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By Thomas Wheeler

It'd been a while since I'd seen any 12" Star Wars figures on the shelves, except for a few lingering Palpatines. And I was still kicking myself for passing up that 12" Shaak Ti some months ago. It was a very nice-looking action figure. So imagine my surprise when a small shipment of 12" Star Wars Episode III figures turned up at Toys "R" Us in mid-September -- including Shaak Ti!

Hasbro's Star Wars representative, Derryl DePriest, was quoted in one of the leading toy magazines as stating that it was likely that the 12" Star Wars line would be taking something of a rest after the Episode III line had run its course. This is understandable. As excellent as the figures tend to be, they do take up a fair amount of space on store shelves, that sometimes stores are reluctant to turn over to such large product. That statement seemed confirmed when it was announced that Sideshow, which caters largely to the collectors' community, would be producing a series of 12" Star Wars figures. I'm sure that Sideshow will do an excellent job. I'm also certain they'll do a rather expensive job. All the more reason to snag the Hasbro ones I wanted while I still had the chance.

Hasbro has, for the most part, done a really superb job with their modern Star Wars 12" line, going all the way back to the mid-90's when they first brought Star Wars toys back to begin with. The detail of the head sculpts, the intricacy of the uniforms and costumes, has all been superb. I've been especially impressed with the costumes over the years They truly put a lot of work into it.

If I have one complaint about the 12" Star Wars line, it's that for a while, they used this ridiculous, anorexic, barely-articulated fashion doll body for some of the female figures in the line. Aurra Sing and Zam Wesell certainly deserved better than this! Hasbro has the Star Wars license until the year 2018. That gives them quite a few years to one day correct this matter.

Fortunately, they started using a different female body when they issued an Endor Princess Leia with the 12" scale Speeder Bike a few years back. Obviously the fashion-doll body was not acceptable for this set, so Hasbro decided to use the body molds from the "G.I.Jane" figure they'd developed for the G.I.Joe line.

And what's good enough for Princess Leia, is obviously good enough for a Jedi Knight.

Shaak Ti is visually a very distinctive character. She's perhaps not quite as visually striking to certain audiences as the blue-skinned, scantily-garbed Aayla Secura (whom I wouldn't mind seeing from Hasbro in a 12" format if they ever resume the line), but it's hard to miss the reddish face with the white ovals around the eyes, and those ornate striped tenacles or whatever they are protruding from her head.

Shaak Ti first turned up in Star Wars Episode II, and then had quite an extensive role in the second part of the animated Clone Wars series. Interestingly, despite the fact that she received both a 3-3/4" and a 12" figure in the Star Wars Episode III line, I don't recall seeing her in the movie. She's not even mentioned all that extensively in the hardcover novelization. From a cinematic standpoint, one has to assume she ended up on the cutting room floor. From a storyline standpoint, one must assume that she didn't survive the slaughter of the Jedi at the hands of the Clone Troopers under the orders of Emperor Palpatine. Of course, there's always the possibility that George Lucas might have something in mind for the live-action TV series he's planning.

As for the figure, Hasbro has done a really excellent job with Shaak Ti. It can't have been that easy to work out the molding of the tentacles, for one thing. The ornate detail on the head is superb. The figure's Jedi robes are well made. There's two highly ornate portions to the outfit, a sort of scarf that wraps around the neck, and a sash that hangs below the belt. Both of these are very elegantly made.

The figure comes with a lightsaber that's a little too big for the hands, but it fits. The hands, it's worth noting, have very fancily-painted fingernails. Nice touch.

If I have one complaint about the figure, it's the feet. She doesn't have any. Instead, her lower legs are encased in rubbery boots (which look for all the world like combat boots), which are glued to the lower legs. But you can feel that there aren't any feet attached to the lower legs. I can readily see some Hasbro budget-breaker saying, "You want to make that sash HOW ornate? We'll you're going to have to lose something to bring it in under cost. Lose the feet. She's wearing boots."

Unfortunately, this makes it virtually impossible for Shaak Ti to stand. The boots are too rubbery to act as replacement feet, and the figure is already top-heavy because of the head tentacles. So they included a display stand, which arguably can be used more innocuously than most display stands (I personally despise display stands. Any humanoid action figure worth its plastic should be able to stand up on its own). But the display stand probably cost as much as it would've to have just given Shaak Ti actual feet inside the boots.

A thought occurs to me, that some sufficiently skilled individual might be able to cut a small hole in the boots, and fill the space with some sort of sturdy substance that can be poured in in a liquid form, like plaster or resin. It might work, and be enough to allow the Jedi to stand on her own.

Regardless of this glitch, the 12" Shaak Ti is still an excellent figure. It has a superb head sculpt, excellent articulation, and an extremely well-made outfit. The lack of feet and the rubbery boots are a fairly severe problem, given that they prevent the figure from standing on her own two feet (which she doesn't even have), but it's not enough for me to decline a recommendation of this figure.

If you can still find one, and Hasbro has certainly produced quite a few 12" Jedi over the last several years, then I definitely recommend adding SHAAK TI to your 12" Star Wars collection!