#2094: Biggs Darklighter

BIGGS DARKLIGHTER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Tatooine native and childhood buddy of Luke Skywalker, Biggs Darklighter holds off quickly advancing TIE fighters in the Death Star trench.”

There’s actually a decent chunk of material that was left on the cutting room floor when Star Wars made it to theaters.  Perhaps the most pivotal blow is to the role of Biggs Darklighter.  Luke’s best friend has a handful of scenes focusing on his journey from Imperial to Rebel pilot, but the final cut of the film just leaves him as one of Luke’s two wingmen (the other being Wedge Antilles) as he begins his trench run on the Death Star.  His demise at the hands of Vader isn’t even dwelled on all that much, so the audience could be forgiven for not realizing he and Luke had any connection at all.  Because he’s ultimately pretty minor, he was left out of the toy side of things until some of his scenes were reinserted for the Special Edition release in the ’90s.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Biggs was released in the 1998 assortment of Power of the Force II figures.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s depicted in his X-Wing pilot garb, which was, at the time, the only thing we’d seen him in, so I guess it was sensible.  Biggs is actually the first proper X-Wing pilot we got in PotF2, as both Luke and Wedge had been done in their insulated suits from Hoth.  Biggs is comparatively a lot less bulky, and a little more in line with later offerings, though he still gets the permanently affixed helmet, which ends up looking a little bit under-scaled compared to some of the later offerings.  What we can see of the face doesn’t really look much like Biggs’ actor Garrickk Hagon, but I guess it doesn’t look unlike him either.  He’s got the mustache, which is really the most distinctive element.  The paint work on Biggs is pretty decent, and sticks to the script for the pilots.  The best work is definitely on the helmet, which has his unique patterning, which is pretty nifty.  Biggs is packed with two differently styled blasters, you know, from all those times he used blasters.  There’s a big one and a small one.  Also, as a ’98 figure, he also includes a Freeze Frame slide, showing Biggs from the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite collecting the line in ’98, I don’t actually have many memories of seeing that many of the new figures at retail at the time.  This included Biggs, though I’ve subsequently seen him *a lot* over the years.  This one came to me fairly recently, though its resided in the same house as me for some time.  About a decade ago, my brother went through a Star Wars phase, and this is one the handful of figures he still had on-hand, which he gave to me a few months back to aid me in my mission to get a full run.  I can’t really say there’s much special about Biggs.  He’s just sort of there, but I guess he’s not awful.

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#2069: Rebel Trooper

REBEL TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Drawn from many homeworlds and species, Rebel troopers were the Alliance’s front-line soldiers in the war against the Empire. They defended the Alliance’s leaders on countless worlds and during many operations, changing uniforms and tactics to meet each challenge.”

We’ve gotten all manner of Imperial Troops and variants thereof in Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series, but surprisingly few of the Rebellion’s equivalents.  In fact, the figure I’m looking at today is the first and so far only Rebel Trooper to grace this particular line.  Fittingly, he’s one of the very first Rebel Troopers we ever see, as one of the poor souls who stand-off against Vader and his Imperial Stormtroopers in A New Hope‘s opening minutes.  Though overlooked by the vintage line, these Rebel Fleet Troopers have been a fixture of the line since the ’90s, and continue to be so here.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Rebel Trooper is figure 69 in The Black Series, and shipped to stores alongside Bespin Han and Tobias Beckett.  The thing about Rebel Troopers is that they aren’t quite as straight-forward army builders as Stormtroopers or Clone Troopers, since their faces are pretty much always visible.  The options laid before toy makers are either to create some sort of amalgamated set of features for a more generic figure, or settle on one particular face in the crowd.  This figure goes for the latter option, and is directly patterned on Lt. Pello Scrambas, as played by extra Eddie Eddon in the film.  Scrambas is the Fleet Trooper who we actually get a nice, static shot of head-on in the film, and is subsequently the one who’s usually picked to be the go-to Rebel Fleet Trooper when the merch comes around, and, of course, the Star Wars fanbase being what he is, he’s got a name and a whole backstory that most people will never know.  Whatever the case, basing the figure on him is definitely a good choice.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  It’s an all-new sculpt, as is the usual trend for Black Series releases.  Unlike the last Rebel Fleet Trooper I looked at, this one doesn’t look like he’s been hitting the steroids hardcore, and actually matches the rather average looking guys from the movie.  The detailing on his uniform is quite accurate, and his vest is a removable piece, as it tends to be.  What doesn’t tend to be a removable piece is the helmet, but it is here.  I takes a little work to get it seated just right on his head, but once in place it stays there, and it’s nicely scaled to the head.  The head is sporting a solid likeness of Eddon as we see him in the movie, with a fully formed, and very 70s-looking hair style.  This is definitely another very strong likeness, and probably one of their best in the line (though they’ve been getting pretty solid in general lately). The Trooper’s paintwork is fairly solid.  There’s not a whole lot going on, but it’s a clean translation of how he looks in the film.  The face, of course, uses the printed technique, which makes him suitably lifelike.  The Rebel Fleet Trooper is packed with his standard blaster (which can be stowed in his holster) as well as a non-A New Hope accessory, the data file containing the Death Star plans as seen in Rogue One.   Sure, this specific Rebel didn’t have it, but it’s a fun extra nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The assortment this guy came from wasn’t super plentiful around me, and this guy, as an army builder, was even less plentiful.  I wasn’t thrilled about that, and never did end up finding him at regular retail.  Fortunately, one got traded into All Time Toys a few weeks ago, and I was able to add him to my collection.  I’m glad I did, because he’s a very nice addition to the line.  Here’s to hoping for the Hoth and Endor Troopers done with the same level of quality.

#2066: A-Wing Pilot

A-WING PILOT

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Our first glimpse of the Rebel pilots in A New Hope had them all wearing the same uniform, be they X-Wing or Y-Wing pilots.  Empire continued the trend for the snowspeeders as well.  It wasn’t until Return of the Jedi that the idea of fighter-specific pilot uniforms really came into play, with the A-Wing and B-Wing pilots being granted brand-new designs.  The toyline took advantage of these new looks and they were introduced into the vintage line pretty quickly.  The B-Wing pilot would end up being absent from Power of the Force II, but the A-Wing pilot got his due, and that’s the figure I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The A-Wing Pilot was included with the A-Wing proper, released in 1997, during the third year of Power of the Force II.  While a lot of the PotF2 vehicles came sans-pilot, I guess they decided the A-Wing pilot just wasn’t exciting enough to sell on his own.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  The A-Wing Pilot’s sculpt was unique to him, and it’s fairly decent, if maybe not all that thrilling.  He fits the general aesthetic of the line three years in, meaning that the worst of the stylization is gone, and he’s not pre-posed to speak of, but he’s still not quite at the high point of the line.  He’s a little bulkier than pilots tend to be, but not ridiculously so.  I do like that his face isn’t just a complete blank slate; there’s a bit of character there.  Curiously, this figure lacks peg-holes on his feet, something that’s unique to him.  They’ve been a standard feature of the line for quite some time, but for some reason this guy got skipped.  It’s strange to say the least.  His paintwork is as straightforward as anyone else from the line, meaning he’s clean, and pretty much accurate to the source material, but very definitely basic.  The A-Wing Pilot included no accessories of his own, being an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t own the A-Wing, and I never did.  But, I kind of like pilots, so I picked this guy up loose from All Time, because why not.  I had store credit, and I was on one of my PotF binges.  He’s not a terribly impressive figure, but then he was never really meant to be; his purpose is to fill a cockpit, and in that regard, I guess he’s alright.

As noted above, I grabbed this guy from All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2052: Wedge Antilles

WEDGE ANTILLES

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Despite his presence in all three films in the original trilogy, two-time Death Star run survivor Wedge Antilles didn’t get figure release during the vintage line’s run.  What’s more, his first ever figure wouldn’t even come as a single release.  Instead, Wedge found himself as the selling point of a carrying case shaped like the Millennium Falcon.  Why Wedge, a character who never even stepped foot on the Falcon was included with the carrying case is anyone’s guess, but I don’t think anyone was going to complain about finally getting a Wedge figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The carrying case that included Wedge hit shelves in 1997, as part of the Power of the Force II line.  There were actually two versions of Wedge offered with the case.  The first shipments gave Wedge an inaccurate color scheme and markings on his helmet, which were corrected in later sets.  The figure I’m looking at here is the corrected version.  Wedge stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  He’s largely the same sculpt as the Luke Skywalker in X-Wing Pilot Gear, meaning that, like that figure, he’s not actually wearing X-Wing gear at all, and is instead based on the cold-weather gear he sports during the Snowspeeder sequences on Hoth in Empire.  It’s actually the only time we’ve gotten Wedge in this particular get-up.  It also gave the line its second Snowspeeder pilot, allowing for that poor Snowspeeder to actually have a two-man crew.  Despite its exaggerated proportions, it’s not a terrible sculpt, and it has a lot of great detail work going on.  Wedge does get a new head sculpt, and while it’s not a spot-on Dennis Lawson or anything, it’s distinctly a different face from the head used on Luke, which is really the most important thing here.  Wedge’s paintwork actually changes things up a fair bit from the Luke figure, with different colors for his gloves, boots, and belt, as well as a radically different set of details on his helmet (though the original release actually had the same helmet detailing).  It’s a nice paint scheme, and again helps to sell him as a distinctly different figure from the Luke release.  Though more an accessory himself, Wedge still included one accessory of his own.  It’s a re-packaged Han Solo blaster pistol, which was actually the standard issue Rebel blaster for this line, so it certainly fits.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wedge is one of those figures that has long been on my want list, but he’s a slightly rarer item from the line, so I hadn’t really come across him.  Fortunately, I was able to find him loose and on his own during one of my PotF binges last December.  He’s not an amazing figure or anything, but I do find myself having something of a nostalgic twinge for him, even though I didn’t have him when I was younger.  Plus, he’s the first Wedge figure, which is pretty cool in its own right!

#2039: Speeder Bike (w/ Scout Trooper)

SPEEDER BIKE (w/ SCOUT TROOPER)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Just over a month ago, and then also two weeks before that, I took a look at the first and second releases of the Imperial Speeder Bike from Kenner’s Power of the Force II line.  At this point, it can’t be too much of a surprise that I’m following those up with the final piece of the trio.  I’ve looked and both Luke and Leia with their stolen rides, but why not look at the proper rider of the ride, the Biker Scout?

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

As I noted in the Luke review, the speeder bikes in these sets were all identical, meaning this one is exactly the same as the one I looked at alongside Leia back in March.  I liked it then, I liked it the second time, and I still like it now.  It’s hard to go wrong on this one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This was our first Biker Scout since the vintage line, and, unlike that one, this one was designed specifically with riding the bike in mind.  To facilitate this, the figure’s articulation scheme is changed up a bit.  Rather than the standard 6 points, he’s got 7, which includes movement at the knees, as well as a a hinge-style neck, allowing for him to look up and down.  It’s the same articulation spread used for the Swoop Trooper, but I think it actually works a little bit better for this guy, since the configuration of the bike means he’s more likely to need to look upwards.  Despite the extra articulation, he still ends up being rather pre-posed, even moreso than the other two Speeder Bike figures.  He’s got a defined squat, and really deeply bent arms.  It’s the arms that I think are the worst bit of it, because they don’t quite work as well with the bike as you might hope.  It’s a shame they couldn’t also spring for elbow joints to match the knees.  Despite its awkward stance, the costume details on this guy are at least accurate, if perhaps a bit on the soft side.  His paintwork is limited to black detailing on a (very yellowed) white plastic, and it’s rather on the sloppy side.  Like, even for this line, it’s really quite sloppy.  While Luke and Leia both got accessories in addition to the bike, the Biker Scout was not so lucky.  No comically enlarged comically small Biker Scout blaster I’m afraid.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke was the one I got as a kid, and Leia was the most recent addition.  Where does this guy fit into it all?  Well, not that far ahead of Leia, actually.  I picked him up in the Farpoint 2018 Dealer’s Room, from one of the vendors I frequent.  I’d long wanted one, and this one was a case of right price at the right time.  Ultimately, he’s really the weakest of the three variants, though.  The main figure’s just not as strong as a proper figure as the other two, nor is he a particularly endearing Biker Scout variant.  It’s kind of a shame this was his only Power of the Force release, but there’s always the Power of the Jedi single-card.

#2035: Imperial Jumptrooper

IMPERIAL JUMPTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An elite squadron within the Imperial ranks, jump troopers (also known as rocket troopers) were outfitted with jetpacks and utilized in tight spaces.  They were trained to act in unison, often swarming and overwhelming their targets.”

Since the standard Imperial Stormtroopers first graced the screen back in 1977, we’ve been getting a steady stream of variants on the concept, be they Sandtroopers, Snowtroopers, Scout Troopers, etc.  There have been a few recurring concepts among the non-movie variants.  A popular one is the Jumptrooper, which has found its way into comics, video games, and, most recently, Star Wars: Rebels.  And now, it’s gotten a new figure, courtesy of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jumptrooper is a GameStop-exclusive offering from the Black Series line, released in the last couple of months.  The Jumptrooper is based on his Rebels appearance, specifically the commanding officer of the squad, as denoted by the colored shoulderpad.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The Jumptrooper re-uses a lot of parts from the standard Stormtrooper figure, which is pretty sensible, given that the designs are pretty similar.  It’s also a pretty solid sculpt in its own right, and certainly a nice starting point.  He has a new helmet, backpack, and shoulder pads, which match well with the pre-existing parts, and also match up well with his design from the show (albeit modified for a more real-world appearance).  Most importantly, though, they set him nicely apart from the standard trooper.  I really dig the changes they’ve made, because he’s just a super sleek looking figure.  The colorwork on the Jumptrooper is subtle, but pretty impressive.  The glossier finish of the armor looks nicer than the matte finish of the original, as do the additional accenting details that the original lacked on the belt and boots.  Throw in a little extra splash of color, and you’ve got a figure that pops nicely on the shelf.  The Jumptrooper is packed with a standard E-11 Stormtrooper blaster and a brand-new style of display stand.  The stand’s not quite as conventional as I’d hoped for, but it can make for some decent running poses once you get it properly seated.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As soon as the Jumptrooper was unveiled, I knew I wanted one.  Something about the design just immediately jumped out at me (heh), so when I found out he was a GameStop exclusive, it was Super Awesome Fiancee to the rescue!  She was kind enough to pre-order this guy through her work for me, thereby making his acquisition fairly painless.  I’m very happy with the final figure.  He’s definitely one of my favorite troopers.

#2025: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA

STAR WARS (KENNER)

On this May the Fourth, it’s with a heavy heart that we bid adieu to Peter Mayhew, the man behind Chewbacca for four decades.  The people behind these masks can sometimes easily be forgotten, but Peter was beloved by his fellow cast members.  And, fortunately, his legacy will live on through his replacement Joonas Suotamo, who took over the role from Peter in The Last Jedi.  In honor of Peter, today I’m going to look at the very first Chewbacca, which feels kinda right.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chewbacca was one of the first four figures offered in the original Star Wars line, initially shipping in early 1978 as part of the fulfillment for the Early Bird set, before finding his way to a standard carded release shortly thereafter.  Chewbacca was one of the few characters not to get a new version during the three-film run, and as such this figure was in production until the end of the line in the ’80s.  This one came from the ’78 release, a fact I know based on how I acquired him.  That said, there were no notable changes to the main figure during the vintage line.  The figure stands 4 inches tall (the largest of the initial figures) and has 4 points of articulation.  He loses out on the neck articulation due to the nature of his furry design.  Chewbacca’s sculpt was totally unique to him, and it’s certainly a product of its time.  Action figure sculpting wasn’t quite yet up to the level of being able to convincingly translate a walking furball into plastic form, so this guy ends up looking…surprisingly polished?  It’s like somebody really thoroughly shellacked him, or maybe like he’s Cousin It’s much taller brother.  He’s definitely not as intimidating as later versions of the character would be.  Of course, in its own way, perhaps that’s more appropriate to the character, who was generally pretty lovable in the film.  Maybe Kenner was onto something there.  The figure’s paint work is pretty simple.  Mostly, he’s just molded in brown plastic, with a little paint here and there for the eyes, mouth, and bandolier.  It gets the job done, but it’s certainly not extensive.  Chewbacca was originally packed with his bowcaster, which my figure no longer has.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve touched on a few times before here, my vintage Star Wars collection was kind of jump-started by my Dad giving me his old figures when I was growing up.  Chewbacca was amongst those figures, and, since I’ve established here on the site that my first Chewbacca wasn’t a default one, this guy was kind of my go-to Chewbacca for a good long while.  Like a lot of the vintage figures, he’s goofy and dated, but he’s also a really nifty little figure.

#2010: Senate Commandos

SENATE COMMANDO CAPTAIN & SENATE COMMANDO

STAR WARS: CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“A Senate Commando captain and his elite commando team confront suspicious arrivals to the Senate building. The captain and troopers rush to the platform where Cad Bane has landed without permission. They are prepared for a fight if necessary, but are taken by surprise when Bane springs his trap.”

In the break in movies between Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens, the Star Wars franchise didn’t go on hiatus as it had between Jedi and Phantom Menace.  Instead, it was kept going by a multimedia affair, the two most obvious being, of course, the toys, and the animated series Clone Wars.  Clone Wars took a lot of concepts, designs, and characters from the prequels and put them to new use.  Or, honestly, just put them to use period.  One such example were the Senate Guards, precursors to the Imperial Royal Guard.  In the movies, they didn’t do much more than stand in the background of scenes and remind you that one day they’d be putting on all red attire and serving the forces of evil.  The show, on the other hand, reworked them into the Senate Commandos, and even gave them a few focus episodes.  They made their way into the toyline, of course, but they aren’t among the easiest items to track down.  I managed to snag a set, though, and I’m reviewing it today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Released as a Target-exclusive two-pack in 2010, the Senate Commandos paired off with a complimentary Cad Bane and IG-86 two-pack, both based on the first season episode “Hostage Crisis,” which was one of the focus episodes for the commandos.  While the other pack was straight re-releases, both figures in this pairing were only available here.  Following the 2010/2011 re-branding of the Clone Wars line, these figures were part of the “Galactic Battle Game” concept that Hasbro was attempting to introduce into the line.  To facilitate this, the set includes two stands, a card with stats for each character, and a die chance cube with various symbols on it, presumably meant for use in playing the game.

SENATE COMMANDO CAPTAIN

First up, the ranking officer, the Senate Commando Captain.  Though un-named here, if he is indeed meant to be the commanding officer from “Hostage Crisis”, that would make him the ill-fated Captain Jayfon.  Yes, he had a name, because this is Star Wars.  Everyone has a name, just ask Elan Sleazbaggeno.  I suppose Jayfon should count himself lucky that he wasn’t named “Guardo” or something.  Anyway, this figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  He’s based on the streamlined design of the guards from the show.  Because of the more limited nature of the animation early in the run, the Guards could not keep their usual flowing cloaks.  For the sake of making things easier, their distinctive helmets and color-scheme were moved onto the standard Clone Trooper model.  The figure follows suit, being built on the basic Clone Trooper body from the line.  Fortunately, that’s one of the best molds the line produced, meaning this guy’s already starting ahead.    The forearms, legs, and pelvis are from the original base Clone Trooper, and the upper torso is from Rex, allowing for use of the smaller neck-peg for their heads.  The upper arms first showed up on Captain Argus in 2009, and since it’s supposed to be the same armor, they were sensibly re-used here.  It’s all topped off with a new head, which is a definite improvement to the removable helmet on the Argus figure.  It’s accurate to the source material, and sits nicely on the body.  For the most part, Jayfon is just molded in the appropriate shade of blue (which, it should be noted, is a different shade than was used for Argus; this one is technically more accurate), with black accent work.  As the captain, though, he needs some appropriate denotation, which the white accenting provides.  It’s more extensive than what we saw on Argus, though this is true to the show in both characters’ cases.  Whatever the case, it adds a very nice little pop to the figure.  Jayfon is packed with a small Clone-style blaster rifle.

SENATE COMMANDO

Okay, the Captain may have had a name, but the basic grunts really didn’t get them.  I guess this guy’s just an army builder. Crazy concept.  Like Jayfon, he stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  For the most part, his construction is the same as the Captain’s, but he does get a unique head, this time with the shorter head-fin that the basic grunts sported.  It’s not a huge difference, but it’s true to the show and it makes it even easier to differentiate the two.  His paintwork is also a bit simpler, as he drops the white accent work.  It means he doesn’t pop as much as the Captain, but that’s appropriate for a rank and file trooper.  Lastly, the Commado swaps out the small blaster for a larger clone-style rifle, which is certainly nice for variety’s sake.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though not impossibly hard to find when released, the fact that this set shipped alongside a total re-pack set, and the two figures contained there-in never got re-issues meant that it never hung around anywhere for very long.  I was, rather foolishly, trying to convince myself I didn’t need to keep collecting Clone Wars figures at the time, and passed on them the one time I saw them.  I’ve regretted it ever since, especially after their price got pretty high on the after market.  Fortunately, I was able to get one when a very large collection of Star Wars figures was traded in to All Time Toys.  They still weren’t cheap, but they were a much better deal than they would have been elsewhere.  I really do like this set a lot.  The Captain’s the real star, but the basic commando is no slouch either.  It’s really criminal that the standard commando never got a single carded re-release, because I’d really love to have a whole squad.  Alas, that’s not financial feasible at the moment.

As noted above, I grabbed this set from my friends at All Time Toys.  While they only got one of these in, there was a whole lot more in that collection, and they can be found on their website and their eBay storefront.

#2004: Speeder Bike (w/ Luke Skywalker in Endor Gear)

SPEEDER BIKE (W/ LUKE SKYWALKER IN ENDOR GEAR)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at the first of three versions of the Imperial Speeder Bike released by Kenner in their Power of the Force II line.  The vehicle’s mold was first introduced in the vintage Return of the Jedi line, and was then re-packaged in the ’90s, with one of three different pilots.  I’ve already looked at the one with Leia.  Today, I look at her brother Luke, alongside his own Speeder.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The speeder bikes in these sets were all identical, meaning this one is exactly the same as the one I looked at alongside Leia two weeks ago.  I liked it then, and I still like it now.  I imagine I’ll still like it when I get around to the third variant of this set.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like the Leia figure included with the last one, this one has an Endor variant of Luke Skywalker.  Luke spends a little bit less of his time in this gear, but it’s still a fairly distinctive appearance for the character.  Like Leia, it had previously appeared in the vintage line, but this was the first we saw of it in this re-launch.  It would also be our only Endor Luke for a little while, as figures of him from Jedi tended to go for his, well, Jedi appearance.  As such, this figure’s sculpt would remain completely unique to him.  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.   Check out those sweet knee joints!  That was a pretty huge deal.  Luke’s head is rather similar to the Endor Rebel trooper, not only with the same helmet, but also a rather similar facial structure.  This Luke’s sculpt was notable for not including his outer vest; he was not the only version of Luke to omit it in this line, but he was the first one.  Like his sister, Luke has a removable rubber poncho piece.  This one’s not quite as nice.  It isn’t very well fitted to the figure, making him look really pudgy.  It also lacks the nice, subtle paintwork, meaning it’s just a lot of unpainted tan plastic.  This guy was packed with a variant of the green lightsaber included with the basic RotJ Luke, though this one was wider than that one so that his slightly enlarged grip can still hold it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, I only had one Speeder Bike, and it was this one.  I was definitely a Luke kid, so I needed to have another version of him, and the Endor one was one of my favorites.  That being said, I remember the actual figure didn’t get a ton of use; instead he was robbed of his poncho and speeder, which I gave to my standard Jedi Luke.  Looking back at this figure, I kind of remember why that was the case.  He’s not a bad figure, but he’s not as strong a figure as the Leia.

#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?