the era needs modern sculpting and super-articulation. Even if that translates into a repack, like this figure is, it serves a purpose to those who missed out on him during his original release.

Both his modern update (in 2011) as well as his re-release (in 2017) were both long and excruciating waits, but for us it has all been well worth it because Ponda Baba is a figure is just first and foremost a pleasure to see again. He will perform well because he has immediate recognition and was an original vintage Kenner figure. He possesses incredible nostalgia and relevance to collectors because of this. Plus, he had a cameo in Rogue One which makes his re-release even more poignant. This unbelievably definitive (near-definitive at worst) version of Ponda Baba comes with an inordinate amount of accessories that Hasbro graciously carried over from the original release in The Vintage Collection. Ponda Baba has an interchangeable right arm in addition to interchangeable hands which pay homage to a blooper in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Ponda Baba is just everything you would ever want in an action figure. Super-articulated and 99.9% perfectly decorated, this is one amazing action figure that will absolutely not have the ability to age throughout the years. It is evident that a great deal of time went into the planning of Ponda Baba. He’s slender, well-proportioned (even better than the actual actor in the suit quite honestly) and expertly engineered. Interestingly and as we've hinted earlier, we’ve found that Ponda Baba gives the appearance of a very tall stature. When compared to other cantina aliens he seems to be right on point. But then we noticed that Ponda Baba has longer legs and this is probably what gives him his illusion of extra “height”.

Ponda Baba is loaded with features that are going to make you smile. Hasbro has truly perfected the way that action figures ‘wear’ jackets. They’re now incorporated to be non-removable yet appear like a separate piece. The head sculpt is wonderful and one update made with this version is that the paint applications for his tusks have been cleaned up tremendously. The rest of the figure has been done really well too. The same unprecedented feature (the development of an intentional removable ball-jointed right arm) has also been carried forward here too. Once the arm attachment with the ball-jointed shoulder and ball-jointed elbow is removed, you can replace it with another ball-jointed shoulder attachment (with a swivel elbow joint). The ball-joint has been eliminated so that the elbow can be easily removed to show “blood” from the lightsaber battle-damage (yeah, we know there should be no blood either). The results are fantastic and we’re very impressed how the parts are seamless. But perhaps the neatest interchangeable body parts on Ponda Baba are the “flipper hands” which come from a blooper in A New Hope. (These “hands” were later used in The Star Wars Holiday Special too (but for a different character), so consider us doubly lucky because we have another figure from that Star Wars source too. Hasbro actually took the time to sculpt individual finger like appendages to hold the included bar glass. The drinking glass also fits in the “flipper” hand like a glove. It’s amazing.

Should you decide that you want Ponda Baba to look a little bit more humanoid, you can always attach the hands with fingers because you’re going to need them when he waves his blaster at Luke Skywalker. Ponda Baba's signature (and very unique) blaster fits wonderfully in his functioning holster. You'll be interested to know that it has been repainted in a lighter silver color this time around. All of these extras are very much desired by collectors and Hasbro has done a brilliant job with the execution of these parts, so of course we’d like nothing more than to see what else they can do. Ponda Baba is also very functional. He has a wonderful center of gravity and has awesome mobility for different types of poses including very action-oriented ones. He stands unassisted and just has the most perfect body shape. And he blends in flawlessly with the rest of the basic figure line. Ponda Baba doesn’t have the same impact as seeing him on a The Vintage Collection card back, but we’d be lying is we said we aren’t happy to see him in the super-articulated line again. (Too bad he is a Walmart exclusive.) For us, Ponda Baba absolutely rank as one of the top 10 figures Hasbro has ever produced to date. And to be quite frank with you, he deserves this unfettered praise. Get at least two, this way you can have a version from A New Hope and another based on the different character from The Star Wars Holiday Special (with the flipper hands).

Collector Notes

Ponda Baba

Status: Ponda Baba is a repaint of 2011's TVC Ponda Baba (Walrus Man) (VC70) figure.

Articulation Count: 22 points (14 areas of articulation)

Articulation Details: ball-socket head (1), ball-jointed left shoulder (2), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), ball-jointed left elbow (2), ball-jointed right elbow (2), swivel left wrist (1), swivel right wrist (1), swivel waist (1), swivel left hip (1), swivel right hip (1), ball-jointed left knee (2), ball-jointed right knee (2), ball-jointed left ankle (2), ball-jointed right ankle (2)

Accessory Count: 6

Accessory Details: blaster, drinking glass, interchangeable left "flipper" hand, interchangeable right "flipper" hand, interchangeable ball-jointed arm with detachable forearm section (swivel joint)

Date Stamp: 2011

Assortment Number: C3031/B4054

UPC: 630509576500

Retail: $12.99 USD

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

Ponda Baba

The Black Series [Phase III] Walmart Exclusives Wave 8

Boba Fett (Prototype Armor)

Ponda Baba

Sandtrooper

Tusken Raider

Added: May 8, 2017
Category: Black Series [Phase III], The
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
Score:
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