#2331: Captain Phasma – Quicksilver Baton

CAPTAIN PHASMA — QUICKSILVER BATON

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Captain Phasma and a squad of elite First Order troopers capture Resistance heroes Finn and Rose, who have infiltrated Snoke’s flagship, the Supremacy. Before Phasma can eliminate them, a series of unforeseen events leads to a dramatic battle between Phasma and Finn.”

Poor Captain Phasma.  She had everybody on her side in the hype for the new movies and then it all just sort of fell by the wayside.  She’s not that bad a character, but I guess it’s hard to live up to those lofty fan expectations.  Lessened fan interest in the character, coupled with keeping more or less the same design from one film to the next meant that Phasma’s toy presence for The Last Jedi was seriously reduced.  She got one Black Series offering, offering a more scene specific look, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quicksilver Baton Captain Phasma was originally intended as a Toys R Us-exclusive Black Series offering, set for release in mid-2018.  Guess what happened in mid-2018.  Yeah, there was a distinct lack of TRU to give the exclusive to (in the US at least; Canadian TRUs still carried this figure as their exclusive), so like the Zuckuss figure, Phasma was salvaged by Disney Stores for her US release.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and she has 24 points of articulation.  Given how her design didn’t actually change between the films, it not a huge surprise that this figure is largely a re-use of the previous figure.  She gets a new head, and swaps out the plastic cape for a cloth one.  I also got a slightly better range of motion out of the hips and shoulders on this figure, but that might be a figure to figure sort of thing.  The new head is designed to replicate the damage Phasma takes to her helmet at the end of her battle with Finn, so we get to see just a little bit of Gwedolyn Christie’s eye peering through.  It’s a pretty cool effect, as is the sculpted damage.  I also really like that they sculpted her head and helmet as separate pieces, further adding to the effect.  The cloth cape doesn’t quite have the same impressive appearance of the sculpted one, but it does make the figure a bit less of a statue.  Phasma’s paint remains similar to the last release, but she of course gets the added detailing on the eye (which is printed), as well as the scorch damage on her helmet and torso.  In addition to the gold blaster rifle included with the last figure, this one also includes the Quicksilver baton in both long and short forms.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I looked at this figure when it was new, but given the choice between Phasma and Zuckuss, there was really no contest, given the scene-specific nature of this particular figure.  I was evidently far from the only fan to make such a choice, and Phasma ended up getting clearanced, at which point she was cheap enough to get me interested.  She’s a nice figure, and honestly a better figure than the standard.  It’s a shame they didn’t do more with the character, but at least we got her from her best sequence.

#2330: Clone Commander Obi-Wan Kenobi

CLONE COMMANDER OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A legendary Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi was a noble man and gifted in the ways of the Force. He trained Anakin Skywalker, served as a general in the Republic Army during the Clone Wars, and guided Luke Skywalker as a mentor.”

Between Episodes II and III of the prequel trilogy, the Clone Wars got their first cartoon treatment in a 2D series led by animator Genndy Tartakovsky.  While it’s place in the cannon proper has been taken by the later 3D series, the broad strokes from it do still crop up from time to time.  One of the most recurring elements for re-appearance is the show’s distinctive design for Obi-Wan, which placed the Jedi in a suit of clone armor so that he could do battle with the bounty hunter Durge.  It’s a really cool look, and its gotten surprisingly little toy love.   Fortunately, though, it’s gotten a spot in The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Commander Obi-Wan is a late 2019 Walgreens-exclusive Black Series release (and, fun fact, Walgreens’ second time getting Obi-Wan as an exclusive).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Obi-Wan’s largely made from re-used parts, as pretty much everyone was expecting when this figure was announced.  He’s built on the standard Clone Trooper that Hasbro’s been using since early in the line, and I’m sort of mixed emotions about that.  It’s a nice looking body, and it was one of the best in terms of poseability when it was new, but it’s got some definite issues compared to more recent stuff, most notably those really restricted shoulders.  Hasbro created a totally new clone body for Captain Rex, but as of yet haven’t used for anyone but him.  This feels like it would have been a good place to start, but maybe Hasbro’s got a specific reason for sticking with the old mold for now.  Obi-Wan gets a new head, belt, clasps for his cape, and a slightly retooled upper torso to work with the clasps.  The head’s really the star piece here, with a really strong McGreggor likeness.  Technically, for true accuracy to the source he should still have his Attack of the Clones hair, in contrast to this one’s Revenge of the Sith appearance, but given that the 3D show seems to have firmly decided that Obi-Wan had the short hair for the Clone Wars, and the fact that I honestly think it looks better this way, I can’t really complain.  He’s also got a cloth goods robe, which isn’t terribly impressive, but also isn’t terribly terrible (which some of the Black Series cloth stuff really has), so I again can’t complain.  Obi-Wan’s is largely pretty basic, apart from the head, which gets the nice printed face technique, which looks really nice on this particular figure.  Obi-Wan is packed with his lightsaber (which an be stashed on his brand new belt) and one of the stands they’ve been packing in with the exclusives.  It’s a shame he didn’t also get the standard clone helmet, since he wore it with the armor, but he’s at least got the bare minimum.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy is probably the most excited I’ve been for a Walgreens-exclusive Black Series, which is honestly a little funny given my prior “no prequels” rule, but I’ve always really liked this design, and this is the first time The Black Series has done anything 2D Clone Wars-related.  I lucked into this guy at the Walgreens between two of my day job’s sites, which made for a nice mid-day pick-me-up.  While the older body does hold him back a little in terms of posing, he’s still a really, really awesome figure, and I’m glad I was able to track one down.  Here’s hoping for a Durge to face off against him!

#2329: Heavy Infantry Mandalorian

HEAVY INFANTRY MANDALORIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A brawny warrior encased in the strongest beskar armor, the mysterious Heavy Infantry Mandalorian is part of a secretive enclave of his people. A born survivor, he guards a precious armory and helps to keep the flames of Mandalorian heritage flickering in this time of galactic chaos.”

By far the breakaway merchandising hit of the three Star Wars franchise entries that had to share last year’s product, The Mandalorian has gotten most of its product from Hasbro in the form of their more collector oriented Black Series line.  The main line has gotten three show-related figures so far, plus there have been two exclusives through Best Buy to fill out the cast a bit more.  The first was IG-11, but the second is Jon Favreau’s unnamed (on screen anyway; his credited name is “Paz Vizla”) heavy infantry Mandalorian, who I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Heavy Infantry Mandalorian is Best Buy’s second exclusive Black Series item.  For the first time on an exclusive item, he’s actually a numbered entry in the line, being numbered D2, signifying him as the second entry in the Deluxe sub-line, following General Grievous last year.  He’s based on the character’s appearance in “The Sin.”  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Despite his bulked up design, Paz is never the less poseable on par with the rest of the more recent figures in the line, meaning he has a pretty easy time getting into all of the necessary poses for the character.  His sculpt is all-new, and it’s quite impressive.  He’s definitely got some serious heft to him, which is appropriate for a character with “Heavy” in his name.  The armored elements all match up with the design as seen on screen pretty well, and the detailing is all pretty sharply defined.  He definitely manages to be a bit more screen accurate than the standard Mando, and it’s not like that particular figure was all that far off.  The paintwork captures the slightly unique color scheme of the character nicely and cleanly.  I really dig the shade of blue they used here, and the flatter colors actually make him stand out pretty well from the rest of the line.  I also quit like the few spots of wear visible throughout the armor.  It gives it that appropriate lived-in feel.  The Heavy Mando only has one accessory, but it’s a really good, pretty darn sizable one, since it’s his heavy blaster.  It’s connected to his jetpack, and features a moving handle and spinning barrels.  Plus, it can also be stored on his back, as seen in the show, and it stays on there nice and securely.  Definitely a very nice piece for an already very nice figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this guy was shown off (prior to the character’s appearance on the show), I was already on board, because man is that a cool design.  I was a little bummed when I found out he’d be a Best Buy exclusive, but fortunately for me, Max let me know as soon as he went up for preorder on their site, so I was able to get one with no fuss.  Like all of the Mandalorian-centric figures, he’s a really, really solid figure, and just really one of the Black Series‘ best.

#2302: Wedge Antilles

WEDGE ANTILLES

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A talented young Rebel pilot from Corellia, Wedge Antilles survived the attack on the first Death Star to become a respected veteran of Rogue Squadron.”

Though he may be on the short list of characters to appear in all three of the original Star Wars films, poor Wedge Antilles has always had to play the waiting game when it comes to action figures.  He was completely absent from the vintage line, and while he’s subsequently gotten a decent selection, it took well over a hundred figures to finally get him in added to The Black Series.  Better late than never, right?  And, as luck would have it, his inclusion in the line just so happens to nicely coincide with the character’s long-awaited return to the franchise in The Rise of Skywalker.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wedge Antilles is figure 102 in the Black Series line-up, the last figure of this assortment numerically.  He’s also the second of the two OT-based figures in the set.  And, believe it or not, he’s only our second OT X-Wing pilot in the line, which seems almost baffling.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  In contrast to the rest of the line-up from this assortment, Wedge is predominantly built out of re-used parts, namely the body of the X-Wing Pilot Luke figure from way back in the very first assortment.  The two wore the same uniform in the movie, and the actors are within an inch of each other in height and pretty similar in build, so it’s hard to blame them for going for the re-use.  That said, I think some collectors were hoping they might take this opportunity to finally give us someone in the padded pilot gear from Empire, thereby keeping Wedge as a totally unique figure.  Of course, then he wouldn’t match the Luke we have, or the inevitable Biggs figure, and wouldn’t have the added benefit of giving Hasbro an easy way of filling out the line-up with some easy re-use.  Plus, it’s not like Wedge figures have a history of getting new parts, so it’s really not much of a shock.  On the plus side, the X-Wing Luke body is honestly one of the best of the earliest entries in the line, and while some of the articulation isn’t quite as well worked in as more recent figures, it still holds up.  Wedge definitely doesn’t look out of place with the rest of his assortment at all.  He does get a new head, of course, which sports a pretty decent likeness of Dennis Lawson.  The hair’s a little weird, because it doesn’t match any of the un-helmeted shots of Wedge we get in the movies.  It’s not totally off base, though, and honestly I imagine a lot of people will be keeping the helmet on him anyway.  With the helmet on, the likeness is pretty much dead on.  The paintwork on Wedge is essentially the same as on the X-Wing Luke figures, but it’s worth noting that there are a few small, easy to miss changes between the two figures, which really don’t amount to much.  Beyond that, he’s got the expected changes to the head, which is again using the face print tech.  Wedge is packed with his helmet, which is a re-decoed version of the one included with Luke, as well as a DH-17 blaster rifle, which is something we don’t see Wedge carrying in the film, but is standard issue for the Rebels, so it makes sense.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wedge is a prominent figure for me because Wedge is honestly my favorite Star Wars character.  He was at the top of my wishlist for this line from the very start of it, ever since I got that first X-Wing Pilot Luke back in 2013.  It’s been a long wait for him, and he’s a pretty straight forward figure, but he was never the less worth the long wait.  He’s not overly flashy or anything, and perhaps doesn’t have the flair of the others in this assortment, but he’s still my personal favorite.  Now, how about that Empire variant.  And maybe a Rise version as well.  And a TIE pilot version.  Heck, let’s just reinstate the Evolutions packs, and get them all at once.  It’s the only way to be sure.

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

#2301: Cara Dune

CARA DUNE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A veteran of the Galactic Civil War who fought under the banner of the Rebellion, Cara Dune is a seasoned warrior.”

The first round of Black Series figures for this past Force Friday gave us two Mandalorian-themed figures, and the two Best Buy exclusive offerings have added two more, but there was one fairly prominent character who had as of yet not seen any coverage. Well, one fairly prominent character whose presence in a toy line wouldn’t have spoiled the show’s big reveal at the end of the first episode, anyway.  Introduced in Chapter 4, Cara Dune is fairly quickly established as a well-crafted foil to the Mando, and though she wouldn’t end up quite as prominent in the show’s first season as early promotional material might have suggested, she still has quite a role.  And now let’s look at the action figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cara Dune is figure 101 in the Black Series line-up.  She’s the only Mandalorian-based figure in this particular five figure assortment.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  In terms of motion, Cara is on par with the rest of her assortment, being a nice half-way point of mobility and sanctity of sculpt.  There are definitely spots on this figure that I assumed would be restricted (namely the shoulders and the neck), which ended up a lot less restricted than I’d expected, and that’s a definite plus.  As it stands, she can comfortably wield her rifle with both arms, and even manage some pretty decent action poses.  She also doesn’t have too much trouble remaining standing, at least with my figure.  The sculpt here is definitely a nice one, and possibly the nicest of this current assortment.  The face is undeniably Gina Carano, and is easily one of the best likenesses we’ve gotten from a Black Series figure, right up there with Tarkin and Dryden in terms of accuracy.  I definitely dig it.  The body sculpt’s proportions are a good match for Carano’s build, and her outfit is quite nicely recreated at the smaller scale.  The multi-tiered construction of the armor adds a nice bit of depth to the figure, and makes the whole thing look nicely put together.  Cara’s paint work is definitely the most impressive affair from this assortment.  On its surface, it’s a little monochromatic, as is true to the show.  However, there’s actually quite a bit going on.  The face is again using the printed styling, which looks incredibly lifelike here.  It also includes her very small little Rebel tattoo on her cheek bone, which is quite an impressive touch.  Her shocktrooper stripes on her arm are also impressive, as are the wear and tear marks on her armor, which give it a suitably lived-in feel.  Much like Jannah, Cara is a quite well-accessorized figure, including her large blaster rifle, a pistol, and a knife.  The rifle includes a removable sling, and the pistol and knife both have spots on Cara’s person, allowing for everything to be stowed somewhere on the figure, which is always cool to see.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cara’s figure had good timing, first arriving at retail right on top of her appearance on the show, which made her a pretty easy purchase for me.  Though, continuing the overall trend of this assortment, I wasn’t expecting to like her quite as much as I do.  There’s a lot of cool stuff going on with this figure, and it results in one of the most solid standard Black Series releases I’ve messed with in a while.  Now, here’s to getting a Mando that actually matches this figure.

Cara was purchased 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.

#2300: Luke Skywalkwer – Yavin Ceremony

LUKE SKWALKER — YAVIN CEREMONY

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

On Yavin 4, the Rebels hold a ceremony to award the heroes who bravely fought to destroy the Death Star.  Luke Skywalker receives his medal for bravery from Princess Leia.”

Do you ever have that moment where you have something really monumental and important in front of you, and you think to yourself really hard about how this is the absolute worst time to screw up, and you focus so hard on that only to inadvertently screw up terribly on something that you’ve managed to do correctly hundreds of times previously, to the point where it should be second nature to you?  Because we know Hasbro had that moment.  And today we’re looking at that moment.  Behold, Luke Skywalkwer—crap, I mean Skwalker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalkwer – Yavin Ceremony is figure 100 in the Black Series line-up.  Of course, thanks to re-numberings and exclusives, there are far more than 100 figures in the line, but getting to the number is a momentous occasion nevertheless.  And before we get any further, yes, you read all those instances of Luke’s surname above correctly; on the packaging for the momentous number 100 figure, Hasbro somehow managed to misspell poor Luke’s last name, the name of a whole saga, three times in two different ways.  As someone who’s worked in publication design, my heart goes out to the poor designer who let that slip through.  They’re probably never going to live it down.  The truth is, if this had been any other numbered release, I don’t know that it would have caught quite as much flack, but unfortunately it’s the big 100, the one that people who very well may have never bought another Black Series will hold onto, and the one that people are far more likely to keep in package.  Heck, I’m a loose collector, and even I’m hanging onto the box for this one.  Admittedly, in my case it’s purely for the typos, but the point still stands.  This one’s probably going to be well-remembered.  Well, enough about the box, let’s talk about the actual Luke Skwalker figure inside!  As the properly written section of his name denotes, he’s wearing his slightly more uniform-esque get-up from the ceremony on Yavin IV that ends the first film.  Though only seen in one scene in the main films, the look served as Luke’s primary attire for his portion of the Holiday Special (I know) and recently saw a resurgence when it was used prominently in Marvel’s Star Wars comics.  This figure was actually released a little earlier last year as a con-exclusive with several additional accessories and a Marvel-inspired box.  As has become the trend with such exclusives and their inevitable re-releases, the core figures in the two packages are essentially identical.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Apart from being shared with the exclusive release, this Luke has a unique sculpt.  It’s our first truly new OT Luke since figure 21, and the line’s come a long way since then.  The result is definitely the most technically impressive Luke we’ve gotten in The Black Series.  The articulation is definitely one area of notable improvement for the most part, although the hip joints on this guy have a weird set up which places a definite learning curve on using them.  I’m not much of a fan.  Like the Jabba’s Palace figure, this Luke uses the new style of head construction with separate pieces for the hair and face, which makes for slightly more depth in the sculpt.  On my figure the hair and head don’t line up 100% perfectly, but it’s close enough to work.  It’s honestly Hasbro’s best Hamill, displacing the Jabba’s Palace figure’s very brief moment with that title.  The body construction is in a lot of ways very similar to Bespin Han, which is fine by me, because that was a good lay out for a figure, and the designs of the two costumes are also pretty similar.  His paintwork is fairly standard for the line at this point.  The base color is all pretty clean, and he’s got the printed face which looks plenty realistic.  The con-exclusive release had a lot of extras, where as this one is comparatively pretty light.  Both figures include the blaster, and this figure also includes the medal, making him specific to the ceremony.  That’s all he gets, which leaves the rather glaring omission of a lightsaber.  He doesn’t have it during the scene in the movie, so I guess there’s that reasoning, but that didn’t stop them from including both a saber and a helmet with the pilot Luke.  It’s also not a new piece, so it feels like it should have been an easy inclusion.  I’ve got a few of my own, so I can loan him one, but it’s a little annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, Cermony Luke wound up as my default Luke for a good while, and as such I’ve always had something of a soft spot for this particular look.  I like that the comics brought the design back, and I was very happy to see this figure unveiled.  He’s a proper choice for the big 100 number, and even with the goofiness surrounding the packaging and its many errors, this is a really nifty figure, and probably the best Black Series Luke.

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

#2299: First Order Jet Trooper

JET TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Specialized Stormtroopers of the First Order, Jet Troopers soar into battle equipped with agile rocket packs”

Alright, let’s keep this Black Series ball rolling.  Heck, let’s trek down that Rise of Skywalker path again while we’re at it.  Rise added the usual bank of new troopers, as each film tends to do.  While the Sith Troopers got a lot of the marketing focus, the coolest new additions for me were the Jet Trooper.  A Jet-equipped Stormtrooper isn’t a new concept by any means, but it’s a cool one nevertheless, and I was quite a fan of the new design they were sporting.  Lucky for me, that design is one of the earlier Rise of Skywalker designs to get covered by The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jet Trooper is figure 99 in the Black Series line-up, the second of the two Rise figures in this second post-Triple Force Friday assortment.  He was also one of the figures to receive a “Carbonized” variant on the Force Friday launch, which is the same mold, but with a different finish.  Also, a little fun fact: aside from Rey, the Jet Trooper is the only design to be available across the three styles Hasbro is producing.  Not even Kylo gets that honor.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  The Jet Trooper is probably the most impressed I’ve been with a Trooper’s articulation at this scale, with a respectable range of elbow motion right out of the gate, hips that aren’t terribly restricted, and an amazingly improved range of motion on the neck joints, especially when compared to the Sith Trooper from the last assortment.  He’s not quite as stable on his feet as his GoA counterpart, but he’s better than the Vintage Collection version, and I only had one fall during photos.  Like both of his smaller-scale counterparts, the details on his armor are nice and crisp, and his design means that the sculpt is largely unimpeded by the articulation.  Unlike both smaller Jet Troopers, he’s got a little bit of extra posability on the jet pack itself, which adds movement to the two thrusters.  It’s a nice little touch to be sure.  And, though real-world inspired, this figure maintains a lot of that same sleekness that I enjoyed so much in the GoA figure.  Perhaps the only moderately baffling element to this figure’s sculpt for me is the presence of a holster spot on his right thigh, despite the fact that his included gun doesn’t include a matching tab.  I can only guess this was in order to facilitate a straight re-use of the mold for the upcoming Sith Jet Trooper, who will presumably be including the same armaments as the standard Sith Trooper.  The paint work on this figure more or less matches the GoA figure.  It’s basic, but that’s what you expect from one of these troopers.  He does get a few more black spots, but curiously loses the outlining of his faceplate from the prior figure, despite that outline being present on other versions of the design.  There’s still a sculpted element to it, so it’s not totally gone, but it’s much easier to miss.  The Jet Trooper is on the lighter side for accessories, including only his unique blaster rifle.  The regular troopers don’t have anything else in the movie, but it’s still a little light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I liked the Jet Trooper design as soon as I saw it, but I was admittedly unsure I’d need him in every style, and wasn’t sure what role, if any, he’d play in the final film.  After seeing the movie, and finding the Jet Trooper to actually be the best utilized of the new troopers, I was very happy to have picked him up across the board.  In a similar fashion to Jannah, I opened him up after the movie, already with heightened expectations, only to discover that he was even better than I’d been anticipating.  I’d go so far as to say that the Jet Trooper is the best designed and implemented trooper of the sequel trilogy Black Series offerings, if not possibly the best Black Series trooper as a whole.

The Jet Trooper was picked up 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.

#2298: Jannah

JANNAH

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“From an oceanic moon, Jannah leads a band of warriors, ready to charge against the forces of the First Order.”

Okay, I’ve got just a ton of stuff piling up for review here at the FiQ offices (aka the spare room in my house where I take all my photos), and I’m trying to make it through the backlog as best I can.  For right now, “as best I can” is gonna translate into a lot of theme weeks.  I just made my way through an entire series of Marvel Legends, and now I’m switching over to a week with Hasbro’s other big collectors line, Star Wars: The Black Series.  While prior movies under the Disney banner have more or less gotten several entire assortments of figures devoted to them, Rise of Skywalker is having to share, meaning that it’s a slightly slower role-out for them on the movie’s new characters and looks.  The second assortment did get us our first new character, former First Order operative Jannah, who I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jannah is figure 98 in the Black Series line-up, the first numerically in the second post-Triple Force Friday assortment, as well as the first of two Rise of Skywalker-based figures in the line-up.  The figure stands right at 6 inches and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s an all-new sculpt. In terms of the articulation work-in, there are some pluses and minuses.  There’s some really good range on the elbows, which does cause them to look a little off when in extreme poses, but I really don’t mind that. The hips are a bit more restricted, it would seem in an effort to preserve the sculpt.  Again, I don’t mind, but it can be a little limiting.  I had a very hard time getting much posability out of the ankles on my figure, which I’m not sure is an intended design thing; it felt like they were stuck.  Whatever the case, it made keeping my figure standing rather tricky, which got frustrating during the photo session for this review.  The sculpt is based on the only design she gets in the movie.  It’s a fairly decent design, sort of pairing off well against Rey’s initial scavenger look, but with a slightly more almost post-apocalyptic feel, denoting her move to a more backwater life after leaving the First Order.  Plus, it’s got goggles, and goggles are always cool.  The face sports a passable likeness of Naomi Ackie; it’s perhaps not the best the line has produced, but it’s far from the worst, especially when it comes to the sequel characters.  Some of that’s coming from the hair, which is more of a solid chunk than it is in the film.  In their defense, there’s not a lot that can be done about that; the translation to plastic is always going to make such things look a little bit off.  The body is a solid sculpt as well, with a lot of really nice detailing on her various elements of clothing, especially in the wrinkles on the pants.  She’s got a cape piece, which is removable in theory (you’ll need to take the head off to get it off of her), and despite being a little bit floaty when posing, it’s a pretty nice piece. Jannah’s paint work is pretty decent overall.  It tends to be more on the brown side of things (true to her movie design), but there’s enough of a mix of colors to keep her visually interesting.  She’s again got the printed face, which works pretty well for this figure.  There are some spots of slight misalignment on the base paint, especially on the shoes, but it ultimately doesn’t prove too distracting on the final product.  Jannah makes out quite well on the accessories front, especially for a Black Series figure.  She’s got her bow, a single arrow, a bundle of arrows, a quiver, and a small blaster pistol.  I definitely dig the bow, and after how many Hawkeye figures with no arrows, the selection is certainly refreshing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually got Jannah (and the rest of her assortment) just prior to the movie’s release.  I didn’t think much of her at the time (and in fact didn’t open her until after seeing the movie), but after seeing the movie, I don’t mind having her so much.  After opening the figure up and playing around with it a bit, I like it even more than I’d expected to, with the accessories in particular being the real highlight of the figure.  All that said, the figure does seem a little lonely at the moment.

Jannah was purchased from my friends All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#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.