SENATE GUARD, IMPERIAL ROYAL GUARD, EMPEROR’S SHADOW GUARD, & ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)
Hey, it’s May the 4th! You guys know what that means…it’s the original Infinity War release date! Nah, just kidding. It’s obviously Star Wars Day. In honor of the day, I’ll be taking a look at a Star Wars-themed item. I have a few of those lying around here, I think. <Checks the mountains of un-reviewed figures> Yeah, I think I can manage that. So, let’s have a look at the “Guardians of Evil” boxed set!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
The Senate, Imperial Royal, Emperor’s Shadow, and Elite Praetrorian Guards were released as part of the Star Wars: The Black Series line, as the GameStop-exclusive “Guardians of Evil” boxed set, which hit just after last year’s Force Friday II event.
“For centuries, the Senate Guards kept the galaxy’s legislators from harm while they went about the Republic’s business on the capital world of Coruscant. With the decline of the Republic, the blue guards were phased out by the Imperial stormtrooper patrols and the red guard in the Emperor’s service.”
Though largely forgettable, the Senate Guards appear in both Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, and were technically in Revenge of the Sith, I guess. Their best showcase, however, came via the Clone Wars cartoon, where, admittedly, they had a slightly tweaked design. Of course, the film design is essentially the same as the Royal Guard, thereby allowing for some serious parts re-use. The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation. The Senate Guard’s sculpt is a mixed-media affair. The bulk of it is sculpted, though it’s largely hidden by a cloth cape. A cape, which, by the way, is a lot better tailored than a lot of the cloth parts from this particular line. Under the cape, there’s a fully detailed, fully armored body. This armor design first showed up in toy form back during the Revenge of the Sith days, shared by the Senate and Royal Guards from that line. The sculpt is top-notch, and the armor is nice and sharp. The arms are just a touch on the long side, but that makes them look a bit better when the cape is pulled down. The Senate Guard’s helmet is actually one of my favorite designs from the prequels. It’s got this cool futuristic Spartan warrior flair to it, which is quite fun. The paint work on the Senate Guard is quite subtle, with lots of variations of blue. The armor is appropriately shiny, which looks nice. The blue on the cape matches pretty well with the paint and molded plastic, which is definitely a plus. The Senate Guard is packed with a blaster rifle, which he can hold in his hands, or sling over his shoulder, as well as a small blaster to keep in his hip holster.
IMPERIAL ROYAL GUARD
“Resplendent in crimson robes and armor, the Imperial Royal Guard protected the Emperor. Secrecy shrouded the Guard, with rumors abounding about the sentinels’ backgrounds and combat capabilities.”
By far the best known of the four designs seen in this set. The Royal Guard never does much in Jedi, but they sure look cool, and they’re one of the Empire’s most distinctive designs. This figure’s actually a pretty straight re-release of the single-released Royal Guard from last year. Of course, that one was pretty scarce, so the re-release was more than warranted. Apart from the head, this figure’s sculpt is identical to the Senate Guard. He had it first, so it’s fair. The helmet is a pretty perfect recreation of the simplistic design from the movie, and sits perfectly on the body. The paint work on this guy is the same as the Senate Guard’s but with shades of red instead of blue. The differences between the reds are a bit more pronounced, though, which I think looks a little bit better. The Royal Guard includes a staff, and the same blaster pistol as the Senate Guard.
EMPEROR’S SHADOW GUARD
“Each one of these elite guards is specially chosen by Palpatine for his exceptional loyalty to the Empire, and for his ability to use the Force. Each of the Shadow Guard carries a pike that can be ignited to use as a lightsaber-like blade.”
The Royal Guard has taken the black! Okay, I’m not actually familiar with this one. My extensive research (read: I googled “Emperor’s Shadow Guard” and skimmed the link) tells me the concept comes from The Force Unleashed. That makes this another video game-based figure, which is pretty cool, I guess. Structurally, the figure’s 100% the same as the Royal Guard, which seems sensible, since they’re essentially the same design. The main difference is that this one’s been done up in black, so he looks super edgy. And also super slim, right? Has he lost weight? No, it’s just the black. The Shadow Guard includes a new staff, with a removable laser blade, as well as the blaster pistol from the other two.
ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD
“As the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke was flanked by crimson-clad guardians, loyal protectors encased in ornate armor ready to defend the Supreme Leader from any threat.”
Last up, we’ve got the most recent, and most unique of the designs in the set, the Praetorian Guard. I’ve already looked at one Black Series Praetorian Guard. This one’s got a
new hat different helmet. Hasbro released all three styles of helmet in both scales; this one is the “hat-wearing” helmet that we also saw in the two-pack with Rey. Probably my least favorite of the three designs, but a solid one nevertheless. Anyway, this figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation. He’s largely the same figure as the other Praetorian Guard. The big change is obviously the helmet, which it just as nicely detailed here as it was on the smaller figure. The other, more subtle change is the skirt, which is now a cloth piece instead of sculpted. It matches better with the rest of this set, but it means he’s not consistent with the other two Praetorian Guards, which is rather frustrating. Also, while it improves posability, I don’t find it looks quite as good. The Praetorian Guard is packed with his axes that snap together into a bladed staff, just like the smaller figure.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ve been eying this set up for a while, but it’s got a hefty price tag, so I was biding my time. As luck would have it, the set went on clearance at Super Awesome Girlfriend’s GameStop, and she was nice enough to buy it for me. I’m glad I was able to finally get my hands on a basic Royal Guard, and I’m actually thrilled to have the Senate Guard, since it’s one of my favorite designs. Another Praetorian is never a bad thing either, and the Shadow Guard is fun in his own right. Overall, quite a fun set, especially since I didn’t have to pay full price for it.
What is the plastic quality on the Royal Guard and Shadow Guard like? The first Black Series release seemed very soft, and I was wondering if this was any better. Thanks for the great reviews, too!