I was going to try to approach this review without reverting to any Yoda-isms or Yoda-speak, but c’mon, much fun that would not be! A Hot Toys Yoda has been a long-time coming and I’m here to tell you – worth waiting for it was!
Hot Toys 1/6th scale Yoda is based on the Jedi Masters appearance in The Empire Strikes Back (and, essentially ROTJ). He retails for $199.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
• Packed with eyes open sculpt attached to body (approx 13cm tall), with cloth under-tunic and weathered outer robe, leather-like belt and blissl necklace
• Second, eyes-closed headsculpt
• Four interchangeable hands – two left, two right
• Crate container
• Power Unit (battery operated)
• Small lamp
• Diorama base with two rocks and three clear stands to “float” them
SCULPT – 9/10
Lately, there has been a greater demand for, and emphasis on, great likenesses in 1/6th and even smaller action figure/ collectibles. This, combined with the advance of 3D software has benefitted figures, like Yoda, whose likenesses have been elusive in the past.
Without a doubt, this is the best OT Yoda sculpt there has ever been. Better yet, you actually get two sculpts here – something I’d love to see more of with human characters. The first is a soft, neutral, open-eyed expression, his mouth forming a questioning “mmmm!?” The second is a more specific reproduction of his “force-using”, closed-eyed expression from the X-Wing lifting scene. I would have liked to have seen the tips of the ears a bit more raised on this sculpt, as they were when he was concentrating in that scene, but that’s minor.
PAINT APPLICATION – 9/10
Due to the varying, differently-colored and low-light scenery in which Yoda is featured in ESB and ROTJ, the color of his skin is difficult to pin down and the shades of green have always varied from figure to figure over the years. Once again though, I feel this is the best paint app on any Yoda released. It is similar to Sideshow’s prequel Jedi Master Yoda which, until now, might have been the best, color-wise.
There is some nice weathering; the little dark splotch on the nose, on the chin area, and on the brows. It could use some more weathering on the ear tips but other than that it’s well done. The dirt/shadow buildup color they used in the folds on his head could have been a bit darker in my opinion. The feet and hands match the sculpt perfectly and are similarly weathered.
Clothing is very simple with a thin under tunic and a well-worn looking outer robe. The wear on the outer robe is somewhat deliberate-looking but you can’t expect more from a mass-produced figure. It benefits from a water treatment (soaking the clothing under water while it’s on the figure, shaping it and letting it dry) to make it look a little “clingier” and even a little more worn-looking.
When 900 years old you reach, this spry you will not be! A very good range of motion here on a newly developed body. Joints are nice and tight and the ankles and wrists are jointed as well. Over 24 points of articulation are claimed and while I didn’t count, with some work I’ve been able to put him into just about any pose you’d need from a wizened Jedi master.
Although there are only four hands, they are differently posed to accommodate holding the different accessories and work well for other generic poses.
One big sticking point for me though was something that should have been thought out more and could have been easily remedied (and can be with a little bit of post-purchase surgery) which is the backward motion of the head/neck. This is especially disappointing when you first place the closed-eyed “force” sculpt on. The first thing you want to do is put him in that classic X-Wing lifting pose; head back, arm raised. But his head goes no farther back than it would in a stiff, upright pose. My fix for this was to remove a little of the plastic on his “hump” directly behind the neck with an Exacto knife. It’s pretty simple, doesn’t affect the outer appearance and makes a world of difference for posing.
PRICE POINT – 10/10
When it was first announced I heard grumbling from the 1/6th community that such a small character should have been priced lower. I never agreed with this thinking and I have to say after owning it for a while, I think I would have paid another $20-30 without batting an eye. No, there aren’t many accessories and only four hands, but the inclusion of the second sculpt and the detail that was put into the figure overall makes it well worth the price. The iconic nature of the subject shouldn’t enter into the pricing, but c’mon…it’s Yoda…you know you’d have paid $250 if that’s what they put him at (don’t read anything into this Hot Toys!)
OVERALL DESIGN – 10/10
For me, this is the definitive Yoda. Anything can be made better but as a packaged whole I think you’ll be extremely pleased with this out of the box (and with a little futzing). There have been discussions about his height but here again, comparing it to my DX 07 Luke, it seems spot-on.
The stand is nicely designed for multiple poses – sitting or standing. The “floating” rocks are a cute idea but not something I’d’ necessarily use in a display. I like the addition of the LED-lit power unit – it’s a little undersized but a great accessory to use in photos.
If you’re willing to fix the neck (or don’t care about that for posing reasons) and are skilled enough to add a little more hair it could be damn near perfect. But even stock it’s a great value and a fantastic version of such an iconic character. Why waiting are you? Buy it you must!
Trevor is a New York based Creative Director and owner of The Brand Counselors. He has a growing collection of 75+ 1:6th scale stock and custom figures (and more and more Lego sets). Toy photography melds his childhood dreams of comic book illustration and film directing with his design talents and – in his mind – justifies the money he spends on these things. He has been featured on CNN.com and Spoiler Free Movie Sleuth. When he’s not shooting, he enjoys kayaking with his wife, catching up on good TV and building seemingly endless custom figures.