#1752: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“A mighty Wookiee nearly two centuries old, Chewbacca has fallen upon hard times during this age of the expanding Empire.”

Let’s keep this extraneous Star Wars love going, I suppose…wait, that doesn’t sound quite right.  Never mind.

I broke my rule about the clones, but I also had this other rule with the Black Series, where I was going to avoid minor variations of the same characters.  Now, technically Vader was the first one I broke the rule for, but that was a slightly special case.  I stayed true with Chewbacca and didn’t buy the Force Awakens variant.  Well, Solo broke me, what can I say.  Was he worth it?  Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chewbacca was released right around the same time as the rest of the Solo product launch, but the comparatively soft roll-out of the Solo product compared to prior movies meant that he just started showing up in some places very recently.  He’s not part of the main line-up, but is instead a Target exclusive.  Chewbacca stands 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation. Unsurprisingly, given his generally consistent look over the course of the film’s, this Chewbacca figure shares a lot of parts with the original Black Series release, namely everything but the head, upper torso, and bandolier. I was rather critical of the sculpt back when it was new, and I still stand by those critiques.  There are just some issues that are inherent to the process of adapting a design like Chewbacca’s into a highly articulated plastic figure.  There are going to have to be some compromises, and they do have negative impact on this sculpt.  With all that said, I think this figure does a lot to salvage the sculpt.  The new head is really strong.  While it’s been reworked to allow for the goggles to sit better on his face, he actually still looks pretty good without the goggles in-place.  In fact, he makes a for a decent approximation of Chewbacca’s messier hair style from Empire and Jedi, which I’m definitely okay with.  The new torso’s really just a slight change, mostly done to help the new double-strapped bandolier sit better on his shoulders.  But it definitely helps, and as a result, this Chewbacca’s bandolier sits a lot flusher to the body than the first one’s did.  It’s a minor change, but one that does a lot to help the figure.  Minor changes to the sculpt aside, I think the biggest thing that helps this new release is the paintwork.  The first Chewbacca was released during the line’s worst period paint-wise.  While his paint wasn’t *bad*, it was definitely very basic, and lacking in any form of subtlety, which hit that figure pretty hard.  By contrast, this figure’s hitting while the line is at a very high point, and he definitely shows it.  The transitions between shades on the fur are less jarring, and work has been done to keep these changes from being right on the joints.  In addition, he’s far less glossy overall, which only helps in making him look a lot less goofy.  In Solo, Chewbacca hasn’t yet gotten his distinctive bowcaster, so he’s instead carrying a different heavy blaster rifle entirely.  This one’s patterned on the M-60 machine gun (thanks Tim!), which is certainly a fun one.  The piece is very well sculpted and an accurate recreation of the design from the movie.  And, not only does it avoid the usual lack of paint issue, but it’s even got moving parts!  A very impressive piece.  In addition, Chewbacca also includes his goggles from the train heist, which go on and off pretty easily.  Not as impressive as the gun, but fun nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw Chewbacca fairly early on, back in May, but decided to pass on him at that time.  Of course, then I didn’t see him for a couple of months, so when I came across him again (after having seen and quite enjoyed the movie), I didn’t feel like I could pass him up.  I’m glad I opted to get him the second time around, as he’s a pretty sizable improvement on the last one, and definitely my favorite Chewbacca to date.

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The Blaster In Question #0052: Chewbacca Blaster

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CHEWBACCA BLASTER  

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (GLOWSTRIKE)

chew1Changing gears only slightly from last week, I have another movie tie-in blaster for you.  I mean, it’s mine, it’s for me.  You can’t have this one.  The review is for you, though, so you’re welcome.  With the building hype surrounding the upcoming Solo film, of course Hasbro brought some goodies to the table.  Today, I’ll be looking at the supposed primary weapon of everyone’s favorite space-faring shag carpet, at least for this movie (we don’t like to talk about the Nerf Bowcaster).  As a bonus, I’ll be reviewing this blaster entirely in Chewie’s native tongue.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

chew2Rara arrarRA RARA rara rARAAA rrrrrr  aa A r AR A a RR r RRRR A AAAA ra ARRAARAA aarararra raar ar ra rarar rrr aa ra raa rarra ararr aara ok, that’s enough of that.  What I said was, this blaster was released in 2018 as branded merch for the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story.  Despite its size, it’s actually a very simple blaster, mechanically speaking.  It’s effectively a muzzle-loading shotgun that fires two darts at once.  It might have been nice to have a staggered trigger on the blaster like the Roughcut, but that would have added a significant amount of additional bulk and moving pieces, and subsequently driven the price up.  It does seem like Hasbro are trying to be a little more wallet friendly with this round of Star Wars products, probably after seeing how slowly the more recent Deluxe Stormtrooper blaster and its $80 price tag moved.  As with all Star Wars blasters now, the Chewbacca blaster features lights and sounds and uses the Glowstrike darts to approximate the feeling of firing a laser weapon.  The sound effect in this blaster is fairly satisfying and bass-y which is definitely fitting.  The use of real-world firearms as the bases for the movie props once again gives this blaster pretty good ergonomics.  This blaster in particular is built on the receiver and stock of an M60 machine gun.  I feel confident that the Nerf version is substantially scaled down from the original but they’ve kept the grips a good size so it’s not bad.  The stock of the blaster has a storage area under the butt plate, and is removable, using the chew3standard Nerf stock attachment lug.  There’s also a rail on the top of the blaster for the included scope if you want, or you could remove it and leave it off forever.  That’s valid too, especially with a scope like this.  At least you have the option to take it off without using a hacksaw.  I know it’s meant to look like the movie prop, so I can’t fault Hasbro for including it, but it’s just a narrow tube in a weirdly shaped shell.  The scope on the Han Solo blaster pistol has a sight front post so you can at least pretend you’re aiming it properly.  It might have been nice to have something like that here, but sadly no.   Something noteworthy about this wave of Star Wars blasters is that the boxes actually advertise range claims.  Historically, Nerf only bothers doing this if the performance is at least halfway decent, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when that turned out to be the case here too.  It’s almost even more impressive when you remember this blaster fires two darts at once using a single plunger tube (we also don’t like to talk about the DoubleDealer).  Having to reload 2 darts for every trigger pull does slow down your potential for follow-ups, the decent amount of power, the lights, the sounds and the Glowstrike darts make this a great blaster for ambushing your younger siblings, especially at night.  The Chewbacca Blaster comes packaged with the stock, the scope, and 6 Glowstrike Elite darts.  Batteries are only required for the lights and sounds, and the Glowstrike functionality.  Fortunately, they come already installed in the blaster.chew4

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I bought this blaster on one of the regular scavenging trips Ethan and I make to TRU.  While I was initially a little disappointed by how simple the mechanism was, I did gradually stop caring too much about that given how nice the other features are.  Not including the scope.  Sure, it’s not super-efficient or practical as far as Nerf blasters go, but is it fun?   ARr r R RRRaaa arar raarr RA RAR A rr a raraara raa rara.  That’s a “yes.”

 

#1415: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

For The Force Awakens, Disney had some restrictions on which characters were allowed to be released before the film, which almost completely relegated the original trilogy’s returning heroes to post-film assortments.  One major exception to this was the franchise’s premier walking carpet, Chewbacca, who made several appearances at the first Force Friday.  I didn’t get any of them, but the option was there, and that’s the important thing.  Chewie’s returning yet again for The Last Jedi, and given that he accompanied Rey to meet Luke at the end of the last film, it’s likely he’ll be receiving a more prominent role to boot.  He’s taking it slow on the action figures this time, with just the one figure to start with.  That’s better than nothing, though.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chewbacca is another of the 11 launch figures for the Star Wars: The Last Jedi line.  He comes from the Teal assortment, and gets to fight with C-3PO over which one of them’s the more known quantity in the set.  Chewbacca is based on his ever so slightly tweaked look from the new trilogy. It’s not much different from the prior design; the big change is the new bandolier.  The figure’s a big one, standing almost 5 inches tall.  He’s got the standard 5 points of articulation, though the neck movement is rather limited by the design.  The sculpt looks to re-use the torso and left arm from the TFA Millennium Falcon Chewie, albeit with some slightly sharper mold-lines.  The rest is new, or at the very least tweaked. The head and bandolier remove the elements of the Falcon headset, and the head gets an open mouthed expression in contrast to the closed mouths of the last two Chewies.  The bandolier is a separate piece, but thanks to the slight divot on the torso, it actually stays in place, which I’m a fan of.  The legs now have the slightest bend at the knees, making him appear to be mid-stride, and the right arm is bent at the elbow, so he can hold his bowcaster at least a little better than the prior figures.  There’s a nice heft to this figure, which I think has been missing from some of the more recent Chewbaccas (the Black Series version in particular felt far too scrawny to me).  Getting the paint right on a Chewbacca figure is always a little difficult.  Fur’s not easy to handle, especially at a mass-production scale.  This figure does okay.  Some of the transitions could stand to be a little more subtle, but I’ve seen far worse.  The work on the eyes and mouth is very sharp, and the bandolier is pretty decent, too.  Chewie is packed with his bowcaster, which is a new, three-piece mold.  It’s a cool idea, but ends up falling apart a lot, especially when you try getting him to hold it.  Chewie also includes the newest Star Wars-sensation, the Porg!  I have no clue how prominent these little guys will end up being, but it’s nice to get at least one small-scale version in the initial launch, and especially nice that it’s not in a huge set (like poor BB-8 was for TFA).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t pick up a single Chewbacca from the Force Awakens product.  In fact, I haven’t actually bought a small-scale Chewbacca figure since the Star Wars Saga release from 2003.  I guess getting a new one was a bit overdue.  I wasn’t 100% sold on getting this guy, but when I saw the figure in person during my pre-Force Friday find, I liked him enough to put him on my list for the actual event.  He’s a nice figure, definitely one of the better versions of him I own.

#0672: Bounty Hunter Chewbacca

BOUNTY HUNTER CHEWBACCA

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II

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My first introduction to Star Wars toys was courtesy of Kenner’s Power of the Force II line of figures. The interesting thing is that I came into the line during the second round of figures, so some of my initial versions of the main characters weren’t exactly standard issue. I’ve already discussed how Dagobah training Luke was my first figure in the line, and some of the other main characters followed a similar pattern. Chewbacca was one such character, which seems a little odd, since you wouldn’t think there would be a lot of potential Chewbacca variants. Well, faithful reader, feast your eyes on Bounty Hunter Chewbacca!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ChewieBountyHunter2Bounty Hunter Chewbacca was part of the second year of Power of the Force II figures. He was released as part of a small subset of figures based on Shadows of the Empire, which is a story set between Empire and Jedi. In the story, Chewbacca has to take on the guise of well-known Wookie bounty hunter Snoova in order to infiltrate Imperial City. So, technically, this figure could pass for either character. This is only the third time that Chewbacca had made it into the 3 ¾ inch line, which is surprisingly low, given his prominence. The figure stands a little over 4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. As a Chewbacca variant, you might think that this figure would be heavy on reuse. However, that’s not the case, as the only shared part between this and the regular POTF2 Chewie is the left leg. Everything else is new to this guy, though the sculpt maintains more than a few similarities with the regular version. Chewbacca definitely has a slightly exaggerated style about him (as did most of the POTFII figures) but I think this is one of the few figures in the line that really couldn’t work without the slightly cartoony feel. The concept looks pretty nifty here, presented in all its over-complicated 90s glory, but placed on a more realistically proportioned body I dare say it would look downright silly. And being exaggerated certainly doesn’t mean the figure doesn’t have some great texturing. The armor in particular looks sufficiently worn and beaten. Someone had a lot of fun sculpting this guy. This version of Chewbacca also got some of the very best paintwork POTF2 had to offer. All of the base paint is cleanly applied, with minimal bleed over. He’s also got some pretty nice work on his fur, which, in story, has patches died to make him look more like Snoova. They could have just been solid blotches of color, but they’ve actually been worked in rather subtly, making them look like they’re actually died into his fur. Chewbacca was packed with a giant blaster and a sci-fi looking axe, which both just add to the 90s over-complication thing. They can both be held, or the axe can also be plugged into his back for storage.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy was my very first Chewbacca figure. If I recall correctly, Chewie was one of the last main characters I got. I remember that my Grandmother took me to the store (Sears, I think) specifically because I had asked to get a Chewbacca figure. I seem to recall that both versions of Chewbacca were there, but I picked this one. Even then I knew what cool was! The one pictured is actually a replacement I picked up a few months ago, as the original got lost some ways back. I have to admit, I was ready to tear into this one for its absurdity when I first sat down to write this, but I’ve come out of the review with a rekindled love for this X-Treme little guy.

#0580: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

Chewbacca1

Once a line of figures gets a few series in, there will inevitably crop up one or two characters that are noticeably absent. Following the first three series of Star Wars: The Black Series, it was quite obvious that these two characters were Darth Vader and Chewbacca. Then, both found their way into the 5th series of the line. And there was much rejoicing! Yay! Except for one small issue: they weren’t exactly easy to find. See, there were two things that led to this. The first was that stores were sitting on lots of unsold stock of the first four series, so they under-ordered Series 5. In addition, while the series was all new figures, two of the four were variants of previously released characters. Obviously, this made the two new characters even more desirable, causing quite a bit of scarcity. I myself missed out on Chewbacca the first time around, but, fortunately for me, he got a rerelease!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chewbacca2Chewbacca was originally part of Series 5 of Star Wars: The Black Series, however he eventually found his way into Series 7 cases as well. He’s figure number 04 in the second round of numbering for the line. The figure has 27 points of articulation and stands a whopping 8 inches tall. He’s actually so tall that he was pushed back to Series 5 from Series 4 so that Hasbro would have time to re-design the packaging so that poor Chewy wouldn’t have to be crammed in some contorted pose in order to be properly seen. Dude’s really big.  Chewbacca is one of the handful of characters who essentially look the same in all of the Star Wars films they appear in. That being said, you can sort of tell which movie he’s from by what his “bangs” are doing. For this figure, they’ve gone with the slicked back A New Hope look, which works fine with me. Given Chewbacca’s unique look, it’s no surprise that he makes use of an entirely new set of sculpted pieces. To be totally honest, it isn’t one of my favorites that the line has produced. It’s certainly not bad, and in fact, they’ve done an admirable job of translating a design that doesn’t work very well on an articulated figure to…umm…an articulated figure. The fur is all pretty well textured, but the breaks for articulation are rather obvious and obtrusive. Not sure it could have been any better, but it looks off. The head was actually the part of the figure I liked the least at first, but my opinion has changed over time and now I think it might be my favorite part of the figure. I’m still not 100% sold on the decision for the mouth to be open, but it looks perfectly fine in person. The sculpt being a little on the wonky side is not at all helped by an iffy paint job. Now, to be fair, this paint isn’t poorly applied or messy. It’s all exactly where it should be. It’s just not as…subtle as it could be. There are two different shades of brown: one dark and one light. The problem is that there’s no shade between, so the change from one to another is rather sudden. It really doesn’t help that many of these changes occur at the connections of joints, which are already a bit jarring to begin with. Chewbacca is armed only with his trusty bowcaster. It might have been nice to get another Stormtrooper rifle or maybe a set of handcuffs, but the lighter accessory load is excusable given the figure’s size.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Series 5 was announced, I knew I wanted to get a Chewbacca figure. However, when I ended up finding the series, I could only find Luke and Vader, with no sign of Chewbacca. That bummed me out quite a bit. I mentioned it to my dad, who kept an eye out for Chewbacca for several months. He finally came across one while getting lunch from Wegman’s one day, much to my excitement. I know I was a little down on this guy in my actual review. I stand by that, but I will say that just having the figure in hand improves my personal opinion of the figure, even if the actual quality could be a bit better. I think part of it is just that Chewy is an important piece of the films and a collection wouldn’t be complete without him.

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