#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.

#2751: Asajj Ventress

ASAJJ VENTRESS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An assassin trained in the ways of the dark side by Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress yearned to be considered a true Sith, but such status wasn’t allowed under the Sith’s Rule of Two.”

One of the notable carry overs between both the 2D and 3D Clone Wars was Dooku’s ill-fated apprentice, Asajj Ventress.  While she didn’t make the jump to the movies the way her follow-up Grievous did, Ventress nevertheless became quite an important piece to Clone Wars’ overall story when it was expanded upon for the 3D series.  Just don’t talk about the fact that she kind of just disappears because the episodes that were supposed to close out her story were never produced.  That just seems rude.  Ventress has been in a pretty good spot when it comes to toys since the very beginning, with a handful of both animation and realistically-styled figures going back to the days of her 2D appearances, but she’s just now finally make her way into Black Series, with a figure I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Asajj Ventress is figure 07 in the Clone Wars-portion of Star Wars: The Black Series’s latest incarnation.  She heads up the fourth assortment since the re-launch, and is the only directly Clone Wars-inspired figure in this particular set.  Asajj is based on her initial appearance from the 3D show, when she was still serving as Dooku’s apprentice.  It’s definitely her most tried and true design, and probably the most distinctive of her looks, really.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation. The articulation scheme on this figure is generally fairly decent, though it does feel a little more restricted in a few spots than other more recent figures.  The skirt is certainly a piece of that, though it’s not too terrible in that regard.  The tabard at the front is really the biggest issue for the legs.  Also, somewhat oddly, they’ve opted to give both of her wrist joints a side-to-side joint, rather than forward and back, which, to me, feels like it would be the more natural motion given her style of lightsaber.  But, it’s not exactly a new thing for people to not understand how Ventress and Dooku should be be properly using their sabers, so I guess I shouldn’t be too shocked at this point.  Otherwise, Asajj’s sculpt, which is all new to her, is a pretty nice piece of work.  She ranks very highly on the list of translations from animation style to realistic.   She maintains the overall likeness of the character, but still looks like a really person.  The detailing on her outfit is pretty sharp, with the best work definitely going into the wraps on her arms and mid-section.  The construction on the skirt works pretty much the same as the smaller Clone Wars version; the bulk of it’s cloth, with the belt and tabard being plastic.  I quite like the cloth they’ve picked for the skirt itself; it hangs well, at the sheen looks quite slick in photos.  Asajj’s paint work is pretty solid work overall.  The face uses the printing tech that’s become the norm for the line, which works well here.  The rest of the detail work is fairly clean, and she doesn’t seem to be lacking any notable coverage.  Asajj is packed with her two curved-handled lightsabers, which she can hold (slightly incorrectly), or keep on her belt.  They can also be combined into one thing, which is kinda awkward, but also is accurate, so good on them for keeping that detail.  Just the two sabers does feel maybe a bit light, but I don’t know what else you could giver her, really.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ventress is one of those characters that really grew on me as Clone Wars progressed, and after my re-watch of the show in the last two years with Super Awesome Wife, she was definitely one of the characters I was hoping to see show up in Black Series.  I was certainly glad to see her announced, and the final figure’s an overall pretty nice product.  I wish the wrists worked better for her, but otherwise I do quite like the figure.

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.

#2705: Clone Commander Fox

CLONE COMMANDER FOX

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Commander Fox led the Coruscant Guard, an elite clone trooper unit assigned to serve as peace-keepers on the Galactic Republic capital.”

With all of the new Archive releases covered (or substituted for the earlier release, as was the case for Cody), I guess I’ll fill this week out with a couple of older releases that I have on hand.  The photo at the end of yesterday’s review may have cued some readers into the fact that I have Clone Commander Fox, but I have not yet reviewed Clone Commander Fox, so I guess I might as well get on that.  How about this here Commander Fox figure?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Commander Fox was a shared retailed exclusive Black Series release from 2019.  Technically, he was a GameStop/Thinkgeek exclusive, but he was also offered up through Big Bad Toy Store, so he was rather thoroughly distributed.  Fox’s design follows the trend for all of the Clone Commanders’ designs so far, going for his Phase II design.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Fox is built on the standard Clone Trooper body, for better or for worse.  That’s overall a good thing, but it does mean that he’s got some slight issues regarding range of motion on his joints, as well as the lack of a trigger finger on his left hand, for the purposes of dual wielding.  He’s got the adjusted belt with the holsters like we saw on Wolffe and Rex, along with a cloth kama piece to match.  The kama still seems a little short, no doubt due to using the same pattern as the other two.  Fox gets a new helmet piece, which is rather similar to Cody’s but lacks a couple of Cody’s specific details.  The standard portions of the helmet match up in style with Cody’s helmet, indicating that they at least started from a common point.  The visor, which is a separate piece on both, is a notably softer plastic here, which causes it to be slightly warped on my copy of the figure.  It’s not terribly so, but it’s noticeable.  Fox’s paint work is pretty nicely handled.  The base work is pretty clean, and the predominantly red coloring helps him stand out.  There’s a lot of fun detail work going on, with some notable wear and tear on his armor.  It gives him a realistic vibe, which works pretty well.  Fox is armed with a DC-15A long rifle and a pair of DC-17 pistols.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve pretty much thrown in the towel on resisting getting any of the Clone Commanders, so I knew I wanted Fox as soon as he was shown off.  That being said, it being Fox, I wasn’t in a major rush or anything.  I actually wound up picking him up from an All Time trade-in, back before I even got yesterday’s Cody figure.  I just kept putting off reviewing him because, you know, life, and all.  But, I figured, with Cody finally getting reviewed, I might as well clear out all of the Clone reviews on deck.  Fox isn’t the most impressive of the Clones, but he’s got a distinctive look, and now I’ve got a red one, so that’s cool.

#2613: Mandalorian Super Commando

MANDALORIAN SUPER COMMANDO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Darth Maul’s Mandalorians modified their armor to reflect allegiance to the Dark Lord. These super commandos wore red and black, and some even fashioned horns atop their helmet.”

The Mandalorian side of the Star Wars universe has been getting a good deal of focus these days, thanks to a show of the same name being kind of a big deal and all.  While this is certainly the most prominent focus the culture has gotten, their background has been in place for a while.  It was originally a strictly EU thing, but made its first foray into more main stream culture via The Clone Wars, whose saga of Mandalore’s fall mad up the back bone of the show’s second half, and playing a large part in the show’s multi-part finale.  Said finale serves as the inspiration for the first fully-Clone Wars-inspired assortment of Hasbro’s Black Series, with the Mandos themselves making up half of the set, one from each side of the Mando Civil War.  Today, I’m looking at one of the Mandos on Darth Maul’s side of the conflict.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Mandalorian Super Commando is figure #05 in the Clone Wars subset of the latest relaunch of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s the highest numbered of his four figure assortment, which is, as of right now a Walmart-exclusive set.  However, the marketing on this particular set has been very vague about the actual exclusivity of this set, and all signs point to it just being an early exclusivity deal, much like Ectotron and Gigawatt were.  Time will tell, of course.  This guy is based on one of Maul’s Super Commandos, specifically the most ornate of the bunch.  It’s armor that was initially seen on Maul-faithful leader Gar Saxon earlier in the show’s run, prior to being adopted by a few of the other Mandos in the show’s final season.  It’s a cool design to be sure, combining all of the cool elements of Maul and the Mandos into one.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  The Super Commando is built on the Jango Fett body, which is…I mean, I guess it’s not the worst, but it’s not the best either.  It comes from a period when the line wasn’t at its best articulation wise, so it’s a bit stiffer than more recent offerings.  On top of that, Jango was a little chunkier than how the Mandos have been portrayed elsewhere.  Now, obviously some of the difference comes from the move from animation to realistic, but it still makes the guy seem just a touch schlubier than he should.  Overall, though, it’s still not a bad sculpt, and the detailing on the armor is pretty darn sharp.  The Super Commando gets a new head, wearing the horned helmet mentioned in the bio.  By far, it’s the best piece of the figure, and is a really clean, really sharp recreation of the design from the show.  He also gets a new belt and upper legs with new holster pieces, which are now separate parts without the straps.  This does at least aid in the posability of the figure at the hips.  Lastly, there are new shoulder pads on the upper arms, with some spikes to match the helmet.  It helps to make the figure sufficiently different from Jango, so he does at least feel a little bit new.  The Super Commando also gets a brand new paint scheme to match the new parts.  It’s pretty solid, although if I have one complaint, it’s that the grey used for the body suit seems a little lighter than it should be.  Other than that, it’s a pretty striking design.  The Super Commando is packed with the same rocket pack that came with Jango, as well as a pair of the standard Mandalorian pistols, borrowed from Sabine.  It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to be workable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While watching the last few seasons of Clone Wars, I was really hoping to get some more figures from the show’s later seasons.  When this assortment was shown off, I was super excited…until the whole “Walmart” bit got mentioned, which thoroughly killed my buzz.  Fortunately, Max was able to help me out on this guy here at the very least.  He’s definitely cool.  Not without his flaws, but cool.  Hopefully the rest of the assortment ends up showing back up in a more easily acquired fashion so that I can get the rest of them.

#2583: Clone Trooper – Kamino

CLONE TROOPER — KAMINO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Clone Troopers were grown on the planet Kamino from the genetic template of bounty hunter Jango Fett and made into a highly-efficient military force.”

Ah, yes, the Clone Troopers.  My gateway drug into having prequel stuff in my Black Series collection.  Thanks a lot, clones.  Over there bein’ all awesome and stuff.  Why’d you have to be like that?  Awww, you know I can’t stay mad at you, clones.  You’re just too darn cool! Well, guess I better just buy a whole slew of new ones, right?  Cool.  Cool cool cool.  No doubt, no doubt.  Sure is convenient that there’s, like, a slew of new ones on the horizon, isn’t it?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Kamino Clone Trooper is part of the first assortment of the latest relaunch of Star Wars: The Black Series.  As noted in the Rebels Hera review, these new figures ditch the numbering scheme of the prior lines, and each have a little mural, separated by their source material.  The Kamino Trooper is based on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and is at launch the only figure from that set (though there’s the whole currently Walmart-exclusive Siege of Mandalor sub-set, as well as a Cad Bane that will be added for the next assortment).  This clone is a show-exclusive design, seen on the Kamino security officers in the episodes “Conspiracy” and “Fugitive.”  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  The major selling point on this particular clone is that he’s the first to utilize the all-new Clone Trooper base body that Hasbro’s rolling out with this Black Series re-launch.  Honestly, it’s overdue.  The old clone body was great for its time, but The Black Series has improved its articulation schemes leaps and bounds in the past six years since that base’s introduction, and it was really starting to show its age.  We’d already seen an update with Rex, but that was a more commander-oriented body.  This one’s far more all-purpose.  While it’s technically got less joints, the range on those joints is a lot better, allowing this clone to get far deeper poses.  He actually can hold his rifle correctly (something the prior body struggled with), and he can get into a pretty solid crouch on one knee pose, which is something the other figure couldn’t do at all.  Really just a head to toe improvement on posing.  But, it’s not just the range of motion that’s impressive; the cohesiveness of the sculpt is also still preserved, and in fact improved over the original mold.  The armor is cleanly recreated and looks really slick.  The helmet is certainly the best Phase II helmet we’ve seen from the line as well, and there’s actually a full head up under it, although it’s unpainted and the helmet’s glued in place.  Still, they’re clearly doing some future planning with that piece.  The paint work on this guy is pretty strong.  It’s very grey, of course, but that’s accurate.  There’s a lot of markings on this particular design, and the application is all pretty sharp.  I really love the shoulder pads in particular; they’re really clean, and it’s just a cool design.  The Kamino Trooper is packed with both the DC-15A rifle and DC-15S blaster.  Like the clone, they appear to be new molds, but it’s hard to say quite as definitively.  They certainly work well, and it’s nice that he still gets both options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I like clones, and as I’ve gotten more into my collecting of this line, I’ve grown to like the clones even more.  It’s been a bit since we’ve gotten any troopers, and doing a rewatch of the show leading up to the finale certainly made me want to see more of them in the line.  So, this guy was probably my most wanted out of the new line-up.  As luck would have it, he was also the first I was able to get my hands on.  He’s really awesome, and I look forward to getting a whole slew of other clones built on this body.

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.