#2523: Kit Fisto

KIT FISTO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Two days ago, I was discussing the Prequel Trilogy’s background Jedi, and the fact that they were always received pretty well.  Don’t fear, my thesis still stands with today’s offering, but the turn around on cool stuff being done with him was actually way quicker than just about any other Prequel Jedi (barring the main guys, of course).  Yes, Kit Fisto’s propensity for being cool goes back to 2003, when he got a focus episode of the Genndy Tartakovky-helmed 2D Clone Wars cartoon, showing him as an underwater bad-ass.  It kind of stuck with the fanbase a bit, and Kit has subsequently remained a definite fan favorite.  Fitting, then, that he finally gets The Black Series treatment.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kit Fisto is figure 112 in the Black Series line-up.  He is the final figure to grace the red-striped packaging that’s been running since 2015, which is honestly a pretty big deal.  After the handful of false starts with the orange and blue line packaging, I don’t think any of us thought this one would stick around past number 100, but Hasbro managed to prove us wrong.  And we get to go out with a real cool guy, which is really just the best.  This version of Kit is based on his Attack of the Clones appearance, which makes sense, given the rest of the assortment.  It’s also a pretty standard look for the character, so it’s pretty multi-purpose.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Unsurprisingly, you aren’t getting much range of motion out of the neck, due to the tendrils, but he’s otherwise very impressively articulated, mostly due to being another re-use of the TMP Obi-Wan body.  I like the body a lot, so I don’t hate its re-use here.  It’s not totally accurate to Fisto’s garb in the movie, of course, with the lack of his more distinctive collar and the fact that he’s just got Obi-Wan’s belt and boots being the primary issues.  That being said, it’s a much closer match than what we saw on Plo Koon, and ultimately works in a pinch.  He gets a new head and hands to differentiate him a bit further, and those pieces are really great.  The head’s definitely a good match for Kit’s appearance, or at least what it should be, since his AotC head is a little bit unfinished under close inspection.  This seems to go for what that was *supposed* to look like, and that works better in the long-run.  Kit’s paintwork is generally pretty decent.  There’s some rather basic work on the robes, but they seem to be the right colors for the character, and the head and hands gets some really impressive accenting, which helps them to look quite lifelike.  In my mind’s eye, I feel like he should be a touch more green, but that might just be the old Saga figure influencing my opinion.  Kit is packed with his lightsaber, and that’s it.  It’s a nice piece, but unfortunately the hilt isn’t able to be hung from the belt like Obi-Wan, which makes it a touch less impressive.  And, again, he feels a bit light.  A cloak would have been nice to help fill things out a bit more.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been a Kit Fisto fan since Attack of the Clones, when I was determined to get his figure because I thought he was the coolest of the new Jedi introduced.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get him on the first shot, which is what ultimately led to me getting Plo Koon.  Hey, it worked out, because I also love Plo Koon.  I’ve definitely been wanting a Kit Fisto for Black Series, and I’m thrilled to have gotten both him and Plo in one fell swoop.  This guy’s a really strong figure.  I don’t know that he’s quite as solid as the Obi-Wan, but after the slight let-down on Plo, he made me feel a lot better.

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

#2522: Obi-Wan Kenobi – Jedi Knight

OBI-WAN KENOBI — JEDI KNIGHT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Obi-Wan Kenobi became a general in the Army of the Republic as the Clone Wars continued, having many adventures with Anakin Skywalker.”

Obi-Wan’s definitely been the best treated of the Prequel characters when it comes to The Black Series.  It’s fair, because he’s probably the best of the core prequel characters, anyway, so I can’t argue with it.  But it’s certainly still noteworthy, because he’s so far the only character to get his primary look from all three of the films, as well as getting one from Clone Wars.  That’s certainly something of an accomplishment, don’t you think?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obi-Wan is figure 111 in the Black Series line-up.  He’s the penultimate figure in the final red-box assortment, and unlike yesterday’s figure, he’s unquestionably Attack of the Clones based.  Yes, we finally have a Black Series release that can confuse your very religious Grandmother!  Unexpected bonus!  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The vast majority of this figure’s sculpt is shared with the Phantom Menace version of the character.  I was a pretty big fan of the sculpt the first time around, and I think it’s honestly one of the best Jedi sculpts the line’s put out.  I know others have issues with how the hip joints work, but I personally think they have a solid range, and in general, the figure’s posability is top-not.  He gets an all-new head sculpt to adjust him to his Episode 2 appearance, and it sports another really strong McGreggor likeness, matching both the Ep 1 and Clone Wars versions in terms of quality.  The only slight nit to the quality is the somewhat obvious join between the hair piece and the head.  It’s not terrible, and it’s better on some figures than others.  Ultimately, it’s just the price of doing business this way.  It’s probably better than a solid head would have turned out.  Overall, definitely a strong offering.  In terms of paint work, Obi-Wan is about what you’d expect from the line at this point.  He’s got the face print, the base color work on the robes, and a little bit of accent work on the hair to bring out the details.  Not a bad set-up.  Obi-Wan’s only accessory this time around is his lightsaber.  It’s not a bad piece, but it’s a shame they couldn’t also give him a robe, or maybe an alternate soaked head from Kamino, possibly even his pilot head gear.  It does feel rather light as-is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t initially on-board for any Obi-Wan apart from the Episode 1 version, but the unexpected Clone Wars variant kind of broke that dam down.  While I didn’t outright want this figure, after snagging the rest of the assortment, I wasn’t exactly going to pass on him.  While he’s maybe not my favorite Obi-Wan design, he’s the best Obi-Wan figure to come out of The Black Series so far.  I wouldn’t mind seeing the RotS version get a re-do using this set-up as well.

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

#2521: Plo Koon

PLO KOON

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A Kel Dor from Dorin, Plo Koon was among the wisest members of the Jedi Order, respected for his level-headed analysis of events and unflappable calm.”

One of the consistently agreed upon not terrible things of the prequel trilogy, even back when they were new and fans were rabid about hating them, were the background Jedi characters.  Sure, they didn’t get to do much, and they weren’t all the best, but there were some really cool concepts and designs there.  The creators of Clone Wars, who were charged with actually injecting some likability into the prequel concepts and characters agreed, and those background guys got some serious love.  Chief among them was today’s focus, Plo Koon, who got quite a few prominent appearances during the run of the series, and has subsequently become quite a fan favorite.  And now he’s got a Black Series figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Plo Koon is figure 109 in the Black Series line-up.  He joins the previously reviewed Anakin and Battle Droid in what is the final assortment of the red-boxed Black Series incarnation, which is *kind of* Attack of the Clones-themed.  I say “kind of” because, well, this guy is the figure that sort of breaks the rule, for reasons I’ll get into as I go through the review.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  This assortment is heavy on the re-used parts, and Plo is no exception.  He gets a new head, neck, and hands, but is otherwise a re-use of the Mace Windu figure from early 2019.  I didn’t get that figure personally, so I hadn’t yet gotten to mess with it.  It’s a strong sculpt, and is a good early sign of the improved articulation that came into The Black Series in the last year.  The new head and hands are really nice pieces, which do a fantastic job of capturing how the character looks in the films.  The head in particular is a really wonderful piece of work with so much detailing and depth to the sculpt.  Ultimately, the details on Plo’s robes aren’t quite a perfect match to what he’s wearing in the films, since Plo was sporting a few less layers than Mace, but it’s not terribly far off from a sculpt perspective, and it’s at least a pretty nice starting point.  Also, the average consumer is less likely to notice the re-use/inaccuracies anyway, since the cloth cloak that the figure comes wearing isn’t really designed for removal, being sewn shut at the top.  Of course, if you’re a bit adventurous, you can remove it by popping off Plo’s head and taking it off that way, which I’d call a plus, because I don’t really think it’s one of Hasbro’s better cloth pieces.  The downside of taking it off is that it reveals something that I’ll touch on in the paint section.   Here we are in the paint section.  So, the head and hands look great, and Hasbro’s done some awesome work there.  Kudos and all that.  The problem with the paint/coloring?  The upper robes.  Plo has been seen a number of times without this cloak, and he’s pretty much always seen with a very dark brown set of robes.  That’s what he’s got in AotCRotS, and Clone Wars.  This figure goes down the path set by the Power of the Jedi and Sideshow figures, depicting Plo in a lighter set of robes, which are presumably the ones under his long robe in Phantom Menace.  It’s not awful, but it doesn’t seem to read the right way for the character, and only further emphasizes the inaccuracies of the sculpt.  It also doesn’t match up with the otherwise AotC-theming of the rest of the assortment.  Definitely an odd choice.  Plo is packed with his lightsaber, which seems a sensible choice.  It’s a pretty solid recreation of his blade from the movies.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really like Plo Koon as a character, and have dug him ever since getting the old Saga figure.  I was definitely on board with him getting a Black Series release, and I was happy to see him shown off.  Getting him in-hand was something of an experience, because I was really excited, then rather let-down, and then built back up to enjoying him again.  He’s ultimately a good figure, but certainly a flawed one.  I wish that Hasbro would have at least given him the proper coloring, if they couldn’t actually afford the new sculpting needed.  As it stands, he’s fun, but in the back of my mind I’m sort of waiting to see another release.

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

#2520: Luke Skywalker & Yoda – Jedi Training

LUKE SKYWALKER & YODA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“At the urging of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda agreed to instruct Luke Skywalker, developing his Jedi abilities.”

Since introducing the concept of a Deluxe line of figures into The Black Series, it’s felt to a degree that each release has sort of reinvented the wheel to work within this new price point.  Greivous was a slightly larger and more intricate figure, the Heavy Mando has one really large accessory, and the probe droid was just an entirely different style of figure.  Now, we’re just going for some sort of a two-pack set-up.  Really, I can’t complain too much, because it means I’m getting one of my favorite set-ups, Jedi Training Luke and Yoda!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Jedi Training Luke and Yoda are entry D4 in the Black Series line-up, signifying that their the fourth non-exclusive Deluxe item.  They mark the second deluxe this year, following up the Imperial Probe, and effectively close off the 40th Anniversary sub-set that figure kicked off.

LUKE

Luke’s Dagobah training gear is really just a dressed-down version of his main gear from Empire, but is still a pretty notable look.  It didn’t come to the toy world until the ’90s, but its had a few releases since then, including this one.  This figure is actually available two ways right out of the gate.  There’s this deluxe release, and then there’s a vintage carded one with just Luke and some paired down accessories.  It’s kind of an odd choice on Hasbro’s part, and feels like it’s splitting demand right off the bat, but time will tell how it does.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  To date, he’s Hasbro’s most posable version of Luke in the Black Series line-up, and I can definitely get behind that.  It puts him far more on par with the likes of Bespin Han than his prior, slightly stiffer variants were.  Really, the differences between this and Bespin Luke are pretty much night and day.  This Luke does seem a bit smaller when compared to prior versions, but he actually fits in better with some of the more recent figures than those older ones.  Hamill’s not a huge guy, and the build on this figure really feels about right.  The quality of the sculpt is pretty top notch, with a very realistic set of proportions, well-worked in articulation, and probably the best Hamill likeness we’ve gotten from Black Series.  It’s worth noting, however, that the hair placement seems to be rather off on a lot of copies of the figure, which can rather hinder the likeness. I picked myself the best out of a sample size of four, which worked out pretty well for me, but your mileage may vary.  The paint work on Luke is pretty solidly handled.  He’s got the now standard printed face, which works out quite nicely for the sculpt, and he’s also got some great accent work on both the hair and on the clothes, which offer up some additional depth to the sculpted details.  Both releases of Luke get his lightsaber and blaster (which are the same as previous releases), but the deluxe release also adds in a spare set of hands and the bag for carrying Yoda.  The hands are cool in theory, as they’re meant to let him do his handstand, but the arms are just a touch too loose on my figure to actually keep him standing up.  Oh well.

YODA

Yoda’s gotten four prior releases in The Black Series, including one just this year in the first series of the 40th Anniversary carded figures, all of which were built on the same body as the very first Black Series figure.  That’s a figure that is, at best, a less than stellar offering, and while some of that can be attributed to paint (because boy was that a mess), there’s a heck of a lot of it that was linked to it just having a poor underlying body underneath of that cloth robe.  So, for this latest take on Yoda, Hasbro’s opted to throw everything out and just sort of start from scratch.  Best call, really.  The figure stands just over two inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Pretty much, the first thing that you’ll notice when comparing this figure to his predecessor is how much smaller he is…well, overall.  The heads are pretty much the same size, and honestly pretty much identical in terms of sculpting.  It’s the body that’s much smaller, and much like Luke, that’s ultimately more accurate to the source material.  He also actually gets proper articulation in his legs this time, which is a huge plus in my book, and keeps the single joints in the arms instead of double, meaning his arms aren’t nearly as long this time.  Unlike the last time around, the robe’s not really designed for removal, since the belt is all one solid piece with no clasp on it.  I suppose you could take the robe off if you were really determined, but I’m really not.  Another area of major improvement between Yoda releases is on the paint front.  The original figure hit during one of the worst periods for the line in terms of paint quality, and as such looked pretty bad, with only the bare minimum of detailing, and some really poor quality application at that.  The Archive and 40th re-issues fixed the paint, but this all new version takes it even further, and gives us by far the most “life-like” (as much as a toy of a puppet can be that) version yet.  I also appreciate that they actually painted his flute this time around, as it makes the whole package look just a bit better.  The last Yoda got an okay selection of accessories, and this one’s technically got less, but they work a bit better.  He still has the cane, but he loses the snake and the light saber for a second head with his eyes closed, like when he’s lifting the X-Wing out of the water.  I really don’t miss the lightsaber, since it’s not OT anyway, and the snake was a pretty minor vintage throwback.  The new head is actually a pretty useful piece, so I’m glad to have it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Power of the Force Dagobah Luke was my first Star Wars figure, so I’ve got a soft spot for the design.  I was absolutely thrilled when this set was shown off, and I’ve been patiently awaiting its release.  I even held off grabbing the single carded Luke, because I knew this one was coming, and I wanted the whole deluxe set-up.  Luke’s not a standard design, but he’s the best Luke Hasbro’s released in this line.  The Yoda is also the best Yoda, but it’s really not even a close race on that.  He’s just demonstrably better than the prior release on every front.  This is definitely one of my favorite releases from The Black Series this year, and that’s saying a lot, because it’s been a really good year.

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

#2519: Snowspeeder (w/ Dak Ralter)

SNOWSPEEDER (w/ DAK RALTER)

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“While stationed on Hoth, the Rebel Alliance modified T-47 airspeeders to become snowspeeders. The snowspeeder was a two-man vessel, with a pilot and rear-facing tailgunner.”

The larger scale of Star Wars: The Black Series may be good for the quality of the actual figures, but the one slight downside of it is the relative difficulties of getting accompanying vehicles on the market.  Hasbro first dipped their toes in the pool of vehicles with the smaller-scale speeder bike, which went pretty well.  They then jumped all-in with the Force Awakens TIE Fighter, which went maybe not quite as well.  The then returned to smaller vehicles with a Landspeeder, which seemed to okay again.  Now they’re trying that slightly larger vehicle thing again, this time with a Snowspeeder, just in time to tie in with Empire‘s 40th Anniversary celebration.  And I’m taking a look at that bad boy today!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Snowspeeder is part of Hasbro’s Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary subset of The Black Series.  As of right now, it’s the only vehicle of the year.  It also seems to have ditched the numbering scheme that was started with the TIE Fighter in 2015, which I suppose is appropriate given that the whole line is ditching the numbering set-up.  While the last few Star Wars vehicles I’ve grabbed from Hasbro have had some necessary assembly right out of the box, the Snowspeeder just needs the front guns clipped into place, making it a much simpler set-up.  The Snowspeeder measures 18 by 15, and while it doesn’t have quite the footprint and height of the TIE Fighter, it’s still quite a sizable piece, and appears to be properly scaled to the figures to boot (a big deal, since that almost never happens with anything larger than the smaller speeders).  You’ve got an easy time getting both figures into the cockpit, which is really the most important thing.  The detailing on the sculpt is all pretty darn solid.  The aforementioned cockpit is fully detailed inside, with fully formed seating, seat belts, and controls for the two occupants.  The exterior’s about what you expect for a Star Wars ship, with a lot of clean plates and such.  The drag fins can be lifted and extended, as seen in the film, and I really like how they work, so as to not cause any accidental damage when used.  There are additional fins on the lower rear of the ship, obviously for steering purposes.  There is also a removable panel on the ship’s right wing, exposing some of the inner workings beneath it, I guess for maintenance purposes?  Or perhaps even a bit of battle-damage in a pinch.  It’s a cool touch regardless.  There are a few other details hiding in the ship’s standard mode.  It’s got some landing gear, which works in pretty much the same way as the gear on the Vintage Collection X-Wing.  Also hiding is the ship’s tow-line, which they use to take down the AT-ATs.  It can be pulled from the back, and then you pop open a hatch on the underside of the ship to pull it back in.  It’s not very mechanically impressive or anything, but it also won’t be prone to breakage over time, so I can kind of see Hasbro’s angle on this one.  The paint work on the speeder is pretty solidly handled, with not only the base level details, but also simulated wear and tear, as well as smaller insignias and the like.  It looks quite cool.  The accent color scheme feels off in my mind, because I always think of those stripes being orange, but that’s prior toys coloring my view, I guess.  The Snowspeeder is packed with the grapple that Luke uses to get up to the AT-AT he takes down, as well as what I can only assume is supposed to be a grenade or something.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

“Dak Ralter, an eager young rebel pilot assigned to Hoth’s Echo Base, Dak served as Luke Skywalker’s tailgunner during the Battle of Hoth but was killed by Imperial fire that struck the back of the snowspeeder”

Luke’s ill-fated gunner Dak hasn’t been quite as privy to action figures as other characters, but is nevertheless an essential piece of any proper Snowspeeder set-up.  Without Dak, who’s gonna get shot in the face and get stepped on by a big robot camel take on the whole Empire himself?  Dak stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Dak’s largely a re-use of the Snowspeeder gear Luke that was just single released.  It’s a sensible option, given that it’s a uniform, and Luke and Dak are supposed to be roughly the same height and build.  It also means that Dak makes use of a really solid sculpt that’s a lot of fun.  The one main change-up is, unsurprisingly, the new headsculpt.  He’s still got the insulating cap like Luke, though I feel it makes a bit more sense here.  The face looks to be a respectable recreation of Jon Morton’s likeness as seen in the film.  The paintwork for Dak is pretty much the same as Luke’s, albeit with the expected change to the face and to the insignias on the helmet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Snowspeeders are one of my favorite OT vehicles, and I’m always down for a good toy version.  After the soft performance of the TIE fighter, I wasn’t really expecting to see the Snowspeeder show up in Black Series form.  I was definitely happy to see it crop up with this year’s Toy Fair showings, and was even more excited when Dak was shown alongside it.  Definitely one of the items from this anniversary collection that I was most anticipating.  It’s a fun piece to be sure, and I think has a little more intrigue to it that the TIE Fighter.  Hopefully others feel the same way.  Is it wrong for me to want an alternate color scheme speeder with a Wedge and Janson?  That’s not entirely crazy, right?

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

#2511: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“As Han Solo’s partner, Chewbacca the Wookiee (or Chewie, as Solo calls him) distinguished himself as a talented pilot, starship mechanic and smuggler. After being rescued from Imperial slavers by Solo, Chewbacca pledged a life debt to the rogue pilot and followed him to several different planets as their relationship grew and the two became close friends and partners. When Solo acquired the light freighter Millennium Falcon, he and Chewbacca began their career as intergalactic smugglers. Chewbacca’s reputation as a brawler gave him a distinct advantage in shady business negotiations, and it was he who initiated the deal to transport Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker from Tatooine to Alderaan.”

Okay, so here’s something of an odd thing that slipped through the cracks of my review schedule: somehow, in all of the Power of the Force reviews I’ve written here on the site, I’ve managed to leave one single figure from the initial assortment un-reviewed for far longer than I realized. I speak of today’s entry, the line’s first take on Chewbacca, who has thus far escaped my reviewing focus.  Not to worry, dear reader, I’ve got him all set for today, so lets take a look at this crazy monkey man who really isn’t a monkey man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chewbacca was, as noted in the intro, part of Kenner’s first 1995 assortment for their revamped Power of the Force line.  He joined standard versions of Luke, Han, Leia, R2, C-3PO, Obi-Wan, Vader, Lando, the Stormtrooper, and Boba Fett in bringing Star Wars back to toy shelves for the first time in over a decade.  This would mark Chewy’s second time getting a 3 3/4-scale figure, following his old vintage release, placing him in the same category as Vader, the Stormtrooper, and Boba Fett.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation…technically.  There’s a neck joint there, but best of luck really getting any sort of motion out of it.  This guy got an all-new sculpt, which would serve as the basis for Chewy’s Shadows of the Empire figure as well. Chewbacca’s vintage sculpt was definitely on the scrawny side of things and…well, this one definitely goes for the other end of the spectrum.  Way on the other end of the spectrum.  This guy’s like two of the vintage guy.  Chewy may have been bigger than the other characters, but he wasn’t a body builder like this one.  He falls into a similar category to Vader, who was likewise a little on the small side for his vintage release, and then ballooned way up for his ’95 figure.  It’s downright goofy looking, and ends up making Chewy look a lot more simian than he did in the films, especially with that less shaggy, more carefully groomed appearance he’s got.  At the very least, the texturing on the fur isn’t too bad, though the bandolier isn’t quite so lucky; it looks stretched to fit Chewy’s new bulk, and ends up missing out on some of the better detail work of later versions.  The major details are there, but not much beyond that.  Chewbacca’s paintwork is fairly decent, perhaps the best of the initial batch, in fact.  He actually gets some nice accenting on his fur to give it its proper variations in color, a definite step up from the vintage counterpart.  Chewbacca was packed with both his usual bowcaster and also a more generic and definitely very ’90s gun, just in case one wasn’t enough for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Part of the reason Chewbacca got overlooked for review is because he kind of got overlooked in my collection, too.  As I mentioned in my Bounty Hunter Chewbacca review, that was my standard, and quite frankly, my go-to Chewbacca as a kid.  I didn’t actually have a basic Chewy; he was one of the figures that was in the batch of figures my Grandmother had for me and my cousin at her house.  It meant I got to play with one, but it wasn’t ultimately mine.  When the figures got split up between us, Chewy went with my cousin, and I never thought much about it, having moved onto better Chewbaccas.  When filling in my collection, I actually forgot about this figure, until managing to find one loose a couple of Christmases ago while on vacation.  I then forgot I had that figure and hadn’t actually reviewed it until I took it down off the shelf for the photo that ended my recent C-3PO review, at which point I got him onto the schedule as soon as I could.  And, here we are.  He’s not great, or anything.  He’s goofy and not very accurate, but also not as fun as the Bounty Hunter Chewy, so he’s just sort of here.

#2504: Admiral Motti

ADMIRAL MOTTI

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (HASBRO)

“The senior Imperial commander in charge of operations on the original Death Star, Admiral Motti often disagreed with the decisions of Darth Vader. His outspokenness almost cost him his life when Vader used the Force to strangle the Admiral into silence.”

In 1999, when prepping for the tie-in to The Phantom Menace‘s release and the big marketing push that accompanied, Hasbro decided to actually take over full ownership of the line, officially bringing an end to the facade of Kenner still running the line.  This extended to the Power of the Force line, which would run concurrently with The Phantom Menace, albeit in a far more limited capacity.  They offered up a lot more redoes of previous designs during these two years, but also still gave us some brand new characters never before seen in toy form.  This included today’s focus, Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, aka the guy who Vader force chokes in the first movie.  Yay.  That guy really needed a toy, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Admiral Motti was one of the final two Power of the Force II figures released (the other being a Princess Leia variant), hitting shelves just before the transition to Power of the Jedi in 2000.  He was the third Imperial Officer to grace the line, following Tarkin and Piett.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Oh boy, is that one extra joint I see there?  Yep, Motti gets an honest to god elbow hinge on his left arm.  Why is that?  Well, so that he can more properly recreate the force choking scene, of course!  Yep, he actually gets the ability to do that very specific pose.  I mean, there’s not really many other poses he can pull off, of course, but really it feels worth it.  It’s a pretty distinctive pose, and it’s the one pose that any one is really going to remember him in.  Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to pick Motti out of a line-up if not for the pose.  Otherwise, his stance is fairly neutral, so if you want to throw that arm back behind his back, I guess you can have him look rather British and upper-class and pompous.  In terms of paint work, he’s overall pretty basic in how he works.  Lots of greys, but that’s accurate, so it’s hard to really knock it.  Motti is admittedly a character that doesn’t really have any obvious accessories, but Hasbro did their best.  He gets the same smaller blaster as Tarkin did, as well as a CommTech chip, since those were still a thing at this point.  Amusingly, the back of the chip lists Motti as “Commander of Opperations Aboard the Origional Death Star” which features not one, but two separate typos that are really bad and really noticeable, and were really never corrected, since the line was already on its way out.  I guess we really shouldn’t have been all that surprised by “Skywalkwer”.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Motti’s one of those figure’s I’ve wanted for a while, not really because I care in the slightest about the character, but because he’s sort of one of those morbidly distinctive figures.  I mean, how often do you see the force choke in plastic form?  He’s not an exceedingly common figure, being at the very end of the line and all, so I had to wait through quite a few PotF collections coming in through All Time before finally getting my hands on him.  He’s not the most thrilling figure or anything, but he amuses me, and I’ll admit to doing a little bit of a happy dance when he came through.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2496: EV-9D9

EV-9D9

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“EV-9D9 is ideally suited to its job as cyborg taskmaster in Jabba the Hutt’s palace. It was one of many droids in service to the crimelord.”

Hey, remember how I was reviewing Star Wars stuff all week?  Well, get settled in with that, because we’re just gonna keep that rolling one day further.  Of course, it’s no fancy Black Series offering today.  Nope, we’re instead going back to my old mainstay, Power of the Force.  I mean, hey, at least it’s somebody who hasn’t gotten any Black Series love, just to keep things different and interesting.  And it’s someone with a speaking role, even!  Let’s look at EV-9D9, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

EV-9D9 was added to the Power of the Force line-up in 1997.  He was one of a handful of Jabba’s Palace denizens added to the line-up that year, so he was quite at home (although he wouldn’t get an 8D8 to boss around until the next year).  This marked his second time getting a figure, following the vintage release, as well as his final time in figure form.  Poor EV, getting no modern day figure love.  That feels downright criminal.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The design doesn’t quite as easily lend itself to a waist swivel, so he doesn’t get that.  Sadly, he also lacks the moving mouth of the original release, which is definitely a sad omission.  On the plus side, the figure’s nice and stable when it comes to standing, so he won’t be faceplanting nearly as often as some of the figures from this line.  He also avoids the pre-posing of earlier entries, making him a nice basic figure.  The sculpt is quite nice, doing a respectable job of capturing the design of the prop from the film, while also being sharp and clean on the details. It’s just a really nifty little sculpt.  The paint work is also pretty decent for this era of figure.  All of the important details are there, and there’s even some pretty nice accenting on the bronze sections of his body.  EV-9D9’s only got one accessory, but it’s a pretty good one: it’s the podium he stands behind when administering R2 and 3PO’s jobs. Pretty central to the character, and rather sizable to boot,  so it’s a winner in my book.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

EV is another of the large batch of figures I picked up in late 2018 when I really started trying to fill in my collection for the line.  It’s definitely a figure I didn’t think much of when I grabbed it, but he’s a pretty solid figure, especially given the lack of further coverage of the character.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2495: Battle Droid – Geonosis

BATTLE DROID — GEONOSIS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Rather than use flesh-and-blood warriors, the Separatists prefer mindlessly loyal soldiers that are easily controlled. Battle droids are dim-witted and no match for clone troopers or Jedi, but they weren’t designed to be smart – they were designed to overwhelm Republic civilians through sheer numbers, something they do very effectively.”

Since the Stormtroopers were off limits due to timelines and continuity and all that jazz, the Prequel Trilogy had to come up with its own form of armies of troops for the bad guys to throw our heroes’ way.  Taking advantage of being able to do designs and concepts not as easily allowed by the technology of filmmaking in the early ’80s, Lucas and company introduced the Trade Federation’s Battle Droid army, who became the backbone of the separatist forces for the next three films (and Clone Wars, of course), all while some how becoming more comically slapstick in their mannerisms with each subsequent appearance.  At this point, it really wouldn’t be that far-fetched for them to come out with a rendition of “who’s on first?”  Whatever the case, they were absent from The Black Series for a good bit, but finally joined the line early last year.  Of course, the assortment they were a part of was kind of unbalanced in its distribution, so Hasbro opted to give us another chance at the mold, this time with a tweaked color scheme.  Yay for me!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Battle Droid (Geonosis) is figure 108 in the Black Series line-up.  He’s the third Battle Droid we’ve gotten, following the tan Episode 1 version and the Gaming Greats heavy gunner.  All three of them are the same mold, which is sensible, since the core droid design didn’t change throughout the three prequel films.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Battle Droid figures historically have a lot of trouble matching the movement of the droids in the films.  Given that the joints are right there in the design, it’s a shame that they almost never articulate them.  However, this figure addresses that, and actually manages to articulate most of the built-in joints, making this by far the most Battle Droid put out by Hasbro.  The hip joints are slightly limited, and a few of the smaller joints were stuck on mine right out of the box, but he’s overall really posable, and a lot more steady on his feet than prior Battle Droids I’ve messed with.  Most impressively, he can actually properly fold up like the droids do in the movie, which is pretty cool.  The sculpt is also a pretty spot-on recreation of the designs seen in the movie, with all of the detail work being nice and crisp, sharp, and clean.  He’s quite a sleek-looking figure.  The colors are where this figure differentiates himself from the prior releases.  This one uses the Geonosis coloring, so he’s all red to match the rather amber terrain of the planet.  I’ve always been kind of partial to this coloring, so I’m happy to see it represented here.  The paint work gives him some wear and tear, so that he looks like a proper “battle” Droid.  He’s armed with the standard E-5 blaster, and also includes both a backpack, and the streamlined antenna pack, to allow for some distinction of ranks within the set-up.  It would have been cool to also get a C-3PO head to swap out, but perhaps they’ll just make the heads swappable when they make the inevitable AotC 3PO.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was tempted by the tan release of this figure last year, but never saw him in person, and didn’t feel majorly inclined to track him down after the fact.  Once I knew this one was coming, I officially switched over to just wanting him, because I like this color set better.  Now that I’ve finally gotten to mess with this mold, I can definitely see why people like it so much.  I’m sure Hasbro’s already planning to do a few more rank variants with it, and I can see myself picking some of those up to be sure.

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

#2493: Anakin Skywalker – Padawan

ANAKIN SKYWALKER — PADAWAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A hero of the Clone Wars, Anakin was caring and compassionate, but also had a fear of loss that would prove to be his downfall”

Okay, so we were looking at some figures from Empire, the second installment in the Original Trilogy, which everyone loves.  Now, let’s jump forward (or is it backward?) to Attack of the Clones, the second installment of the Prequel Trilogy that most people don’t love.  I’m with most people on this one.  Delving back into my archive of old reviews tells me that the only other Anakin Skywalker figure I’ve reviewed here was back in May of 2014, and was another version of him from Attack of the Clones.  So, let’s do more of that, I guess?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Anakin Skywalker (Padawan) is figure 110 in the Black Series line-up.  He’s from the latest assortment of the main line, which is an entirely AotC-based line-up.  It’s also the last line-up before the line ditches the overall numbering scheme and goes to more themed subsets starting in the fall.  Gotta say, ending the longest running incarnation of this line with an all Attack of the Clones assortment is a pretty baller move.  Go for it, Hasbro.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  A lot of this figure’s parts are shared with the Revenge of the Sith version of the character, released way back in Series 4 of the original Black Series incarnation.  Remember in my Luke review on Tuesday, when I mentioned how nice it was to get an all-new sculpt for the Snowspeeder gear, even though they might have been able to try for some re-use?  Well, that feels somewhat relevant here.  Anakin’s look in the two films isn’t terribly different, so on one hand, some re-use is sensible.  However, it has the side effect of putting this guy on a base body that’s from 2014, which, from both a sculpting and an articulation stand point, puts him rather behind the times.  The torso in particular is rather boxy, and the movement on the elbows, waist, and knees is quite limited, especially when compared to more recent offerings.  He does at least get a new head, right forearm, and belt, which help to change him up a bit from the prior release.  The head is probably the strongest piece, and manages to give us a solid rendition of Hayden Christiansen.  It’s certainly an amazing improvement over any of the prior versions of him we’ve gotten, especially when it comes to his AotC appearance.  They definitely got that broody facial expression down.  The only slight issue with mine is that he’s got a bit of flashing on the right side of his jaw.  The new forearm is really just meant to mirror the left side, since this is a pre-robo arm Anakin.  It’s a real shame they didn’t take the opportunity to make it more easily removed at the elbow, to simulate some battle damage.  Of course, they also left Bespin Luke without an easily removed hand, so maybe they’re just really banking for potential variants down the line.  In terms of paint, this figure tries, but has one major issue, which is that his neck and face just don’t match.  Sadly, this is the potential problem you face when you’re painting one and molding the other in the appropriate color.  More recent figures have been using the double ball joint set up so that the neck is separate from the torso, allowing it to also be molded in the appropriate color, but no such luck here with this older mold.  At least the face printing looks pretty good.  In terms of extras, Anakin’s pretty light.  He gets his lightsaber…and that’s it.  It’s not even a really great mold, since the hilt feels somewhat oversized.  I’d really liked to have seen an alternate arm with his robot hand, or a robe, or even his green loaner saber from the end of the movie, so that we could properly set up the duel with Dooku (I had to steal one from Grievous to set up the shot at the end of the review).  Given that the figure whose mold he’s using most of included an extra head in addition to the lightsaber, this feels like a real missed opportunity.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I feel the need at this point to say that not only has my “no prequels” rule with this line been broken, it’s been poisoned, shot, stabbed, clubbed and finally drowned.  Very Rasputinian, if I do say so myself.  I’m really just all in at this point, honestly.  It helps a little that I already had Dooku, and also that I’m becoming increasingly in touch with the nostalgic twinge I have for Attack of the Clones, especially when it comes to toys.  This guy’s got his flaws, and in some ways feels a touch phoned in, but as a whole, he’s still a very enjoyable figure, and I’m hoping I can manage to snag Obi-Wan to go with him soon.

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