Summer 2004 Exclusives
Every year it seems that more and more companies are making more and more exclusives for summer shows. The good news is that it often makes available items that wouldn't otherwise be made. The bad news is that they aren't easy to get unless you were able to go to that particular show. This year, the bad news really isn't that bad when you look at Gentle Giant's approach to their summer specials.
There are two exclusives for this year, a Luke as Stormtrooper mini-bust and a set of Bust-Ups with four of the important characters from Star Wars. The bust is a solitary item but the Bust-Ups come in a set of four.
Fans may remember the nightmare from last year to get the exclusive Blue Clonetrooper bust at shows, and Gentle Giant has not only listened to the criticism but changed to have possibly the best system for summer exclusives. If you went to the Comic-Con International in San Diego, it wasn't as apparent due to restrictions placed on companies by the con organizers. But Wizard World Chicago attendees noticed the absolute lack of line at Gentle Giant's booth and the ease at which they could get whichever they wanted.
The numbers for both exclusives were higher than last year, so demand was met and any fans at the shows could get these if they wanted them. And if you missed the shows, you can now order the exclusives online at Gentle Giant's website (through their Collector's Club), which is a godsend for people who don't live close to either Chicago or San Diego.
Now, on to the exclusives!!
Luke as Stormtrooper Bust
First up is a mini-bust joining a large line of varied characters from Gentle Giant. Luke in a Stormtrooper disguise from Star Wars is the subject, and so you get a nice combination. Part bad guy, part good guy and all farm boy!
If you haven't seen Star Wars then you probably aren't even interested in this piece. If you have you probably know all the lines from the scenes where Luke has this disguise on. You can go ahead and say them all out loud to yourself, we don't mind and we'll wait until you get it out of your system. And until you get all the garbage mashers shut down on the detention level.
The scale of this bust is the same as all the other mini-busts from Gentle Giant, so you can display them all together. It is about the same scale as the Rogue's Gallery from Diamond Select, so you can mix some of your favorite Marvel and Star Wars characters and pretend it's a crossover issue from the early 80's. How about 'Sith Attacks' or maybe 'Crisis on Infinite Earths'. The last one is taken...
To create the bust Gentle Giant uses a combination of computer scanning and artistry. Items like costume pieces, props and sometimes actors are scanned with a laser to create a base with high fidelity to the original. From there the very talented sculptors take the work and tweak it until it becomes art.
The portrait of Luke was not a scan since Mark Hamill no longer looks like a wide-eyed farm boy (and he had a car accident in between Star Wars and the Empire Strikes Back). He looks a little grizzly any more, kind of like an Obi-Wan light version. But we still love him!
To reproduce this bust they used the power of Henry Ford's assembly line and the industriousness of the Chinese people. That and sweet magic.
Spirit of the Rebellion 4-Pack
Have you ever looked at your Star Wars action figures and felt that they could look a little better than they do? You look at Leia and realize only the costume lets you know it's her, or you look at the line of seven different Greedo figures, longing for the absolutely perfect one? The Greedo fetish may require therapy, but for great versions of the characters you've grown to love there are Bust-Ups from Gentle Giant Studios.
The Spirit of the Rebellion 4-pack is the first public offering for the new Bust-Ups line. Well, public in that you could buy a set at the two big summer conventions - Comic-Con International and Wizard World Chicago. The run for this set is 5000 pieces, and as an added bonus (or headache depending on how much of a completist you are), 1 in 10 are a glow-in-the-dark variant.
If you haven't heard about the Bust-Ups, we have just the thing - a summary of just what they are and why you'll want them. Imagine taking the detail of a mini-bust and shrinking it down to 3-3/4" action figure size, and making it a whole lot cheaper. Now, make it out of plastic (and harder to break) and make it into a mini-model kit with parts that need to be assembled. That's it in a nutshell.
If your VCR still blinks '12:00' and you dread the words 'some assembly required', relax. First, get a DVD player that doesn't have a clock, and second you'll find that the Bust-Ups are easy to put together. They only have a few pieces and they are very obvious how they go together. And no glue is required, so if you bought these to get high off glue fumes you're out of luck. Well, I guess you can still get high if you want, you just don't have to.
If you routinely build clocks and only touch a LEGO set if it has over 2000 pieces, you will be bored by the simple construction for these. If you need to liven it up, take them all and put them in a blender, run it on 'puree' for a while, and then assemble them. And send us some pictures if you ever get them back together again.
The four characters chosen to start off the line are Princess Leia in her fetching white cloak, Han Solo, C-3PO and Luke Skywalker. Gentle Giant has wisely chosen to start off with a cadre of characters from the classic trilogy, a set of films that gets better and better as more episodes are made. I'm sure the release of the classic trilogy on DVD (see, that DVD player will help) this year doesn't hurt either.
Before you ask, these are not articulated. They come apart but aren't designed to move, other than from your desk to somewhere else. Eventually these characters will be released in full-color painted versions, but the con exclusives are either clear or an off-white (for the glow-in-the-dark versions).
Luke and Han are depicted as they were at the end of Star Wars (well, the end as far as it currently stands) where they are receiving medals for destroying the Death Star and saving the Rebellion. The medals are also emergency rations as they are made of chocolate with a gold foil. The medals are the basis of the bases of both figures, with Luke in a formal pose while Han is appraising his medal as if trying to figure out what it's worth.
Luke is his regular stoic self, enjoying the medal and looking at his sister in what will come to be an inappropriate way. This was before he kissed his sister, so at least they were only thoughts... He's got on his cool jacket that means he won't need to use the Jedi Mind Trick to pick up chicks tonight. But it always helps having it in reserve!
C-3PO is shown in a nice oil bath, from midway through Star Wars after he's purchased by the Lars clan. He has a few read-outs and the surface of the oil has some ripples as he thanks the maker for some hot tub action. Too bad his maker is Darth Vader, who was responsible for dropping him on Tatooine. Again, even though he doesn't remember living there at the same homestead for years previously.
Princess Leia is the only figure in the bunch to be shown in action, posed as if she is ready to shoot one of the Emperor's finest. She's complete with a flowing cape, slender pistol and lots of attitude. She's also got cinnamon buns on her head. Mmmmmm, cinnamon buns...
Pictures of the Luke as Stormtrooper bust
Pictures of the Luke Skywalker Bust-Up
Pictures of the Han Solo Bust-Up
Pictures of the C-3PO Bust-Up
Pictures of the Princess Leia Bust-Up
|Where to buy Gentle Giant's 2004 Summer Exclusives: While supplies last, Gentle Giant is selling the Luke mini bust and the Bust-Ups set to their Collector's Club members through their online store.|