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REVIEW:
STAR WARS 30th ANNIVERSARY - RORON COROBB
By Thomas Wheeler


The so-called "Hammerhead" aliens have been a mainstay of the Star Wars universe ever since the appearance of one in the Mos Eisley Cantina where Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi contracted Han Solo and Chewbacca to fly them to Alderaan. No name or race was given to this unusual character, one of many such in the Cantina. He would come to be known as "Hammerhead", because of his most distinctive feature -- a long, thick, forward-pointing neck that raised upward at the end in a shape that did indeed resemble a hammer, with two eyes pointing out to the sides.

Years later, as the Star Wars universe became richer, more extensive, and frankly better defined and organized, this unusual and distinctive race would come to be known as Ithorians, and their representative in the Cantina also earned an individual name, Momaw Nadon.

Ithorians are described in the "Star Wars Essential Guide to Alien Species" as peaceful herbivores, and for every plant an Ithorian individual consumes, they plant two more in the effort to keep their environment thriving. When visiting another world, they are sensitive about disturbing that planet's ecology. Despite their peaceful nature, they have developed powerful deflector shields and weaponry which they use to protect their world and ships. So sensitive about the environment of their homeworld are the Ithorians, that they lived in floating cities above the surface of their planet without touching down, in order to do as little damage to the environment as possible. All of the ships mimic the environment of their planet with indoor jungles, artificial storms, humid atmosphere, vegetation, and wildlife. The Ithorians like to travel to other worlds in caravans to trade merchandise.

And for a good number of years, Momaw Nadon was their best-known representative. As far as I've been able to determine, he was the only one with any sort of prominence in the movies and the only one given an individual name. Until the one that turned up as a Jedi Knight during the Clone Wars animated series.

Although I tend to mostly collect Clone Troopers and the occasional astromech droids in the Star Wars line these days, I will say one thing for the Jedi -- they're certainly a more diverse group than the Clone Troopers. That's only to be expected, asmittedly, but I also think you'd have a heck of a time fitting some of the races of the Star Wars universe into Clone Trooper armor even if they were so inclined to serve. Someone of, say, Kit Fisto's race is going to have a hard time figuring out what to do with his tentacles. I doubt a Wookiee would be all that inclined to wear armor even if you made a suit big enough for him. And I don't even want to think about what it would take to make a helmet for an Ithorian.

But Jedi robes? While I will always argue the effectiveness in many aspects of wearing a glorified pair of pajamas into battle, I have to admit -- they're a lot easier to fit on some of the more bizarre specimens of sentient life in the galaxy.

The Clone Wars animated series introduced us to the first known Ithorian Jedi Knight -- and his name is RORON COROBB. Actually, according to the data on the package for the figure, he's not just a Jedi Knight, he's a Jedi Master. Unfortunately, Roron didn't fare all that well in the series. He was killed by General Grievous during the attack on Coruscant when Grievous sought to capture Chancellor Palpatine.

But, being dead hasn't stopped characters from being made into action figures. If it did, we wouldn't still be seeing Darth Vader turn up every so often.

Now, I have to say that while I was pleased enough with the storytelling of the Clone Wars animated series, I wasn't as fond of what I felt was an overly simplistic design. And I know that there was a brief supply of animated-style Clone Wars action figure produced a few years ago. However, I have to say that I am very thankful that in more recent times, when a character from the Clone Wars animated series has made his way into the action figure line, he has been designed more in keeping with the realistic style of the movies. I am hopeful that this is a trend that will continue when the new Clone Wars animated series debuts.

So although the package back for this figure includes a graphic of him in his animated style, the figure itself is designed in the "movie-real" style, fortunately.

Roron Corobb is really a superbly made figure. Although I was, rather surprisingly, utterly unable to locate a copyright date anywhere on the figure, I have to believe that he is an all-new figure. I just don't see as how any parts from previous Jedi figures could have been used here. Roron Corobb's basic physical structure is humanoid, but there are enough variances that I just don't think it would have been possible.

Roron stands about 4-1/4" in height. Obviously the head adds a lot to this. The neck, at the shoulders, is very wide. Roron's body is fairly typically humanoid, although his arms are rather slender, somewhat longer than normal, and he has hands with long, narrow fingers. His legs are ordinary enough, but they end in these huge, three-toed feet.

The Jedi tunic that Roron is dressed in is nicely designed and even textured. Nice touch. He does not come with a hooded robe. Would YOU want to try to design a hooded robe for THAT head? The Jedi Temple quartermaster in charge of uniforms probably took one look at Roron and told him to forget it.

Articulation is very decent. My only complaint at all is the "diagonal cut" articulation at the elbows. This is REALLY a practice that needs to be dropped. The elbows aren't so narrow on this figure that they couldn't've done standard articulation here. Roron is also articulated at the head, arms (which move outward as well as back and forth), wrists, waist, legs, knees (which also pivot), and ankles, which are actually on some sort of ball-and-socket articulation point. This is HIGHLY unusual, but then so are Rorob's feet. The level of articulation here, however, does enable Roron Corobb to assume a wider range of fighting poses and keep a good stance.

The only unusual uniform detail that I see anywhere on the figure is that it looks like he's sewn knee pads into his trousers. Frankly, I've always felt that the Jedi should have been a lot better protected uniform-wise when going into battle anyway. Knee pads aren't much, but it's something. With a head like this, he probably had to dive to his knees on more than a few occasions to keep from getting his head blown off.

There isn't a lot of painted detail on the figure. Mostly just his belt, but it is very neatly painted and nicely detailed. So are his eyes. Most of the rest of the paint is detailing on his skin. This is not inappropriate for his species, so I'm not going to call it weathering or battle damage or anything.

Accessory-wise, Roron Corobb comes with a lightsaber. What's interesting about the lightsaber is that there's a little "flare" at the base that almost makes it look like a McQuarrie lightsaber. It isn't, but it resembles one. It is, however, a design that I haven't encountered before, and it's a very interesting design. There is an outer covering of transparent blue plastic, and an inner "blade" made from white plastic. I initially thought that just maybe, this inner section might glow in the dark. I checked, and unfortunately it doesn't, but wouldn't THAT be a cool feature to add to future lightsabers?

One thing the Clone Wars animated series revealed about Ithorians is they've got a really nasty built-in internal weapon. They can emit what the package describes as a "Battle Roar". Technically, Ithorians have two mouths, one on either side of their neck, that look a lot like the sort of flanged mouth that allow certain species of whales to strain plankton and other edibles out of the water. Somehow, the Ithorians can cut loose with this "Battle Roar". It has a devastating effect on anyone and anything in the immediate area. The "Essential Guide to Alien Species" mentions that Ithorians speak in stereo when speaking their native language, something almost every other species finds impossible to duplicate, so most Ithorians that travel offworld learn to speak "Basic".

Overall, this figure is really a very nice addition to the Star Wars Collection. It's decently prominent if certainly not a top-tier character who has never been made as an action figure before, the figure itself is very nicely made and designed, and he would be a welcome addition to any Star Wars collection, especially for someone who enjoys rounding up as many Jedi Knights and Jedi Masters as possible.

For any Star Wars fan, RORON COROBB definitely has my enthusiastic recommendation!