Flashback Friday Addendum #0018: Captain Cassian Andor

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Oh man, is this another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum?  It sure is!  At this point, they’re almost becoming a recurring feature again.  I mean, three in less than a year?  That’s pretty crazy right there.

My last one of these was because of Rogue One, and so is this one.  I picked up the Jyn re-do, and I’ve decided to follow that up by also picking up the Cassian re-do.  Where Jyn was a re-issue of a single release figure, and therefore had a pretty one-for-one addendum, Hasbro decided not to re-issue the single Cassian, and instead did his three-pack release.  So, I’ve done a slight edit to the text of the original review, just to help it stay more focused:

“An accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer with combat field experience, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his Rebel troops with his ability to keep a cool head under fire and complete his missions with minimal resources.”

There was one major piece of Rogue One merchandise I haven’t yet gotten around to reviewing.  It was sitting there in the store, staring at me, waiting, watching, and….uh, waiting.  Sorry, didn’t have a third “w” word, there.  Anyway, I finally have said piece of merchandise, so, without further ado, here’s this set with Cassian, Jyn, and a Deathtrooper!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This three pack was a Target-exclusive, and started hitting shelves about a month after the main Rogue One product launch.  Of the three figures included, only Cassian is a truly unique figure.  The Deathtrooper has some minor tweaks as well, but Jyn is exactly the same as both her standard and SDCC-exclusive releases.

Despite his placement in a big exclusive set, the Cassian seen here is the standard version of the character, seen most frequently throughout the movie.  It was oddly scarce in the initial product launch, but by the end of all the Rogue One product, it did end up fairly well represented.  It’s definitely the selling point of this release.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  His head is shared with the Eadu version, which admittedly wasn’t the best Cassian sculpt we got, but it looks a little bit better here than it did on that figure.  The rest of the figure is a unique sculpt, and it’s a definite improvement over the Eadu look.  The details are generally a lot sharper, especially on the jacket, and the overall aesthetics just seem to flow a bit better.  He’s still a little bulky for Luna, but not as bad as the Eadu figure.  The movement is a lot better as well, thanks to the slightly less restrictive design.  Just like the sculpt, the paint on this Cassian is a marked improvement on the last figure.  The face is still a bit off, especially the beard, but it’s definitely a step up.  The eyebrows are less caterpillar-like, and the scruff is a little more reserved, so that’s a plus.  The rest of the body is pretty solid overall.  There’s a little bit of fuzz in a few spots (like the tops of his boots), but generally it’s pretty sharp.  Like his oh-so-awesome small-scale counterpart, this Cassian is packed with his modular blaster rifle, which maintains the oh-so-awesome-ness.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on this set when it was new, because paying the cost of three figures and only getting one I actually wanted seemed a bit much.  Just after the new year, however, Target got around to marking the set down, to about the cost of a standard Black Series figure. That brought into a reasonable range for me, so I finally got it.  I’m glad I finally got this Cassian; he’s definitely my go-to figure of the character.  I’m also not unhappy about the Deathtrooper variant, though I can’t say it’s the sort of figure I would have paid full retail for.  Ultimately, I think bundling Cassian into this three-pack was a mistake, and I think the fact that the set ended up on such deep clearance speaks to that.  I get Hasbro’s desire to get as many Jyns as possible out there, but this exclusive really would have worked much better as a two-pack with Cassian and the Trooper.  Three times was just one time too many for the standard Jyn to get a straight re-release.

I reviewed the original release alarmingly late in the game, at least as far as my Black Series reviews tended to go.  All of the first batch of Rogue One stuff I got up within the first month or so, but this one wasn’t reviewed until about a year and a half after its release.  Its all because I was waiting for clearance, as I touched on in the original review.  I really wanted that Cassian, but couldn’t justify the whole three-pack for him.  I was fairly kind to this figure’s sculpt the first time around, and I stand by that.  A few years removed, the articulation’s not quite as good as it could be, but it’s honestly not as bad as some of the others from the era either.  The actual sculpted details are all still very crisp, and they did a solid job of capturing the design.  Once more, this figure’s change-up is the face paint.  All of the Cassian releases suffered from some pretty awful paint.  The two Black Series figures had it so bad that the actual sculpt took a fair bit of the blame.  With a much improved coat of paint, the sculpt is definitely a lot better than I originally thought.  It’s still not spot on, but it lands much closer, and I really do like it a lot more now.

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.

#3109: Baze Malbus

BAZE MALBUS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Baze Malbus has a bravado that provides a marked contrast to the spiritual centeredness of his best friend and moral compass, Chirrut Îmwe.”

Hey, look at that, we’re back to Star Wars.   It was bound to happen eventually, I suppose.  Back in February, I took my first look at Hasbro’s re-visit of Rogue One in Black Series format.  I’ve already looked at the main line’s one new figure, Bodhi, and a pair of the re-issues that hit alongside him.  Today, I’m following that up with another re-issue.  But it’s okay, because it’s one I didn’t get the first time around.  So, it’s like it’s all-new, right?  Sure!  Alright, here’s Baze Malbus.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Baze Malbus is figure 5 in the Rogue One set of Black Series Phase IV.  He reissues the #37 figure from Phase III of the line, which hit alongside Chirrut during the latter part of the original Rogue One run.  The figure stands a hair shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  As I discussed in Chirrut’s review, the Rogue One era figures, especially the later ones, don’t represent the line at its best in terms of articulation schemes.  Hasbro was definitely still learning how to adapt the schemes to differing designs, so there are a good number of figures where the joints just aren’t optimized for the sculpts they’re attached to.  Baze is definitely one of those cases.  The shaping of the hair reduces the neck motion to little more than a swivel, the structuring of the chest armor makes the mid-torso joint mostly immobile, the hips are unable to get much motion at all to the sides, and the ankles can only go forward the slightest bit, making keeping the rather back-heavy figure standing something of a challenge.  The arms do at least get some okay movement, giving him the ability to at the very least hold his weapon half-way decently.  It may not seem like much, but it’s actually rather significant for this era of figure.  Baze’s sculpt was unique when he was first released, and has thus far only been used for this particular release since.  Issues with the articulation aside, it’s not a bad one.  The joints aren’t quite as clunky looking as they were on Chirrut, and the general level of detailing is pretty sharp.  The head sports a pretty strong likeness of Jiang Wen in the role, and is probably the nicest of the original Rogue One era sculpts.  The outfit is a good mix of clean and smooth armor with very broken in cloth pieces.  The boots are slightly on the softer side, but other than that, everything looks alright.  Baze’s paint work marks the primary change-up for this release.  The face gets the printing, and the head in general just gets a bit more detailing.  Some of the other colors on the palette have also been tweaked a bit, and he’s just generally a little bolder and more well defined than the prior release.  It makes an incredible difference, especially on the face, elevating the sculpt a whole lot in the process.  Baze is packed with his heavy repeater cannon, its ammo belt and canister, and a small taser which can be stowed on the back of his belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my review of Chirrut, the assortment that included these two was never particularly plentiful, so I only saw Baze and Chirrut once at retail each, and not even at the same time.  I’ve had a few more chances to get one or the other in the following years, but with it looking like the team wasn’t going to be finished, and not being able to even get the two of them at the same time, I didn’t have much drive to actually grab either of them.  With the team actually set to be completed, it’s easier to justify them both.  While Baze still exhibits some of the articulation troubles I had with Chirrut, he’s overall a stronger figure, and one that benefits far more from the improvements of this release.  And, hey, now I’ve got the full team.  How about that?

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.

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0017: Jyn Erso

JYN ERSO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

I bet you guys weren’t expecting one of these, now were you?  Sure, it’s not been nearly as long a gap between Flashback Friday Figure Addendums as the last two rounds, but four months is still four months, right?  What can I say, I like keeping you guys on your toes.

As I’ve been discussing the last two days, one of Hasbro’s focuses in The Black Series this year is doing the whole Rogue One team in one cohesive run.  That’s one new figure, and then a bunch of re-issues.  For the most part, I either missed out on the original runs, or I didn’t need the update, but I did decide to go for the re-issue of Jyn.  I know, it might seem crazy to buy another Jyn, but I’m a crazy guy.  Here’s what this crazy guy had to say about the original release:

Alright, the 3 3/4-scale Rogue One stuff is done for now (though I’m sure there will be plenty more things for me to review, going by what Hasbro’s shown off in the last week), so we move on to the larger-scale Black Series stuff.  As of late, it’s been a little difficult to say where this line was headed, what with a large chunk of the Force Awakens stuff either showing up too sparsely, or being too heavily packed.  It looks like Rogue One might help getting things back on track.  The first of the new figures is main character Jyn Erso, who I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jyn is sort of taking the place of last year’s First Order Stormtrooper in regards to release style.  She was first released as a preview item at this year’s SDCC, before being slotted into the regular release line-up.  She’ll also be showing up as part of the Target-exclusive 3-pack with Cassian Andor and the Death Trooper Specialist some time next month.  They all look to be the same figure, but for this review, I’m looking at the regular release figure.  She’s part of the first series of Rogue One-inspred Star Wars: The Black Series figures, and she’s figure #22, making her chronologically the first figure in the series.  Yes, you read that number right, she’s #22, meaning Hasbro actually kept the number scheme for The Black Series for more than a year.  And there was much rejoicing (yaaaaay.)  Jyn here is wearing her Jedha outfit, which, from what we’ve seen in the marketing for the movie looks to be a fairly present look.  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Jyn’s sculpt is fairly decent overall, and is certainly on par with what we’ve come to expect from The Black Series.  The hood is kind of bulky and odd looking, but it’s not awful, and it can easily be removed, resulting in a superior figure.  The underlying head sculpt is pretty decent, and bears more than a passing resemblance to Felicity Jones (though it’s not quite spot on).  It’s a little softer than I might like, but it’s not awful.  The body sculpt is also pretty great, with a nice set of proportions and some nice layering on the various clothes.  The verst is technically removable, but since the arms still have the jacket sleeves on them, I can’t see many people removing it.  The paintwork on Jyn is passable.  It’s not anything amazing or anything, but it’s better than a lot of last year’s Black Series offerings, which is a nice improvement.  If Hasbro could start adding a little bit of accent work here and there, I think the figures could be even better.  Jyn’s only accessory is her blaster pistol (the same as the one included with her smaller-scale counterpart).  It’s a little light given the price (and the fact that the same series features are re-issue of last year’s Rey, which has a staff, BB-8, and an added lightsaber), but hood makes up for it a bit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jyn was one of the first items I grabbed from TRU during their midnight opening.  I didn’t know she’d be showing up in the Target set as well, or else I’d probably have held off on this particular release.  That being said, she’s a solid figure, and a lot of fun to mess around with.  There are worse things than owning two of a good figure, I suppose.

That review was written in October of 2016, before I’d seen the movie, or really knew anything about the character I was reviewing.  It’s also something of a relic in a few ways other than the writing (which is usually where the relic status on these old reviews comes up), like the rejoicing on keeping the numbering on the line, or the fact that I bought her at TRU.  The red box line wound up going much further than Jyn’s meager 22, wrapping up in 2020 with Kit Fisto’s 112.  It wound up with quite a run.  I was actually pretty positive about this figure in my original review, something I’d kind of forgotten about after she kind of became a go-to figure for ragging on by the fanbase.  I stand by it, because she’s actually a really nice figure.  It was kind of nice to remind myself of that.  This release is overall very similar.  Like Kanan from last year, the change-up is the face paint, and it’s a really major change.  The likeness was alright, but it’s pretty on the mark now.  Totally revitalizes the figure’s look.

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.

#3035: Chirrut Imwe

CHIRRUT IMWE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Deeply spiritual, Chirrut Imwe believes all living things are connected through the Force.  Though he lacks Force abilities, the warrior monk has rigorously honed has body through intense physical and mental discipline.”

Remember what I was mentioned yesterday about Hasbro doing a whole set of Rogue One releases for Black Series?  Well, in addition to the all-new Bodhi figure, they also did re-issues of the other members of the main team. While I got a handful of the original releases, I missed out on a few of them the first time around, so this provides me a second chance to get them.  One of the ones I missed was today’s focus, Chirrut Imwe.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chirrut Imwe is figure 4 in the Rogue One set of Black Series figures.  He’s a reissue of the #36 figure from Phase III of the line, which hit during the latter part of the original Rogue One run.  The figure stands a little over 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  The Rogue One figures were, unfortunately, not the line at its best when it came to articulation schemes.  Chirrut represents one of the worst instances, honestly.  The range on the arms and legs, especially at the elbows and knees, is quite restricted, with the elbows barely making even a full 90 degrees.  In addition, the actual layout and functionality of the joints is just kind of odd.  You can get some poses out of him that work, but they’re not particularly intuitive.  Chirrut’s sculpt was unique to him at the time, and remains so to this date.  It, like the articulation scheme it sports, is a product of its time.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either.  A lot of it’s because the aforementioned articulation’s not really worked in all that well.  The arms and legs again get the worst of that particular issue.  The head’s at least got a pretty solid likeness of Donnie Yen, which is definitely the strongest part of the sculpt.  His robes are a mixed media affair, making use of cloth pieces for the bottom portion. It works out alright, and does at least allow for a little more mobility, albeit somewhat limited by the actual articulation.  Chirrut’s paint work is overall rather basic.  The general colors match up to the on-screen attire, and the printing for the face is an incredible improvement over the prior release’s paint.  Chirrut is packed with his staff and his lightbow.  They’re both pretty solid pieces, especially the lightbow, which is made up of four moving parts, allowing for it to be properly collapsed and deployed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The assortment that contained Chirrut’s original release was never plentiful at any retail locations near me.  By the time I actually saw one in person, it was obvious that Hasbro wasn’t going to complete the team line-up, so I didn’t see the point in expanding the set beyond the main three.  With Hasbro circling back around and completing the run, I figured it was worthwhile to finally snag him.  He’s admittedly a bit outpaced by more modern offerings, but at least he’s a little better than the first release.

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.

#3034: Bodhi Rooki

BODHI ROOK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A former Imperial pilot, Bodhi has strong piloting and technical skills that he will put to use for the Rebellion.  Ever practical, but highly anxious, Bodhi must gather his courage to bring the battle to the Empire.”

When Hasbro launched Phase IV of The Black Series, in addition to a selection of new figures, they also devoted a whole sub-series to re-releasing and completing the core cast of Star Wars: Rebels.  We got a Zeb to finish out the team, but we also got the rest of the team, with the earliest of them updated to the new face-print styling that has become the standard for the line.  It was a pretty successful venture, so Hasbro has set their sites on another unfinished cast, namely the crew from Rogue One.  Conspicuously absent from the Black Series line-up was poor old Bodhi, a key character to the whole plan to smuggle out the Death Star plans in the first place.  How could you leave him out?  It’s unreasonable, darn you!  Well, it’s okay, because just like Zeb got his long overdue release, so did Bodhi, and I’m taking a look at it today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bodhi Rook is figure 6 in the Rogue One set of Black Series figures.  Of the main line releases in the set, Bodhi marks the one truly new figure, since he’d not had a prior release, as brought up earlier in the review.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Bodhi’s articulation scheme is on par with the most recent of the Black Series releases.  It’s got a really solid range of motion, especially on the elbows and knees, and he’s even got the butterfly movement on his shoulders, which adds a lot to the poses you can get out of him.  Bodhi’s sculpt is an all-new offering, as expected, and it’s a really strong one.  The likeness on the head is a pretty spot-on match for Riz Ahmed in the role, and they even do a respectable job of making his hair appropriately scraggly.  The googles are a separate piece, but glued in place.  Still, it means that, unlike the smaller figure, they’re actually clear like in the movie.  The body sculpt is really scrawny and gaunt, as he should be, and helps him to stand out from the others.  His vest is a separate overlay.  It’s not removable like it was on the smaller figure, but it still adds some extra depth to everything.  Bodhi’s paint work is okay, if not the greatest.  The face is certainly the best part, since it’s got the printing.  There’s some misalignment on the hair paint, so he looks like he’s got a few bald spots.  It’s at least on the sides, so it’s not super obvious.  The work on the Imperial insignias is decent, and all of his pens are properly painted too, but the vest winds up lacking a bunch of the details on the buckles and clips, so it’s just largely an unpainted clump of brown.  Just a little bit more detailing would definitely go a long way.  Bodhi is packed with a small Rebel blaster, as well as his cable pack from the end of the movie.  The pack is a pretty impressive piece, complete with a full spool of wire, which can even be wound and unwound.  It’s a really cool piece, and helps the figure feel a lot better accessorized than a lot of other Black Series releases.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really liked Bodhi as a character, and I ewas always really bummed that he never got a Black Series figure back with the others.  It was part of why I never bothered with the rest of them outside of the core three.  I was definitely really excited when this guy was announced, and even more so to get him in hand.  He turned out really, really well.  The updates to the line have benefited him well and the end result is honestly the nicest of the whole Rogue One team.

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.

#2759: K-2SO

K-2SO

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Back when Rogue One was first released, the more articulated Star Wars stuff was largely on hiatus.  They were just doing the Walmart-exclusive Black Series figures, and Rogue One only got a small four figure assortment.  We only got two of the film’s three leads in that way, which left poor K-2SO out of all the extra articulated goodness.  Fortunately, with the relaunch of the Vintage Collection, Hasbro is going back to some earlier projects and filling in some holes.  K-2 was fortunate enough to be part of that set-up, and is finally getting his due…in this very particular sub-set of figures.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

K-2SO is figure VC170 in Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Vintage Collection.  He was released in mid-2020, as part of an assortment that also contained Clone Commander Wolffe, Stormtrooper Luke, and the GNK Droid.  A rather diverse line-up to say the least.  The figure stands 4 1/4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  K-2’s articulation is pretty nicely implemented, and pretty much on par with his larger figure.  It’s one of the better articulation set ups for the line.  The sculpt is an all-new offering, and is to date Hasbro’s most screen accurate rendition of K-2.  The proportions are good, the articulation is worked in well, and the head in particular is a real match for the on-screen design.  This is definitely one of the best VC sculpts of the current batch.  The paint work on K-2 is pretty solid work.  It’s easy to let him be rather basic, but Hasbro’s at least gone the extra mile and added in some wear and tear throughout his outer plating.  It’s all rather nicely laid out, and gives him that proper unique appearance.  It might be interesting to see a more generic security droid re-deco, at some point, should Hasbro be interested in such a thing.  In contrast to his larger figure, this K-2 is not without accessories; he actually gets the small blaster pistol he’s given by Cassian during the climax.  It’s a small extra, but a nice character-specific piece, and one that was overlooked on earlier figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve largely given up collecting the VC stuff, just because it exists in a weird middle ground between the 5POA and the Black Series figures, and I usually find myself kind of let down.  That being said, I’ve always really liked the more articulated Jyn and Cassian, and wanted a K-2 to match, so this guy was the only recent VC figure I actually made an effort to pick up.  He’s a nifty figure, and probably the best version of the character on the market.  He’s certainly my favorite VC figure.

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

#2638: Bistan & Shoretrooper Captain

BISTAN & SHORETROOPER CAPTAIN

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE (HASBRO)

“Relishing the thrill of action, Bistan fights to ensure the freedom of fellow Iakaru, taking on enemies like Imperial stormtroopers. Specialist stormtroopers stationed at the top secret Imperial military headquarters on Scarif, Shoretroopers patrol the beaches and bunkers of the planetary facility.”

Alright, let’s get ready to jump back in time!  I mean, not a lot, to be honest.  And in fact, it’s not even as much as I frequently jump back, given that over the weekend I jumped back 15 and 35 years respectively.  This time, it’s just a little three year jump, back to the day’s of Rogue One, before Star Wars officially ended for the, what was it, fourth time?  Man, that thing keeps meeting its end, huh?  I actually looked at a fairly large portion of the Rogue One line while it was coming out, but there were a few pieces that I missed.  One in particular was today’s offering, covering one of the Rebel aliens and another variant of one of my favorite Trooper variants, the Shoretroopers.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bistan and the Shoretrooper Captain were originally slated for release in the third wave of Battle Packs for the Rogue One line, which was to hit retail in early 2017.  Unfortunately, retail support for the line fell-out on the back end, and this pack wound up without a home for its release.  Fortunately, Entertainment Earth picked it up as an exclusive at the end of 2017, alongside the similarly orphaned Fenn Rau.

BISTAN

Bistan is one of the more minor Rebels from Rogue One, only showing up during the run on Scarif at the climax of the film, and not even getting a name or any on-screen dialogue.  He’s most memorable as being seen hanging out of one the U-Wings that arrives with the reinforcements, manning a rather large gun.  He was one of the aliens shown off somewhat prominently in the marketing despite his smaller role, so his inclusion as a toy made a lot of sense.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Obviously, we’re going back into the basic line here, so the articulation’s pretty limited by design, but this guy actually does manage to be impressive within that context.  The neck joint has a really nice range on it, and makes for some expressive posing, to some degree at least.  The detailing on the sculpt is pretty top-notch.  There’s a lot going on here, and he replicates the design of the creature from the movie quite nicely, as well as having some impressive detailing on his jumpsuit and gear.  The paint work on Bistan is on the drab side, fitting with the rest of the movie’s cast, really, but the application’s all pretty clean, and he again looks the part of the character from the film.  Bistan is packed with a big ol’ missile launcher thing to mount on his shoulder, with two missiles to shoot as well, and a smaller, more film accurate blaster.  I don’t know that I really missed those launchers, but I had certainly forgotten how prominent they were.

SHORETROOPER CAPTAIN

The Shoretroopers or Scarif Troopers, or whatever the official branding is going with today, were one of my very favorite parts of Rogue One.  The film sports three notable rankings of them, and we got both the standard trooper and the squad commander in both the basic line and Black Series, but the Captain, the rank above those two, got substantially less toy love.  This one here marked its only domestic release.  It’s extra sad for me, because it was honestly my favorite of the three variants.  This figure is a little over 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the exact same figure as the basic Shoretrooper, which is sensible, since the two are wearing the same armor.  It was also just a pretty solid sculpt, so a re-use is really an alright thing by me.  The big change-up occurs with the paint, as the Captains have a slightly more involved color scheme than the rank and file guys.  There’s a whole lot more blue on this guy, with far more detailing on the chest and left arm.  It’s a good, eye-catching look, and one that translates well.  Additionally, the application on this figure seems a little sharper than other Rogue One troopers, which I certainly was happy to see.  The Captain is packed with the same E-22 heavy blaster rifle as the other two Shoretroopers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was pretty closely following the Rogue One line when it was hitting stores, and I was definitely excited for this set, but after it got shelved and then moved, I honestly just lost track of it.  It’s one of those items I kept meaning to track down for myself, but I just never got around to it.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to!  This pair was another gift from Cheyenne and her parents, who decided to be far too kind to me this year and give me a nice little handful of gifts.  I’ve wanted this set for a while, and maybe it’s not the most showy or technically impressive pairing, but they’re certainly fun, and I’m just glad to finally have them.

#1890: Imperial Assault Tank Driver

IMPERIAL ASSAULT TANK DRIVER

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

The re-launch of The Vintage Collection after its six year hiatus was rather soft, with its first assortment being almost entirely re-releases from the Walmart-exclusive Black Series releases.  Only Snoke was new, but, honestly, who really cared that much.  Fortunately, the second assortment has flipped the script, with three new figures and only one re-issue.  I’ll be looking at one of new releases, and perhaps the most popular figure in the assortment today.  Without further ado, here’s the Imperial Assault Tank Driver!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Assault Tank Driver is one of the four figures in the second series of the re-launched Vintage Collection line, and is officially numbered VC126.  He’s based on the driver seen during the Jedha sequence of Rogue One.  It was one of the earliest figures we knew was coming from this line, as it was showcased alongside the line’s first vehicle, the Assault Tank.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  From a sculpting standpoint, the Driver has a lot in common with the Walmart-exclusive Scarif Stormtrooper from the 2016 Rogue One assortment.  Given the similarities of the two designs, as well as the fact that the larger-scale figures did the same thing, it’s neither surprising, nor is it a bad choice.  The sculpt was a pretty strong one the first time around, and it remains so now (in general, those Rogue One sculpts were the best to come out of that iteration of The Black Series).  In order differentiate him a bit from his shore-dwelling brethren, the Tank Drive gets a new headsculpt and belt piece, patterned after his unique armor set.  The helmet is particularly sharp, and ends up being a notable improvement over the somewhat softer Scarif Trooper helmet.  We kind of saw this same thing occur with the main 3 3/4″ line’s versions of these two, so my guess is that the Driver’s helmet just better lends itself to a small-scale sculpt.  The Tank Driver’s paintwork is some of the best we’ve seen from Hasbro, especially at this scale.  They’ve used their printing technique to handle the weathering on the figure’s armor, which gives him a nice, worn appearance, matching the somewhat rundown nature of Jedha as we see it in the film.  It’s similar to, but distinctly different from, how things were handled with the Scarif Trooper, and it really gives the figure a lifelike quality.  The Tank Driver is packed with a standard Stormtrooper blaster. It’s molded in a solid grey, which was the slightest bit of a letdown when compared to the more detailed blaster we got with the Scarif Trooper.  But, if they’re gonna cut paint apps, I’d prefer they cut slightly less essential ones like these.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

He’s been somewhat hard to find, but I actually didn’t have any real trouble with this guy.  He was amongst the first case of them I found, about two months ago.  The Tank Driver is a strong design, and I’ve loved him the two prior times I’ve bought him in figure form.  This guy continues that trend, being another very solid offering in the more articulated Star Wars range.  I hope that going forward, this figure represents the trend of figures to come.

#1589: Cassian Andor, Imperial Deathtrooper Specialist, & Jyn Erso

CASSIAN ANDOR, IMPERIAL DEATHTROOPER SPECIALIST, & JYN ERSO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

 

There was one major piece of Rogue One merchandise I haven’t yet gotten around to reviewing.  It was sitting there in the store, staring at me, waiting, watching, and….uh, waiting.  Sorry, didn’t have a third “w” word, there.  Anyway, I finally have said piece of merchandise, so, without further ado, here’s this set with Cassian, Jyn, and a Deathtrooper!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This three pack was a Target-exclusive, and started hitting shelves about a month after the main Rogue One product launch.  Of the three figures included, only Cassian is a truly unique figure.  The Deathtrooper has some minor tweaks as well, but Jyn is exactly the same as both her standard and SDCC-exclusive releases.

CASSIAN ANDOR

“An accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer with combat field experience, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his Rebel troops with his ability to keep a cool head under fire and complete his missions with minimal resources.”

Despite his placement in a big exclusive set, the Cassian seen here is the standard version of the character, seen most frequently throughout the movie.  It was oddly scarce in the initial product launch, but by the end of all the Rogue One product, it did end up fairly well represented.  It’s definitely the selling point of this release.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  His head is shared with the Eadu version, which admittedly wasn’t the best Cassian sculpt we got, but it looks a little bit better here than it did on that figure.  The rest of the figure is a unique sculpt, and it’s a definite improvement over the Eadu look.  The details are generally a lot sharper, especially on the jacket, and the overall aesthetics just seem to flow a bit better.  He’s still a little bulky for Luna, but not as bad as the Eadu figure.  The movement is a lot better as well, thanks to the slightly less restrictive design.  Just like the sculpt, the paint on this Cassian is a marked improvement on the last figure.  The face is still a bit off, especially the beard, but it’s definitely a step up.  The eyebrows are less caterpillar-like, and the scruff is a little more reserved, so that’s a plus.  The rest of the body is pretty solid overall.  There’s a little bit of fuzz in a few spots (like the tops of his boots), but generally it’s pretty sharp.  Like his oh-so-awesome small-scale counterpart, this Cassian is packed with his modular blaster rifle, which maintains the oh-so-awesome-ness.

IMPERIAL DEATHTROOPER SPECIALIST

“The elite soldiers of Imperial Intelligence, Death Troopers are encased in specialized stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam.  These soldiers serve as bodyguards and enforcers for Director Krennic, a highly placed officer within the Advanced Weapons Research division of the Empire.”

For the most part, this is a figure I’ve looked at before, back when it was just the standard Deathtrooper.  But, apparently, as a “Specialist,” this guy is entitled to a whole web gear load out, with a shoulder pauldron, some ammo pouches, and a bunch of grenades.  It’s a cool piece, and totally removable, should you just want the standard Deathtrooper.  Beyond that, his sculpt, paint, and accessories load out is the same as the basic variant.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on this set when it was new, because paying the cost of three figures and only getting one I actually wanted seemed a bit much.  Just after the new year, however, Target got around to marking the set down, to about the cost of a standard Black Series figure. That brought into a reasonable range for me, so I finally got it.  I’m glad I finally got this Cassian; he’s definitely my go-to figure of the character.  I’m also not unhappy about the Deathtrooper variant, though I can’t say it’s the sort of figure I would have paid full retail for.  Ultimately, I think bundling Cassian into this three-pack was a mistake, and I think the fact that the set ended up on such deep clearance speaks to that.  I get Hasbro’s desire to get as many Jyns as possible out there, but this exclusive really would have worked much better as a two-pack with Cassian and the Trooper.  Three times was just one time too many for the standard Jyn to get a straight re-release.

#1570: Bodhi Rook

BODHI ROOK

STAR WARS: ELITE SERIES (DISNEY)

“A former Imperial Pilot, Bodhi has strong piloting and technical skills that he will put to use for the Rebellion.  Ever practical, but highly anxious, Bodhi must gather his courage to bring the battle to the Empire.”

More than Cassian, if there’s a Rogue One character who drew the short straw in terms of merchandising, it’s Bodhi Rook.  He was the last of the team to get released in the 3 3/4 inch line (in a rather under-shipped assortment to boot), his Pop! Vinyl figure was an SDCC exclusive, and as of this day, 14 months after his film’s release, there’s been no talk of him getting a Black Series figure.  Seems rather unlucky if you ask me.  What he did get, however, was a die cast figure from Disney, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bodhi was another of the eight figures in the one and only Rogue One themed series of Star Wars: Elite Series.  He was the first Bodhi figure released and remained so for quite a while.  The figure stands just under 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  Height’s kind of more important on this guy than the others, since he had no Black Series counterpart, and I was admittedly hoping to fit him in with them.  While he’s definitely a little on the tall side, I think an argument could be made that he should look alright, provided you put him in the back, hanging out with K-2.  Bodhi is sporting the same style of construction as the other Elite Series figures I’ve looked at, meaning his head, hands, and feet are plastic, and his main body is metal.  He’s also got a plastic vest and backpack.  Like Jyn and Cassian, the vest piece on Bodhi is made from a harder plastic, and doesn’t fit him as well as I’d like.  I’d also like if it were a bit easier to remove the back pack.  I attempted to take it off of mine, but was worried I’d damage the figure.  Beyond those extras, the sculpt of the figure is decent enough.  It’s nothing amazing or anything, but I think it’s respectable, and a little better than Cassian.  They captured the ill-fitting jumpsuit pretty well, and the extra length on the sleeves even hides the hands a bit, thus averting the dreaded inflated glove syndrome.  The head has a respectable likeness of Riz Ahmed; probably better than Hasbro’s version, truth be told.  The goggles are removable this time around, which I do certainly prefer, especially since they stay in place so well.  The paint on this guy is passable.  The colors are probably more accurate here than they were on the Hasbro figure, but I will admit that the duller colors don’t exactly excite me.  I do appreciate the accent work that was put in on his various gear, and the washes and the like certainly help keep him from looking too bland.  His face is a little messy, especially around the beard, but it’s not awful.  I’m not quite sure what’s going on with his lips, but I don’t think the color was particularly well chosen, given his skin color.  It looks worse in the photos than in real life, but it’s still more noticeable than it should be.  While the goggles are removable this time around, they are still totally opaque, which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.  They look fine, but it does somewhat ruin the realism of the figure to see those stark white goggles on his head.  In addition to the previously mentioned goggles and backpack, Bodhi is also packed with the standard display stand.  No weapons this time around, but that’s not terrible, since he never really uses them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If you’ve read my Jyn and Cassian reviews from the last two days, you can probably guess where this guy came from.  Yep, he’s another clearance purchase.  He was actually the figure that got me to notice the deep discount pricing.  Since there’s no Black Series release in the foreseeable future, and I do really like the character, I thought I might grab this version.  Upon seeing how far down he’d been marked, I decided to get the other two as well.  Bodhi’s not a fantastic figure or anything, and I’m certainly still holding out hope for Hasbro to finally get around to him, but in the mean time, this one will hold me over.