#3120: Death Watch Mandalorian

DEATH WATCH MANDALORIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An extremist clan that attempted to take over Mandalore during the Clone Wars, the Death Watch Mandalorians are tenacious warriors embracing the ancient traditions of their people”

The first “mainstream” follow-up to Boba and Jango Fett in terms of depictions of the Mandalorians in Star Wars was in The Clone Wars, where the terrorist group the Death Watch appeared as antagonists of the Republic forces, attempting to take Mandalore back to its warrior roots.  The Watch took on a number of different forms over the course of the series, as they took over control of Mandalore, and eventually had their own splintering following Darth Maul’s machinations within the Watch.  Though the Watch are classically seen as antagonistic, The Mandalorian casts a slightly different light on them, placing them in the role of a young Din Djarin’s savior’s during the Clone Wars.  Well, at least one of them, anyway.  Since their appearance in the flashbacks in Season 1, the live action incarnation of the Death Watch has been slowly finding its way into toy form.  Today, I’m taking a look at the Black Series version.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Death Watch Mandalorian is figure 21 in the Mando-sub-set of Phase IV of The Black Series.  He’s both the final Mando themed figure in this assortment, as well as the final overall figure in the assortment.  He’s the fifth army builder to come out of The Mandalorian, as well as the third time we’ve gotten some form of Mando Warrior army builder in Black Series.  He’s based on the Mando that saves Din during his flashback in the Season 1 finale, but all of the other Mandos in that sequence appear to be wearing the same armor, so it works as any of them, really.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  His articulation structure is about what you’d expect for an armored figure in the modern incarnation of the line.  He’s got quite of mobility, and can generally pose pretty nicely.  There’s a little bit of restriction at the shoulders and hips, but other than that, everything’s pretty great.  This figure is sporting an all-new sculpt.  At first glance, he appears to share the head/helmet with Boba, but this one’s actually a single solid piece, with no actual underlying head.  There’s a chin and such sculpted under there, but it’s not fully designed.  I suppose there’s no real need for it to be a separate piece if there’s no chance of ever taking it off.  The rest of the body sculpt is pretty nicely handled.  The armor plates are separate pieces mounted in place, which gives it a nice, properly assembled feel.  The paint work on the Death Watch Mando is a decent set-up.  He’s much cleaner than a lot of Mandos, but that’s accurate to what we see on-screen; guess they had more time for armor upkeep in those days.  It’s a cool color scheme, which is rather unique.  I very much dig all of the blues.  The figure is packed with a larger blaster rifle and a small blaster pistol, which are both pretty fun pieces, as well as a jet-pack, which appears to be an all-new one, different from the others we’ve seen.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I dug the Death Watch look during Clone Wars, and I definitely dug the updated version of the design that showed up in The Mandalorian.  Given it’s short appearance, I wasn’t expecting to see it show up particularly soon, but it’s also not something I thought was entirely unlikely.  I liked the Clone Wars version that came out in 2020, but it was built on an old mold, so I was glad to see the all-new version show up here.  He’s a really solid, really fun figure, showcasing all of the advancements that Hasbro’s worked into this line in the last few years.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3030: Koska Reeves

KOSKA REEVES

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A master of hand-to-hand combat, Koska Reeves is loyal to Bo-Katan and is a member of a band of Clan Kryze Mandalorians striking back at the Imperial remnant.”

The Mandalorian‘s first season crafted a lot of new lore (or at least lore that was new to a wider audience) for the Mandalorians, leading some people to question how this would fit with the lore established in the likes of Clone Wars and Rebels.  The second season in turn brought that previous lore to the forefront, reintroducing Bo-Katan, and with her, a few other Mandalorians from her version of the culture.  Introduced alongside Bo-Katan’s live action debut were her two lieutenants, Axe Woves and Koska Reeves.  Koska seems to have been the one to take off a little bit more, since she re-appeared alongside Bo in the second season finale, and she’s also the first one to get a figure, which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Koska Reeves is figure 12 in the Mandalorian sub-set of Hasbro’s Black Series in its Phase IV incarnation.  She’s the second of the two Mandalorian figures in this particular assortment, and is thus far the trickiest to acquire from this particular round, likely due to her being the short-pack for this set.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, Koska is largely the same as Bo-Katan.  It’s not a surprise, nor is it unwarranted, since the two sport very similar designs.  Apart from some small details here and there, notably the collar of her jumpsuit, that aren’t quite spot-on, but it’s overall close enough to justify a little re-use.  The belt has been modified, downgrading her to one holster, rather than two.  It’s otherwise pretty much the same.  Koska’s helmet is an all-new piece, slightly different in its shaping than Bo’s.  It sits lower than Bo’s, which also guards the neckline a bit, covering up that one spot of inaccuracy.  Underneath the helmet is an all-new unmasked head sculpt, which is an okay offering, but doesn’t have quite the spot-on likeness for Sasha Banks you’d hope for, given the overall upward trend on Black Series likenesses recently.  Still, it’s a distinct sculpt, and gets a lot of the character down, even if the likeness isn’t quite there.  The paint work on Koska is okay.  It’s more in-line with the on-screen color scheme than Bo-Katan’s was, and it’s actually pretty bright and eye-catching.  Unlike a lot of this set, she actually gets a fair bit of accent work, especially on the armor.  Koska is packed with her jetpack and two blaster pistols, even though she’s only got a spot for one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since we’d already gotten Bo-Katan, it really was only a matter of time before we got some of her back-up.  Koska being the first makes a lot of sense, and I’m glad Hasbro didn’t opt to drag things out on this one.  She’s a pretty straight forward figure, banking on a lot of re-use, but it generally works out pretty well, and she fills out the roster pretty nicely.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2767: Mandalorian Loyalist

MANDALORIAN LOYALIST

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“When Darth Maul betrayed and defeated Pre Vizsla, Death Watch splintered into two groups. Those who wanted to embrace Mandalore’s warrior heritage remained loyal to Maul.”

Okay, so, I can’t help but feel that the bio above would actually be more appropriate for the *other* Mandalorian trooper from this particular set.  You know, the one that was a figure of one of the Mandos that actually was loyal to Maul?  Rather than this guy, who is clearly meant to be one of the Mandalorians who sticks with Bo-Katan and is on the “heroic” side of the Siege of Mandalore?  Oh, god, I’m critiquing bios again.  I gotta stop letting myself do that!  I’m probably really messing hardcore with some poor copy writer at Hasbro who’s just trying to do their best.  Why can’t I just leave them alone?  It’s just toys!  And it’s not even the part of toys that anyone really cares about, either!  …I mean, not that it’s not a very important part of the job.  You go, copy writer!  …Where was I?  Ah, yes, action figure review.  Yes.  Let’s do that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Mandalorian Loyalist is figure #04 in the Clone Wars sub-set of Star Wars: The Black Series Phase IV.  He’s part of the Walmart-exclusive four figure assortment based on the final arc of The Clone Wars.  The set hit shelves last fall, in theory at least, though in practice most people are still waiting.  As touched on above, this figure is based on the armor worn by the Mandos that remained loyal to Bo-Katan, and kept their slightly more heroic looking blues and greys.  It’s not as ornate as the Super Commando, but it’s about function over form, I’d imagine.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is virtually identical to his Maul-supporting equivalent.  That means he too is built from a lot of Jango’s parts.  It’s still a clunkier body than what we’re used to these days, but after now having two Mandos built on it, I’m warming a bit more to its overall look.  Perhaps it just works a little better for this particular design.  He doesn’t get the updated shoulders from the last one, instead keeping Jango’s less pointy ones.  He keeps the modified belt and upper legs of the Super Commando, which brings him more in line with the animation designs.  His only truly unique piece is his helmet, which is similar to the Super Commando one, but without all the horns.  Like I noted above, this new helmet’s not super showy or anything, but it gets the job done, and it does look nice.  The paint work on the Loyalist is what really separates him from the Super Commando.  He’s a lot bluer, and a lot more subdued, but it’s a good look.  There’s some solid work on the weathering for his armor, as well as the markings on each of his shoulders.  There are a lot of details on this one that are easy to miss.  The Loyalist is packed with the same accessories as the Super Commando: a jetpack borrowed from Jango and a pair of pistols borrowed from Sabine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t really have a ton of luck with this assortment at retail.  Max was able to set me up with the Super Commando, but I saw none of the others.  That certainly bummed me out, because, ideally, I kind of wanted the whole set.  This guy was probably my second most wanted figure of the bunch, so I was hoping for another shot.  Fortunately, he came in with the same trade that netted me the Clone Lieutenant I reviewed yesterday, making the whole “getting him” part that much easier!  This figure surprised me a little bit.  I wasn’t let down by the Super Commando or anything, but after getting him, I expected very little from this one.  I was pleasantly surprised by how nicely he turned out, and by how much work Hasbro put into this seemingly more basic design.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2640: The Mandalorian w/ Speeder Bike

THE MANDALORIAN w/ SPEEDER BIKE

STAR WARS: MISSION FLEET (HASRBO)

Alright, are you guys ready to get cyclical?  I sure hope so, because we’re going to be rounding up this year’s post-Christmas reviews by circling back to where we kicked them off, namely Star Wars, or more specifically, The Mandalorian.  Before the dumpster fire that was last year had really kicked into high gear, Hasbro was looking to experiment a little bit with their Star Wars output.  Obviously, The Black Series and The Vintage Collection have the collector’s side covered, but that leaves a bit of a lack of stuff for a younger audience, or indeed someone who just likes a good, fun toy.  Their first attempt at slight more all ages fare was Galaxy of Adventures, which I covered as they were released in 2019, and which was *supposed* to have more product added in 2020 but…didn’t.  The other line, shown off at Toy Fair last year, was Mission Fleet, a stylized line with a heavier focus on vehicles.  The line started showing up at retail last fall, and it’s been a fun little experiment.  Today, I’m taking a look at its first set based on The Mandalorian.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

The Mandalorian with Speeder Bike is part of the launch wave of Mission Fleet product, in a set officially dubbed “Battle For The Bounty.”  They have a few different sizes and price points for the sets, and this one is part of the Expedition Class set up, which covers more proper vehicles of the smaller persuasion.

The core figure gives us Mando in his full Beskar armament, and was in fact the first toy from Hasbro to do so, having beaten both the Black Series and Vintage Collection versions to market by a little bit.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Despite the small stature, he does still get a ball-jointed neck and universal joints on the shoulders, so he’s got an alright range of motion.  His sculpt is a pretty respectable little offering.  He’s definitely rather stylized, with a slightly enlarged head, hands, and feet.  He’s not quite as far removed as, say, a PlaySkool offering, but definitely not a hyper realistic recreation of the live action stuff by any stretch.  I think it works pretty well for him, and gets all of the important details for the character, while making him perhaps a touch more kid-friendly.  His paint work is pretty on the basic side, but all of the important details are again present.  Application is clean, and he matches the show depiction pretty well.  Mando is packed with both his cape and jetpack, though, like the Black Series figure, you have to choose one or the other.  He also includes both his rifle and pistol.  The only downside to the two weapons is a lack of storage for them while he’s on the vehicle, an unfortunately recurring issue with the line.

Though not quite as much of a figure proper as the Mando, this set also includes the *other* major player in The Mandalorian, the Child, who was still unnamed at the time of this figure’s release, so he sticks with just being “The Child.”  In an effort to be kind to people who aren’t entirely current on the show, I’ll just stick with that here.  He’s about an inch tall and is articulated only at his neck, which is honestly more articulation than I’d been expecting, really.  He’s definitely way too large to be in proper scale with the Mando or any other normal sized characters from this line, but for proper scaling, he’d be incredibly minuscule, and even more easily lost than he already is.  He’s sculpted holding the control knob from the Razor Crest, and is caricature-ized, much like the Mando.  His paint work’s not quite as clean as Mando’s, but it’s still not too bad.  Again, all of the important details are there.  The Child includes his floating pram from the first few episodes.  Like the Child itself, the pram is quite up-scaled compared to the rest of the line, but it’s a cool piece.  I do wish it was a little easier to get him sitting up in it, though.

The main vehicle component for this set is the speeder bike the Mando uses while on Tatooine in the episodes “The Gunslinger” and “The Marshall.”  It’s a pretty basic speeder bike layout, and it’s certainly a more economical vehicle choice for the character than going the Razor Crest route, so I can dig it.  It’s about 6 inches long, so its scale relative to the Mando is pretty decent.  The detail work is more on the basic side, focusing on the more broad stroke details to sell it.  It works well with the style they’ve gone for with the figure.  There are some slightly obtrusive ports on the sides, two of which are for the included cannon, and the other two don’t seem to match up to anything.  I’m guessing they’re for something in the future, maybe?  There’s also a spot on the back allowing the pram to be hooked up, making this whole thing one larger piece.  Also included with the vehicle is a rather large missile launcher, with included missile.  Obviously, it’s not based on anything from the actual show, but it’s a cool extra, more toyetic thing to throw in, and you can mount it in a few different spots on the bike.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was pretty interested in Mission Fleet when it was shown off at Toy Fair, and when it hit, I enlisted some help from Cheyenne in tracking down a few of the sets.  She obliged on a handful of them, and requested that I maybe, possibly, not buy any for myself, so that she’d have an easier time getting me gifts and the like.  So, I held off, and then I honestly forgot, truth be told, until she presented me with this bad boy just a few days after Christmas.  This is a fun line, and one that I honestly put off actually reviewing for far longer than I should have.  This set in particular is a nice little contained package of all the major Mandalorian elements, but the whole line is just great.  Maybe I should review those other ones I’ve got sitting around at some point, huh?

#2625: The Mandalorian – Beskar

THE MANDALORIAN — BESKAR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Mandalorian is battle-worn and tight-lipped, a formidable bounty hunter in an increasingly dangerous galaxy!”

The Mandalorian just wrapped its second season last Friday, so I guess what better time to actually start reviewing Mando product again then right now.  It couldn’t be more time relevant, could it?  Last year, we got our first figure of the show’s main character, based upon his appearance in the show’s debut episode.  Though we didn’t know when he was released, that look wound up being rather short-lived, replaced just three episodes in by a shiny, new, all Beskar set of armor, which has subsequently remained his primary appearance.  Thanks to the same secrecy that kept The Child a total surprise, the Beskar armored Mando was likewise not shown to licensors until he appeared in the show, leaving something of a delay in getting him made in figure form.  Fortunately, he’s finally making his way to collectors, right as the second season comes to a close.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beskar Mando is part of the first assortment of the latest re-launch of Star Wars: The Black Series.  Rather than one overarching numbering scheme, they’re now breaking them down into smaller sub-sets.  Mando is, unsurprisingly, part of the Mandalorian sub-set, where he’s figure #01.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Structurally, this guy’s very similar to the prior Mando, which makes sense, them being the same guy and all.  His articulation works exactly the same, which is fine by me given how mobile that figure ended up being.  He shares a handful of parts with that previous release, specifically the helmet, hands, lower legs, and cape.  These parts actually remain constant in the show, so it’s sensible to re-use.  It does come with its own slight drawbacks, notably with the helmet and cape. The helmet is just slightly off from the show’s design in terms of shaping.  It’s minor, but there was a part of me hoping they might fix it for this release.  It’s not the end of the world, though, and I guess they’re at least consistent this way.  The cape isn’t a problem on its own, but is sort of a problem when you factor in the included jetpack.  In the show, he pushes the cape up and out of the way when wearing the jetpack, but with the cape here being plastic, you have to choose between one or the other when displaying him.  This isn’t screen accurate, so it’s a touch frustrating.  Either a cloth cape, or a newly sculpted cape piece would have fixed this.  As is, he’ll require a little bit of modification.  Mando gets a new torso, arms, and upper legs featuring his newer armor pieces.  They’re certainly a cleaner design, though they match up with the prior figure in terms of actual styling of details.  In order to match up with the inclusion of the jetpack, thereby making this a post-Chaper 8 Mando, his right pauldron includes Mando’s Mudhorn signet, which is certainly a very nice touch.  The Mando’s paint work is all pretty clean.  It matches with the depiction of the armor from the show, and is just generally pretty slick.  Mando is packed with the aforementioned jetpack, plus the same rifle and pistol that were included with the last version of the character.  Not a bad set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been patiently awaiting this armor set-up since it debuted on the show, and was curious exactly when it would show in the line.  Once it was announced, it was once again a patient wait until I could actually get my hands on one, because he’s been far and away the most demanded figure out of the newest Black Series line-up.  The end result isn’t perfect.  The helmet doesn’t bug me so much, but I was a bit let down by the cape.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing yet another version of this guy in the near future, of course, what with him being the main character and all.  This one’s still really good, though.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2613: Mandalorian Super Commando

MANDALORIAN SUPER COMMANDO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Darth Maul’s Mandalorians modified their armor to reflect allegiance to the Dark Lord. These super commandos wore red and black, and some even fashioned horns atop their helmet.”

The Mandalorian side of the Star Wars universe has been getting a good deal of focus these days, thanks to a show of the same name being kind of a big deal and all.  While this is certainly the most prominent focus the culture has gotten, their background has been in place for a while.  It was originally a strictly EU thing, but made its first foray into more main stream culture via The Clone Wars, whose saga of Mandalore’s fall mad up the back bone of the show’s second half, and playing a large part in the show’s multi-part finale.  Said finale serves as the inspiration for the first fully-Clone Wars-inspired assortment of Hasbro’s Black Series, with the Mandos themselves making up half of the set, one from each side of the Mando Civil War.  Today, I’m looking at one of the Mandos on Darth Maul’s side of the conflict.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Mandalorian Super Commando is figure #05 in the Clone Wars subset of the latest relaunch of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s the highest numbered of his four figure assortment, which is, as of right now a Walmart-exclusive set.  However, the marketing on this particular set has been very vague about the actual exclusivity of this set, and all signs point to it just being an early exclusivity deal, much like Ectotron and Gigawatt were.  Time will tell, of course.  This guy is based on one of Maul’s Super Commandos, specifically the most ornate of the bunch.  It’s armor that was initially seen on Maul-faithful leader Gar Saxon earlier in the show’s run, prior to being adopted by a few of the other Mandos in the show’s final season.  It’s a cool design to be sure, combining all of the cool elements of Maul and the Mandos into one.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  The Super Commando is built on the Jango Fett body, which is…I mean, I guess it’s not the worst, but it’s not the best either.  It comes from a period when the line wasn’t at its best articulation wise, so it’s a bit stiffer than more recent offerings.  On top of that, Jango was a little chunkier than how the Mandos have been portrayed elsewhere.  Now, obviously some of the difference comes from the move from animation to realistic, but it still makes the guy seem just a touch schlubier than he should.  Overall, though, it’s still not a bad sculpt, and the detailing on the armor is pretty darn sharp.  The Super Commando gets a new head, wearing the horned helmet mentioned in the bio.  By far, it’s the best piece of the figure, and is a really clean, really sharp recreation of the design from the show.  He also gets a new belt and upper legs with new holster pieces, which are now separate parts without the straps.  This does at least aid in the posability of the figure at the hips.  Lastly, there are new shoulder pads on the upper arms, with some spikes to match the helmet.  It helps to make the figure sufficiently different from Jango, so he does at least feel a little bit new.  The Super Commando also gets a brand new paint scheme to match the new parts.  It’s pretty solid, although if I have one complaint, it’s that the grey used for the body suit seems a little lighter than it should be.  Other than that, it’s a pretty striking design.  The Super Commando is packed with the same rocket pack that came with Jango, as well as a pair of the standard Mandalorian pistols, borrowed from Sabine.  It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to be workable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While watching the last few seasons of Clone Wars, I was really hoping to get some more figures from the show’s later seasons.  When this assortment was shown off, I was super excited…until the whole “Walmart” bit got mentioned, which thoroughly killed my buzz.  Fortunately, Max was able to help me out on this guy here at the very least.  He’s definitely cool.  Not without his flaws, but cool.  Hopefully the rest of the assortment ends up showing back up in a more easily acquired fashion so that I can get the rest of them.