I finally gave up on finding new Star Wars Vintage Collection action figures at retail and ordered myself a whole case online, so sit tight for a wave of Vinatge Star Wars figure reviews mixed in over the next week! I started with Shae Vizla and Starkiller reviews earlier this weekend, and now I’m back with the all-new VC98 Grand Moff Tarkin! Despite his role as a central character in Star Wars Episode IV, Grand Moff Tarkin was never made as a toy in the vintage line of Kenner Star Wars toys. Collectors demanded Tarkin in Vintage packaging for years, and Hasbro has finally answered. But fans made a miscalculation when they kept asking Hasbro for a Grand Moffin Tarkin figure on a Vintage cardback. What fans really should have been asking Hasbro for was a good Grand Moff Tarkin figure on a Vintage Cardback…
The head sculpt on this Vintage Collection Grand Moff Tarkin action figure is absolutely phenomenal, and by far the best Tarkin head we’ve ever gotten in this scale. The head on this figure is Peter Cushing–the likeness is remarkable. Even if you don’t like the rest of the figure (keep reading), it may be worth buying this Tarkin just to pop off his head and stick it onto another Imperial’s body. It’s just that good.
For articulation, VC98 Grand Moff Tarkin can do everything an action figure of an old guy who mostly just stands or sits around should be able to do. Namely, this figure stands up stably and can also sit in a more natural pose than any Tarkin figure before it. In total, Tarkin has 21 points of articulation including a ball-jointed neck, 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. The T-Crotch hips are a bit of a bummer, but Tarkin is apparently doomed to never win a ninja kick competition against Snake-Eyes.
Tarkin includes two accessories: a blaster and a MSE-6 Mouse Droid. Considering that the Mouse Droid on Vintage Cardback from San Diego Comic Con is selling for $100+, most people are probably going to want to settle for getting this one on a vintage card. Plus, the Mouse Droid has a feature no Hasbro Mouse Droid has ever had before: real rolling wheels. Thus, now the cute little mouse droid can accomplish exactly what it was meant to do, which is to roll from place to place. The MSE-6 Mouse Droid is supposed to be actually only be about 10 inches tall in reality, so this version is still over-sized, although not grossly so.
I think the Hasbro Quality-Control department must need some new, non-blind supervisors, because this Grand Moff Tarkin Vintage Collection figure is really green. Not like a slight tint of green, but pure olive green. I’m aware that the yellow lighting in the scene chosen for the card photograph makes Tarkin’s outfit appear a little green, but certainly not like this. This is like Kit Fisto green, and that just seems wrong to me.
If this was intentional, and I believe it was, then I’m pretty miffed about it. Grand Moff Tarkin has been one of the most-requested figures to get the modern vintage-carded treatment, and Hasbro knows fans wanted him in his common grey outfit on the vintage card. If Hasbro wants to say the Imperial Officers wore green outfits now, then that invalidates every other Imperial Officer figure they’ve ever made from the movies (Yes, I know who Lt. Sunber is–he’s an EU character). If Hasbro just wanted to do a green Tarkin, fine–but this wasn’t the right place to do it. Bad choice, Hasbro.
As much as I dislike the olive green color of Tarkin’s uniform, that doesn’t offend me half as much as the ludicrous soft goods skirt Hasbro gave poor Vintage Grand Moff Tarkin. The cloth lower tunic looks outright awful–it looks more like a poofy mini-skirt than appropriate clothing for a high-ranking Imperial Officer. Hasbro did something similar and stuck a soft goods skirt on an earlier Jedi Luke figure, and it looked bad. But since that skirt was all black, it tended to blend in a little bit better and not be quite as much of a problem. Here, the Hulk-colored mini-skirt really stand out. The soft goods are just horrible, and scream for this Vintage Tarkin to be kitbashed into a better version.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
Just as with Starkiller, I’ve never seen this Vintage Grand Moff Tarkin figure at a retail store, and I honestly don’t know if I expect to with distribution as it has been this year. I bought the complete case off BigBadToyStore and got Starkiller, Grand Moff Tarkin, Darth Malgus, Shae Vizla, and a slew of other Vintage figures I’ve never seen at retail for less than $10 each.
If you just want Tarkin, various online stores have him available individually, or you can always try your luck bidding on the current auctions for Vintage Grand Moff Tarkin.
Overall: I don’t give out very many below-average grades in my reviews, and that’s mostly because I tend to pre-screen what I buy. Unfortunately, part of buying a whole case of Star Wars Vintage Collection figures means ending up with figures like this one. The aesthetic problems with this figure are insurmountable ones: his attire is not the color the majority of collectors want it to be, and his soft goods skirt looks ridiculous. The Grand Moff Tarkin figure’s articulation is pretty strong and the tremendous facial sculpt on Tarkin is a saving grace of the figure, but I am just totally let down that after three decades Hasbro finally gave collectors a Vintage-carded Tarkin, and he’s green and poofy-skirted. I’m sure this figure appeals to some people, but it isn’t me.