#2299: First Order Jet Trooper

JET TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Specialized Stormtroopers of the First Order, Jet Troopers soar into battle equipped with agile rocket packs”

Alright, let’s keep this Black Series ball rolling.  Heck, let’s trek down that Rise of Skywalker path again while we’re at it.  Rise added the usual bank of new troopers, as each film tends to do.  While the Sith Troopers got a lot of the marketing focus, the coolest new additions for me were the Jet Trooper.  A Jet-equipped Stormtrooper isn’t a new concept by any means, but it’s a cool one nevertheless, and I was quite a fan of the new design they were sporting.  Lucky for me, that design is one of the earlier Rise of Skywalker designs to get covered by The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jet Trooper is figure 99 in the Black Series line-up, the second of the two Rise figures in this second post-Triple Force Friday assortment.  He was also one of the figures to receive a “Carbonized” variant on the Force Friday launch, which is the same mold, but with a different finish.  Also, a little fun fact: aside from Rey, the Jet Trooper is the only design to be available across the three styles Hasbro is producing.  Not even Kylo gets that honor.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  The Jet Trooper is probably the most impressed I’ve been with a Trooper’s articulation at this scale, with a respectable range of elbow motion right out of the gate, hips that aren’t terribly restricted, and an amazingly improved range of motion on the neck joints, especially when compared to the Sith Trooper from the last assortment.  He’s not quite as stable on his feet as his GoA counterpart, but he’s better than the Vintage Collection version, and I only had one fall during photos.  Like both of his smaller-scale counterparts, the details on his armor are nice and crisp, and his design means that the sculpt is largely unimpeded by the articulation.  Unlike both smaller Jet Troopers, he’s got a little bit of extra posability on the jet pack itself, which adds movement to the two thrusters.  It’s a nice little touch to be sure.  And, though real-world inspired, this figure maintains a lot of that same sleekness that I enjoyed so much in the GoA figure.  Perhaps the only moderately baffling element to this figure’s sculpt for me is the presence of a holster spot on his right thigh, despite the fact that his included gun doesn’t include a matching tab.  I can only guess this was in order to facilitate a straight re-use of the mold for the upcoming Sith Jet Trooper, who will presumably be including the same armaments as the standard Sith Trooper.  The paint work on this figure more or less matches the GoA figure.  It’s basic, but that’s what you expect from one of these troopers.  He does get a few more black spots, but curiously loses the outlining of his faceplate from the prior figure, despite that outline being present on other versions of the design.  There’s still a sculpted element to it, so it’s not totally gone, but it’s much easier to miss.  The Jet Trooper is on the lighter side for accessories, including only his unique blaster rifle.  The regular troopers don’t have anything else in the movie, but it’s still a little light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I liked the Jet Trooper design as soon as I saw it, but I was admittedly unsure I’d need him in every style, and wasn’t sure what role, if any, he’d play in the final film.  After seeing the movie, and finding the Jet Trooper to actually be the best utilized of the new troopers, I was very happy to have picked him up across the board.  In a similar fashion to Jannah, I opened him up after the movie, already with heightened expectations, only to discover that he was even better than I’d been anticipating.  I’d go so far as to say that the Jet Trooper is the best designed and implemented trooper of the sequel trilogy Black Series offerings, if not possibly the best Black Series trooper as a whole.

The Jet Trooper was picked up from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2253: First Order Stormtrooper

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

The backbone of the First Order and Imperial forces, and really the Star Wars universe as a whole, the Stormtroopers are a prominent fixture of the toys from the galaxy far, far away.  That being said, given their general unchanging appearance within each trilogy, keeping them fresh can be a little difficult.  We got our first standard First Order Stormtrooper in The Black Series back with the Force Awakens product launch, with a few exclusive derivations since then.  The Trooper is returning to the main line for the trilogy’s conclusion Rise of Skywalker.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The First Order Stormtrooper is figure 97 in the Black Series line-up, the final of the Force Friday launch figures numerically.  Given the grouping of the other three Rise tie-in figures, plus his general level of repeat, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that he was a late addition to the line-up to fill out the case.  The figure is a little over 6 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  The majority of this figure’s sculpt is re-used.  He shares all but the had and arms with the initial First Order Trooper from 2015.  The parts that are kept are actually the best parts of that release, being not only accurate to the source material, but also quite nicely articulated, especially at the mid-torso and the ankles.  The head was first introduced on the two Last Jedi troopers, representing the slightly more angular trooper helmet that was used in the second film.  It’s different from the original helmet, but I can’t really say that one of them is better than the other.  The arms are the new parts for this figure, and they’re notable for fixing the one major flaw of the original release: the poor range of motion on the elbows.  For the first time, a FO Trooper can get more than 90 degrees of motion, meaning he’s also the first Trooper that can properly hold a blaster rifle.  That’s gonna be fun to talk about in a moment.  The paint work on this figure follows the trend of all of the FO troopers I’ve grabbed, in that he’s okay, but not without a few noticeable flaws.  My figure has some slop on the helmet, but just in general the change overs from black to white are kind of fuzzy.  This release of the FO Trooper is packed with the riot trooper gear, meaning he’s got the shield, the improved TLJ version of the baton, and a small blaster pistol.  What’s not listed there?  That’s right, a blaster rifle.  Yep, the first FO Trooper that can properly hold a rifle doesn’t have one.  Irony of ironies.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the standard and riot troopers during the TFA run, so I haven’t really felt the need to pick up any of the subsequent figures.  I didn’t think much of this figure, but I’d already decided to pick up the whole assortment when he was announced, so he was along for the ride.  After Kylo, he’s a pleasant surprise.  Sure, it’s frustrating and almost baffling that there’s no rifle included, but the core figure is a solid improvement on the prior releases, making this the best version of the design out there.

#2226: First Order Driver & Treadspeeder

FIRST ORDER DRIVER & TREADSPEEDER

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

Oh, you probably thought I was done with Galaxy of Adventures, didn’t you?  What with the “please buy the line” urging at the end, plus that whole shot of all the figures, and it seeming like I was done.  Well…I kinda thought I was done, too.  But I forgot there was actually one more item in the launch, which is the thing I’m gonna be looking at today.  See, one of the things that was surprisingly absent on Triple Force Friday was vehicles.  With no basic 3 3/4 inch line, we only really had the Vintage Collection to go on, and that was just the two X-Wings.  Galaxy of Adventures did give us one more little reprieve of vehicle coverage, however, with an update on the speeder bike concept, the Treadspeeder!

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

The First Order Driver and Treadspeeder set is the highest price-point item in the Galaxy of Adventures line, following the classic 5 POA-style vehicle packing of “figure and vehicle”.  It’s sold in one of those open style boxes, which is always a little frightening to me, but ultimately mine was in okay condition, so no worries.

FIRST ORDER DRIVER

While the Jet Trooper is the only single-packed army builder at launch, we do get one more trooper, the First Order Driver.  Not a terribly imposing name, but it’s fairly descriptive.  The Driver merges the basic First Order Stormtrooper with a little bit of Scout Trooper.  I’m always okay with mixing in a little bit of Scout Trooper.  It’s worth noting that this particular look stays a little more on-brand than the old Scout Trooper did, making him feel more like a later-era take on the Imperial Patrol Trooper.  Ultimately, it’s a design that’s is distinctly different enough from a standard Stormtrooper to warrant them both getting a release in the line, while close enough that the lack of a basic Stormtrooper at launch doesn’t hit quite as hard.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is very similar to the Jet Trooper figure, although it’s worth noting that as similar as parts of them may look, there are no shared parts between the two figures.  I do, however, expect for this guy to have some of his parts re-used for the inevitable standard Stormtrooper.  Whatever the case, the articulation on this figure is essentially a match for the Jet Trooper, meaning that the Driver is quite mobile, which does seem pretty important for a guy who needs to be able to properly sit on a vehicle.  By this point in the reviews, the stylization of this line is pretty cut and dry.  As a masked character, the Driver is slightly less impacted by it, though it’s a little more obvious on him than it was on the Jet Trooper.  Again, there’s a real Clone Wars-vibe on him, especially with the proportions on the body, and the general layout of the articulation.  His paintwork is fairly standard, though I appreciate that he actually has a few little details on his chest piece to differentiate him from the basic Troopers.  The white/black is a clean combo, and while there’s a little bit of white bleed through on the black sections, it’s generally pretty good.  The Driver is packed with a small blaster pistol, and like the Jet Trooper, features a quick draw action.

TREADSPEEDER

The Treadspeeder is an all-new vehicle for Rise of Skywalker (though we’ve gotten a taste of it in a few of the comics ahead of the movie), but it’s not like it’s all that new a concept, and in many ways is following the sequel trilogy of similar story beats for each corresponding movie compared to the original trilogy.  But I won’t complain if you don’t.  Compared to the much smaller, much more nimble speeder bike of old, the Treadspeeder is a big boi, more of a utilitarian tank than its predecessor.  It’s an interesting design element, because other sequel trilogy elements have tended to go sleeker and more futuristic, while this seems more primitive.  Perhaps Kylo’s influence on the First Order is slowing progress a bit?  Whatever the case, it’s a cool design, and a slightly different take on things, which is never a problem.  The actual toy is definitely designed with gimmicks in mind.  The most basic and simple is definitely the rolling wheels on the bottom, which make it a bit more practical than other speeders in that regard.  Of course, since it’s a speeder, the main gimmick is a pop-apart function.  It’s been that way since ’83, and it’s not going to change now.  Pushing the button on the back pops the front plate in two separate directions and launches the driver out of his seat.  It’s a little bit temperamental, and the armor plate has trouble staying in place when you’re not using the feature, which can be a little annoying.  The speeder also has a missile launched built into one side, as well as storage for the driver’s gun on the left side of the vehicle.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so this would be the one thing I didn’t get at the same time as all of the others, mostly because it appears that Walmart isn’t carrying it.  I had looked at it at the same time that I picked up the Jet Trooper, but was ultimately unsure about dropping $25 to try out the line.  After being confident that I liked the line, I tracked it down again, courtesy of Target, who happened to be having a sale on it, which really pushed me over the edge on picking it up.  The vehicle’s not bad.  Not the best vehicle I’ve ever picked up, but not the worst thing either.  The Driver’s another solid figure, though, and I’m certainly glad to have him with my set.

The Blaster In Question #0068: First Order Stormtrooper Blaster (Rival)

BlasterInQuestion1

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER BLASTER

STAR WARS (RIVAL)

RivalStorm1Hold on. We’ve been here several times before, haven’t we?  No, once again, we’re looking at yet another First Order Stormtrooper blaster. What is this, the fourth blaster with this name?  Yes, but with a big difference. Hitherto, all the various Stormtrooper blasters have been standard dart blasters, but this particular iteration is in fact, a Rival blaster. How’s that work then? Let me tell you. Onto the review. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

RivalStorm2Arent you a little big for a stormtrooper blaster? Not you, the reader, was doing a bit where I—  you know, because of the quote from— look, nevermind.  The Rival version of the First Order Stormtrooper blaster was released in 2018 as one of the more “collector’s” style of blaster like we’ve seen with the Boba Fett Apollo reskin and the Deadpool Kronos. Like both previous examples, this blaster comes in a fancy display style of box with lots of stormtrooper imagery, as you’d expect. Unlike the other blasters, though, this isn’t simply a recolor, it’s an entirely new shell, and boy is it a shell. Mechanically speaking, the Stormtrooper blaster works just like the Helios, albeit without the ability to switch the charging handle from one side to the other. Because of this, the body of the blaster has to accommodate the same layout of internals, which is why the stock section looks a little chunky compared to props from the movies. Add to that the barrel and fore grip section which isn’t present on the Helios and you now have a pretty huge blaster.  Not that that’s a bad thing in and of itself, but it does throw a couple RivalStorm3things off just a bit in terms of the design. More of that later. Out of the box, the blaster comes with 2 extra bits that are meant to be slotted into the right side in order to make it more visually accurate to the movie prop. They don’t serve any function beyond aesthetics but I did find it interesting that they are easily removable, I guess if you want to put everything back in the nice display box. There is a scope molded into the body of the blaster so it’s not removable, but it might have been nice if they put any kind of reticle in there at all. As it stands, it’s just a tube. The aforementioned wonkiness in scale probably has the greatest impact on ergonomics. The first thing you notice when picking this up is that the grip is absolutely huge and kind of blocky. I know the Sterling submachine gun has a grip with flat sides, and consequently, so does the movie prop on which it’s built, but some contouring around where the webbing of my thumb sits would have made a big difference here, especially since the Helios has just such contouring, so it’s not an issue for RivalStorm4preserving the function of the blaster. Secondly, because the stock is so thick, the butt plate is much wider than it would be normally. Again, wouldn’t have been an issue with some light contour work, but for now, the wide plate with hard edges along the sides can be unpleasant if you don’t seat it just right on your shoulder. And that’s really all the functional complaints I have about this. I mean, it’s a Helios and I love the Helios. The charging handle on the left side is hinged so it can flip up to be more out of the way for storage or what have you, and is a pretty good shape for being as slim as it is. As a Rival blaster, performance is solid, firing hard and far, definitely something to give your younger siblings pause. The First Order Stormtrooper Blaster comes packaged in its fancy box with the two extra decorative pieces, a 7 round Rival magazine, and 7 special red Rival rounds, you know, ‘cause it’s a laser gun. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I do actually have one more complaint about the blaster, but I saw this one coming the moment I saw it unveiled at Toy Fair. It’s expensive. Really expensive. Such is always the case with licensed blasters. If you want a Helios, you can get one for about 1/4 the price of this. I got mine through GameStop with a bit of a discount, but still, you have to be sure you want this if you’re planning on picking one up. Maybe if you’re feeling crafty, you could paint the white parts gold and have yourself a Captain Phasma blaster. Then in true movie fashion you could never fire it once and then try to apprehend a deserter with a stick. Good choiceRivalStormbox

#1575: Admiral Ackbar & First Order Officer

ADMIRAL ACKBAR & FIRST ORDER OFFICER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Star Wars fandom has a tendency to latch onto certain characters, and blow there contributions way out of proportion.  The biggest example of this is, of course, Boba Fett, but coming up close behind has got to be Admiral Ackbar.  Ackbar’s big claim to fame is a unique design and one highly memorable line.  Pretty much the only difference between him and Nien Numb (introduced in the same movie, and with about the same amount of screen time) is that Ackbar actually spoke English.  Despite all of this, there was a sizable chunk of people who were genuinely angry that Ackbar’s role in The Last Jedi was that of a background character….just like he has been for his entire existence.  I personally was happy to see him again in whatever role they could give him, and even happier to see him get a new action figure out of the whole thing.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Admiral Ackbar and his pack mate, a generic First Order Officer, were released in a Toys R Us-exclusive two-pack as part of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.

ADMIRAL ACKBAR

“Ackbar became a Grand Admiral in the New Republic, winning many victories, including the pivotal Battle of Jakku.  He retired to Mon Cala but was coaxed back into service with the Resistance by Leia Organa.”

Ackbar is no stranger to action figures, but this is his first time in the 6-inch scale.  He’s seen here in his uniform from The Last Jedi, which is different from his TFA uniform, which was in turn different from his RotJ uniform.  Each time, it seems his uniform’s gotten a bit less unique.  I don’t dislike his Last Jedi design, but Ackbar is really just wearing the same togs as everyone else.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation, which includes an articulated jaw.  Pretty swanky.  Ackbar’s sculpt is new to him, and it’s certainly impressive.  The best work is definitely on his head and forearms, which capture the prosthetics from the film quite nicely.  The head in particular does a great job of working in the jaw movement without disrupting the sculpt too much.  The rest of the figure is decently handled.  The uniform features the appropriate texturing and such, and the proportions match up well with the head and hands.  Because of the way the waist articulation is implemented, the overhanging flap on his jacket is cut off at the belt, which looks a little goofy and is hard to get properly aligned when posing him.  The paint on this figure follows the example of the sculpt.  The most impressive work is on the head and hands, which get a decent amount of accent work and the like.  The body is certainly passable, but there’s no accenting on any of the uniform, which looks a bit goofy and cheap.  Ackbar is packed with a standard rebel blaster, which he can hold in his right hand.

FIRST ORDER OFFICER

“The officers of the First Order military forces show unwavering allegiance to Supreme Leader Snoke, leading his massive armies and fleet in a relentless drive to dominate the galaxy.”

This is a figure we’ve seen most of before.  With the exception of the head, he’s identical to the First Order Disguise Finn figure.  Obviously, it’s a sensible re-use, and a great way of justifying the totally unique tooling for Ackbar.  Anyway, I liked Finn, so I like this figure.  His new head is suitably generic, so if you wanted to get a few of these, it wouldn’t look too terrible.  It’s got a slight resemblance to Vinnie Jones in my eyes, but I hardly mind that (even if it is a bit goofy to see such a head on such a scrawny body).  The paint on this guy is pretty much comparable to Finn’s, with the obvious changes to the head.  The face is a little sloppy, but the faded hair actually looks pretty decent.  Like Finn, this guy includes the small blaster pistol and removable hat.  He loses the riot baton, but I’m guessing those aren’t standard issue for officers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this set once before the movie’s release.  I’d just dropped a bunch of money on figures the day before, so I decided to hold off.  Then I didn’t see the set anywhere for a month, and I started to worry a bit.  Fortunately, it showed back up, and I was able to snag one last month while on a trip out and about.  Ackbar’s the definite draw, and he’s a solid figure.  Not 100% sold on this particular costume, but it certainly could be worse.  The Officer’s not really anything special, but he’s a decent figure nonetheless and a welcome addition to my First Order ranks.

The Blaster In Question #0037: First Order Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1

FIRST ORDER STROMTROOPER DELUXE BLASTER

STAR WARS

stormrifle1Look at this post.  Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so punctual.  Ok ok, technically this week’s blaster isn’t from the “empire” so to speak, but the First Order is basically the Empire 2.0, so yeah.  Also, I know there is a more recent First Order Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster on the market now, but I couldn’t justify hefty price tag on that one just yet so we’re going with the older one.  But that’s enough about that, on with the review!

THE BLASTER ITSELF

stormrifle2The First Order Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster (the first one) was released in 2015 as part of Nerf’s Star Wars tie-in products, at the time, corresponding with the release of The Force Awakens.  Functionally, the blaster operates just like the N-Strike Elite Rampage, or Raider before it as it built on virtually the same internal mechanism using a pump-action magazine fed setup.  This makes a lot of sense as a design choice since it probably saved the good people at Hasbro some time and therefore money working out how the blaster was going to work.  Also, given that the Sterling Mk. IV SMG (the real steel firearm on which the F-11D Stormtrooper rifle is based) loads magazines from the side, I’d say the decision practically made itself.  The blaster looks and feels pretty good.  Leaving enough to clearly denoted it as a toy, the blaster resembles the prop from the film pretty closely.  Being modeled after a real world firearm, the ergonomics are pretty good.  The pistol grip is simple but does the job well.  The pump grip could be a little more rounded for comfort in my opinion, but it’s understandable squaring it off to accommodate the proportions of the blaster body.  As a fun side-note, most of the official promotional stormrifle3images for the blaster show it with the pump grip installed backwards.  The FOSDB also comes with a scope and stock accessories that fit onto standard Nerf attachment rails and lugs, respectively.  The scope is very low-profile and actually provides quite a nice sight picture for what that’s worth in a Nerf attachment.  The stock is nice and solid, if a bit short on its own but the way the body of the blaster extends back past the grip means it’s at least a useable length when attached.  At the very least, it fits with the overall compact size of the blaster.  Without the stock, the blaster itself is really sized more like a large handgun than a rifle, something that it has over the Rampage.  That and the fun primed indicator disguised as a vent that changes from black to red when the blaster is primed.  Both of these little improvements make it that much more disappointing that the performance isn’t up to the same standard as Elite blasters.  I’ve been over the reasons why this is the case, but it still bums me out sometimes, especially with blasters that should be awesome by all rights.  Even if you’re not getting exactly the same range and power, at least you can throw out movie quotes as you bust into your younger sibling’s room and start blasting.  Good luck hitting anything, though.  It is a Stormtrooper rifle, after all.  The FOSDB comes packaged with a scope, a stock, an all-white 12 round magazine, and 12 red Star Wars branded Elite darts with transparent red tips.stormrifle4

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This blaster was really the first Star Wars Nerf blaster I can remember seeing and getting excited about.  Before this series, the best we got always seemed to be single shot, muzzle loaders, so it was really great to see tie-in blasters get more serious designs, even if they’re almost direct copies of existing blasters.  Clones, maybe.  Wait, no, we’ve confirmed the First Order doesn’t do clones.  Only bad movies do that, that’d be stupid.

#1515: First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

FIRST ORDER SPECIAL FORCES TIE FIGHTER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The elite of the First Order straighter pilots have access to specialized craft, such as the two-seater TIE craft outfitted with enhanced weapons and sensor systems. The skilled pilots of the First Order launch into combat aboard advanced fighter craft, hunting down enemy vessels and protecting space around installations and warships.”

There’s no denying that vehicles are a defining piece of the Star Wars mythos.  They’re so important, that the scale of the vintage line was largely chosen to facilitate the inclusion of these vehicles.  They’ve been an important part of the line for the past 40 some years, and its part of why the 3 3/4 inch scale has never fully died out.  When Hasbro introduced the 6-inch Black Series, it was kind of assumed by the fanbase that this line would be without any vehicles.  Fairly early on, there were a few smaller items (such as the speeder bike), but full scale vehicles seemed more than a little cost-prohibitive.  Imagine the fanbase’s surprise at SDCC 2015 when Hasbro unveiled a 6-inch scaled TIE Fighter, as part of the products tying into The Force Awakens.  I’ll be looking at that vehicle today!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter (gosh, that’s a long name) was released as a special deluxe item in Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series, which hit in the winter of 2015.  The TIE has a pretty large footprint, at a whopping 18 by 18 inches.  It’s sizable enough that I was half tempted to just put a flat surface on the top of it and just use it as a coffee table.  It has an articulated antennae, a rotating lower cannon, and an opening hatch at the top.  Like the smaller scale TIE, this vehicle is based on the slightly updated TIE Fighter design seen in TFA, which isn’t too far removed from the classic TIE design.  The sculpt is, understandably, unique to this particular item.  It’s a pretty solid piece of work.  Hasbro took advantage of the larger scale, and has filled every inch of this rather sizable piece with tons of detail work.  Speaking of scale, this TIE is a fair bit closer to proper scale with its respective figures than the smaller TIE was.  It’s still not 100% spot-on, but you can get two people in the cockpit sitting back to back as seen in the film, which is a step up indeed.  Said cockpit is definitely the coolest part of the Fighter for me; it’s got two full seats, plus all of the various instruments and panels seen in the movie.  There are clips in each seat, to help hold the figures in place.  They can make it a little difficult to get the figures in there, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad.  A definite plus, though, is that you don’t have to be quite as picky about the figures that go into this Fighter, unlike the smaller one.  I was able to get Poe and Finn in there without too much trouble at all.  The paintwork on the Fighter is decent enough.  It’s pretty clean overall, and there’s some sharp work on the interior of the cockpit.  There’s also some pretty sweet accent work on the red Special Forces stripe.  The TIE Fighter’s only real accessory was an exclusive TIE Fighter Pilot figure, which I didn’t get with my fighter.  It’s the same as the single-release First Order TIE Fighter Pilot, just with some extra red detailing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As cool as the novelty of this item was, when it was originally released with a $180 price tag, I passed.  That’s a lot of money and it takes up a lot of space.  And then I was out to dinner with my family, and there was a wait for our table, so Christian, Tim, and I walked over to the Goodwill across the parking lot.  At said Goodwill, they had this behind the counter, marked at $20.  So, for the price of a single Black Series figure, I got this huge freaking thing.  It’s pretty awesome, I gotta say.  Sure, I don’t have either pilot for it, but Poe and Finn look pretty at home in there, and I can’t stress enough how awesome it was to get this thing for 11% of its original retail price.

#1418: General Hux

GENERAL HUX

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

While I generally liked the tie-in line of figures from The Force Awakens, there were definitely some figures that just didn’t turn out as well as they could have.  In this respect, it’s somewhat fortunate that a number of characters have the same (or at least very similar) designs in The Last Jedi, thus giving us a second shot a few of those characters.  For me, one of the biggest disappointments from the basic TFA line was General Hux, an entertaining character with a sub-par figure.  Now he’s got a new figure, and hopefully this one’s a bit better.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

General Hux is another of the 11 basic figures in the first series of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  He’s from the Teal assortment, which houses some of the more secondary characters.  Definitely appropriate for Hux.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  This Hux has more or less the same design as the last figure, albeit minus the hat.  Hux only had the hat sparingly in TFA, so I can’t say I mind its removal for this figure (in fact, I’m quite pleased to have him un-hatted; I was a little annoyed that both of his TFA figures had it permanently attached).  Despite the largely unchanged design, this figure sports an all-new sculpt.  And boy is that for the best.  Perhaps my biggest complaint about the original Hux was how his greatcoat had been handled; sculpted to the figure and worked into the legs just looked really goofy.  This figure instead gives him a separate jacket piece, which not only makes him more consistent with the other figures in this line (since short-jacketed characters such as Poe, Finn, and Han all had separate pieces for their jackets), but also just looks a ton better.  As an added bonus, since the jacket is a separate piece and can be relatively easily removed, you can also get a pretty respectable sans-jacket look out of this figure.  That’ll definitely come in handy should people want to put together a few First Order officers.  Moving past the coat, the rest of the sculpt is pretty solid work as well.  As with Kylo, I feel the skirt piece would look a tiny bit better if it were also a separate piece, but it looks decent enough separated onto the legs the way it is.  The head sports a respectable likeness of Domhnall Gleeson, which is also fairly consistent with the face on the last Hux.  The paint on Hux is all nice and clean.  There’s not a ton of details, but there are enough.  I definitely prefer the molded skin tone seen here to the painted face of the last figure, and I like the more clear-cut black of his uniform.  Hux includes the same blaster as last time, but this time he also comes with a mouse droid, which is really fun.  It even has working wheels!  Also, like the others in this series, Hux has the new ForceLink feature, for those that are interested in such things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was rather excited to get the first Hux and was ultimately let down, so when this new Hux was announced, I was skeptical. I’d been burned before.  When I found the figures early, I got a chance to look at him up close, and I was rather impressed by what I saw, so I definitely knew I’d be grabbing him on Force Friday.  Hux is the sort of figure that’s easy to overlook in the chaos of all the new figures, but he’s a surprisingly strong addition to the line.  Definitely worth checking out.

#1296: First Order Stormtrooper

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: ELITE SERIES (DISNEY)

“Equipped with sleek armor and powerful weapons, the Stormtroopers enforce the will of the First Order.

Wow, that’s the same bio used on the Hasbro Black Series figures.  I guess Disney’s really strict about what goes in those bios.  I mean, I guess it’s a decent enough write-up for the Stormtroopers.  It’s not like there’s a whole lot to them, right?  So, hey, it’s been a while since I reviewed a basic Stormtrooper (First Order or otherwise).  How about one of those?  This time, the figure’s metal.  Oooooooooh!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The First Order Stormtrooper was released as part of the very first series of Disney’s Star Wars: Elite Series, which hit way back on the first Force Friday event.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He’s very similar in construction to the previously reviewed Poe figure (metal for the torso,arms, and legs, and plastic for the hands, feet and head), though he does feel a bit lighter weight.  That’s probably due to the slightly more svelte design.  He’s still rather restricted in terms of movement (he’s yet another FO Trooper that can’t actually hold his blaster two-handed), but he’s on par with the other two figures I’ve gotten.  It could certainly be worse.  While there was a definite upturn in the level of detail displayed on the K-2 figure, the Trooper, as an older release, is still rather on the soft side.  Given the sleeker nature of the Stormtroopers, it’s not too bad, but he does miss out on the fun underlying jumpsuit details that we saw on the Black Series version of this design.  On the plus side, he lacks the weird hand thing that plagued the Poe figure, and just seems to have better proportions in general. He also doesn’t face any issues of facial likeness, which seems to alleviate a major issue the Disney figures seem to face.  Like both prior Elite Series figures I’ve looked at, the Stormtrooper is assembled using screws along the back of the figure.  10 of them to be exact.  While K-2 added covers so as to prevent them from ruining the aesthetics, the Stormtrooper takes after Poe, which means his assembly screws are left totally uncovered.  It’s definitely distracting, but at least it’s confined to the back of the figure.  The paint on the Stormtrooper is decent enough; it’s not like there’s a lot of really complex work or anything going on, so there’s less that can be screwed up.  There’s still some slight slop here and there, but for the most part he looks pretty clean.  The figure is packed with two blasters (one large and one small) and a display stand, which is the same as the ones included with Poe and K-2.  The smaller blaster is designed to be stowed on the right thigh, but I ended up having to do a little work on my figure to get the two pieces to fit together, due to a slight malformation of the gun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure was given to me by my friend Rio, who is an exchange student visiting from Japan.  Rio has been staying with one of Super Awesome Girlfriend’s friends, and has become a fixture of our group of friends over the last several months.  She also really likes to give gifts, so she’s made a point of getting something for each of us over the course of a few trips she’s made to various attractions.  When she traveled to Disney World, she got something for Super Awesome Girlfriend, but not for me.  I wasn’t expecting anything, so I was far from upset, but Rio wanted to get me something.  On her trip to NYC over spring break, she tracked down the Disney Store and, with a little guidance from Super Awesome Girlfriend, picked this guy out for me.  He’s actually pretty cool, and you can never have too many Stormtroopers, right?  Anyway, Rio is heading back home to Japan today, so I thought I’d give this figure a review as a send off and a testament to how great it’s been to have her around these last few months.  Good luck, Rio!

#1194: First Order Stormtrooper Squad Leader

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER SQUAD LEADER

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

fosquadleader1

It’s been almost a week since the last time I looked at a Star Wars toy.  And I amassed quite a number of them towards the backend of last year, so there’s just sort of this pile of them waiting to be reviewed.  Here’s one off the pile.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

fosquadleader2The First Order Stormtrooper Squad Leader was part of the early 2016 Snow Gear assortment, alongside unmasked Kylo Ren and Nien Nunb).  The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  In terms of construction, the Squad Leader uses the same basic tooling as the standard FO Trooper (and by extension, all of it’s deviations, reviewed in the First Order Legion set), which is sensible.  As I noted when I reviewed it before, it’s a pretty strong sculpt, and accurately recreates the First Order armor from the movie.  The main appeal of this figure is the web-gear, which is unique to this guy.  It’s a combination of the Heavy Artillery Trooper’s ammo vest with an Officer’s pauldron.  It’s different enough to keep him interesting, which I guess is the point.  Paintwork for this figure is pretty much on par with the other FO Troopers I’ve looked at.  There are some fuzzy lines here and there, but by and large he’s pretty good.  The Squad Leader includes a basic blaster rifle, as well as a much larger blaster that’s part of the build-a-whatsit.  It’s kind of a cool piece, though it’s actually taller than he his, so getting him to hold it is kind of tricky.  Still, better than a lot of the pieces included with these figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Being part of one of the later assortments of the Force Awakens line, this guy never really showed up at retail in full force.  I ended up getting this guy from Cosmic Comix during their Biggest Sale of the Year! (TM).  I like the Heavy Trooper look, and I liked this variation of it, so I got him.  Is he really different from figures I already own?  Not really, but he’s still pretty fun.