#0698: Iron Man Hulkbuster




Iron Man has quite a lot of armors over the years.  Many of them have just been slight updates on the basic day-to-day operations type of armors, but there have also been a fair number of armors that are specialized.  Things like Hydro Armor, Inferno Armor, Space Armor, and, heck, even Samurai Armor.  But the most famous specialized armor by far is the one designed to tackle Bruce Banner’s Jade Giant alter ego the Hulk; the armor most commonly referred to as the Hulkbuster armor.


HulkBusterMS2The Hulkbuster armor was released this past summer as a Disney Store exclusive figure from DST’s Marvel Select line.  The figure stands roughly 9 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation (counting the shoulderpads).  Design-wise, the armor is based on the Hulkbuster look of the early 2000s, from around the time of the Extremis armor.  I’m more partial to the 90s Modular design, but this one was fairly prominent for a while, so I don’t mind too much.  The sculpt is a very nice translation of the design into three dimensions.  Its appropriately machined looking and symmetric, which is always nice on an Iron Man figure.  If you want to get really technical, an argument could be made that the figure is a tad undersized to go with the Select figures, but the bulk of the figure is substantial enough that it’s not a big deal.  The biggest issue with the sculpt is the poses on the hands.  One is closed and the other is wide open, and the fingers arent in anyway articulated, so this is a little limiting.  The prototype shots show him with two fists, so it’s likely he was supposed to have interchangeable hands at one point.  Presumably, they didn’t cost out.  While varitey is a nice thing in many cases, I can’t help but feel a pair of fists would have been a better choice here.  The figure’s paint work is pretty strong; the metallic red in particular is quite striking.  Most of the application is pretty good, though there is some bleed over on the transition between red and gold on the waist.  It’s quite minor, so it’s forgivable.  Hulkbuster includes no accessories, but it’s understandable, what with the size.


The Hulkbuster here was purchased for me by my parents, from the Disney Store, on my birthday.  Did you get all that?  I wasn’t sure I was going to get this guy innitially, but seeing him in person was enough to sway me.  All in all, he’s got a few flaws, but he’s a lot of fun.

#0697: Green Goblin & Peter Parker/Spider-Man




The line may have made it well past 60 series, but Marvel Minimates had rather humble beginnings. It started with three series, each centered on one of Marvel’s hottest properties of the time. Since there was no guarantee of anything past those three series, quite a few heavy hitters made appearances. The figures were also a lot more simplistic than they are now, making for a very different product. Let’s jump back into the old days of the line with Green Goblin and Peter Parker/Spider-Man.


This pair was released in the second series of Marvel Minimates, which was also the first series to be Spider-Man themed. It was far from the last.


Goblin&Parker2You certainly couldn’t bring Spider-Man into Minimates without his greatest foe (aside from Aunt May’s health), Green Goblin! Goblin is presented here in his classic incarnation, pointy shoes, man-purse, and all. The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. He’s built on the older Minimate body, which is more or less the same as the current body, with the exception of the longer feet, which are just downright odd to see nowadays. The longer feet are actually hidden by a set of larger boot pieces, which were done in a slip on fashion here, rather than just being a unique sculpt as they would be now. The figure also features add-on parts for his hood/hat thing, a hand holding a pumpkin bomb, and the previously mention man-purse. All of these parts are pretty well handled, and they add up to a pretty decent version of the character. Paint-wise, Goblin is fairly simple, with mostly flat color work. There’s a bit of slop here and there, but nothing too terrible. He has detail lines for his face and belt buckle, which are nice and sharp. The face is definitely more on the cartoony side, but it fits with the style of the time. Green Goblin was packed with no accessories, since DST had yet to brave the goblin glider. Still, with the amount of sculpted pieces here, the lack of any extras seems reasonable.


Goblin&Parker3Given it was a Spider-Man series, it’s not really a shock that a Spidey variant found his way into this set. (In fact, Spidey was in every set in this series). This is probably one of the more unique figures from the series. It depicts Peter as he was sometimes seen, when his spider-sense would kick in while he was out of costume. Typically, it only showed up on his face, but I’m sure it manifested this way at least once. His lone unique piece is the hair for the Parker half of the head, which is actually glued in place, being that pegs had yet to be added on the hair pieces. It’s a perfectly fine sculpt, though it is, unsurprisingly, much more sparse on detail than the more current stuff. It ends up looking a little weird from any angle over than head on, but I don’t know that there’s a way to avoid that. The rest of the detail is handled via paint. For the most part, it’s pretty well handled. The biggest issue the figure faced was slop between the two halves, which gets pretty bad in a few areas. Some people weren’t fans of Peter’s goofy smile, but I kinda like it. Oddly enough, the Spider-Man half is painted in a different manner than the regular Spidey, so no parts were straight re-uses. The figure included no accessories.


This set was one of my earliest sets of Minimates. After getting the Yellow Daredevil & Elektra set, and thoroughly loving them, I went back for more, and this and Series 3’s Cyclops & Jean Grey jointly became my second venture into the line. This isn’t the best the first three series had to offer, but I’m pretty sentimental about these guys, even if they’ve become outdated next to newer releases.

#0696: Kylo Ren




Okay guys, just one more day of The Force Awakens stuff (for now, anyways). So far, all the Black Series figures I’ve looked at have been repeats of characters I had in 3 ¾ inch scale. Today’s review changes that up. This time, I’ll be looking at the movie’s main antagonist (at least, as far as we know), Kylo Ren. He’s menacing, masked, in all black, and has a red lightsaber; clearly a Star Wars villain. Let’s see how he turned out.


KyloTBS2Kylo Ren is figure #03 in the Force Awakens-themed re-launch of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series. The figure is just over 6 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation. The range of motion on his joints is pretty decent overall, but not perfect. His neck joint is really the worst part, as it does nothing outside of a basic side-to-side movement, putting him behind even the limited 3 ¾ inch figures in that respect. Kylo’s look is a mix of sculpted plastic and soft goods items (i.e. fabric). The base of his cloak and his hood are handled via fabric, which tailored decently enough for something this scale. It’s, at the very least, better handled than what we saw on The Black Series’ Darth Vader. That said, it encounters a lot of the issues common to using cloth at a smaller scale. Getting it to hold a consistent look, especially when it comes to the hood, is virtually impossible. It just kind of sits however it feels. The seams are also quite present, especially at the front of the torso, where, going by what I’ve seen of the costume online, there shouldn’t be an immediately obvious break in the fabric. That’s annoying. The rest of the costume is handled via the sculpt. The sculpted parts generally look much nicer, though, I can’t help but feel that he looks, as a whole, much less intimidating than he should. It’s minor stuff, really. His head seems just a bit too big, his shoulders a bit too scrawny, and his belt a bit too high up. Plus, he’s got just the slightest bit of a hunch, making him look not unlike an elderly man. From a detail standpoint, the details that are visible look pretty on point and well handled, so he’s got that going for him. Paint is mostly absent from Kylo, given the cloth robe that covers most of his body. He does have some nice silver detailing on his helmet, which makes it pop out from the hood just a bit, as well as a slightly shinier finish on his boots, for those that like looking at their figures’ feet. Kylo includes his distinctive cross guard styled lightsaber. It’s pretty well handled, and all three beams are connected, allowing for easy removal from the hilt.


Kylo was picked up alongside the Stormtrooper as one of the first items I got during my second go at the whole Force Friday bit. He wasn’t really at the top of my list, but he was there, so I figured I might as well grab him. Gotta be honest, this figure doesn’t do a whole lot for me. I didn’t like the cloth goods on Vader and I like them even less here. I understand that Hasbro didn’t want the robes to be restricting, but if you’re going to do cloth goods, you have to commit all the way, and not half-ass it. With a little more care, Kylo could have been the best figure in this lineup. As is? He’s by far the weakest of the bunch, which is a shame. Maybe the Kmart exclusive version will turn out better.


#0695: First Order Stormtrooper




Stormtroopers are really the backbone of the Star Wars universe. None of them even get a name in the Original Trilogy, and they’re certainly never in focus, but they’re always there, with a near-limitless supply of them for the heroes to plow through. The original Troopers also have one of the best, most distinctive designs of the franchise, meaning all the faceless goons that followed had quite a bit to live up to. The Battle Droids proved rather disappointing in this respect, and the Sequel Trilogy seems to be playing things safe by bringing the Stormtroopers back, albeit with a slightly tweaked design. The new Stormtrooper has been one of the hottest “characters” when it comes to new merchandise, no doubt due to consumers also playing things safe, just in case the new movie isn’t quite what everyone wants. Today, I’ll be looking at the Black Series version of the design.


TrooperFOTBS2The First Order Stormtrooper saw two different ways of release. The figure was first offered as a SDCC exclusive item, which proved quite difficult to obtain. This was then followed up with a release in the main Star Wars: The Black Series line, where the figure is #04 in the Force Awakens-inspired relaunch of the line. No points for guessing which release I got. The figure is a little over 6 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. The articulation on this figure is just a bit frustrating. While some areas, such as the torso joint and the ankles, have a great range of motion and are very easy to maneuver, other joints, notably the elbows and wrists, are very stiff and limited. The end result is a figure that is mostly pretty fun to mess with, but one that certainly could have been just a bit better. The FO Stormtrooper is yet another new sculpt, and he’s a pretty good match for what we’ve seen of the design. The details on this figure are a fair bit sharper than those on the smaller scale trooper (like the one included with the Assault Walker). The armored parts are still smooth and very rounded, so the level of detail there hasn’t changed much, but the underlying bodysuit is full of quite a bit of folds and patterned texturing, which gives the figure a nice bit of “pop.” Paint-wise, the figure is pretty good, but far from perfect. Generally speaking, the figure is molded in white with black details painted on. Most of the application is pretty good, but my personal figure has a bit of a smudge on the forehead of the helmet, which is pretty annoying. Also, the belt should be the same color as the rest of the armor, but it’s actually a very light grey, most likely due to it being white paint on black plastic. Dark paint over light, guys, dark paint over light. The FO Stormtrooper is packed with a basic Stormtrooper blaster, as well as a smaller blaster pistol. The guns can both be held in the figure’s hands or either of them can be clipped into the “holster” on the right thigh. They’re pretty cool, but they could both use some better paintwork.


I really like the new Stormtrooper design. It’s nice and sleek and it just looks pretty cool. And I like to have toys of things I really like (heck, I collect toys of things I don’t particularly like!). So, I really, really tried to get the SDCC preview version of this figure when it went up on Hasbro’s site after the con. I actually managed to get one on my cart, but it was gone before I could check out. That meant I was waiting for the regular release. On Force Friday, the First Order Stormtrooper was the number one item on my list. As previously noted, the Black Series figures were a no-show at my local TRU, so no luck there. Fortunately, the trooper ended up being one of the two remaining Black Series figures at my second stop, Target. Yay! The figure has a few minor flaws here and there, especially when it comes to articulation, but I’m really happy I found one. Definitely a cool figure!


#0695: Rey (Jakku)




Alright, here’s part 2 of The Black Series figures from The Force Awakens. Today is another repeat character, Rey, but I do also get to look at a new character in a roundabout sort of way with that highly sought after little droid BB-8, who serves as Rey’s pack-mate. Hasbro seems to want to avoid the issues that arose with packing Leia and R2-D2 solo earlier in The Black Series. For the purposes of this review, I’ll be treating Rey as the main figure and BB-8 as an accessory, given his size.


ReyTBS2Rey is figure #02 in the first series of the Force Awakens re-launch of Star Wars: The Black Series. The figure is a little under 6 inches in height and has 27 points of articulation. Rey is listed as being based on her “Jakku” look, though it doesn’t look like this design is any different from the “Starkiller Base” look in the 3 ¾ inch line. Maybe her having BB-8 is what makes it her Jakku look? I honestly don’t know. Anyway, Rey gets her own all-new sculpt. In general, I like this sculpt a lot more than the 3 ¾ inch one. Right off the bat, she’s less frail, which looks more accurate to Daisy Ridley in the role, from what I’ve seen. The detailing on the clothing is also far more consistent here, with the higher level of detail and texturing continuing past the top half of the figure. The lower portion of her “robes” is an add-on piece this time, allowing for a more normal set of hip joints without compromising the look of the figure. The head sculpt features a much better likeness of Ridley, though her hair feels a bit too neat and tidy. Well, it’s time for the one area that consistently gives Hasbro trouble: paint. To be fair, Rey’s really not that bad, compared to other figures from The Black Series. What’s there is mostly pretty clean, and I was happy to see a return to a painted flesh tone for the face. However, the hairline is pretty uneven, and the face paint seems just a little too thick. Also, the slight red of the cheeks is not as slight as they were aiming for, which makes it look like Rey’s putting her makeup on a bit too heavily. She honestly just looks too clean; all the shots we’ve seen so far show her sufficiently covered in dirt and grime, and the figure doesn’t really reflect that. Rey includes her signature staff, which is very nicely detailed, and the previously mentioned BB-8. BB-8 has a two-piece ball joint on his head, which allows for some variation of how the head is lined up in regards to the “ball” that is the body. BB-8 has a very nicely, evenly handled sculpt, and has a paintjob that really brings out the details of the sculpt. The paint is certainly more satisfying than what we saw on Series 1’s R2-D2. The droid is a little hard to get properly oriented, so a stand would have been appreciated, but you can get him standing if you put a little work in.


Like Finn, Rey was picked up from Walmart, my third Force Friday stop. This was actually one of the figures I was most hoping to get, due in no small part to the included BB-8. Rey’s definitely one of my favorites of the stuff I’ve picked up so far. I do sort of wish we’d gotten an extra masked head for her, but BB-8 means I can’t really say she’s under-accessorized. BB-8 is pretty fun himself, though I can certainly see why this one wasn’t packaged solo. All in all, a very nice pair here. The rest of the line has a bit to live up to.


#0693: Finn (Jakku)




If you thought I was done reviewing figures of Star Wars characters I know nothing about, you were sadly mistaken. See, I’ve looked at all the 3 ¾ inch figures I’ve picked up, but, ah, I still have the Black Series figures to look at, don’t I? So, that’ll be the next four days of reviews. Let’s kick things off by taking another look at Finn!


FinnTBS2Finn is part of what is technically the 10th series of Star Wars: The Black Series figures. Hasbro has once again re-numbered, making him #01. To their credit, The Force Awakens serves as a re-launch of all their stuff and the packaging’s been changed up too, so this feels more like a genuine re-starting of the line than the previous re-numbering. The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation. The articulation scheme is pretty good here; in fact, he may well have the best movement of any of the Awakens figures. The elbows do seem a bit too restricted, but the forward/back movement on his right wrist helps compensate for this a bit. The ankle movement is notable in that it’s the smoothest movement I’ve seen on a Hasbro figure in some time. Finn gets an all-new sculpt for this figure. He is once again presented in his “Jakku” gear, lending credence to this being the character’s primary look in the film. It’s not the most exciting design ever, but the jacket’s pretty cool and he’s not far out of line from the franchise’s previous stars. The sculpt does a pretty good job of keeping the figure from being too boring. The jacket is once again given a very wrinkled, worn-in sort of look, which adds to the character. The rest of his outfit is similarly textured. The shirt in particular exhibits some very nice pattern work, which was present on the smaller figure, but was much easier to miss. The head exhibits some pretty decent work. The likeness is passable; it’s not spot on, but you can see who it’s supposed to be. The detail, especially on the hair, is very well handled, and adds a lot of depth to the figure. I don’t often touch on this in reviews, but the plastic quality on this figure feels sturdier than the last few series of SWBS, especially on the joints. It’s a minor change, but it makes a world of difference when posing the figure. The paintwork on the figure is mostly straightforward; there’s some fairly basic color work, all of which is handled pretty cleanly. There’s just a bit of extra detailing at the bottoms of his legs, which makes it look like he’s been wandering around through a sandy place. It’s a small touch, but it works pretty well. Finn’s only accessory is a blaster, which looks to be the same style as the one included with the smaller figure. It’s not my favorite design, but it’s rendered well here, and the paint is very nicely handled.


After striking out at Toys R Us, and only finding a small selection of Black Series figures at the Target at which I stopped, I came across Finn at the Walmart across the street from the Target. So there. The Black Series figures were the items I was most interested in from Force Friday, so I was definitely glad to find them. Finn’s 3 ¾ inch figure wasn’t bad, but I think he’s better served by this figure, which just offers a lot more fun. That said, he does feel a little light for the price, especially in comparison to the others in this set. Hasbro might need to do some re-assessing of the pricing of these guys if they want the line to succeed.

#0692: Rey (Starkiller Base)




Coming up with intros for characters you don’t actually know anything about isn’t the easiest thing in the world, if I’m being completely honest. And yet, here I am, doing it for the third day in a row. Today, I’ll be looking at the third member of the Star Wars universe’s new “power trio.” Ummm…so, her name is Rey, and she’s a scavenger from the planet Jakku. There’s what I know about her. I also know she has two action figures, and I’ll be looking at the first of those in this review.


Rey2Rey is part of the first assortment of Hasbro’s 3 ¾ inch Star Wars: The Force Awakens figures. She’s from the “arctic” subset of figures. Like Finn, she’s one of the lower price-point figures, and I still can’t figure out exactly how that pricing works out, but, whatever. Rey is just shy of 3 ¾ inches tall and has (can you guess how many?) 5, count ‘em, 5 points of articulation. Officially, the figure is listed as being the “Starkiller Base*” version, so I think it’s safe to say this is what she’ll be wearing in that location. With that said, this appears to be the look she’ll be sporting for at least most of the movie, going by what we’ve seen. Rey has an all-new sculpt, and it’s pretty decent over all. She does seem just a bit frail, but her proportions seem pretty close to what they should be. The detail on the clothes is good, but somewhat on the inconsistent side; the torso has much finer detail on the texturing and folds than the legs do. Also, the hip articulation is definitely worked in very awkwardly and obviously. It’s not far removed from how robed characters were handled in the vintage line, but it looks clunky nowadays and the design would have been far better served by an overlay piece of some sort. The feet are somewhat pidgeon-toed, which makes her a little hard to stand and looks a little Rey3unnatural. The likeness on the head sculpt doesn’t seem quite as close as what we saw on Finn and Poe. I suppose there’s a little of Daisy Ridley in there, but when I look at the figure, all I can see is Kiera Knightley. Paint-wise, the figure makes out well enough. Paint is once again pretty sparse, but what’s there is fairly well applied. It’s rather hard to tell, but she does actually have two different tones to the over and underlying portions of the robes, which is a nice touch. She also has the cleanest hairline of the three figures I’ve looked at so far. Rey is packed with a staff, backpack, and another weird build-a…..thing. I wish she could hold the staff a little better and the random piece of whatever is still somewhat confusing, but it’s a nice enough accessory compliment.


Rey was the third and final of the 3 ¾ inch figures I picked up at Target on my second go at the Force Friday thing. It’s yet another character I don’t really have a lot of knowledge about, but she’s at the very least pretty cool looking. Unfortunately, she ended up being the weakest of the 3 ¾ inchers I’ve picked up so far, which was somewhat disappointing. She isn’t terrible or anything, and perhaps I’ll like her more after seeing the movie. All in all, the 3 ¾ inch figures aren’t without issue, but they do feel like an improvement on the earlier 5 POA figures.

*For the record, I think it’s a pretty cool touch using Luke’s original last name for the name of the base. That attention to the mythos’ beginnings makes me at least a little more hopeful about how the film will turn out.


#0691: Finn (Jakku)




Alright, I’ve played it nice and safe on the last two Force Awakens reviews. Not anymore. Are you guys ready for the controversy? Probably not. I mean, I know I’m not. So, yeah, today we’ll be taking a look at Finn, another member of the new “power trio.” He’s also the very first new character we saw, way back in the first teaser trailer. And boy did some people make a big deal out of him. Why was he the first person we saw? Why was he in Stormtrooper armor? Me? I’m just really, really hoping he doesn’t turn out to be related in any way to Lando or Mace. It’s a simple hope really. Let’s just look at the figure already!


Finn3Finn is one of the first assortment of 3 ¾ inch Star Wars: The Force Awakens figures. The line is divided into a few sub-sets, and Finn is from the “Lava” themed set, so…yeah, there’s that. He’s one of the lower price point figures, and, if I’m honest, I really can’t figure out why. The figure is, unsurprisingly, 3 ¾ inches tall and he has the usual 5 points of articulation. Finn’s presented here in a more casual set of clothes than the Stormtrooper armor uniform in which we first saw him. It’s actually pretty similar to what Poe was wearing. At the very least the jackets are the same, though whether it’s actually the same jacket or just a shared uniform piece is yet to be seen. This is the look that all of the Finn figures are sporting, so I’d say it’s safe to assume it’s his main look from the film. He gets an all-new sculpt, which is pretty impressive, because, as I said, the jacket’s the same as the one Poe was wearing. However, rather than just re-use the parts, Hasbro’s actually used this common piece of clothing to add some extra character to the two. Finn’s jacket is much more worn and wrinkled than Poe’s, which is handled very convincingly. The rest of Finn’s sculpt is pretty decently handled, too. The proportions of the body are pretty well balanced, and the head sports a pretty decent likeness of actor John Boyega. Perhaps the only negative thing about the sculpt is that Finn2legs are sculpted with a slight step to them, which makes it a little difficult to keep him standing. The paintwork here is pretty similar to that of Poe. There’s not a ton of detail, but what’s there is pretty clean. On the plus side, the paint on Finn’s face is much better handled, which is encouraging to see. Finn is packed with two accessories: a gun and a…thing. The gun is fine, though he has some trouble holding it. The other thing, though. I really don’t know what it is. It might be a backpack, or a gun thing. All I know is it combines with the parts from the other figures in the “lava” set, allowing you to build a…larger thing.


Finn was one of the figures I picked up from Target on my way down to visit Super Awesome Girlfriend last weekend. I don’t know a whole lot about the guy, but he looks to be pretty important. As a plus, the figure’s pretty well done on too!

#0690: Poe Dameron




I’m in a bit of Star Wars mood. I’m sure none of my readers have the slightest idea as to why that might be. Certainly, it can’t have anything to do with a little thing called Force Friday, could it? I can neither confirm nor deny. Well, after a bit of a disappointing start at Toys R Us, my Force Friday experience worked out alright in the end, resulting in a nice little hall of figures, mixed between the two main scales. I figure I’ll be true to the franchise and kick things off with a look at the 3 ¾ inch figures, starting with my man Poe here. Poe, for those of you unaware, is one of Force Awakens’ new characters, and by all accounts he’s set to be part of the new “power trio” of characters.


PoeDam2Poe Dameron is part of the first assortment of 3 ¾ inch The Force Awakens figures. There are a few different sub-assortments so far, with some slightly different themes. Poe is part of the “Armor Up” set, which are a set of slightly more expensive figures, which feature armor pieces. He’s one of the two 3 ¾ inch Poe figures available (three if you count the one included with the X-Wing.) He’s the only of the three figures not to be based on Poe in his flight gear look, instead presenting him in what appear to be Rebel fatigues. I have no idea which look will end up being the more prominent in the film, but I liked this one. The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has the now standard 5 points of articulation. The articulation is disappointing, but I won’t continue to harp on it. Poe features an all-new sculpt; it’s not bad. The body is nicely proportioned, and the detail work on his clothing is quite intricate. You can even make out all the different types of seams and pockets on his jacket, which is pretty cool. The likeness on the head isn’t spot-on, but it bears more than a passing resemblance to actor Oscar Isaac, which is pretty good at this scale. As far as paint goes, there’s not a ton of it. Most of the plastic is molded in the proper colors. There’s a bit of detailing on the jacket, as well as the belt and the boots. Most of the application is decent, if a little bit sloppy. The head is okay, but the hairline is definitely a little off and they missed his sideburns almost entirely. This was actually the better of the two figures I saw; the other was missing a fair portion of the front of his hair. Poe is packed with a blaster rifle, which has an impressive amount of detail for the scale (Tim was even able to identify the real gun it was built on and what mods were made), as well as the somewhat gimmicky armor piece. It’s some sort of helmet/chestplate/jetpack combo, which I have a sneaking suspicion won’t be showing up in the movie. I do wish the helmet were a separate piece, since it actually looks to be somewhat accurate.


So, clearly, I didn’t get Poe from my late night Toys R Us run. I was bummed about not getting much at the 12:01 opening, so, while on my way to visit Super Awesome Girlfriend for Labor Day weekend, I decided to stop by a few other stores. The first was a Target, where I found Poe and a handful of other 3 ¾ inch figures. I like this figure a lot, actually. I know next nothing about the character, but he intrigues me for whatever reason, and, aside from the articulation issues, this is a well done figure.

#0689: Stormtrooper Commando & Attack Walker




Behold! The Star Wars stuff! Here it is! Do you see it? There’s a ton of it! Go, look! I’ll wait. Did you see it? Isn’t there a lot of Star Wars stuff? Man, I gotta be honest, it’s a relief to see it all. The last few months, stores have been almost completely devoid of all things Star Wars toys, and it was getting just a little bit depressing. But now, the Episode 7 stuff has finally hit, and now all the die-hard fans are up for another round of “buy all these figures before seeing the movie they’re from and just really hope they’re worth it to you after the fact.” It’s a long name for a thing. So, what was my first Force Awakens purchase? Well, I played it safe and went for a Stormtrooper. Of course, I couldn’t find just a basic Stormtrooper, so I had to settle for this one included with a vehicle.


Trooper&Walker2The included figure is the Stormtrooper Commando, a variation on the all-new First Order Stormtrooper design. Essentially, it’s just the basic Stormtrooper with a shoulder pauldron. The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. It’s still kind of sad to see Hasbro cut articulation so drastically, but I’ve gotten enough of the reduced articulation figures that it’s begun to bother me less. The sculpt is pretty decently handled. The First Order Stormtrooper is an interesting re-design of the basic Stormtrooper we’ve all come to know and love, with a heavy emphasis on making them look as sleek as possible. The armor is a lot more smooth and rounded then what we’ve seen before. It’s definitely an interesting look. The sculpt does a nice job translating the new design to the small scale. While it’s not the most intricate design ever, there are some finer details, which are handled with nice precision, making the armor look appropriately clean. The right leg has a raised up section, with a small slot, meant for holding the figure’s weapon, which is a nice improvement over previous troopers. The Trooper&Walker3pauldron, which is the main unique piece here, is a rather straightforward add-on piece. It slips over the neck joint and can easily be removed by popping off the head. As far as paint goes, the Stormtrooper Commando is pretty basic. He’s molded in white plastic, and has black paint for detailing. That’s it. Now, to be fair, that looks to be accurate to the film, so it’s not like Hasbro’s skimped out on any additional colors or anything. The actual application of the paint is decent but nothing fantastic. None of the paint is drastically out of place, but the black is all pretty fuzzy around the edges, and a few of the smaller areas are missing their black detailing all together. None of it is quite as obvious as the missing shoulder paint from the Rebels Stormtrooper, but it’s still a minor annoyance. The pauldron is molded in straight black. I have no idea if that’s accurate to the movie, but it looks decent enough. The Stormtrooper includes a blaster, which looks to be their standard blaster for the film. It’s pretty well sculpted and nicely painted. I dig the two-toned thing. It sits a little odd in his hand, but it plugs into the side of his leg pretty securely.


Trooper&Walker4The main selling point of this set is the vehicle here, dubbed the Assault Walker. It appears to be a variant of the AT-ST “Chicken Walker” from Return of the Jedi, though, at this size, I guess it’s more patterned after the smaller walkers we saw in Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith. It stands roughly 7 inches tall and has articulation at the tops of the legs, the ankles, the mounted gun on the front, and the handle bars. That’s not a whole lot of movement, and it would have at the very least been nice to get joints at all the sculpted joints on the legs, but what’s there is serviceable. The sculpt on the walker is pretty impressively handled. Sure, it’s not Hot Toys level of detail or anything, but it’s got a nice, geometric build, with a fair amount of seam lines and visible mechanics to keep it Trooper&Walker5interesting visually. There’s a lot of hollow areas to keep the vehicle low weight, so it looks better from some angles than it does others. That’s not ideal, but it’s also not terrible, and it’s not like it’s out of line from previous Star Wars vehicles. Paintwork on the walker is relatively minimal, with most of the color work being handled through molded colors. That said, there are a few areas that have some painted details, all of which are handled relatively cleanly. The best work is definitely on the front shield piece, which has a nicely executed camo pattern. The Assault Walker doesn’t have any accessories, though, if you really want to get technical, the Stormtrooper Commando is an accessory.


After missing out on the midnight releases of all the Star Wars prequel toys, I decided to go to this year’s “Force Friday” event. I went to Toys R Us, mostly due to none of my local Targets or Walmarts participating in the 12:01 openings. I got there about 45 minutes before midnight and got a fairly decent spot in line. Then I went in. “Underwhelming” is the word I’d say best describes he experience. TRU’s distribution completely misidentified the target audience, resulting in far too few action figures to satisfy demand. I had been wanting to grab a few of the Black Series figures, but only one case was sent to the store, and every figure in it was grabbed by the first person in line. In my search for the Black Series stuff, I walked past the 3 ¾ inch-ers, and by the time I got back to them, they were all but gone. I picked up this set to look at it, and next thing I knew, every other set around it was gone. So, I clung tight to this set, as well as the lone Pop! figure I had managed to grab and called that a small victory. This is actually a pretty fun little set. The Walker is a neat vehicle that doesn’t take up too much space, and the Stormtrooper Commando is a good enough stand-in for a basic Stormtrooper to make me happy. So, I guess the trip wasn’t a total loss.