#2278: Chewbacca & C-3PO

CHEWBACCA & C-3PO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Encountering a Stormtrooper in Cloud City, C-3PO was blasted at point blank range and his limbs were scattered.  Chewbacca gathered the parts of the protocol droid and partially reassembled him.”

Remember when I was talking about C-3PO’s late entry into The Black Series, just three days ago?  Well, lucky him, he’s gotten not one, but two exclusive figure releases right on top of each other.  I suppose he’s just finally getting the due he deserves.  While the last figure was based on 3PO’s most recent appearance, this one goes back to the original trilogy, and gives us a dedicated Empire Strikes Back 3PO.  You can’t really have an Empire 3PO without a proper Empire/Jedi Chewy to carry him around.  So, one-two-boom, here they are, in one convenient Amazon-exclusive package!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Chewbacca and C-3PO are, as noted in the intro, are an Amazon-exclusive pairing, which was listed for pre-order shortly after Force Friday and started shipping in November.  The two are packaged in a box that’s similar in size to the deluxe-size package used for Grievous, which is a lot smaller than previous two-pack boxes.  It makes this feel a little less like a two-pack, and more like a deluxe Chewbacca that includes 3PO as an accessory.

CHEWBACCA

For his first (and previously only OT-based) Black Series figure, we got Chewy based on A New Hope.  While his look is more or less the same in all of the original films, there were some slight changes in his look from A New Hope to Empire, mostly to do with how the hair on his head sat.  For the later movies Chewy was all about “bangs” game.  We got our first taste of a Chewy with bangs on the Target-exclusive Solo-based figure, but those weren’t *quite* right for a vintage Chewy, and he had the wrong bandolier.  This one aims to be the definitive secondary Chewbacca.  He stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Like the last Chewbacca, this one borrows heavily from the first Black Series Chewbacca.  This one gets yet another new head and upper torso, but keeps the standard bandolier that the Solo version ditched (hence the need for a new upper torso with only one bandolier imprint, rather the the v-shape of the Solo release).  While I had some issues with the mold when it debuted, at the very least, the mold quality has improved, and so now the parts sit better together, making for a better looking figure overall.  The new head’s the main focus of the figure, of course, with the slightly looser hair on his head, as well as a more relaxed expression, which feels more in line with Chewy’s more reserved status as the trilogy progressed.  I liked the improvements of the Solo sculpt a lot, but this does even better, and makes for the most cohesive Chewbacca sculpt to date.  The paintwork on this figure largely a match for the Solo version, which is a plus, since that was a solid paint-app.  The transitions are much more subtle, and the eyes are more lifelike than the original Chewbacca, resulting in a much more natural-looking take on the character.  As a late-in-the-movie version of the character, this Chewy is after he’s lost his bowcaster.  So, instead of that, he’s got a stolen Imperial blaster, borrowed from one of the proper Stormtroopers.

C-3PO

Ho boy, it’s another C-3PO.  It’s been days.  Days, I tell you.  As noted in the intro, this guy is based on 3PO’s appearance in Empire.  It’s not really much different from his appearance in the previous film (which is what the first Black Series figure was based on).  The color of the foot changes, and he’s a little messier.  In terms of construction, he’s using the same combined 3PO/4-LOM set-up as the 3PO I looked at three days ago, but this time around he gets the relaxed 3PO hands, instead of the posed 4-LOM hands.  It’s still a good sculpt, so I’ve got no complaints.  The paintwork follows the Target-exclusive’s lead, going for a slightly duller gold, which looks a bit more movie accurate.  In contrast to the very clean 3POs we’ve gotten previously, this one’s also got some serious dirt and grime, no doubt gotten when he got all blasted apart.  The main gimmick to this guy is the ability to pop his arms and legs off, simulating the major damage 3PO takes while in Cloud City.  In order to complete this look, he also has wire attachments that connect to each of his joints to replace the missing limbs.  They don’t really stay in place, but they do the job, and they look convincing.  He also has a net bag for Chewy to carry him in, completing the whole look.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always dug this particular set-up for these two characters, with the Star Wars Saga release being my go-to Chewbacca for years, and the Applause plastic statue thing being literally the only one of those things I ever owned.  I’ve also been jonesing for a proper Empire/Jedi Chewy, since we had the rest of the main cast from Empire.  Needless to say, I was on board for this set when it was first shown, and I was definitely happy to get this pair from my parents for Christmas.  I’m very happy with both figures included, and they’re my default versions of both characters.

#2277: General Grievous

GENERAL GRIEVOUS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“General Grievous was a brilliant Separatist military strategist and a feared Jedi hunter, known for his ruthlessness and hacking cough. His body itself was a weapon, allowing him lightning quick strikes and devastating blows. But he was also quick to run from a fight, a tactic that worked until one final meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

A decade removed from the Star Wars prequels, they don’t seem quite as bad as they once did.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are still major issues and my recent re-watch of Attack of the Clones certainly reminded me of why it’s the worst movie in the franchise, but even when we all thought they were universally trash, there were always some redeeming elements.  For Revenge of the Sith, my favorite bit was always General Grievous, a character I had latched onto before the movie even opened, and whom I would continue to enjoy when he became a major player in the second Clone Wars cartoon.  Though his characterization may have been a little two-dimensional, and his name is just silly (it’s just an adjective!  That’s not a name), he certainly had one of the coolest designs to come out of the prequels.  Even when I had my strict “no prequels” rule for The Black Series, I could always see myself possibly breaking that rule for a good Grievous figure.  Here we are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

General Grievous is the first figure in the Deluxe subdivision of The Black Series, numbered “D1.”  So far, he’s the only deluxe size figure to be available through all retailers…well, all the ones that were willing to carry him, which didn’t end up including the likes of Walmart or Target.  He started hitting around the second quarter of last year.  Grievous only has one film appearance, so this figure rather sensibly draws from that.  I want to state at the top of this review that this is a very good figure, but he, like every Grievous figure ever created, is also a flawed figure.  It’s a design that has a degree of necessary cheating to work on the screen.  In person, on a fixed item, that cheating isn’t possible, and concessions have to be made…but I’ll get to that.  At full height, the figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  He’s an all-new sculpt, as you might expect, and it’s a pretty darn good one at that.  It manages to fairly accurately recreate his design as seen in the movie, and, in contrast to most Grievous figures, most of the joints in the design are joints on this figure.  Not all, of course.  Some concessions have to be made for the hands and feet, given the scale of the figure, and there are one or two other spots (notably the wrists), where there should be movement but isn’t.  I do really like how tight all of the joints are on this figure; far too many Grievous figures wound up with really floppy joints.  The design of the sculpt also allows this Grievous figure to have a feature that most forego: actual combining arms.  We’ve seen them before but typically only on less articulated figures.  More often then not, they’ll just release him with his arms one way or the other, or, in the case of the first 3D Clone Wars figure, they’ll give him extra arms.  The combining arms end up being the feature that causes this figure the most trouble.  The four separate arms are nicely articulated on their own.  When you go to combine them, it’s a little tricky, because even a slight warp will make them not a perfect fit.  And once they’re together?  Well, you’re certainly not getting full movement out of the joints once the arms are combined, which proves rather restricting.  As nifty an idea as the combining arms may be, I can’t help but feel that swappable arms might have worked a bit better in this regard.  At the end of the day, I can’t really blame them for trying, and this is certainly the best go at it we’ve seen.  The paintwork on Grievous is some of the most impressive work we’ve gotten from the line; the weathering alone really sells the figure, as it gives him a much more realistic appearance, which is rather amusing for a completely CGI creation.  Grievous is a rather well accessorized figure, including his DT-57 blaster, his four stolen lightsabers (which, according to Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force formerly belonged to Pablo-Jill, Eeth Koth, Roron Corobb, and Shaak Ti), and a cape.  The blaster and sabers are pretty standard fair.  The cape is a bit of a let down, if I’m honest.  The decision to use cloth is definitely understandable, and I do really dig the inclusion of the spot to store Grievous’ collection of sabers, but the cape’s totally wrong at the shoulders, with a big, obvious join, as opposed to the proper flowing under his collar plate look.  The grey and red parts also aren’t hemmed together at the bottom, which looks a bit sloppy.  It’s not the end of the world, but it’s bad enough that I don’t see myself using the cape.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been hoping for a Grievous Black Series figure for a while, and was happy to see him announced…but I was never happy about that cape, and it honestly held me back from picking him up, as silly as that may be.  Fortunately, my in-laws had my back on this one, and got me Grievous for Christmas.  After opening him up, the cape still frustrates me, but the rest of the figure is just so well-engineered that I really don’t care all that much.  This is definitely the best Grievous figure out there.

#2275: C-3PO & Babu Frik

C-3PO & BABU FRIK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

C-3PO longs for more peaceful times, but his continued service to the Resistance keeps him on the frontiers of galactic conflict.

A tiny, well-regarded droidsmith, Babu Frik can modify virtually any droid, regardless of the security measure protecting its systems.”

Since his later than others entry into the line, C-3PO has been steadily racking up quite an assortment of Black Series figures for himself.  Though his look may not change all that drastically throughout the majority of the films, Hasbro has nevertheless seen fit to give us as many of the character’s minor tweaks as they can.  He wound up getting at least one figure for all three of the sequel trilogy films (though the Last Jedi figure was only available through Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge park expansion), with his appearance in Rise of Skywalker providing his latest offering, alongside the minuscule droidsmith Babu Frik.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

C-3PO and Babu Frik are a Target-exclusive Black Series offering, which started hitting about a week or two before the movie arrived in theaters last year.  The set depicts 3PO as we saw him in much of the promotional material before the film, carrying Chewbacca’s bandolier and bowcaster, and sporting red eyes, as opposed to his usual gold tones.  These two things don’t happen at the same time in the final film, but then again, the figure doesn’t require him to be doing everything at once either, making his more of an all-encompassing Rise of Skywalker 3PO.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  This 3PO is a combination of the first 3PO and the improved protocol droid arms from 4-LOM, meaning he can bend his arms.  This same change was also seen on 000 and the Galaxy’s Edge 3PO, so it was really just expected here.  He gets a new head, sporting a removable backing, allowing for his internals to be revealed, just like in the movie.  I’m always skeptical of features like this, lest they not fit properly when popped back into place, but 3PO’s head remains together fairly securely, and I must admit the feature looks pretty darn cool.  Beyond that, the construction on 3PO is the same as the first figure, which means it’s a very nice looking sculpt, and was very posable even before the addition of the improved arms.  The paintwork on 3PO is pretty decent all around.  He is again a flat gold, rather than vac metalized, which I still don’t mind all that much.  The gold isn’t quite as bright as the first 3PO, which seems more accurate.  He also gets some small silver piping on the arm joints, which we’ve not seen before, as well as the expected extra detailing on the back of the head.  The most notable change, though, are the eyes.  Like Dryden Vos, they’re therno-sensitive. At room temperature, they’re a standard gold, but when cold, they turn a bright red, like his eyes do briefly in the film.  It’s a nifty effect, even if I don’t see myself getting a ton of use out of it.  3PO is packed with Chewbacca’s bandolier and bowcaster, both borrowed from previous figures, as well as a whole nother figure, Babu Frik.  Okay, I say he’s a whole figure.  That’s perhaps a slight stretch.  Babu is certainly more of a figure than I had anticipated; I fully expected an unarticulated mini-figure, but to my surprise, Babu sports ball joints at the shoulders and waist.  He’s also got a moving visor, so he can properly work on the back of 3PO’s head. Certainly he is far more impressive figure than I’d initially expected.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pair was another gift to me from my in-laws.  I’d expressed a moderate interest in the pair prior to the film’s release, but wasn’t sure what to expect.  After seeing the movie and quite enjoying Babu’s sequence, I was quite happy to open these two up Christmas morning.  I was even happier when I actually took them out of their box and discovered just how playable Babu was.  Definitely a fun little offering, and a great choice of exclusive.

#2265: Luke Skywalker – Jabba’s Palace

LUKE SKYWALKER — JABBA’S PALACE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Luke Skywalker was a Tatooine farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known.”

And lo, the Post-Christmas reviews begin!

There were a few years running where my first post-Christmas review was invariably an Alien Queen, but after my friends and family ran out of Alien Queens to buy me, I’ve moved onto another theme, it would seem: Star Wars.  Honestly, it’s not all that new a concept, me getting Star Wars figures over the holidays, going all the way back to the Millenium Falcon I received for Christmas of ’96.  So, I guess I can dig it being the new trend.  So, let’s kick things off with a Luke Skywalker figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jabba’s Palace Luke Skywalker is a Walmart-exclusive Black Series offering.  Much like the two Captain Americas that they got last year, they also got two versions of Jedi Luke back to back.  Sometimes, I think Walmart’s toy buyer might be a little limited in their sights.  Whatever the case, this figure theoretically started showing up alongside the Triple Force Friday stuff back in October, though realistically, he started showing up shortly before the holidays.  This Luke is the second Return of the Jedi Luke we’ve gotten in the Black Series line-up, following the more end of the movie inspired version released back in 2014.  This one, as the name denotes, is based on Luke as he first appears in Jabba’s Palace, prior to ditching his vest and getting his robotic hand damaged. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  For the most part, he’s fairly reliant on parts from the previous Jedi Luke figure.  He uses the body of that figure, along with a new head, the right hand from Bespin Luke, and an all-new vest overlay piece. The new head is the real star attraction.  While I always felt that sculpt on the original Jedi Luke head was far better than the sub-par paint job allowed to show through, it’s never the less a little bit of an artifact of an older way of doing things, since the separate face/hair pieces have become the new way of doing things, and allow for a more realistic recreation.  This new sculpt follows that new styling, and is honestly one of Hasbro best attempts at a young Hamill likeness, at least as far as the face is concerned.  The hair I’m still a little iffy about, but it’s certainly not terrible.  The new vest piece is a decent overlay; it’s not too bulky.  Of course, it’s also not designed to be removed, which I was a little let down by, but if you don’t want it on the figure, it’s easy enough to remove, keeping in mind it’s not really going back on.  And, on top of that, after removing it, you’ll also discover that he’s missing the previous figure’s belt (which would have no doubt affected the look of the vest at this scale, so I get why it’s gone).  The figure is also privy to the improvements in paint since the last Jedi Luke.  That previous figure was honestly one of my worst experiences with iffy paint in the line, but this guy gets the new face print tech, which works very well for him.  There’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind seeing this paint on the old sculpt, just to see how the two pair off, but as is, this one looks very good.  This Luke ends up being a little better accessorized than the last one.  While he no longer has the swapable flap for the front of his uniform, he still gets his lightsaber (with a more accurately painted hilt this time), a cloth-goods cloak, and the blaster he steals from one of Jabba’s guards (re-used from Kanan Jarrus).  Not a bad assortment of extras, and certainly enough to make him worthwhile even if you have the prior figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking for this guy pretty much since Force Friday.  As a kid, I went as Jedi Luke for Halloween, so I’ve always had a soft spot for this costume design, and felt the old figure wasn’t doing it justice on the shelf.  I found this figure just before Christmas and actually bought him with some money I got from my Grandmother for the holiday.  He’s solid improvement without being a straight replacement.  I just kind of wish Hasbro would stop giving their best figures to Walmart as exclusives…

#2253: First Order Stormtrooper

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

The backbone of the First Order and Imperial forces, and really the Star Wars universe as a whole, the Stormtroopers are a prominent fixture of the toys from the galaxy far, far away.  That being said, given their general unchanging appearance within each trilogy, keeping them fresh can be a little difficult.  We got our first standard First Order Stormtrooper in The Black Series back with the Force Awakens product launch, with a few exclusive derivations since then.  The Trooper is returning to the main line for the trilogy’s conclusion Rise of Skywalker.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The First Order Stormtrooper is figure 97 in the Black Series line-up, the final of the Force Friday launch figures numerically.  Given the grouping of the other three Rise tie-in figures, plus his general level of repeat, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that he was a late addition to the line-up to fill out the case.  The figure is a little over 6 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  The majority of this figure’s sculpt is re-used.  He shares all but the had and arms with the initial First Order Trooper from 2015.  The parts that are kept are actually the best parts of that release, being not only accurate to the source material, but also quite nicely articulated, especially at the mid-torso and the ankles.  The head was first introduced on the two Last Jedi troopers, representing the slightly more angular trooper helmet that was used in the second film.  It’s different from the original helmet, but I can’t really say that one of them is better than the other.  The arms are the new parts for this figure, and they’re notable for fixing the one major flaw of the original release: the poor range of motion on the elbows.  For the first time, a FO Trooper can get more than 90 degrees of motion, meaning he’s also the first Trooper that can properly hold a blaster rifle.  That’s gonna be fun to talk about in a moment.  The paint work on this figure follows the trend of all of the FO troopers I’ve grabbed, in that he’s okay, but not without a few noticeable flaws.  My figure has some slop on the helmet, but just in general the change overs from black to white are kind of fuzzy.  This release of the FO Trooper is packed with the riot trooper gear, meaning he’s got the shield, the improved TLJ version of the baton, and a small blaster pistol.  What’s not listed there?  That’s right, a blaster rifle.  Yep, the first FO Trooper that can properly hold a rifle doesn’t have one.  Irony of ironies.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the standard and riot troopers during the TFA run, so I haven’t really felt the need to pick up any of the subsequent figures.  I didn’t think much of this figure, but I’d already decided to pick up the whole assortment when he was announced, so he was along for the ride.  After Kylo, he’s a pleasant surprise.  Sure, it’s frustrating and almost baffling that there’s no rifle included, but the core figure is a solid improvement on the prior releases, making this the best version of the design out there.

#2252: Sith Trooper

SITH TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Sith troopers were a stormtrooper variant that served the First Order during its war against the Resistance. Named after the Sith, an ancient order of Force-users devoted to the dark side of the Force, these troopers were the next evolution of Imperial/First Order stormtroopers. They wore red-colored stormtrooper armor and wielded a type of black and red blaster rifle.”

Hey, new Star Wars movie!  You know what that means: new trooper variants created to sell new toys!  Ain’t no stopping the merchandising juggernaut…unless, you know, you stop it…the way that the market has come increasingly close to stopping the Star Wars merchandising juggernaut in the last few years.  But that’s kind of sad and bleak, so maybe I shouldn’t talk about that.  Where was I?  Toys!  Always toys!  So, for the new Star Wars, there’s a cool new trooper called the Sith Trooper, Kylo Ren’s new elite force.  I’m looking at one of those guys today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Sith Trooper is figure 92 in the Black Series line-up, the third figure from the Force Friday product launch.  The Sith Trooper was previously released as this year’s SDCC-exclusive preview figure, which included some additional weapons to differentiate it from the basic release.  The core figures are the same between the two releases, however.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Perhaps the most impressive bits of articulation on this figure are the butterfly shoulders, which I believe are a first for Black Series.  Given the design of the various trooper armor, it’s actually a little surprising that we’ve never seen this type of joint implemented, since it’s so nicely hidden.  However, while there’s great movement in the shoulders, the neck joint is surprisingly limited for one of these figures; they’ve been doing the double ball joints a lot recently, and the range has been pretty solid, but for this guy, it’s little more than a cut joint.  Maybe it’s just my figure, but I was rather disappointed by that.  Plusses and minuses of the articulation aside, how’s the actual sculpt?  Overall, it’s pretty strong.  I definitely dig the Stormtrooper/Clonetrooper/Praetorian Guard hybrid that’s going on with these guys, and I look forward to seeing the design in action in the movie.  The sculpt is quite sharply rendered, and I really dig all of the texturing, both on the armor and on the underlying jumpsuit.  The sculpt also does a really nice job of making those two elements feel like separate pieces as well, which is an improvement on a lot of the earlier troopers.  The Sith Trooper’s paint is decent enough, though not overly involved.  Most of the red is molded, and most of the black is painted.  The application is overall pretty clean, but there’s a little bit of fuzziness on the helmet.  Beyond that, it’s pretty clean and striking.  This Sith Trooper is quite packed with the impressive armory of the SDCC release, but he does still get two styles of blaster, matching the ones included with the smaller Sith Jet Trooper.  They’re decent weapons, but are also the source o my biggest complaint about the figure.  He’s got a holster much like the First Order Troopers, meaning there’s a spot for a gun the plug into his right thigh.  Unfortunately, the hole is too large and the pegs on both guns too small, meaning that the blasters just fall right out at the slightest touch.  The fact that there are two blasters and he can only hold one really exacerbates this issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Sith Trooper was one of the earliest designs we saw from Rise, and I knew I wanted the figure pretty much right away.  I didn’t even try with the SDCC release, because those have always been a barren source of amusement in the past, and the Troopers always get the standard release.  This figure was the one I opened right after Kylo, and that may have slightly colored my opinion, as I found myself a bit underwhelmed with him at first.  Playing around with him for the review, I did find myself enjoying him a bit more.  That said, there are still a few issues that keep this figure from being “great.”

I picked up this guy from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2251: Rey & D-0

REY & D-0

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Rey continues to study the Jedi ways, but she grows concerned about what the future — and the Force — may hold in store for her.”

For the Rise of Skywalker product launch, there’s only one character available in all of Hasbro’s primary styles.  It’s Rey, who, as the main character, I suppose has the most business being included across the board.  Since she’s also wearing the same attire for all three of her figures, it also gives me a nice chance to more closely compare the three styles of figures currently available.  I’ve already taken a look at the Vintage Collection Rey and the Galaxy of Adventures Rey, so now I’ll be taking a look at the Black Series Rey, as well as her pack-mate D-0.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rey and D-0 are number 91 in the Black Series line-up, numerically the second of the eight Force Friday figures.  Fun Fact, Rey is the only character to be part of the initial Black Series line-up for all five of the Disney-era product launches (Kylo narrowly missed it thanks to being absent from the Solo product launch).  Again, as the main character, I guess it adds up.  This figure gives us Rey in her newest attire from Rise, which is a pretty solid look for the character.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  This Rey figure is an all-new sculpt, which I guess isn’t a huge shock, since her Black Series figures have as of yet all been completely unique from each other.  Poor Kylo must be very jealous.  It’s a solid sculpt.  The articulation is certainly more practical than what we got from the VC figure, and is also much more smoothly worked into the final product.  It’s still not quite as easily posed or anywhere near as stable on its feet as the GoA release, but they are very differently styled items.  She’s pretty solid for a Black Series release in both posability and stability.  The sculpt is also a nicely balanced affair, with rather realistic proportions and some solid texture work.  The head sports one of Hasbro’s best attempts at a Daisy Ridley likeness, rivaled only by the Island Journey Rey in my eyes.  She’s got a touch more expression in her face than any of the other Reys, with just a little smile going on.  I like that a fair bit more than the usual bland appearance.  The paintwork on this Rey is fortunately a lot better than my VC Rey was, by virtue of her face actually being applied correctly.  That said, I’ve seen far worse samples than this out in the wild, so I still worry about the figures as a whole.  On mine, the paint is very lifelike and aids in selling the likeness.  Were it not as well applied, that would be a rather different story.  Rey is pretty well accessorized.  The most prominent inclusion is, of course D-0, who though he may be listed on the package is really just an accessory.  He’s not wildly different from his GoA incarnation, but some parts are a little smaller and more refined, with a little more detailing in a few spots.  There’s a small stand included for him this time to aid in keeping him standing.  It doesn’t *really* do a whole lot, since it just shapes under his wheel, without any sort of peg or anything, but it keeps him more reliably standing that his is without it.  In addition to D-0, this Rey gets the same selection as her smaller VC counterpart: lightsaber, staff, blaster, and back pack.  They’re all pretty nicely rendered, and the staff is by far the best version of the item we’ve gotten included with any of these Rey figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I opened my Rey figure before Kylo, which was probably the right call for my sanity, but perhaps didn’t do so well by Kylo.  She’s a much better figure, and I’d probably rank her as my second favorite in this assortment, behind the Mando.  She’s certainly an improvement over the VC release.  Though she’s not as dwarfed by her GoA figure in my eyes as Kylo, I will admit that while I was taking the photos for this review, the number of times she faceplanted in the middle of a shot did not go unnoticed.  Still, if you’re into the Black Series thing, then this is a solid figure, and probably the best Rey in the line (though I still really like that Island Journey figure).

I picked up Rey from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2250: Supreme Leader Kylo Ren

SUPREME LEADER KYLO REN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

As Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren wields more power than ever before.  Nevertheless, Ren continues to search for the secrets of the Force from the depths of the Dark Side.”

So, uhh, hey, did you hear there’s a new Star Wars coming out?  It’s probably not a big deal or anything, just the end of the latest trilogy, and allegedly the main saga.  Also, there’s some toys, so I guess I might review a few of those.  Central to this new trilogy is Kylo Ren, tortured villain and wannabe Vader.  Though he flirted with a redemption in the last film, he ultimately rejected it, netting himself a promotion to Supreme Leader of the First Order in the process.  And, as a central character, that’s also netted him a brand new Black Series, complete with fancy “Supreme Leader” moniker.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Supreme Leader Kylo Ren is figure 90 (exactly twice the number that the TLJ version was) in the Black Series line up.  Numerically, he’s the first of the eight figures that were released for Triple Force Friday, and he’s one of the four Rise of Skywalker branded figures at launch.  Kylo is no stranger to the Black Series, with this being his seventh figure in the line.  He’s also doesn’t possess the most varied appearance.  All seven of those figures have more or less followed the same basic look.  The primary change-up tends to be whether he has his helmet or not.  Though he destroyed it at the beginning of Last Jedi, it appears the Kylo has restored it for Rise, and so he’s sporting it once more on this figure.  Said figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  I’ve reviewed the majority of this figure before, since he is from the neck down the same figure as the Kylo from Last Jedi.  I liked the sculpt the first time around, but this time…I don’t know, it just doesn’t resonate quite as well with me this time.  It’s got to be due to the new parts, I suppose.  Kylo gets a new head and cape, and I can’t say I’m much of a fan of either.  The new head gives us Kylo’s repaired helmet, which is an interesting visual, and one that I liked a fair bit on the Galaxy of Adventures Kylo figure.  Here, it’s certainly more detailed, but it also seems far too large for the body, or at the very least the neck.  It also just doesn’t look natural in any position, and sits low enough to make actually posing quite a tricky task.  The new cape piece is decent in concept, but lousy in application.  The actual cape bit’s alright for the most part, but does seem to have more trouble staying in place than the one from the TLJ release.  The real trouble comes from the hood, or rather hoods.  Since the cape is plastic, the figure has two hood pieces, up and down.  Down is certainly the better implemented of the two, since there’s less room for error, but it has some difficulty staying clipped in place on my figure.  The up hood is just a mess.  It doesn’t attach securely at all, and worst of all he’s got hover-hood, with a noticeable clearance between his head and the hood no matter how you situate him.  I ends up making the pulled up hood effectively useless, since there’s no way I’m going to display it with that.  It’s a shame, because that’s pretty much the only element that really distinguishes him from prior figures.  Kylo’s paintwork is okay, nothing spectacular.  It hits all the right notes and gets the job done.  In terms of extras, Kylo has his lightsaber in both ignited and unignited forms, just like virtually every other Black Series Kylo.  What he *doesn’t* include is an unmasked head, which at this point feels downright criminal, especially given how much of this figure is re-use.  They could have just thrown in a well-painted TLJ head at the very least, since that one hasn’t yet received the face-print tech.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I opted to just pick up a full case of the Force Friday Black Series figures for the sake of having them all.  The Mandalorian and the Jawa made me feel pretty good about things, but Kylo really tested my resolve.  I feel I may have done myself a disservice by picking up the Galaxy of Adventures version first, because that one was a pleasant surprise, while this one was a letdown the whole way through.  How much of a let down?  Well, I opened the figure, immediately placed him back in his box, opened him again for the photos, and they put him back away again.  I pretty much never do that, but with him I just felt no need to mess with him outside of the needs of this review.  I am not a fan of this figure.  If you want a good Kylo, buy the GoA version.  It’s half the price, better looking, and a far more playable figure.

#2237: Offworld Jawa

OFFWORLD JAWA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Jawas that arrive on new planets continue their old habits in their new surroundings, but their obsessive need for technology still drives them.”

Introduced in the very first film, the Jawas have sort of hung around in the background of the Star Wars universe ever since.  Classically, they’ve been confined to Tatooine, at least for their appearances in the first two trilogies, but The Mandalorian is mixing things up, having them show up at least one other place that we know of.  The creatures’ notable appearance in the show has also been a good excuse to put out another release of them in the main Black Series line, and I’ll be taking a look at that release today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Offworld Jawa is figure 96 in the Black Series line-up, being the second Mandalorian-based figure in the eight figure Triple Force Friday product launch.  It’s our third Black Series release of a Jawa, following the 40th Anniversary and #61 releases.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  Those numbers should be somewhat familiar, since they are the same ones as the #61 Jawa.  That’s because this figure uses the same sculpt as that one, but loses the plastic skirt piece from that figure, and gains a cloth goods robe.  Though I am not always a fan of the cloth goods in Black Series, and I was okay with the plastic robe of the prior Jawa, I will admit that this robe ended up working far better than I’d expected.  It honestly ends up looking a little better than the plastic version, and has the added benefit of finally letting the figure take full advantage of all that leg articulation that the old figure had hidden beneath the plastic skirt.  The only slight downside is that they didn’t re-sculpt the arms to remove the sculpted robes, so the articulation there is still as restricted as the original release.  Though the head isn’t actually changed, the way the hood is connected is slightly different between my two Jawas, and I find that this one has a more natural look about it than the prior, which I’m totally okay with.  The Jawa’s paint is actually more involved than you might think.  There’s some nice weathering on the feet, and the bandolier now gets a wash to bring out more of its details, which definitely does it some favors.  This figure includes the same two ion blasters from the prior release, with one still being permanently attached to the harness.  Again, this feels a little light, but at this point, I think this just how the Jawas are gonna go in the Black Series.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was expecting very little out of this figure.  I already had the prior release, and I’m generally not that big on cloth.  Mostly, I bought him because I was buying everything else.  In person, he certainly looked better, but it wasn’t until I opened him up that I realized how much I enjoyed him.  I liked the prior figure a lot when it was new, but this one is an improvement in pretty much every way.  I’m glad I picked up this figure, especially after watching Episode 2 of The Mandalorian.

I got the Jawa from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Star Wars, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2236: IG-11

IG-11

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“One of a series of dangerous assassin droids largely outlawed in the galaxy, IG-11 is a hired gun programmed to follow Bounty Hunter’s Guild protocol to the letter.”

Ranking the distinctive bounty hunters from Empire Strikes Back has become something of a running gag on this site, so I don’t believe it’s at all a secret that my favorite of said bounty hunters is the robotic IG-88, a character that doesn’t do much on the screen, but like all of the bounty hunters has a rich background in the expanded universe.  Also like all of the bounty hunters, he doesn’t really have much going on post-Empire.  When The Mandalorian was in production, they originally planned to include IG-88 as one of the series’ characters, but at a very late stage it was decided that it would be better to let IG-88 keep his EU backstory, leading to the creation of the very similar, but still ever so slightly different IG-11, who we meet in the show’s very first episode.  He’s voiced by none other than Thor: Ragnarok director (and voice of Korg), Taika Waititi, and is just generally pretty awesome.  And, it being Star Wars, he’s also gotten a figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

IG-11 is a Best Buy-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series offering.  Yes, apparently Best Buy is also getting in on the exclusives game, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.  I guess it’s not a total shock to see them try to expand outside of selling dying forms of media, but I’m not entirely sure that backing action figures is quite going to be the salvation that they’re looking for.  Time will tell, I suppose.  IG-11 was officially street-dated for November 1st, and has been cropping up in fairly decent numbers since then.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  Most of this figure’s sculpt is exactly the same as the main line’s IG-88 figure from 2015 (or, if you want to get really technical, the very slightly improved version of that mold from this year’s Archive release), which more or less makes sense, since the two character’s designs are very, very similar, and they are meant to represent the same model of droid.  That being said, there were a few issues with IG-88 that I know a lot of fans were hoping to see corrected on any potential IG-11 release.  The head is the most glaring inaccuracy, being the wrong shape for both droids; I myself don’t mind it too much, but inaccurate is still inaccurate.  He should also really be a little larger as a whole to be properly scaled.  At his current size, he’s still taller than the standard figure, but he doesn’t tower quite the way he should.  The cut joints on the hips are also still quite restricting, even more noticeable for a more mobile on-screen character like IG-11.  The last issue *wasn’t* an issue with IG-88, but is for 11; his hands should be the new design from the show, but are instead the same as 88’s were.  IG-11 does get one new piece: his two bandoliers, which are a single, non-removable add-on.  It’s a suitably distinctive look to separate him a little bit from IG-88, and I can certainly dig it.  11 is also a little bit different on the paint front, with a slightly grimier, generally darker color scheme, as well as some nifty accenting that wasn’t present on the original or Archive releases.  The weathering takes advantage of the same technique Hasbro’s been using on faces, and it looks pretty solid here.  IG-11 is packed with two styles of blaster.  The longer rifle is the same one included with IG-88, while the shorter one, though very similar, is actually a new, smaller mold.  Both attach to the forearms in the same fashion as they did with 88, and there’s a spot on the bandolier that can hold either one of the guns.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite it not being perfect, I’ve always been a big fan of the Black Series IG-88, and IG-88 in general.  I was beyond thrilled when he was rumored for the show, and still thrilled when they revealed him to be IG-11, not 88.  I figured the 11 would end up being mostly just a re-deco, and I wasn’t wrong.  Would I have preferred to get an all-new mold?  Probably.  Would I have wanted that original mold to wind up as a store exclusive like this figure is?  No, I would not.  As it stands, I love this figure just as much, if not a little more than the 88 figure, even if he’s not entirely accurate.  I wouldn’t mind getting a more accurate one further down the line (alongside an updated 88), but this one will certainly hold me over.