#1483: Maz Kanata

MAZ KANATA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“The destruction of her castle has forced Maz to become more mobile and take a more hands-on (and blasters-firing) role in the turbulent criminal underworld.  She offers help in the struggle against the first order by pointing the Resistance toward a mysterious new ally.”

Poor Maz Kanata was largely absent from the product for The Force Awakens, which was sort of sad, given how popular and memorable she proved to be.  In the case of proper action figures, her only one was in the smaller line from Hasbro, and she was only available as part of a boxed set, packed with three previously released figures.  A little annoying to say the least.  Fortunately, The Last Jedi’s gone and given her a larger scale figure fairly early on.  Things are looking up for good ol’ Maz!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Maz Kanata was released in the second assortment of The Last Jedi-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures, numbered as figure 49.  At first, I thought she was another straight Force Awakens figure, but her bio at the very least seems to indicate otherwise.  I guess it wouldn’t be that odd for her to keep the same look for both films (it’s not like Yoda changed between Empire and Jedi).  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Amongst those points of articulation are two points for each half of her goggles, which can be rotated upwards, just like we see in the movie.  I was slightly bummed that the smaller figure didn’t have moving goggles, so I’m glad that was remedied here.  Max’s sculpt is all-new to her, and it’s a pretty solid one at that.  The body in particular has a ton of really top-notch detail work, not only getting all the layering and such of her clothing down, but all of the texturing of the fabrics and her skin as well.  My only real complaint is that, comparatively, the head is a bit less detailed and all around softer looking.  It’s still a good piece, of course, but it does seem slightly off compared not just to the body, but also to the other head sculpts the line’s produced recently.    The paint on Maz is decent enough.  Nothing really stand-out or anything, but it’s clean and seems to mostly match up with her on-screen appearance.  I’m still not entirely sold on the metallic gold they used for her skin, but it’s hardly the worst choice ever.  Maz includes a very similar assortment of accessories to that of her smaller figure: a blaster, Luke’s lightsaber, and the box of junk the saber was found in.  The only real difference (apart from level of detail, of course) is that the blaster is now one of the standard Rebel blasters, which I believe may actually be a new piece to the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I found most of Series 2 at Target a few weeks back, I was a little disappointed that Maz was the only one missing from the bunch.  A week or so later, Super Awesome Girlfriend and I were picking up a few pieces of furniture from Ikea and decided to stop by the nearest Target for a few things, and boom, there she was.  And, as luck would have it, Target was even having a sale on Star Wars stuff, so I got her for a discount even!  It was a long wait for this figure, but, like the Leia in this series, she was very much worth it.  I’m happy to finally add her to my collection!

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#1471: Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader

SCARIF STORMTROOPER SQUAD LEADER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Specialist stormtroopers stationed at the top-secret Imperial military headquarters on Scarif, Shoretroopers patrol the beaches and bunkers of the planetary facility.”

Though the main Star Wars line has moved onto all of the product from this December’s Last Jedi, I’ve still got a few Rogue One products sitting on my shelf waiting to be reviewed.  There was sort of a mass influx of new figures over the summer, and a lot of them had to wait for their slot in the reviewing schedule.  None more so than the Rogue One stuff, which got put on hold so that I could focus on TLJ.  Now that I’ve got a bit of lull, I can finally get back to some of them.  So, after much delay, here’s this Shoretrooper figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader is the fourth and final figure from the Rogue One assortment of the Walmart-exclusive small-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  Of the four, this guy was by far the most difficult to acquire (which is part of why he’s being reviewed four months after the other three), largely due to his status as an army builder.  The name on this guy is a little confusing.  He’s listed as the “Squad Leader,” which is the name generally associated with the more decorated guy from the two-pack with the Moroff.  That name was again used for the more decorated look in the larger Black Series, where the look seen here was listed simply as “Scarif Stormtrooper.”  And when this look showed up in the basic line, it was “Shoretrooper.”  If I had to guess, I’d say Hasbro may have been initially planning to release the guy from the two-pack, but changed their minds after the packaging was underway.  At the end of the day, none of this actually affects the figure, though, so I guess it doesn’t really matter that much.  The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  As with the rest of his assortment, the Shoretrooper’s articulation represents a marked improvement over the Force Awakens offerings from the prior year.  I’d place this guy on par with Cassian in terms of posabilty.  It’s nice that Hasbro put in the effort on these guys, since they’re probably less likely to see new figures going forward.  The sculpt on this guy is totally unique to him; no parts shared with any of his less articulated brethren (though I feel certain we’ll be seeing most of this body again for the Vintage Collection Hovertank Pilot).  It’s definitely solid work, and on par with the larger version of the same design.  The helmet could perhaps be a little sharper, but the detailing on the body is definitely top-notch.  The paint on this guy is definitely solid work.  All of the base work is pretty clean and the colors match what we see on-screen.  Like the larger Shoretroopers, he gets some dirt and grime, to help make his armor look a bit more used.  It’s a nice touch, and really adds a lot to the figure.  The Shoretrooper is packed with a standard E-11 Stormtrooper blaster.  That’s a bit less than the others in this assortment, so he feels a little light, but it’s not terrible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking for this guy pretty much since they hit back in last December.  He and Cassian were definitely my most wanted, but while I was able to find Cassian back in May, this guy eluded me for several more months.  I ended up finding him at the Walmart across the street from the apartment I was moving out of back in August.  Which, of course, was just in time for Walmart to bring the price on these figure back up to their full $12, rather than the $6 they’d been at all summer.  Oh well.  At least I got him.  Is he the most thrilling figure ever?  Perhaps not.  I’ve gotten every other Hasbro Shoretrooper, so he’s not particularly different or new, nor does he blow me away the way Cassian did.  That being said, he’s still a very good figure, and I’m glad I found one.

#1469: Luke Skywalker – Jedi Master

LUKE SKYWALKER – JEDI MASTER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“After tragedy destroyed his attempt to rebuild the Jedi Knights, Luke Skywalker vanished from the galaxy. Now, the Resistance needs his help to thwart the efforts of the evil First Order.”

FINALLY!!!!!!  I got the freaking Black Series freaking Jedi Master freaking Luke freaking Skywalker!  And it only took me two freaking months to find it!  *deep breath*  Okay, it’s out of my system.  Sorry, it’s been a long journey to getting this guy.  But I have him, so now I’m gonna review him.  I thought about putting him in a nice casserole, but I didn’t really fit the formula.  So, hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to the review we go!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jedi Master Luke Skywalker was released in the first assortment of The Last Jedi-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures.  He’s figure 46, which makes him the second to last figure in the set numerically.  This figure also saw an early release at SDCC this year, in a two-pack alongside Jedi Training Rey.  As far as I can tell, the only difference is the packaging; the actual figures are the same.  Like the smaller Jedi Master Luke, this one is sporting his garb from the end of The Force Awakens, which is certainly a solid design.  The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  The joints in his legs are obviously a little bit restricted by the lower portion of his robes, but you can still manage some fairly decent poses, and the rest of the joints are thankfully left unrestricted.  Luke’s sculpt is all-new, and does a pretty respectable job of capturing Luke’s look from the two films.  The likeness on this figure is a reasonable approximation of Hamill, though I think I might actually like the smaller figure’s take just a little bit more.  Similarly, I do find myself drawn to the detailing of the smaller figure over this one.  It’s not that this one’s bad at all.  He’s actually quite well-done.  There’s a lot of nice layering and wrinkling to the clothing.  I just find it to be a little softer than the smaller figure, and I’m not a huge fan of that.  I’m also not a huge fan of the generic gripping pose on the hands, especially since he doesn’t include anything to hold.  It just seems to me that some more specific gestures might make for more dynamic posing options.  Also, like the smaller figure, this one had a loop from which to hang a lightsaber hilt, albeit one that’s not included.  I’m still appreciative of the forward thinking on Hasbro’s part, though; it’s not like I don’t have any Skywalker sabers laying around.  The paintwork on Luke is decent enough.  The best of it’s definitely on the head, which has some nice accent work on the hair and beard, as well as some of the cleanest eyes I’ve seen from this line so far.  In terms of extras, Luke’s got his cloak, which is a fabric piece.  It’s not great.  There’s no real way to keep it in place on the figure, so it just really flops off of him a lot.  I can’t see myself using it much.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke, and by extension the rest of the first assortment of Last Jedi Black Series figures, has been quite difficult to find around these parts.  They were practically nonexistent on Force Friday, and they never really showed up after that either.  When I found Series 2, I was pretty much convinced I wasn’t finding Luke.  And then I did find him at an out of the way GameStop, about a week later.  Unfortunately, I’d dropped over $100 on action figures the day before, so I just couldn’t bring myself to buy him.  So, back to the car I went, with the hopes that he’d still be there at a later date.  I mentioned this to my dad, who pretty much immediately turned the car around, said “I didn’t buy anything yesterday” and marched into the GameStop to purchase this figure.  I swear, I try not to always buy stuff, but my family and friends won’t let me escape.  Because they love me or something.  It’s frustrating at times.  I’m happy to finally have this figure, especially after the long wait.  Is he perfect?  No, but he’s still solid, and definitely worth your time if you like this line.

#1464: Elite Praetorian Guard

ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD

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 threat.”

Does that bio sound familiar?  It should, because it’s exactly the same as the one used for the last Elite Praetorian Guard review I did.  I’m not unnecessarily repeating myself,  I assure you.  Hasbro just used the same bio twice, that’s all.  And honestly?  I can’t really blame them.  It seems a little silly to write two distinct yet essentially identical bios for what is undoubtedly a rather minor character when it would be just as easy to use the same one twice.  So kudos to Hasbro and their efficient allocation of resources!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Elite Praetorian Guard is another figure from the second Last Jedi-themed assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s figure 50, which makes him the second figure in the assortment numerically.  As I’ve noted in my last two Praetorian Guard reviews, there are three different helmets for the guards.  The one I’m looking at today is the same one we saw on the smaller Black Series release.  I think it’s safe to say this one’s the lead guard, given he’s the only one currently available in all of the styles.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  There’s actually some pretty clever design work going on with this figure’s articulation.  First of all, we get the ball-jointed shoulder pads, which are a godsend, and always encouraged.  I initially didn’t care for the arms, and found them to be exceedingly limited in posability, but after messing with them a little bit, I discovered that there’s a separate floating piece hovering over the elbow joints.  It takes a little bit of careful work to get it going at first, but once you do, you’ve got an elbow joint that’s just as posable as any other figure’s but without breaking up the segmented design of the armor.  I really dig it.  I definitely prefer the sculpt on this guy to the smaller figure.  Lines are sharper and proportions are more balanced.  I also much prefer the soft plastic robe to the cloth one.  Yes, it’s a little more restricting on the leg articulation, but not horribly so, and it looks way better.  The paintwork on this guy is about the same as the other two guards I’ve looked at.  The design is decidedly basic on the color front, but the variance in finish looks pretty great, and all of the details that are there are clean.  Like the smaller figure, this guy’s one accessory is his spear.  It’s a bit more detailed, of course, and still looks pretty slick.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this guy at the same time as Leia and Poe.  He was a little more of an impulse buy than those two.  I had been contemplating holding out for the slightly more expensive Amazon exclusive Guard, since he’s sporting my favorite of the three helmets, but upon seeing this guy in person, I had a hard time passing him up.  Definitely my favorite Praetorian I’ve gotten so far.

#1463: Captain Poe Dameron

CAPTAIN POE DAMERON

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“It takes defiant courage to stare down the threat of the First Order, and while Captain Poe Dameron is eager to fight, he worries that some of the Resistance leadership don’t have what it takes.”

What’s this?  Another Poe Dameron figure?  On this site?  Gadzooks, what a shock!

Okay, all joking aside, yes, I’m looking at another Poe Dameron figure today.  Now, this is in part because I just really like Poe and therefore want as many figures of him as possible, but it’s also because every single Poe figure released so far has been compromised in some way.  So, let’s see how the latest fares, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Poe Dameron is part of the second assortment of The Last Jedi-themed assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s figure #53, placing him right after Leia, and he’s also the first proper Last Jedi Black Series figure I’ve looked at on the site.  As the rank in the name may have clued you in, this Poe is sporting his brand new jacketed look.  It’s the more obviously different of his two main looks from this film, so it makes sense for this release.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  It’s an all-new sculpt, which I’d definitely say is for the best.  Not only does the design not have much overlap with prior Poe designs, the last two Poes in this scale were also not super great when it came to sculpts.  In particular, Hasbro’s had a lot of trouble nailing down Oscar Isaac’s likeness, especially on the larger figures.  Without a doubt, this figure has the best Isaac sculpt we’ve seen to date.  It’s still not 100% there, but it’s definitely close.  I think the thing that really sells it for me is the nose.  Isaac has a very distinctive nose, and I think this figure really gets that down.  Not to be outshone by the head sculpt, the body’s got some pretty awesome detail work going on.  Gone are the issues with odd spots of softness like we saw with the prior Poes.  Paint on this figure is also a notable improvement on the prior figures, but given just how bad the last two Poes were in that department, it means there’s still a bit of room for improvement.  The basic paint is way cleaner, and the details have a very pleasant tendency to not totally miss the spots where they’re supposed to go.  Hasbro still seems very much perplexed by how to handle Poe’s slight stubble.  It’s still way to dark (at least on my figure; there’s a good degree of variance from figure to figure), but at least it doesn’t look like he just slathered solid grey paint on his face.  It certainly helps the likeness to shine through a little bit better.  Poe is packed with his smaller blaster pistol, which is actually painted all of the correct colors this time.  I wouldn’t have minded a little bit more, but it’s better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Poe as the same time as yesterday’s Leia.  As much as I can appreciate the prior figures for what they are, they definitely left a little to be desired.  Early shots of this figure didn’t look much better, but once in-hand photos started showing, I definitely knew I wanted one!  The figure still has a few minor problems, but he’s hands down the best version of Poe to date.

#1462: General Leia Organa

GENERAL LEIA ORGANA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Despite all that she has endured and lost in a lifetime of war, General Leia Organa continues to shine as a beacon of hope for the loyal subjects of the Resistance under her command.”

Perhaps the most glaring omission from all of the Force Awakens product, even more than Luke Skywalker, was General Leia Organa.  Out of all the figures Hasbro released, there was exactly one older Leia, in the 3 3/4-inch Black Series line.  It’s *okay* but not great, and most annoyingly, it’s not sporting her main look from the film.  Two years after the film, we still haven’t gotten the basic Leia in the main line, but they have at least given her a larger-scale Black Series figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

General Leia Organa was released in the second assortment of Black Series figures following the Last Jedi re-launch.  She’s figure 52, meaning Hasbro’s really committed to keeping the numbering going this time around.  Also, she’s actually listed as a general on the packaging this time!  Yay!  She’s also finally wearing her actual military garb, which is definitely the more exciting of her two designs from TFA.  It just seems more true to the character.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall (keeping her consistent with the other Leia figures from the Black Series) and she has 27 points of articulation.  Leia has a brand new sculpt.  There was definitely an upward trend of improvement to these figures starting with the some of the later Rogue One offerings, and it looks like The Last Jedi is starting pretty strong right out of the gate.  This is definitely one of the stronger figures I’ve gotten from the line, and probably the strongest Leia sculpt we’ve gotten to date.  It’s certainly an improvement over the smaller figure.  The head has a pretty decent Carrie Fisher likeness, and the detail work on the clothing and such is pretty great.  The paintwork on Leia is fairly straightforward, but still a notable improvement over earlier offerings.  They’re still doing a lot of molded plastic for the colors, but there’s enough subtle accenting, especially on the face/hair, that she doesn’t look quite as bland and lifeless as the likes of the Tatooine Luke figure.  I do wish that her hair had a little more noticeable grey in it, but she’s doing a little better than the Han figure in that respect.  Leia is packed with a small blaster.  I don’t believe we actually see it in TFA, but it’s a cool design, and calls back to the one she carries at the beginning of A New Hope.  It’s nice to get at least something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a figure I’ve been wanting ever since the Force Awakens figures hit.  I was bummed when she didn’t show up around the time of the movie, and I continued to be bummed with the release of the rather lackluster small-scale figure.  When this figure was shown off at SDCC, I was excited, but a little apprehensive, since The Black Series has been rather scarce around these parts ever since the first assortment of Rogue One.  This was made worse by the fact that I’ve still yet to see most of the first Last Jedi assortment at retail, which left me a little worried about the prospects of finding Leia.  As luck would have it, I came across almost all of the second series while stopping for groceries at a slightly out of the way Target.  Leia is really awesome, and I’m really glad I got her. And, honestly, I’m sort of glad we had to wait, because it means she got added to the line right in the midst of its strongest run of figures to date.

#1455: Elite Praetorian Guard

ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“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 threat.”

It’s been almost a month since I reviewed the Force Link reader and wrapped up my Last Jedi reviews.  Now I’m back with more!  Woooooo!  I’ve yet to find any of the post-Force Friday basic figure releases, but I have managed to find a few other things of interest.  As with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, there’s a Walmart-exclusive assortment of smaller-scale Black Series figures.  It would seem the timing is a little better this time around, since they started hitting only a week or two after the initial product.  Today, I’ll be looking at that series’ take on the Praetorian Guard!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Elite Praetorian Guard is one of the four figures in what is the final series of Walmart-exclusive Black Series figures (the line’s being replaced by the returning Vintage Collection next year).  This guy’s got a different helmet than the one in the two-pack with Rey, denoting he’s a different guard.  I like this one a little more than the last one.  Given the presence of this design in the big playset with Snoke and as the main release in the larger Black Series, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this guy might be the “lead” guard, but time will tell.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  The Guard’s articulation is showing the same improvements we saw with the Rogue One figures, though I found his to be about on par with the Death Trooper, who was definitely the most limited of that bunch.  Still, he’s way easier to mess with than the TFA figures.  The Guard gets an all-new sculpt, which is pretty decent overall.  The upper half is really the best work; it’s sharply detailed, the articulation is pretty well integrated, and the build looks to match what we’ve seen so far of these guys.  The lower half has his skirt piece done with cloth, rather than sculpted.  It looks alright, and helps with porsablity, but the shaping’s definitely a bit off in basic standing poses.  His legs are also really skinny, at least to my eyes.  Like his more basic counterpart, the paint on this guy is pretty simple.  He’s mostly just molded in glossy red plastic, with some slight black detailing here and there.  It still looks pretty slick, and one can hardly fault them for following the film design.  This guy includes one accessory: his spear.  It’s a pretty cool piece, and this figure can hold it with both hands, which is a definite plus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I came across this assortment while I was out searching for a Voltron Keith (who I still haven’t found, by the way).  Luke and Rose weren’t different enough from the basic figures for me to feel they were worth it, and the Executioner’s built on the same body as the rather flawed FO Stormtrooper, so this guy was the only one that came home with me.  Admittedly, I don’t think he’s quite as strong as the Rogue One figures, but he’s still pretty fun, and I’m happy to have him.  Now, let’s wait and see if Hasbro decides to offer all of the helmet variations in this style.

#1426: Clone Commander Gree

CLONE COMMANDER GREE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Clone Commander Gree, designation 1004, led the Elite Corps of clone troopers during the Clone Wars.  He saw deployments on such heated battlefronts as Kashyyyk.  Though a faithful commander who carried out the Jedi’s orders, Gree was ultimately loyal to the Republic.”

I’ve spent two whole weeks looking at the smaller scale offerings for The Last Jedi, but I’ve not yet looked at any of Hasbro’s other big line, The Black Series.  There’s a simple reason for this:  I’ve yet to see most of the new Black Series stuff anywhere.  I did manage grab at least one figure, albeit not one of the characters from the new movie.  Instead, we jump back to the Prequels (I know, not my first choice either), and take a look at one of my favorite clones, Clone Commander Gree!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Commander Gree is a Toys R Us exclusive offering for Star Wars: The Black Series.  A smaller supply of this figure initially showed up at SDCC this year, but the vast majority of figures showed up at TRU retail stores for Force Friday, allowing Gree to take the slot taken by the Snowtrooper Commander and Hovertank Driver in years past.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Gree is seen here in his Phase II Clone Trooper from Revenge of the Sith.  It’s definitely the more distinct of his two designs, and thus not a surprise for this figure at all.  Gree is largely built from the same pieces as the Clone Sergeant I reviewed way back when. It was a good sculpt then, and it’s still a good sculpt now.  Gree obviously gets the Phase II helmet in place of the Phase I version, and it fits well on the body and looks far more accurate than a good number of other Phase II trooper figures.  Gree gets a unique torso and left thigh piece as well, patterned after the standard pieces, but adding some of Gree’s extra straps and such.  The torso even gets a port for a removable antennae, which is a nice touch, though the antennae has a tendency to fall out of place a lot.  Paint is the most important part of a good Commander Gree figure, and this figure definitely delivers on that front.  All of the colors match up very nicely with his on-screen color scheme, and the level of detailing, especially on the camouflaged areas of the armor, is just top notch.  They’ve even included a good deal of silver detailing, showcasing the wear and tear that Gree’s armor’s undergone.  That’s a detail that’s largely been left off of the smaller figures, so I’m very glad to see it show up here.  Gree is actually quite well accessorized for a Black Series release, getting both small and large blaster rifles, and a pair of quadnoculars to hold.  I wouldn’t have minded an unmasked head as well, but that’s still more than what’s been included with prior 6″ troopers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I first started collecting The Black Series, my one rule was no Prequel figures.  I broke that rule for the Clone Sergeant, but I’ve stuck to it since.  However, even when I decided on that rule, I knew this guy would be an exception.  Gree’s always been my favorite of the Clone Commanders, and I have just about every other figure of him, so I certainly wasn’t passing on this one.  My TRU didn’t get any Black Series figures on Force Friday, but this guy showed up about a week later.  This is easily the best Gree figure ever released, and definitely one of my favorite Black Series figures.

#1303: Captain Cassian Andor

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his Rebel troops with this ability to keep a cool head under fire and complete his missions with minimal resources.”

Poor Cassian seems to keep drawing the short straw on the action figures. Jyn’s main looks were covered as widely-released single-packed figures.  We got a single-packed version of Cassian in both main scales, but they were both sporting his Eadu attire, which he only wears for short periods of the film. For whatever reason, Cassian’s main brown-jacketed look has been primarily limited to larger multi-packs.  The only version of that design to be released on his own is today’s focus figure, who was still a rather difficult to find exclusive.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cassian is the second of the four figures in the Walmart-exclusive Rogue One assortment of the small-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Like Jyn, Cassian’s articulation is a significant step up from what we saw with the Force Awakens figures, making for a much more playable figure.  He sports an all-new sculpt, which is definitely one of Hasbro’s finest, especially at this scale.  Prior Cassian’s have really struggled to capture Diego Luna’s likeness, but I think this one just about nailed it.  It’s really not wildly different from the previous sculpts, but there are subtleties that just make all the difference.  The body does feel a little on the bulky side for Cassian (I think the two-pack/U-Wing figure may have gotten the build down better), but the detail work is definitely top notch, with the jacket in particular really impressing me. I also appreciate that the joints don’t stick out like sore thumbs on this guy.  Bad integration of the joints was a really issue on the Force Awakens figures, and I’m really happy to see them moving past it.  Cassian’s paint is largely pretty good, barring a few small issues.  It’s definitely cleaner than the two-pack version, and the eyes/eyebrows in particular are very clean and well-placed.  That can be really tricky, and was something that marred both my Poe and Han figures from the prior assortments.  My one really complaint with this guy is the beard.  It still isn’t quite right for Cassian; they keep giving him a full goatee, when it should really be a lot less pronounced on the sides.  Still, that’s quite minor, and it looks better here than on prior figures.  In a similar fashion to Jyn, Cassian includes his modular blaster, which can be broken down into three parts.  Of course, this is more key for Cassian, since we actually see his full blaster in action in the movie.  The stock is a little loose and prone to falling off, but I’m otherwise quite impressed with how well they executed this blaster’s design. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had wanted this version of Cassian as soon as it was shown, but I was unfortunately unable to find him anywhere at retail at the time of his release.  That’s really the main reason I ended up grabbing the TRU-exclusive one, since I didn’t want to be without this particular look for Cassian.  I was thrilled to actually find this guy at retail last week, and at half-price too!  Jyn was a fantastic figure, and Cassian manages to top her.  This is a truly impressive figure, and hands down the very best version of Cassian out there.  He rivals the larger K-2 figure for the spot of my favorite figure to come out of the Rogue One merch.

#1302: Sergeant Jyn Erso

SERGEANT JYN ERSO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A highly skilled soldier in the Rebel Alliance, Jyn Erso is an impetuous, defiant warrior eager to bring the battle to the Empire.  Jyn has little patience for debate within Alliance High Command, enough that she takes matters into her own hands.”

Remember back last year when I reviewed those special smaller-scale Black Series figures based on the characters from The Force Awakens?  Well, Hasbro also did a set of those for Rogue One, albeit a more concise one.  They were a bit more difficult to find, since stores seem to still be swimming in the last few series just prior.  I did manage to finally track down some of them, including that set’s version of the film’s primary protagonist, Jyn Erso!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jyn is one of the four figures from the Rogue One-themed assortment of the smaller-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  She hit in late November (well, in theory) and, like all of the small-scale Black Series figures since The Force Awakens, she’s a Walmart exclusive.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 24 points of articulation.  I’m happy to report that they seem to have realized how difficult to pose some of the Force Awakens figures were, and have reworked the articulation scheme for the Rogue One offerings.  While I’m still not totally sold on the hip joints, the overall poseablity really great.  This figure sports an all-new sculpt, and she’s notable for being a Jyn look that we hadn’t yet gotten in plastic form.  Granted, it’s just a slight variation of the main look that we’ve gotten in both the small and larger scales; it’s her main Scarif look, which is her vested look, but without the underlying green jacket that she’s had on the prior vested figures.  All of the Black Series Jyn figures have had rather nice sculpts, and this figure is no exception.  I honestly think it’s the best Felicity Jones likeness of the bunch (this was also true of the Rey figure from this line), and the body sports halfway decent proportions, which is good for this line.  The vest is a removable piece; she looks a bit off with it removed, but it’s nice to have the extra option.  The paint work on Jyn is quite good for the scale; there’s not a ton of super intricate work, but the application is all pretty clean, especially on the face.  There’s some slight slop here and there, but I find it to be lot better than earlier figures in this style.  Jyn is packed with her small blaster pistol, along with two attachments for it to be converted into a sniper rifle configuration.  It’s not something we saw in the film, but it did show up in Battlefront, and it’s a cool concept.  Certainly a better extra than yet another giant missile launcher.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This particular series of figures *mostly* eluded me at retail.  Jyn was the one figure that I actually saw.  In fact, I saw about ten of her right after Christmas, but since she was all alone and there were so many of her, I figured I’d wait.  Of course, then I didn’t see her or any of the other figures anywhere for the next five months, so I figured I’d missed my window.  Last week, I was killing some time while Super Awesome Girlfriend, and I happened upon a whole rack of the smaller Black Series figures, Jyn included.  For half-price no less!  I had resigned myself never to find her, but I’m super happy to have found her.  Genuinely the best version of Jyn on the market, and a marked improvement over the so-so Walmart-exclusive Force Awakens figures.