Gentle Giant Studios first made their mark with Star Wars collectibles with the mini-bust line back in 2002. The line expanded in 2004 with the introduction of statues, animated maquettes, and Bust-Ups. With each passing year, the detail improves and the character selection grows. This year is no exception, as we not only see the continuation of these popular lines, but also the exciting debut of an all-new line that brings a fresh new look to characters that have been around for nearly 30 years.


Mini-Busts
The flagship line for Gentle Giant continues in 2006 with the addition of several new mini-busts. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn from The Phantom Menace will make his debut in 2006 with not one, but two different mini-busts. Posed using a Jedi mind trick, there will also be a holographic variant, which will most likely be an exclusive. The Sith are also represented this year, with a Darth Maul mini-bust, recreating the sinister Sith Lord's fearsome gaze. The newest villain in the Star Wars saga, General Grievous, joins the line, armed with a blaster and two lightsabers. His vital organs will be cast in a clear translucent material, giving an alien appearance. Everyone's favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca, gets the mini-bust treatment in an all-new pose, complete with his trademark bowcaster. Most exciting, there will be the first-ever Expanded Universe character joining the mini-bust line. Mara Jade is in her classic outfit, from when she was the Emperor's Hand, complete with her purple lightsaber. This will be an exclusive mini-bust, details to be announced soon. Finally, there will be three different Deluxe Clone Trooper mini-busts from Revenge of the Sith. Look for the basic all-white Clone Trooper, blue-marked Tactical Ops Trooper, and orange-striped Utapau Clone Trooper. Each clone will include 8 different arms, able to strike a variety of poses.

Click here to see a video of the Clone Trooper promotional poster.
See our complete gallery here.

Statues
There were four different status on display. The international edition Darth Maul, which does not include his cloak, but is still fearsome. The Emperor's Royal Guard seems to captured in mid-stride, with his crimson cloak flowing and he comes armed with his electropole. In the 7" scale, the beautiful (if you can call it that) Rancor practically comes to life with realistic drool, a skull-laden base, and the Rancor Keeper himself, Malakili.

Two more items were on display that we were asked not to photograph in detail because they are still prototypes and are extremely fragile. The first is Obi-Wan Kenobi in his Clone Trooper armor from the Clone Wars animated series, which takes the animated design and gives is a realistic sculpt. If this is a prototype, that I can't wait for the finished product. The second item is a new concept for Gentle Giant...a pair of bookends based on the Mos Eisley Cantina starring Han Solo and Greedo in their controversial showdown. This can be displayed as a diorama as well.

The huge Clone Wars Yoda Monument statue was also on display in the center of the room. It's a lot bigger than you'd expect.

See our complete gallery here.

Star Wars Animated
What started in the Clone Wars maquettes line, continues with a new line requested by Lucasfilm called Star Wars Animated. These new statues breathe new life into the characters from the Classic Trilogy as well. Roron Corobb, the Ithorian Jedi from the Clone Wars animated series, will be brought to life in this new line, but the real spotlight falls on the classic characters. Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Princess Leia & R2-D2 will be the first characters to get this treatment.

See our complete gallery here.


Bust-Ups
The complete line of Bust-Ups was on display, and it's impressive just how far this line has come in only 2 years. There will be a packaging change in 2006. Each bust-up will be packed in a matchbox-style packaging, which will make for a great storage case. The graphics will identify which character is inside, and the price will be slightly increased.

The newest series focus on the Mos Eisley Cantina and include Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Bith, Snaggletooth, Greedo, and Ponda Baba. Variants in this line include a blue Snaggletooth and a holographic Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The next series will be a huge hit with fans of the Clone Wars animated show. Picking up where the maquettes line left off, this series will surely be a hit with fans, especially those who still want to get Padmé Amidala. Other characters in this series include Yoda, General Grievous, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and not shown Anakin Skywalker and ARC Trooper, which will have a variant (red and blue colors).

There will also be several boxed sets available in the bust-ups line. The first features the bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back: Darth Vader with a new meditation chamber base, Boba Fett (based on the pose from the mini-bust), IG-88 (also based on the mini-bust), Dengar, Zuckuss, 4-LOM, and Bossk. The next will be a special 2-pack of Han Solo & Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper disguise, which are basically the Stormtrooper bust-up with new heads, which makes sense. Another possible boxed set is one we've seen displayed since the series was first announced...Clone Trooper from Attack of the Clones. All four ranks are represented, plus the original white armor, but aside from the 2004 exclusive Clone Lt bust-up, these have never been released. Gentle Giant plans on a boxed set for these, although no firm plans have been made yet. However, sharp-eyed fans will notice that there are new limbs for these Clone Trooper bust-ups.

Finally, Gentle Giant gave out a special gift for attending their showroom. A Darth Vader bust-up surrounded in flames. This was originally shown at last year's Toy Fair and was intended for Celebration III until plans changed. It was eventually released with an "ice" base as part of the Hoth wave, but this is the original design.

See our complete gallery here.

Other Lines
Whatever happened to the Armory line of helmets? These are still in the works, pending approval. In the meantime, Gentle Giant will be importing the TOMY line of helmets from Japan. These are similar, but different from the Armory line.

We also got to see the latest offerings for The Simpsons, Corpse Bride, Harry Potter, Clash of the Titans, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Also on display was the first in a new series of Disney's Dragons, which takes the classic animated dragon characters from the films, and brings them to life in realistic sculpts. Look for more on this line later in the year. The final new line we were able to see was a new line of Lord of the Rings, but we promised to keep quiet on the details of this for now.

See our complete gallery here.

For more images of Gentle Giant Studios, see our return trip gallery here.

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