Posted by D. Martin on August 8, 2011 at 11:22 PM CST
In Spring you debuted your first 1/4 scale Prequel figure with General Grievous. Do you plan on exploring any other characters from the first three episodes?

Jared: We do have the license for the entire span of the Star Wars Universe so it’s very likely that we’ll be doing more Prequel figures.

Brock: We originally wanted to do [Grievous] because we heard about him a good year before the movie came out and [Lucasfilm] described what he does, what he is, and that he’s got four lightsabers and four arms and that he was a crazy battle guy and we were like ‘we got to do that!” We didn’t care how complicated he is, or how much he’s in the movie, he sounds cool. I think as the years go on, certain characters from the Prequels will still stand out as being classic characters.

Jared: Grievous really lent it self to that format too. Because he’s more mechanical, we could make him static and we’re never going to do a 12” Grievous figure. I can guarantee that.

-Rebelscum Circa 2005

I told them then, and I did so with conviction knowing they were sitting on gold; that they would have eat those words someday. That original interview resonated in my head when in the late morning of July 20th, 2011, I was invited into the back area of the Sideshow Collectibles booth at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con to be the first person to see the 1/6 scale General Grievous figure, and have the distinct pleasure to take the first photos, one of which you saw before the convention was opened to the public right here.

It’s incredible to see where this line that we so faithfully believed would go the distance has gone since its announcement in 2005. In many ways it has already surpassed our wildest dreams.

Where the 1/6 scale line is concerned, 2011 is looking to be a year filled with Droids and Armoured characters. Sticking, for the moment, with Droids we already saw the standard Battle Droids from The Phantom Menace and IG-88 before Comic-Con opened its doors, but the displays also gave us our first look at the cowardly General, the rust Geonosis Battle Droids, the red Security Droids, the blue Pilot Droid, the STAP, and OOM-9 (as well as the Geonosis version of this Droid commander).

Each Battle Droid features 36 points of articulation, as well as all the scene-appropriate gear you’d expect. The Backpacks of the standard Battle Droid clips firmly into the figure’s back and has two moulded plastic antennas that slide into the backpack for the transport mode. That’s right, ‘transport mode’. These screen-accurate figures actually fold down the same way they did in Episode I! Eagle-eyed collectors will notice however that the blasters do not attach to the backpacks like many 3 ¾” Hasbro figures did, but that wasn’t due to a lack of effort from Sideshow’s creative team. In fact, they exhausted ever option trying to mimic the CGI magic. After seeing that every option available would have altered the otherwise film-accurate figure too much to be acceptable, they opted to just skip this one detail. That means the twelve collectors out there wanting to recreate the scene where all the Battle Droids were about to reach back for their blasters will be out of luck. The rest of us? Not so much.

The Battle droids on display were prototypes, and are slightly different from what the final product will be. Most notable are the ankle joints and the shoulder covers. The production versions of these figures will see improved articulation in both of these spots. Additionally, the weathering on the Geonosis Droids will be worked on more before it is offered for pre-order.

Like the Battle Droids, the General Grievous figure is a prototype, and there is still more work to be done to it before we see a finalized version. The good news is the biggest change will be his guts, or more precisely, the casing in which he held his guts. Sideshow intends to have this piece made out of a translucent resin that’ll let your Obi-Wan admire the Separatist General’s weak spot before he blasts him to oblivion in a rather uncivilized way.

Beyond that, Grievous will sport a soft goods cloak, at least two lightsaber hilts, two ignited lightsabers, and interchangeable arms, so you can display him with either two or four Jedi-killing appendages.

When asked if Grievous would require a stand in order to, well, stand Sideshow assured me that, like the Battle Droids, the evil General will not require a stand to remain vertical. After spending the last week posing the three Battle Droids pictured above and not having to worry about one falling, they have my faith one hundred percent.

This brings us to the Bounty Hunters from The Empire Strikes Back. If you recall, Sideshow’s Creative Director Tom Gilliland spilt the beans about this year’s reveal back at our meeting at last year’s SDCC, and the wait was totally worth it! First off, the IG-88 is stunning. This dead-on figure caused a stir with some cost-conscious collectors, but when you consider that the figure is entirely a new construct with no reusable parts, the price tag is completely acceptable, and if I might say, it was a brave choice from Sideshow and I personally think they deserve a round of applause for taking on this risky Endeavour so we can have a set of six awesome bounty hunters.

If you are thinking the 4-LOM on display is a much anticipated yet still veiled look at what Sideshow has up their sleeves for their See-Threepio figure, you will have to continue to hold your breath, as it is actually Medicom Toy Corporation’s product and not a reflection of where Sideshow will go with protocol droids. Regardless, I’m totally stoked by it and can’t wait to shoot it for the Photo Archive.

Being a life-long Star Wars fan coming frightfully close to his Fortieth birthday, this droid, despite having had no lines or action in the second film released theatrically, holds a very special spot in my heart. Let’s face it, the bounty hunters gave us a much broader view of a galaxy far, far away, and for the original Star Wars Generation that scene was a big event. (For the record, he’s always going to be ‘Four-Laum’ in my books.)

Can you believe we’ve gone Eleven Paragraphs without mentioning the insanely cool TESB Boba Fett? Simply, words don’t describe this effort from Sideshow. As great as Grievous is, this figure kind of sums up how lucky collectors that have remained faithful to this line are. This Boba Fett figure is a thank you note from Sideshow to us. No. Scratch that, it is a love letter to us. ‘Nuff said.

Actually, almost ‘nuff said. One question I had to ask is whether everyone’s favourite bounty hunter would have an alternate head revealing a Temera Morrison likeness. In short, not this time out. Muck like the Darth Vader figure, they are keeping it to what you saw on screen. That doesn’t mean we won’t ever see a Boba without a helmet, just not this one. What is reassuring is Sideshow’s commitment to produce different Boba figures spanning the full Saga, The Clone Wars, and perhaps even the Expanded Universe. Sideshow is confident that the production figure will match in every way the prototype displayed. This figure has been in development for two years, and they have a lot riding on it. Don’t forget, they are as much fans of the films as we are, so they know how important it is to nail this one. Collectors should expect to see similar detailing to that found on the Commander Cody figure. Like all the other exclusive Clone figures, the exclusive version of Boba Fett will come with a unique display stand. His is slated to feature a Mandalorian/ Firespray print.

Boba wasn’t the only clone on display either. Sideshow had Commander Gree, Commander Bly, Boil, and Waxer (along with young Numa too) in one of the cases. All are pretty cool, but Gree took the cake, nailing every detail of this would-be Jedi killer. In fact, this figure looks one hundred times cooler than the product images on their site. An absolute must have figure. In addition to his Revenge Of The Sith armour, Gree also comes with a clone head with the hairstyle he wears in The Clone Wars.

What does the future hold for the 1/6 scale figure collection on through 2011? There will be a more Clones, more bounty hunters, and a lot of Trade Federation figures produced. Jango Fett is currently being worked on, but won’t make it out by 2012. We may see The Phantom Menace Obi-Wan Kenobi some time in the near future. This Padawan version of the legendary Jedi is almost complete, but Sideshow wants to do a few more things to it before revealing it, including a redesign of the Lightsabers. At this point it is uncertain if they are looking into developing light-up blades or if the focus is on a painted design that is more film accurate.

As for Attack Of The Clones, collectors will have to go at least another year or two before getting Outland Peasant Anakin and Padmé, and even longer for a Zam Wessell. (three stabs to the heart)

Human figures aren’t off the table right now, and Sideshow plans to split the human releases with Hot Toys, so if Clones and Battle Droids don’t float your boat, you’ll still have many cool figures to get. In the longer scope, you should expect a few updated figures such as Jedi Luke and Bespin Han. In the case of at least the Luke, the figure would most likely be an ultimate version that is a more comprehensively representative of the character in Return Of The Jedi. If you recall, this was actually mentioned in our first discussion with Sideshow about the 1/6 scale line back in 2005.

Beyond all this cool new stuff, Sideshow had their 1/6 scale Dewback (displayed with the latest Sand Trooper), their Cantina (displayed with Figrin D’an and all the other Modal Nodes and the awesome –already released- Greedo), and Jabba’s Palace Archway (displayed with both Gamorrean Guards and the Buboicullaar) environments on display. All were super cool, and will be a lot of fun to use in our Star Wars displays, but the cantina deserves a bit of attention. Not only does it allow you to choose who shoots first, it features a semi-translucent ‘window’ that, not unlike a View Master, allows an interior look out onto the streets of Mos Eisley and an exterior view that gives away no secrets. *

The Cantina display showed off Medicom Toy Corporation’s Luke Skywalker (a joint project with Enterbay) and Arfive-Defour (R5-D4) figures. The first, IMHO secures my street cred when I say ‘meh’ while the second is TFR!**

Moving on to the next scale up, we look at the Premium Format line, but before we do discuss what was on display we have some good news for ¼ scale collectors that aren’t keen on always displaying their statues with the lightsbers lit. After a bit of a discussion on the topic, Sideshow has indicated that it wouldn’t be too difficult to include a switch out hand holding an unlit hilt, since the sculpted elements would be identical. We should be seeing this added feature in future offerings.

The Premium Format Figures display wasn’t as big and revealing as we would have liked but we did see in person for the first time, the Stormtrooper (gush!), The Emperor in his throne (drool!), and the stunning Han Solo in Carbonite (Zooey Momma!). In the case of the latter, this fits in with the bounty hunter thing written above. For the original Star Wars Generation to see one of its heroes have his assets handed to him in such a manner is almost as shocking as ‘No, I am your father’. Sorry, you can’t take that away form us. This does make us scratch our head at why Sideshow hasn’t given us a Carbonite Han in a Bespin setting yet, but I have sinking suspicion we won’t have to go without, just not in this scale.

Speaking of different scales, lets keep moving on up. The next piece in their high, high end bronze collection takes us back to the first badass Sith we see, chronologically speaking. Not unlike their previous bronze pieces, Sideshow’s Tatooine duel Darth Maul statue will continue their tradition of separating the boys from the men. (we’re on record as being the ‘boys’ in this instance.) Not unlike the other bronze pieces released thus far, Darth Maul will actually be more affordable to collectors that jump on the pre-order earliest, so if high ticket pieces are in your budget, this is a piece you’ll really want to watch our front page for (Goes up on August 11th).

The next size up in Sideshow’s Star Wars collection is the ½ scale. At this year’s SDCC we didn’t see any new Legendary Scale Busts, but we did see the first two Legendary Scale Figures, and they are beyond cool. The first to be released is the Darth Maul figure, which will most likely be packed as two pieces in a single box. If collectors are lucky Sideshow will listen to my pleas (apparently it is a focused goal of mine to display my Star Wars statues without lit Lightsabers) and include alternate hilt pieces so this figure can be displayed with an unignited hilt, a single blade, or two blades.

The second release in this spectacular new line will be Obi-Wan as he appeared in A New Hope. This figure tells a story so well that you really have to see it to understand. The left hand is still pulling the cloak back as the right hand ignites the old Jedi Master’s lightsaber. This piece will take longer to produce due to its intrinsic resin hands and head, which are slightly translucent to better mimic human flesh.

These two, and all future figures in this line are not going to have published edition sizes and will be made in extremely small batches to ensure the highest quality we’ve ever seen in a high end figural collectible. Needless to say, the Premium Format line has officially become my second favourite Star Wars line. Collectors should anticipate spending close to two grand on each figure. While I don’t think there will ever be much of a secondary mark up on these pieces, their value will remain high for those able to collect them. In order to appease collectors interested in this new line, Sideshow plans to keep pre-orders open for a long time and they don’t anticipate offering more than two a year.

Of course, 1/2 scale is only half of the story. Sideshow’s 1/1 scale collection continues to grow. On display were the new limited edition clean See-Threepio, Figrin D’an, the 501st Revenge Of The Sith Clone, Boba Fett, and Asajj Ventress Life-Size Busts as well as very, very early Han in Carbonite piece. In fact, the Han in Carbonite displayed is not even a product produced by Sideshow as much as it was a piece on display for the sake of SDCC attendee’s photo ops.

Sideshow has stated that they will in fact produce Carbonite Han in the 1/1 scale, but it may be some time off. That means there is no reason to freak out about the bull clips on the panels of the one displayed. That one is actually from a private collection and was constructed from scratch save for the face, which apparently was cast from the original mould.

*Shameless plug for the world's first downloadable comic book (not comic strip) ever published to the Interwebs. Even if I didn't co-write it I'd love it.

**Watch the special features of the DVD for The Phantom Menace and pay close attention to what Ewan McGregor says when he rolls off of the pads from the Theed battle to know with the heck ‘TFR’ means. I’ll never explain this awesome Star Wars reference again, so take heed.

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