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Sideshow's Commander Praji Review

Commander who? OK so I admit I do know a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to the original Star Wars trilogy, which I guess classifies me as a geek. Commander Praji, however, I don't know. Geek classification revoked! In order to figure out just who this Imperial crony is, I had to pull a Wookiepeia and watch a YouTube clip (start 3:17 in). Now I realize by going to Wookiepeida I'm back to being a geek. In that case, check out my geeky photos of Sideshow's 12-inch Commander Praji in my photo gallery.

Commander Nahdonnis Praji is an Imperial Officer who gets his 15 minutes seconds of fame aboard Princess Leia's Rebel Blockade Runner. Unable to locate the stolen Death Star plans aboard the Tantive IV, Darth Vader instructs Praji to personally oversee a detachment to the planet Tatooine in an effort to retrieve the plans from a jettisoned escape pod. We all know where that leads... my photo gallery.

Sideshow Collectible's Commander Praji figure is our introduction to Imperial officers in their Militaries of Star Wars line. Though he wouldn't be my first choice to immortalize, he's got an interesting back-story and Sideshow has been known to take that into account in their character selection.

The 12-inch Praji figure features the Art S. Buck body dressed in a standard-issue Imperial officer uniform. The detail and tailoring on the uniform is well done. The pants look great and have the widely flared thighs tapering from the knees to the ankles (an obvious reference to the pants worn by WWII-era German officers) while the top is a little stiff making it difficult to locate the slits for the silver tubes. Besides the tubes, the uniform is detailed with a rank insignia.

Commander Praji comes with a pair of swappable hands/gloves and pair of swappable Imperial caps. Praji ships dressed in the gloves and I'll warn you that they are better left on as they're very difficult to fit back once removed. I like the option of the two caps; one fabric and one sculpted. I don't have a personal preference, but I do think the fabric cap looks better in person while the sculpted cap photographs better.

Praji is armed with a stormtrooper blaster with folding stock as well as a blaster pistol, the latter of which fits into the holster on his belt. The simple leather belt is what it is, but I do like the magnetic clasp on the holster, which has thankfully become a standard feature on Sideshow's figures.

My biggest problem with Commander Praji is well...Commander Praji. The choice of this character is obscure considering the pool of Imperials Sideshow had to choose from. What makes things worse is that the likeness of the figure, in comparison to the actor, is poor at best making it even less desirable.

All in all there really isn't much to this figure. He's an obscure character, in a well-done, yet simplistic costume with an inaccurately sculpted likeness. I give Sideshow Collectibles 1/6-scale Imperial Praji a 6.5 out of 10.

Sideshow's Snow Bunny Padme Review

This weekend I received my 1/6-scale (12-inch for the scale impaired) Padme Amidalla - Ilum Mission (a.k.a Snow Bunny Padme) figure from Sideshow Collectibles. I strongly considered cancelling my order for this figure when I received the 15 day shipping notice, but I rationalized that it would be one of the last $50-range figures from Sideshow and thought it might be a nice piece. My hunch was right and as you'll see from the pictures I've added to my photo gallery, I'm glad I went through with the order.

The figure is simplistic in detail when compared to some of Sideshow's other offerings, yet it's well done. For those of you unfamiliar with this version of Padme, the outfit is based on an episode of Cartoon Network's The Clone Wars animated series in which Padme travels to the ice planet Ilum with Yoda on a mission to protect the Jedi caverns--the source location of the crystals used to make lightsabers. I would imagine Sideshow had their hands full translating an animated character into a realistic interpretation, but I believe they succeeded.

Using Natalie Portman's Padme Amidala character as a likeness, Sideshow has captured an accurate representation of the actress in this piece, down to the mole on the figures right cheek. The brown eyes have a life-like depth to them though they're set to look off to the side, which can be a nuisance if you're trying to pose the figure to look forward. The figure uses the standard 30-plus point articulated Art S. Buck body, which lends for a good amount of possibility though the arms appear to be a little too long.

Like the figure's resemblence, the costume treatment has also translated well from its animated reference. The fur-trimmed cape, gloves and boots give texture to the white body suit and the material used for the cape lends well to posing. A fair warning, if you decide to pull off the figure's under-hood be prepared to see a bald head. Not a pretty sight. My only gripe about the costume is that the belt is poorly made. Not only does it appear fragile (though it photographs well), but the fact that the holster didn’t come with the customary clasp or magnet to hold the flap down is disappointing. Padme also includes a blaster, grenade and electro-binoculars.

All-in-all, I'm surprisingly pleased with this figure considering I'm not a fan of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. I rate it a 7 out of 10.

Not Cloning Around Anymore

Sideshow Collectibles has stepped up to the plate (I hate that clichè and have no idea why I just used it) and put out their first 1/6-scale, armored Star Wars figure; Obi-Wan Kenobi: General - Clone Wars. Though I was expecting an armored figure at anytime, Sideshow's choice of character is a surprise. And after seeing the figure gallery, I'd say a pleasant surprise.

The Sideshow team did a fantastic job capturing the likeness of Ewan McGregor and the detail in the armor appears to be some of the best I've seen in the 12-inch scale. According to the Backstage Pass video, an entirely new body was designed for the armored figures and the creative team decided to use a hard ABS plastic instead of a soft PVC plastic because it held detail better and looked more authentic. Obi Wan will be available for pre-order starting Friday.

What A Difference A Day Makes

Day 2 at the FX Toy Show was a success. After a rough day yesterday where I was in a merchandise daze, today I had a list, a plan and was on my A game. During the negotiation for a Raiders of the Lost Ark figure lot, the vendor commented "you don't give up do you?" No, I don't and no I didn't, which is why he took an additional $20 off the $20 I had initially bartered off. I managed to get the $40 by telling the vendor to think about my offer and walking away. That lot turned out to be the haul of the weekend because I now have a few items to flip on eBay at my disposal, which will negate the price of the figures I plan on keeping, from that lot. Photos of my new Raiders of the Lost Ark collection will be up in the next week or so.

A Learning Experience

I went to the FX Toy Show today and got a life lesson from the experience. The showroom was like the floor of the NYSE and making deals in such a hectic environment is a lot different then sending an e-mail offer. I guess I forgot, from my days of manning the booths, how different face-to-face negotiations are. All-in-all I think I made out pretty well - though I may have overpaid $10 for a pair of figures from one dealer. I'm headed back tomorrow with my guard up and a list of things to barter for.

I've Got the Bug Again

I grew up playing with some of the best toys ever created: G.I. Joe, Star Wars, He-Man, Voltron, Transformers, etc. Every so often I get a bug to buy up a whole bunch of cool toys, take some photos of them and store them away only to uncover them a few months later and sell them on eBay because they're taking up space. There aren't many people who can claim they had every vintage Star Wars vehicle and playset in the box with instructions, the complete Panosh Place Voltron collection or the USS Flagg. The keyword is had. So as the big FX Toy Show rolls into Orlando this weekend, I've got the bug again. However, after selling the ultra rare Legend of the Lone Ranger mail-away Western Town playset, I think I've learned my lesson about selling stuff you'll later regret.