#2001: Dryden Vos

DRYDEN VOS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

The public face of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate, Dryden Vos is a contradiction: a pitiless enforcer known as a gangster of wealth and taste.  His good manners shouldn’t be mistaken for weakness, though: he can change from generous host to ruthless killer in a moment.”

Solo‘s antagonist Dryden Vos had quite a time making it into toy form, largely due to the character having even more of a time making it to the big screen.  He was originally to be played by actor Micheal K. Williams, who filmed his scenes wearing motion-capture gear in order to facilitate the character being a CGI character of some sort.  When Ron Howard took over as the film’s director, Williams was unavailable for re-shoots, and the character was still without an actual final design.  Short on time and money, Howard cast his frequent collaborator Paul Bettany (whose text asking for a role is so perfectly in character) in the part, and changed his design from a CGI monster to…Paul Bettany, but with some scars.  Ultimately, it seems to have worked out pretty well, as Bettany’s turn as Vos was one of my favorite parts of the movie.  Of course, all of the shifting around with the character meant that he was almost completely absent from merchandise.  His first figure from Hasbro arrived on shelves almost a whole year after the initial Solo product launch, and I’ll be looking at it today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dryden Vos is figure 79 in the Star Wars: The Black Series line-up.  He’s from the most recent assortment of figures, which just started showing up last month.  He’s one of two Solo figures in the line-up, the other being a Mudtrooper Han variant.  Dryden has two looks in the film, both following a fairly similar theme.  This figure is based on his initial appearance, when meeting with Han and Tobias after their botched heist.  Of the two designs, it’s the more visually striking, thus making it a solid choice for the figure.  He stands a little over 6 1/4 inches tall (Bettany’s a tall guy) and he has 29 points of articulation.  Dryden’s sculpt is an all-new affair, and it certainly captures Vos’ svelte nature pretty well.  As is common with Black Series sculpts, he can look a little off in some more extreme poses, but for the most part it works.  The head sports a pretty spot-on Bettany likeness, building on the already solid likeness we saw on last year’s Vision figure.  Dryden’s rather distinctive jacket/half-cape combo is rendered here through a separate overlay piece, which can be a little finicky when posing his left arm, but is otherwise a really sharp addition to the figure.  I’m glad they didn’t go the cloth route for this one and risk losing the visual sharpness of the design.  The piece *can* be removed from the figure, but it really doesn’t serve him well to do so, nor do we see him in this outfit without it, so on him it will stay.  There is one small inaccuracy to this figure’s sculpt: his thumbs.  One of the few “alien” aspects of the character’s design were his oddly pointy thumbs, a feature that this figure lacks.  That said, it’s a minor feature, and one that most people are likely to miss.  It hardly holds the figure back.  Dryden’s paintwork is full of nice, very subtle work, keeping all those darkly colored pieces of the costume distinct from each other.  The most impressive work is definitely on the face, though.  In the film, Dryden’s scars become redder and more visible when he gets angry, a feature replicated here through thermo-sensitive paint.  At room temperature, Dryden’s scars are faint, but when exposed to cold, they’ll flare up to a dark red.  It’s a really fun touch, and something that could be easily overlooked.  Dryden is packed with his pair of distinctive knives, which he uses to dispatch those who disappoint him in true Star Wars villain fashion.  Like Dryden himself, these are temperature sensitive, and will exhibit a bright orange hue at the ends when exposed to cold, simulating how they power up in the film.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really liked Dryden in the film, and I was definitely bummed when no figures of him were available.  It’s been a long wait, but this guy hit Amazon for retail, allowing me to snag him pretty quickly.  Though perhaps not the franchise’s most pivotal character, Dryden is high in the running for my favorite Star Wars villain, and his figure absolutely did not disappoint.  He rounds out an already pretty awesome set of Solo figures.  Now, is it too much to ask for a Qi’ra that actually matches him?

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#1980: Force Link 2.0 Starter Set (w/ Han Solo)

FORCE LINK 2.0 STARTER SET (W/ HAN SOLO)

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

When Hasbro launched their tie-in offerings for The Last Jedi, they launched alongside them a new play gimmick…well, an old play gimmick with a shiny new coat of paint, anyway.  Dubbed “Force Link,” it allowed for all compatible figures and vehicles to enhance their playablitity with sound effects and dialogue.  The whole thing required a reader to activate, and I reviewed that reader back when it was first made available. It was an amusing enough gimmick, but the whole thing ran into trouble just a few short months after its release, since Hasbro had failed to build in figures beyond the TLJ offerings planned when the reader debuted.  Not wanting to completely abandon the concept, but also not wanting to make all of the prior figures obsolete, they used the launch of Solo to offer up a “2.0” version, designed with updates in mind.  This, of course, meant another reader, and thereby another starter set, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE SET ITSELF

The Force Link 2.0 starter set was released alongside the rest of the Solo-themed product in April of last year.  Not quite the grand hurrah of prior toyline launches, but there it was.  The set includes the new version of the reader, as well as standard Han Solo figure.  Both of these items remained unique to this set throughout the line’s run, unlike the first starter set.  As with the first set, the three AAA batteries needed for the reader’s operation are not included.

FORCE LINK 2.0 READER

If you read my review of the first Force Link reader, then there’s not much new about the basics of this one.  It operates using the same NFC partnering between the reader and the figures.  The basic physical design is also the same, albeit with some slight cosmetic changes that better match it to Solo‘s aesthetics.  This mean’s it’s operation in conjunction with the figures is also the same, for good and for bad.  It’s still a tight fit on the wrist, and getting the figures to work as Hasbro intended doesn’t so much go; I again found holding the figures up to the reader directly to be more efficient.  There’s one new feature, which is kind of the selling point of the 2.0, but is also it’s biggest problem.  The new reader is tied-in with a Force Link app (which can be downloaded onto mobile devices), allowing for periodic updates.  This is supposed to fix the issue of the prior reader’s fixed selection of characters to interact with by allowing for new figures to be added via these updates.  So, what’s the problem?  Well, right out of the box, the reader is compatible with the Han Solo it comes packed with…and no one else.  No launch figures, no 1.0 figures, nothing.  Every figure beyond Han will simply give you a “Firmware Update Required” message.  You have to download and launch the app, pair the device to your phone and go through a rather frustrating interface process, all to start a very lengthy firmware update (Hasbro says it can take up to an hour, and mine stuck right to that).  The fact that they couldn’t even have the 1.0 and initial figures ready to go is a real problem, and it’s further hurt by the updates not actually being available when this thing hit shelves.

HAN SOLO

The second half of this set is a Han Solo.  But not just any Han Solo; it’s actually the standard Solo Han Solo.  Yes, unlike the first Force Link reader, which supplied us with a Kylo variant, this time Hasbro decided to make it a more worthwhile figure.  For those planning to buy the set, this is great, since they don’t have to worry about some extraneous offering.  For those not?  Well, it kind of means that Hasbro made a Solo line without a single-carded Han Solo, which, in retrospect, may not have been their finest move.  Moving past that, though, how is the line’s standard Han Solo?  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  He’s rather similar in design to the Han included with the Falcon, but obviously with the jacket added.  He uses the same head, legs, and hands, with a new torso and arms.  It’s a nice, sharp sculpt, and definitely my favorite of the various Hans available in the line.  His paintwork is clean, which is good, since you actually can’t see him in the box.  In fact, he’s probably the best of the Hans…again.  He’s packed with his usual blaster pistol, which he can hold or keep in his holster.  His Force Link sounds are:  “They call me Han Solo.”  “We’ve got company!”  “Blast ’em!” “This better be worth it.” “I don’t run from a fight.”  “Huh, I’ve got a really good feeling about this.” “Okay, stay sharp!” “Wa-hoo!” and then a blaster sound.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It took a $10 off coupon to get me to buy the first Force Link starter set, so it’s probably not a huge surprise to find out I wasn’t eager to drop full retail on a second one, especially so soon after the first.  So, I clearance-waited on this one, which paid off quite nicely for me, since I was able to snag it for $4 just after the holidays.  Not great for the prospects of the concept continuing, of course.  I can see Hasbro really trying with this set, with the potential for updates instead of having to buy a new reader with every movie, and the avoidance of double-dipping on Han figures like they had with Rey and Jyn.  Unfortunately, the need to update right out of the box, coupled with how mind-numbingly frustrating the update process can be really hinders the fun factor on the reader.  The Han’s a nice figure, but he was stuck in a $30 set, and that’s a real hard sell.  And, ultimately, the fact that you couldn’t get a Han Solo figure in his own toyline without dropping $30 minimum really shot the line as a whole in the foot, which is a real shame, since they weren’t bad figures at all.

#1946: Rio Durant

RIO DURANT

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

Though a minor part of the overall film, Tobias Beckett’s plucky pilot Rio Durant was an entertaining character with one of the niftiest modern Star Wars designs, making him a prime pick for just all of the toys ever.  Or, at the very least, two of the toys ever.  I’ve looked at one of his two figures, so today I’ll be looking at the other one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rio is part of the fourth series of Hasbro’s tie-in line for Solo.  As I’ve noted in my last two reviews, this assortment proved to be the one with the most actual Solo characters featured within it, making Rio a natural choice for the line-up, especially with Beckett and Val shipping right alongside him.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and with 12 points of articulation, he’s one of the best articulated basic 3 3/4-inch figures we’ve gotten in quite a while.  As with his larger counterpart, it’s those extra limbs that rally give him the advantage.  Rio’s sculpt is, unsurprisingly, an all-new affair, and it’s by far the best of the three I’ve looked at from this assortment.  Obviously, it’s slightly stepped down from the Black Series release, but not quite as much as you might think.  It’s an accurate rendition of his model from the film, and it includes some of the best detail work you can find at this scale.  While he’s slightly pre-posed, it’s just enough to give him a little bit of extra character, without proving itself too limiting.  The arms in particular are cleverly posed to work with the articulation and offer up a couple of acceptable poses for each of them.  Rio’s paintwork is fairly basic, but the application is clean, and all of the important details are there.  On top of that, he maintains the bright, eye-catching colors of his larger figure, and is just generally a nice figure to look at.  While the larger Rio includes two different blasters, this one instead only carries the smaller one, which, given the lower price point isn’t terrible.  It can be stowed in his holster on his belt, or held in any of his four hands, so you’ve definitely got some display options cut out for you.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I did *not* find Rio at the same Walmart as Beckett and Val.  However, after having found them, and knowing that they were being clearanced, I made a point to swing by another Walmart on my way home, and I was able to grab a discounted Rio there.  I thought this guy might be another situation like with Val, where getting the Black Series figure first kind of left me feeling lukewarm about the basic release, but I have to say, Rio is just a really, really nice figure, and one of the best things to come out of this basic line.  Sure, the larger figure is more poseable and has the extra weapon, but this guy is absolutely no slouch in his own right, and the smaller scale means he’s a pilot who will actually be able to pilot things, even if we don’t actually have the ship he flies in the movie.

#1945: Val (Mimiban)

VAL (MIMIBAN)

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

Conspicuously absent from the early product for Solo were figures of Tobias Beckett’s distinctive crew of smugglers from the beginning of the film.  Though their roles weren’t huge, both Thandie Newton and Jon Favreau delivered really strong performances.  Newton in particular was praised by the film’s writer as being “too good for her role”, and famously wore a dress bearing images of action figures of all of the Star Wars-verse’s black characters (I believe from her own personal collection, though I may be misremembering that) to the film’s red carpet premiere.  I hope she gets the chance to add her own figure to that selection!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Val (Mimiban) is part of the fourth series of the Solo line, which happens to be most actually Solo-themed assortment, and likely will prove the most difficult assortment to find in the long run.  What’s interesting about this Val is that, though she’s wearing the same outfit as her 6-inch counterpart, they’re listed as being from two different locals.  This one is billed as being from Mimiban, which isn’t quite accurate, since she was wearing an Imperial disguise while there.  I mean, she does *technically* wear this gear right as they’re leaving Mimiban, but it seems odd to list this one as specifically her “Mimiban” appearance, especially if there’s any chance at releasing versions of Beckett’s crew in their Imperial get-ups (please?).  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 7 points of articulation.  Like a good number of the Solo figures, she has wrist joints included, which certainly make themselves handy.  She also has a much easier time keeping standing than her partner Tobias, which I’m certainly counting as a plus.  Her sculpt is a decent enough offering.  I’d rank it above Beckett in terms of detailing and accuracy, though I can’t say the likeness is one of their best.  Black Series Val was spot-on, but this one seems a little off.  Still, she’s certainly passable.  Val’s paintwork is, like the sculpt, definitely serviceable.  There are some slightly un-even spots, but for the scale, she’s really not bad.  The figure is packed only with a single blaster, just like her larger counterpart.  However, at the lower price and smaller scale, this is less of an issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Val at the same time as I grabbed Beckett, largely due to that whole thing with Walmart clearancing them out.  Admittedly, she’s a better figure than he is, but she had the misfortune of being added to my collection just a few days after I got the much more technically impressive Black Series release, which did sort of steal this one’s thunder.

#1944: Tobias Beckett

TOBIAS BECKETT

SOLO: A STAR WARS (HASBRO)

Hey, whoa, remember yesterday, when I reviewed a figure of a character played by Woody Harrelson?  Well, if you liked that, you’re in luck, because I’m totally going to be doing that again today.  What sort of crazy person would put these things back to back?  This sort of a crazy person, that’s who!  Yesterday’s review looked at one of Harrelson’s earliest on-screen roles.  Today, we’re jumping forward to 2018, with his turn as Han’s mentor Tobias Beckett in Solo.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tobias Beckett was released in Series 4 of the Solo line from Hasbro.  As a pretty major player in the film, it’s a bit surprising it took so long to get him, but at least he actually showed up at (some) retail.  Beckett is based on his main smuggler’s appearance from the film, same as his 6-inch figure.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  A number of the Solo figures added wrist joints, and Beckett furthers this by also adding swivels at the tops of the boots.  Despite these extra joints, I still found Beckett to be almost impossible to keep standing. I’m not sure why he’s so different from others in the line, but it does appear that the feet are angled a little too far back.  It’s possible this issue is limited to my figure, but it’s still frustrating nonetheless.  The figure’s sculpt is decent enough, though I don’t find it to be quite as strong as the rest of the main characters. The detailing is generally a little softer, and I don’t think there’s really much of Woody Harrelson in the likeness on the head.  It’s certainly not as good as the spot-on likeness of his larger counterpart.  Also not quite as strong as the larger figure?  The paint.  Obviously, there’s less of a canvas to work with on the smaller figure, so less detail is expected, and for the body, that’s not so bad.  It’s really the head that gets the worst of it, because they’ve transformed Harrelson’s scruff into more of a Van Dyke looking thing.  It just makes the whole figure look rather off.  Beckett is packed with his dual blaster pistols, which he can hold or store in his working holsters.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Beckett’s a figure a very nearly missed at retail.  None of the stores in my area have carried anything past the second wave of Solo product, and even that was scarce.  I ended up finding this one at the Walmart near where my family was vacationing over the winter holiday, just as they put all of their Star Wars stuff on clearance, at which point pretty much every figure they had disappeared overnight.  If you really just want a Beckett, the Black Series figure is the better offering, and may just be easier to find in the long-run.  Had I not found this guy when I did, I don’t know he would have warranted tracking down after the fact.

#1931: Han Solo

HAN SOLO

STAR WARS MIGHTY MUGGS (HASBRO)

Let it be known, I have *not* forgotten about Mighty Muggs!  Everybody else may have, but not me.  I’m stubborn like that.  Also, I haven’t forgotten about Solo.  Because, once again, stubborn.  What do you get when you put those two things together?  A total loss of faith in humanity’s ability to have nice things?  No, wait, that’s not quite right.  Solo-themed Mighty Muggs!  Yeah, that’s the one!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han is number 10 in the Star Wars Mighty Muggs line, making him numerically the first Mugg in the third assortment of the line.  The whole assortment was Solo-themed, and this guy follows suit, meaning he’s based on Alden Ehrenreich’s Han, rather than Harrison Ford.  That being said, the more cartoony nature of their designs means that, aside from the costume choice, he could theoretically pass for either actor.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he’s articulated at the shoulders and the neck.  He’s built on the exact same body as all of the other modern Muggs l’ve looked at.  It’s kind of the line’s whole thing, so no surprises here.  Han does get a new hair piece, which is stylized to match the rest of the line, while still maintaining the proper look for Han’s usual fabulous hair.  As is the new standard for Muggs, Han has an expression-changing feature, with three expressions featured.  Han gets cocky grin, sheepish grin, and annoyed sideways glance.  He’s the first of the ones I’ve looked at to not have any sort of a raging expression, but that actually feels totally appropriate for Han.  The basic cocky grin is probably going to be my go-to, but I think there’s a lot more versatility to these expressions, which I definitely dig.  Han has no accessories, which isn’t a huge surprise, but is a slight let-down.  I would have liked to have gotten his blaster, especially since all of the Jedi characters have gotten their light sabers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After the first assortment, at the beginning of last year, Mighty Muggs seemed to just spontaneously disappear from every retail store.  Han here is the only one of the later assortments I ever saw, found at the Walmart around the corner from All Time Toys.  I was happy to find him, but kind of got distracted by other things.  Remember how I mentioned yesterday that Ghost Rider and The Fallen had been sitting on my desk for five months waiting to get reviewed?  Well, this guy’s been sitting on my desk for even longer.  I literally just opened him up 10 minutes before writing my review, which is cutting it much closer than I usually do.  I’m glad I finally got around to opening him up, and I feel a little bad about letting him sit for so long.  Some researching I did for this review also led me to find that apparently this line has *not* been abandoned by Hasbro, as a new assortment quietly appeared on Amazon.  Hopefully they actually find their way out!

#1914: Rio Durant

RIO DURANT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Rio Durant has carried out dangerous operations alongside the scoundrel Tobias Beckett for years. The good-natured Ardennian pilot is up for any challenge, not unlike his young counterpart Han Solo.”

What do Rio Durant and head Mandolorian Pre Vizla have in common?  Well, in addition to both being characters from the prequel era of Star Wars, they’re also both voiced by director Jon Favreau, who will once more be returning to the world of  Star Wars for the TV-bound The Mandalorian.  But, let’s stay focused on the here and now!  It’s time to look at this here Rio Durant action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rio is figure 77 in the Black Series line-up, the final of the four Solo figures, and the final figure in general in the latest assortment of Black Series figures.  Rio’s seen here in his basic pilot’s gear, which is really the only prominent look he’s got.  Fortunately, it’s a good one.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 41 points of articulation.  All those extra arms sure do help him keep that articulation count high!  Rio’s sculpt is an all-new affair, and it’s a top-notch one, just like the rest of this assortment.  As with L3, the figure really benefits from having waited until all of the final designs were available, thus allowing him to be as screen-accurate as possible.  He’s pretty much a pitch-perfect recreation of the on-screen design, and there’s a lot of very sharp detail work going on here.  Additionally, the articulation has been very nicely implemented, so he’s really, really posable.  They’ve even wisely given his holster an easy to pop-out plug, thereby removing the potential of restricting his hip joint on that leg.  It’s simple, but one of the more inventive things I’ve seen Hasbro implement on these figures.  Rio’s paintwork is clean, bold, and eye-catching.  There’s some slight weathering on his belt and jumpsuit, plus some pretty subtle accent work on his exposed skin, giving him a nice real-world-quality.  Rio is packed with a blaster pistol, a larger blaster rifle, and a removable pair of goggles, making him one of the best accessorized figures in the assortment.  The rifle in particular is one of my favorites from the line, just because of how unique and different it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rio was one of my favorite parts of Solo, and like L3, I was a little bummed that he wasn’t among any of the earlier offerings.  As a whole, this assortment had quite a few figures that were very high on my want list, and Rio still found himself near the top of the list.  A lot of great work went into this guy, and he continues the Solo sub-line’s trend of just being really darn good.  I’m happy to have finally rounded out Beckett’s crew, and even happier that it was with such a great figure.

#1910: L3-37

L3-37

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A “self-made droid” built from astromech and protocol parts, L3-37 is an enlightened navigator who cares deeply about droid rights.”

If there’s one thing that Star Wars has been consistently good at, it’s making up robots that viewers feel compelled to go out and own.  Since R2 and 3PO first strutted across the screen, there’s been an un-ending stream of new wacky, zany robots, all vying for our attention.  The new movies have followed suit.  Previous Star Wars Story offering K-2SO is definitely a favorite of mine, but last year’s Solo certainly gave us another fun one in Lando’s co-pilot, L3-37.  She was absent from early product shipments, but has finally started showing up in all of her plastic-y glory.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

L3-37 is figure 73 in the ongoing Black Series line-up.  She’s the third of the four Solo-based figures in this latest assortment, and the final piece of our main heist team from the film.  She stands about 6 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation…I think.  Getting an accurate count is a little difficult due to the nature of her design, which has a number of the joints obscured by various wires and plating.  There’s some definite restriction going on with the movement, especially on the elbows, where you’ll be lucky to get even 90 degrees of motion, and even then, the stress on the joint will slowly reset its position over time.  Obviously, this is largely to do with L3’s design, which at a full-scale wouldn’t be contending with nearly as much resistance from those wires.  On the plus side, mobility throughout the rest of the figure is surprisingly good.  I was happy to find that my figure doesn’t have nearly as much trouble standing as I’d expected.  You’ll still need to place her feet carefully to keep her upright, but she does seem to be pretty well balanced.  I would imagine that L3’s late arrival to the toy line is an attempt on Hasbro’s part to keep her as accurate to her final design as possible.  I’m happy to say it was a worthy effort, as her sculpt is pretty much spot-on to L3’s appearance in the film.  I’m not seeing any of the slight proportional changes like we saw on the BS K2 figure, and she certainly doesn’t skimp on the specific details of the model.  The wires may be a little clunky, but apart from making them smaller and potentially much easier to damage, I don’t know that you can do a whole lot about that at this scale.  L3’s paintwork is decent for the line.  Prior droids have had a tendency to be little lacking in painted detail, but L3 not only gets her base colorwork, but also some simulated wear and tear.  In some spots, the damage is a little heavy handed, especially when compared to the movie.  That being said, at this price point and scale, Hasbro has done an admirable job.  The one area where this figure really lacks are the accessories.  L3 is completely without any sort of extras.  I know that options for her are slightly limited, but some extra hands in different poses, or at the very least the communicator she uses during the raid on the refinery would have been appreciated.  As it stands, she’s yet another very light offering in this assortment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

L3, like the rest of her assortment mates, is a joint gift from my parents and my Super Awesome Fiancee. As I’ve said many times before, and I’ll no doubt say again, I’m a sucker for cool robots, and L3 definitely falls into that category.  I loved the character in the movie, and I’m happy she’s finally made the transition into action figure.  I wish she had some extras to offer, and the articulation in the arms is somewhat limiting, but on a whole, I’m very happy with this figure, and I’m thrilled to round out my crew from the movie.

#1909: Imperial Patrol Trooper

IMPERIAL PATROL TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“As the Empire reinforces its hold on worlds across the galaxy, local defense forces are being supplemented – and eventually completely replaced – with Imperial Stormtroopers. To cover distances across sprawling settlements and cities, Patrol Stormtroopers police the streets and alleys aboard swift interceptor speeder bikes.”

Hands down my favorite Trooper design in all of Star Wars is Return of the Jedi’s Scout Trooper.  I’m not alone in this, and the designers behind the various movies and cartoons and the like have made a pretty steady go at calling back to that particular design as we’ve trekked on through the franchise.  Oh, wait, wrong “Star” franchise.  As we’ve warred on through the franchise.  There, that’s better.  Anyway, the latest call back to the Scout Trooper is Solo’s Imperial Patrol Trooper, who is essentially the galaxy far, far away’s equivalent of a motorcycle patrol cop.  The design found its way into the Titan Heroes line pretty quickly, but there’s been more of a wait for the two more conventional styles.  I snagged the big trooper boxed set from the smaller line a few months back, and now I’ve got the Black Series release!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Patrol Trooper is figure 72 in the Black Series line-up, placing him right after Val from yesterday.  He is, unsurprisingly, from the same assortment, and started showing up at retail in the last month or so.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The articulation on this guy is some of the best we’ve seen in the line, and I’d certainly say it’s the best we’ve seen on any of the troopers.  What’s most impressive about the articulation and its mobility is just how little compromising they’ve done with the integrity of the sculpt.  At first glance, I was really expecting this figure’s posabilty to be another First Order Trooper situation, where he looked quite nice, but struggled with anything but basic poses.  I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.  Like his basic line counterpart, the Patrol Trooper’s sculpt is a very strong offering.  It’s clean, the details are sharply defined, and it matches up very well with the movie design.  The figure really emphasizes how slick this design really looks, just as a whole.  If there’s one slight down tick on this figure, it’s the paintwork.  There are some fuzzy edges on the transitions from white to black, which were giving me some flashbacks to the First Order Trooper.  That being said, those issues are rather minor in the grand scheme of the figure, and it’s hardly the worst we’ve seen in this line.  Just not quite as good as recent offerings.  There are still plenty of touches that really help the figure, such as the very dark, metallic green for the visor.  Like his smaller counterpart, the Patrol Trooper includes a small Biker Scout-esque blaster pistol, as well as a removable police baton on his belt.  Both pieces can be easily held by the figure or safely stowed on his belt, by which I was very impressed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of all the upcoming Black Series figures, this one was very near the top of my want list.  I’ve loved this design since the moment I saw it, and I’ve been patiently awaiting his release.  I actually saw him at retail twice before getting him as a Christmas gift (Super Awesome Fiancee played the fact that she was getting him for me very close to the vest), but I managed to hold out.  Yay for me.  While there are some quite minor flaws, I am very, very happy with this figure.  Of course, now I kinda want a Patrol Bike to go with him.  Damn you Hasbro!

#1908: Val

VAL — VANDOR 1

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A no-nonsense and occasionally prickly woman who is a crack shot with a blaster rifle, Val may be the most even-headed and capable member of Tobias Beckett’s ragtag crew of scoundrels.”

One week into my Post Christmas reviews, I’m going to be kicking off a theme week.  There was one large subset of gifts this year, and that subset was Star Wars: The Black Series.  So, for the first of my slew of Black Series reviews is going to be based on last year’s Solo.  I looked at Tobias Beckett back at the beginning of December, and now I’ll be moving onto his crew of bandits.  First up, the Zoe to his Mal, Val!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Val was released in the latest assortment of Black Series figures.  She’s figure 71, thereby making her the first figure in the line-up numerically.  Val is dubbed as being her “Vandor 1” appearance, which is the location of the ill-fated train heist that starts out the movie.  She’s got this look and the Imperial disguise, and this one’s the more character specific, as well as being the one that matches up with the prior Beckett figure.  Val stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Val’s sculpt is a unique offering, which is to be expected, seeing this is her only figure, with no prior variants or anything.  It’s a pretty solid offering.  The head’s likeness to Thandie Newton is very close, certainly closer than I’d expected based on early production shots.  The body does a good job of matching her proportions and appearance in the movie.  Unlike Beckett, who had some weird articulation worked awkwardly into the sculpt, Val’s is actually pretty cleanly worked in.  The movement on the arms is somewhat restricted by the tube thingies, but that’s not really the fault of the figure, so much as it is the character’s sort of odd design aesthetic.  That being said, the amount of movement they *do* have actually did surprise me somewhat.  Val’s paintwork is pretty standard for the line at this point.  She’s got the printed face, which continues to impress, and the application on her costume is clean and pretty eye-catching.  The use of clear plastic for the tubes and her goggles adds some nice dimension.  Val is packed with her blaster, which is a unique piece.  It’s a decent enough piece, though I’m a little saddened that she doesn’t have anywhere to keep it when not using it.  It also seems a little on the light side, especially given the slightly smaller stature of the figure. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Val was a combined gift given to me by my parents and my Super Awesome Fiancee.  There was sort of a bit of concern about her and her assortment-mates showing up in time for Christmas morning, but they were there waiting for me, so it worked out for me.  Val is a more minor character in Solo, but one I enjoyed nonetheless, and I’m pretty happy with her turn as a Black Series release, even if she is a little light on the accessory front.