#2706: Mace Windu

MACE WINDU

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

A grim Jedi Master with an amethyst-bladed lightsaber, Mace Windu was the champion of the Jedi Order, with little tolerance for the failings of the Senate, the arguments of politicians, or the opinions of rebellious Jedi.”

Mace Windu was one of the few not-hold-over-from-the-original-trilogy characters of the prequels to be of notable prominence, not just in one of the three films, but in the whole trilogy, even before Clone Wars came along and fleshed the others out a bit.  As such, he was also decently covered in the area of toys.  It came as a slight surprise when it took as long as it did for him to make his way into The Black Series, but he finally did, and I’m taking a look at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mace Windu was an early 2019 release for The Black Series, released as part of the same assortment that included Padmé and Dryden Vos.  He was figure #82, placing him right between Padmé and the standard Battle Droid.  The Jedi all kept the same basic looks through the prequels, but Mace was even more consistent than the others.  This one serves as coverage for both his Episode II and III looks, since they were more or less the same.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of Mace’s parts previously, when they were re-used for Plo Koon.  It was a good sculpt then, and it’s a good sculpt now.  It’s well constructed, and the articulation is quite nicely implemented.  He’s got all the range and motion of the newer Black Series offerings, so he’s a lot of fun to pose.  Obviously, the head and hands are different, so as to be more Mace-appropriate.  The head’s got a pretty darn solid Samuel L Jackson likeness, and probably one of the better likenesses from the line.  In general, the likenesses in this assortment were really strong, as I thought Dryden was up there as well. Also, I dig that the hands aren’t just two basic gripping poses; the left hand’s gesture pose has a lot of possible posing range to it.  Mace’s paint work is all pretty straight forward stuff.  The head has the face printing, which looks quite nice on this particular sculpt.  The robes and such are all basic work, but they’re up to snuff.  No noticeable slop or bleed over, so that’s good.  Mace is packed with his lightsaber and a removable cloth robe.  The saber is nice, but I was a little bummed that he couldn’t hang it from his belt.  The cloak’s about on par with the majority of the other cloth goods from the line, which is to say it’s not amazing, but it’s not terrible either.  It’s certainly better than the one that came with Plo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I discussed in my review of Padmé, this assortment was the last one before All Time was carrying the line, so I missed out on most of them at retail.  I wanted a Mace to be sure, but just never had the opportunity to get my hands on him.  Fortunately, Hasbro did another production run on him and a handful of other figures, and they’ve just started to show up.  Mace is a really good figure, and certainly one of the line’s best Jedi figures.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure 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.

#2705: Clone Commander Fox

CLONE COMMANDER FOX

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Commander Fox led the Coruscant Guard, an elite clone trooper unit assigned to serve as peace-keepers on the Galactic Republic capital.”

With all of the new Archive releases covered (or substituted for the earlier release, as was the case for Cody), I guess I’ll fill this week out with a couple of older releases that I have on hand.  The photo at the end of yesterday’s review may have cued some readers into the fact that I have Clone Commander Fox, but I have not yet reviewed Clone Commander Fox, so I guess I might as well get on that.  How about this here Commander Fox figure?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Commander Fox was a shared retailed exclusive Black Series release from 2019.  Technically, he was a GameStop/Thinkgeek exclusive, but he was also offered up through Big Bad Toy Store, so he was rather thoroughly distributed.  Fox’s design follows the trend for all of the Clone Commanders’ designs so far, going for his Phase II design.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Fox is built on the standard Clone Trooper body, for better or for worse.  That’s overall a good thing, but it does mean that he’s got some slight issues regarding range of motion on his joints, as well as the lack of a trigger finger on his left hand, for the purposes of dual wielding.  He’s got the adjusted belt with the holsters like we saw on Wolffe and Rex, along with a cloth kama piece to match.  The kama still seems a little short, no doubt due to using the same pattern as the other two.  Fox gets a new helmet piece, which is rather similar to Cody’s but lacks a couple of Cody’s specific details.  The standard portions of the helmet match up in style with Cody’s helmet, indicating that they at least started from a common point.  The visor, which is a separate piece on both, is a notably softer plastic here, which causes it to be slightly warped on my copy of the figure.  It’s not terribly so, but it’s noticeable.  Fox’s paint work is pretty nicely handled.  The base work is pretty clean, and the predominantly red coloring helps him stand out.  There’s a lot of fun detail work going on, with some notable wear and tear on his armor.  It gives him a realistic vibe, which works pretty well.  Fox is armed with a DC-15A long rifle and a pair of DC-17 pistols.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve pretty much thrown in the towel on resisting getting any of the Clone Commanders, so I knew I wanted Fox as soon as he was shown off.  That being said, it being Fox, I wasn’t in a major rush or anything.  I actually wound up picking him up from an All Time trade-in, back before I even got yesterday’s Cody figure.  I just kept putting off reviewing him because, you know, life, and all.  But, I figured, with Cody finally getting reviewed, I might as well clear out all of the Clone reviews on deck.  Fox isn’t the most impressive of the Clones, but he’s got a distinctive look, and now I’ve got a red one, so that’s cool.

#2704: Clone Commander Cody

CLONE COMMANDER CODY

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A natural and practical leader in the clone army, Clone Commander Cody was a good fit for General Kenobi, to whom he was particularly loyal.”

While they’ve stepped it up a little bit in the last few years, when The Black Series launched, the prequel component was pretty light.  In the first three years of the line, there were only seven prequel figures, four of them being Clone variants of some form or another.  Just prior to wrapping up the line’s second incarnation, just before the re-branding for The Force Awakens, they put out their first actually named clone, Commander Cody, who was in an otherwise OT-based assortment.  He was easy to overlook at the time, but as we’ve gotten more and more of the other Clone Commanders, he’s become rather a desired entry in the line.  Thankfully, he just got a re-release as part of the Archive line-up.  Not that I’m reviewing that release here, but I’ll get to that later.  Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Before being re-issued in the third assortment of The Black Series Archive, Commander Cody was originally released in early 2015, as #14 in the Blue Line incarnation of The Black Series, heading off the final assortment of that incarnation (alongside the previously reviewed Leia as Boushh and IG-88).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Cody is built on the the original Clone Trooper body.  He got a new head, upper torso, shoulder pads, and upper right arm in order to replicate Cody’s more personalized armor elements.  The original Clone body does show its age these days, but it was still quite good for the time, and it’s certainly not terrible.  Cody’s new shoulder pads even address the issue with the standard body by giving him a slightly better clearance, and thereby a better range of motion on those particular joints.  The Cody-specific parts are all really nicely sculpted, and have quite a lot of deep detail work.  His armor shows some more wear and tear than the rest of the Clones, which is appropriate for the character.  By far my favorite piece is the head, which manages to be a nicer, sharper recreation of the Phase II helmet than the standard one that later followed, with deeper detailing, and a far better range of motion on the neck joint than the regular helmet as well.  Cody’s paint work is pretty solid; while the pre-TFA stuff had some issues with paintwork, there was a real reversal on this final assortment before the switch-over.  Cody followed that set up, and actually has some decent work.  The orange stripes on his main armor have some nice simulated wear, and the knee pads have some cool accenting to make them look dirty and messed up.  The white sections of the armor could perhaps use some slight accenting to bring out some of the sculpted damage, but accenting on white can be very tricky, so it’s probably for the best that it was just left out.  Cody is packed with both the DC-15 and DC15A blasters, which have become the norm for the Clones.  Interestingly, his helmet isn’t removable like some of the later Clone Commanders, despite Cody rather prominently taking off his helmet in his film appearance.  Ultimately, it’s probably for the best, however, since it means that this figure doesn’t have the older style paint on the head to contend with.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on this guy when he was new because I was far more focussed on the other two figures in the set, and I was still trying to hold to my no prequels rule.  However, once Hasbro really started getting into the other Clone Commanders, I definitely regretting passing on him more and more.  Back over the summer, All Time had this guy come in with a whole Black Series collection, and I was interested, but the Archive was not yet announced, and that meant he was at the peak of his after market value.  That was outside my price range, so I passed, albeit somewhat disappointedly.  Max was evidently having none of that, and decided to be far to nice to me, and got me this guy anyway.  Sure, the Archive release is out now, but that doesn’t make how I got this one any less special, nor does it change the fact that I had him for a good six months before there was another opportunity.  Whichever release you get, this guy is really cool, and I’m glad to have him to round out the set.

#2703: Han Solo – Hoth

HAN SOLO — HOTH

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)

“Han stuck with the Rebel Alliance and helped establish its new base on the ice planet Hoth. After Luke didn’t return from a routine sweep of the planet surface, Han headed out alone into the frigid cold to find him.”

Luke wasn’t the only one to get the deluxe Hoth cold-gear treatment for The Black Series in 2015, and he’s likewise not the only one to get the Archive treatment in 2021.  Both times around, Luke was accompanied by his good buddy Han, in his own set of cold-weather gear.  And I’m taking a look at that Han figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han is another figure in the third assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series Archive.  Like Luke, he too was originally released in a deluxe set in 2015, where he was originally packaged alongside a Tauntaun.  Unlike Luke, he’s one one release between these two; the figure got a head swap and was packed with Hoth Leia for a two-pack in 2018.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Han’s articulation scheme is rather similar to Luke’s, being a rather archaic offering compared to other figures.  The mid-torso joint works a bit better on this guy than on Luke, at least, but otherwise, it’s pretty much the same, right down to the cut joints for the wrists.  Han’s sculpt is a straight re-use again.  It’s not the worst sculpt, but it’s far from one of Hasbro’s best.  The actual body’s not bad; the details are a bit sharper than Luke’s, and the proportions aren’t quite as off.  The real issues have to do with the head.  Firstly, like a number of the Han heads, it sits too high on the neck joint.  The actual head is actually made up of three separate pieces, for the head/hat, the hood, and the goggles.  This is accurate to the film, and gives the sculpt some extra depth, but introduces its own set of problems.  The main head is rather under-scaled when compared to the rest of the body, presumably to compensate for all of the other parts.  The face has an okay likeness of Ford, at least.  The hood and goggles are decent pieces in their own right, but in the case of the hood, designing it to be removable costs the aesthetics a bit.  There’s a rather noticeable seam on the back of the hood where it’s designed for removing, and due to the head sitting as high on the neck as it does, it doesn’t actually sit flush with the rest of the coat.  Since it’s, you know, supposed to be the same garment, and all, that’s kind of a big deal.  With careful posing, it doesn’t look quite as bad, but it’s still off from every angle no matter what.  It all winds up being a rather silly venture anyway, since there’s no reason to actually remove the hood, since it’s not a look that’s ever seen in the movie, and it really just ends up looking goofy.  Without an alternate head, or a hood piece pulled down, there’s no practical reason for the hood to be a removable piece.  He’d be better off with the hood permanently attached.  The figure’s paint work is a notable change-up from the original release.  In addition to getting the face printing to differentiate him from the original release, this figure also takes the opportunity to correct the jacket’s color from the blue of the original release to the proper brown.  The 2018 release made this change too, but this is the first time we’ve gotten the hood in the right color.  Han is packed with his usual blaster pistol.  It’s a little light, but it’s consistent with what he originally had (minus the Tauntaun, of course).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Han’s original release was the same deal as Luke, being more difficult to find, lower quality, and just a bit too expensive at the time.  I did *almost* get one during Amazon’s first Prime Day, when he went on sale, for something silly like $5 off, but, again, it was hard to make it worth my time.  I mostly snagged him because I was getting Luke.  Honestly, he’s not as good as the already rather mediocre Luke figure.  The hood and head is a huge issue, and in general, he’s just not a terribly fun figure to mess with.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure 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.

#2702: Luke Skywalker – Hoth

LUKE SKYWALKER — HOTH

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)

“While on patrol, Luke and his tauntaun are attacked by a vicious wampa. The creature hangs Luke upside-down in its cave, but Luke uses the Force to escape.”

Luke has been no stranger to variants in Star Wars: The Black Series.  As a rather major character in the franchise, I guess that’s pretty fitting.  His major variants largely hit earlier in the line’s run, generally a good deal before the rest of the others in their matching attire.  That has a tendency to drive the prices of said matching looks up a bit.  Fortunately, with the introduction of the Archive sub-line, Hasbro’s got an okay way of getting them back out on the market.  One of the more notable looks that gone without a follow-up was Luke’s cold weather gear from Hoth, which is the Luke variant for the latest round of Archive figures.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke is from the third assortment of The Black Series Archive, re-releasing a figure that was originally put out in 2015, packaged alongside the Wampa in the deluxe portion of the Blue Line iteration of the brand.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Luke’s articulation scheme is rather on the archaic side compared to newer offerings.  The range on a lot of the joints is far more restricted, and they tend to break up the sculpt a lot more than on recent figures.  The arms in particular suffer from both a lack of proper elbow movement, and from a curious lack of anything beyond cut joints for the wrists, which is just unheard of for the line.  A lot of this is due to the figure’s nature, beign built out of parts that are over five years old at this point.  Moreover, Luke is unfortunately from the line when it was kind of at is lowest, before Hasbro really found their footing again.  It’s rough to say the least.  The actual sculpting work’s not awful, at least.  Luke’s seen here post-wampa attach, so his goggles are missing, and he’s got some sculpted scarring on his face.  The face has a pretty decent likeness of Hamill, especially for earlier in the line.  The detail work on the gear is passable, though a touch softer than more recent releases tend to be. His head scarf is a cloth piece this way, which works better from a posing stand point, though it does wind up looking a bit flat and devoid of detail.  Luke’s paint work is generally pretty basic.  It could probably stand to have a little extra accent work, to bring out some of the sculpted details a little better, bit everything important is there.  There’s some slop on the edges of a few spots.  The belt buckle’s slightly misaligned and the skin tone of the the neck doesn’t quite cover the whole area it’s supposed to.  Luke gets the face print set-up in place of the original paint scheme, which is in some ways better, but not quite as hefty an improvement as it usually is.  Notably, it misses out on the blood detailing for the scarring, which was on the prior release.  Additionally, the eyes just don’t look quite right.  At first, I thought I just got a misaligned copy, but all of the ones I looked at were the same, so it looks to be line-wide.  It looks alright from a distance, but up close it looks weird.  In terms of pack-ins, Luke is obviously without the Wampa he was originally packed with, but he gets the lightsaber and blaster from the prior release.  The blaster’s pretty decent, but the lightsaber is of a notably lower quality than other versions; the hilt is molded in silver rather than painted, and the whole thing is a softer plastic than usual, causing the blade to pop out a lot easier.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke’s original release marked the period when the line was hardest to fine and generally at its lowest quality, which made it rather hard to stay invested at the time.  That, coupled with the higher Deluxe price point had me steer clear of this guy the first time around.  With all of the other Hoth figures as of late, I’d been hoping for an update or something.  Here’s an “or something”, I guess.  Given the era of the line this sculpt comes from, it’s about what I’d expected.  The articulation’s not ideal, and the sculpt could probably stand to be a little sharper.  In general, he just feels sort of half-formed.  The new paint does a little bit to dress him up, but ultimately, it feels out of place in the modern line.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure 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.

#2690: Grand Admiral Thrawn

GRAND ADMIRAL THRAWN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)

“Thrawn was a male Chiss, known for his brilliant strategic mind and ruthlessness, he was determined to ‘pull the Rebels apart piece by piece’ for the Empire.”

Late last year, I did my first review centered on Grand Admiral Thrawn, a rather notable character in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and one of the first elements from the old EU to be officially canonized by Disney following their take-over of the franchise.  Thrawn’s inclusion in Rebels netted him a couple of new figures, a feature in Star Wars: The Black Series included.  Thrawn was originally an SDCC release, and then got a standard release alongside the first chunk of Last Jedi items in late 2017.  Both of them proved rather scarce even at the time, and in light of the rest of the Rebels figures getting re-released over the fall, Thrawn was in dire need of some sort of reissue.  Thankfully, Hasbro’s Archive series is here to the rescue on that one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grand Admiral Thrawn is part of the four figure line-up that makes the third series of The Black Series Archive.  Thrawn, like the rest of the Rebels figures, is designed to be a real world approximation of his animation model.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is, of course, identical to his original two releases.  Additionally, his articulation scheme follows the set-up of the other Imperial Officers we’ve gotten in the line.  Interestingly, however, he’s got no parts in common with any of those figures.  Presumably, it’s in order to make Thrawn a little taller than the other Officers.  Whatever the case, it’s a good sculpt, and matches the other officers well, while still adding a bit more variety to the Officer’s line-up.  Compared to some of the more recent figures in the line, his articulation is a little bit restrictive (the vast improvements really started to hit just after this guy was released), but it’s certainly enough for the sorts of poses you’ll be putting Thrawn into.  Thrawn’s head sculpt is a solid translation of his animated design into a more real world appearance.  Like with Hera, the more alien elements do seem to aid a bit in the transition, so he doesn’t wind up looking quite as wonky as Kanan or Ezra.  Thrawn’s paint work is generally pretty cleanly handled.  It’s mostly pretty basic work, but the application’s pretty sharp.  The one notable change-up for this release is the transition to the printing technique on the face.  It’s not as drastic a change on Thrawn as it is on other figures, but it’s a touch more lifelike and generally looks quite nice.  Thrawn’s only accessory is a small blaster, which he can hold, or stow in his holster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on Thrawn the first time around.  I don’t believe I ever actually saw him in person, and, admittedly, I wasn’t really looking, since I hadn’t really had any exposure to the character at the time.  I’ve subsequently read a bit of Timothy Zahn’s work with the character and watched through Rebels, which left me really wanting to have him in figure form.  Thankfully, the Archive release hit just at the right time for me, allowing me to finally put this updated version of the character on the shelf.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure 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.

#2664: Padmé Amidala

PADMÉ AMIDALA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Padmé Amidala was a courageous, hopeful leader, serving as Queen and then Senator of Naboo — and was also handy with a blaster. Despite her ideals and all she did for the cause of peace, her secret, forbidden marriage to Anakin Skywalker would prove to have dire consequences for the galaxy.”

My last four Black Series reviews have all been very current products, but to wrap up this week of reviews, I’m actually jumping back and doing just a little bit of catching up, though staying down the path I started yesterday with an Attack of the Clones-inspired figure.  This time around, it’s Padmé Amidala, the one member of the Prequel Trilogy’s main trio that lost the will to be reviewed I have yet to look at in Black Series form.  In my defense, there’s just the one figure of her, so she was a little easier to miss.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Padmé was released in early 2019, as figure 81 of the Star Wars: The Black Series, and part of an assortment that included Admiral Holdo, Mud Trooper Han, Dryden Vos, Mace Windu, and a Battle Droid.  Kind of an odd-ball assortment of loose ends really.  This marked Padmé’s introduction into the line, our first of the three main characters in their Attack of the Clones attire, and also our first proper prequel figure since before The Last Jedi‘s release.  The figure stands just shy of 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Apart from lacking the butterfly shoulders, she’s pretty much got all of the modern Black Series articulation, meaning she moves pretty well.  Her sculpt is a unique piece, based on her main adventuring gear from the movie, prior to it losing the will to remain intact getting torn up in the arena during the climax.  This look is honestly Padmé’s most definitive design, so it was definitely a smart choice for her first figure.  It’s got a nice all-purpose sort of feel to it, and also brings her close to her daughter stylistically, which works well from a thematic stance.  The sculpt’s a quite good recreation of the look from the film.  The head’s got a pretty strong Portman likeness, the proportions on the body are well-balanced, and the texture work on the cape in particular is really strong.  All in all, just a great sculpt for the figure, and definitely well into The Black Series upward swing in the sculpting department.  Padmé’s paint work is the one area where the figure loses the will to be perfect takes a slight down turn.  For the most part, it’s still pretty good, since all the base work is pretty clean.  Even the face printing is pretty good, right down to getting the placement of the beauty mark on Portman’s face.  The issue on my figure is the hairline, which is all over the place, overshooting the actual sculpted hair on the forehead, and losing the will to get to of cutting just shy of the edge of her right temple.  It makes her ear look like it lost the will to be normally shaped odd.  Otherwise, she’s not bad.  Padmé is packed with her smaller blaster pistol, plus the one she stole from one of the Battle Droids, and two different right hands, one meant for each blaster.  I actually really appreciate the different hands, because it means that the hand doesn’t get all stretched out by the larger blaster handle, losing the will to hold causing it to drop the smaller blaster.  I don’t think Padmé actually carries the Battle Droid blaster until her outfit gets torn up, but I don’t mind the extra accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Padmé’s assortment was the last one before I really started just picking up whole sets of Black Series just to save myself the trouble (it was also the last one that wasn’t carried by All Time), so I wound up missing out on everyone but Dryden at the time.  I saw Padmé once at retail, but I hadn’t yet lost the will to hold off on decided to really pick up the prequel stuff.  After getting Anakin and Obi-Wan over the summer, I was more invested in actually getting a Padmé figure, and as luck would have it, someone lost the will to keep theirs one was traded into All Time, really streamlining the whole process for me.  Apart from the slight paint issue, she’s a pretty solid figure, and I wouldn’t mind seeing an Arena variant down the line.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure 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.

#2663: Clone Trooper – Phase I

CLONE TROOPER — PHASE I

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Clone Troopers were so symbolic of the times, the galaxy-wide conflict that saw their debut took its name from their ranks: The Clone Wars.”

Oh, boy!  More Clone Troopers!  My favorite!  Like, actually, genuinely.  I’m not being sarcastic.  I just want to make sure that’s clear, because, very frequently on this site, when I open a review that way, I’m not tending to be terribly genuine with my words.  But I am this time.  For real!  …So, yeah.  Let’s review this Clone Trooper figure that I’m genuinely very happy to have, and I’ll try not to be any more suspicious and weird about it, yeah?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Phase I Clone Trooper is part of the second Phase IV assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  I know, that’s a lot of phases, huh?  He’s the second figure in the Attack of the Clones sub-set, following up on the Walgreens-exclusive Clone Lieutenant.  I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to wind up having a fair number of clones for this particular sub-line.  Despite the fact that he’s a direct follow-up to the Lieutenant, and logic would dictate that the two of them would be identical from a sculpting standpoint, they are, in fact, completely different figures.  While the Lieutenant was a re-use of the original Clone mold (which I reviewed as the Clone Sergeant), this one is built on the all-new Clone Trooper tooling introduced in the first Phase IV assortment with the Kamino Clone.  Why they didn’t just hold off and do the Lieutenant on the new body is anyone’s guess, but I’m just focusing on this guy, not dissecting the insanity that is Hasbro’s production choices.  This figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Apart from a new helmet, he’s the same sculpt as the Kamino Clone, which is fine by me.  I was a big fan of that mold, with its improved range of motion, and its much sharper sculpting.  I look forward to buying as many times as Hasbro sees fit to re-use it, because I’m a sucker for a decent Clone Trooper.  The new helmet is what makes this guy a proper Phase I Clone, and it’s a really nice piece.  I quite like it.  Like the Phase II helmet, it’s been placed atop an unpainted clone head, no doubt future proofing for when they branch into the named clones from Clone Wars.  In terms of paint, this guy’s a touch more basic than the Kamino release, being a standard Shiny.  Those were the ones we saw the most of, especially in AotC, so it makes sense to start here.  It’s a good, clean look, but keeps all of the proper accent work.  He’s packed with the he DC-15A rifle and DC-15S blasters, same as the Kamino release.  I do like that we actually get them both, since the Stormtroopers are down to just one weapon each.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After thoroughly enjoying the Kamino Trooper, I’ve been clamoring to get some more figures on this mold, and was very definitely interested in seeing some Phase I guys.  The Lieutenant through me for a bit of a loop, but then they showed this guy off, and I was back in.  This was probably my most wanted figure out of this assortment, even though there’s not technically a lot new going on.  It’s just a really strong base to start with, and I’m very excited by the prospect of getting all manner of ranks and individualized clones as we move forward.  In the mean time, this guy really tides me over.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure 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.

#2662: Scout Trooper & Speeder Bike

SCOUT TROOPER & THE CHILD (w/ SPEEDER BIKE)

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Scout troopers were lightly armored compared with other Stormtroopers, which allowed them to move more quickly and easily in a range of environments. They were also trained for more independence and adaptability than most Imperial troops. The Empire used scout troopers for a range of missions, including reconnaissance and infiltration.”

Back in August of 2014, The Black Series dipped its toes into the water of vehicles for a larger scale toyline with the first release of the deluxe Biker Scout and Speeder Bike set.  While it certainly wasn’t a failure, it also wasn’t quite the smash success Hasbro had been hoping for on vehicles for the line, so it did mean a bit of stagnation on that front.  However, as the line has really grown into its own, the prospect of vehicles, especially on the smaller side isn’t quite as crazy, especially when those vehicles get a reappearance on The Mandalorian.  The Scout Troopers and their associated rides first showed back up in the first season finale, and much like the Stormtroopers, they were part of the remnant set-up, with appearances slightly worse for wear.  Since it’s been a little bit since the Speeder Bike set came out, Hasbro opted to refresh it with a Mandalorian-themed re-deco, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

This set is an Amazon-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series offering, which went up for order in the fall, and shipped out just before the end of last year.  It’s clearly based around the last episode of the first season, given the specific accessories included with the set-up.

The core Scout Trooper has been included with all three Black Series releases of the vehicle, as well as getting two stand-alone uses of just the figure mold as well.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the same mold as all of the previous Black Series Scout Troopers.  That’s hardly an issue for me, because it was a standout sculpt from early in the line, and it’s aged far better than most of its contemporaries.  It looks perfectly at home with the more recent releases, and the only slight drawback is the range of motion on some of the joints.  Even so, he’s able to get onto the bike with no troubles, which is clearly the most important thing.  The main change-up to the figure is, of course, the paint.  It’s nothing super major, just a generally dirtier appearance on the figure, signifying the “remnant” nature of this guy.  It’s not a bad look overall, but also not so drastically different that he looks super out of place with the prior release.  Like the original release, this guy includes his very small blaster pistol, and also adds in the target that the two scouts use for practice at the beginning of the episode, as well as the messenger bag carrying Grogu.  Technically, Grogu’s listed as his own figure, and even has a point of movement on his neck, but he’s still more accessory than anything else.

The Speeder Bike mold was on its second use for 2020 here, following a re-issue in the Heroes of Endor set.  It’s the same one that was used back in 2014, of course, which is fine by me.  It’s 10 inches long and abut 2 1/2 inches tall at its tallest.  It’s got the same moving flaps on the back as before, as well as the rotating canon on the underside.  The paint gets a more drastic overhaul here, since the bikes in the show are white, rather than the traditional brown.  It’s a different look to be sure, and they do a nice job of handling the dirt and scoring on the edges of it, matching up pretty well with the show appearance.  Instead of the old three tiered stand, this time the bike gets the new hovering base, as seen on the Cosmic Ghost Rider.  While it’s got a bit cleaner aesthetic appearance, I don’t find the functionality to work quite as well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I already had the prior release, and was very happy with it, so I didn’t *need* this one…but it’s a Biker Scout, and I really like Biker Scouts.  Plus, there was enough difference for me to justify it to myself, anyway.  So, I placed the pre-order when Amazon put them up, and then he just arrived.  Honestly, it was pretty low investment for me, I mean, apart from paying for it, I guess.  It’s a cool set, and adds enough value to what was already there to make it worthwhile in my mind.

#2661: Armorer

ARMORER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Armorer plays a vital role in keeping the culture of the Mandalorians alive. She forges beskar armor in the ancient tradition of her people.”

The Mandalorian has focused not just on the titular Mandalorian, but on a good chunk of Mandalorian culture as well, giving us a variety of different members of said culture.  Within the first season, we meet several members of the Mando’s own tribe, each with their own variants on the Mandalorian armor.  And someone’s got to make all that cool armor, don’t they?  Who could that possibly be?  Why it would be the Mandalorian Armorer, of course!  Introduced in the very first episode of the show, she’s also got one of the coolest Mando designs, which pretty much just begs for proper toy treatment.  And, as luck would have it, toy treatment’s what she got.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Armorer is part of the second Phase IV assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  She’s another piece of the Mandalorian sub-set, where she’s figure #4.  This is our second figure of the Armorer in the line, following a slightly more deluxe release earlier last year as one of Hasbro’s shifted con-exclusives.  The core figure is mostly the same between the two releases, with only the small cape piece on her back changing.  It pretty much follows the trend of prior Black Series con-exclusives getting slightly stripped down re-releases in the main line fairly quickly after their initial release, though this is notable the only one with a notable change on the actual core figure.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articualtion.  She’s following what is essentially the new standard for articulation, meaning she’s got newer joints such as the butterfly joints on the shoulders, and she’s got increased range of motion on most of her joints as well, making her a rather agile figure.  The sculpt does quite a nice job of recreating her armor design from the show.  The helmet in particular is pretty spot on, which is good to see given that Din’s helmet continues to be ever so slightly off in this line.  The rest of the armor is well-shaped, and cleanly detailed, and there’s plenty of texture work going into the rest of her clothing.  The one truly new piece to this release is the cape, which was a soft-goods piece on the con release, but is plastic here.  It looks perfectly fine this way, and matches with other such pieces on more recent figures.  The only downside is that it does have a tendency to pop out of place rather frequently.  Her paint work is all quite nicely applied.  The base colors are clean and sharp, with little slop or bleed over to speak of.  She actually gets some accenting as well, with some slight dry brushing on the helmet, as well as a wash on the cape and her skirt.  It really helps to bring out the sculpted details, and it’s always nice to see a little extra detailing going into these figures.  For this more basic release, the Armorer gets her hammer and tongs.  It’s not as much as the prior release, of course, but it’s really all that I would deem essential for the character, and two accessories seems to be where Hasbro has settled into for a standard release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like yesterday’s Incinerator, the Armorer is one of those designs I’ve wanted as a toy since she showed up on screen.  I was not alone in this, as she was definitely one of Super Awesome Wife’s favorite parts of the show, and S.A.W. was eager about any news of figures.  So, when it came time for the deluxe release, I of course got one for her, and patiently awaited the standard release for myself, since I knew full well it was coming, even before there was an official announcement.  Regardless of version, she’s a really awesome figure of a really awesome design, and she makes for a truly great toy.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure 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.