So something has been really bothering me, well for quite a long time actually, but after recently going to Target I noticed a giant hole in the STAR WARS toy market and that is for playline 12″ action figures or dolls. Hasbro created well over 100 different 12″ figures – some were truly spectacular, others were massive failures. Because of the inconsistency of quality the fans rebelled and Hasbro handed over the 12″ reigns to Sideshow. Now, Sideshow, HotToys, and Medicom are the premiere companies for making adult 12″ 1/6 scale action figures – which is great, however, there’s nothing for kids to pick up or for collectors who don’t want to shell out $300 plus for a single 12″ scale action figure.
Female collectors have long time gotten screwed over by the toy makers for STAR WARS toys, particularly the 12″ scale line. I grew up and owned the Kenner 12″ Leia, Luke, and Han Solo. To this day I still believe that those 3 figures have the absolute best face sculpts that I’ve seen on any figures, particularly Luke’s. Hasbro made an attempt to cater to the girls market with The Phantom Menace and produced the Queen Amidala line of dolls along with the Portrait editions. The playline dolls weren’t bad, the costumes were nice with nice accessories, but other than the Beautiful Braids doll which was the hardest to find in the series, all of the dolls had white faces which limited their playability. Also, their heads were hard and large. Hasbro got an A for effort for trying to give us rooted hair for the dolls though.
For many female collectors the Portrait line dolls are the jewels in our collections – these dolls were made with care to detail. The faces were prettier, the heads smaller, and the costumes were nicely detailed. For the first time, we got a doll of Princess Leia wearing her A NEW HOPE medal ceremony gown! There were four dolls in the collection, five if you include the Padme/Qui-Gon giftset (which is AWESOME) and then it ended. The only other 12″ scale Padme’s that came out after that were disasters – the Attack of the Clones Padme – the first round didn’t have any hair and just had painted heads, the hair rooted dolls weren’t much better because her twists weren’t covered. We fought to get a Padme in the fan choice contest at Sideshow and received a bald, beady eyed figure that nearly all fans revile.
It’s not fair.
Both Padme and Leia get the short end of the stick when it comes to collectibles. Leia at least gets more attention because the older fanboys love her, however her collectibles are catered to them – every other one has her wearing either her Boussh costume or metal bikini. Our lady heroes deserve better especially Padme.
I recently stumbled upon this GI JOE 12″ figure COBRA BARONESS 2009 San Diego Comic Con online and was utterly impressed with the quality of how the female action figure looked. Hasbro has a new, womanly sculpted body that is jointed but can easily be used for outfits that are mid-drift revealing. Most amazingly, the figure LOOKS like actress Sienna Miller.
Hasbro, it seems, has evolved and perhaps it is time to let Hasbo have another go at developing a new PLAY quality line of dolls. When I did some research they sold that Cobra Baroness doll for under $30 at Comic Con, there’s no reason why they can’t produce figures again at that price point or lower. I’ve even become resigned to the fact that if need be, I can deal with them producing girls with molded hair – just do it WELL.
I’m not suggesting that they only produce female characters, the males and creatures need to be made as well. If Hasbro for some reason can’t make them due to legality reasons, then perhaps Diamond Select Toys could pick up the line and fill the hole. If anyone has perused my blog here, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the 1/4 scale figures that they briefly produced in the past few years. I think that if they could make the 1/6 line that they would be awesome. Their face sculpting artists are wonderful and the attention that they put to their costumes including really paying attention to fabrics just delight me to no end.
(Photos are my own custom Barbies to look like Anakin & Padme.)
For the girls (and their heroic male other halves) – even though I know that Hasbro and Mattel are rivals, perhaps Lucasfilm can see about getting a specific female/human character centric deal with Mattel so that they could produce Leia & Padme 12″ Barbie dolls. Back when Mattel first got the license for “Gone with the Wind” – their artists went to the MGM archives and scanned images of the fabrics used on Scarlett’s gowns, took the exact patterns, shrunk them for 12″ scale and made perfect reproductions for their doll series. Wouldn’t it just be amazing to see them take that much care with Padme’s gorgeous 3 film trousseau and Leia’s full costume line including her medal ceremony dress, Bespin maroon gown, and Endor celebration gowns?
Finally I still would love to see Robert Tonner get the licensing again to do a full line of 16″ Star Wars dolls. His DC Comics & Marvel character lines are considered to be high end “action figures” to male collectors as well as female. Please take a moment to sign my petition to get the license for STAR WARS dolls over to his company.