Name: Saesee Tiin
Series: Star Wars Transformers
Allegiance: Jedi Master
Function: Jedi Council Member
Alternate Mode: Jedi Starfighter
Height: 11.5cm Length: 21.5cm Width: 14.5cm
An orange Jedi Starfighter with some off white painted details, most notably a central stripe down the centre of the ship, along with some red and black details. In case you're not familiar with the vehicle (and I'll admit I had to look up the name of this vehicle), the Jedi Starfighter is a wedge shaped one man featured in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. In that movie we saw Obi-Wan Kenobi using a rust coloured Jedi Starfighter. Whilst this isn't that same vehicle, the style is very distinct. The colours are clearly different, which helps establish that this isn't an Obi-Wan Kenobi piloted vehicle. Unlike many recent toys based on a bright colour, this is a tasteful orange toy. The off white and black dampen the colour scheme, which I appreciate, and the red largely blends into the orange.
This is one of the more distinctive vehicles from the prequel Stars Wars series. The wedge shaped base vehicle is fairly unspectacular, but the Hyperdrive Booster Ring which slides over the front is very distinctive. The ring is proportionally huge - almost as wide as the Starfighter itself is long. The ring can stand upright on its own however the combined vehicle is unable to stand. This isn't really an issue mind you, since these things don't land with the rings attached (the ring will stay in space). There are two hyperdrive engines, one on either side of the ring, and they double as missile launchers. The long missiles are actually yellow lightsabres, the tips are the silver handles of these lightsabres, and while loaded all we see is this silver. The launchers are fairly powerful - shooting the missiles around a metre.
The vehicle itself has a single rounded cockpit at the back, and a clear canopy which lifts forward. Inside is a black seat allowing the small brown Saesee Tiin figurine that comes with the Transformer to pilot the vehicle. There are two gunmetal thrusters at the back, on either side of the tail section. There's an astrodroid hardwired into the port side of the wedge - which is meant to be an integrated part of the vehicle. On the underside there are three feet pads (one on either side and one at the front) which fold into the underside surface quite nicely for flight. So while the combined vehicle can't stand on the table, the section that comes into land can. I should point out that you can hang the front end of the combined toy over the edge of a table, simulating midflight.
A good vehicle mode which successfully treads a fine line, being a recognisable Star Wars vehicle without being so recognisable that it feels out of place amongst the Transformers line. I haven't picked up many Star Wars Transformers simply because most don't really fit into the design aesthetic of the Transformers line, but Saesee Tiin's vehicle mode fits better than most. He has one of the best orange colour schemes we've seen in a long time and the vehicle design is visually striking. The play value is for the most part quite subtle, but the detachable Hyperdrive Booster Ring is a fun element and the feet are really well executed.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Remove the ring and set aside. Swing the arms down from underneath and swing back. Fold out the edges of the wedge, rotate the front. Unclip the nose to form feet, fold the central stripe underneath and clip the edges into this stripe. There's a peg underneath the right foot (which clips into the left), fold this little peg away, flip up his feet and rotate the boots. Straighten his elbows, swing the arms down to his sides. Fold back the tail to reveal his head, and if you want to, fold back the helmet to reveal his face.
You can actually stop at this point and leave the ring aside, although it makes for a somewhat bland robot mode. If you want to utilise the ring in robot mode, detach the upper loop, rotate the inner bracket through 30°, attach the loop into the bracket and turn upside down. This assembly then plugs into his backpack, forming both a set of back mounted missile pods (and jets, I guess) and a third leg trailing behind in the form of the loop.
Height: 17.5cm Width: 14.5cm
Again the robot mode is predominantly orange, this time there is more for the off white to do, however. The chest and hips are off white while the kneecaps are black and the shoulders are the gunmetal thrusters. His head is a metallic light brown while the helmet is off white with black eyes. The colourless canopy is central on his chest. The colour scheme is a little more varied this time, the head is especially unique in terms of colours. The face is unpainted but the sculpt is so well executed that he doesn't need paint. The eyes and mouth are actually depressions in his face and the resultant shadow works very well.
As with many Star Wars Transformers, we essentially have a robotic body and pseudo organic head. The head is actually a robotic version of the character's head, but at a glance it looks far more organic than his body. Saesee Tiin was notable for large hanging horns on either side of the head, and they're present here. The limbs are quite slender and the arms are rather more rounded than is typical for Transformers, although they're still quite robotic. His left hand is a fist while the right hand has the two larger fingers out and the smaller ones clenched. Both hands can hold lightsabres, and while the right one might not look like it's designed to do that, it clearly is since he comes with a pair.
With backpack attached, Saesee Tiin needs the third leg at the back to stand - otherwise he'd be far too backheavy. I suppose if you have something behind to support, you could leave the ring intact and prop him against the wall (or whatever). The third leg is actually quite effective, and allows for a while range of stable poses. Whilst it's not the ideal situation, in this case I think it does a really good job of what it set out to achieve. I should point out that his battle helmet looks pretty good, unlike the majority of Beast Wars mutant heads (of which it's a distant cousin).
The articulation is pretty good, and thanks to the cheat that is his tripod, makes for great poseability. The head and waist turn, his shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows have rotators and two hinges each. His wrists also rotate while the hips swing and lift out to the sides. The knees rotate and bend while his ankles are hinged. There are a wide array of lightsabre wielding poses available here, which is great to see.
My biggest complaint here relates to those lightsabres. Why are they yellow? Typically these things are meant to be blue, green or purple, and while Saesee Tiin doesn't have any of those colours he doesn't have any yellow either. It's not that they look _bad_ against the orange toy, but they don't feel like boda fide lightsabres, either. On the other hand, the launchers sit outside his elbows so if you don't want him wielding yellow laser swords you can always give him ridiculously prominent ranged weapons. I'm not going to complain about the third leg - whilst it's cheating I like how they've used a piece that was always going to be kibble in robot mode so creatively. Anyway, you have the option of setting the entire ring aside.
A good robot mode and while he's a little slender the poseability is great and there are some great creative elements such as the facial sculpt, the clever use of the ring and his digits. The colours work well enough and the missile launchers look really nice. I do wish his lightsabres were a more traditional colour, but otherwise I'm quite happy with this mode.
None that I'm aware of. There is an Obi-Wan Kenobi repaint with a different head.
This is only my second Star Wars Transformer, and a large part of the appeal is that the vehicle mode isn't quite as recognisable as many of the others. The character chosen is pretty obscure, but I think that helps Saesee Tiin as a Transformer - the design might be fairly typical of the line but the overall fit as a Transformer is better. Both modes have good play value and the detachable ring is a lot of fun. There are some really impressive aspects to the engineering such as the feet in vehicle mode (which are common in this line, but integrate really well here) and the fold away pin under his feet. Okay, so the ring in robot mode cheats, but it does so well so I don't mind. If you like the idea, this is a nice Transformer - 8.5/10