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The Vintage Collection

Emperor’s Royal Guard - TVC - Basic (VC105)

Name: Emperor’s Royal Guard
Collection: The Vintage Collection
Number: VC105
Source: Return Of The Jedi/Expanded Universe (Crimson Empire)
Availability: October 2012/April 2021
License: Hasbro

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Celebrate the legendary Star Wars saga that changed the universe forever! This collection brings to life the incredible story of good versus evil that captured our imagination and took us to a galaxy far, far away. Iconic Star Wars heroes and villains are captured with incredible detail and premium features to commemorate each epic tale in the Star Wars saga. May the Force be with you!

Remember when Hasbro announced the Emperor’s Royal Guard’s addition into The Vintage Collection? It’s been quite some time since that came to pass. But as one of the most recognized characters associated with Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi, the Galactic Empire’s crimson guard was well-received. Now we all have a second chance at this classic action figure, with some improvements and enhancements. The reissued figure helps meet the demand of the Star Wars collecting community. It seems as if we cannot army build this figure quickly enough. We celebrate this figure, but we wonder if the final version is something that all collectors will fully embrace. You see, the Expanded Universe Crimson Empire comics provide a deep background to the Royal Guards (after the fact), and their lore became quite popular thanks to the action figures Hasbro produced of them. The Emperor’s Royal Guard is a character whose appearance is split across many Star Wars sources that fall outside the films. Times have changed, much to the chagrin of purists, and Hasbro found ways to incorporate things into modern Star Wars action figures that many old-time collectors would never care to see be brought forward into the line. Recall your memories back to 2006’s The Saga Collection when the Death Star Gunner (SAGA 041) came with a removable helmet – only to find a clone head underneath it. Some of us found that quirky, while others felt it to be offensive. But there is some overwhelming pressure to take action figures as far as possible. It seems that toymaker Hasbro feels a need to incorporate the Expanded Universe into Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy action figures. It’s something we’re not exactly sure is necessary. We know plenty of people that would have preferred and loved to see this long-awaited Emperor’s Royal Guard figure with a non-removable helmet. That didn’t happen. But the good news here is that instead of giving us a clone trooper head underneath, Hasbro gave us a Lemmet Tauk/Kir Kanos-looking character with brown hair, this time for its likeness. Admittedly we think the option of having two characters in one is exceedingly rewarding. But that’s if you’re open to the Expanded Universe mixing in with your beloved Original Trilogy. Some collectors can’t deal with their peanut butter mixing in with their chocolate. And that is understandable. Hasbro reissued this figure with changes as 2016’s TBS [P3] Emperor’s Royal Guard Walmart exclusive, but the terrible packaging didn’t do much for collectors.

Before we get to the figure, perhaps we should reference its packaging. We don’t usually spend a significant amount of time discussing packaging in action figure reviews, but we make exceptions for those part of The Vintage Collection. Hasbro changed the original card art to an entirely new design, which is disappointing. They used an official Lucasfilm still of the character, but it doesn’t match 1983’s ROTJ Emperor’s Royal Guard packaging. Hasbro claims that the original reference image is unavailable. But that’s not true because we have it. Unless done to better the card art, changing the original reference image sticks in the craws of most collectors. Even if they couldn’t locate the original film-out image, they should have done whatever it took to imitate the original artwork if the files were unavailable or missing from the 80s. As we’ve mentioned, they used an alternate Lucasfilm image of an Emperor’s Royal Guard closeup. Hasbro used the same card art for the 2021 re-release, but the bubble is broader and covers up more of the character reference image. Once you open the package, you may forget about the packaging issues. The moment your fingers brush against the soft-goods robes, you’ll fall in love all over again. Yes, the 2012 version’s robes are a bit bulky, and yes, they’re cut strangely. However, you need to know that Hasbro used a very thick fabric that is nearly identical to the thickness and texture of the original 1983 ROTJ Emperor’s Royal Guard from the vintage Kenner line. For the re-release, they’ve used a completely different fabric. It’s a brighter color this time around (and much more accurate, in our opinion) and has a lovely drape. They’re more fitted, so the previous bulkiness and wideness are now gone. The details seen through the outer robes, like portions of the boots and the hands, are perfect. They’re shiny and bright and complement the soft goods beautifully. Hasbro has also graciously given us the eagerly anticipated Episode VI specific force pike. If you turn the figure’s wrist in a “distorted” direction, you can get the force pike to lean up against his shoulder. With patience, the pose looks fantastic, so angle the wrist and ensure it’s hidden! Aesthetically this is the most extraordinary Episode VI Emperor’s Royal Guard we have. Still, it’s just such a shame that the case it is part of has been relegated to an online exclusive and will be tricky (and expensive) to army build. Now that Hasbro reissued it as part of the Fan Channel, it should be pretty simple to come by now.

Hasbro colored the figure a deeper red this time, and it’s more crimson this take. You may notice that the 2012 version has the slightest “orange” hue” to it, but the 2021 update is as red as red can be. The hair color is slightly different too. The Expanded Universe phase of this figure should thrill lovers of the Crimson Empire comics. It’s incredible that we get two distinct characters in one with this release, provided you can swallow that Hasbro has given this figure EU “flare.” Hasbro genuinely designed an authentic version of one of the Imperial Royal Guards from the Crimson Empire comics. The bearded warrior under the helmet is excellently designed and comes with the necessary details to tie the character to the comics. There is a lot of gear here. Altogether the Emperor’s Royal Guard figure comes with a whopping seven accessories. The secondary Royal Guard helmet (from Crimson Empire) and the battle staff are recycled from the Royal Guard figures from 2008’s TLC Crimson Empire Previews exclusive multipack. Thankfully they’ve aged gracefully and befitted this action figure perfectly. The updated paint operations and insignia details aid this figure’s overall pleasant design too. There is newness here as well. A pauldron that is fascinatingly held in place by the helmet is another accessory. For good measure, Hasbro included an EC-17 hold-out blaster used by the biker scouts, and it fits flawlessly into a working holster blended with the sash (or belt). You can find the Empire’s logo all over the figure. A large emblem is on the figure’s back, both shoulders, and the secondary helmet. You may or may not be happy about this figure’s interchangeability and heavy reference to the Expanded Universe, but it’s hard to say this isn’t well done. We respect your opinion either way, but we have to admit that while we’re enamored with the official “Emperor’s Royal Guard” look of this figure, the Crimson Empire Royal Guard look is nothing to sneeze at and ignore. Hasbro executed a solid effort on this release. And admittedly, it’s nice to see the character get another chance at retail. We would love to see a proper Original Trilogy interpretation of this character at some point, but it’s probably unlikely at this point. Regardless, this is the best one out there, so do what you can to secure multiples for your collection.

Editor's Note: Hasbro re-released The Vintage Collection Emperors Royal Guard (VC105) figure in April 2021 with a significant number of changes. Updates include: (1) "Photo Real" deco, (2) deeper crimson red colors throughout figure (3) darker and shinier reddish-brown hair color (4) different soft-goods material used for robes with better drape and fit (5) slightly more rigid accessories (6) refreshed 2021 packaging with different graphics, (7) corrected font on nameplate.

Review Status Update: The original publication date of this review is September 26, 2012. It was subsequently updated with a new Photo Gallery and revised General Analysis and republished on April 26, 2021 after Hasbro reissued the figure.

Collector Notes

Emperor’s Royal Guard

Status: Emperor’s Royal Guard is an all-new figure. Hasbro re-released the figure in 2021 with significant changes.

Articulation Count: 22 points (14 areas of articulation)

Articulation Details: ball-socket head (1), ball-jointed left shoulder (2), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), ball-jointed left elbow (2), ball-jointed right elbow (2), swivel left wrist (1), swivel right wrist (1), swivel waist (1), swivel left hip (1), swivel right hip (1), ball-jointed left knee (2), ball-jointed left knee (2), ball-jointed left ankle (2), ball-jointed right ankle (2)

Accessory Count: 7

Accessory Details: removable Emperor's Royal Guard helmet, soft-goods robes, force pike, pauldron, removable Crimson Guard trainee helmet, battle staff, EC-17 hold-out blaster

Date Stamp: 2012

Packaging Details:

Version 1: Return Of The Jedi

Name: Emperor’s Royal Guard

Year: 2012

Assortment Number: 338527/37499

UPC: 653569716297

Retail: $9.99 USD

Details: Initial release

Version 2: Return Of The Jedi

Name: Emperor’s Royal Guard

Year: 2021

Assortment Number: F1898/E7763

UPC: 5010993860692

Retail: $12.99 USD

Details: Reissue (figure and card updated)

Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on Click here to check the market value on eBay! listings.

Emperor’s Royal Guard

The Vintage Collection Wave 16

Mawhonic (Podracer Pilot) (VC71)

Naboo Pilot (VC72)

Aurra Sing (VC73)

Gungan Warrior (VC74)

Ahsoka (VC102)

Obi-Wan Kenobi (VC103)

Lumat (VC104)

Emperor's Royal Guard (VC105)

Nien Nunb (VC106)

Weequay (VC107)

Republic Trooper (The Old Republic) (VC113)

Orrimaarko (Prune Face) (VC114)

Added: September 26, 2012
Category: Vintage Collection, The
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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