STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)
“The public face of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate, Dryden Vos is a contradiction: a pitiless enforcer known as a gangster of wealth and taste. His good manners shouldn’t be mistaken for weakness, though: he can change from generous host to ruthless killer in a moment.”
Solo‘s antagonist Dryden Vos had quite a time making it into toy form, largely due to the character having even more of a time making it to the big screen. He was originally to be played by actor Micheal K. Williams, who filmed his scenes wearing motion-capture gear in order to facilitate the character being a CGI character of some sort. When Ron Howard took over as the film’s director, Williams was unavailable for re-shoots, and the character was still without an actual final design. Short on time and money, Howard cast his frequent collaborator Paul Bettany (whose text asking for a role is so perfectly in character) in the part, and changed his design from a CGI monster to…Paul Bettany, but with some scars. Ultimately, it seems to have worked out pretty well, as Bettany’s turn as Vos was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Of course, all of the shifting around with the character meant that he was almost completely absent from merchandise. His first figure from Hasbro arrived on shelves almost a whole year after the initial Solo product launch, and I’ll be looking at it today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Dryden Vos is figure 79 in the Star Wars: The Black Series line-up. He’s from the most recent assortment of figures, which just started showing up last month. He’s one of two Solo figures in the line-up, the other being a Mudtrooper Han variant. Dryden has two looks in the film, both following a fairly similar theme. This figure is based on his initial appearance, when meeting with Han and Tobias after their botched heist. Of the two designs, it’s the more visually striking, thus making it a solid choice for the figure. He stands a little over 6 1/4 inches tall (Bettany’s a tall guy) and he has 29 points of articulation. Dryden’s sculpt is an all-new affair, and it certainly captures Vos’ svelte nature pretty well. As is common with Black Series sculpts, he can look a little off in some more extreme poses, but for the most part it works. The head sports a pretty spot-on Bettany likeness, building on the already solid likeness we saw on last year’s Vision figure. Dryden’s rather distinctive jacket/half-cape combo is rendered here through a separate overlay piece, which can be a little finicky when posing his left arm, but is otherwise a really sharp addition to the figure. I’m glad they didn’t go the cloth route for this one and risk losing the visual sharpness of the design. The piece *can* be removed from the figure, but it really doesn’t serve him well to do so, nor do we see him in this outfit without it, so on him it will stay. There is one small inaccuracy to this figure’s sculpt: his thumbs. One of the few “alien” aspects of the character’s design were his oddly pointy thumbs, a feature that this figure lacks. That said, it’s a minor feature, and one that most people are likely to miss. It hardly holds the figure back. Dryden’s paintwork is full of nice, very subtle work, keeping all those darkly colored pieces of the costume distinct from each other. The most impressive work is definitely on the face, though. In the film, Dryden’s scars become redder and more visible when he gets angry, a feature replicated here through thermo-sensitive paint. At room temperature, Dryden’s scars are faint, but when exposed to cold, they’ll flare up to a dark red. It’s a really fun touch, and something that could be easily overlooked. Dryden is packed with his pair of distinctive knives, which he uses to dispatch those who disappoint him in true Star Wars villain fashion. Like Dryden himself, these are temperature sensitive, and will exhibit a bright orange hue at the ends when exposed to cold, simulating how they power up in the film.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I really liked Dryden in the film, and I was definitely bummed when no figures of him were available. It’s been a long wait, but this guy hit Amazon for retail, allowing me to snag him pretty quickly. Though perhaps not the franchise’s most pivotal character, Dryden is high in the running for my favorite Star Wars villain, and his figure absolutely did not disappoint. He rounds out an already pretty awesome set of Solo figures. Now, is it too much to ask for a Qi’ra that actually matches him?