#3191: Rise of Boba Fett

BOBA FETT, BOSSK, & ANAKIN SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Ever since the Battle of Geonosis, young Boba Fett has made it his mission to confront the Jedi who defeated his father. Jango’s son doesn’t care that the duel between his father and Mace Windu was a fair battle between skilled warriors; Boba wants his chance to fight the Jedi. Eventually, his hunt is successful. He and Bossk fly Slave I to a planet where Mace and Anakin Skywalker are on a mission. The moment has come, and Boba is determined to make Windu pay for his actions on Geonosis, and to take his place as the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy.”

Prior to the Book of Boba Fett, as far as general audiences were concerned, Boba Fett was a character in three Star Wars films with about five lines spread across them, and very little in the way of motive or characterization.  I mean, there was probably something there, but it was easy to overlook.  Even within his expanded universe stories, the character’s main set-up was just being the ultimate undefeated bad-ass who was the best at everything all the time.  He was like a walking Chuck Norris joke.  It’s honestly kind of boring, narratively speaking.  The first real bit of character work he got came when he was worked into Clone Wars, seeking vengeance on Mace Windu, the Jedi that killed his father.  Since Clone Wars was a prequel to Revenge of the Sith, a story where Mace is still alive, so he can’t exactly have anything of note happen to him.  So, Boba’s revenge arc must instead take the form of a character study, as he faces inevitable failure.  Given he’s a character that was previously defined as undefeated, it’s a unique take, and one that made the character far more intriguing to follow.  There was a whole set of figures based on the arc from the show, and I’m looking at that (or a portion of it), today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

“The Rise of Boba Fett” was a Toys R Us-exclusive Ultimate Battle Pack released in 2010 as part of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars line.  It consisted of Boba Fett, Bossk, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, R3-B7, the Slave I, and Mace Windu’s Starfighter.  Today, I’m just focussing on Boba Fett, Bossk, and Anakin Skywalker.

BOBA FETT

There were two Boba Fett’s in the Clone Wars line, but this one was specifically based on Boba’s first arc on the show, where he sports his Kamino clone smock thing that he uses to infiltrate the cloning facilities, which is also effectively the same attire he’s got in Attack of the Clones…which begs the question, did Boba change his clothes between his appearances, or was he just running around in the same set of clothes for god knows how long?  Only Boba really knows.  Or perhaps those who were within smelling distance.  The figure stands 2 3/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Boba’s an all-new sculpt, sporting just shy of the line’s best articulation scheme.  All he’s really missing are the universal joints on the hips, but given the outfit, the t-hips are just fine. The sculpt is pretty solid, especially for that mid-line level of being fairly accurate to the show models, but just a bit removed for accuracy’s sake. He’s perhaps a little full-faced for animated Boba, especially when compared to the later single release, but it’s still a very good piece of work. Boba’s color work is largely pretty basic. Most of it’s just molded colors, but what paint application is present is all pretty clean. Boba included a display stand, a collector card, and a chance cube. Light for a figure on his own, but given how much other stuff came with the set, not too surprising.

BOSSK

Another OT character getting some representation in Clone Wars, it’s Bossk, whom the show confirmed had ties to Boba pre-Empire. He too appears to have not changed his clothes in the meantime. Of course, it’s a pressure suit, and presumably there’s other stuff beneath it, so I guess it’s maybe a bit less gross.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Bossk’s sculpt is all-new, and remained exclusive to this release.  It’s a pretty impressive piece of work.  It really embraces the style of the show, so that it’s clearly different from a standard movie Bossk figure.  I really enjoy the exaggerated proportions, as well as the lager scale relative to the other figures in the set, and I like how the articulation works with the rest of the sculpt.  The color scheme on the figure takes Bossk’s usual colors, and goes slightly brighter with them.  The paint work is pretty basic, but it’s clean, and it does what it needs to.  I particularly like the slight accenting on the exposed skin.  It really sells the detailing on the sculpt well.  Bossk is packed with his usual blaster rifle, as well as a display stand and a collector card.

ANAKIN SKYWALKER

You gotta have one of the main guys in the big sets, I suppose, so this one got an Anakin.  Not the worst thing ever, but, you know, it’s still another Anakin.  This one is, at the very least, a pretty good one.  The figure stands a little over 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articuation.  This Anakin re-uses the mold from the Space Suit Anakin, which, while it looks like just a re-use of the first series Anakin at first glance, was actually an updated mold, with a better articulation set-up, specifically giving him actual knee and ankle movement.  Beyond that, the sculpt is just a pretty impressive piece.  It’s fairly accurate to the show design, while still working in the articulation and everything pretty well.  Anakin’s color work is nicely handled; there’s a fair bit going on, and the detailing on the armored parts in particular is quite an impressive set-up.  Anakin is packed with his lightsaber, a display stand, and a collector card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember this set being released, but I was not in the market for the whole set-up, with the big vehicles and everything, especially at that time.  It just wasn’t really worthwhile for the two figures I actually wanted.  When these three came into All Time a couple of years back, I was able to get those two, plus the extra Anakin, which is honestly a pretty good one too, all in a more affordable package.  Boba got a slightly better figure later, but this one’s still cool, and the Bossk figure is very definitely hard to beat.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with these figures to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

 

#3186: IG-86 Assassin Droid

IG-86 ASSASSIN DROID

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“An IG-86 Assassin Droid lies deactivated in a Trandoshan trader’s cargo hold until a buyer can be found for the dangerous droid. But he is accidentally reactivated by a clumsy astromech droid, and the lives of everyone on board the ship are in peril.”

In addition to fleshing out the prequel-era characters, The Clone Wars also placed a focus on more directly tying the two trilogies together.  We got handful of younger OT characters featured, as well as a few lineages, and predecessors to things seen in the OT.  Amongst those predecessors, a recurring feature were the IG-86s, precursors to IG-88 and other Assassin Droids of the same model.  They never really step beyond bit player, but they help to more fully fill-in the world around the characters, and they always make for a good toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The IG-86 Assassin Droid was released in 2008 as part of the first year of Hasbro’s Clone Wars tie-in line, where he was figure #18.  The figure saw a few multipack releases as well during the line, with minimal deco changes, as well as one more widely changed version in the form of Ziro’s assassin droid, added to the line as figure #37 in the following year (that’s the one pictured next to Wilson over on the right).  All of the releases used the same mold.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  The IG-86 mold was one of the most posable molds in the whole line, with universals on the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.  He’s also got posable hands as well, making for far better gripping of the weapons.  The point is, there’s just a lot you can do with this guy, and it’s a lot of fun.  The sculpt is one of the best from the line.  It’s a great recreation of the animation model, with a nice merging of function and form.  Figures like the most recent Vintage Collection IG-11 are totally still banking on how this figure worked.  For the first release, IG-86 got a tarnished and dirty finish, a stark contrast to the usually more clean Clone Wars offerings.  It was a really impressive set-up especially for the time, and captured the whole “deactivated” thing quite well.  Ziro’s assassin droid trades in the grime for a unique set of markings, as well as a less metallic finish than the original release.  It’s suitably different, but cool for its own set of reasons.  Both versions of the Assassin droid, included two droid-style blasters, as well as a backpack for storing both of them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The standard IG-86 was one of my earliest purchases from the line, shortly after he hit retail.  I’ve always had a soft spot for IG-88, and I liked seeing the elements in animated form.  The sculpt, form, and function all just really work, making him one of the line’s very best.  I like him so much that I wound up snagging Ziro’s assassin from a collection that came into All Time, just so I could get another chance to mess with it.  They’re both really fun, and I love the two different decos.  Seriously top-notch.

#3181: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

Obi-Wan battles the enemies of the Republic as war expands across the galaxy. The Jedi General continues his hunt for General Grievous and leads diplomatic missions to far-flung worlds. Whether he is battling droids or negotiating with potential allies, Obi-Wan is resolute in his fight to save the Republic.”

The prequel films were, admittedly, not great when it came to character building. They were a bit like reading a Wikipedia article on the events. All the big stuff was covered, but there was ver little human element. The Clone Wars does a lot to salvage the films and the characters within by actually spending time with them, and even giving them some genuine emotional arcs, making you actually care about what happens to them. Though technically one of the main characters of the films, Obi-Wan had the misfortune of largely getting shoved to the side in favor of the plot. The Clone Wars gives him his own stories, and even a small glimpse into his history before the movies. And it also lets him just be cool, and that’s never a bad thing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obi-Wan Kenobi was released in 2011 as figure 40 in Hasbro’s Clone Wars Collection. He was the fifth version of the character in the line, and the first to be based on Obi-Wan’s improved design model from later in the show, as they slowly moved him closer to his RotS look.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  As the line moved into its more show-design accurate era, the Clone figures notably took a slight hit to articulation, but, on the flip side, the Jedi characters made out a lot better, by virtue of, you know, actually getting knee joints.  That’s the case with Obi-Wan, and even with the harder plastic skirt piece and the t-hips, he still manages to be quite mobile.  His sculpt was an all-new one, and it’s a far more show accurate one than the four that preceded it, and for my money, more accurate than those that followed it as well.  There’s a really good flow to it, and I love all the sharp angles.  The style is really captured well here.  The color work on this guy is generally pretty good as well.  The paint work is cleanly applied, and the colors all match well with the show.  Obi-Wan’s only accessory was his lightsaber.  It was a step down from prior offerings, but it does at least cover the basics, so it’s got that going for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The late run Clone Wars figures were much harder to keep up with at retail, so by this point I was really just making do with what I already had.  Since I already had the first Obi-Wan, I wasn’t actively searching for another, and this one slipped under my radar.  Back in the summer of 2019, All Time got a sizable collection of Clone Wars figures, and I wound up snagging a large swath of them.  Mostly, they were clones, but I also picked up this figure out of the bunch.  He’s probably the best Obi-Wan to come out of the line, and certainly my favorite.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3176: Clone Trooper Hardcase

CLONE TROOPER HARDCASE

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

 

“Clone Troopers train for combat on the planet Kamino. Kamino is not only the place where the clone troopers are engineered, it is also where they are trained in battle tactics, fighting techniques and explosives. Seasoned clone troopers push the cadets hard to turn them into the toughest and most skilled soldiers in the galaxy.”

The success of Star Wars: The Clone Wars comes from how well they humanized the clone forces of the Republic.  Previous, just a sea of identical cannon fodder, the show went out of its way to name them and give them each a unique personality.  It also gave them plenty of stock for all sorts of Clone Trooper figure variants of all those cool named Clones.  Today, I’m looking at one of those clones, who specifically has a penchant for blasting.  Without further ado, let’s look at Hardcase!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Trooper Hardcase was part of the 2012 “Republic Troopers” Movie Heroes boxed set, under the overall Star Wars: The Clone Wars banner.  The other two clones in the set, were Cutup and the Bomb Squad Trooper.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Hardcase made use of the second major Clone Trooper base body for the line.  This one placed priority on capturing the animation style, rather than full articulation like the earlier base body.  Both bases have the pluses and minuses.  I do quite like how this one looks, but it’s certainly not going to be pulling off the same level of posing as the earlier mold.  Still, there’s plenty of posing to be had with it, more than the early non-Clone figures, even, and it definitely captures the look of the clones in the show very nicely.  Hardcase’s main change-up is the paint scheme.  He’s largely white, but he’s got some nifty blue detailing, matching up with his design in the show.  The application is nicely handled, and there’s even a little bit of simulated weathering to really make it look worn-in.  Hardase is packed with a large blaster rifle, which itself was on its second main sculpt by this time in the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the time this set was released, I was pretty much out of Clone Wars figures in their first run.  But, over the years, I’ve been keeping my eye out for cool Clones as I’ve been able to get ahold of them.  Hardcase wound up getting traded into All Time loose shortly after I started working their full-time, and he wound up being one of my earliest grabs as I was processing the collection.  He’s just the basic clone with some new painted details, but you know what, it’s a good formula, and it made for a lot of really cool figures.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3032: Cad Bane

CAD BANE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A ruthless bounty hunter from the planet Duro, Cad Bane was the preeminent blaster-for-hire in the galaxy at the time of the Clone Wars. No quarry was too dangerous for Bane … if the price was right.”

Well, hey, this one’s actually pretty timely, huh?  Or…is it?  You know, cuz, umm, spoilers or whatever.  Introduced in The Clone Wars cartoon, and patterned on Lee Van Cleef’s Angel Eyes from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Cad Bane is probably one of the few examples of an attempt to create another Boba Fett actually kind of working.  He’s generally a pretty popular character in his own right, and has managed to find footing in two additional series outside of Clone Wars‘ run.  His toy coverage has been surprisingly sparse.  He got a small handful of figures during the Clone Wars run, and back in late 2020, he also got a Black Series figure.  Sure would be a shame if that thing were, like, impossible to get, or something, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cad Bane is figure 6 in the Clone Wars sub-line of The Black Series‘s Phase IV incarnation.  He’s only the second Clone Wars figure to get a standard release, though he did also get a Pulse-exclusive release, which was the same core figure, but with his robot sidekick Todo 360.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  Cad’s articulation style is of the new breed of articulation for the Black Series figures, but as an earlier release, he’s kind of at the beginning of them figuring things out, so some of it’s not quite as refined as more recent figures.  The joints are all there, but the range isn’t always.  The neck and elbows are both more restricted than I’d like.  Cad’s sculpt is unique to him.  As a character that, at the time, had only animated appearances, there’s a degree of artistic license on translating him from Clone Wars into a real-world style.  Things on this one end up adhering much closer to that animated style than any other characters to make the jump in this line, barring possibly Zeb.  Essentially, they took the animation model, ever so slightly tweaked a few of the proportions, and added a fair bit more texturing.  It ultimately works pretty well, especially given his more alien nature in-universe.  There’s a lot of actual layering going on with the assembly of his outfit, which looks really sharp, and also gives him quite a bit more depth.  The figure’s hat, bag, and breathing apparatus are all removable, adding some extra variety to his display options.  I’m not super crazy about the hat, if I’m honest.  The shaping seems a little bit off, and it doesn’t really sit securely at all, at least on my figure.  You can kind of find a decent spot to hold it a little better, but even then, it’s not going to be staying in place during any posing.  Cad Bane’s paint work is genuinely pretty solid.  There’s not a ton of variety of color inherent to the design, but they make up for it with a lot of weathering, which helps to really sell the character’s gunslinger angle.  Cad is packed with his twin blaster pistols, which he can either hold, or stow in his holsters.  It’s a shame we couldn’t also get his rifle, but given how much is going into the core figure’s construction, it’s pretty understandable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If you keep up with the site, you might recall that I reviewed the rest of Cad Bane’s assortment of Black Series figures at the beginning of last year, while they were still rather new.  Why not review Cad then?  Because I didn’t have one.  For whatever reason, that assortment was scarce, and Cad was the only one with no immediate re-stock, so I had to wait until they finally got the solid cases of him distributed, which took over a year’s time (hey, he did better than Bly, whose restock took almost two whole years, and happened after his packaging style had already been abandoned).  So, it was a bit of a wait.  Was he worth it?  Generally, yeah.  I’ll admit that he did let me down just a tad right out of the box, but that might have been due to the whole playing up the hype in my head thing.  I’ve had him for a bit now, and I’m warming up to him.  He’s got some issues, but I like the overall product a lot.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3028: Tech

TECH

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Tech is the computer and weapons specialist, the most talkative of the group.  His genetically enhanced brain can puzzle through technical issues at speeds even faster than some droids.”

Remember all the way back in April, when I took a look at the first two members of the titular team of clones from The Bad Batch?  Well, hey, like 10 months later, I finally have another one of them to talk about!  Shway!  In my review of the team’s second member, Crosshair, I discussed how the team members all really fall back on classic action movie team archetypes.  Hunter is the fearless leader, Crosshair is the cold marksman, and today’s focus, Tech, is the resident smart guy.  Go smart guy, go!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tech is figure 04 in the Bad Batch sub-line of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series‘s Phase IV incarnation.  He’s the third member of the actual team in this set, and the second to last of the initial line-up for the crew.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  While the other two members of the team shared a good number of parts with each other, Tech’s more removed, more Scout Trooper-inspired design means that he actually gets an entirely new sculpt.  Thus far, it’s my favorite of the three team sculpts I’ve looked at.  While Hunter and Crosshair stuck a little closer to the actual animation design, Tech does a better job of sort of hybridizing things, meaning he retains all of his distinctive elements from the show, while still really fitting right in with the rest of the standard-release figures.  The only part I’m not crazy about is how they’ve worked the knee joints into the sculpt; I feel like they’re too low on the leg when he’s posed.  Beyond that, it’s all really strong.  There’s a ton of detail work going into his costume elements, and whole bunch of depth to the sculpt.  A number of the armored pieces are separate overlays, adding to this depth quite nicely.  As with the others, Tech features a removable helmet.  It follows the show design quite well, and even includes a posable visor, which is fun.  Under the helmet, there’s a head that looks remarkably like Phil Collins, if I’m honest.  He’s not sporting his signature glasses from the show, but that’s honestly one of those in-show cheats, since he wouldn’t be able to have them under the helmet anyway.  Tech’s paint work is a pretty decent set-up, improving on the other two a bit.  There’s just a lot more going on with the layout of the color work here, and it gives him a lot more to work with.  The underlying head gets the printed technique, which looks good on the sculpt.  Tech is packed with a small blaster, three different tools, and a back pack.  The blaster’s standard issue, and doesn’t actually have a spot for storage, but I’d rather have it than not.  The tools can all be stashed on his belt, where they stay nice and secure.  The back pack is a little loose when plugged into the back, but otherwise it’s a cool piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of the core Bad Batch team, Tech was definitely the one I was looking forward to the most.  I just really like his design, and I was looking forward to seeing it in toy form.  It was a long wait to get him, but I’m really happy with the end result.  Definitely my favorite of the team so far, and just generally one of the best Black Series figures of the more recent offerings.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3027: Aurra Sing

AURRA SING

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A feared bounty hunter known for her chalk-white skin and built-in comlink antenna, Aurra Sing was an expert sniper and trained assassin who would work for anyone who paid her.”

In prep for this review, I realized that I haven’t actually reviewed any Black Series figures in a rather astounding seven months.  No, really, the last one I looked at was the Luke from Heir to the Empire.  Not really a high note to go out on, either, unfortunately.  Well, after quite a delay, I’ve finally got some more of these figures to look at.  I’m kicking things off with the first post-Boba Fett attempt at creating another Boba Fett, Aurra Sing.  Designed as a background fill-in character for the podracer sequence from Phantom Menace, before getting a more proper name, Aurra was simply referred to as “Babe Fett” by her designer Doug Chiang, so the intent behind her was pretty transparent.  Not that it was overly successful, of course.  She got a little bit to do in the old Expanded Universe, but was largely out of the spotlight until being tapped to be a recurring bounty hunter in The Clone Wars.  There she was finally fleshed out a little bit, and would have even had her arc wrapped up completely, had the show not been cancelled.  As it stands, the “resolution” to her arc became an off-hand reference to Tobias Beckett killing her offscreen some time before Solo.  Which, honestly?  About on par with everything else going on with the character.  Well, she’s got a Black Series figure now, so I guess I’ll take a look at that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Aurra Sing is figure 8 in the Clone Wars-sub-set of The Black Series Phase 4.  She’s the first figure in the final 2021 assortment of the line, and the only one to be Clone Wars-based.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Her articulation scheme is slightly on the more restricted side, kind of in line with what we saw on Asajj Ventress, the last figure in the Clone Wars set numerically.  You almost have to wonder if some of these similarly themed figures were being designed in batches.  Aurra does get slightly more movement on her joints, especially the arm joints, which are great for properly holding her long rifle, as well as getting some fun poses with the pistols.  Aurra’s sculpt is all-new, and it’s generally pretty decent.  It’s an interesting experiment, seeing as she’s based more on her Clone Wars appearance than her brief live-action one, but she’s still realistically detailed.  It’s an astoundingly subtle difference from just a straight Phantom Menace figure, but there it is.  It works out pretty well, and they’ve made the articulation work nicely within the sculpt’s aesthetics.  Aurra’s paint work is overall an okay set-up.  The printing works well for detailing the eyes and mouth, and the base work on the body is decent.  She does lose out on some of the base details on the back, which is a bummer, but otherwise things look pretty decent.  Aurra is packed with her long rifle (with removable sling), and two twin blaster pistols.  The sling on the rifle isn’t quite as secure as I’d like, but the pistols can be stashed securely in the holsters on her hips.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m by no means an Aurra Sing fan.  There was a lot of build up that went really no where, and she’s just never clicked with me.  She does alright in her Clone Wars appearances, though, so I guess that makes her a little better as a character.  This figure at least looked pretty cool, and ultimately, she turned out pretty nicely.  Still not my favorite or anything, but she’s fun.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2844: ARC Trooper Echo

ARC TROOPER ECHO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

First introduced in the first season episode “Rookies,” Domino Squad is a group that The Clone Wars uses to really showcase the general progression of the clones throughout the wars, as well as also hitting home just how bad war can be, seeing as the Squad has a tendency to fall like, well, dominos.  Central to the squad’s early stories are Fives and Echo, the two that have the most advancement of any clones in the show, starting off as mere cadets, and eventually becoming full-fledged ARC Troopers.  Echo himself has gone even further, becoming one of the few Regs to continue his story post-Order 66 as part of Clone Force 99, aka the titular team from The Bad Batch.  This kid’s got some range, let me tell you.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ARC Trooper Echo is another of the four figures in the Target-exclusive Clone Wars-retro assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s the first figure of Echo in the line, though it would be an incredible shock if he were the last, given the incredible prominence of Echo’s updated Bad Batch gear.  As the name signifies, this figure is based on Echo’s ARC Trooper look, which he sported in the “Citadel” arc of the show, which is notably the story that “killed” him, before the final season brought him back.  It’s the look that had the most appearances within the show (prior to The Bad Batch, of course), and it’s his coolest look as a Reg.  Plus, they haven’t done any actual ARC troopers in this scale, so he’s a good reason to introduce the tooling.  It does mean that he doesn’t actually go with any other figures in the line, of course, since he doesn’t match up with the Batch, and he also doesn’t match up with Rex, since Rex was in his Phase I armor still when Echo died, but there are worse things to have to deal with.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Remember how I mentioned the weird mix-up of Hawk retooling Rex’s body into a more basic clone body, rather than using the newly introduced basic clone?  So, you might assume that Echo, with his ARC Trooper gear, would naturally be using the Rex body as well, right?  Nope.  Echo’s on the new basic clone body, with a bunch of stuff tacked onto it.  I know.  It’s weird.  I mean, it’s still a nice body, so I’m not complaining.  I’m just confused, that’s all.  In order to update that standard clone armor into a full ARC Trooper set-up, Echo gets a new set of forearms and lower legs, as well as new add-on pieces for his additional torso gear, as well as his belt, kama, and holsters.  He’s also got a brand new head and helmet to complete the whole set-up.  It’s interesting that he’s got a rubber kama, as opposed to the cloth we’ve gotten for the commanders thus far, but I don’t hate the look, and it doesn’t hold back the articulation too badly.  The unmasked head continues the trend of the unmasked clones not looking all that much like Temuera Morrison, though this one does at least seem to be heading a bit more in the right direction, I suppose.  The helmet sits well on the head, though, which is a definite plus, as some of the others have had a little bit of trouble with that fit.  The rest of the new parts mesh well with the old, and the end result is a quite nicely put together ARC Trooper set-up.  The paint work on Echo is generally pretty decent.  There’s a good deal of variety to it, but the application is generally pretty cleanly handled.  There are some fuzzier edges on a few of the blue lines, but it can be written off to a little bit of wear, to be honest.  He’s got the face printing on the unmasked head, which definitely helps with the likeness, at least a little bit.  And, just to make him properly Echo, he’s got the hand print graffiti, which is always a fun touch.  Echo is pretty well accessorized, getting a long blaster rifle, a short blaster rifle, and two blaster pistols.  He still can’t properly hold both pistols at once, of course, since only the right hand has a trigger finger, but at least you have some options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“Rookies” was the first episode of Clone Wars that really spoke to me, and I’ve long since had a soft spot for Domino Squad, and Echo in particular.  I always liked his story, and I was sad when he was killed off in the “Citadel” arc.  I was very glad to see him brought back in Season 7, and he’s thus far been one of my favorite parts of The Bad Batch.  I hope to get a Batch version of him soon, but I’m also glad to have gotten him in his peak form here.  Sure, he doesn’t match up with anyone at the moment, but hopefully we can at the very least get a Fives to go with him.  Once again, thanks to Max for setting me up with this one.  I wasn’t expecting him to be quite as easily acquired, but I’m happy he was.

#2843: Clone Pilot Hawk

CLONE PILOT HAWK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Store exclusives have been the bane of pretty much every collector’s existence for the last year, because not only has the number of things that are exclusive jumped, but so has the number of people trying to scalp them in order to make a quick buck.  Not helping matters is the general lack of quality distribution when it comes to actually getting them out there, making for an all around just unpleasant experience.  So, there’s definitely a little twinge of anxiety that hits every time a new item is announced, and then also confirmed as an exclusive.  In the case of Star Wars: The Black Series, there’s a whole sub-set of throwback Clone Wars figures, which seemed poised to be the worst thing ever to get, but which now seem to be significantly less so, which I suppose is a good thing.  For me personally, I was most invested in getting the clones, which I have.  I’m starting things off today, with a look at Clone Pilot Hawk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Pilot Hawk is one of the four figures in Target’s exclusive assortment of Clone Wars-retro carded Black Series figures.  He’s the most obscure character in the bunch, to be sure, notably being the only one included who has never had a figure, even in the days of Hasbro’s far more expansive Clone Wars toy line.  Not only did we not get Hawk, we never even got one of the pilots with this specific helmet design, which does feel kind of baffling when you get right down to it.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Now, the fact that Hasbro very recently introduced an all-new basic clone body into the line might lead you to believe that Hawk might, you know, be built on it, what with being kind of a basic clone and all.  However, you’d in fact be a fool to think that, because he’s absolutely not built on that body.  Neither is he built on the old clone body, though, so don’t think that either.  Instead, he’s actually built on the Captain Rex body, for some reason.  I mean, I’m not knocking it.  It’s a good body in its own right, and certainly an improvement on the old clone body, meaning his movement isn’t really restricted like it would have been on that older body.  In fact, his movement’s pretty darn great, so that’s cool.  He gets an all-new head for his unique helmet, as well as a connected breathing device, to signify his pilot nature.  Also, in a far more minor touch, he also gets a new belt, sans the kama and the holsters.  The new parts are nicely crafted, with the helmet in particular being the real star piece here.  It does a quite respectable job of walking the line between animated faithfulness and merging with the realistic style of the line.  I definitely like it a lot.  Hawk’s paintwork is generally pretty nicely handled.  There’s a little bit of slop on the hands on my figure, but he otherwise turned out pretty nicely.  I like the extra markings on the armor, as well as how they’ve weathered them a bit to show that his armor’s been in use.  Hawk is packed with a standard small Clone Trooper blaster.  It’s a little light, but it’s also fairly standard set-up for a pilot figure in this line, so it’s hard to say it’s a surprise.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawk was my only “must have” figure in this set, largely because I’ve just always liked this particular pilot design and it’s literally never gotten a figure before.  I was happy he got a figure, but not so happy that it wound up as an exclusive.  Fortunately, Max was able to help me out with this one, as it wound up being literally the first of the four he saw at retail.  He turned out really nicely, and I’m curious to see if we might actually get some of the other Clone Pilots in the main line now.  Time will tell.

There’s also a bit of a post-Jess segment to this one as well.  This figure is the last figure added to my collection before Jess died.  Max brought him to me during her last week in the hospital, and I had him with me those last few days.  He’s the last new figure I got to show her, and the last figure she got to be excited about me adding to my collection.  I didn’t know that when I got him, but those are the sorts of things you never do know, I guess.  I do know that showing off my new figures to her was one of my very favorite things about collecting in the last eight years, and the items I gotten since all feel a little different, since something’s very definitely missing.  He gets to be my last contact to that feeling, and the last true part of that collection.  My collection post-Jess will be a different one, and I’ll have to figure out how as I move forward.  But this guy’s not going anywhere, I can tell you that much.

#2767: Mandalorian Loyalist

MANDALORIAN LOYALIST

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“When Darth Maul betrayed and defeated Pre Vizsla, Death Watch splintered into two groups. Those who wanted to embrace Mandalore’s warrior heritage remained loyal to Maul.”

Okay, so, I can’t help but feel that the bio above would actually be more appropriate for the *other* Mandalorian trooper from this particular set.  You know, the one that was a figure of one of the Mandos that actually was loyal to Maul?  Rather than this guy, who is clearly meant to be one of the Mandalorians who sticks with Bo-Katan and is on the “heroic” side of the Siege of Mandalore?  Oh, god, I’m critiquing bios again.  I gotta stop letting myself do that!  I’m probably really messing hardcore with some poor copy writer at Hasbro who’s just trying to do their best.  Why can’t I just leave them alone?  It’s just toys!  And it’s not even the part of toys that anyone really cares about, either!  …I mean, not that it’s not a very important part of the job.  You go, copy writer!  …Where was I?  Ah, yes, action figure review.  Yes.  Let’s do that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Mandalorian Loyalist is figure #04 in the Clone Wars sub-set of Star Wars: The Black Series Phase IV.  He’s part of the Walmart-exclusive four figure assortment based on the final arc of The Clone Wars.  The set hit shelves last fall, in theory at least, though in practice most people are still waiting.  As touched on above, this figure is based on the armor worn by the Mandos that remained loyal to Bo-Katan, and kept their slightly more heroic looking blues and greys.  It’s not as ornate as the Super Commando, but it’s about function over form, I’d imagine.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is virtually identical to his Maul-supporting equivalent.  That means he too is built from a lot of Jango’s parts.  It’s still a clunkier body than what we’re used to these days, but after now having two Mandos built on it, I’m warming a bit more to its overall look.  Perhaps it just works a little better for this particular design.  He doesn’t get the updated shoulders from the last one, instead keeping Jango’s less pointy ones.  He keeps the modified belt and upper legs of the Super Commando, which brings him more in line with the animation designs.  His only truly unique piece is his helmet, which is similar to the Super Commando one, but without all the horns.  Like I noted above, this new helmet’s not super showy or anything, but it gets the job done, and it does look nice.  The paint work on the Loyalist is what really separates him from the Super Commando.  He’s a lot bluer, and a lot more subdued, but it’s a good look.  There’s some solid work on the weathering for his armor, as well as the markings on each of his shoulders.  There are a lot of details on this one that are easy to miss.  The Loyalist is packed with the same accessories as the Super Commando: a jetpack borrowed from Jango and a pair of pistols borrowed from Sabine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t really have a ton of luck with this assortment at retail.  Max was able to set me up with the Super Commando, but I saw none of the others.  That certainly bummed me out, because, ideally, I kind of wanted the whole set.  This guy was probably my second most wanted figure of the bunch, so I was hoping for another shot.  Fortunately, he came in with the same trade that netted me the Clone Lieutenant I reviewed yesterday, making the whole “getting him” part that much easier!  This figure surprised me a little bit.  I wasn’t let down by the Super Commando or anything, but after getting him, I expected very little from this one.  I was pleasantly surprised by how nicely he turned out, and by how much work Hasbro put into this seemingly more basic design.

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.