#2492: Luke Skywalker – Snowspeeder

LUKE SKYWALKER — SNOWSPEEDER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“During the Battle of Hoth, Luke Skywalker led the Rebel defense against the Empire’s ground forces, giving the Alliance time to evacuate the planet.”

With no shortage of costume changes in A New Hope, Luke Skywalker kept his impressive wardrobe going for Empire, with not only a new standard get-up and some cold weather gear (because everyone was doing it), but also an upgraded version of his pilot gear from the first movie.  The differences aren’t huge, but they’re certainly more than enough to qualify for another figure, and in fact they have for about 20 years now.  We got Luke’s first pilot gear way back at the beginning of Hasbro’s Black Series line, but now we’re finally getting the tweaked version as well.  Let’s have a look at how that turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) is the second figure in assortment two of the Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary sub-line of The Black Series.  Like yesterday’s Rebel Soldier, he’s an all-new offering, and also like that figure, he’s already slotted for release in the main line later this year.  Luke is just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  This version of Luke is sporting an all-new sculpt, which is quite nice, because Hasbro certainly had some room to phone things in and try to re-use parts of the X-Wing pilot sculpt.  It wouldn’t be as accurate, nor would it make for as good a figure, so I’m glad they went the way they did.  He also continues the trend of the butterfly shoulders, which is great when it comes to lightsaber posing.  I definitely enjoy this thing becoming a regular feature.  I have one notable issue with this sculpt, and ultimately, it comes down more to personal preference than to anything truly wrong.  Under the figure’s removable helmet, he’s sporting an insulating cap over his head.  This is accurate to the updated uniform, and we see a number of the other snowspeeder pilots wearing them when their helmets are removed.  Luke, however, we only see with all of the head gear either on or off.  So, while this is *technically* accurate to the costume design, the figure sans helmet isn’t actually accurate to anything we see in the movie.  I would have liked to get him without the cap, but I guess I’ll just have to make due swapping his head with the Dagobah Luke once I get my hands on that (actually, I really wouldn’t be opposed to a Dagobah landing Luke without the cap and gloves.  That’d be a cool variant).  As it stands, with the helmet, he looks pitch-perfect, and that’s really the way most people will be displaying him anyway.  Luke’s paint work is all pretty solid.  The base work is all pretty clean, and he’s using the face printing, so that looks pretty good.  The eye on my figure is slightly off-set, but not terribly so.  Luke is packed with his lightsaber.  He doesn’t get the grapple he uses in the scene against the AT-AT, but fear not, it comes with the Snowspeeder.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I definitely dig the Snowspeeder gear and the whole Snowspeeder set-up in general, so I was pretty happy when this guy was shown off, and even happier to hear he was getting an all-new sculpt.  Though he may not look like much new or exciting outwardly, he’s got a lot to offer, and improves on the already pretty solid X-Wing Luke.  Now, can we get a Wedge to match, or is that too soon?

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

#2463: Luke Skywalker – Bespin

LUKE SKYWALKER — BESPIN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Luke battles Darth Vader on a narrow platform in Cloud City and rejects Vader’s urging to turn to the Dark Side and rule the galaxy with him.”

40 years and some change ago, in this galaxy, right here, the second Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back, hit theaters.  As Hasbro likes to use pretty much every five-year milestone as grounds for celebration, that means that this year we’re getting a bunch of throw-back Empire stuff in toy form.  Things kicked off with the Probe Droid, and, following in A New Hope‘s footsteps, there’s also a vintage-style-carded line of Black Series figures.  The first assortment was mostly re-hash, but I’m taking a look at the most unique of the bunch today with another go at Bespin Luke!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker (Bespin) is one of the five figures that makes up the first series of the Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary sub-line of Black Series figures.  The other four, Bespin Han, Hoth Leia, Yoda, and the AT-AT Driver are all straight re-cards of prior releases, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the case with Luke as well.  He’s a lot of re-use, to be fair, with everything below the neck being re-used from the very first Black Series Bespin Luke.  Like that figure, this one stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Black Series articulation hadn’t really gotten to be what it is now in 2014, when this mold first hit, so he’s admittedly a little bit archaic in terms of movement.  The elbows sit a little low on the arms, the range on the hips is quite restricted, and he’s got the up/down joint on both of his wrists, which is a little odd for posing.  All that said, it’s still a pretty nice looking sculpt, so I can’t totally dis the re-use.  He gets an all-new head, which updates him to the more modern style of separate pieces for the face and hair.  The original Bespin head was probably the weakest of the initial Luke head sculpts in terms of a Hamill likeness, so another go at it isn’t the worst.  This new sculpt is…different?  I hesitate to say better, but I also wouldn’t say worse.  In some ways, it’s a better match, but in others it’s more off, and in particular it seems a bit too large proportionally.  The new head is matched by a new paint scheme, which uses the face printing, thereby making him a little more lifelike.  I definitely like that, but I’m not quite as down for how stripped down the paint on his fatigues has become.  The wash on the original was one of the best parts of the figure, but this one loses a lot of that, and the details on the outfit subsequently become easier to miss.  This figure is packed with the same extras as the last version: a lightsaber and a blaster pistol.  They’re as good here as anywhere else.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

A re-issue of this guy’s been pretty much inevitable, given how hard to find the original had become, as well as the original hitting during one of the weakest periods of the line.  There were definitely improvements to be made, and while this figure makes some of them (namely the better paint on the face/hair), it’s really a trade-off.  This should have been an actual improvement, but it’s instead more or less an equivalent product.  It’s a shame, because I was kind of hoping we might get a more deluxe update on this guy, with extra parts to replicate more of the beating he takes during his Bespin duel.  Perhaps such a release could still happen later.

Luke was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2435: The Child

THE CHILD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

The Mandalorian was a pretty huge hit right out of the gate, but pretty much everything else about the show pales in comparison to the Baby Yoda phenomenon.  Kept a well-guarded secret by those involved in the show, “The Child” (as he was officially dubbed by Disney) was immediately met with pretty much universal approval, and an insane demand for all the merchandise imaginable.  Of course, part of keeping Baby Yoda such a well-guarded secret was not letting any of the licensors even know the character existed until after the first episode had dropped, meaning there was a bit of a gap between his appearance on the show an any merch.  Fortunately, things have turned around pretty darn quickly on that front.  There are a lot of options right out of the gate, but I’m kicking things off with a look at Hasbro’s Black Series offering.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Child is a one-off Black Series release, which started hitting retail right at the beginning of May.  He’s using the packaging style introduced in 2018 with the Porg two-pack, but he’s at a slightly higher price point.  The figure is incredibly small, and indeed a lot smaller than many people expected.  However, at just over an inch tall, he’s pretty much exactly the size he should be to go with the rest of The Black Series line.  He’s better articulated than you might expect, with 7 points of articulation.  That includes ball joints at the neck, shoulders, and ankles (yes, he’s got a fully detailed pair of feet that no one’s ever going to see).  His range is rather limited overall, especially on the shoulders.  I was, however, quite pleased with the mobility on the neck joint, which allows for a good deal of expressiveness to his posing.  The sculpt is rather well detailed for the size, with the head exhibiting the best work.  The likeness to the puppet from the show is pretty spot-on, especially in the face.  The paintwork on this figure is fairly light.  The construction of the figure is such that most of the color work is done via straight molded coloring.  There’s a little bit of work on his face and ears, which is up to par with the current standard for the main line, so no complaints there.  Baby Yoda’s got a fun selection of cool extras, including the frog-like creature it eats after the Mando finds it, the bowl of broth he carries during Mando and Cara’s face-off in Chapter 4, and the knob from Mando’s ship that he gives to Baby Yoda as a toy.  There’s also a clear box to keep all of the extras in, so that you don’t lose them.  I definitely appreciate that, and they’ll be staying in that box pretty much exclusively for my display.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I will fully admit to being drawn in by the Baby Yoda craze, and his inclusion in The Mandalorian was definitely one of my favorite parts of the show.  I definitely wanted him for my Black Series collection, in what ever capacity Hasbro chose to deliver.  It’s hard to say that this guy’s really a full-fledged figure in his own right, but he’s a pretty fantastic companion to the rest of the Mando stuff they’ve put out so far.  He’s a fun little package.

I picked up this little guy from my friends at All Time Toys.  He’s currently sold out, but they’ve still got a bunch of other Black Series, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2410: Imperial Probe Droid

IMPERIAL PROBE DROID

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Tenacious hunters, probe droids are armed with powerful blasters.”

Oh my, could it be?  Could it actually be something new on the site?  Yeah, I’m as surprised as all of you.  I was fully expecting the delving into the back catalog to go on a little bit longer…it actually might still, but at the very least, I’ve two new items for today and tomorrow to keep everyone feeling at least a little bit up to date (or as up to date as a review written a month ago can be…I built up quite a buffer you guys).  So, what’s the new thing?  Well, technically something old.  2020 marks the 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and so Hasbro’s kind of re-orienting their various Star Wars lines this year in order to tie in with that a bit.  Some of the vintage-style-cardback figures have slipped out early, but the first real release of the 40th stuff is the next entry in the Black Series deluxe line-up, the Imperial Probe Droid.  As the first thing the audience sees in Empire, I suppose it’s a pretty fitting way of launching things, so let’s get right into it!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Probe Droid is figure D3 in the Black Series line-up, putting him right after the (no longer Best Buy-exclusive) Heavy Infantry Mandalorian.  It marks the Probe Droid’s fourth time in figure form, coming fairly closely to the third, which was released with the Last Jedi stuff in 2017.  On its base, the Droid stands, or floats rather, 8 1/4 inches tall and it has 23 points of articulation.  The smaller Probot was quite well articulated for the line he came from, and this guy does even better, with joints at pretty much all the spots that there are joints on the actual thing.  You’d be surprised how rare an occurrence that is.  In terms of the sculpt, this figure feels very much like an upscaling of the Last Jedi figure, which I suppose makes sense, because it effectively is.  They are adapting the same source material after all.  It’s even more sharply detailed this time, as you would expect for something with this much more canvas to work with.  In general, it’s just a very technically impressive sculpt, and the only way you’re really going to get better is with something on the much more high-end side of things.  And even then, that goes into the question of more details just being more attainable at a larger scale.  While the smaller Probot was light on the paint front, this one is actually pretty involved.  There’s a lot of really nifty little detail work, with all sorts of wear and tear worked in on the body’s main chunk.  It makes him look like a real working robot, and it really sells that signature used styling of the Star Wars universe.  The Probe Droid is a bit hard to accessorize, since it’s not like it uses a lot of stuff.  This guy gets a base to allow for a simulation of its usual hovering.  It’s the one area where I don’t feel this is quite as across the board an improvement on that smaller release, as they’ve opted to go with a more environment based stand, rather than the all clear like the prior figure.  It doesn’t look bad, and the snowy grounds of Hoth are the only time we see the bot in the movie, but it’s a little bit less versatile than I’d like, since I’m not really one for diorama set-ups.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Probe Droid is my first new toy purchase in roughly a month…or at least was when I wrote this review back in April.  I don’t know what antics future Ethan’s gotten up to in the mean time, but I’m sure we’ll all find out together.  While I wasn’t quite as excited as some when the figure was shown off (I was pretty darn happy with that smaller-scale one), I’ve kind of given in on owning most things Black Series these days.  Whatever the case, All Time got them in stock, and I, as previously noted, hadn’t gotten anything new, so, yeah, sign me up for that.  I’m glad I picked him up, because he’s the best Probe Droid out there, and a cool centerpiece to the Empire collection I’m going on only further build during this coming year.

As noted above, the Probe Droid was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2386: AT-AT Driver

AT-AT DRIVER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Empire’s Combat Drivers are trained to handle everything in the Imperial ground arsenal, but AT-AT pilots see themselves as elite, controlling their massive four-footed assault vehicles in combat against Rebel targets.”

Okay, let’s round out this week of Black Series reviews with one more from the backlog.  I’m looking at another member of the Imperial forces, but this time he’s of the more usual faceless nature for these guys.  The Empire Strikes Back‘s Battle of Hoth introduced a lot of new designs, but perhaps its most lasting and impactful was the AT-AT, a weird robot camel contraption which serves as the backbone of the Imperial forces during their run on the Rebel base.  It being Star Wars, the AT-ATs of course got their own dedicated, uniquely designed drivers, one of which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The AT-AT Driver is figure 31 in the Black Series line-up, and hit shelves in the rather sizable late-2016 assortment that also included Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Snowtrooper, Revan, and Sabine.  Initial shipments of this figure erroneously named him the “AT-AT Pilot”, which was apparently a major oversight, and needed a correction, so here we are with this corrected thing.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation. The articulation is okay overall, but the shoulder’s are reduced to little more than cut joints by the design of the shoulder plates, which don’t move out of the way of the joints the way they should.  Despite some surface-level similarities between the two designs, the AT-AT Driver shares no parts with the TIE Pilot, though they do still share quite a similar construction.  The sculpt does a respectable job of replicating the design as we see it on the screen, and the best work is definitely on the helmet, which is a pretty pitch-perfect recreation of the actual thing.  The detailing on this guy’s not quite as crisp as on some figures from the line, but it’s not the worst we’ve seen either.  The paintwork on this guy isn’t super exciting to look at, but there is a fair bit going on there.  The helmet and the chest piece get the most intricate work, and everything is crisp and clean.  Along with changing the name on the box, there was also a running change with the figure inside.  Early shipments had this figure with a flatter sheen on his armored parts, instead of the shinier finish of most of the run.  Mine is a later run figure through and through.  The Driver is packed with a standard E-11 blaster rifle, which we’ve seen dozens of times before.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like yesterday’s figure, this one’s been sitting on a shelf, unopened, for over a year.  Likewise, he was also purchased from Cosmic Comix, during one of their sales.  I’m not sure exactly why I picked him up, but I recall I was choosing between this or the Snowtrooper.  I’ve always liked this design a little more, so here we are.  He’s a nice enough figure.  Not super thrilling, or anything, but a solid recreation of a solid design.

#2385: Death Star Trooper

DEATH STAR TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Death Star Troopers were the elite of the Imperial Navy who were stationed aboard the first and second Death Star. They were responsible for piloting the super-structure to its destinations and firing the super laser on the orders of those in command of the station. They wore black uniforms and flared, reflective helmets.”

Remember when I reviewed the Power of the Force Death Star Trooper?  If yes, then good, because that means you know the guy I’m reviewing here.  If not, then you should maybe click on that link.  Back?  Great, now you know the guy I’m reviewing here.  He’s not really super pivotal to the movie or anything, but he’s got a nifty little history in terms of toys.  Okay, let’s have a look at his Black Series release, because what else is there to do these days?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Death Star Trooper was initially released under his vintage “Death Squad Commander” monicker on a vintage-style card for the 40th Anniversary of A New Hope.  He was then subsequently re-issued two years later as figure 60 in the main Black Series line-up.  He hit shelves alongside the the first wave of Solo product, as well as the similarly re-issued Jawa and the similarly-themed Tarkin.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  By virtue of being a re-issue from earlier in the line, the Trooper’s articulation isn’t quite as impressive as Han and Lando from the same assortment, but it’s still pretty usable in terms of the sorts of poses this guy might need to pull off.  The sculpt is a pretty solid recreation of the look we see on screen.  Like the Rebel Trooper than would follow later in the line, the helmet is a removable piece.  It doesn’t stay in place quite as well, due I’d say to its more flared design.  The head under the helmet isn’t quite as directly based on one actor the way the Rebel was, and looks to be an amalgam of the handful of actors we see in the role on screen.  He’s definitely got some of Joe Johnston’s features, so it’s possible they intended this as a more direct reference, but they’re all kind of generic-looking.  It’s a suitable head for the purposes of this figure to be sure, since you can get away with having a few of them on the shelf without it looking too much like a bunch of clones.  The paint work is a distinguishing feature of this release, since between the original and the re-issue, the line had introduced the face printing as a standard feature.  That means his head is particularly life-like, and a noticeable step-up from the original release.  The Death Star Trooper includes a blaster pistol, which he can hold or store in his holster at his side.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The 40th figures hit at a period when I was without the funds for quite as much collecting, so I didn’t track that one down, despite being at least a little bit interested.  By the time the regular release hit, I was more focused on others in the set, so I again ended up passing.  I ended up getting him back in late 2018 during one of Cosmic Comix’s sales.  He’s sat unopened on my shelf since then, but, hey, he’s been opened now!  Honestly, he’s a pretty okay figure.  Certainly not as goofy as the PotF figure.

#2384: Jaina Solo

JAINA SOLO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Daughter of Leia Organa and Han Solo, Jaina Solo is a Jedi student of Luke Skywalker. Like her father, she is also a crack pilot and skilled mechanic. Like her mother, she is a born leader.”

In the quite lengthy gap between the conclusion of the Star Wars saga with Return of the Jedi and the continuation of said concluded saga with The Force Awakens, in addition to some prequels or something, we got a whole host of tales from the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  There were a few different contenders for follow-ups to Jedi, but in quite a good number of them, Han and Leia had at the very least a daughter named Jaina (the number of siblings Jaina had, their status as good or bad, and their status as alive or dead was up in the air, however).  Jaina was a pretty popular character, but ended up removed wholesale when Disney reset things in order to clear the stage for TFA.  However, in an effort to not completely overlook her, Hasbro did include her as the EU’s first introduction into The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jaina Solo is figure 56 in the Black Series line-up, hitting in an assortment that included a single-carded Supreme Leader Snoke, Rose, and the slightly revised Jedi Training Rey.  Jaina is officially classified as a “Legends” figure, denoting her status as removed from the cannon.  She was also the winner of the 2016 Fan’s Choice poll, which was what actually got the EU recognition into the line, really.  The figure stands just over 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  Jaina was actually the first real taste of Hasbro’s new mid-torso articulation they were working on, as it’s the same style of joint that would eventually show up on the Lightning Collection figures last year.  It’s got a lot more range, which is pretty much an across the board thing for Jaina’s articulation, really.  The figure sports an all-new sculpt, and quite an impressive one at that.  Jaina is seen here in her pilot’s attire, which was a change from her prior 3 3/4 inch figure, which went with her Jedi robes.  Personally, I much prefer this look, and it helped keep her a little more visually distinctive from Rey, so that’s definitely a plus.  Unlike prior pilots, Jaina’s web gear and vest are totally removable, allowing for a more tactical on the go jumpsuited look.  I would love to see this sort of thing implemented on a Luke or Poe figure in the future, because it honestly works quite well here.  Jaina’s likeness in an interesting one, because she doesn’t have an established actress or anything, but she’s supposed to look like her parents.  They’re kind of merged some features from both Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford into one, and it actually looks pretty convincing (although, for some reason, I can’t help but see Amanda Bynes in there).  Jaina’s paintwork is a lot of dark colors (she was a stealth pilot after all), but it’s a cool look.  The paintwork is quite crisp, and there are some nice subtleties to the shades of black mixed throughout.  She had the misfortune of being from literally the last assortment not to feature the printed faces, but hers is at least pretty clean.  In addition to the previously mentioned removable web gear, Jaina also includes her lightsaber, a blaster pistol, and a removable pilot’s helmet to complete her ensemble.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I never once saw Jaina in stores, due to her being the most demanded figure in her assortment by far.  By the time Hasbro did some revision cases to get more of her out there, and her value had plummeted on the aftermarket, I had kind of gotten distracted, and I just never got around to grabbing her.  Fortunately for me, one got traded in as part of the same collection that included yesterday’s Ahsoka.  Like that one, this is a surprisingly good figure, but that’s an even higher bar to clear for this one, since I already was expecting something really good.  She’s a really solid addition to the line.

#2383: Ahsoka Tano

AHSOKA TANO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice Ahsoka Tano left the Jedi Order before it was destroyed during Order 66. She would reemerge years later as Fulcrum, a leader in the fledgling rebellion against the Empire.”

Continuing down this road of looking back on older Black Series figures, let’s jump around a bit.  Recently, we’ve gotten an *almost* complete selection of the main characters from Rebelsthereby showcasing the line’s ability to adapt animated characters into a more realistic style.  One of the two earliest examples of this translation was today’s figure, Ahsoka Tano, one of the most prolific animation-only characters in the cannon (who will, incidentally, finally be getting a live-action counterpart in the second season of The Mandalorian), and certainly a solid choice for trying such a prospect out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ahsoka was figure 20 in the Black Series line-up, hitting in the gap between The Force Awakens and Rogue One, in an assortment with the previously reviewed Kanan and Farmboy Luke.  The whole assortment was relatively difficult to get at first, but while the other two eventually showed up in greater numbers, Ahsoka was always the most in-demand of the three.  There are a number of designs to choose from for Ahsoka, but this figure opted to adapt her adult appearance from Rebels, which given the pairing with Kanan, made quite a bit of sense.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Given what period of the line she hails from, Ahsoka’s articulation is actually pretty alright.  Not only does she have more points than the average release from this period, but they generally have a better than average range.  The ball-jointed torso in particular adds a lot of posing variety.  In terms of translation from animation to the “real world” style of The Black Series, Ahsoka was definitely more successful than her assortment-mate Kanan.  I don’t know if it’s just that she’s got a more easily translated design, but it a much smoother transition, and she looks more like a real person, albeit an alien one.  Honestly, the alien thing probably helped more than anything.  Like Kanan, she does a nice job of giving the various parts of her outfit distinct textures, which sells the realism bit even a little more.  Ahsoka’s skirt is a mixed media piece, with the actual skirt being a simple cloth piece, and the more fanciful details being a rubber overlay.  More recently, that cloth part has been removed from figures, and Ahsoka kinda makes me miss it, because it works well here.  Ahsoka’s paintwork may predate the move to the new style faces, but you’d be a little hard-pressed to notice.  It’s again largely due to that whole alien thing, but also she’s just got a really sharp paint scheme, definitely the best of this particular era of figures.  It looks really solid.  Ahsoka is packed with two distinct lightsabers, like she wielded in the show.  They are the unique pale blue they should be, and can be hung from her waist piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get Ahsoka when she was new for a few reasons.  Firstly, I was still desperately trying to cling to my “no prequels” rule.  Secondly, I only saw her one time at retail.  Thirdly, I was moving at the time, and one extra figure was hard to justify.  And lastly, I hadn’t yet seen any of Rebels, so my only real knowledge of Ahsoka was from Clone Wars, and I honestly wasn’t that big a fan of the character.  After getting more into Rebels and rewatching Clone Wars, I came to appreciate her a bit more, so I was finally willing to add Ahsoka to my collection…just in time for her to jump way up on the after market.  Fortunately, one got traded into All Time right before the shut down, and they pretty much just gave it to me.  She’s a surprisingly good figure, and I’m glad I was able to finally get one.

#2382: Lando Calrissian

LANDO CALRISSIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Once a smooth-talking smuggler, Lando Calrissian changed from a get-rich-quick schemer to a selfless leader in the fight against the Empire.”

Okay, well, I’m not quite into the backlogs of my collection yet, but I’m running on fumes in regards to new stuff.  This week, I’ll be looking at a few things that are new to me, along with some things that I just hadn’t gotten around to reviewing, all under one common theme: Star Wars: The Black Series.  So, let’s kick things off by taking a look at one of the main heroes of the Original Trilogy, as well as one of the returning faces for last year’s Rise of Skywalker, Lando Calrissian!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lando Calissian is figure 39 in the Black Series line-up.  He hit shelves alongside the Royal Guard, Qui-Gonn, and a Tusken Raider.  Kind of an eclectic selection, but there it is.  Though it’s the third figure I’m looking at, this was Lando’s first figure in the line, and is based on his attire from Empire.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Lando is pretty standard for the era of the line in which he was released, being wedged between Rogue One and Last Jedi.  The line hadn’t quite made it to the improvements we would see in the latter half of the Last Jedi product, so compared to the other two Landos, he’s a noticeable step down in terms of both articulation and level of detail in the sculpt.  The lessened details are most noticeable on the head.  While this guy doesn’t look *unlike* Billy Dee Williams (in fact, he’s got a more than passing resemblance, to be fair), he certainly doesn’t have the spot-on likeness we saw on the Skiff Disguise Lando.  The rest of the body is a decent enough sculpt, if somewhat stiff in what you can do with the articulation.  The cape is a rather bulky rubber piece, which kind of restricts what can be done with the arms.  If you’re going to want any sort of gun-wielding pose, the cape’s gonna have to go.  The cape is also rather on the soft side when it comes to the details, which is really in contrast to the rest of the figure.  You can see they put effort into putting texturing into the sculpt, but it’s almost like something went off in the production process.  Lando’s paintwork pre-dates the move to the face printing, so he’s not nearly as lifelike or subtle on the detailing as figures that would follow.  He’s better than some of the figures that preceded him, though, and at least what paint is there is pretty crisp and cleanly applied.  Lando is packed with a blaster and a communicator, which pretty much covers the important extras he needs in this look.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The whole assortment that Lando was part of was a little tricky to find.  I did see Lando in person once, but I was low on funds, and ultimately had to pass.  When I got Skiff Guard Lando, I figured I was good, but I happened upon this guy at a Five Below a couple of months back.  For $5, I definitely wasn’t passing this guy up.  He’s a step down from more recent figures, but he’s certainly not a bad offering, and he doesn’t stick out quite as badly as some of the earlier figures did.  Now I’ve got my whole core Empire cast finally!

#2358: Count Dooku

COUNT DOOKU

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Count Dooku was a menacing Sith Lord and central figure in the Clone Wars. Once a Jedi, he became disillusioned with the Jedi order and thirst for greater power.”

For each entry in the Prequel Trilogy, they really tried to introduce a new and compelling villain.  They had three really strong starting points, but all three ended up being a lot of wasted potential, at least until the Clone Wars cartoon came along and actually tried to do something with them.  For Attack of the Clones, arguably the weakest of the three prequel films, Lucas got Christopher Lee, one of the greatest actors ever to grace the silver screen, to portray the role of Count Dooku, the second attempt at a decent foe.  To say the role squandered Lee’s talent is something of an understatement.  Still, he did have a cool look, and he was still Christopher freaking Lee, so no one’s gonna say no to some action figure love for this guy.  He was the final main prequel foe unaccounted for in the Black Series, but now he finally gets to join the line!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Count Dooku is figure 107 in the Black Series line-up.  He closes out this round of figures (the Sith Jet Trooper bridges the gap between the Knight of Ren and this figure as number 106, but he’s a repaint, so I haven’t picked him up yet), and is our second prequel figure in the set, which is a little surprising, since they tend to be fewer and further between than the other films.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He actually manages to be one of the most poseable Black Series offerings, especially for one of the Jedi.  He’s even got the butterfly joints like we saw with the Sith Trooper, which I hope are going to become a more regular feature for the line, much like the double ball-jointed necks have.  The sculpt is an all-new affair, and another really good one at that.  The head has a really nice Lee likeness, and they’ve certainly captured his rather impressive height.  The line has been going back and forth on cloth vs plastic for the capes, but Dooku goes with cloth.  While it does rob him of the cape’s proper collar from the film, it nevertheless works very well, and with its two-tone design, it’s definitely among the nicest cloth pieces from the line.  Dooku’s paintwork is mostly pretty basic, with the exception of the head, which of course uses the face printing for a nice realistic look.  Dooku is packed with his distinctive curved-hilted lightsaber (which no one on the production of the films apart from Christopher Lee seemed to understand was not designed to be held like a standard lightsaber….sorry, it still bugs me), which has not one, but two blades.  The first is a standard one, but the second has a slight spread to it, simulating it being swung around.  It’s a pretty cool idea, and I’d like to see more of it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Attack of the Clones lies in an odd spot for me.  It’s unquestionably my least favorite Star Wars film, and I genuinely think it barely even qualifies as a movie.  Despite that, I’m filled with an odd bit of nostalgia for the film and all the stuff associated with it, Dooku very definitely included.  I was definitely on board for this figure, and I think the final product is yet another strong entry in this latest round of figures.

Count Dooku was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.