Shae Vizla is one of those characters I pulled out of my new Star Wars Vintage case and was like, “Wow! It’s… uh, who is this again?” I recognized the character design because Gentle Giant released a couple Shae Vizla sculptures, but beyond that my mind was completely blank. I don’t play computer games, so though I’m interested in “The Old Republic”, I’m not privy to any of its characters or mythologies. But after some quick research on Wookiepedia, I learned that Shae Vizla is a female Mandalorian mercenary from the Great Galactic War era, and that alone was enough to earn her a permanent spot on my Expanded Universe shelf.
One of the supposed rationales for the Star Wars Vintage Collection action figures being priced so expensively was so that Hasbro could afford new molds, more accessories, and so forth. Not every Vintage Star Wars figure has been a success in that regard, but Shae Vizla is one figure that a lot of development and production dollars clearly went into.
The Shae Vizla Vintage Collection figure is a complete, 100% new mold. Given the uniqueness of the character’s design, she would have to be unless Hasbro used some seriously crazy kitbashing and did a half-assed job. Thankfully, Hasbro took the high road and made Shae Vizla all-new. I have some issues with the sculpt itself, but I’m still pleased Hasbro decide to go all-new with it.
Shae Vizla is super-articulated (at least by Star Wars standard), and has a very nice 22 points of articulation including a ball-jointed head (which is more like a swivel head in mobility with the unhelmeted head), an awesome ball-jointed upper torso, double-jointed ball-joint shoulders, double-jointed ball-joint elbows, swivel wrists, T-Crotch swivel hips, double-jointed ball-joint knees, and double-jointed ball-joint ankles.
We rarely get a ball-jointed upper torso in the Hasbro Star Wars line, but it works fantastic on Shae Vizla and really helps her take on some good shooting poses. If she’d had ball-jointed hips, I’d have been fully-content with her articulation. As things stand, her articulation is merely excellent and not quite perfect.
If there’s one other thing the Vintage Shae Vizla does right, it’s that she comes with a whole load of fun accessories.She comes packaged unhelmeted, but also includes an alternate, helmeted head. We don’t get too many alternate heads in the Vintage Collection these days, so I’m definitely grateful for the extra display choices facilitated by the helmeted head.
In addition to the additional head, Shae Vizla includes two blasters and two flamethrower fire blasts. Both of Shae Vizla’s hands are sculpted in trigger-finger poses, so she looks completely natural dual-wielding and can hold the two blaster pistols firmly in both hands. And call me a loser, but as soon as I saw that the Shae Vizla VC101 figure came with fire blasts, my immediate reaction was “I’m gonna make her fight L8-L9 from the Tartakovsky Clone Wars micro-series!” And I did. Like L8-L9, Shae Vizla is way too front-heavy to stand up unassisted when flamethrowering, but I think it would be physically impossible for such a petite figure to do so, and it doesn’t make the fire blasts any less fun to play with.
I haven’t played “The Old Republic” but the card artwork for the Vintage Collection Shae Vizla action figure gave me the notion that she’s some babe-alicious, supermodel-looking chick. The action figure portrayal of Shae Vizla, uh… isn’t. The head sculpt of the VC101 Shae Vizla makes her look like some butch, scary-looking woman’s wrestler like Nicole Bass or Chyna. I don’t have a problem with women figures looking strong or powerful, but all the reference art I’ve seen for Shae Vizla indicates she’s meant to be a bombshell, which this figure most certainly does not represent.
Dual trigger-fingers makes Shae Vizla pretty useless for posing doing anything other than shooting, unless you want to set her up doing a disco dance at the Imperial Ball with her hand pointing upwards or something.
As much as I appreciate the unique sculpting for the Shae Vizla figure’s armor, I’m very skeptical of the fact that it looks totally pristine and untouched. There’s not a single speck of paint weathering or battle damage on Shae Vizla’s armor–she’s either the best bounty hunter to ever live, or the most unemployed and has never gotten into a fight yet.
Finally, the proportions are bizarre on this figure–is Shae Vizla really supposed to be wiry enough that her limbs, inside of armor, are still thinner than most every other Star Wars human figure Hasbro has released? That’s not the feeling I got looking at the reference art for Shae Vizla. It appears that while the individual parts of Shae Vizla’s sculpt look great, the sum of the parts is just not properly proportioned.
Overall: Hasbro clearly put a lot of effort into the VC101 Shae Vizla action figure, as they pulled out all the stops including numerous accessories, a rare alternate head, and a totally-new mold for her body. Unfortunately, Hasbro just did not get this figure quite right. Her proportions are bizarre as her limbs are impossibly thin, her face looks more looks more haggardly than it does seductive, and her armor is squeaky clean. She’s technically super-articulated, but her poseability is hindered by T-Crotch swivel hips and having two uni-purposeful trigger fingers. I would take this Shae Vizla figure over yet another redone Hoth Han 11 times out of 10, but all of the flaws of this Vintage Shae Vizla figure really hold it back from being much more than average.