STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)
“Fearsome desert savages, Tusken Raiders are the foremost reason Tatooine colonists do not wander far from their isolated communities.”
The Mandalorian gets a lot of credit for finally actually doing something worth while with Boba Fett and thereby making all the fuss around him finally worth it, but for me, it’s biggest tale of redemption lies not with Boba, but with Tatooine’s largely unexplored nomad populace, the Tusken Raiders. The films portray them as little more than savages, generally a purely malevolent force. The beat up Luke, shoot at Anakin, and murder Shmi….not exactly in that order. Even when Anakin slaughters an entire camp of them, we’re largely meant to be concerned with the effect said killing has on Anakin, not looking into the horrific slaughtering of a camp that just occurred. In The Mandalorian, we not only have our first non-antagonist interaction with the Raiders in the mainstream cannon, but also see our first “heroic” character that doesn’t immediately treat them as horrific monsters. Din’s brief communication with them in Season 1 demonstrates that they do in fact have a language of their own (just a largely non-verbal one, which was a fascinating change), but also hints at something more complex to their culture than violent acts. Season 2 delves even further, giving us a closer look at their true nature, and even allowing them to actually be good guys for a change. Perfect time for a re-issue of their Black Series figure, I’d say!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Tusken Raider is part of the fourth assortment of The Black Series Archive. This whole assortment is dedicated to reissuing army builders, specifically ones that have some new found prominence courtesy of The Mandalorian. The Raider re-releases the one that showed up twice before, both in 2017, once as part of the main line, and once as part of the 40th Anniversary for A New Hope. All three figures are effectively the same, especially with no need for updated face printing and the like. The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation. The articulation scheme is definitely a product of it’s time; he’s pretty much got the same set-up as the ANH Obi-Wan, so the elbows are slightly restricted in movement, and the legs are kind of encased in the plastic skirt. It’s not the end of the world, though, and it’s certainly not the worst the line had. In fact, it’s pretty useful, once you kind of reset yourself back to how the articulation was earlier in the line. Fortunately, though the sculpt may be older, the actual sculpting work is really top notch. It definitely ranks very highly on the scale of Hasbro’s sculpts for this line, with the work on the head in particular being a fantastic example of realistic detailing at this scale. It really does a spot-on job of capturing the Tusken’s head gear as seen in the movies. The rest of the sculpt isn’t too bad itself, detailing the various layers to the clothing, as well as the smaller work on the bandoliers and belt. It’s all topped off with a cloth robe piece, which melds well with the sculpted elements, and also adds a bit more flowiness to the design. Technically, you can remove the robe, but I opted not to get into that, as it didn’t look very easy to get back in place properly. The paint work on the Raider is pretty decent work. The base work is generally pretty clean (although there’s a little slop on the edges of the bandoliers), and there’s a fair bit of accent work on the wraps, which does a nice job of bringing out the sculpted details. Given Hasbro’s tendency to skimp on some of the painted details for this line, it’s nice that they went the extra mile here. The Raider is packed with a selection of extras that’s definitely designed with optimal army building in mind. He’s got a rifle, as well as a Gaderffii stick with three different attachments for the top, allowing for some customization. Both pieces are easy for him to hold, and are nicely detailed items in their own right.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I missed out on the first two releases of this figure, since 2017 was kind of a lighter year for me in terms of income, and subsequently in terms of buying as well. At the time, I didn’t really feel like I needed the Tusken Raider, so I didn’t feel terribly as if I’d missed out. Their appearances on The Mandalorian gave me a new appreciation for them, so I was definitely glad to get another chance with this re-release. The figure’s a very nice one, and was definitely one of 2017’s best sculpts. Even now, it’s no slouch. I didn’t know what I was missing, but now that I do, I’m very happy to have added this one to my collection.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review. If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.