#1913: Lando Calrissian – Skiff Guard

LANDO CALRISSIAN — SKIFF GUARD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Once a smooth-talking smuggler, Lando Calrissian changed from a get-rich-quick schemer to a selfless leader in the fight against the Empire. When his old friend Han was held captive in the palace of Jabba the Hutt, Lando joined Princess Leia in a mission to rescue him from certain demise.”

Lando Calrissian may not have joined our heroes until their second outing, but he has maintained a notoriety amongst the fanbase, no doubt due to his suave scoundrel-y nature.  Despite this, he didn’t actually join the Black Series line-up until four years into its run, and with a figure that only saw moderate release at that.  Fortunately, his presence in 2018’s Solo brought him more into the spotlight, with two separate Black Series releases.  The first was based on his Solo appearance, but the follow-up gives us Lando’s Palace Guard disguise from Return of the Jedi‘s opening moments.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Skiff Guard Lando is figure 76 in the Black Series line-up.  He’s the second to last figure in the newest assortment, as well as the final of the OT figures this time around.  The costume is from Jedi, which makes it slightly out of place in a Solo/Empire split assortment, but it’s actually pretty well chosen, given the costume’s cameo appearance as Beckett’s heist disguise in Solo.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  This Lando is head-to-toe a new sculpt.  While prior Skiff Landos have been known to reuse previous heads, that is thankfully not the case here.  While the prior Black Series head wasn’t *bad*, the likeness definitely could have been better, as this one deftly illustrates.  It’s hands down the best Billy Dee Williams likeness we’ve ever gotten from Hasbro.  The rest of the sculpt is pretty strong in its own right, with nice balanced proportions and a ton of detail worked all throughout.  There’s no shortage of texturing on this guy, meaning he’ll fit right in with the other denizens of Jabba’s palace.  The paint work on this figure is in line with the current improved standards of the line.  The base work is all clean, and there’s some pretty substantial accent work, showcasing that Jabba’s palace really isn’t the cleanest place to hang out.  He also uses the face-print tech, which builds on the figure’s already very strong head sculpt to give us a very realistic looking Lando.  Lando is packed with his Skiff Guard helmet, as well as the standard guard armament, the vibro-axe.  He doesn’t include the blaster we usually see with Skiff variants of Lando, but his hand is molded with a trigger finger, should you wish to arm Lando yourself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The first Lando hit at a time when I wasn’t really able to buy many figures, so the one time I saw him, I had to pass on him.  While the Solo variant was certainly a strong offering, I was really hoping for a proper OT version.  While the Skiff Guard set-up isn’t necessarily my go-to look for Lando, there’s no denying that this is the best version of the character available.  I’m hopeful that Hasbro may give us a slightly udpated Bespin Lando down the line, maybe as part of the Archive line.  Until then, this guy will hold me over just fine.

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#1796: Lando Calrissian

LANDO CALRISSIAN

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Lando Calrissian has been called many things over the years; con artist, smuggler, and rogue. He never expected to be called a leader and war hero…but then, he never dreamed that the Empire would force him to betray his best friend.”

This deal is getting worse all the time!  What deal?  I don’t actually know.  I didn’t have a decent intro for this thing, so there you have it.  I’ve been pretty steadily working my way through my Power of the Force II collection over the last two years, but with all of the new stuff I’ve been picking up, sometimes they fall off my radar for a bit.  They’re back today, though, and I’m looking the receiver of progressively worse deals, Lando Calrissian himself!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lando was part of the first series of Power of the Force II figures, released in 1996.  He’s based on the character’s debut appearance from Empire.  It’s rather distinctive, and quite frankly, it’s my favorite of his looks.  This figure would mark the second time it would show up in plastic form.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has the usual 6 points of articulation.  Lando, being from the line’s very first assortment, is also victim to the worst of the line’s stylization.  He’s rivaled only by the farm boy Luke for the title of “beefcake,” and that deep lunge of a pose he’s got going on certainly accents his disco-inspired garb quite well.  But really, can we talk about the fact that his poofy and loose-fitting shirt from the movie is seen here stretched to capacity over Lando’s rippling pecks and abs?  Because boy is it.  Like, how does one get oneself jacked like that?  I’m genuinely curious.  That’s a talent, to be sure.  Lando gets a souped up cape to match the rest of him.  This thing is super thick, and super heavy; I guess if his cape is this heavy, that explains how he got so jacked.  The whole thing’s topped off with a head that’s identical to the one on the skiff disguise Lando.  While it’s not a perfect likeness, it’s still one of the better efforts from the earlier PotF2 figures, and it’s leaps and bounds beyond any of the vintage Landos.  Lando’s paintwork is actually kind of unique for one of these figures, what with all the blue.  He looks quite clean, and pops out from the display, as he most certainly should!  Lando is packed with two different blasters.  He’s got the one he stole from a Stormtrooper, as well as one of his own, more suited to his personal flair.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Lando isn’t a figure I had growing up, but when I started filling in the gaps in this line a few years ago, he was definitely near the top of my list.  I ended up grabbing him from Lost in Time during one fo their sidewalk sales, and I certainly was happy to find him.  Lando is perhaps the goofiest, most ridiculous of all the initial PotF2 figures, but that works in his favor, making him perhaps the most memorable, and certainly a lot of fun.

#1701: Lando Calrissian

LANDO CALRISSIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Smooth and sophisticated, Captain Lando Calrissian stands ready to retire from the life of a smuggler and instead become a full-time gambler (or “sportsman”, as he calls it), shuffling from card game to card game across the galaxy.”

For my second and third entries in this week of Black Series reviews, I’ll be moving over to the newest installment in the Star Wars franchise, Solo.  I’ve looked at the smaller figures, as well as the Black Series release of the main character, but now I’m going to look at one of the other major returning characters, and one of the highest-praised parts of the movie, Lando Calrissian!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lando is figure 65 in Star Wars: The Black Series, released in the assortment that arrived on shelves alongside the other Solo-themed product.  This is Lando’s second time as a Black Series figure, in rather quick succession, actually.  He’s based on his main Solo look, which is certainly dynamic, and makes for a solid figure design.  The figure stands just over 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  His articulation set-up is rather similar to Han’s, meaning he’s got quite a bit of range in most of those joints, and he’s a ton of fun to pose.  His sculpt is an all-new offering, and does a respectable job of translating Donald Glover’s version of Lando into figure form.  The likeness on the head isn’t quite as spot-on as Han or Rey; I think Glover might just have one of those difficult to capture faces.  On the plus side, the face is very expressive, and very in character for Lando, so it’s a nice change of pace from the blander expression seen on other figures in the line.  The cape and scarf are both separate, removable pieces, allowing you to mix and match looks, and give him a bit of variety.  The softer plastic isn’t too restricting of the figure’s articulation, and it still manages to hold the details pretty well.  Like Han and Rey, Lando makes use of the new face printing technique, to give his face more realism.  It’s not quite as convincing here as it was on the other two, in part due to the more cartoony expression.  Still, it looks pretty good, and it still avoids that lifeless look of the earlier figures.  The rest of the paint is really bright, and quite eye-catching, but there’s one small issue with my figure; the bottom half of his shirt is painted yellow rather than molded.  Not a huge deal, but on my figure the paint application is a little thin, so some of the underlying black plastic is bleeding through.  It’s not terrible, but a little annoying.  Lando is packed with his fancy blaster, which is the same model as included with his smaller figure, but this time it comes with a removable barrel attachment, and that’s pretty fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been on the look out for Lando ever since the figures first started hitting.  I saw the ESB version a few times, but the figure never really grabbed me, so I never got him.  So, this one carries some extra weight.  He was a little tough to come by initially, but I managed to track him down during a completely not-toy-related stop to my local Target.  He’s another strong figure, and like Han, I’d love to have a main Billy Dee Williams version of this quality down the road.

#1674: Lando Calrissian & Kessel Guard

LANDO CALRISSIAN & KESSEL GUARD

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

“Smooth and sophisticated, Captain Lando Calrissian stands ready to retire from the life of a smuggler and instead become a full-time gambler (or “sportsman”, as he calls it), shuffling from card game to card game across the galaxy.”

Moreso than Han, the character that I think the most people are excited to see more of in Solo is Lando Calrissian.  Billy Dee Williams’ suave scoundrel has long been a fan favorite, but a lot of his story was left un-explored by the main films (though there was a pretty awesome set of novels written by L. Neil Smith that detailed some of his exploits).  For this prequel, he’s finally getting another chance to shine, and he’s being played by fan-favorite Donald Glover to boot!  He is, of course, getting his fair share of toys out of the movie.  I’ll be looking at his small-scale release today, alongside the Kessel Guard.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Lando and the Kessel Guard are part of the first series of Solo two-packs.  Of the three packs in the case, they’re one of two new sets, and also the only one that’s actually Solo-based.

LANDO CALRISSIAN

Believe it or not, this is only the second Lando figure to be released since Hasbro implemented the new-style 5-POA figures, and the first new small-scale Lando since early 2015.  This one is, of course, Donald Glover-based, though, so that’s new.  Lando’s got a slightly different outfit than either of the other times we’ve seen him, but like Han, his style hasn’t changed too much.  He’s definitely still all fliggity-fly.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation.  His arm movement is a bit restricted by his cape, but if it really offends you, both it and his scarf are one removable piece allowing for a slightly more casual look.  Lando’s sculpt is alright, but I have to admit, it’s a bit of a letdown when compared to Han and Qi’ra.  Like, it’ll look fine with the TFA figures, but Hasbro’s been stepping up the level of detailing recently, so he looks slightly simple by comparison.  He also doesn’t have quite as much of a Glover likeness as you might hope.  I mean, there’s definitely shades of Glover in there, but he just feels a little too bland for Glover.  I’m also not a huge fan of the stance of the legs.  They’re just too close together, and he’s a bit pigeon-toed, which looks a bit goofy and also makes him very hard to stand.  In terms of paint, Lando’s okay, but not great.  The basic work is all fine, and he’s not too sloppy or anything, but the face is kind of goofy lookin, and lacks the finer detail work like we saw on Qi’ra.  He’s passable, though. Lando is packed with a blaster pistol (the same style carried by the Death Troopers), and unlike his two compatriots, he’s actually got a holster for it.

KESSEL GUARD

I don’t really know much about this guy.  I’m assuming his name is related to the famous Kessel Run, which we might be seeing Han do in this film, if rumors are true.  I guess this guy figures in there somewhere.  We shall see.  He’s actually a pretty solid design, keeping in the tradition of the sorts of scavenged armor-clad characters we’ve been seeing since the first movie.  The helmet’s certainly distinctive, and and all of his details are quite sharply defined.  He’s actually surprisingly well-detailed when compared to his pack-mate.  His sculpted stance is also a bit more generic, allowing him to stand with a bit more ease.  On top of all of that, he has one of the best paint jobs I’ve seen on one of these smaller-scale figures.  There’s just all sorts of wear and tear and weathering and what-not.  He’s clearly been wearing this gear around for quite some time.  The Guard includes a staff (which can be stowed on his back), as well as a larger blaster cannon.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set proved a bit more illusive than other figures when the product first launched.  I’d say it’s in-part due to Lando’s popularity, but also in-part due to this being the only truly “new” set in the case.  Fortunately, the set’s gotten easier to find more recently, and I was able to score one a few days after the launch.  Lando’s okay.  I will admit, I was slightly disappointed after spending time tracking him down.  Still, he’s hardly a bad figure, and the Guard helps carry the set as well.

#1207: Lando Calrissian as Skiff Guard

LANDO CALRISSIAN AS SKIFF GUARD

STAR WARS: THE POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

landoskiff1

Man, the Star Wars characters sure do like disguising themselves, don’t they?  At some point in the franchise, just about every main character has gone incognito (even Chewbacca).  And, of course, toy companies love this, since it’s a pretty easy way of milking another variation of the main characters to make into an action figure.  Lando Calrissian was actually the very first character to get such a figure (well, technically.  He and Leia as Boush were released at the same time, but Lando’s date stamp is from ’82, while hers is from ’83).  That’s not actually the figure I’m looking at today, though.  It seems Lando’s disguised look is more enduring than some of the others, seeing as it makes up roughly a third of all of his figures.  Today, I’m looking at Kenner’s second stab at this particular look.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

landoskiff2Lando was released in the first assortment of the 1997 series of Kenner’s Staw Wars: Power of the Force II.  It was the second version of Lando in the line and his fifth figure overall.  As touched on in the intro, this figure is based on Lando’s Skiff Guard disguise from the opening of Return of the Jedi.  Honestly, even as a disguised look, this is the most action-oriented design we saw Lando in, and I think that’s where a lot of its appeal comes from.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Lando comes from later in the POTF2 line, which was after the sculpts has calmed down a bit and worked out some of the ‘90s over-stylization.  He’s still a fair bit more jacked than Billy Dee Williams ever was, but that was on par with the rest of the line.  His head sculpt was the same one used for the Bespin version of Lando (and later the General version as well).  It’s not a spot-on Billy Dee Williams, but it’s still closer than most of the likenesses at the time.  And at least it was consistent, right?  The body sculpt was all-new to this figure.  Apart from the aforementioned “jacked” nature of the build, it’s a decent enough translation of the onscreen design.  He also ditches a lot of the pre-posing from earlier in the line, instead getting a more natural pose, and thereby offering a bit more versatility.  Lando’s paintwork is generally pretty solid.  Nothing spectacular, or particularly noteworthy, but it’s certainly well-done.  The colors are all well matched to the costume from the movie, and all the application is pretty clean.  There are some slight mismatches between some of the paint and molded elements, but nothing super awful.  Lando originally included a removable mask and vibro-axe, but my figure hasn’t had either in well over a decade.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is my very first Lando action figure, though he didn’t technically start out as mine.  He was one of a handful of Star Wars figures that I helped my Grandmother pick out at KB Toys back in the day so that my cousin Patrick and I would both have some figures at her house to play with (since we spent at least one day of the week there).  Eventually, Patrick grew out of his Star Wars phase and neither of us was spending as much time there, so Lando and the others eventually came home with me.  He’s the only one that made it through all of my various collection purges, mostly due to being the only Lando figure I owned for a good long while.  He’s actually not a bad figure, and he’s probably aged better than most of the others in this line.

#1188: Lando Calrissian

LANDO CALRISSIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

landogen1

For Day 22 of my post-Christmas reviews, I’ll be taking a look at the last of the Star Wars-themed figures I got this year, before once again returning to the world of Marvel (spoilers for tomorrow’s review?)  Today, I’ll be looking at everyone’s favorite suave scoundrel.  No, it’s not Han Solo, why do you ask?  Okay, so it’s everyone’s *second* favorite suave scoundrel, Lando Calrissian!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

landogen2Lando was released as part of Series 5 of Walmart’s exclusive smaller-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line, the same assortment that brought us Wednesday’s Admiral Ackbar figure (along with Ahsoka Tano and a Royal Guard).  Like Ackbar, Lando is a re-release of an earlier Vintage Collection figure.  Also like Ackbar, I don’t have the earlier figure, so this one is new for me.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  The Vintage Collection was where Hasbro finally started adding in some additional hip movement for some of the figures.  Lando was from later in the line, when they started adding it to non-Jedi/Trooper characters.  At this point the movement was still rather primitive when compared to lots of other small-scale lines like this, but progress is progress.  The sculpt is generally pretty decent.  He’s based on Lando’s General look from Return of the Jedi, which isn’t my go-to Lando look, but it’s a decent enough choice.  The uniform is pretty solid and matches up with the onscreen costume.  The holster is a separate, removable piece, which is actually pretty convenient, since it had a tendency to switch shoulder from shot to shot.  The head sports a passable Billy Dee Williams likeness.  It’s hardly perfect, but it’s about as close as any other likeness this line’s ever given us.  The cape is cloth, and that’s probably the one major detractor about this figure.  It’s not awful; the actual cape bit is decent enough, but the clasp, which is rather thin in the film, is replaced here by a rather thick spandex band.  It’s totally inaccurate and ends up covering a good portion of the rather nicely sculpted collar.  Lando sports some pretty decent paintwork.  Nothing particularly spectacular, or super exciting, but the application is quite clean, continuing the upward trend from Hasbro as of late.  Lando includes a small blaster pistol, which can be placed in the holster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Just like Admiral Ackbar, Lando was a Christmas present from my Super Awesome Girlfriend, though there’s no special reason behind me getting this guy (aside from an offhand confirmation of “yeah, I like Lando”).  While this isn’t my first choice of costume, this is otherwise a pretty solid figure, and I’m glad to add him to my collection!