Not-So-Quick & Dirty Review -- T.V.C. Emperor's Throne Room Set

by Beedo Sookcool
on 2021-10-29, 00:21:46

Can't make this up:

ME, AT 5:00:00.000002 p.m. E.S.T. ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 22nd: [Clicks on "Add to Cart" button for Emperor's Throne Room playset after blitzing the "Refresh" button as fast as neurotransmitters would allow, until the purchasing button activated.]

MY WIFE, AT 5:00:00.000002001 p.m. E.S.T.: "Honey, could you go downstairs and get me a water?"

Happily, I had enough time to dash down and retrieve a bottle of water while the Hasbro Pulse site was "processing the order," and I managed to complete the purchase with no hassle whatsoever.

Then, I sat back in my chair, satisfied, and promptly forgot all about it, because I was expecting it to ship in April.

And then it arrived on the doorstep, beautifully packed and minty-fresh, on October 27th.

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So I reckoned I should be equally fast with putting out a Quick & Dirty Review of this set for some internet click attention. Well, let's get to it!

Here's an unobstructed view of the front of the outer sleeve / slipcover:

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And here's the back of the outer sleeve, pretty much the same, but with more logos and legal guff:

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Here are both sides of the outer sleeve . . .

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. . . and a close-up of the text, in case you had trouble reading it in the above image.

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Below is a boring composite shot of the top & bottom of the box. Unexciting featureless black with a split down the middle on the top of the box, dull square tile pattern on the bottom of the box.

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Once you've cut the four circular pieces of tape holding everything together, the inner diorama section will slide out of the slipcover easily. Even better, the semicircles of tape are easy to peel off, and if you go carefully and slowly, they won't even leave any sticky tape residue!

From the back, the diorama section shows some more black, with some of those "Death Star Lights" along the sides.

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The sides of diorama are identical, so you only really need to see one of 'em. They replicate the look of the turbolift that brings people to see the Emperor.

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Here's the diorama with packing and contents:

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Below is a close-up of "the goods," in situ. "What's that incongruity in the base of the packaging at Palpatine's feet," you ask?

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Why, it's only a slide-out "secret drawer" in the base holds all of Palpy's accessories in a little plastic tray!

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Now for the even cleverer bit: then you open it all up, and it turns into the whole freaking mezzanine level of Palpatine's observation tower! Okay, the floors aren't quite level, and I suspect you'd need to put something under the sides to prop them up for stability and damage-prevention if you were going to put some figures on there, but this thing opens up to twenty-seven freakin' inches wide! That's a heck of a great surprise, and some impressive origami, right there!

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The back of the diorama, however, is still fairly boring, even when opened up.

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And, just so you can appreciate the design work that went into this, here's a shot of the diorama opened up, with all the packaging removed:

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So we get out all the stuff in trays and bubbles . . .

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. . . to take a look at them, separated:

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Comes with all you see here! The slipcover mentions "Includes figure and 6 accessories," so I guess they counted them like this: 1) window frame with two-sided cardboard window insert, 2) throne and throne base, 3) cane, 4) Luke Skywalker's lightsaber hilt, 5) swappable Force Lightning left hand, and 6) swappable Force Lightning right hand.

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The window frame has three little tabs on the back -- one on each side, and one on the top -- which you can turn by hand (no screwdriver needed) to release or secure the cardboard window insert:

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The insert has a clear starfield on one side, and the Battle of Endor on the other. Here's what they look like, both loose and in the window frame:

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I made a collage of the throne from all sides:

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The buttons on the arm rests are very nicely sculpted and painted. It's got good heft to it. The base just plugs into the bottom of the seat with a simple, thick peg. The throne doesn't really swivel on its base as such, any more than an accessory "swivels" in the hand of the figure holding it. This is the single area where the throne that came with the "Final Jedi Duel" Cinema Scene 3-Pack is better: that had a good, sturdy, locking-peg-and-socket system that allowed swivelling of the throne with no accidental popping loose from the base.

On the whole, though, this throne looks outstanding. It's much more accurate in its proportions, when to the actual film prop. It's certainly neater than the throne I got from taking a Dremel to the "Final Jedi Duel" Cinema Scene pack, anyway.

Let's take a closer look at the Emperor and all his goodies . . .

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. . . and an even closer look at all his goodies:

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I think this is perhaps the best-looking version of the cane we've gotten, yet. Luke's lightsaber is fairly standard. The paint on the lightning hands is a little spotty where the fingers end and the lightning begins, plus the skin tone on the hands is blotchier and redder than the rest of Palpy's skin, but I can sadly identify with that, so I'll let it slide.

Unlike the other Emperor figures with soft goods that I've picked up so far, the robe for this one is sewn shut at the top with a small, unobtrusive stitch:

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So if you want to remove or replace his outer robe for whatever reason, you'll have to pop his head off, raise his arms, and wrestle the garment on or off. Those of you who have ever had to dress small children will know exactly what to expect.

The Emperor has decent articulation, standard for an older-style Vintage Collection figure: simple swivels at the wrists and hips, instead of the modern insert-moulded universal joints.

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His ankles don't have a rocker joint, either, and they don't flex forward very much, so he's a bit of a pig to get standing. I have to lean mine forward at the hips to get him to stand.

Oh, and unlike the standard snarling TVC #200 version, this version comes with a disturbing, oily, trolling smile face-sculpt.

Here's what Sheev looks like, all dolled up:

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Unfortnately, this figure is where the set has pretty much all of its faults. The soft-goods outer robe is about four sizes too big, and the stitching makes it billow like he's standing on a New York City street grate, Marilyn Monroe-style. (And I say that as a proponent of soft goods!) His skin tone is too healthy-looking; it needed more of a chalky pallor. As previously stated, the way his leg-joints are limited by the sculpt make him a pain in the neck to get standing. Also, he can't really hold his cane; his grip is too loose, and his wrist is at a bad angle for it to look natural. And finally, the contrast between the heavily-textured plastic hood and the smooth fabric robe is not very ├Žsthetically pleasing, to be blunt. Yeah, this figure could've been better in so many ways. More on that at the end of the review, though.

Here he is zapping Luke with his swappable Force Lightning hands. Please don't write in badly-spelt angry e-mails or Facebook comments saying "teh emporer is zapping the wrong luke!!!!!1!" I know; that's the only Jedi Luke figure I have to hand.

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The lightning bolts are shorter than with most previous versions of the lightning hands.

This is how I suspect most of us will be displaying this set on our shelves:

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The robe billows disturbingly when seated, too.

Finally, just for giggles, some fun with furniture:

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Review:: This is a really nifty set. The throne is excellent. The two-mode window display is great for dioramas or shelves. The packaging itself is pretty darned sweet, if you want to keep it mint-in-box, or open it up for an impressive display. Let's face it: these set-pieces are the main draw of this exclusive.

The Emperor figure, however, isn't that great. If you're a completist and want the unctuous leer variant head sculpt, fine. If you've already got enough snarling Emperor figures and are therefore passing on the TVC #200 figure, this'll be a good variation to get.

If you want a really outstanding Emperor figure, though, here's what I recommend:

1) Get hold of either the 30th Anniversary Collection Order 66 2-Pack version of Palpatine that came packed with Commander Vill, or the Legacy Collection Crimson Empire Crucible Arena 7-Pack version of the Emperor that came packed with Darth Vader and four trainee Royal Guards. These will give you the most accurate skin tone.

2) Remove the robe and torc-and-clasp from the aforementioned pale Emperors. Keep the torc-and-clasp handy; do what you want with the robe.

3) Acquire an Episode I Darth Maul & Sith Speeder set. Yes, the first release, from the very first Midnight Madness from 1999. Remove the robe. Do what you want with the rest of the set. The speeder still holds up remarkably well even by today's standards, and there are loads better Darth Maul figures out there.

4) Pop off Pretty-White-for-a-Fly-Guy Palpatine's head.

5) Put Sith Speeder Darth Maul's robe on the headless chalky Palpatine.

6) Slip the torc-and-clasp over the hood of the Maul robe and position it just right.

7) Pop Pasty Palpy's head back on, and adjust the Maul hood and robe until they look right.

8) Locate one of the other, more impressive versions of the Force-Lightning hands that have come with sets like the ROTS Evolution of the Sith 3-Pack.

9) Done! Best. Palpatine. Ever. I wish I could show a picture of what this looks like, but the one I made is currently over 4,000 miles away, in storage.

The Verdict: Yeah, this is an extremely cool set, but honestly, all you're getting is an impressive cardboard diorama with some plastic elements and a decidedly flawed action figure. If you're not in any way handy with PhotoShop, cardcraft, and 3D printing (like me), this is a great item to get for the set pieces. But, if you think you could make a better diorama of the Throne Room yourself, just save your money.

If you're thinking of buying these to flip for a profit, stop lying to yourself and others; you are not "providing a service." If you want to provide a service so damn' badly, go out and get a real job -- you know, one of the hundreds of thousands of steady, paying jobs the corporations keep saying need filling In These Challenging Times because "nobody wants to work," and they'll promise to pay you well above minimum wage for.

In conclusion: Set good; scalpers bad.





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