#2845: Jaxxon

JAXXON

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Jaxxon is a nearly 6-foot tall, green-furred, Lepi smuggler and captain of the Rabbit’s Foot. Known for his wise cracks and high kicks, Jaxxon has helped Han Solo and Chewbacca out on more than one occasion.”

For some reason, this review has been very hard for me to start.  Well, I say “for some reason,” but I suppose it’s a bit more transparent than that.  There’s a rather big reason that anything is difficult for me these days.  I guess the “for some reason” comment more relates to how difficult this one review has been for me to actually sit down and write.  I’ve even written other reviews around working on this one, so it’s apparently just this particular green space bunny that’s giving me trouble.  Said “green space bunny” is Jaxxon, a big green bunny man created by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin for Marvel Comics’ Star Wars #8.  He’s one of the earliest full-fledged EU creations, and is rumored to have been removed from the comics on Lucas’ request, although this rumor remains unsubstantiated.  Though an early player, Jaxxon was removed from the franchise just as early, and has up to this point been completely without a toy in a very toy-driven franchise.  Seems like a shame.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s on top of it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jaxxon is another of the four comics-based Star Wars: The Black Series line-up, alongside the previously reviewed Carnor Jax Kir Kanos.  Jaxxon is notably the only figure in the set without any prior toy treatment, as I noted in the intro.  There was just no love for the bunny before this.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall counting the ears (closer to 6 without them) and he has 27 points of articulation.  Though he looks very unique and different, Jaxxon actually has a fair bit of re-use going on.  His upper half is X-Wing Pilot Luke, and his lower half is ANH Luke.  He’s a lot of Luke, I guess.  It’s a combo that works pretty decently, though I’m admittedly a little surprised he’s not just a straight up Pilot Luke re-use.  I guess this keeps him a little more diverse.  Aiding in making him look sufficiently different is a new head, chest plate, and belt with holsters.  The new head is certainly a more realistic looking design than he usually gets, in keeping with how the line has handled other more cartoony characters, I suppose.  This is really Jaxxon viewed through the lens of actually being in one of the OT movies, where he’d have just been another guy in a rubber mask.  It’s a departure from the artwork on the box, but it’s not bad at all.  The new overlay pieces for the armor and belt sit well on the figure and do a strong job of selling him as having more new parts than he does.  Generally, the result of this mix of parts is a pretty good one.  His paint work suits the design.  It’s not many colors that you tend to really associate with Star Wars, but that helps him feel more unique, and certainly true to the character’s nature.  Application is pretty clean, and the head even gets some accenting to keep it from just being a basic green.  Jaxxon is packed with two blaster pistols, re-used from Jaina Solo.  Unfortunately, we once again have a figure with two blasters, but only one hand with a trigger finger.  Come on guys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Disclosure: I’m talking about Jess a lot today.

I could give you the exact road map to how exactly “Green Space Bunny Pilot” invariably leads me to dwelling on Jess’s final days over and over again, but I can’t say that knowing the how really truly explains the why.  I suppose, technically, you could say it’s because this was the first item added to my collection that she never saw (since he came into the store before she passed, but I didn’t actually get him until after), and I suppose it could also be linked to him being another Star Wars piece, and how much we both enjoyed the franchise.  I suppose it could even be because he’s a Black Series figure, and that the figures I was photographing on the day that she asked me what I was doing and I answered “just taking a few photos of some action figures,” were the first series of Black Series. Or it could even be because he’s the first of the comic figures I’ve reviewed since Kir Kanos, who was the figure I was reviewing the last day I sat with Jess before we knew it was the end.  There’s a lot of supposing in there, huh?  That’s because I really don’t know any of it for sure.  I just know that, for some reason, every time I sat down to write this, it got very hard to do so.  I think it’s because Jess probably would have gotten a real kick out of the Green Space Bunny.  Seems like something that might be up her alley, honestly.  This feels like something I very much would have gotten to show her, and to experience with her, but it’s one of the first things I didn’t.  That sucks.  Plain and simple, it just sucks.  The figure doesn’t, for what it’s worth.  I actually quite like him, and look forward to more deep cuts like this for the line.  And perhaps those ones won’t be quite as hard for me to write about.  Time will tell.

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

#2844: ARC Trooper Echo

ARC TROOPER ECHO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

First introduced in the first season episode “Rookies,” Domino Squad is a group that The Clone Wars uses to really showcase the general progression of the clones throughout the wars, as well as also hitting home just how bad war can be, seeing as the Squad has a tendency to fall like, well, dominos.  Central to the squad’s early stories are Fives and Echo, the two that have the most advancement of any clones in the show, starting off as mere cadets, and eventually becoming full-fledged ARC Troopers.  Echo himself has gone even further, becoming one of the few Regs to continue his story post-Order 66 as part of Clone Force 99, aka the titular team from The Bad Batch.  This kid’s got some range, let me tell you.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ARC Trooper Echo is another of the four figures in the Target-exclusive Clone Wars-retro assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s the first figure of Echo in the line, though it would be an incredible shock if he were the last, given the incredible prominence of Echo’s updated Bad Batch gear.  As the name signifies, this figure is based on Echo’s ARC Trooper look, which he sported in the “Citadel” arc of the show, which is notably the story that “killed” him, before the final season brought him back.  It’s the look that had the most appearances within the show (prior to The Bad Batch, of course), and it’s his coolest look as a Reg.  Plus, they haven’t done any actual ARC troopers in this scale, so he’s a good reason to introduce the tooling.  It does mean that he doesn’t actually go with any other figures in the line, of course, since he doesn’t match up with the Batch, and he also doesn’t match up with Rex, since Rex was in his Phase I armor still when Echo died, but there are worse things to have to deal with.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Remember how I mentioned the weird mix-up of Hawk retooling Rex’s body into a more basic clone body, rather than using the newly introduced basic clone?  So, you might assume that Echo, with his ARC Trooper gear, would naturally be using the Rex body as well, right?  Nope.  Echo’s on the new basic clone body, with a bunch of stuff tacked onto it.  I know.  It’s weird.  I mean, it’s still a nice body, so I’m not complaining.  I’m just confused, that’s all.  In order to update that standard clone armor into a full ARC Trooper set-up, Echo gets a new set of forearms and lower legs, as well as new add-on pieces for his additional torso gear, as well as his belt, kama, and holsters.  He’s also got a brand new head and helmet to complete the whole set-up.  It’s interesting that he’s got a rubber kama, as opposed to the cloth we’ve gotten for the commanders thus far, but I don’t hate the look, and it doesn’t hold back the articulation too badly.  The unmasked head continues the trend of the unmasked clones not looking all that much like Temuera Morrison, though this one does at least seem to be heading a bit more in the right direction, I suppose.  The helmet sits well on the head, though, which is a definite plus, as some of the others have had a little bit of trouble with that fit.  The rest of the new parts mesh well with the old, and the end result is a quite nicely put together ARC Trooper set-up.  The paint work on Echo is generally pretty decent.  There’s a good deal of variety to it, but the application is generally pretty cleanly handled.  There are some fuzzier edges on a few of the blue lines, but it can be written off to a little bit of wear, to be honest.  He’s got the face printing on the unmasked head, which definitely helps with the likeness, at least a little bit.  And, just to make him properly Echo, he’s got the hand print graffiti, which is always a fun touch.  Echo is pretty well accessorized, getting a long blaster rifle, a short blaster rifle, and two blaster pistols.  He still can’t properly hold both pistols at once, of course, since only the right hand has a trigger finger, but at least you have some options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“Rookies” was the first episode of Clone Wars that really spoke to me, and I’ve long since had a soft spot for Domino Squad, and Echo in particular.  I always liked his story, and I was sad when he was killed off in the “Citadel” arc.  I was very glad to see him brought back in Season 7, and he’s thus far been one of my favorite parts of The Bad Batch.  I hope to get a Batch version of him soon, but I’m also glad to have gotten him in his peak form here.  Sure, he doesn’t match up with anyone at the moment, but hopefully we can at the very least get a Fives to go with him.  Once again, thanks to Max for setting me up with this one.  I wasn’t expecting him to be quite as easily acquired, but I’m happy he was.

#2843: Clone Pilot Hawk

CLONE PILOT HAWK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Store exclusives have been the bane of pretty much every collector’s existence for the last year, because not only has the number of things that are exclusive jumped, but so has the number of people trying to scalp them in order to make a quick buck.  Not helping matters is the general lack of quality distribution when it comes to actually getting them out there, making for an all around just unpleasant experience.  So, there’s definitely a little twinge of anxiety that hits every time a new item is announced, and then also confirmed as an exclusive.  In the case of Star Wars: The Black Series, there’s a whole sub-set of throwback Clone Wars figures, which seemed poised to be the worst thing ever to get, but which now seem to be significantly less so, which I suppose is a good thing.  For me personally, I was most invested in getting the clones, which I have.  I’m starting things off today, with a look at Clone Pilot Hawk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Pilot Hawk is one of the four figures in Target’s exclusive assortment of Clone Wars-retro carded Black Series figures.  He’s the most obscure character in the bunch, to be sure, notably being the only one included who has never had a figure, even in the days of Hasbro’s far more expansive Clone Wars toy line.  Not only did we not get Hawk, we never even got one of the pilots with this specific helmet design, which does feel kind of baffling when you get right down to it.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Now, the fact that Hasbro very recently introduced an all-new basic clone body into the line might lead you to believe that Hawk might, you know, be built on it, what with being kind of a basic clone and all.  However, you’d in fact be a fool to think that, because he’s absolutely not built on that body.  Neither is he built on the old clone body, though, so don’t think that either.  Instead, he’s actually built on the Captain Rex body, for some reason.  I mean, I’m not knocking it.  It’s a good body in its own right, and certainly an improvement on the old clone body, meaning his movement isn’t really restricted like it would have been on that older body.  In fact, his movement’s pretty darn great, so that’s cool.  He gets an all-new head for his unique helmet, as well as a connected breathing device, to signify his pilot nature.  Also, in a far more minor touch, he also gets a new belt, sans the kama and the holsters.  The new parts are nicely crafted, with the helmet in particular being the real star piece here.  It does a quite respectable job of walking the line between animated faithfulness and merging with the realistic style of the line.  I definitely like it a lot.  Hawk’s paintwork is generally pretty nicely handled.  There’s a little bit of slop on the hands on my figure, but he otherwise turned out pretty nicely.  I like the extra markings on the armor, as well as how they’ve weathered them a bit to show that his armor’s been in use.  Hawk is packed with a standard small Clone Trooper blaster.  It’s a little light, but it’s also fairly standard set-up for a pilot figure in this line, so it’s hard to say it’s a surprise.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawk was my only “must have” figure in this set, largely because I’ve just always liked this particular pilot design and it’s literally never gotten a figure before.  I was happy he got a figure, but not so happy that it wound up as an exclusive.  Fortunately, Max was able to help me out with this one, as it wound up being literally the first of the four he saw at retail.  He turned out really nicely, and I’m curious to see if we might actually get some of the other Clone Pilots in the main line now.  Time will tell.

There’s also a bit of a post-Jess segment to this one as well.  This figure is the last figure added to my collection before Jess died.  Max brought him to me during her last week in the hospital, and I had him with me those last few days.  He’s the last new figure I got to show her, and the last figure she got to be excited about me adding to my collection.  I didn’t know that when I got him, but those are the sorts of things you never do know, I guess.  I do know that showing off my new figures to her was one of my very favorite things about collecting in the last eight years, and the items I gotten since all feel a little different, since something’s very definitely missing.  He gets to be my last contact to that feeling, and the last true part of that collection.  My collection post-Jess will be a different one, and I’ll have to figure out how as I move forward.  But this guy’s not going anywhere, I can tell you that much.

#2818: Elite Praetorian Guard with Heavy Blade

ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD with HEAVY BLADE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“As the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke was flanked by crimson-clad guardians, loyal protectors encased in ornate armor ready to defend the Supreme Leader from any thread.”

The Last Jedi‘s Praetorian Guards may not be on the screen for long, but they make the most of their time, and participate in the very coolest fight scene in the whole sequel trilogy.  Plus, they’ve just got a very cool look.  Actually, they have three slightly different, but all very cool looks, due to their three differing helmet designs mixed in amongst them.  Hasbro opted for completely separate figures for each of these three helmets, something they delivered through a few different avenues.  For The Black Series, I had two of the three, but was waiting on the last one.  I wait no more.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Elite Praetorian Guard with Heavy Blade was an Amazon-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series offering, which they placed up for order in the fall of 2017, in anticipation of the movie.  It was the third of the three figures to be released.  This one is the “underbite” helmet, which is the only one I haven’t looked at in any style here on the site (largely due to him being an exclusive in every case).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure is identical to the #50 Guard, which makes sense, since they were all the same.  It’s interesting, of course, because it makes the one from the Guardians of Evil pack the outlier on exactly how he handled the skirt, since this one is sculpted, not cloth.  The posability’s not there as much, but it does look better.  This guy gets a new head sculpt in order to replicate the third helmet design.  It meshes just as well with the body as the other two, and fits the styling of the rest of the armor quite well.  It’s fairly easy to tell it’s a new piece, so that’s good.  The paint work on this figure truly is just identical to the standard release figure, which is to say it’s basic, but it looks good.  Apart from the helmet change-up, the other new piece for this guy was the weapon selection.  He gets the larger Heavy Blade weapon, which is mentioned in his name. It’s a larger, and certainly impressive piece.  He also gets a second weapon, which is more of a sword thing.  Not my preferred of the two, but it’s nice to get the options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The slightly higher base retail on this release was enough for me to hold off on buying him right away.  Unfortunately, he wound up selling out through Amazon, and that meant I missed out on him entirely.  It always bummed me out, because this was my favorite of the three helmets, and I had missed out on both his Hasbro figures.  Fortunately for me, Max had picked one up a while back, and while downsizing his Star Wars collection, he was kind enough to set me up with the one I was missing.  I’ve reviewed the majority of this guy before, so it’s not like he’s doing a whole lot new for me, but it is nice to finish the set, and he really is the best of the three, so I’m glad to have him.

#2817: Qui-Gon Jinn

QUI-GON JINN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A venerable if maverick Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn was a student of the living Force. Qui-Gon lived for the moment, espousing a philosophy of ‘feel, don’t think, use your instincts.'”

Though opinions have changed a bit on the prequel trilogy in the two decades since it began, the movies, especially The Phantom Menace, have been the slowest to find their way into The Black Series, with really just a trickle of items, every so often.  In the case of TPM, we aren’t even averaging one figure a year, and don’t have much of the core cast yet.  I’d gotten all but one of the ones released up to this point, and now, I finally got that one.  So, today, I’m looking at arguably the film’s lead character (even if he’s not part of any of the films that follow), Qui-Gon Jinn.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Qui-Gon Jinn was figure 40 in the Phase III Star Wars: The Black Series line-up.  He was released in the spring of May 2017, as part of the assortment that also included the Royal Guard, Lando Calrissian, and the Tusken Raider.  It was one of those sets that showed up more in theory than anything else, since it was the last assortment before the change-over for Last Jedi product, and earlier Rogue One launch product was still lingering.  Qui-Gon was only our second TPM figure, following up on the Darth Maul from the very first assortment.  The figure stands a little over 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Compared to more recent figures, Qui-Gon is definitely more restricted on the movement front, but it’s still pretty workable.  Additionally, given that Neeson’s portrayal of Qui-Gon had him generally being more reserved in his movements, it works alright for the character.  His sculpt was a wholly unique one, and has only been shared with the recent re-issue of the same character.  It’s a pretty good one, honestly.  Neeson’s tall and lanky build is captured well, and the details on his clothes are fairly impressive.  The head sculpt also does look quite a bit like him.  It’s a little bit harder to see it with the older style paint work, but the likeness is very definitely there (something that the recent re-issue with the new paint only further pushed).  The hair does get in the way of the neck movement a little bit, but that’s really hard to avoid, unless you’re going to try rooted hair or some other nonsense, and that’s just not gonna work at this scale.  The paint work definitely does mark this figure’s biggest short comings, but, honestly, it’s not quite as bad as you might expect.  The face is definitely not as life-like as later releases, but nor is it quite as lifeless as some of the figures that closely preceded it.  It’s an okay middle ground.  Additionally, they’ve actually gone to the trouble of giving him some accenting on his robes, so that they aren’t just all flat molded plastic colors.  It certainly looks much better that way.  Qui-Gon was packed with his lightaber, as well as two alternate left hands, one for gripping, and the other in open pose.  While it’s too bad we couldn’t at least get a robe for him, the alternate hand was still kind of a big deal at the time, and even now, that’s more than we get with a lot of the Jedi figures.  Heck, it’s more than we got with TPM Obi-Wan.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Full disclosure: this section’s about to get a little sad and sentimental.  This is the first review I’ve written since my wife’s passing, which will have been almost a full month ago as you read this, but is, for me, four very long days behind me.  Obviously, this soon after, I am still finding my footing and my new normal, but Jess did not want me to stop writing, and she was quite adamant about that.  So, I am going to try to keep writing, at least a little bit.  Qui-Gon being the subject of this review, is a bit serendipitous, I suppose.  I already had him on the schedule a month ago, but it feels appropriate, since one of our earliest conversations was about The Phantom Menace and how Qui-Gon was always her favorite character in the prequels.  I remember her being frustrated that I never found this figure when it was new.  When I did finally pick it up just this year, she was quite excited when I showed him to her.  It’s an excitement I’m going to miss as my collection continues, but one I’m going to try to keep in my own mind moving forward.

#2816: Carnor Jax

CARNOR JAX (AKA KIR KANOS)

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“Training himself in the ways of the dark side of the Force, Carnor Jax became one of the most formidable members of the Imperial Guard. He betrayed this brotherhood by usurping the Imperial throne.”

Remember back on Sunday, when I was talking about how all the Royal Guards do in the movies is just stand around?  Well, I wasn’t the only one who noticed that, which is good, what with it having been a rather obvious thing that was happening right there on the screen.  In an effort to remedy things somewhat, the Expanded Universe came into play, with Crimson Empire, a six issue comic which explored the background of a few members of the Royal Guard, and then followed them through to just past Palpatine’s demise in Jedi.  Central to the story are Carnor Jax and Kir Kanos, two guards who fall on opposite sides of a rather vicious power struggle.  The two of them have been privy to a few figures over the years, but The Black Series is finally taking a real stab at some comics-based material, and one of them got to be the first one up to bat.  But which one?  Oh, I’ll get to that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Carnor Jax is one of four figures in a special assortment of comics-inspired Black Series figures, each based off of a different story, and in nice, fancy boxes, patterned on the covers of the books they hail from.  Or, at least, that’s what I’d be saying if there were actually a Carnor Jax Black Series figure.  Trouble is, there’s actually not.  Despite the name on the box and the bio that accompanies it, the figure in today’s review isn’t actually Carnor Jax; it’s Kir Kanos.  Somewhere along the way, Hasbro mixed up the names for the two characters, and without any time to fix it after the reveal, they can pretty much only say “sorry” and move one.  It does make more sense for Kir to be the debut figure, of course, since he’s kind of the story’s main character anyway.  But it’s another amusing mix-up.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation. Kir is structurally a re-use of the molds from the standard Royal Guard, which I suppose is fitting, since the armor under the robes was patterned on what we saw in Crimson Empire anyway, and therefore matches Kir’s design pretty well.  It’s not a bad sculpt, though it does still have the slightly too long arms.  It’s too bad they didn’t retool him to give him a removable helmet, like the 3 3/4 inch version.  As it stands, there’s very little to actually differentiate him.  He does swap the full cloak of the other one for a more straight-forward cape, which does at least make it easier to see the armor on this one.  The cape’s also got a nice purple lining, which is again a bit more different.  Other than that, the changes are all to do with paint.  Again, not major changes, but the jumpsuit’s black now, some of the reds are shifted around a bit, and the visor’s more of a maroon.  It’s mostly changes that you might not even notice if you didn’t have the two figures side by side.  Kir gets the small pistol from the last release, as well as a new double-bladed axe thing.  It’s a cool design, but he does have a little trouble holding it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never read Crimson Empire, but I’m familiar with the concepts, and I do generally like the looks of the two main guys.  I missed out on their smaller scale figures, so new ones aren’t a problem for me.  What is a problem, though, is how phoned in this whole thing feels.  Starting with getting the names mixed up, and ending with not actually investing in any new tooling beyond the one weapon, this figure’s a bit of a let-down.  I wanted to like him a lot more, but I struggle to.  Maybe if they do Carnor for real, and possibly throw in an unmasked head for Kir or something, my opinion might change, but this figure’s a bit lackluster, at least as a new offering.  If you never got the Royal Guard, I imagine you might have a differing opinion, since he is, in a vacuum, at least, a decent toy.

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

#2815: Greef Karga

GREEF KARGA

STAR WARS RETRO COLLECTION (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“An expeditor for the Bounty Hunters Guild, Greef Karga runs the trade on Nevarro. He’s a middle-man, a connector between clients and bounty hunters.”

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.  Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.  Letting the days go by, same as it ever was.  Why the Talking Heads opener?  Didn’t I do that yesterday?  Yes.  But it’s the same as it ever was, you see?  Aren’t I clever?  But really, sometimes with Hasbro’s variety of scales and styles, I do feel a little bit like I’m just reviewing in circles, and that’s very true with the back half of this set.  Not that it’s a bad thing, mind you.  Anyway, let’s look at the wheel of a large automobile Greef Karga!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Greef Karga is the final figure in the seven-figure Mando-inspired assortment of Hasbro’s Star Wars Retro Collection.  While Greef getting a figure isn’t weird at all, given how prominent he was in the first season, especially it’s closer, the fact that he’s actually the only explicitly Season 2 figure in the mix is a little interesting.  I guess it does at least change things up a bit from the Black Series figure I already reviewed, but then it also means he’s in the same attire as the also small-scale Vintage Collection figure.  And, on top of that, he’s very limited when it comes to who he fits in with.  But, of course, that’s part of the vintage game, now isn’t it?  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Greef’s sculpt is a decent match for the Kenner style.  Again, he doesn’t look much like Carl Weathers, but there’s enough of the character in there to make it work, at least as much as any of the others work.  The right leg has a sculpted holster, but, rather cleverly, it’s designed to actually work, in a sense.  It’s not a modern style design, but actually something that feels more in line with what Kenner might have done.  I like that.  Like Mando and Gideon, Greef’s sporting a vinyl robe.  And while it’s still not technically accurate, it winds up in effect being more accurate to the character than going for a time-period accurate cloth cape might be, since it means he’s got the actual robe he wore, rather than just a straight cape.  So, this one I don’t mind so much either.  Okay, I honestly don’t mid any of them.  The paint work here is about on par with the others.  It’s obviously an adaptation of the design’s proper coloring through the vintage lens.  I get a kick out of the parts of it that are purposefully not painted, since it seems so counter to modern sensibilities, but also so perfect for the style.  Greef is packed with his small blaster.  It makes him a little lighter than everyone bar Kuiil, but he can hold it well, and it’s got that cool holster set-up, so that distracts me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Gideon, I don’t know that I felt an undying need for this figure, but I think that may again be linked to getting the Black Series release a bit closer, and also maybe preferring the season 1 design a little bit.  I think of the whole set, Greef is ultimately the one that does the least for me.  Not that he’s bad or anything.  Honestly, he does what he needs to.  He’s just a little more middling than the others.  But, he’s still certainly a nice addition to the line.  In general, I liked this set quite a bit, even more than I’d been expecting to.  And I’d been expecting to like it a lot already.  I would love to see them delve more into the Season 2 characters, and maybe even a few more Season 1 characters.  I’d also love to see them go back to some of the other properties, like the sequel trilogy, and do more with the retro style, because it really works.

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

#2814: Moff Gideon

MOFF GIDEON

STAR WARS RETRO COLLECTION (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“Imperial Moff Gideon is fiercely determined to capture a specific quarry. Clever and formidable, Gideon values power and knowledge.”

Much like Kuiil, I feel like I was just talking about Moff Gideon.  But, as I’ve established, it’s actually been over a month, because time isn’t holding up, time isn’t after us.  And you may ask yourself, where is my large Moff Gideon?  And I would say that he’s over on the shelf, having already been reviewed, you know, a month ago, as previously stated.  Today, I’m looking at the small one, not from Las Vegas, but from the Retro Collection.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moff Gideon is part of the seven-figure Mando-themed assortment of Hasbro’s Star Wars Retro Collection line, which as noted previously, marks the line’s first proper presence at full mass retail.  The figures up to this point have all been early first season figures, while Gideon signifies a move to the end of that season, and into the second.  He’s undoubtedly a major player in both seasons, though, and kind of a natural choice for early inclusion.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt is another all-new piece, and it’s another well-executed one.  While he doesn’t look like the spitting image of Esposito in the role (which would be inaccurate, of course), he does still have enough of a likeness to be identifiable as the character, and the rest of the body has just enough detailing to suggest the important parts of his outfit, while also being dialed back to match the proper level for the era they’re going for.  There are some slightly changed up details, in the effort of again working in some of those proper Kenner era errors, so small details on the costume change, like the lack of fingerless gloves, or the slight reworking of his gauntlets.  Like the Mando, he’s got a vinyl robe.  Technically, this is again inaccurate, since he really should be aping a later run figure, and should therefore have the cloth cape instead.  However, it works in a sense of playing up those Vader similarities, and also in making him feel like he’s an earlier run character than he is, which does in a sense feel right for Gideon.  Gideon’s paint work is fairly nice.  Probably more involved than a true Kenner figure would be, but that’s hardly a point against him.  The red detailing on the arms and legs certainly does look cool.  Gideon is packed with a small blaster, which is a new piece, and the Dark Saber, which is a re-use of Bespin Luke’s saber from the vintage line, but molded in an appropriately darker color.  It’s a nice touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I like Gideon well enough, though I can’t really say he was high on my list for this particular assortment.  Not a knock on him, really, just more that I *just* got the Black Series figure, and unlike Kuiil, this one doesn’t really fill a different need for me.  That said, I still like this guy a fair bit, and he certainly accents the set quite nicely.  Also, not really small when compared to the rest of the line he’s meant to go with, which is always a plus when it comes to Gideon figures.

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

#2813: Emperor’s Royal Guard

EMPEROR’S ROYAL GUARD

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“Only the most promising soldiers are chosen to serve as Emperor Palpatine’s personal guards. Experts in many forms of combat, both armed and unarmed, they are conditioned to automatically react to the Emperor’s will.”

Introduced in Return of the Jedi, the Emperor’s Royal Guards don’t really do much of anything on the screen.  The just stand there.  They look cool and all while doing it, but still, it’s just standing.  Then they reappeared in Revenge of the Sith, and did some more standing.  Also got force thrown around by Yoda a bit, which is something, I suppose.  But mostly still with the standing.  The toys, at least early ones, kind of go along with this, being built mostly for said standing.  Behold, a figure that stands!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Emperor’s Royal Guard was added to Kenner’s Power of the Force line in 1997.  This marked the second figure of the design, following up on the vintage release from 1983.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and has a whopping two points of articulation.  Okay, technically three, I suppose, because the neck is sort of jointed.  Doesn’t really move, but they tried.  The Royal Guard was the type of figure referred to as a “salt shaker” by the fanbase, due to his skirted design meaning that his torso was all one immobile piece, much like a common table salt shaker.  While the original figure had placed a whole body beneath the figure’s cloth cape, the cloth pieces weren’t really a thing at this point in the line, and so Kenner just made the underlying body one solid block.  The red cloak is still a separate piece, so you can lift it up and see that they’re nothing impressive beneath it, if you so choose, but it hardly seems worth it.  At the very least, the helmet’s pretty cool.  It’s nice and sharply defined, and just looks pretty clean.  The arms, on the other hand, look kind of chunky for some reason.  Odd choice there.  The paint is virtually non-existent on this figure, apart from the black on his visor.  That was it, with nothing more.  I mean, I guess it works, but it’s not terribly exciting.  The Guard is packed with his little poking stick, and, if you were lucky, a Freeze Frame slide.  I was not lucky.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Seeing as they only really stand there, I never had much attachment to the Royal Guards.  They look cool, but that’s it.  And, when it came to this figure, that really was it.  There’s virtually no play value at all here.  He stands real good, because, well, there’s not actual legs, so it would be hard for him to fall over, now wouldn’t it.  This figure wound up coming to me through a trade I did with Max a couple of years ago.  Mostly I got it because I’m getting all of the Power of the Force figures, and I kind have to get this one, now don’t I?  Honestly the sturdiness is nice from a display standpoint.  If you just want an army of them to stand behind Palpatine at attention, as in the movie, this is honestly your best bet.  So, maybe he’s not without value.  But he’s still not a great toy on his own.

#2811: The Child

THE CHILD

STAR WARS RETRO COLLECTION (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“A mysterious alien pursued by bounty hunters on behalf of Imperial interests.”

Due to how close kept a secret he was, Baby Yoda, aka The Child, aka Grogu, was absent from the merchandising for the show early in the game.  However, once the dam broke, oh boy was it broken, and we’ve subsequently had so much product.  Not that it’s been enough for any of it to hang around, of course.  The first figure treatment was the Black Series release, but since then we’ve gotten him in just about every available style in Hasbro’s wheelhouse.  That includes today’s offering, the latest of the bunch, which puts him into that nice retro style.  Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Child (which is still the name the tie-ins are sticking with) is part of the seven-figure line-up of Mando-themed figures that makes up the first mass release set of Hasbro’s Star Wars Retro Collection line.  The figure stands about 1 1/4 inches tall and has 3 points of articulation, moving at the had and shoulders.  This guy’s actually the largest of the Grogu figures we’ve gotten, standing 1/4 inch taller than even the Black Series version.  Of course, scaling up a bit wasn’t a terribly uncommon thing in the vintage days, since it was hard to justify such a small figure.  In Grogu’s case, there’s probably room to justify him as an unarticulated pack-in somewhere else, but then that would damage their ability to sell the show’s most profitable character as a figure on his own.  In terms of sculpt, Grogu is kind the opposite of Kuiil.  While Kuiil felt very authentic, Grogu simply feels like a slightly less detailed modern figure.  He wouldn’t look terribly out of place with one of the more recent 5-POA lines, and honestly, he doesn’t really have many tell-tale signs of being vintage-inspired.  In Hasbro’s defense, of course, with a much smaller canvas, it’s a lot harder to get those details to read the right way.  He’s certainly not a bad figure, mind you.  It looks enough like the in-show puppet to make it immediately clear who it’s supposed to be, and he’s got all the basic detail work he would need.  Also, he’s a little sturdier than the other versions, which I consider something of a plus.  His paint is very basic, with just the eyes and hands getting coverage.  That’s probably the most accurate thing about him, really.  In order to justify charging full price for this guy, he gets another version of his pram (it’s amusing how many of these we got in the last year, given how little use it saw in Season 2), complete with a base, a hovering stand, and removable lid.  He also gets the small frog creature, much like the Black Series.  Keeping with the Child’s own sizing, both are a bit larger here than they possibly should be, but that’s expected, and certainly helps you feel better about the price point.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Black Series release generally filled my need for a toy version of the Child, so I haven’t grabbed any others.  This one was a pretty easy snag, since I’d already decided I wanted the whole set.  Lest anyone reads the above review and gets the impression I don’t like this figure because of its relative lack of vintage-ness compared to the rest of the set, I do actually like him.  I like him quite a bit, and he may be my favorite version of the character.  Sure, he’s not quite as authentic, but he’s just generally harder to translate properly than some of the others.  He still makes for a good toy, though.

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