#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.

#2130: Darth Maul

DARTH MAUL

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)

“The evil Sith apprentice Darth Maul engages in a fierce lightsaber duel with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Star Wars: The Black Series‘ debut line-up was an interesting assortment.  Though everything included was instantly recognizable and a distinctive Star Wars element, everything was sort of adjacent to top tier.  The Luke included wasn’t his main look from any of the movies, the trooper included wasn’t a standard Stormtrooper, and the Sith lord included wasn’t Darth Vader.  It was Hasbro’s bid at trying out the line without potentially sacrificing any truly pivotal figures to possible early-line production issues.  Given the slightly more middling line-up, the first series was a much smaller run compared to later in the line, and some of its figures became quite tricky to track down as the line progressed.  In order to give new fans a chance to catch up, Hasbro instituted a new sub-line, dubbed “Archive” as an easy way to re-pop in-demand figures from older assortments.  While the first series was completely focussed on the Original Trilogy, the second line-up adds in some of the Prequel characters, including by far the most marketable character to come out of the Prequels, Darth Maul!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Darth Maul is one of the four figures in the second Archive line-up, and the second of the original Black Series figures to be featured (the third to get a re-release, counting the 35th R2; only the Sandtrooper remains without a reissue).  Rather fittingly, this assortment arrived at roughly the same time as the latest series of the main line, so Maul and Obi-Wan hit shelves together.  Maul stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Compared to more recent releases, Maul’s articulation is slightly more rudimentary, and a little less fluid; essentially it’s just the Legends articulation of 2013 applied to another line.  It’s most noticeable on the neck joint, as that’s an area where the two lines have most clearly diverged.  At the very least he has the ball-jointed torso to mix things up, which ends up being a pretty major saving grace of the figure’s articulation.  That said, it’s entirely workable even in its current state, and honestly a little better than some of the mid-line figures that would follow it.  Maul’s sculpt was always really the star offering of the initial line-up, being a solid recreation of his on-screen appearance with well-integrated articulation, and a decent level of detailing.  While it’s not all quite as sharp, it’s still a solid selection of work.  Maul’s paintwork isn’t too involved for the most part, with the body just being variants of matte and shiny black.  The real star work is on the face, and it’s also the only place where there’s a change from the original release, since he uses the new face printing for his eyes.  It’s not a super noticeable difference, but it helps him fit in better with the more recent figures.  The original pitch for the line was as close to one-and-done as possible, and Maul’s accessories were designed with that in mind.  He’s got an extra head with robes attached, his binoculars, and his double-bladed lightsaber, which has removable blades and can be split in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like a fool, I passed on the original release of Maul when the first assortment was out, because I was trying to stick to the “no prequels” rule, which I hadn’t yet abandoned.  By the time I’d rethought it, he had jumped considerably in price, and so I had to play the waiting game.  While the Archive line-ups so far haven’t been for me, Maul was on my list as soon as his name was floated for the line.  He’s definitely a strong figure, and probably one of the best from early in the line.  He also pairs really nicely with Obi-Wan, which is a huge plus.

Maul was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Star Wars, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1902: Sohei Darth Maul

SOHEI DARTH MAUL

MEISHO MOVIE REALIZATION (BANDAI)

Post-Christmas reviews, begin!

Yes, it’s that time of year when I’ve gotten so many new toys from all the people that love me so much, and I always feel the best way of handling a large influx of new toys is to just jump headlong into the reviews.  No turning back!  Today, I kick things off with a theme that I assure you will be sticking with us for a good portion of the reviews to come: Star Wars.  That said, today’s focus item is a slight variation on the theme.  He may be from Star Wars, but it’s definitely a more conceptual version of the story.  I’m taking my second look at Bandai’s reimagining of the Star Wars movies as Samurai films, Sohei Darth Maul!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sohei Darth Maul is one of the 2018 releases from the Meaisho Movie Realization line, which re-envisions Sith Lord Darth Maul as Sohei, or a warrior monk.  Admittedly, “warrior monk” isn’t much of a stretch from the basic Jedi thing.  It’s *almost* as if the Star Wars characters naturally lend themselves to this sort of thing!  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 43 points of articulation.  As with the Royal Guard, there’s something of a learning curve on posing these guys, though I had a much easier time with Maul, largely do to already having experience with the line.  Maul’s sculpt appears to be totally unique to him, which is sensible, given that as a prequel character, he would be of a slightly vintage than the Vader and troopers we’ve gotten so far.  It’s certainly a very nice sculpt, with lots of detail work worked throughout all of its various pieces.  The texturing on his tunic is very realistic, and keeps it from being too bland, and the armored pieces are all quite intricately designed.  The head is rather demonic, even for Maul, indicating that he’s actually some form of spirit or demon in this reimagined version of the tale, which is certainly a cool concept.  It gives Bandai free reign to have a bit of fun with it, and the end result is a very expressive piece.  The paint work on Maul is quite impressive, especially given the fact that the character is typically quite monochromatic.  While his basic clothing is still straight black, the overlying armor has all sorts of subtle color work going on.  It makes for a very interesting looking figure, and he’s got plenty of elements to help him pop off of the shelf.  Darth Maul is packed with a pair of swords, which can be attached at the hilt to simulate his signature double-bladed saber from the movie.  The actual blades can also be removed simulation them being turned off.  Also included are a face mask  (furthering the demonic experience), and beads, which can be removed to mix up the appearance.  Finally, he includes three sets of hands in fists, gripping, and open gesture poses.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the Royal Guard before him, Sohei Darth Maul was a Christmas gift from my boy Tim.  I had actually just been looking at this figure about a week prior to receiving it from him, so it was a rather well-timed gift.  Again, like the Royal Guard, there’s just a lot to like about this figure.  He’s got a cool look, has a great selection of alternate appearances, and is just generally a lot of fun.  I really look forward to seeing what else this line tackles (I’d kill for a scout trooper, let me tell you).