#1431: Force Link Starter Set

FORCE LINK STARTER SET (w/ KYLO REN)

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Hey guys, remember how I wrapped up my Force Friday II reviews like not even a week ago? Well, I knew I’d be getting around to more of that stuff eventually, but I did sort of expect more than a 5 day break.  You can’t always get what you want…or expect…or something. 

Anyway, I’m plunging back into Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi line, and taking a look at one of the central items from the line, the Force Link Starter Set, i.e. the thing that provides the gimmick to every TLJ I’ve looked at so far.  Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, up until now all of my Last Jedi figure  reviews are incomplete.  It’s okay, I’m fixing it today!

THE SET ITSELF

This set was released alongside the initial product launch for Force Friday.  Included in the set is the Force Link Reader and a Kylo Ren.  The Reader is also available in the big BB-8 playset, and will also be offered in a TRU-exclusive pack later down the line, but this will remain the cheapest way to get one.  As of right now, this Kylo figure is exclusive to this set.  Not included in the set are the three AAA batteries that you’ll need to get the Reader up and running.

FORCE LINK READER

Obviously, this set’s main focus here is the reader.  The thing what makes the other toys do what they do.  Like the Comm Tech gimmick from the Phantom Menace toys, each toy in this line includes a small NFC chip (imbedded in the figures this time, instead of an exterior stand).  The Force Link reader contains the main chip with all of the actual sound information, and each smaller chip just serves to “unlock” that particular set of sounds.  Unlike the Comm Tech reader, this one’s wearable.  Wooooo!  Different!  The reader’s a fairly simple design; a bracelet with two bits and a strap.  The battery pack goes over your wrist and the actual reader part goes forward, sitting against the back of your palm.  There’s a hing between the two segments, which has a spring in it to keep the reader part forward, and thus always against your hand.  The whole thing’s not a terribly large contraption, which is certainly for the best; this is meant for kids after all, and they need to be able to actually use it.  The flip side is that it’s a bit of tight fit on anyone who isn’t child-sized.  The strap is adjustable, but it only goes so far.  I suppose you could change out the strap for a longer one if you really needed to, but it’s ultimately not a big deal.  Why isn’t it a big deal? Well, mostly because I’m not sure how many people are going to end up using this thing the way it’s intended.  The way the instructions and the back of the box show the reader in use, it’s strapped to the back of your wrist, and you hold the figure in your hand and move it about.  In order to get the reader part to best line-up with the chip in the figure’s torso, you pretty much have to entirely envelop the figure in your hand, and even then, it’s not always super reliable.  I found it much easier to just hold the reader in one hand, or even place it on a flat surface, and touch the figures to it directly.  I’ll give Hasbro some credit on this, though; I did find the wrist set-up was far more practical when using the vehicles, so the strap’s not a total loss.  I do have one minor complaint about the reader: there’s no on/off switch, so it just turns on when you tap a figure to it.  This can be unreliable, and a bit frustrating at times.  Once you get it going, the sound quality on all of the effects is fairly decent, at least for something of this size, and once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy to get the sounds going.  For the ships, there’s really just one sound for each, which includes the engine starting up, followed by some sustained flight sounds, which will pretty much go until you set the ship down.  The Imperial Probe works in a similar fashion, getting some sustained hovering sounds, but he does also get the distinctive robot chatter from the film, which will pop-up occasionally.  Each of the figure’s gets a whole list of dialogue, as well as one sustained battle sound, which will eventually culminate in an explosion of some sort.  A lot of the dialogue seems to be archive dialogue from the movies (including some new lines from Last Jedi), but a few figures, Luke and the unmasked Kylo most noticeably, get re-recorded lines with “soundalike” actors.  Luke’s is a little off, but not terrible.  Kylo’s, on the other hand, is downright laughable, and made worse by the fact that the masked Kylo is still using Adam Driver’s real voice.  I’ve gone through all of my figures now and made a list of the bits of dialogue each of them played.  It’s possible there are more for a few of them, since the clips are accessed at random.  There were a few times I thought I was done with a figure, only to find one last sound.  Unfortunately, while going through my figures, I did find that one of them, the Praetorian Guard, had the chip from A-Wing Pilot Tallie, instead of his own.  I foresee this being a recurring issue.  Here’s the list of dialogue by figure:

LUKE: “May the force be with you,” “Trust your instincts,” “Come, I’ll show you the true meaning of the Force,” “Leave this place!” “Stay Back!” and a loud whooshing sound.

REY: “I’m with the Resistance,” “You’re going to pay for what you did,” “The First Order are everywhere,” “I can do this,” and a lightsaber sound.

CHEWIE: Wookie sounds, as far as the eye can see

KYLO (SINGLE): “I feel the power of the Force,” “I know what I have to do,” “Traitor!” “You will bring Luke Skywalker to me,” and a sustained lightsaber effect.

POE (SKI SPEEDER): “Now we have a chance,” “We got a lot of company!” “I’m gonna get us in position!” “Red 4, Red 6: Cover us!” and a sustained blaster sound.

HUX: “We shall destroy the Resistance,” “Bow to the First Order!” “Capture the droid if we can, but destroy it if we must,” “We have their location,” and a blaster sound.

POE (SINGLE): “I’m Poe! Poe Dameron!” “I can fly anything,” “We’re gonna do this,” “Take my lead,” “Let’s light it up!” and a blaster sound.

ROSE: “I can fix anything!” “We have a mission to complete,” “You can’t give up on the Resistance,” “Bullseye!” “Blast ‘em!” and a blaster sound.

PAIGE: “Orders received,” “We have to tackle the First Order head on!” “My sensors are picking up TIEs; Brace yourself!” and a blaster sound.

TALLIE: “Reporting in, Squadron Leader,” “Protect the bombers!” “Here they come!” and a blaster sound.

FINN: “The name’s Finn and I’m in charge!” “Stay low! It confuses their tracking!” “Oh, you gotta be kidding me!” “Do exactly as I say, I can get you out of here,” “YAAAGGH!!” and a blaster sound.

BOBA FETT: “He’s no good to me dead,” “Don’t bother hiding,” “Orders are to finish you off,” “You’re on borrowed time,” and a jetpack sound.  (His flamethrower extra also makes a flame throwing sound.)

HAN: “Han Solo.  I’m captain of the Millennium Falcon,” “I got a bad feeling about this,” “They’d be crazy to follow us, wouldn’t they?” “Never tell me the odds!” “Great shot!  That was one in a million!” and a blaster sound.

VADER: “If you only knew the power of the Dark Side,” “Sweep the asteroid field until they are found,” “Prepare your troops for a surface attack,” and a lightsaber sound.

KYLO REN

Alongside the reader, this set also includes yet another variant of our boy Kylo.  This Kylo is distinct from the two other Kylo figures released at launch in that this one has his mask.  I can certainly get behind that.  Like his predecessor, he stands about 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Though you wouldn’t guess it at first glance, this Kylo figure is actually a completely unique sculpt from the single release.  The details here are all consistent with the single release, but he’s posed ever so slightly differently.  It’s a more intimidating, advancing sort of pose, with his legs a bit more spread apart, and his hunch more pronounced.  The hand poses have changed as well, with the right one in a grip, and the left in a slight Force-using pose.  The cape’s also been tweaked ever so slightly, so that it leans more to one side, thus exposing his right arm a bit more, and allowing him to better hold his lightsaber.  Of course, the biggest difference between the two figures is the head, what with it having the helmet now and everything.  It’s a very nice sculpt, and presents all of the details quite sharply.  Like the single release, the paint on Kylo is fairly simple; lots of black, with just a little bit of silver thrown in.  It’s certainly accurate to the source material, and they do what they can to keep it from being too bland.  Kylo is packed with his lightsaber, which appears to be the same piece from the single release.  This Kylo gets his own unique Force Link dialogue, which includes: “Show me again, the power of the darkness” “I will let nothing stand in our way” “I’ve been waiting for this day a long time” “Find them” “You know what I’ve come for; where is it?” “Put every hangar on lockdown!” and a lightsaber sound.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, why didn’t I just review this with the rest of the Force Friday II stuff, right?  Because I just bought it Monday, that’s why.  Here’s the deal: I was going to hold off of getting one of these readers until the TRU-exclusive set with the Executor Trooper and Praetorian Guard was released. Then I found out that General Mills was offering a coupon for $10 off the starter set in some of their cereal boxes, and found one of said boxes. The reader is rather gimmicky, and I don’t really know how much use anyone’s going to get out of it.  That being said, I much prefer this sort of thing to the random bulid-a-whatsits from The Force Awakens.  Of course, by the very nature of it’s design, it’s pretty much limited to whatever figures and ships Hasbro had slated when it went into production, so I doubt it’ll survive past the new year.  The Kylo figure included is actually surprisingly cool, and quite different from the one I already had. At $25, this set seemed a little high; at $15, it feels like a really nice deal. 

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#1426: Clone Commander Gree

CLONE COMMANDER GREE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Clone Commander Gree, designation 1004, led the Elite Corps of clone troopers during the Clone Wars.  He saw deployments on such heated battlefronts as Kashyyyk.  Though a faithful commander who carried out the Jedi’s orders, Gree was ultimately loyal to the Republic.”

I’ve spent two whole weeks looking at the smaller scale offerings for The Last Jedi, but I’ve not yet looked at any of Hasbro’s other big line, The Black Series.  There’s a simple reason for this:  I’ve yet to see most of the new Black Series stuff anywhere.  I did manage grab at least one figure, albeit not one of the characters from the new movie.  Instead, we jump back to the Prequels (I know, not my first choice either), and take a look at one of my favorite clones, Clone Commander Gree!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Commander Gree is a Toys R Us exclusive offering for Star Wars: The Black Series.  A smaller supply of this figure initially showed up at SDCC this year, but the vast majority of figures showed up at TRU retail stores for Force Friday, allowing Gree to take the slot taken by the Snowtrooper Commander and Hovertank Driver in years past.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Gree is seen here in his Phase II Clone Trooper from Revenge of the Sith.  It’s definitely the more distinct of his two designs, and thus not a surprise for this figure at all.  Gree is largely built from the same pieces as the Clone Sergeant I reviewed way back when. It was a good sculpt then, and it’s still a good sculpt now.  Gree obviously gets the Phase II helmet in place of the Phase I version, and it fits well on the body and looks far more accurate than a good number of other Phase II trooper figures.  Gree gets a unique torso and left thigh piece as well, patterned after the standard pieces, but adding some of Gree’s extra straps and such.  The torso even gets a port for a removable antennae, which is a nice touch, though the antennae has a tendency to fall out of place a lot.  Paint is the most important part of a good Commander Gree figure, and this figure definitely delivers on that front.  All of the colors match up very nicely with his on-screen color scheme, and the level of detailing, especially on the camouflaged areas of the armor, is just top notch.  They’ve even included a good deal of silver detailing, showcasing the wear and tear that Gree’s armor’s undergone.  That’s a detail that’s largely been left off of the smaller figures, so I’m very glad to see it show up here.  Gree is actually quite well accessorized for a Black Series release, getting both small and large blaster rifles, and a pair of quadnoculars to hold.  I wouldn’t have minded an unmasked head as well, but that’s still more than what’s been included with prior 6″ troopers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I first started collecting The Black Series, my one rule was no Prequel figures.  I broke that rule for the Clone Sergeant, but I’ve stuck to it since.  However, even when I decided on that rule, I knew this guy would be an exception.  Gree’s always been my favorite of the Clone Commanders, and I have just about every other figure of him, so I certainly wasn’t passing on this one.  My TRU didn’t get any Black Series figures on Force Friday, but this guy showed up about a week later.  This is easily the best Gree figure ever released, and definitely one of my favorite Black Series figures.

The Blaster In Question #0024: Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Blaster

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR DELUXE BLASTER

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Everything looks better in blue.  Ok, maybe not everything, but a lot of things do, and that goes for Nerf blasters.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at yet another Star Wars blaster.  This time it is the Target exclusive Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Blaster.  Well, sort of exclusive.  I’ll explain later.  Let’s get into the review

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Quite A Mouthful Blaster was released in 2016 as a tie-in product for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  This specific blaster is the Target exclusive blue recolor of the Jyn Erso Blaster from the same line.  Plus, this one’s got a bunch of accessories that Jin’s blaster doesn’t.  It’s built on the classic magazine-fed flywheel system we’ve seen on the Stryfe and other blasters.  Holding down the rev trigger spins up the flywheels and pulling the main trigger pushes a single dart into the wheels, sending it flying.  The big difference between the CCADB and the Stryfe is the inclusion of lights and sounds which activate on the trigger pull, regardless of the rev trigger being pressed.  I was actually pretty impressed with the lights on this blaster.  Every time the trigger is pulled, a series of green LEDs in the barrel light up in rapid succession giving the illusion of a laser blast traveling down the barrel.  Accompanied by the sound effects, it really does make just pulling the trigger quite satisfying.  It’s also worth noting that holding down the rev trigger turns on the blue LED in the chamber as part of the blaster’s Glowstrike feature.  The included magazine holds 12 darts and, unlike most standard N-Strike Elite magazines, is completely transparent orange on both sides.  The outer shell of the base blaster is completely new work though shared with the Jyn Erso blaster, and looks a good bit like the blaster in the film which, if anyone cares, was made with an AR-15 as the base of the prop.  Like with the Poe Dameron blaster, the use of real-world firearms parts makes holding the blaster fairly comfortable, though there is some noticeable down-scaling from the real thing, making it a little cramped in the grip.  All the included accessories with the CCADB are recolored attachments from various other blasters.  The stock comes from the N-Strike Raider CS-35, the scope comes from the Modulus Long Range Upgrade Kit, the barrel extension/suppressor comes from the N-Strike/Elite Specter REV-5, and the bumps along the sides of the magazine indicate it comes from the Modulus Flip-Clip Upgrade Kit.  In addition to the grip being a hair small, some sections of the blaster feel a little flimsier than I’m used to from Nerf.  It’s not a lot, but the grey panels on the sides of the grip and the battery tray cover do flex a good bit if you have a firm grasp on the blaster.  This CCADB is not a heavy hitter in terms of performance.  The power of the flywheels is rather limited, either by design or because the batteries also have to power the lights, sounds, and Glowstrike feature when firing.  This is an indoor blaster, no question.  It does fire reliably but shots arc more severely than most other blasters and don’t land with as much force, making it ideal for busting into your sibling’s room and emptying the mag without fear of getting in as much trouble.  The CCADB comes packaged with 12 Glowstrike Star Wars darts, a 12 round magazine, a scope, a stock, a barrel extension, and 4 AA batteries already installed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This blaster is largely what convinced me that the addition of lights and sounds to the Star Wars Nerf lineup wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  While the Death Trooper blaster is fine, the effects on this blaster are pretty top notch and, having seen this year’s offerings, set the standard for effects for “deluxe” blasters to follow.

 

#1425: Darth Vader & Imperial Probe Droid

DARTH VADER & IMPERIAL PROBE DROID

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

“Tenacious hunters and searchers, Probe Droids (or Probots) have a variety of sensors and the ones employed by the Empire are armed with powerful blasters and, in some models, shields.”

Remember when I was mentioning the Empire Strikes Back stuff that hit with The Last Jedi product?  Just yesterday?  Well, hey, here’s some more of that.  This set pairs another variation of one of the franchise’s juggernaut characters with a fan-favorite design that actually hasn’t seen a new figure in almost 15 years, which seems a little crazy.  Onto the review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vader and the Probot are one of the two “creature” sets released alongside the Last Jedi product.  Interestingly, the two characters included here never actually share any screen time or even reside in the same general area over the course of Empire, but I guess that Vader’s the Probot’s boss, so that sort of makes a little sense.

DARTH VADER

So, I was discussing yesterday about how the whole Star Wars line would fall into disarray were there not a steady stream of Boba Fett figures offered.  That goes double for this guy.  Despite dying at the end of Return of the Jedi, he’s managed to find his way into every movie line launch since Episode 1 in some way or another.  This figure stands a little over 4 inches tall and has a whole 6 points of articulation (thanks to a cut joint at the waist).  This Vader is based on his appearance from Empire, which was slightly changed from A New Hope (and, by extension, Rogue One, which used the ANH design), but not terribly different from the one seen in Return of the Jedi.  Essentially, this figure’s sculpt is the later film equivalent to the fantastic Rogue One Vader we got last year.  At first glance, I actually thought this figure was mostly re-used from that one, but it’s its own wholly original work.  This means there’s no real compromises made, which is nice to see after lots of years of Vaders based indeterminately on several different movie’s designs.  It’s a very strong sculpt, and were it not for the RO Vader from last year, it would easily be my favorite Vader sculpt to date.  As it stands, it’s a definite top two.  I enjoy this just as much, but for differing reasons.  Interestingly, the helmet is a separate piece from the mask and head, but it’s not removable or anything.  I was sort of expecting this to be a “reveal” figure, showing the back of his head like we see in his chamber, but it wasn’t the case. It’s not really a big deal, though, and I honestly prefer a Vader with all of his pieces connected.  This Vader gets another plastic cape piece, which is a different piece than the one on the RO Vader, but still very nice.  This one drapes over the shoulders a bit more, which is certainly appropriate.  Vader’s paintwork is pretty solid all around.  There’s a lot more going on than might be evident at first, especially with all the differing shades of black.  I like that they’re putting in that sort of effort.  Vader includes his lightsaber, which this time around can be held in either of his hands.  He is also ForceLink compatible, though I still don’t have the wrist thing to try him out, so I don’t know what sounds he makes.

IMPERIAL PROBE DROID

In a movie full of distinctive things, the Probe Droid actually manages to stick out, being one of the very first things the audience sees on the screen.  The Probot’s only had two figures before in this scale; both were actually made from the same mold.  It’s long been a favorite item amongst the fan base, so an update was certainly much appreciated.  The Probot is about 5 inches tall (when placed on his stand, of course) and has an astounding 16 points of articulation.  Those arms really help him out on that front.  The sculpt on this guy is all new, and definitely top-notch.  Like Vader, it’s very accurate to the film prop, and offers a lot of really great little details.  Obviously, it’s a little less detailed than the real scale-model of the thing, but it’s far from “basic.”  The head in particular just perfectly captures the shape and sizing of the in-film design so well, and I love how well his large camera eyes have turned out.  In terms of paint, there’s not a *ton* going on with the Probot.  He’s largely just molded in a very dark grey plastic.  hat being said, it’s a good shade of grey, and there’s still nice paint work on the lenses of the cameras.  He’s also got a number of silver scuffs all over him, befitting the used-future look of the OT films.  It’s subtle, but it definitely adds a lot to the figure.  Since the Probot we see in the film is always hovering and doesn’t really have an easy way of standing, this figure includes a clear stand to help him “hover.”  It’s a fairly basic piece, which just plugs into the base of the figure’s body.  I do quite like the little Imperial insignia that’s molded into it.  It’s a fun touch.  There’s also a missile launching component worked into the figure, but in a less obtrusive way than the prior Probot mold.  It’s just one small panel on the body, and it’s not really noticeable when it’s in place.  Lastly, there’s the ForceLink feature, and this time around, I do actually have an idea of what sounds it makes.  It just makes the transmitting sounds from the movie, which is a feature I really look forward to trying out when I get the chance.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, I didn’t pick this pair up on Force Friday.  I didn’t even pick them up the next week when I went back.  In part, this was due to my thinking that the Vader was actually a lot more similar to the RO version than he ultimately was.  But I saw some photos online and I was really digging the Probot, so I decided to try and grab one.  Of course, I forgot that this set’s packed one for every three Rapthar packs, so it wasn’t super easy to track down.  I did eventually manage to find one at Walmart, so yay for that.  This is definitely a strong set.  Sure, a figure other than Vader might have been nice, but at least it’s a good Vader figure.  And at the end of the day, the Probot’s definitely worth buying another Vader figure to get.  And that wraps up the small-scale Force Friday offerings that I’ll be reviewing.  Not a bad assortment at all.

#1424: Boba Fett & Han Solo

BOBA FETT & HAN SOLO

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

We’re starting to wind down on the Star Wars: The Last Jedi stuff.  Yesterday’s Finn review marked the last of the actual Last Jedi offerings I’ll be reviewing (at least in this round of stuff), but as with every new Star Wars release, there’s a healthy helping of items based on prior films.  As TLJ is the second film in this new trilogy, they’re putting out more than a few items based on the Original Trilogy’s second part, Empire Strikes Back.  I’ll be taking a look at Hasbro’s latest versions of Han Solo and Boba Fett from that film today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Han and Boba were released in the two-pack assortment of The Last Jedi figures, alongside the previously reviewed Rey and Elite Praetorian Guard pairing.  This is one of the two ESB-themed items in the initial product launch.

BOBA FETT

They just can’t keep the Fett-man down, can they?  If the Star Wars toyline went too long without at least one Fett, it would surely collapse into some sort of null field of pointlessness, right?  Fett’s the glue that holds the fandom together! Gotta keep those Fett-fans happy.  Or something like that.  Anyway, this new figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation.  Now, after years and years of lots of nearly identical Boba Fetts, you might be wondering what sets this guy apart from the pack.  He’s an all-new sculpt, and it may well be the best sculpt we’ve ever seen on a Boba Fett figure.  It’s at least the best small-scale Boba we’ve gotten.  The last 5POA Boba I looked at had a number of issues that prevented him from being the best he could be, but this figure really tackles a lot of the issues I had with that and a lot of the other 5POA figures head on.  One big issue I’ve had with a lot of the basic figures is the rigidity of their poses.  This figure fixes that, giving Boba a slightly offset balancing of his weight.  It’s effectively still a straight standing pose, but it adds just a little more character, and makes him look a touch more human.  It also resembles the pose Boba had in the initial promo shots from Empire, which is a fun bit of nerdy trivia.  The sculpt also gives us a very nice take on Boba’s armor, with all of the details being sharply defined, and nicely recreated.  The head’s definitely my favorite part, as it’s easily one of the best Fett helmet sculpts ever produced.  It’s a spot-on recreation, and I just really love it.  Boba’s sculpt is aided by a pretty awesome paint job, which follows the trend of improvement on Hasbro’s part. The paint is clean and sharp for the most part, and there are a lot of really nice details.  There are a few details missing, but mostly minor stuff, and he looks far better than some of the earlier figures.  Fett is packed with his large blaster, his small blaster, and a big bulky thing that replicates his flamethrower.  Both the figure and the big bulky thing are ForceLink compatible, but as of yet I don’t have anyway to figure out how to test the sounds they make.

HAN SOLO

Han was actually completely absent from the product launch for The Force Awakens, so it’s a little bit amusing that he’s included this time around, despite not being in the movie (well, at least as far as we know).  This guy’s sporting Han’s spiffy jacketed look from Empire, which is my favorite look for the character, and which seems to be less common than you’d hope when it comes to toys (seriously, how do we not have this look in The Black Series yet?).  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  No real surprises there.  At first glance, this figure’s sculpt looks to have some parts in common with the Force Awakens figure.  An actual comparison of the two figures reveals that there are no parts actually shared between the two, but they appear to at the very least have started from the same basic source files.  Not gonna lie, this figure’s far from perfect.  One of the things that makes the jacketed look my favorite for Han is how sharp he looks, but this figure ends up looking a little bit schluby.  The real culprit behind this is the waist.  The waist is too low, which in turn makes the jacket too long, which has the illusion of making his arms look too short and gives him the appearance of his gut having out over his belt.  If the waist were a quarter of an inch higher, the figure would look a bit better.  The likeness on the head also isn’t one of Hasbro’s better Harrison Fords.  From some angles it’s manageable, but from others he barely even looks human.  It definitely feels like they took their old Han sculpt from TFA and tried to de-age it, which hasn’t quite worked.  On the plus side of things Han’s jacket’s pretty nicely detailed, and I appreciate the texturing on the stripes on his pants.  The paint on Han is kind of “meh”.  It’s okay in some spots, but there’s more noticeable slop here than on other recent figures, and worst of all, his got weird placement on his eyes, which just throws the whole figure off.  I hate when that happens.  Han’s packed with his blaster, which can be placed in the holster if you so choose.  I was happy to see it was actually the correct version that he carries in Empire, not just re-used from a prior Han.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Finn, I didn’t grab this set on Force Friday.  I had seen it beforehand, and I mostly checked out the Han figure, who left me kind of cold, and mostly ignored the Boba Fett, since the Saga Legends Fett did nothing for me.  So, on Friday I focused on the TLJ stuff and left this behind.  Then I saw some photos online, and realized what an improvement Fett was, and slightly regretted not grabbing them.  When my Target re-stoked the basic figures, they also marked the two-packs down a bit, so I got these two alongside Finn.  Boba’s fantastic.  He’s rivaled only by the 6-inch Black Series figure in terms of coolness.  Han’s okay.  Far from the worst Han Solo figure, but nothing particularly amazing, which is a shame, since I’m always eager to get a new Bespin Han.  Alas, I’ll just have to hang in there for the next version.  This one will do until then.

#1423: Finn – Resistance Fighter

FINN – RESISTANCE FIGHTER

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Throughout the last week and a half of The Last Jedi reviews, there’s been one major player absent (well, apart from Leia, who actually wasn’t released): Finn.  He may not have been everyone’s favorite new character from TFA, but I personally really liked Finn.  There was a earnestness to him.  I’m happy (though hardly surprised) to see he’ll be back up and about for The Last Jedi.  Hasbro seems to have learned a bit from their experience last time around, and has put out only one Finn at launch, which I;ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Finn is part of the first basic series of The Last Jedi figures.  With the exception of the First Order Stormtrooper (which I didn’t get) Finn wraps up the Orange Assortment of heavy hitters.  Shots from The Last Jedi have shown Finn in a few different get-ups; the figure opts for what I assume will be his standard look in the film.  Essentially, he’s just wearing the same basic gear that Poe was sporting at the start of TFA.  We already know the jacket’s shared, so maybe Poe’s just loaning Finn more of his wardrobe?  Ultimately, it doesn’t look much different from Finn’s TFA look, but it’s a tiny bit more exciting, I guess.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt is unique to him, but like a lot of the figures in this series, there’s some definite similarities to a few earlier items.  He looks not unlike a TFA Finn head placed on an Armor-Up Poe body.  He’s not, of course.  The head is a lot sharper and less cartoony looking than the prior Finns.  He’s even got John Boyega’s slight sly grin, which helps to better sell the likeness.  Definitely Hasbro’s best Finn head sculpt.  The body is decent enough.  I appreciate that he doesn’t just have the exact same build as the Poe figure, and I really dig how sharp all the details are.  This is the best that jacket’s looked on a small-scale figure.  Perhaps my favorite part of the figure is a very, very minor detail; the back of his jacket has a small stitched slash, showing where Finn was wounded by Kylo in TFA.  That’s a definite attention to detail, and also confirms that this is the original jacket and not just some sort of replacement.  Finn’s paint work is pretty basic stuff.  It’s well-handled; the lines are all clean, and the colors look to match pretty well with what we’ve seen of this outfit from the promotional images.  Finn is packed with his blaster he got from Han, which looks to be same piece included with all of the Jakku Finns.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t buy Finn on Force Friday.  I saw him there (and when I found a set early), but I didn’t get him.  I guess he just looked too similar.  I almost got him when I needed another basic figure to qualify for the Target promotion, but he was sold out by that point, so I figured I’d make due with his TFA figure.  And then I opened up all of my Last Jedi figures, and the set just really didn’t feel right without a Finn.  Fortunately, within a few days, most of the stores around me had re-stocked, and I was able to grab this guy without much trouble.  He’s actually a fair bit different from his predecessors, and makes for a much better overall figure.

#1422: Resistance A-Wing (w/ Resistance Pilot Tallie)

RESISTANCE A-WING FIGHTER (w/ RESISTANCE PILOT TALLIE)

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

“A longtime reliable fighter model used by the Resistance that dates back to the struggle between Empire and Rebellion, the A-Wing is a nimble, wedge-shaped fighter propelled to incredible speeds by large twin engines.”

I’ve looked at one of The Last Jedi’s new vehicle designs, but like its predecessor The Force Awakens, it’s also borrowing from the Original Trilogy’s sizable bank of pre-existing vehicles.  Today, I’ll be looking at another of those returning vehicles, the A-Wing fighter.  The A-Wing’s actually had a fair bit of play recently; not only is it returning in TLJ, but a prototype version of it was also fairly prominently featured in Star Wars: Rebels.  That translates to not one, but two toy versions in the last year.  I’ll be looking at the most recent version today.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The A-Wing Fighter is one of two smaller-sized vehicles released on the Force Friday launch of The Last Jedi line (the other was the Canto Bight Police Speeder). Like the Ski Speeder, assembly is rather minor for the A-Wing.  The thrusters need to be popped into place, as do the side cannons, but that’s it.  It should be noted, however, that once you put this sucker together, it’s not coming apart.  At all. Moving on: once assembled, the fighter’s about 11 inches long and 7 inches wide.  The ship features an opening hatch and  a small landing leg, which swings down out of the ship’s front.  The A-Wing is sporting a brand-new sculpt, based on it’s updated design from the new film.  The ship isn’t too terribly different from the A-Wings of the past; same basic design elements and everything.  In general, it’s just a little bit longer and thinner than prior A-Wings.  The sculpt is pretty decent overall.  It’s in keeping stylistically with the other vehicles we’ve gotten in the last few years.  The details aren’t the sharpest ever, but they’re decent for the scale and price.  Speaking of scale, the A-Wing is the least down-scaled vehicle I’ve looked at yet from the new movies.  There’s still a tiny bit of tweaking to keep it at least believably in scale with the rest of the vehicles, but it’s hardly noticeable.  What is rather noticeable is the way the cockpit connects to the rest of the body.  It’s not particularly subtle at all, and it’s rather different from how the hatch looks to work on the actual ship. It doesn’t ruin the ship or anything, but it’s rather annoying all the same.  On the plus side of things, the paint wis fairly decent on the A-Wing.  The blues and reds are vibrant, and the edges show off some nice wear and tear, which gives the ship a nice used feel.  I do feel a nice wash would go a long way towards helping to further sell this used look, but what’s there is definitely solid.  The A-Wing has two main play features.  There are two missile launchers, mounted on each side of the ship, which use the standard spring-loaded schtick, as well as the current-standard ForceLink feature.

RESISTANCE PILOT TALLIE

Included with the A-Wing is one of its pilots, a Resistance fighter named Tallie.  That’s all I’ve got on her.  I have no idea if she’s prominent in the film or if she’s just another Goss Toowers in the making, but I do know she’ll be flying this ship at some point in the film.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and she has the standard 5 points of articulation.  Design-wise, she’s rather similar to Paige, which I suppose makes a degree of sense.  I had initially assumed most of her tooling was shared with Paige, but a comparison of the two in-hand shows that, while they do share certain elements to their sculpts, it doesn’t appear that these two figures actually have any parts in common with each other.  Being that the two sculpts are still very similar, I do rather like this one, same as with Paige.  The details are nice and crisp, and have a nice realistic look to them.  Her helmet is permanently attached to her head, which is a shame, since I really dug the two removable helmets on the basic pilots.  On the plus side, they did at least have the good grace to mold her visor as a separate piece, so it can be translucent and thereby avoid another appearance of the infamous banana visors of TFA.  I appreciate that they went to the effort of putting a whole face under there, and the helmet is at least nicely detailed.  Tallie’s paint work is fairly standard stuff.  Mostly just basic color work.  There’s a bit of slop here and there, but nothing terribly noticeable.  The best work’s on the helmet, which even gets some smaller details to keep it interesting.  Tallie is packed with a standard small Resistance blaster, in a very dark brown.  Yay for variety of colors?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I hadn’t initially planned to grab this one on Force Friday.  I tend to skip vehicles at launch, and I was already breaking that rule by getting the Ski Speeder.  Surely I couldn’t also grab another vehicle, right?  And I didn’t.  Well, not at Toys R Us, anyway.  But then we went to Target, and Super Awesome Girlfriend (who had gotten there before me) wandered up with this set in her hand and said it was the last one they had.  That, plus Target’s “Spend $100 and get a $25 gift card” promotion, helped convince me to get this one.  It’s not the most exciting item I picked up on Force Friday, but it’s a decent ship with a decent pack-in figure, and I can’t ask for much more than that.

#1421: Resistance Gunner Paige

RESISTANCE GUNNER PAIGE

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Okay, it’s time for another installment of “Ethan writes an intro for a character of whom he has no prior knowledge!”  In today’s game, I, Ethan, will be discussing Resistance Gunner Paige, from the film The Last Jedi.  Paige, for those of you not in the know, is a gunner…for the Resistance…in the movie The Last Jedi.  Yeah…. Oooh, ooh, wait, I’ve got another thing!  Yes, she’s also the sister of yesterday’s figure Rose.  So there you go.  Feeling better informed?  I’d guess “no,” but there’s not much I can do about that.  You know as much as I do.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Paige was released in the first series of The Last Jedi basic figures.  She’s another from the Teal assortment, and wraps that assortment up (since I didn’t pick up the C-3PO).  There’s already a revision case of this assortment starting to hit stores now, and it appears that Paige is being dropped in favor of Obi-Wan and Yoda, so she may end up being a little more difficult to find down the road.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation.  She gets an all-new sculpt, and it’s a quite nice one at that.  As with the other figures I’ve reviewed from this assortment, the detail work is nice and crisp, and there’s lots of great little details all throughout the sculpt.  Her likeness is pretty decent, too, so that’s good.  Like Poe, she’s got a removable helmet, which is nice to see return on the basic figures.  There’s a aviator’s cap under the helmet, which matches with what we’ve seen of the character and also gives a neat sort of an Amelia Earhart look to her, which I quite like.  She’s got a small breathing mask attached to her gear, which I initially thought was just another fun little detail of the sculpt, but was pleasantly surprised to discover was in fact a working mask which could be plugged into her helmet.  It’s a lot of fun.  Paige’s paint work is fairly decent overall, though it would appear a number of her sculpted details have gone unpainted, which is a real shame.  Given the overall improvement of most of the figures in this line, as well as the level of detail on some sections of Paige’s paint, I kind of have to wonder if it’s possible that a round of paint apps were just missed on the initial shipments of Paige figures.  It’s not unheard of.  Regardless, what’s there is solid, and the missing details aren’t that noticeable.  Paige includes the previously mentioned removable helmet, which is a lot of fun, as well as a standard Resistance blaster pistol, this time in dark metallic grey.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like her sister Rose, Paige was something of a gamble for me, since I don’t really know much about the character.  But, I quite like her look, so she was definitely pretty high on my Force Friday list.  She was one of the first figures I grabbed, or at least the first of the figures that got tossed at me as the guy next to me searched for Luke.  As with Rose, Paige is a pretty solid figure, and I look forward to seeing her in action!

#1420: Resistance Tech Rose

RESISTANCE TECH ROSE

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

After a week of reviewing The Last Jedi’s carry-over characters from TFA, I’m finally getting to the new stuff.  Oh yeah!  Now I can talk about…figures I don’t…have anything….to talk about…because these figures don’t have bios…  Yay?

Okay, that’s not entirely true.  I mean, it is true that the new figures don’t have bios, which is a little frustrating, but I do at least have a passing knowledge of the few new characters in this initial assortment.  Today, I’ll be looking at Rose, a Resistance tech (as noted by her name up there) who is paired off with Finn on a mission to infiltrate the First Order.  She looks poised to play a rather prominent role in TLJ, at least if the merchandise is anything to go by.  Let’s check out her first figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rose was released in the first series of The Last Jedi figures.  She’s part of the Teal assortment, where she’s actually the heaviest packed figure.  Clearly Hasbro is doing everything in their power to avoid another “where’s Rey?” situation.  We know that Rose will be getting at least two looks in the film; this figure gives us her resistance Tech jumpsuit, which I think it’s safe to say will be her main look for the film.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Rose sports an all-new sculpt, and she’s in keeping with the rest of the new figures in terms of style, meaning she’s a slight improvement on the TFA and Rogue One offerings.  The detail work is amazingly sharp, especially on the jumpsuit, and the likeness of Kelly Marie Tran is one of the best we’ve seen in this line.  Things like her hair, hood/collar, and belt are separate pieces glued in place, which offers some nice depth and layering to the figure.  The proportions on this figure are also quite nice, as they managed to fairly accurately capture Tran’s shorter, slightly stockier build, which has the added benefit of supplying a nice bit of variation to the whole set of figures.  That’s always a plus!  Rose’s paint work is rather basic, but also very sharp and clean, which is great to see on any Hasbro offering.  I particularly like the small printed characters on the front of her jumpsuit.  Those are a lot of fun.  Rose is packed with the same blaster rifle that came with the Armor-Up Poe, as well as a small tool of some kind, which can be clipped onto her belt.  Nothing super thrilling, but they’re both solid additions.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obviously, when it came to what I was picking up on Force Friday, the old characters were easy to decide on, but the new characters?  They’re all guess work.  At this point, I’m entirely going by what looks cool.  I did the same for TFA, and while that netted me the likes of Sarco Plank and Goss Toowers, I can’t say I’m upset to own either of those two.  Rose looks cool enough, and she certainly made for a good figure.  Here’s hoping the character lives up to it!

#1419: Poe Dameron – Resistance Pilot

POE DAMERON – RESISTANCE PILOT

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Didn’t I *just* review a Poe Dameron figure?  Like, two days ago?  Why yeas, observant reader, I did.  But there’s a second Poe in the initial The Last Jedi offerings, and as an admitted Poe-fanboy, I of course picked up both versions of him.  It’s just what’s done.  So, without further ado, here’s a second Poe!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Poe was released in the first series of The Last Jedi figures, as part of the Orange assortment.  The last figure gave us Poe’s “casual” look, but this one gives us his X-Wing pilot gear.  It looks like his pilot stuff will be largely unchanged, which seems fair enough.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Yes, you read that right; he has 7 points, not 5. That’s because this Poe figure has wrist articulation!  Oh yeah!  Now we’re movin’ on up!  At first glance, this figure looked to be the same sculpt as the Poe included with the TFA X-Wing, but after opening him up, it appears he’s an entirely new sculpt.  It’s very similar to the prior sculpt, but everything is much sharper, there’s much more texture, and there’s some slightly tweaked details.  It’s really a much better looking sculpt.  The head isn’t quite as close to Isaac as the Captain Poe, but it’s a cleaner sculpt than a lot of the prior figures, and isn’t a terrible likeness.  In terms of paint, this guy’s quite nicely handled.  The details are all a lot bolder and more precise than the last pilot Poe, which is much appreciated.  Poe is packed with his helmet and small blaster.  Both pieces appear to be the same ones used on the last pilot Poe, but the helmet is actually black this time and looks to be closer to the actual prop than the last one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so, despite my whole Poe-fanboy thing, when the images of all these figures first started showing up, I can’t say I was much excited by this figure.  He really just looked like a straight re-release of the TFA figure, and I already have that one.  When I found all the figures early, I took a closer look and noticed he seemed at least a little bit tweaked, but I still wasn’t biting.  So, why did I get him?  Well, Target had this nifty “Spend $100, get a $25 gift card” promotion on the Star Wars toys, and Super Awesome Girlfriend and I were $5 short of $100, so I got Poe.  I’m glad I did, because he has a lot more to offer than I initially realized.