Soft Goods

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HONESTLY, I haven't been collecting SW figures long enough to know when soft goods have worked and when they haven't. But from my limited experience, I think soft goods can both potentially ruin or benefit a figure. When it benefits, it makes the figure way friggin' better, and when it ruins, it messes up the look pretty badly.

It's all personal preference, but I dislike mixed media, both on my figures and in artwork. For practical reasons, like having a partial fabric skirt, greatly improves flexibility in some figures, but at the same time, it hurts the look a tiny bit. One example of a figure I have not bought, the most recent Ep. III Obi-Wan with ball-jointed hips, would look better with an all plastic skirt. But because the fabric affords some flexibility, I'm okay with that.

Fabric would look really great if it hung on the figure extremely well, like it might on a sixth scale figure. I loved the cloth cape on Rahm Kota, because it looks amazing and realistic.

Obviously, a "salt shaker" figure like Fireside Padme wouldn't look as good in a shapeless fabric gown. It would totally detract from the figure's overall appearance.

Another example of a good implementation of fabric was on Clone Armor Obi-Wan Kenobi. It hangs like a cape, and it looks so much more natural than sculpted plastic would.

Hasbro took an interesting approach with the Snow Bunny Padme figure. Her hood is sculpted plastic, yet her coat/cape is furry fabric. The fabric part I loved, but it didn't go very well with the hood. In that case, I would have liked a very well-fitted cloth hood with a wire going through it. It would make the cape look like one continuous piece of clothing, rather than a mixture of hard plastic and soft, furry fabric.

I'm not for or against soft goods, really. If it looks good, then I'll like it. If it looks too...bulky or unrealistic, I would prefer plastic. I know that certain fabrics, regardless of how tiny they have to be cut, are less bulky than some of the fabrics commonly used on our SW figures.

So all I can hope for is that Hasbro really takes into consideration what the final result would look like. I have to trust them to make the right judgment when they decide to go for either soft goods or plastic. I know what I like, and I'll buy the product if I think they nailed it.
 
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Nicklab said:
You know that you can actually cinch the robe around Luke's waist tighter, right? That's the flexibility that softgoods allows that gets overlooked. You could even replace the belt if you're industrious enough.
I'll be trying that. And I'll be trying this water method I've been hearing about. I still have a hard time thinking its going to make it look much better - it simply looks too massive. Every fold in the outfit is hugely exaggerated. Tightening the belt may just have the effect of making it puff out even more above and below.
 
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I take it on a case by case basis. Usually I'm in favor of soft goods as long as they're not poofy, as these are "action" figures. Where they usually fail is the hoods, which wind up as shapeless lumps around the figures' heads. An example of this is the latest Garindan, which looks nothing like the pointy, draping hood he had in the film. I still use the POTF2 version in that case.
 
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I believe that 90% of SG's are poorly executed Medical Frigate Luke is at the top of that list, it is very difficult to get the desired look with certain materials and untill they find the "Right Stuff" it will be hit & miss.
 
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Hasbro just can't make good softgoods. Simple as that. There's a handful of exceptions sure but the simple fact is they make them too big. I realize they're trying to allow room or something for them to "fluff out" but they should just make them smaller and not worry about them being too small. If that makes ANY sense. (it's kinda late)
 
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I hate soft goods.
And the new Empire strikes back wave is a softgoods overkill. Palpatine, Luke, Leia etc. - I won't buy any of them. Some of them are nice sculpts, but the soft good ruin the look. I hope hasbro will realize that there are a lot of people who feel the same as I do.
 
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True point about the ESB wave. I am surprised the ugnaught's tunic isn't SG, being as there is a precedent in the vintage line.
 
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MightyMegs said:
Since I play with my figs, and like to put them in vehicles... I LOVE soft goods.
True! I love soft goods when done right. ESB Luke's SGs look terrible, and the same with Palpatine. I like the order 66 version, but I don't want a repack of it with a dumb looking face.
 
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I play with my figs (why else would I buy them
) so soft goods are preferrred although I LOVE DE Luke's plastic cape. DE Palps softgood are great too, and that Medical Frigate Luke's SG aren't too bad. Jedi skirt SGs are always good too.
 

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MightyMegs said:
Since I play with my figs, and like to put them in vehicles... I LOVE soft goods.
I don't play with mine but do enjoy displaying my loose figures when I can. Plastic robes etc just restrict the movement of the figure and in some cases can prevent the legs from moving causing the figure not to stand properly. I'm all for soft goods which can be a hit and miss at times but since the figures are designed to be played with, cloth is the way to go.
 
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It tickles me to no end to see that the "salt shaker" term I coined back in 2006 (during the great SAGA II Bib Fortuna debate) has stuck around all this time!


At any rate:

Soft goods versus Plastic robes.

Fundementally, this seems to be a debate of the preservation of an action figure's functionality (through the use on non-restrictive soft-goods), versus the preservation of its look / sculpt (through the use of sculpted plastic robes etc.)

Despite my general preference for soft goods, I do understand, acknowledge, and lament when and why they are done badly (ie: overly large ill-fitting garments, fabrics with large weave that are inappropriate in this scale, causing "burlap sack syndrome", etc.)

Likewise, I also acknowledge and admit that there are times when sculpted robes / garments look best on an action figure and only minimally restrict its articulation (Ie: plastic skirts on some Imperials, robes with side slits in them, etc.)

However, in the end, I must cast my vote as a soft goods supporter for the simple reason that when done properly, an action figure really benefits on BOTH fronts: They can look amazing AND they preserve an action figure's full mobility.

Now... having said that, I must tell you Hasbro (if you're reading this), you guys really dropped the ball big-time on Medical Frigate Luke and Leia, and Hoth Rebel Soldier.

If the recently posted carded figure photos are any indication, it seems to me that Luke's robe suffers from "burlap sack syndrome" in a major way (for the reason I mentioned above). And the inappropriately wide flair of Leia's cloth skirt makes her appear to have a little too much "junk in her trunk" (if ya know what I mean).

But most offensively, the omission of the Rebel Soldier's lower jacket portion... this was not cool. The figure looks downright NAKED without it in my view.

As an army-builder (and "Battle of Hoth" fan), I desperately looked forward to this figure. This "missing skirt" issue is a crushing disappointment.

I truly hope the oversight is corrected in future releases of this figure.

Honestly, this is one instance where I would probably prefer the coat's lower "skirt" portion to be done in a sculpted soft flex plastic (like Imperial skirts), with slits in the sides to preserve the majority of the legs' range of motion.
 
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DARKLORD1967 said:
It tickles me to no end to see that the "salt shaker" term I coined back in 2006 (during the great SAGA II Bib Fortuna debate) has stuck around all this time!
I heard "salt shaker" in reference to POTF2 Royal Guard years before 2006.

I'll take soft goods over say, figures like Nikto Jedi Knight, who basically can't do anything.

That said, Kenner did soft goods back in the 80's much better than Hasbro does now.

Vintage Squidhead is a superiour toy to POTJ Tessek. And I still prefer vintage Bib Fortuna.
 
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I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Hate it, hate it, hate it. I don't even like it when they just do a little (like the bottoms of tunics) because the color and textures no longer match each other on the top and bottom.

And as far as the larger use of them, it's even worse. The fabrics that they use just can't flow correctly at that scale. It's not until you get to the 12" scale that things start to look better.

I figured that they had learned the lesson back in VOTC with that Luke with a bathrobe and Obi-Wan's huge robe, but seeing that medical frigate Luke, I guess not. But for me, that's how the market's going, so I have to deal. Some of them, like that ESB Luke, are just atrocious, so I don't buy them, but if I can tolerate it, then I just hold my nose and get it.
 

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Listen to what Roberto (Darklord1967) has to say about soft goods; the man is a genius at getting them to look great and photographing them. If you have the time, I'd love to see that Vader and others you've fixed again.

For my part, the best soft goods material was that used in the VTSC Tusken Raider and Hermi Odle. Both responded to water treatment, manipulation of the fabric, and holding that shape when dry. Here's a couple pics of mine (water-treated and dry on the left, out of the package on the right):



And Hermi, out of the package, then wet and shaped, then dry (and holding the shape even when lifted!):





 
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I can't stand soft goods. I haven't seen a character that looks good with them, it just doesn't work for 3-4 inch figures. Plastic capes and robes look so much better.
 
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HIGHLANDER said:
I can't stand soft goods. I haven't seen a character that looks good with them, it just doesn't work for 3-4 inch figures. Plastic capes and robes look so much better.
It does work. Hasbro just needs to put effort into it.
 
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That doesn't look good to me at all. It doesn't fit in with any of the other action figures.
 
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I like it. I'll admit it doesn't exactly fit perfectly, but the problem isn't the soft goods. It's the colors. That's why I recently redid this one, but my camera's broken so... Anyways, really, the headdress and coloring stand out, yes, but in my opinion, the fabric looks pretty much similar to plastic.
 
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Daigo_Bah said:
Listen to what Roberto (Darklord1967) has to say about soft goods; the man is a genius at getting them to look great and photographing them. If you have the time, I'd love to see that Vader and others you've fixed again.

For YOU, buddy... anything! Thanks so much for the vote of confidence!
I'm a amateurish noob when compared to you.

But here are some of my custom (soft-goods wearin') little friends from a few years back...


LUKE SKYWALKER: Tatooine Farmboy






YODA: Jedi Master




BEN OBI-WAN KENOBI




LUKE SKYWALKER: Jedi Knight




EMPEROR PALPATINE




DARTH VADER: Dark Lord of The Sith






For anyone that missed these custom figures the first 100 times they were posted
, the soft goods here were either sewn-tailored for better fit, or carefully pressed with an iron to achieve the correct drape.

Its a technique that takes a long time and requires patience to achieve the correct result... just like Greg's (Daigo-bah's) incredibly effective "watering down" method of "taming" overly wild soft goods.

Now, I once had a curious friend watch me prep a soft-goods garment that I was putting together for a custom 4 inch scaled figure. After seeing everything i go through to get the procedure correct, this friend commented, "Man, I would never go through that kind of trouble. I just don't have that kind of patience. That's just too hard!"

I thought about what he said for a moment, and then I quoted Tom Hanks (from "A League of their Own") as i responded, "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, then everybody would do it. The "hard" is what makes it great."

In a nutshell that sums up my feelings about a well-executed soft-goods wearing figure (with no poofy garment, a clean fit and drape, and a pleasing overall look). Yes it's a challenge. Yes it's "hard" to pull off.

But that's what makes them great when they are well done.
 
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Well, those are new to me and all I can say is...wow. We can only dream of the day when Hasbro gives something half as good as that. Amazing job!
 

GNT

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Wow very impressive work DARKLORD, Hasbro really needs to learn a few pointers from you.
 
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DARKLORD1967 said:
It tickles me to no end to see that the "salt shaker" term I coined back in 2006 (during the great SAGA II Bib Fortuna debate) has stuck around all this time!
I hate to burst your bubble, but that term has been around since 2003, at least.
The POTF II Royal Guard was referred to a salt shaker figure.
But you're still a valuable poster and a great customizer to this board. So, cheer up.
 
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DarthJoker said:
Well, those are new to me and all I can say is...wow. We can only dream of the day when Hasbro gives something half as good as that. Amazing job!

GNT said:
Wow very impressive work DARKLORD, Hasbro really needs to learn a few pointers from you.

Thanks guys! But as I keep saying: Hasbro is not really that far off the mark. Everything I accomplished on my custom figures with soft-goods came from them.

I only spruced them up a bit with a nip here, and tuck there, and / or a little careful ironing.

However, I do prefer the richer (finer weave) fabrics Hasbro used from 1999-2001. That's the stuff I tend to use for my customs.

The later (post-POTJ line) fabrics are cheaper (with a larger weave) and they tend to look out of scale on 3-3/4 inch figures.




Tyrannusspotting said:
I hate to burst your bubble, but that term has been around since 2003, at least.
The POTF II Royal Guard was referred to a salt shaker figure.
But you're still a valuable poster and a great customizer to this board. So, cheer up.

Yikes!!! Bubble is definitely burst! I stand corrected. And I thank you for your gentlemanly words, T
 
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If the softgoods we actually got resembled what Daigo-bah and Darklord have done I would be a rabid supporter of their use on 3 3/4 figures. I'm definitely going to try the water treatment trick - did an excellent job on that Tusken.

As for Darklord's Luke and Obi-wan - lightyears ahead of anything Hasbro have done including the new old Ben IMO. The robes on the emperor are still a teenie weenie bit puffy but I'd be immensely relieved and, yeah, happy if an official emperor figure ended up looking like that. Doesn't seem to be happening though.
 
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Those are good looking for sure. But unfortunately the costs to make those on a wide scale for Hasbro is probably too much (and they'd still cheap out on the fabric material). If soft goods were actually that well done I would actually think about supporting them, but as they are now I still prefer plastic.
 
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For those that say they "play" with their figures, what do you mean exactly? Do you mean putting them in different poses, which is something I think all of us do, or do you mean you literally "play" with them, making sound effects and and making them talk, etc.? Just curious.
 
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Cloth shirt for Luke is completely unnecessary. Same goes for cloth "vest" for Jedi Luke. I really don't see why that was done.
 
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Yes, if softgoods could be done with the precision we see on Darklords customs, I'd support that cause. But like Darth Brett said Hasbro would never go the extra money mile needed on mass production scale. So my position too remains against softgoods.

I'm hoping to be able to pull off a miracle on Medical frigate Luke with this water treatment people have talked about - because this is the only medical frigate luke we're going to get, if they didn't sculpt him first time out they're not going to do it now.

I'd be all over that tatooine Luke from Darklord if was at retail. I'd buy multiples for every possible ANH diorama. It looks perfect - one hell of a contrast to the VOTC figure.
 
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It looks like as soon as you bend ANH Luke's arms, they'll stick out from the sleeves ridiculously like it's a short-sleeve shirt.
 
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I really want to like the whole soft goods concept because on my shelves of loose figures it provides a nice contrast with all that plastic. That said, some times it seems ill conceived or unnecessary. The medical frigate Luke pics that I have seen makes him look ridiculous in my opinion but then again I've never been much of a Luke fan. The lower skirt of Jedi cloaks seems to work well for me, but sometimes soft goods robs from decent sculpts. It seems like a waste of Hasbro's resources to sculpt a decent figure and then hide it under a giant puffy ill fitting cloak that hides details. I like me my new Stass Allie but I feel a little guilty posing her with her giant ill fitting cloak. If they are gonna use soft goods, Hasbro should use a little more thought.
 
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DarthJoker said:
Well, those are new to me and all I can say is...wow. We can only dream of the day when Hasbro gives something half as good as that. Amazing job!
Me too. Outstanding work. I'd change my mind if they came like that in the packet. I'd ruin them if I tried to copy you!
 
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Amateurish noob? More like amazing...what positive words begin with n?

Anyway, those all look great! The hoods are just right.
 

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Really- he is much too modest! (I would LOVE to see the vintage vehicle box customs again. If you guys haven't seen THOSE, you're in for a treat!). About water treatment on Medical Luke's robe: I'm worried that the material is too thick. Note that the ones it worked on for me (VTSC Tusken and Hermi Odle) had very thin, almost gauze-like cloaks. At the very least, we should be able to replace his tie belt with a smaller, thinner piece.
 
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