Review – Star Wars Figurine Collection no.1

We’ve all probably seen the primetime television advertising for the new DeAgostini Star Wars magazine by now – but what’s it all about? I picked up the reduced-price issue one to take a look inside and share the details.

‘Star Wars: The Official Figurine Collection’ will be a fortnightly publication, available (at least initially) at your local bookstore, or delivered to your door if subscribed. The New Zealand website, through which you can subscribe, is now in action – click here. As we’ve heard in the advertising, issue one is available for $5.95, but the regular issue price will be $17.95. If you subscribe, you’ll receive a nice array of freebies with your first four deliveries (deliveries are monthly, of 2 issues): an Episode III poster, a magazine binder, a ‘Dark Side’ t-shirt, and a display stand for the figurines that come with each issue.

How is this publication different from DeAgostini’s last Star Wars offering, the ‘Fact Files’? The handpainted, 1:32 scale metal figure with each issue is the obvious starter. The format has changed…no need to break apart and reorganise you magazines into the subsections; and the content breadth has been expanded to include ‘behind-the-phenomonon’-type stories, as well as articles on the sculpting and design of the accompanying metal figures. There are some similarities – many of the section titles bear a resemblance to those of the Fact Files, but there are some new ideas: Heroes and Villains; A Galaxy Far, Far Away (planets and places); Concepts (explaining the Star Wars universe); Droids; Spaceships and Vehicles; Species and Beings; The Phenomenon (movie production, behind-the-scenes, books, comics, computer games etc); and the first issue, at least, has a section called ‘Your Figurine’. The full-colour, full-bleed pages are a welcome carry-over, with no sign yet of the low-quality, pixelated images that the Fact Files sometimes resorted to.

Issue one includes 3 pages on Darth Vader’s history and armour (I assume that the character featured in each issue will be the same as the figurine); a couple of pages on the first and second Death Stars; “Scourge of the Galaxy: The Empire” in the Concepts section; large, double fold-out pages on the super star destroyer; a couple of pages on “spy droids” which makes reference to Imperial probots and Darth Maul’s Sith probe droids; a pair of pages on “The Hutts”; a phenonenom section entitled “Creating a Myth” (George Lucas and ILM); and the Darth Vader figurine page.

Upcoming issues include…well, pretty much everything if they keep going long enough. I see reference to interesting sections on “Essence of Life: The Force” and Elstree Studios. Pictures and lists suggest that the figure set will include vehicles as well as characters: Luke Skywalker is next, and, in no particular order, will be followed by Han Solo, Yoda, a stormtrooper, C-3PO, R2-D2, Darth Maul, Vader’s TIE Fighter, Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca, Mace Windu, Grand Moff Tarkin…I’m really hoping we’ll see some more obscure characters and creatures amongst the full census.

So, the question on the mind of many is “if I’ve already got some or all of the Fact Files, do I need this too?” I don’t think I’d dare try and answer that for everybody, but I do think that the price of the first issue is nicely placed to allow you to sample it yourself. I strongly suspect that, even if I don’t personally subscribe immediately, I’ll be keeping an eye out to pick up the issues that include some of the more interesting characters. And, I have to admit, I do have a growing attraction to collectibles/figures that are of a smaller scale, but still with quality and detail, making them much easier to display.

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