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Other licenses, like Iron Man, Indiana Jones and Batman might all be the rage right now, but Gentle Giant continues plugging along with their generally excellent Star Wars mini-busts. Not surprising since it’s the line that made the company, and remains one of their top sellers.

The latest release is a Tusken Raider, done up in a way to allow you to pose him in not one but TWO ways! A mini-bust you can pose? Well, sort of. This guy is a ‘limited edition’ of course, but with 5000 of them produced, it stretches the definition of ‘limited’ a bit.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop me an email at mwc@mwctoys.com, or visit me at my site, Michael’s Review of the Week. Now let’s check out how they designed this two for one bust…

“Gentle Giant Tusken Raider Mini-bust”

Packaging - ***
This is the usual box - if you’ve bought these before, you know what you’re getting. Occasionally they skip the window, but it’s here this time. That’s a plus if you’re buying this in person, since you can actually see what your coughing up your money to get.

There’s also the nifty baseball card style Certificate of Authenticity, a standard with GG products for some time now.

Sculpting - ***1/2
As I played around with this bust, I was struck by a sense of ineffable mediocrity. It’s not that the technical sculpting is bad. In fact, it’s quite good, with some nice detailing and texturing in the burlaps and cloth areas of the sculpt. The texturing isn’t well above the expected level for this industry, but it’s thankfully better than the usual glass smooth Jedi robes that GG does. The head seems a smidge small, but it’s a minor issue, and the rest of the proportions seem good.

But the visual impact isn’t there. There was nothing about the appearance that particularly excited me, or got the old blood flowin’. I’ve given it high marks in this category because of the technical quality, but I’m going to bang up on it harder once we get to the Design discussion.

Paint - ***
There’s nothing surprising or particularly exceptional about the paint work. It’s servicable, and there’s nothing obtusely wrong, like wildly incorrect colors or obvious slop. The sweat/dirt stains on the cloak aren’t really working for me though, and many of the smaller details seem rushed and heavy handed. The paint could have elevated the sculpt here, but instead it left me with that same feeling of boredom.

Design - ***
If I were grading this bust on either one of the two possible poses alone, he would have lost another half star. But first, let’s discuss that ‘two pose’ thing.

There are actually multiple parts here, almost enough to have two full busts. There’s only one core torso on the base, but there are two heads, two sets of hands, and even two sets of arms! That means he can either be shooting his rifle, or he can be waving his weapon above his head triumphantly. All the pieces are held in place with very strong magnets, and the design of this ‘build a bust’ system is so good that it pulls up an otherwise mediocre bust.

While the design and use of multiple parts is done quite well, the end result is less than exciting on the shelf. Your mileage may vary wildly here, because at this point we aren’t talking about technical facts, but rather the essence of art. While both poses are somewhat dynamic, they also both seem awkward to me. In particular, when the pieces are in place for the ‘waving the weapon over the head’ pose, something seems off about the body and head position, making him look really uncomfortable. And let’s face it, all those heavy cloth wrappings in the Tatooine desert is already enough to make him uncomfortable - he doesn’t need any help from GG.

My only disappointment with the magnets/parts system is that you can’t do much mix and matching. The specific arms have to go with the specific hands, so he can’t hold his gun over his head for example. You can get the two heads to work with either arm/hand combo, but it doesn’t do much to improve the visual feel.

Value - ***
I’m giving them higher marks here, because although you’re almost getting two complete busts, you’re only paying the same usual $50 for the product. It also makes you ponder the cost of these things when you realize that usually for $50 you’re getting one bust, and no fancy magnet system. But this time for $50, you’re getting that fancy magnet system and almost enough parts to make TWO busts…you’re just missing an extra torso. Hmmm…

Things to Watch Out For -
My only caution is to be careful when swapping the parts. The magnets are very strong, which is good, but they can pull the pieces into place quickly. If you don’t have the edges of the shoulders or neck lined up just right, you could chip them when the parts get close to each other and snap tight.

Overall - ***
I really like the use of the magnets and the multiple body parts. Allowing you to pick one of two poses yourself is a nice touch, and since both looks are so iconic, it makes sense. I’m just less than visually thrilled with the final result, more on a level of artistic appreciation than basic technical quality. I can easily see where some folks would bump this up another half star, depending on their visceral reaction to the bust.

Where to Buy -
There’s plenty of fine online opportunities to spend your hard earned cash on these guys:

- Fireside Collectibles has a great price at just $42.50.

- Urban Collector has him at just $43.

- CornerStoreComics has him at $45, as does Amazing Toyz.

- one of the best places to find anything and everything Star Wars is Andrew’s Toyz. He has him at $48.

- Things from Another World has him at $49.50

- Alter Ego Comics has him for $49.50.

- for the UK readers, you can pick him up from Forbidden Planet for 38 GBP.

Related Links -
Other Star Wars mini-bust reviews include:

- The pair of Jawas, Dengar and Zuckuss were the most recent.

- Other Star Wars mini-busts I’ve covered include Chewbacca and Darth Maul, Jedi Luke, Qui-Gon Jinn, Palpatine and Skiff Lando.

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