#1549: Resistance Tech Rose

RESISTANCE TECH ROSE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Part of the support crew that keeps the Resistance star fighters flying, Rose has hated the First Order since she was a child.  Now able to fight back against the enemy, Rose keeps her focus on her mission.”

Introducing a new main character to an established franchise is always tricky business.  Our new heroes from The Force Awakens sort of got away with it, thanks to the narrative effectively rebooting, and giving the new characters more of a clean slate to work with.  For The Last Jedi, things have been re-established, and become more rigid.  Nevertheless, our newest hero Rose Tico made herself feel right at home with the rest of the cast, and is one of my favorite parts of the movie.  I’ve looked at her basic figure back during the Force Friday reviews, but now I’ll be taking a look at her Black Series release!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rose (who is officially called “Resistance Tech Rose” on the box.  Are we not supposed to know her last name?) is part of the third assortment of TLJ-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures, numbered at 55.  She’s seen here in her Resistance Tech jumpsuit, which was her main look in the movie, and the one used for her smaller-scale figure as well.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is all-new to this figure, though it definitely shares some origins with the two smaller scale figures, as a lot of the details line up with each other.  Given it’s the same character and all, it’s kind of sensible, though.  As much as I liked the smaller Rose’s sculpt, I must admit, I find this figure to be a slight downgrade.  A lot of it’s changes that had to be made for the sake of adding in extra articulation, but there were also a few changes in proportions, so for instance her neck seems a bit longer than it should be.  There are also some areas where the details seem a little simpler than I’d expect for a figure of this scale, namely her hair, which looks almost animated in nature.  Still, there’s plenty of solid detail work on the jumpsuit, so it’s not a total downgrade.  Honestly, it’s really just the head that’s throwing things off.  Even the likeness to Kelly Tran seems a little off the mark, which is especially surprising, since the smaller figure was spot-on in that regard.  In terms of paint, Rose is generally pretty good.  The application is clean, and the small details, such as the information printed on her pocket, are all really sharp.  Her eyes seem to have been painted slightly wider than how they were sculpted, which I think is likely contributing to the likeness being a little bit off.  I do appreciate that she actually gets extra detailing on her belt that the smaller figure didn’t have, since it could have easily been left one solid color.  The larger Rose comes with the same accessory compliment as her smaller counterpart: a standard Resistance blaster rifle in gold, and her small taser device, which can once again be clipped onto her belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

You know the last three figures I looked at?  The ones I saw once and passed on at first before ultimately picking them up again after seeing the movie?  Yeah, I found all of them because I was actually looking for Rose, because I really wanted her in this scale.  I did actually find one that I passed on, because I found her two days before Christmas and had better things to do with my money.  By the time I went back, she was gone.  Not to worry, though, because I found her at the same Target where I ultimately ended up getting Rey.  Despite some of my complaining here, Rose is actually a really good figure.  I was just spoiled a bit by her exceptionally good basic figure, so the fact that this one doesn’t completely out place that one is slightly frustrating.  Still, I’m very happy to have found her.  She’s really great.

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#1548: Finn – First Order Disguise

FINN – FIRST ORDER DISGUISE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“To carry out a mission crucial to the Resistance, Finn adopts a First Order officer’s uniform, going undercover and doing his best to blend in among his former ranks.”

Toy companies seem to have a hard time making toys of Finn exciting.  When the product for The Force Awakens first hit, all of the Finns were in his jacketed civilian style look.  While that’s certainly his main design from the movie, it was perhaps not the most thrilling, especially to a customer base that wasn’t yet familiar with the character.  For The Last Jedi, where Finn is sporting a look very similar to the one from the last film, toy makers wisely chose to use Finn’s disguised look from later in the film as his initial go-to for the figures.  While Hasbro gave us the standard Finn for their smaller basic line, they did the Officer’s uniform for his Black Series release, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

First Order Disguise Finn is part of the second assortment of TLJ-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures, hitting just after Force Friday II, alongside Leia, Poe, Maz, and the Guard.  He’s figure 51 in the line, placing him between the Guard and Leia numerically.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  His sculpt was technically new to him, but all but his head was almost immediately re-used for the First Order Officer included in a TRU-exclusive two-pack with Ackbar.  Given that it’s largely just a standard Officer’s uniform, that’s a rather sensible re-use, and I have no doubt it was part of what made this particular look appealing to Hasbro.  It’s a solid sculpt, and also makes for a very easy to pose, very playable figure.  The only truly unique piece is the head.  They could have just re-used the first Finn head, but they didn’t.  I’m not entirely sure why they didn’t, since that was a pretty solid sculpt and had a decent Boyega likeness.  While I certainly don’t dislike this sculpt, I do feel it’s resemblance isn’t quite as strong.  From a purely technical standpoint, though, it’s the better piece, with sharper detailing and better relative scaling to the body, though, so it’s not a total loss.  The paint on this guy is generally pretty decent work, with pretty clean detailing and a palette that’s a good match for what’s seen in the film.  I wish the pupils on my figure were a little better centered, but they aren’t as bad as some figures I’ve gotten.  Finn’s packed with a removable helmet, a pistol, and a riot-control baton.  The hat’s a good fit to the head, and isn’t overly bulky like some removable pieces, so that’s good.  The pistol’s pretty basic, but a good match for the material.  It’s a little hard for him to hold it, since his hands aren’t really designed for it, but it’s still a welcome addition.  The best piece is definitely the baton, which, rather than being a simple re-use of the one from TFA, has been totally re-tooled, so that it now can be properly extended into attack mode.  It’s a really fun piece, and I hope it sees re-use elsewhere.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Rey and Kylo, Finn is a figure I passed on when I first saw him (sensing a theme to this week’s reviews?), since I already had the TFA Finn and this was a non-standard variant.  I ended up grabbing him at the same time as Kylo, while I was actually on my way back from seeing the film for the second time.  Despite not being the standard version of the character, I really like this figure, and I think he’s an improvement on the standard Finn from TFA.  I’m hopeful that Hasbro will find a way to release his standard look from TLJ somewhere down the line, though, because I’d like to have it in this quality.

#1547: Kylo Ren

KYLO REN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Growing more powerful in the dark side of the Force, Kylo Ren pursues his enemies with sinister determination.  He will prove to Supreme Leader Snoke that he is truly capable and will hunt down those who caused his defeat at Starkiller Base.”

There was a lot I liked in The Last Jedi, but I think perhaps my favorite character arc contained there-in was that of Kylo Ren.  He goes from a character that could have been a rather one-note retread of Darth Vader, to something much more fully formed and unique.  Certainly the similarities still persist, but I don’t find his arc quite as predictable as it was at the end of TFA.  Just like the last movie, he was a prominent fixture of the associated toys, including the fan-favorite Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kylo is figure 45 in Star Wars: The Black Series.  He was originally released with the seven-figure assortment that hit on Force Friday II, and was then immediately re-released with the next assortment, alongside Leia, Poe, the Guard, and Maz.  This had the unintended side-effect of making Kylo look like a particularly slow seller for a little while, but it appears things have mostly evened out now.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  As with yesterday’s Rey figure, this is a figure that shares more than a few design elements with its TFA predecessor (and even more with the unmasked variant of that from the Rogue One product), but there are no shared pieces between them.  This Kylo is an entirely unique sculpt, and it’s quite a good one at that.  The likeness is definitely one of Hasbro’s best attempts at Adam Driver, and is closer than the last unmasked Black Series Kylo.  The rest of the body does a pretty great job of capturing all of the texturing and patterns of Kylo’s costume from the movie, thankfully unencumbered by ill-fitting cloth pieces this time around.  He’s perhaps a little scrawnier than I’d like, but beyond that, this sculpt is a pretty fantastic translation of his look from the film.  This Ren figure marks the third time we’ve gotten a sculpted plastic cape in the larger Black Series line.  It’s a much better look, especially when you’re doing the over the shoulders draped look as seen here.  It’s actually a little odd that they did Kylo this way, but still went with the cloth set-up for Luke, who was released in the very same series.  I definitely prefer how it was handed here.  In terms of paint work, Ren is admittedly pretty straight forward, mostly being a lot of flat black.  They did put some effort into making his pants a slightly different temperature of black, as well as adding a gloss finish to the boots, which certainly makes for a nice look.  Unlike the smaller figure, Ren’s scar goes unpainted here.  I’m actually not sure which way I prefer it.  While it was a little too obvious on the smaller figure, here the scar gets rather lost.  Maybe a slightly less jarring paint app?  Beyond that, the paint on the face is pretty great, and I’m happy to see he has a healthier skin-tone when compared to the very pale unmasked Kylo from TFA.  Kylo is packed with his distinctive cross-guarded lightsaber in both ignited and non-ignited forms, which, combined with the removable cape, makes for a pretty solid selection of extras.  For those that are so inclined, there’s also a deluxe version of Kylo, just released in the last few weeks, which adds a die cast helmet and a display stand based on Snoke’s throne room to the mix, though that one does swap out the nice plastic cape for a rather standard cloth one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kylo was certainly the easiest to find of the initial TLJ Black Series figures, but, as with Rey, I passed on him due to how similar he was to the previous figure.  And, just like with Rey, I regretted having passed on him as soon as I saw the movie.  Whilst on vacation the week after Christmas, I found this guy at a nearby Walmart, marked down to $15 no less.  I guess it was a good thing I waited.  This is definitely Hasbro’s best Kylo so far, and I’m glad I finally grabbed him.

#1546: Rey – Jedi Training

REY – JEDI TRAINING

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“At long last, Rey has found Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi Master in the galaxy.  Hoping to find a hero of legend, she must unlearn what she has learned as Skywalker challenges her expectations.”

Oh boy, this might offend some people, but you know what?  I really liked The Last Jedi.  It was a solid, thoroughly enjoyable film.  Most importantly for any entry in the Star Wars franchise, it made me want to go out and buy some toys.  And buy some toys I did.  So, I’m gonna do a bit of a Star Wars week, because why not?  Let’s start this whole thing off with a look at the new trilogy’s central figure, Rey!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rey is figure 44 in the latest iteration of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  There are actually a few different releases of the figure.  The first was in the SDCC 2017 two-pack with Luke. She was then released solo during the Force Friday II product launch.  All of the initial TLJ Black Series figures were rather scarce, so she was given another release as part of the latest assortment (the one that includes Rose and Snoke).  While the first two are identical, the last release (which is the one I have) has one minor detail that differentiates her: the small cut on her right shoulder, which she earned during her battle in Snoke’s throne room.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Though there are some slight design similarities between this figure and the Force Awakens release, this figure is a wholly unique sculpt.  I was actually a pretty big fan of the last Rey when she was released, but in the two years since then, there’s no denying that The Black Series has definitely made some leaps and bounds in quality.  So, that older figure was looking a little out of date.  This one, on the other hand, is an incredibly strong sculpt.  The proportions on the body feel more realistic, her outfit now consists of several overlays to convey the proper depth, and there’s just a tremendous amount of detail and texture work all throughout.  The likeness on the head still isn’t quite as spot-on as the Titan Heroes figure (my favorite Rey head sculpt to date), but it’s certainly a marked improvement over the TFA release, and there’s still a lot of Daisy Ridley in there.  This figure is also an improvement when it comes to paint.  The painted skin is gone, replaced by molded plastic, but unlike some of the later TFA Black Series offerings, the sheen isn’t too shiny or lifeless.  The application is all pretty clean, and the colors match well with the source material.  There’s still some room for improvement, of course.  There’s some slop on the hairline and on the wrapping around her waist.  I also feel like the eyebrows are a bit too which, which is likely contributing to the slightly off likeness.  But, for a mass-produced figure, she’s not bad.  Rey is packed with her staff (which is a brand-new mold, and a definite upgrade to the last one), the blaster she got from Han, and Luke’s lightsaber.  I miss BB-8, but it’s still a nice assortment of extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Black Series offerings for Force Friday II were amongst the most difficult to find, so I didn’t come across any of them in my first week or so of hunting back in September.  I did eventually find a Rey, but ultimately passed on her, feeling she was rather similar to the one I already had.  After seeing the movie, I somewhat regretted this decision.  Fortunately, Hasbro did the re-pack, and I was able to score that one just last week.  While I’m sort of kicking myself for waiting so long on this figure (given how big an improvement she is over the last one), it’s one of those times where I’m ultimately grateful I waited, since I do kind of prefer the running change with the scar on her arm.  This is probably my favorite Rey in my collection.  Of course, there’s that Island Journey Rey looming on the horizon which may unseat her, but we’ll see.

#1535: Inferno Squad Agent

INFERNO SQUAD AGENT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“In the wake of the Death Star’s destruction, the Empire created the Inferno Squad to ensure that Imperial secrets would remain safe.  Their fierce loyalty to the Empire and exceptional skills in both aerial and ground combat set this squad apart from the rank and file troopers.”

It’s Day 4 of my post-Christmas reviews.  Today, I’ll be turning my sites on that galaxy far, far away, and looking at a figure based on the *other* highly divisive Star Wars sequel released this year, Star Wars: Battlefront II.  I myself haven’t yet played Battlefront II, but that certainly doesn’t mean I can’t partake in any of the cool figures that have come out of it, right?  The game has reintroduced an actual campaign to the gameplay, but rather than playing as the 501st (like in the original Battlefront II), you now play as members of the Inferno Squad.  Which apparently translates to TIE Fighter pilots with a little bit of extra detailing.  Cool by me.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Inferno Squad Agent is one of three GameStop-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series offerings from 2017.  This one was released to somewhat coincide with the release of the game he’s based on, which seems sensible enough.  This figure stands 6 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  There’s not actually anything new to his sculpt.  For the most part, he’s a pretty straight re-hash of the first Black Series TIE Pilot.  That was an incredibly strong sculpt the first time around, and it still holds up very well three years later.  In place of the original belt, this figure has the spare Stormtrooper belt from Han.  It’s a nice, yet simple, way of differentiating him a little bit more from the original release, and matches up with at least a few of the Agents from the game.  Paint marks where most of the changes are from the original TIE Pilot.  He’s still not crazy different or anything, but different enough to matter.  He’s got the same basic detail work as his predecessor, but now he’s also got some extra red accent work to help denote his Inferno Squad status.  I found the edges of said accenting to be a little fuzzy on my figure, but I was otherwise pretty happy with them.  The bright red contrasts well with the rest of the figure, and helps him stand out when placed next to the original.  The Inferno Squad Agent is packed with the standard E-11 blaster.  Thankfully, this one continues Hasbro’s trend of including accent work on the accessories, which is a pleasant change from the last TIE Pilot’s straight black blaster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy came to me courtesy of Super Awesome Girlfriend.  She’s been working at GameStop for the last couple of months, and was able to score this exclusive for me for Christmas.  He’s not wildly different from the standard TIE Pilot, but I dig the red accents a lot, and I was enough of a fan of the first one that I don’t mind getting a lot of that figure again.  A good toy is a good toy.

#1515: First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

FIRST ORDER SPECIAL FORCES TIE FIGHTER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The elite of the First Order straighter pilots have access to specialized craft, such as the two-seater TIE craft outfitted with enhanced weapons and sensor systems. The skilled pilots of the First Order launch into combat aboard advanced fighter craft, hunting down enemy vessels and protecting space around installations and warships.”

There’s no denying that vehicles are a defining piece of the Star Wars mythos.  They’re so important, that the scale of the vintage line was largely chosen to facilitate the inclusion of these vehicles.  They’ve been an important part of the line for the past 40 some years, and its part of why the 3 3/4 inch scale has never fully died out.  When Hasbro introduced the 6-inch Black Series, it was kind of assumed by the fanbase that this line would be without any vehicles.  Fairly early on, there were a few smaller items (such as the speeder bike), but full scale vehicles seemed more than a little cost-prohibitive.  Imagine the fanbase’s surprise at SDCC 2015 when Hasbro unveiled a 6-inch scaled TIE Fighter, as part of the products tying into The Force Awakens.  I’ll be looking at that vehicle today!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter (gosh, that’s a long name) was released as a special deluxe item in Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series, which hit in the winter of 2015.  The TIE has a pretty large footprint, at a whopping 18 by 18 inches.  It’s sizable enough that I was half tempted to just put a flat surface on the top of it and just use it as a coffee table.  It has an articulated antennae, a rotating lower cannon, and an opening hatch at the top.  Like the smaller scale TIE, this vehicle is based on the slightly updated TIE Fighter design seen in TFA, which isn’t too far removed from the classic TIE design.  The sculpt is, understandably, unique to this particular item.  It’s a pretty solid piece of work.  Hasbro took advantage of the larger scale, and has filled every inch of this rather sizable piece with tons of detail work.  Speaking of scale, this TIE is a fair bit closer to proper scale with its respective figures than the smaller TIE was.  It’s still not 100% spot-on, but you can get two people in the cockpit sitting back to back as seen in the film, which is a step up indeed.  Said cockpit is definitely the coolest part of the Fighter for me; it’s got two full seats, plus all of the various instruments and panels seen in the movie.  There are clips in each seat, to help hold the figures in place.  They can make it a little difficult to get the figures in there, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad.  A definite plus, though, is that you don’t have to be quite as picky about the figures that go into this Fighter, unlike the smaller one.  I was able to get Poe and Finn in there without too much trouble at all.  The paintwork on the Fighter is decent enough.  It’s pretty clean overall, and there’s some sharp work on the interior of the cockpit.  There’s also some pretty sweet accent work on the red Special Forces stripe.  The TIE Fighter’s only real accessory was an exclusive TIE Fighter Pilot figure, which I didn’t get with my fighter.  It’s the same as the single-release First Order TIE Fighter Pilot, just with some extra red detailing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As cool as the novelty of this item was, when it was originally released with a $180 price tag, I passed.  That’s a lot of money and it takes up a lot of space.  And then I was out to dinner with my family, and there was a wait for our table, so Christian, Tim, and I walked over to the Goodwill across the parking lot.  At said Goodwill, they had this behind the counter, marked at $20.  So, for the price of a single Black Series figure, I got this huge freaking thing.  It’s pretty awesome, I gotta say.  Sure, I don’t have either pilot for it, but Poe and Finn look pretty at home in there, and I can’t stress enough how awesome it was to get this thing for 11% of its original retail price.

#1492: Darth Vader

DARTH VADER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Once a heroic Jedi Knight, Darth Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force, became a Sith Lord, and led the Empire’s eradication of the Jedi Order. He remained in service of the Emperor for decades, enforcing his Master’s will and seeking to crush the fledgling Rebel Alliance.”

When Star Wars: The Black Series first launched, Hasbro deliberately spaced out the heavy hitters, over the first year or so of the line.  Perhaps most noticeably affected by this was franchise icon Darth Vader, who didn’t officially join the line until five series in, well into its second year.  Hasbro presumably wanted to wait until they had the rhythms of the line down before tackling one of the most recognizable villains of all time.  Unfortunately, The Black Series had something of a downward curve of quality in its first couple of years, and poor Vader was left with a passable, but far from perfect figure.  Nevertheless, he’s Darth Vader, so the figure was one of the line’s strongest sellers, providing a scarce, expensive, and ultimately very disappointing experience for most collectors.  Fortunately, Hasbro took advantage of Vader’s re-appearance in Rogue One, as well as the original film’s 40th anniversary, to give fans another shot at the dark lord.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This new Vader figure was available two ways.  The first was as part of the 40th Anniversary Legacy Pack, released early this summer, which included Vader carded in the same faux-vintage fashion as the rest of the 40th Anniversary Collection, packed alongside a display stand mimicking the materials included in the original Kenner Early Bird pack.  He was then re-released as figure 43 in the main Black Series line, as part of the first The Last Jedi-themed assortment.  There are some minor differences between the two, but they’re functionally the same.  This Vader differentiates himself from the last Black Series Vader by taking his basis from the A New Hope Vader design.  I like this, because it’s functionally the same design, but it means that the fans who have the old Vader still have a reason to own both.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall (the same as the old one) and he has 26 points of articulation (also the same).  He too uses a mixed media approach to the design, with plastic for the overall body, and then a cloth cape and robes.  This is dangerous territory, as bad cloth parts have been the downfall of more than one Black Series figure.  In this case, it seems to have worked out alright, though.  The pieces could still be a little tighter, but he’s not swimming in an XXL T-Shirt like the last figure.  The all-new sculpt fixes a few of the problems of the prior, most notably, the shaping of the helmet.  Since he never took off his helmet in ANH, this helmet’s a solid, non-removable piece, which makes for a more precise and accurate take on Vader’s distinctive mask.  I don’t know that I like this piece quite as much as the smaller Rogue One figure, but it’s certainly a marked improvement on the original figure.  His paintwork is generally pretty decent.  It’s nothing terribly complex, but there’s some nice, subtle variations in the various finishes which offer some nice depth.  Regardless of which release of this Vader you get, they both include his usual lightsaber, which appears to be the same piece that was included with the last figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this figure’s digital sculpt was first shown off, I was pretty pumped.  I was more than a little let-down by the old one, and a replacement was high on my list of wants.  When he finally hit stores, I was focussed on other things, and just had a hard time justifying his higher price-point, no matter how cool that stand may be.  Ultimately, I ended up getting him because I found one at 2nd Avenue for $3.  I can’t say for sure which release I got, but I’m happy I finally got one.  With all that said, in digging out the old figure for the comparison shots, I realized I was perhaps a little harsh on that one, and he isn’t as bad as I’d remembered.  Now I really don’t know which one I prefer.

#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!

#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.