#2284: Kylo Ren vs Rey

SUPREME LEADER KYLO REN VS REY

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

At the tail-end of last year, I covered the first chunk of figures offered in Hasbro’s recently-launched Galaxy of Advetures line.  There were a pretty sizable amount of figures available at the line’s launch, along with an exclusive Luke figure fairly shortly after.  Then it was time to move into the line’s real second round of product, made up of three new pieces.  I’ll be covering all three items this week, starting things off with the least “new” of the three, a Reylo-themed two-pack.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Kylo and Rey are the line’s second multi-pack, following the Droids release from launch.  They’re a Target-exclusive item, which appears to have been a slightly later in the game decision, since there wasn’t really much promotion of that fact.  They started hitting shelves in late November of last year.  Both figures included are slight tweaks of their single releases.

KYLO REN

Definitely the selling point of the set for most, Kylo’s the figure that has the most noticeable changes, the most visible of which is the brand-new unmasked head.  It’s a decent piece, matching with the rest of the human heads in terms of styling and character vs actor likeness.  The paint seems like a slight toning down compared to some of the single releases, with less color throughout the face.  I like this a little more, so I’m glad to see them pulling it back a bit.  From the neck down, he’s the same as the single release, which is fine by me, as I liked that release a lot.  In terms of accessories, he loses the hooded cloak, which is a little sad, but gets to keep his helmeted head and lightsaber, so he ends up with the same number of extras.  The helmeted head is ever so slightly different from the regular in terms of paint, but it could honestly be a case by case thing.  Something that I certainly hope is more a case by case thing is how tight the neck joint is on my figure.  When I swapped the heads and went to swap back to the unmasked, the ball joint came out of the helmet the wrong way, and it took quite a bit of work to get them properly swapped back.  I’ve got both Kylos, so I’m fine with leaving this one unmasked, but that would be a very different situation for someone who only has this release.

REY

The core Rey figure here is far less changed from her single release than Kylo.  The only real differences are mostly superficial.  The face paint is again toned down a bit, and the joints seem a touch tighter on this Rey than my single.  Beyond that, they’re the same figure.  She does get one additional accessory this time: her bag, present on both the Vintage Collection and Black Series figures, but missing from the GoA release.  It’s nothing major, but it’s cool that they gave her a little something extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had contemplated holding off on the single Rey until this set was released, but ultimately didn’t, so then I wasn’t sure I was going to grab this set at all.  After falling in love with this line, though, I had a hard time saying no to another figure, especially when I had literally everything else they’d released.  The neck joint issue on Kylo is annoying, but I’m otherwise pretty happy with this set, and was even able to set Max up with the extra Rey figure.  Ultimately, I think most people will chose either the set or the singles for these, and if I’m honest, the set’s a slightly better value.

#2275: C-3PO & Babu Frik

C-3PO & BABU FRIK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

C-3PO longs for more peaceful times, but his continued service to the Resistance keeps him on the frontiers of galactic conflict.

A tiny, well-regarded droidsmith, Babu Frik can modify virtually any droid, regardless of the security measure protecting its systems.”

Since his later than others entry into the line, C-3PO has been steadily racking up quite an assortment of Black Series figures for himself.  Though his look may not change all that drastically throughout the majority of the films, Hasbro has nevertheless seen fit to give us as many of the character’s minor tweaks as they can.  He wound up getting at least one figure for all three of the sequel trilogy films (though the Last Jedi figure was only available through Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge park expansion), with his appearance in Rise of Skywalker providing his latest offering, alongside the minuscule droidsmith Babu Frik.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

C-3PO and Babu Frik are a Target-exclusive Black Series offering, which started hitting about a week or two before the movie arrived in theaters last year.  The set depicts 3PO as we saw him in much of the promotional material before the film, carrying Chewbacca’s bandolier and bowcaster, and sporting red eyes, as opposed to his usual gold tones.  These two things don’t happen at the same time in the final film, but then again, the figure doesn’t require him to be doing everything at once either, making his more of an all-encompassing Rise of Skywalker 3PO.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  This 3PO is a combination of the first 3PO and the improved protocol droid arms from 4-LOM, meaning he can bend his arms.  This same change was also seen on 000 and the Galaxy’s Edge 3PO, so it was really just expected here.  He gets a new head, sporting a removable backing, allowing for his internals to be revealed, just like in the movie.  I’m always skeptical of features like this, lest they not fit properly when popped back into place, but 3PO’s head remains together fairly securely, and I must admit the feature looks pretty darn cool.  Beyond that, the construction on 3PO is the same as the first figure, which means it’s a very nice looking sculpt, and was very posable even before the addition of the improved arms.  The paintwork on 3PO is pretty decent all around.  He is again a flat gold, rather than vac metalized, which I still don’t mind all that much.  The gold isn’t quite as bright as the first 3PO, which seems more accurate.  He also gets some small silver piping on the arm joints, which we’ve not seen before, as well as the expected extra detailing on the back of the head.  The most notable change, though, are the eyes.  Like Dryden Vos, they’re therno-sensitive. At room temperature, they’re a standard gold, but when cold, they turn a bright red, like his eyes do briefly in the film.  It’s a nifty effect, even if I don’t see myself getting a ton of use out of it.  3PO is packed with Chewbacca’s bandolier and bowcaster, both borrowed from previous figures, as well as a whole nother figure, Babu Frik.  Okay, I say he’s a whole figure.  That’s perhaps a slight stretch.  Babu is certainly more of a figure than I had anticipated; I fully expected an unarticulated mini-figure, but to my surprise, Babu sports ball joints at the shoulders and waist.  He’s also got a moving visor, so he can properly work on the back of 3PO’s head. Certainly he is far more impressive figure than I’d initially expected.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pair was another gift to me from my in-laws.  I’d expressed a moderate interest in the pair prior to the film’s release, but wasn’t sure what to expect.  After seeing the movie and quite enjoying Babu’s sequence, I was quite happy to open these two up Christmas morning.  I was even happier when I actually took them out of their box and discovered just how playable Babu was.  Definitely a fun little offering, and a great choice of exclusive.

The Rise of Skywalker: A Movie Review

Six movie reviews in, I believe I can no longer start these things with “I don’t write movie reviews,” because clearly I do.  I will, however, cop to not writing them very frequently, especially emphasized by the fact that I haven’t written one since May  June of 2018.  Don’t blame me; blame the gap between Star Wars movies.  Yes, for whatever reason, the Star Wars films really getting my film review juices flowing.  If I had to wager a guess, I’d say it’s got something to do with the franchise’s undeniable connection to its own toyline.

I guess that makes my first comment about this movie a rather melancholy one about how The Rise of Skywalker was seriously under-merchandised.  Based on very little in the movie itself, the experience this time around felt very different, mostly because I couldn’t just run out and buy all the things I had just seen up on the big screen.  For someone who grew up in the midst of the prequel hype where *literally everything* got a toy, it feels really off to me.  Of course, I could just be a little bitter that there are no figures of Poe sporting that snazzy scarf announced at this time…  Whatever the case, I can’t help but feel the toys really got left out of this installment, and that makes me sad.  None of this has to do with the actual film, I suppose, though, so how about I move onto…

THE ACTUAL REVIEW

In my review of Solo, I remarked that it was decidedly *not* an epic, an interesting beast in a franchise of epics.  The Rise of Skywalker, on the other hand, aims to be the most epic of the epics, perhaps even the epic to end the epics.  Had it not been released in the same year as Endgame, it certainly would have been the most epic film of the year, at least in terms of pure scope.  Supposedly, the original cut of the film was 4 hours in length, and having seen the final, far more svelte 2 hour and 22 minute cut, I can easily see where those 4 hours came from.

Picking up a year after the end of The Last JediThe Rise of Skywalker gives us our first real taste of progression of time in the sequel trilogy, following the rather tight nit pace of the prior two films.  Emperor Palpatine has returned (a fact delivered to us in the film’s opening crawl) and Kylo Ren, now Supreme Leader of the First Order, has sought him out, hoping to quash any contest to Kylo’s (admittedly shaky) rule of the First Order forces.  Instead, Palpatine offers Kylo the some spot his grandfather Vader held in the Empire in his new endeavor, The Final Order, and order seemingly built on controlling the galaxy by reducing it considerably in size, or at the very least reducing the volume of living creatures contained within it.  Kylo, like the Vader fanboy he’s always been, accepts.

Over on the Resistance side, we are reintroduced to Poe, Finn, and Chewbacca first, as they take the Millennium Falcon on a run to retrieve intel from a First Order spy.  They run afoul of the First Order and are forced to make a daring escape, with Poe jumping in and out of lightspeed seemingly at random, delivering a serious beating to the Falcon.  They make their way to the jungle moon Ajan Kloss, where the Resistance have set up their new base following their losses in The Last Jedi.  There we are reintroduced to Rey, who has been continuing her Jedi training, now under the tutelage of Leia.  Through the intel, the Resistance learns of Palpatine’s plans for the Final Order, and a clock is set for our heroes to find Palpatine’s location and end his second reign before it begins.  So, our main trio, plus Chewy, 3PO, and BB-8, set out on the Falcon to find an artifact that will lead them to Palpatine.

That’s just the first 20 minutes of the movie, and if I’m entirely honest, it’s not the film’s strongest part.  The pacing at the beginning is a bit frantic and jarring, as they cut back and forth between Kylo and the Resistance.  Once the trio heads out on their mission, things start clicking into place a bit better, and the film more securely finds its footing, with a fairly steady ramp up to the movie’s galactic-level conclusion.  A lot has to happen in this film, and it does its best to balance all of it.

Our returning leads each get a compelling arc of their own.  Rey continues to struggle with who she is, and what her significance is to both the Jedi and the Resistance, eventually finding peace by the film’s conclusion.  Finn finally manages to shake off that cowardly streak the he had in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and holds onto full-fledged hero for the entirety of this film, even finding some more kindred spirits along the way.  Poe faces down both his past and his future, as he must come to grips with taking over as a leader of the Resistance, while calling back on his past as a spice runner to help complete our heroes’ mission.  Perhaps my favorite thing about the movie is that all three of them go through these arcs together, as for the first time in the sequel trilogy, the main trio spends most of the movie in the same place.  They have great chemistry, and I really enjoyed seeing the whole trio interact.

For Kylo’s part, he and Rey continue to have their star-crossed conversations, which eventually turn into star-crossed fights.  Though he seemingly turned fully to the dark side at the climax of the last film, his troubled motivations from that film are still at the forefront of his mind, as he continues to wrestle with whether he wants to be “good” or “bad.”  Unlike the others, he is mostly isolated, not just from the heroes, but even from those on his own side, giving Driver a lot of time to brood on his own.

There are a ton of returning supporting players, each of whom get something of note to do, but most of whom are in rather reduced roles from their prior appearances, mostly due to the timing constraints of the film.  Of the old guard, we get to see both Billy Dee Williams as Lando and Dennis Lawson Wedge again, which was a lot of fun, even in somewhat reduced capacities.  Carrie Fischer as Leia has significant, albeit small, part, due to the constraints of how they got her into the movie.  I was impressed by how well they worked her in, and happy to see her get a proper send-off.  Of the new films’ characters, Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose is hit the hardest by the time constraints, going from just shy of a main character to memorable background character.  I’m glad she was still there, but it’s a shame she didn’t get quite as much to do.

We also meet a handful of new characters along the way.  My personal favorites were Kerri Russell’s Zorri Bliss and Shirley Henderson’s Babu Frick, two former allies of Poe, but Naomi Ackie’s former First Order trooper Jannah and Richard E Grant’s current First Order Allegiant General Pryde both fulfill important roles.

The Rise of Skywalker endeavors to do a lot of things.  It’s the end of the current set of movies and it’s being promoted as the end of the “Skywalker Saga.”  It does one of those things a bit better than the other, and that’s ending the current trilogy.  It also raises the stakes higher than we’ve seen them before, which certainly takes some doing.  From a real world stand-point, it’s also trying win back the crowd that departed with The Last Jedi, while still being appealing to those who stuck around the whole time.  I think this is the area where the film is most successful, as it, more than the other two films, aims to have a little something for everyone.  The end result is one that I don’t think is going to be anyone’s favorite Star Wars movie, but is consequently unlikely to get the ranking of “worst Star Wars movie” (despite what some early reviews indicated).

#2253: First Order Stormtrooper

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2252: Sith Trooper

SITH TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Sith troopers were a stormtrooper variant that served the First Order during its war against the Resistance. Named after the Sith, an ancient order of Force-users devoted to the dark side of the Force, these troopers were the next evolution of Imperial/First Order stormtroopers. They wore red-colored stormtrooper armor and wielded a type of black and red blaster rifle.”

Hey, new Star Wars movie!  You know what that means: new trooper variants created to sell new toys!  Ain’t no stopping the merchandising juggernaut…unless, you know, you stop it…the way that the market has come increasingly close to stopping the Star Wars merchandising juggernaut in the last few years.  But that’s kind of sad and bleak, so maybe I shouldn’t talk about that.  Where was I?  Toys!  Always toys!  So, for the new Star Wars, there’s a cool new trooper called the Sith Trooper, Kylo Ren’s new elite force.  I’m looking at one of those guys today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Sith Trooper is figure 92 in the Black Series line-up, the third figure from the Force Friday product launch.  The Sith Trooper was previously released as this year’s SDCC-exclusive preview figure, which included some additional weapons to differentiate it from the basic release.  The core figures are the same between the two releases, however.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Perhaps the most impressive bits of articulation on this figure are the butterfly shoulders, which I believe are a first for Black Series.  Given the design of the various trooper armor, it’s actually a little surprising that we’ve never seen this type of joint implemented, since it’s so nicely hidden.  However, while there’s great movement in the shoulders, the neck joint is surprisingly limited for one of these figures; they’ve been doing the double ball joints a lot recently, and the range has been pretty solid, but for this guy, it’s little more than a cut joint.  Maybe it’s just my figure, but I was rather disappointed by that.  Plusses and minuses of the articulation aside, how’s the actual sculpt?  Overall, it’s pretty strong.  I definitely dig the Stormtrooper/Clonetrooper/Praetorian Guard hybrid that’s going on with these guys, and I look forward to seeing the design in action in the movie.  The sculpt is quite sharply rendered, and I really dig all of the texturing, both on the armor and on the underlying jumpsuit.  The sculpt also does a really nice job of making those two elements feel like separate pieces as well, which is an improvement on a lot of the earlier troopers.  The Sith Trooper’s paint is decent enough, though not overly involved.  Most of the red is molded, and most of the black is painted.  The application is overall pretty clean, but there’s a little bit of fuzziness on the helmet.  Beyond that, it’s pretty clean and striking.  This Sith Trooper is quite packed with the impressive armory of the SDCC release, but he does still get two styles of blaster, matching the ones included with the smaller Sith Jet Trooper.  They’re decent weapons, but are also the source o my biggest complaint about the figure.  He’s got a holster much like the First Order Troopers, meaning there’s a spot for a gun the plug into his right thigh.  Unfortunately, the hole is too large and the pegs on both guns too small, meaning that the blasters just fall right out at the slightest touch.  The fact that there are two blasters and he can only hold one really exacerbates this issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Sith Trooper was one of the earliest designs we saw from Rise, and I knew I wanted the figure pretty much right away.  I didn’t even try with the SDCC release, because those have always been a barren source of amusement in the past, and the Troopers always get the standard release.  This figure was the one I opened right after Kylo, and that may have slightly colored my opinion, as I found myself a bit underwhelmed with him at first.  Playing around with him for the review, I did find myself enjoying him a bit more.  That said, there are still a few issues that keep this figure from being “great.”

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

#2251: Rey & D-0

REY & D-0

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Rey continues to study the Jedi ways, but she grows concerned about what the future — and the Force — may hold in store for her.”

For the Rise of Skywalker product launch, there’s only one character available in all of Hasbro’s primary styles.  It’s Rey, who, as the main character, I suppose has the most business being included across the board.  Since she’s also wearing the same attire for all three of her figures, it also gives me a nice chance to more closely compare the three styles of figures currently available.  I’ve already taken a look at the Vintage Collection Rey and the Galaxy of Adventures Rey, so now I’ll be taking a look at the Black Series Rey, as well as her pack-mate D-0.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rey and D-0 are number 91 in the Black Series line-up, numerically the second of the eight Force Friday figures.  Fun Fact, Rey is the only character to be part of the initial Black Series line-up for all five of the Disney-era product launches (Kylo narrowly missed it thanks to being absent from the Solo product launch).  Again, as the main character, I guess it adds up.  This figure gives us Rey in her newest attire from Rise, which is a pretty solid look for the character.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  This Rey figure is an all-new sculpt, which I guess isn’t a huge shock, since her Black Series figures have as of yet all been completely unique from each other.  Poor Kylo must be very jealous.  It’s a solid sculpt.  The articulation is certainly more practical than what we got from the VC figure, and is also much more smoothly worked into the final product.  It’s still not quite as easily posed or anywhere near as stable on its feet as the GoA release, but they are very differently styled items.  She’s pretty solid for a Black Series release in both posability and stability.  The sculpt is also a nicely balanced affair, with rather realistic proportions and some solid texture work.  The head sports one of Hasbro’s best attempts at a Daisy Ridley likeness, rivaled only by the Island Journey Rey in my eyes.  She’s got a touch more expression in her face than any of the other Reys, with just a little smile going on.  I like that a fair bit more than the usual bland appearance.  The paintwork on this Rey is fortunately a lot better than my VC Rey was, by virtue of her face actually being applied correctly.  That said, I’ve seen far worse samples than this out in the wild, so I still worry about the figures as a whole.  On mine, the paint is very lifelike and aids in selling the likeness.  Were it not as well applied, that would be a rather different story.  Rey is pretty well accessorized.  The most prominent inclusion is, of course D-0, who though he may be listed on the package is really just an accessory.  He’s not wildly different from his GoA incarnation, but some parts are a little smaller and more refined, with a little more detailing in a few spots.  There’s a small stand included for him this time to aid in keeping him standing.  It doesn’t *really* do a whole lot, since it just shapes under his wheel, without any sort of peg or anything, but it keeps him more reliably standing that his is without it.  In addition to D-0, this Rey gets the same selection as her smaller VC counterpart: lightsaber, staff, blaster, and back pack.  They’re all pretty nicely rendered, and the staff is by far the best version of the item we’ve gotten included with any of these Rey figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I opened my Rey figure before Kylo, which was probably the right call for my sanity, but perhaps didn’t do so well by Kylo.  She’s a much better figure, and I’d probably rank her as my second favorite in this assortment, behind the Mando.  She’s certainly an improvement over the VC release.  Though she’s not as dwarfed by her GoA figure in my eyes as Kylo, I will admit that while I was taking the photos for this review, the number of times she faceplanted in the middle of a shot did not go unnoticed.  Still, if you’re into the Black Series thing, then this is a solid figure, and probably the best Rey in the line (though I still really like that Island Journey figure).

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

#2250: Supreme Leader Kylo Ren

SUPREME LEADER KYLO REN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

As Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren wields more power than ever before.  Nevertheless, Ren continues to search for the secrets of the Force from the depths of the Dark Side.”

So, uhh, hey, did you hear there’s a new Star Wars coming out?  It’s probably not a big deal or anything, just the end of the latest trilogy, and allegedly the main saga.  Also, there’s some toys, so I guess I might review a few of those.  Central to this new trilogy is Kylo Ren, tortured villain and wannabe Vader.  Though he flirted with a redemption in the last film, he ultimately rejected it, netting himself a promotion to Supreme Leader of the First Order in the process.  And, as a central character, that’s also netted him a brand new Black Series, complete with fancy “Supreme Leader” moniker.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Supreme Leader Kylo Ren is figure 90 (exactly twice the number that the TLJ version was) in the Black Series line up.  Numerically, he’s the first of the eight figures that were released for Triple Force Friday, and he’s one of the four Rise of Skywalker branded figures at launch.  Kylo is no stranger to the Black Series, with this being his seventh figure in the line.  He’s also doesn’t possess the most varied appearance.  All seven of those figures have more or less followed the same basic look.  The primary change-up tends to be whether he has his helmet or not.  Though he destroyed it at the beginning of Last Jedi, it appears the Kylo has restored it for Rise, and so he’s sporting it once more on this figure.  Said figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  I’ve reviewed the majority of this figure before, since he is from the neck down the same figure as the Kylo from Last Jedi.  I liked the sculpt the first time around, but this time…I don’t know, it just doesn’t resonate quite as well with me this time.  It’s got to be due to the new parts, I suppose.  Kylo gets a new head and cape, and I can’t say I’m much of a fan of either.  The new head gives us Kylo’s repaired helmet, which is an interesting visual, and one that I liked a fair bit on the Galaxy of Adventures Kylo figure.  Here, it’s certainly more detailed, but it also seems far too large for the body, or at the very least the neck.  It also just doesn’t look natural in any position, and sits low enough to make actually posing quite a tricky task.  The new cape piece is decent in concept, but lousy in application.  The actual cape bit’s alright for the most part, but does seem to have more trouble staying in place than the one from the TLJ release.  The real trouble comes from the hood, or rather hoods.  Since the cape is plastic, the figure has two hood pieces, up and down.  Down is certainly the better implemented of the two, since there’s less room for error, but it has some difficulty staying clipped in place on my figure.  The up hood is just a mess.  It doesn’t attach securely at all, and worst of all he’s got hover-hood, with a noticeable clearance between his head and the hood no matter how you situate him.  I ends up making the pulled up hood effectively useless, since there’s no way I’m going to display it with that.  It’s a shame, because that’s pretty much the only element that really distinguishes him from prior figures.  Kylo’s paintwork is okay, nothing spectacular.  It hits all the right notes and gets the job done.  In terms of extras, Kylo has his lightsaber in both ignited and unignited forms, just like virtually every other Black Series Kylo.  What he *doesn’t* include is an unmasked head, which at this point feels downright criminal, especially given how much of this figure is re-use.  They could have just thrown in a well-painted TLJ head at the very least, since that one hasn’t yet received the face-print tech.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I opted to just pick up a full case of the Force Friday Black Series figures for the sake of having them all.  The Mandalorian and the Jawa made me feel pretty good about things, but Kylo really tested my resolve.  I feel I may have done myself a disservice by picking up the Galaxy of Adventures version first, because that one was a pleasant surprise, while this one was a letdown the whole way through.  How much of a let down?  Well, I opened the figure, immediately placed him back in his box, opened him again for the photos, and they put him back away again.  I pretty much never do that, but with him I just felt no need to mess with him outside of the needs of this review.  I am not a fan of this figure.  If you want a good Kylo, buy the GoA version.  It’s half the price, better looking, and a far more playable figure.

#2226: First Order Driver & Treadspeeder

FIRST ORDER DRIVER & TREADSPEEDER

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

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

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

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

FIRST ORDER DRIVER

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

TREADSPEEDER

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2223: Finn

FINN

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

After getting a whole slew of figures and product for the launch of The Force Awakens, Finn became a character that made retailers a little less than comfortable.  He was definitely over saturated for TFA, leading to all of his figures sitting around at retail, because boy were there a lot of them, and boy did no one need all of them.  For Last Jedi, he got three figures, one of which didn’t even go to main retail.  So far for Rise of Skywalker, he’s got exactly one.  That will presumably change, but I bet Hasbro’s waiting to see if this one sits like the others.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Finn is the fourth of the six figures in the basic figure line-up for Galaxy of Adventures.  Alongside Rey, Finn is one of the two figures getting dropped from the line-up for the Wave 2 assortment, I’d guess to make sure he doesn’t build up too much at retail.  Given how many Finns I’ve seen, I’d say this is probably a smart move.  Finn is seen here in his new look for Rise of Skywalker, which is far more divergent from his established look than Kylo and Rey.  The usual jacket is gone, replaced with a similarly styled vest, his shirt is now a more neutral color than the white/black from before, and his hair is noticeably longer.  Honestly, this is best look Finn’s had, because it’s the first one to look properly Star Wars-y.  He’s still more civilian than others, but the feel is there.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  The holster restricts the right hip a little bit, but beyond that the articulation is comparable to the others from the line, which is to say it’s very good and very mobile.  The sculpt is definitely stylized like Rey, although it’s a little more subdued than Rey was.  He still follows that same model of not having a Boyega likeness, but capturing that character likeness for Finn.  He’s got that nice generic hero look about him, which certainly works well for the line.  It’s a good, clean looking sculpt.  His paintwork mostly follows the basic look, but there’s still a fair bit of smaller detail work, and like Rey the face is properly aligned and fairly cleanly handled.  Finn is packed with a small blaster pistol and a backpack.  The blaster fits well in his hand or in the holster.  He’s also got a quick draw feature that’s similar to the Jet Trooper’s.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I almost passed on this guy on the trip that ended with me getting all of the figures, but after insisting on buying me Kylo, Rey, and the droids, Super Awesome Wife also informed me that I wasn’t allowed to leave the store without buying the remaining three figures for myself, and Finn kind of fell in with that.  This is definitely the most I’ve enjoyed a Finn figure.  I think the new design definitely plays into that, but also it’s really just the most playable a Finn figure has ever been.  More than the troopers and masked figures, I think this is the type of figure that showcases the core strength of this line at making fun toys out of even the potentially less exciting characters that other lines have let down.

#2221: Rey

REY

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

It has been far less time since I reviewed a Rey figure than it had been since I reviewed a Kylo, in no small part thanks to her inclusion in all three main styles of figure at launch.  So, I’ve already taken a look at a Rey from the new movie.  And I already know I’ll be looking at another.  This one’s going to make for a good middle, though, I promise.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rey is another figure from the six figure line-up of basic Wave 1 figures from the Galaxy of Adventures line.  She is one of the two that will be dropped from the line-up for Wave 2 in order to make way for Han and 3P0.  Not to worry, though, because she’s going to be showing back up in the two-pack with Kylo, meaning she shouldn’t prove hard to get.  Like her smaller figure, Rey is seen here in her new Rise of Skywalker attire, which is noticeably different from her prior looks, while still staying “on-brand.”  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation.  Rey’s articulation is slightly more restricted than the last two figures, but not by a whole lot, and I again found her much easier to work with than her VC counterpart.  Only the hips really have any trouble, and that’s more due to the skirt piece than their own design.  She’s also probably the hardest of these figures to keep standing, but still nowhere near as troublesome as the VC guys, or even the Black Series for that matter.  Rey is by far the most clearly stylized of the figures I’ve looked at so far, with a much more streamlined set of features, especially on the hair and face, which go for a far more cartoony style.  She doesn’t have a Daisy Ridley likeness to speak of, but they’ve still managed to hit all of the notes of the Rey likeness, if that makes any sense.  Rey’s paint work is rather nicely implemented.  Mostly, it’s pretty basic, and in fact a lot of it is just properly molded colors, but the work on her face is especially clean, and in all of the figures I’ve looked at, that’s pretty consistent across the board, a nice change of pace compared to the really wonky applications I’ve seen on the other two styles of Rey out there.  It may not be as lifelike, but it sure is less likely to fail them.  Rey is packed with her lightsaber and blaster, both of which fit quite nicely into her hands (and the gun can also go nicely into the holster).  She also has a slashing feature in her waist joint, which like the Jet Trooper and Kylo, doesn’t have too much impact on her posability.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rey is a figure I almost picked up a handful of times before actually getting her.  She honestly had been calling out to me as far back as Force Friday, but I just kept passing, until Super Awesome Wife intervened and insisted on buying her for me.  While I do feel she shows the limitations of the style just a bit more than the other two, I do still really like this Rey, and I certainly was a lot happier with her than the VC figure, which cost me $3 more, I should point out.  Rey is another fairly solid toy.