#1092: Kylo Ren – Unmasked

KYLO REN – UNMASKED

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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Alright, let’s keep moving on with the Rogue One stuff.  Today we’ll be looking at…Kylo Ren?  Okay, I used my bad Terminator rip-off joke with the Poe set at the very beginning, so I can’t use it here.  Ummm…here’s Kylo Ren?

Kylo seems to be a rather polarizing character.  It seems that most either love him or despise him.  I fall into the first category, but can sort of understand people in the second.  I chalk my enjoyment of him up to his being perhaps the greatest onscreen portrayal of Dr Doom to date, in everything but name.  Anyway, Kylo’s gotten himself another figure, and I’m reviewing that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

kylounmasked2Kylo Ren is the last figure in the first set of Rogue One-based Star Wars: The Black Series figures (the set is technically Series 7 of the Force Awakens stuff, which explains his present here).  He’s figure #26, and he’s the highest numbered Black Series figure to date, which is cool I suppose.  This Kylo was previously available at this year’s Celebration event, with a couple of extra pieces not included here, but this is his first main retail release.  The figure is about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  For the most part, this figure is the same as last year’s #03 Kylo.  The only difference between the two is the head, which is unmasked this time around (as denoted by the figure’s name).  The head offers a pretty good likeness of actor Adam Driver, looking just as pouty as he should.  The head fits well on the body, and looks the part, so no complaints here.  The body is alright; I still have my issues with the cloth parts, but I’ve come to terms with them now.  As far as paint goes, most of the changes are once again on the head, which is handled pretty well, though his skin is really pale.  The only change to the body is on the gloves, which have been given a shiny finish here, which actually makes the figure look a little better.  The exclusive Kylo had a lot of extras, including a First Order flag, Vader’s helmet, and an extra helmeted head.  This figure lacks those.  All he gets is two versions of his lightsaber.  Instead of the removable blade version from the first figure (which was technically inaccurate), he gets one with a permanently affixed blade and one without.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I hadn’t initially planned on Kylo being one of my Rogue Friday purchases.  In fact, I passed him up at TRU’s midnight opening (well, initially, anyway.  Then he was gone by the time I got back).  However, when I picked up the Death Trooper, this guy was sitting there too, and I just kind of wanted him.  I’m actually quite glad I picked him up, because he makes a few nice changes to the prior Kylo, and is just a really fun figure all-around.

#1081: Poe Dameron & First Order Snowtrooper Officer

POE DAMERON & FIRST ORDER SNOWTROOPER OFFICER

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE (HASBRO)

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Last Friday was Rogue Friday, Hasbro’s second attempt at the whole “Force Friday” thing they tried last year.  It marked the official launch of all of the Rogue One-related products.  However, in light of the fiasco that was last year’s Force Friday event, most stores decided to forego the midnight opening event, with only Toys R Us participating.  Super Awesome Girlfriend and I headed over to the closest TRU last Thursday night, and I picked up an assortment of Rogue One products.  Today I’ll be looking that the first of the bunch, Poe Dameron and the First Order Snowtrooper Officer.  Why are Poe and a First Order Snowtrooper in the Rogue One line?  Well, it’s because it’s been a well-kept secret of Rogue One actually involves the Snowtrooper Officer being sent back in time to kill Jyn Erso and prevent the birth of Resistance fighter Rey.  The only hope of stopping him was the Resistance’s own Poe Dameron, sent back to protect her.

Wait. Sorry, that’s actually the plot of Terminator.  My mistake.  Right.  Yeah, Poe and the Snowtrooper are just here because TFA product is still being released under the Rogue One banner, as is the case with most new Star Wars lines!  I doubt Poe’s really going to be in the movie.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Poe and the Snowtrooper Officer are one of the three 2-packs in the first Battle-Packs assortment in the Rogue One line.  Each line has one or two Force Awakens products peppered in and these two are that portion of the Battle-Packs.

POE DAMERON

snowtrooperpoe2I kinda love Poe Dameron.  He’s easily my favorite part of TFA.  So, I was pretty happy to see another Poe pop up with all the new figures.  Of the three new main characters, Poe ended up with the most distinct looks.  So far, we’ve gotten his jacketed look from the beginning of the film and his pilot look from later.  The only one missing is his dress uniform from the very end of the film, which is the look this figure replicates.  It’s admittedly a somewhat obscure look, since it’s really only seen in the one shot, but it’s cool to get it nonetheless.  The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and he has the basic 5-points of articulation that everyone should be accustomed to with these new Star Wars figures.  Poe gets an all-new sculpt.  That means we get yet another attempt at Oscar Isaac’s likeness for the head.  It’s still not perfect, but I think this is the best version we’ve gotten from Hasbro yet.  The rest of the body does a good job of snowtrooperpoe5translating the uniform we see on screen into action figure form, at least from the few reference shots I’ve been able to find (seriously, this is a short-lived look).  One thing I do really like is that, even with it being a totally new sculpt, the pants and boots here are clearly the same ones on the jacketed figure.  That’s consistency!  The paint on this guy is alright, but not without issue.  Sadly, most of those issues are on the head (again), mostly dealing with the hairline (again).  It’s far from the worst paint I’ve seen from Hasbro, but it could definitely be better. On the plus side, at least he’s not as pale as some of the prior Poe figures!  The paint on the body is pretty solid, as well, which is good.  Poe includes a blaster pistol (the same as the one that came with his X-Wing pilot figure).  He is also the figure in this set who gets the big honking missile launcher.  Because Hasbro.

FIRST ORDER SNOWTROOPER OFFICER

snowtrooperpoe3Befitting the “VS” nature of the new two-packs, Poe’s pack-mate is a First Order Snowtrooper Officer.  He’s pretty much the same figure as the First Order Snowtrooper (reviewed here), but with an added shoulder pauldron.  That means he’s still about 4 inches tall and has those same 5 points of articulation as everyone else.  The Snowtrooper wasn’t a bad figure, but I’ve never been super into the Snowtroopers in general, so getting yet another isn’t exactly blowing my mind.  Seeing as Poe’s a pilot, wouldn’t a Tie Pilot be more appropriate?  I don’t know.  This guy has the same accessories as his predecessor, a blaster with an extended stock and a back pack.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, as noted in the intro, these guys came from Toys R Us’s midnight event for Rogue Friday.  Last year’s event was kind of a bust, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect this time around, and only even decided to participate a day or so in advance.  Super Awesome Girlfriend and I showed up at the closest TRU at about 11:30 last Thursday night, and we were only the third people in line.  I had a very pleasant conversation with the two guys in front of me (both older fans who were amused that someone my age was out for such an event).  At 12:01, the doors opened, I made my way to the action figure aisle, and picked up most of the figures I wanted, this set included.  I even got a free t-shirt!  A hugely improved experience over last year.

As far as the actual figures?  Well, the Snowtrooper’s kind of blah, but I like the new Poe figure a lot.  He might actually be my favorite of the smaller Poe’s we’ve gotten, even if he is in his briefly seen outfit from the end.  Silver lining: now my TFA Leia isn’t all lonely in her final scene outfit!

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#0997: Captain Phasma

CAPTAIN PHASMA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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With the dust very definitely settled from The Force Awakens, it does seem that people went a little crazy over Captain Phasma. She was a perfectly entertaining character, and she definitely had a cool design, but there wasn’t much more than that. Which definitely upset some people. I had no real expectations, so I wasn’t let down. I would like to see more of her in the next one, though (especially after catching up on Game of Thrones and finding out just how awesome Gwendoline Christie can be), so here’s hoping. Phasma’s gotten at least one figure in each of The Force Awakens’ many lines, with the latest being from the smaller Black Series line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

PhasmaSmall2Phasma is the last of the three figures that make up the fourth series of Walmart’s exclusive 3 ¾-inch Star Wars: The Black Series. The figure stands a pretty sizeable 4 ¼ inches tall and has 26 points of articulation. Her design is quite similar to the First Order Stormtrooper, but the actual figure is a fair bit sturdier than the smaller Trooper, which is much appreciated. There’s plenty of great fine detail work (the helmet once again stands out), and the proportions are pretty nicely balanced. My only complaint is less about ther sculpt and more the way the figure was packaged: her shins are quite bowed, which makes keeping her standing quite difficult. The cape (which is a sculpted add-on) is thinner and less obstructive than the larger figure’s cape, which is good. It’s a little odd, since the aesthetics of this series so far have dictated cloth capes and such, but I can’t say I mind the sculpted piece. Like her two previous figures from Hasbro, this Phasma goes for flat silver paint, in place of the more chrome stylings of the movie. I’m still a little bummed by that, but it’s a little more acceptable on a more articulated figure such as this one. In spite of the flatter finish, the paintwork here is pretty solid. There’s a bit of bleed over on some of the black/silver changeovers, but that’s all pretty minor. Phasma is packed with her usual custom blaster, which she can hold much better than the troops she commands could hold theirs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Han and Leia, Phasma was purchased for me by Super Awesome Girlfriend. As with all the Phasmas I’ve looked at so far, I really like this one. I think the 6-inch one is still my favorite of the three versions, but this one’s still really solid, and I think she’s my favorite of the Series 4 figures!

#0912: Captain Phasma

CAPTAIN PHASMA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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Hoo boy did people get upset about Captain Phasma. First there was the frenzy when she was revealed to be female. Then there was the frustration of finding either of her (slightly under-packed) figures. Then, when the movie finally got released, people were upset that she had a small part, because, without much prompting, lots of folks decided she was supposed to be the next big thing. She had been touted as the next Boba Fett, and suddenly people backtracked. That amuses me, since Phasma did more in The Force Awakens than Fett did in all three of his onscreen appearances. But I digress…

Phasma has been pretty hard to find in just about every scale. I managed to get a smaller Phasma from the First Order Legion set, but I hadn’t managed to find her larger The Black Series figure. Well, not until now…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapPhas2Captain Phasma is figure #06 in the Force Awakens re-branded Star Wars: The Black Series, making her numerically the first figure in the second series. The figure stands a whopping 7 ¼ inches tall and she has 24 points of articulation. Her range of motion is fairly similar to the basic First Order Stormtrooper, though she’s made a bit more limited by the slightly taller thigh armor and the addition of the cape. Granted, she wasn’t super mobile in the movie (apart from that time she got tackled by Chewbacca), so it’s not like there are a lot of scene-specific poses that she can’t pull off. The actual quality of the sculpt is pretty great; she’s pretty similar to the Stormtrooper, but with additional detailing, as well as an all-around sharper look, which makes her a pretty awesome piece. The cape, though restrictive, is very well textured, and shaped very nicely to her shoulders. The paintwork on Phasma is incredibly clean, possibly the cleanest I’ve seen on a recent The Black Series figure. The colors are all clean and distinct, and she really pops when placed with the rest of the line. The elephant in the room here is the finish of the armor: Hasbro opted for flat silver, as opposed to going the vac-metalized route. It’s understandable, as basic paint holds up a little better to play, but she does lose some of the coolness of her on-screen counterpart. Phasma includes her custom blaster rifle, which, like all the Stormtrooper weapons, can be stowed on her right leg.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rest assured, dear readers, I didn’t shell out the big bucks for Phasma. It would appear that Hasbro has started shipping out more cases containing Phasma figures, because I didn’t have to try particularly hard to find this one. My dad actually came across her at Target, just in with the other Black Series figures. I even saw another Phasma a few days later. I’m glad to finally have one of these. Sure, her part was relatively small, but she still has a really awesome design, and it translates really well to action figure form. That being said, I’m really glad I waited for the price to fall; at retail, she’s an entertaining figure, but for much more than that, I can see her being a disappointment.

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#0849: First Order Legion Boxed Set

CAPTAIN PHASMA, FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER, RIOT CONTROL TROOPER, HEAVY ARTILLERY TROOPER, SNOWTROOPER, FLAME TROOPER, & TIE FIGHTER PILOT

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

FOLegion1

Staaaaaar Wars! Nothing but Staaaaar Wars! ….Okay, maybe not “nothing but Star Wars.” I do still have other stuff. But, the amount of Star Wars stuff getting reviewed recently compared to just how much Star Wars stuff I actually own does seem a little disproportionally large. I guess a new movie does that. So, how about some more Star Wars toys? I’ve certainly had quite a focus on many of The Force Awakens’ dashing heroes, so why don’t we have a hearty look at the other side, with this here First Order Troop set!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These seven figures make up the “First Oder Legion” boxed set, which is part of the smaller-scale Star Wars: The Force Awakens line. The set is an Amazon exclusive, and, after a sizeable delay, it started shipping out in mid-January. Most of the included figures are simple repacks of regular release figures, though the Heavy Trooper and Riot Control Trooper are currently exclusive.

CAPTAIN PHASMA

FOLegion2One of the biggest reasons I got this set, due to her single carded figure being virtually impossible to find. While her part in the film made me glad I hadn’t shelled out the big bucks for her, I still liked her design enough that I wanted at least one figure of her. The figure is just over 4 inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation. The sculpt on id pretty decently handled; the details of her armor are all nicely carried out, and the under suit has some nice texture work. Her helmet exhibits some much finer detail work than the basic troopers, which is nice. She has just the slightest bit of a pose to her, which keeps her from having an awkward straight-up -and-down pose, without getting too extreme. The cape is a separate piece, made from a soft plastic material. I much prefer the plastic to cloth here, so I’m glad that’s the way Hasbro took it. The paintwork here is decent, but nothing to write home about. The somewhat flat silver plastic is definitely not as striking as the chrome-plated look from the film. Granted, the single release was like this too, but giving the exclusive version chrome plating would have been a nice way to incentivize this set for people who already had the single release. Oh well; she’s not that bad. Phasma is packed with her unique, gold-colored blaster, which she can hold reasonably well in either hand.

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

FOLegion3Do you remember when I reviewed the Stormtrooper Commando included with the Assault Walker? Well, then you’ve more or less seen this guy already, minus that figure’s shoulder pauldron. That’s not to say the two are identical, though. The legs are just the slightest bit wider in stance, and, most importantly, the neck pegs are the same size as the ones used for the un-helmeted characters, allowing for easy swapping, which is a definite plus. Aside from those small changes, the sculpt looks very much the same outwardly as the Commando. It’s a good translation of the film design to the smaller scale. Once again, the paint is just a fairly straightforward white plastic with black detailing deal, which looks fairly decent. The black is definitely fuzzy around a few of the edges, but not terribly so. The Trooper includes a basic mid-sized blaster, which can be stored on his thigh, like all the other troopers.

RIOT CONTROL TROOPER

FOLegion4This is one of the two exclusive figures in this set. He has the notoriety of being the same class of trooper as the fan-favorite “TR-8TR” (who’s actual name was FN-2199). As far as the figure goes? Like his larger-scale counterpart, he’s just a basic trooper, with the addition of a few new accessories. He has the same blaster as the normal trooper, but in addition to it, he has his baton and shield. Both pieces are quite nicely sculpted, and very well painted. Perhaps the only downside is that the shield isn’t quite as nicely handled on the underside as the larger version. However, it’s also a lot easier to remove, so silver lining.

HEAVY ARTILLERY STORMTROOPER

FOLegion6This figure is the other exclusive figure in this set, and is one of the major reasons I picked it up. I really like the look of the Heavy Trooper. The figure is yet another variation of the basic trooper figure. This time, he gets a unique add-on for his web-gear, which appears to hold extra ammo of some sort. It’s a bit bulkier here than in the film, but that’s to be expected, and it’s not terribly far off. In addition to the vest piece, he also gets a larger, cannon-style gun, with three pieces to help it stand. He has some trouble holding it due to the limited articulation of the figure, but he looks alright just posed standing behind it.

SNOWTROOPER

FOLegion5Where would the Stormtroopers be without a few environment-specific variants? The original trilogy Snowtroopers were always a fan-favorite, so it’s no surprise that that was the first really environment-specific trooper to get an update (having a climax that took place at an arctic locale probably helped too). The figure is 3 ¾ inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation. The sculpt does a pretty good job of translating the design into figure form. Like Hux, this figure’s “skirt” piece has been made a part of the legs, though I feel it works far better here than it did on Hux. One thing I did notice about this figure was his rather present tilt forward, which can be a little frustrating. Aside from that, the sculpt is generally very nicely done. The paintwork on this figure is pretty basic (again), but still suffers from some of those fuzzy edges. The Snowtrooper includes a removable back pack, as well as a blaster with an extended stock.

FLAMETROOPER

Here’s the one figure in the set for whom I already owned the single-packed version. Yes, this figure is 100% identical to the regular release Flametrooper, minus the weird build-a-thing piece. Click here for my review of this figure.

TIE FIGHTER PILOT

FOLegion7The TIE Fighter pilot included here is different than the one included with the TIE Fighter. That figure had a removable helmet. While it was a cool idea, it ended up making the figure’s head a little large. So, this figure’s permanently attached helmet actually works to its advantage, giving us a more faithful rendition of the helmet design. He also has a noticeably different set of arms, which are just a bit longer and look more relaxed and natural than the other pilot’s. The paint on this figure is pretty basic, being mostly just black, with a few smaller details here and there. The insignias and small details are particularly sharp, and add some nice pop. The TIE Fighter pilot includes a small blaster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being disappointed by Toys R Us’ midnite opening on Force Friday, I went home and took a look at what was available online, and wound up preordering this set from Amazon. It was originally supposed to hit in late September, just after the Force Friday stuff, but it was delayed until January. I was definitely bummed, but I decided to hold out and wait for it. I’m glad I did. Not only did I finally get a Phasma figure, but I also got one of my personal favorite Troopers (the Heavy Trooper), and one of the more important Trooper variants (the Riot Control Trooper). The other figures are all pretty solid too, and add a ton of value to the set. Plus, my First Order lineup expanded pretty quickly!

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#0844: Elite Speeder Bike

ELITE SPEEDER BIKE (w/ FIRST ORDER STORM TROOPER)

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

FOSpeeder1

Geez, it’s February, and I’m still making my way through the stuff I bought over the holidays. It’s in part due to the fact that a sizeable chunk of stuff from that time was all Star Wars-related, and I try my best not to review too much similar stuff at once. Anyway, Star Wars has always valued vehicles of many differing sizes and functions. Some of my personal favorites are the speeder bikes introduced in Return of the Jedi. While they haven’t seen an official First Order update in the movies just yet, Hasbro took their own stab at creating an updated look, dubbed the Elite Speeder Bike.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FOSpeeder2The included figure doesn’t get a name more specific than “First Order Stormtrooper,” but this guy is definitely different from a standard Trooper. He’s not Biker Scout different, but he’s still different. This trooper stands just shy of 4 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. Yes, you read that right, he has a whole 9(!) points of articulation, thanks to his fully articulated knees. Seems even Hasbro knew that this guy needed to be able to properly sit. Sculpturally, this figure looks to use a slightly modified version of the basic body used for the Stormtrooper Commando included with the Assault Walker, with a new set of legs, of course. It’s just a basic Stormtrooper design, and it’s as good a translation as all the other releases. The paint is the main difference; he’s done up in all black, which is mostly just molded plastic, with one tiny bit of silver and then the red stipes on his upper torso, which call back to the TIE Fighter’s detailing. It’s a cool, unique look, even if it’s not very technically complicated. The Trooper includes a small blaster pistol, which can be stowed on the figure’s right thigh.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

FOSpeeder3The updated speeder bike is the real meat of this set. It’s a basic Class I vehicle, which means it’s among the smallest vehicle selection (in fact, it’s the smallest vehicle currently available). The bike is just shy of 8 inches in length and stands a little over an inch tall. It has posable foot pedals, handlebars and tail flaps, as well as an opening engine compartment. The bike uses the Movie Heroes version of the speeder bike as a starting point, which is as good as any, I suppose. It has a new set of handles, new fins on the back, and a new front half. The general design of the bike has been tweaked to make it a bit more flat and wing-like. The overall design isn’t bad, but I’m not sure I like it as much as the original speeder, and I’m also not sure it necessarily fits with the other First Order vehicles, though it’s hard to say. It’s certainly not a bad design. The color scheme of the bike has been done to match with the TIE Fighter (and, in turn, the included Stormtrooper). The paint application is nice and sharp, and the color scheme adds a lot of fun to the design. The bike has not extras other than the included Trooper. A flight stand would have been much appreciated, especially since the bike still has the spot in the back where said stand would attach.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this set from a Walgreens near where my family vacations over the holidays. I had seen the set a few times, and, after a bit of pestering from Super Awesome Girlfriend and my brother, I decided to finally pick it up. It’s hard to say that this set offers the same amount of value as the equally-priced Assault Walker, but it’s still pretty fun, and the included Trooper is definitely one of the cooler ones!

#0838: Kylo Ren

KYLO REN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

KyloWM1

“A dark warrior strong with the Force, Kylo Ren commands First Order missions with a temper as fiery as his unconventional Lightsaber.”

Every story needs a villain, and for The Force Awakens, that’s good ol’ Kylo Ren.  A lot of people took issue with the character’s portrayal in the film, but I really enjoyed it, and look forward to seeing more of the character (and the makers of the next Fantastic Four film should take note on how to properly handle a vain, masked, megalomaniac with a bad temper).  I’ve only looked at one other Kylo figure, so why not look at another?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

KyloWM2Kylo was released in the second series of the Walmart-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series figures, alongside yesterday’s Stormtrooper and a figure of Leia from A New Hope.  The figure is roughly 4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  The neck and right shoulder are somewhat restricted by the sculpt of the hood, but other than that, the articulation is pretty solid here.  The larger Kylo used cloth for the outer portion of Kylo’s robes, while the regular 3 ¾ inch figure opted to sculpt the whole thing.  This figure goes for the best of both worlds.  The upper half is entirely sculpted, while the lower half makes use of soft goods for the outer most skirt.  This allows for the hood to be a bit more controlled than it was on the larger figure, while still offering some extra movement on the legs.  I think this compromise works, though it does look just the slightest bit jarring at the changeover.  I wish the cloth skirt were just a touch shorter, but other than that, it works well. The sculpted parts are quite impressive, and offer a ton of really great texture work.  On a whole, the figure looks quite imposing, a trait I felt the larger figure lacked.  Kylo’s paint is fairly minor, given how much of him is just straight black, but what’s there is pretty solid.  The silver of the mask and belt looks good, and I definitely appreciate that they used a different finish of black for the gloves and boots.  Kylo is packed with his distinctive lightsaber, both lit and unlit, which seems a better solution than a removable beam.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kylo was picked up at the same time as Finn and the First Order Trooper, purchased for me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend.  Kylo was definitely one of the figures from this set that I wanted the most, seeing as I didn’t get one of the smaller scale Kylo’s back in September.  The 6-inch figure was a bit of a disappointment, but this guy definitely delivered, and he’s probably the best Kylo out there right now.

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#0837: First Order Stormtrooper

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

FOTrooperWM1

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

Everybody’s gotta have some faceless minions, right? You just aren’t a credible threat without a few thousand faceless minions! So, why don’t I take a look at one of the quintessential faceless minions, the Imperial First Order Stormtrooper?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FOTrooperWM2The First Order Stormtrooper is part of the second series of the Walmart-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series figures. The figure stands just over 3 ¾ inches tall and has 26 points of articulation. The articulation still features the awkward hips, and the torso joint is rather loose, but hey, guess what! We finally have a 3 ¾ inch FO Trooper who can hold his blaster properly! Isn’t that swell? Well, it’s more bittersweet, really. I’ll get to that. The sculpt is all-new to this particular Trooper; it’s decent, but not as strong as some of the other Troopers we’ve gotten. He’s a bit on the scrawny side, especially for the rather bulky FO Troopers. Still, the basic design is pretty solid, and there’s some nice detail work, especially on the underlying bodysuit. Now, here’s where a few minor issues with the sculpt arise. First of all, there’s the issue of the neck peg, which is once again much larger than the other figures (such as Finn), preventing easy head swaps. Then there are the hands, which have a fairly loose grip, which, coupled with the slightly restrictive sculpt of the elbow joints, means the figure has a really difficult time holding his gun the right way. Which is a super bummer. What’s even more of a bummer is the paint; it’s all over the place. There’s pretty much no part of the figure that isn’t subject to a missed section of paint, or some bleed over. While he looks okay from a distance, he’s really sloppy up close. The FO Trooper is packed with both a large and a small blaster, just like his larger counterpart. As noted, the figure has difficulty holding them, but one can be stowed on his thigh, which is cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got the Stormtrooper at the same time as Finn, courtesy of Super Awesome Girlfriend. I’m a fan of the new Trooper design, so I was kind of looking forward to this particular figure. It’s hard to say I’m not disappointed a little by the end product. The joints aren’t as strong as they could be, the hands are badly sculpted, and the paint is pretty sloppy. That said, he’s not terrible, just a bit of a letdown. Could he be better? Absolutely. Could he be worse? Very much so.

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#0809: First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

FIRST ORDER SPECIAL FORCES TIE FIGHTER (w/ FIRST ORDER TIE FIGHTER PILOT)

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

TIEFighterFO1

It’s day 8 of the Post-Christmas gift reviews. I’ll be continuing off of yesterday’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens-themed review, by taking a look at another of the franchise’s thrilling space ships. I can’t very well let the Resistance have all the fun, so let’s have a look at the First Order’s own TIE Fighter.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

TIEFighterFO2Since their inception, the TIE fighters have had their own specific branch of Troopers assigned to them, unsurprisingly titled “TIE Fighter Pilots.” Who could have seen that one coming? Pretty much everybody, that’s who. The TIE Pilot is a little on the short side (a common trait for TIE Pilot figures) coming in at a little under 3 ¾ inches tall.  He’s got the standard 5 points of articulation as well, in case you were wondering. The TIE Fighter Pilot appears to have an all-new sculpt, or at least a heavily tweaked version of the single-carded figure’s body sculpt. The TIE Fighter Pilot’s design hasn’t changed drastically since the Original Trilogy, but they appear to be a bit more armored and overall more streamlined than their predecessors. The sculpt is pretty decent overall, with lots of nice small detail work. The figure sports a removable helmet, which is a little bit on the bulky side and is a little soft on details, but is otherwise a pretty well executed piece. Underneath the helmet is a somewhat generic head, which works. Mine has this weird formation running down his forehead, but looking at pictures of other figures online, this appears to just be a malformation of the sculpt. So, I guess my TIE Fighter Pilot’s just got an awesome face scar that no one else’s has! Paint on the TIE Pilot is rather minimal. He’s mostly just molded in black, but he does have a few extra details here and there, such as the First Order insignia on his shoulders. His face also has a bit of paintwork, which actually looks a bit better than some of the other figures in the line. In addition to the removable helmet, the Tie Fighter Pilot also includes a small blaster pistol.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

TIEFighterFO4The main focus here, is, of course, the First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter. Which is quite a long name, isn’t it? Like Poe’s X-Wing, the TIE Fighter requires a bit of assembly when removed from the box. The lower cannons need to be popped into place (which is just the slightest bit unnerving), as do the wings. Once put together, the TIE Fighter stands 11 ½ inches tall, 10 inches wide, and is 9 inches deep. It has an opening cockpit hatch, as well as a rotating cannon on the bottom. Over the course of the Original Trilogy, the design of the TIE Fighter slowly evolved. By the time of The Force Awakens, it has gone back to something not too far removed from the design in A New Hope. According to J.J. Abrams, there was originally a far more advanced TIE Fighter design, but it was ultimately decided to go with a slightly more retro look, to make the connection between the two more clear. The sculpt of the TIE Fighter is actually quite impressive, especially when compared to the X-Wing. It’s still a little under-scaled for the 3 ¾ inch figures, but the generally larger size of the cockpit means that getting the pilot in place is a fair bit easier here than it was with the X-Wing. Of course, the TIE Fighter in the film was built for two. This fighter has two seats, but they aren’t quite oriented like they are in the film, in part due to the size of the fighter and also due to the slightly limited articulation of the figures. Getting two figures in place is definitely tricky; Stormtroopers are too large to fit, so you’ll need to actually have one of the single carded TIE Pilots to make it work. The sculpted details on this are quite nicely handled. They’re still a bit simplified compared to the actual movie design, but all the important details are there and the ship as a whole looks pretty sharp. Also, small bonus: the top of the hatch has a spot to stow the pilot’s blaster, which is pretty cool.  The TIE Fighter is, fortunately, not plagued by as many construction issues as the X-Wing, but you will want to keep an eye on the wings. One of mine is TIEFighterFO3just the slightest bit warped. It’s really not noticeable unless you’re looking for it, but it’s annoying nonetheless. Like Poe’s X-Wing, paint is a key piece in why this is a “special forces” TIE Fighter. It’s denoted by the red stripe, on the fighter’s left side. The red is pretty consistent, though there are a few missed spots at some of the connecting points. The rest of the ship is more or less molded in the proper varieties of grey, so very little paint is used. I like this, because it makes for a sharper overall design. The TIE Fighter has two spring loaded feature. The first is a missile launching feature, activated by a button at the bottom, just below the cannon. The two missiles at the front launch, though the mechanism doesn’t appear to be as strong as the one on the X-Wing. The second feature is the wing-launching feature, which replicates what happens to the TIE Fighters when they’re shot in a space battle. There’s a button at the base of each wing, which pops them off. It’s a fair feature, but it does mean the wings will occasionally just pop off on their own.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The TIE Fighter was another Christmas gift from my parents, just like the X-Wing. I really like this one a lot, and it’s better put together than the X-Wing. Of course, it’s not the X-Wing, which is a slight strike against it, but it is still fun. And when I opened this one, my brother may or may not have picked it up and chased me around the house while I played with my X-Wing.

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#0799: First Order General Hux

FIRST ORDER GENERAL HUX

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

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Man, that new Star Wars movie sure was a good movie. Like, really good. To be fair, large elements of the film’s plot and certain characters were somewhat recycled from the original trilogy, but I really didn’t care.  What I do care about are the toys! And hey, now I get to actually write a Force Awakens review with actual, real knowledge of the characters! What a novel concept!

I noted in my full review of the movie that Domhnall Gleeson, who portrays General Hux, was the only new addition to the cast with whom I was already familiar. I was actually kind of pumped that he was in the film, and I really enjoyed his performance and the character of Hux in general. He makes for a good bad guy. But, does he make for a good action figure? Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hux2General Hux is part of Hasbro’s smaller scale Star Wars: The Force Awakens line of figures. He comes from the “Space” subset of the line, which makes sense (well, more sense than some of the other subsets). The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. Standard stuff for the line. Hux’s sculpt appears to be unique to him. He’s presented in his fully dressed up uniform, with his hat and overcoat. He’s only seen a few times with the full get-up, but it’s striking, so I can understand why Hasbro went for it. I suppose that in theory we might see this sculpt reused for some of the other First Order officers, at least if the line runs that far. The overall look of Hux’s sculpt is decent enough, but I have one major issue with it. For other jacketed characters, such as Finn and Poe, there is a basic body with the underlying shirt and then an overlay piece for the coat. For Hux, however, the coat is just sculpted strait onto the body. It’s not really an issue on the torso, but it looks rather ridiculous when it has to break for the leg articulation. An add-on piece would have been much preferred here, and I really don’t know why Hasbro opted not to go for it, apart from a desire to cut costs. In addition, the bulk of this figure’s sculpt is a lot more simplistic than the other figures in the line. The coat and uniform are mostly devoid of any sort of texturing or any real small detail work, which only makes the cuts for the joints even more jarring. At the very least, the figure’s face looks like Gleeson, which is perhaps the one truly nice piece of the sculpt. Adding to the rather simple sculpt, Hux’s paint isn’t the most exciting thing. I guess it’s nice that the shirt and coat are different shades. And, the basic application isn’t bad. He’s just a bit drab. For accessories, Hux includes a small pistol, as well as a piece to yet another build-a-thing. I actually kind of like this build-a-thing piece, though, because it can work like a jetpack, which makes Hux a small bit more interesting.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Hux from my local Target. I was actually out with my brother picking up the new Battlefront game, and happened to find this guy. I had been somewhat excited to get him, and I was happy to find him, but the figure’s definitely not one of the stronger entries in this line. I mean, he’s not terrible, but he’s not super fun either. The character is also getting a Black Series figure, so perhaps that one will be better.

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