STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)
“His body is shielded by beskar armor, his face is hidden behind a T-visored mask, and his past is wrapped in mystery.”
The Disney+ streaming service officially launched on the 12th of last month, and brought with it The Mandalorian, our first live-action TV series set in the Star Wars universe. The prospect of a live-action Star Wars show has been rumored for years now, with one supposed to go into production around the same time as Clone Wars, but nothing ever came of it. Running sort of right alongside all these plans, there has also long been discussion of actually centering some piece of mainstream Star Wars media on fan-favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett (you know, to finally actually do something of consequence with the character after 30 years). Rumors of a Boba Fett series were floating for a bit, but ultimately those plans found themselves reworked into producer Jon Favreau’s new series, centered not on Boba Fett, but instead on an as-of-yet-unnamed fellow Mandalorian bounty hunter. As of this writing, I’ve seen two episodes, and I’m quite enjoying what I’ve seen so far. The show was one of the three projects focused on during the Triple Force Friday launch back in October, with a Black Series version of its title character being front and center.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Mandalorian is figure 94 in the Black Series line-up, and was one of 8 Black Series figures made available on Triple Force Friday, two of which were based on the show. The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation. Compared to our previous Mandalorian Boba Fett, whose figure ended up a little restricted in a few spots, this one can actually pull off a decent amount of range with his articulation, certainly some of the best range I’ve gotten out of a Black Series release. The sculpt is an all-new affair (though it’s also shared with the “Carbonized” variant of the figure), based upon the Mandalorian’s Episode 1 appearance from the show, mostly clearly denoted by the *MINOR SPOILERS* right shoulder pauldron sill being the scavenged Shoretrooper piece, rather than is proper Beskar piece he has crafted mid-way through the episode. I’m honestly okay with it, since the Mandalorian is bound to get a lot of toy coverage, and as someone who really loves the Shoretroopers, I totally geeked out seeing that piece there when I got the figure. The rest of the character’s piecemeal armor is rather nicely recreated, with some solid detailing all-around. His helmet’s not quite a pitch-perfect recreation of the piece from the show; some of the angles are a little bit softer, and the general detailing is also a little softer too. It’s possible that Hasbro was working from design sketches, or on a slightly shorter production schedule than usual. Given that the helmet appears to be the one element of the design that will remain constant, I wouldn’t be shocked if we got a slightly improved version for the next figure. Whatever the case, it’s hardly a bad sculpt, and honestly I didn’t really notice until I was directly comparing the figure with photos from the show for the purposes of this review. In contrast to Boba, this Mandalorian’s asymmetrical cape is a sculpted element, rather than a cloth one. Personally, I tend to prefer plastic, and I feel this ends up looking better then the cape on Boba did. It’s also a soft enough rubber that it doesn’t really limit posing too much, and it’s pretty easily removed if you really don’t like it. I’ve heard that Island Journey Rey’s poncho makes for decent replacement piece. There’s also an add-on piece for his belt/webgear, which isn’t really meant to be removed, but adds a nice element of depth to the figure. The paint work on this guy is pretty solid work. It’s not super weathered or 100% show accurate or anything, but it’s got a decent amount of extra detailing going on, keeping it from being totally devoid of detail like some of the mid-line figures ended up being. The colors are also accurate to the show, which is more than can be said about the Carbonized version. The Mandalorian includes two styles of blaster: a rifle and a pistol. Both are fairly nice pieces, held well in the figure’s hands, and appear to match the show’s designs pretty closely. The rifle is definitely my preferred of the two, in part due to it’s cool throwback to Boba’s first appearance in the Holiday Special. Both weapons have storage on the figure, though the rifle’s pegging into the figure’s back can be a little bit tricky, and not super reliable. The peg is just too long, and it results in a very loosely hanging weapon.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The Mandolorian was definitely the figure in this assortment I was most interested in. Of course, that’s true of pretty much every one buying these figures, so this guy is consistently the first to go from any case of figures. I was able to get mine without too much trouble, but he’s probably going to be a little rough to get until the solid cases of him start hitting in a few months. He’s a strong figure, no doubt, and I found him to be a notable improvement on the Boba and Jango figures from this line. He’s a lot of fun, and I heartily recommend him if you can get him.
My Mandalorian came from my friends at All Time Toys. They’ve sold through on initial quantities of him at the moment, but they do still have some of the others from the assortment in stock. If you’re looking for Star Wars, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.