#3120: Death Watch Mandalorian

DEATH WATCH MANDALORIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An extremist clan that attempted to take over Mandalore during the Clone Wars, the Death Watch Mandalorians are tenacious warriors embracing the ancient traditions of their people”

The first “mainstream” follow-up to Boba and Jango Fett in terms of depictions of the Mandalorians in Star Wars was in The Clone Wars, where the terrorist group the Death Watch appeared as antagonists of the Republic forces, attempting to take Mandalore back to its warrior roots.  The Watch took on a number of different forms over the course of the series, as they took over control of Mandalore, and eventually had their own splintering following Darth Maul’s machinations within the Watch.  Though the Watch are classically seen as antagonistic, The Mandalorian casts a slightly different light on them, placing them in the role of a young Din Djarin’s savior’s during the Clone Wars.  Well, at least one of them, anyway.  Since their appearance in the flashbacks in Season 1, the live action incarnation of the Death Watch has been slowly finding its way into toy form.  Today, I’m taking a look at the Black Series version.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Death Watch Mandalorian is figure 21 in the Mando-sub-set of Phase IV of The Black Series.  He’s both the final Mando themed figure in this assortment, as well as the final overall figure in the assortment.  He’s the fifth army builder to come out of The Mandalorian, as well as the third time we’ve gotten some form of Mando Warrior army builder in Black Series.  He’s based on the Mando that saves Din during his flashback in the Season 1 finale, but all of the other Mandos in that sequence appear to be wearing the same armor, so it works as any of them, really.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  His articulation structure is about what you’d expect for an armored figure in the modern incarnation of the line.  He’s got quite of mobility, and can generally pose pretty nicely.  There’s a little bit of restriction at the shoulders and hips, but other than that, everything’s pretty great.  This figure is sporting an all-new sculpt.  At first glance, he appears to share the head/helmet with Boba, but this one’s actually a single solid piece, with no actual underlying head.  There’s a chin and such sculpted under there, but it’s not fully designed.  I suppose there’s no real need for it to be a separate piece if there’s no chance of ever taking it off.  The rest of the body sculpt is pretty nicely handled.  The armor plates are separate pieces mounted in place, which gives it a nice, properly assembled feel.  The paint work on the Death Watch Mando is a decent set-up.  He’s much cleaner than a lot of Mandos, but that’s accurate to what we see on-screen; guess they had more time for armor upkeep in those days.  It’s a cool color scheme, which is rather unique.  I very much dig all of the blues.  The figure is packed with a larger blaster rifle and a small blaster pistol, which are both pretty fun pieces, as well as a jet-pack, which appears to be an all-new one, different from the others we’ve seen.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I dug the Death Watch look during Clone Wars, and I definitely dug the updated version of the design that showed up in The Mandalorian.  Given it’s short appearance, I wasn’t expecting to see it show up particularly soon, but it’s also not something I thought was entirely unlikely.  I liked the Clone Wars version that came out in 2020, but it was built on an old mold, so I was glad to see the all-new version show up here.  He’s a really solid, really fun figure, showcasing all of the advancements that Hasbro’s worked into this line in the last few years.

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

#3119: The Client

THE CLIENT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A mysterious Imperial who keeps a low profile in a safehouse on Nevarro, the Client is the face behind an otherwise faceless bounty, an off-the-record assignment with a high value”

Yesterday, I discussed one of the instances of The Mandalorian bringing back characters from elsewhere within the franchise, but how about all those new characters it introduced?  During the first season, we got quite a few new recurring characters.  Showing up in the first episode and remaining confined to the show’s first year was “The Client,” a mysterious, unnamed former Imperial played by Werner Herzog.  Though certainly not one of the show’s action-oriented characters, he nevertheless added a distinctive quality to all of his scenes, which helped to really sell the show as its own thing early in its run.  And, surprising everyone, now he’s an action figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Client is figure 20 in the Mandalorian sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation.  He’s the second of the three Mando figures in this particular assortment.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is more on the restricted side compared to the rest of the assortment, but it’s kind of sensible, given that he’s by far the least action-y of the bunch.  He’s still got more than enough mobility to pull any of the poses you’d really need from him…well, apart from sitting down, since the jacket doesn’t really allow for that.  The Client’s sculpt is all-new, based on his look in the show.  The real selling point, of course, is the Herzog likeness, which is pretty strong.  Not quite 100% there, but close enough to be recognizable in context.  The body replicates his outfit from the show pretty nicely.  There’s a lot of texturing, and a few separate pieces, which gives him a lot of rather nice depth to his design.  The Client’s paint work is generally pretty decent.  As with most of the Black Series, he’s on the drab side, but appropriately so.  The one thing I’m really not big on is the flesh tone paint on the bald spot, which is rather jarring compared to the molded skin tone on the rest of the head.  I’m sure there’s a production reason for the choice, but it just looks weird as is.  The Client is packed with a tracking fob, a camtono (aka the icecream maker), and two stacks of Beskar.  The camtono is actually a really cool piece, with a removable lid and opening panels on the sides.  Absolutely thrilled to have this prop in this scale.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Client is one of those figures that I didn’t really think I needed before he was announced, and even after his announcement I was kind of 50/50.  But, upon seeing him in person, and seeing the cool accessory selection, I decided to jump on him.  He’s not the most thrilling figure, I suppose, but he’s well done for a non-action-y sort of guy, and when else are we going to get a Werner Herzog action figure, right?

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

#3118: Ahsoka Tano

AHSOKA TANO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A Clone Wars veteran and now wandering Jedi, Ahsoka Tano forges her own path in the galaxy, righting injustices that she discovers”

Shifting the Black Series focus a bit for today, I’m moving from The Bad Batch forward in the timeline to the post-OT world of The Mandalorian.  While the first season was largely populated by characters original to the show, the second season saw a number of returning faces from elsewhere in the franchise.  Continuing her role as the connective tissue of the Star Wars TV shows is Ahsoka Tano, who serves as Din and Grogu’s first contact in the wider Jedi world.  She’s subsequently re-appeared in The Book of Boba Fett, and is slated for her own series next year.  She’s no stranger to toys, of course, but she’s just recently gotten a whole swath of live action-inspired figures, including a Black Series release, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ahsoka Tano is figure 19 in the Mandalorian sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation, the first of the three Mando figures in the second assortment of 2022.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Ahsoka’s articulation scheme is actually a pretty impressive set-up, all things considered.  The legs, specifically at the hips and knees, have been designed to allow for a very wide range of motion, while also still maintaining the cohesion of the sculpt.  It’s a careful balance, but one that works out very well here.  There are some restrictions in a few spots, of course, notably on the neck, due to the head tails, but given the overall nature of the design, it’s commendable that they got it working as well as they did.  Ahsoka’s sculpt is an all-new one, and it’s a strong one at that.  The likeness on the face is a solid recreation of Rosario Dawson in the role, and the body sculpt is realistically proportioned and has some really sharp texturing and detailing.  Ahsoka’s paint work is generally pretty basic for the line.  The printing on the face makes her suitably lifelike, and they’ve done a nice job with the markings on her face and head tails.  The body gets all the basics.  Nothing really crazy; just some blues and greys.  The application is cleanly handled for the most part, though there are a few spots on my figure where some of the masks were clearly a bit misaligned.  In particular, her right wrist bracer’s greys are off by just a bit, making the whole thing look oddly shaped.  Ahsoka is packed with her two lightsabers.  The blades are removable, and the hilts can be hung from her belt.  It’s definitely on the lighter side, but it’s also about what’s expected from this line.  I can’t really think of anything else she could really get, apart from maybe a soft goods cloak.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I enjoyed Ahsoka’s reappearance on The Mandalorian, and I really dug Rosario Dawson in the role, so, despite her only being minorly different from the other Black Series Ahsoka I have (on the outside, at least), I was still interested in seeing what Hasbro could do with the updated design.  She works really well.  I dig the new articulation set-up a lot, and I think this design works pretty well for the format.  Of the two Black Series Ahsokas I have, this one’s definitely my favorite.

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

#3117: Omega – Kamino

OMEGA — KAMINO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Born and confined to the cloning facility on Kamino, young Omega serves as assistant to Chief Medical Scientist Nala Se. Offered an opportunity to escape, Omega joins the Bad Batch on their adventure”

Let’s just keep this Black Series week going, continuing off of yesterday’s specifically Bad Batch focus, with another member of that particular team.  I noted yesterday that the team got two additional members after their initial appearance.  The first was Echo, the clone they rescued during their mission in The Clone Wars.  For their own show, they took fellow “defective” clone Omega under their wing.  In light of losing one of their members to Order 66, Omega winds up stepping into a far more integral role for the team as a whole, and is in many ways the focal point of the show.  Season 2 looks to only be building on that more, so, you know, pretty important.  Certainly important enough to justify an action figure, and that’s what I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Omega is figure 10 in the Bad Batch sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation, placing her before Echo chronologically, though they’re side by side in terms of actual release.  She’s the other of the two Bad Batch figures in the set, which makes sense.  The figure stands 4 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Quite an impressive selection of articulation for a figure as small as she is, and the range is all pretty solid too.  Omega is sporting an all-new sculpt, specifically based on her design from the earliest episodes of the show, when they’ve just fled Kamino.  It’s a good starting point for her, but also allows some room for additional designs later down the line.  Omaga is notable for being our first time getting a kid in this line…well, a human one, anyway.  Obviously, with their experience on smaller scale lines, Hasbro handles a smaller figure just fine, and it does a nice job of paving the way for young Anakin and Boba, should the demand be there.  The sculpt is pretty solid; she definite sticks close to the animation model, more like Hunter did.  It works a bit better here, since she’s already supposed to be a bit further removed from the others in terms of design anyway.  It captures the spirit of the character pretty well, and the details are all nice and sharp.  The paint work on Omega is nicely handled.  It’s a bit brighter and bolder than other figures in the line, which is a nice change of pace.  Omega is packed with her Zygerrian energy bow, rebreather mask, and Ruby, the pet lizard that the Batch transports.  The bow is only in its fully extended version, with no option to collapse, likely due to the logistics of making something like that work.  All of the accessories are rather on the simple side, but at least they help her to feel like a pretty decent value, even with the smaller stature of the core figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

You can’t really have the rest of the Batch without Omega.  I was quite a fan of Omega’s inclusion in the show, and I’d been hoping to see her turn up sooner than later.  I’m glad that she and Echo showed up together to fully round out the team in one swoop.  Obviously, there’s some room for more variants with more stuff, but this figure’s a good start, and rounds out the line-up very nicely.

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

#3116: Echo

ECHO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Echo was a soldier in the Grand Army of the Republic, known for his strict adherence to orders and rules — hence, his nickname, which was sarcastically gifted by his clone brothers”

After a lengthy period of virtually no Black Series stuff to review at all, I’m suddenly finding myself with a bit of a surplus of them, which is certainly far from the worst thing.  So, how about a whole week of them?  I’m picking back up with yet another addition to the titular team of last year’s The Bad Batch.  While all four of the initial members were covered last year, over the course of their Clone Wars arc and their own show, they picked up a few auxiliary members as well.  The Batch’s first mission concerns locating Echo, a member of the Domino Squad who was presumed dead during the events of “The Citadel.”  The Clone Wars Season 7 revealed that Echo had survived, but in a heavily wounded state, which left him with extensive cybernetic replacements, and more than a little bit of trauma.  After being rescued, Echo joined up with Clone Force 99, and served as a full-fledged member for their own show.  He got a pretty kick-ass new design in the process, and that’s always fun for toys.  Let’s check out how that went.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Echo is figure 11 in the Bad Batch sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation.  He’s one of two Bad Batch figures in this specific assortment, and the whole bunch of them are technically the second assortment of the year, and are just starting to trickle out to retail now.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  His articulation is largely the same as the other Batch members, minus the wrist joint on the right arm for obvious reasons.  Additionally, the hip joints are a bit more restricted here, due to the rubber kama, though I did find them a bit more mobile than I’d expected at first glance.  As far as construction goes, Echo has a bit of re-use, with the legs being the same as the updated clone body, albeit with a new set of knee pads.  Beyond that, Echo is an all-new sculpt.  He’s closer to Tech in terms of how he adapts the show design, removing it a little bit more from the animation design, in order to keep it closer the the main line’s more realistic style.  He still retains all of the major design elements, just a little more realistic, which works out pretty well.  I really dig all of the texturing and small detail work, as well as the fact that they’ve actually kept him a little more svelte than the rest of the team, as he was always depicted post-rescue.  Like the rest of the team, Echo gets a removable helmet, though it’s a bit more of an accomplishment this time than the other team members.  On the show, Echo’s built-in headgear actually interfaces with his helmet, in a way that’s such a cheat that they never actually show him taking off the helmet on screen from any angle other than straight ahead (i.e. the angle that doesn’t actually show how the parts interface).  I was honestly expecting either just an alternate head, or some sort of a tweaked design for either the helmet or the head.  Hasbro actually did a pretty solid job of making it work, in almost exactly the way it should work, as seen on screen.  Echo’s paint work is pretty much on par with the rest of the team.  The paint on the face is convincingly lifelike, and there’s some respectable wear and tear on the upper armor.  Echo is packed with his helmet, back pack, a blaster pistol, and a grapple attachment for his right arm.  The pistol can be stowed on his left side, which is appropriate, but he’s unfortunately still without a trigger finger on the left hand, so he can’t quite hold it right.  The grapple is a fun piece overall, but there’s no actual line connecting the two pieces.  It still works as a cool power arm looking thing, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With the core Batch completed earlier this year, I was definitely very excited to get to the add-ons.  Echo is a character I liked from his first appearance way back in Clone Wars, and I loved seeing his character arc evolve through Bad Batch.  His updated design is one of my favorites from the team, and I think it made the jump to toy really, really well.

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

#3114: Boba Fett – Throne Room

BOBA FETT — THRONE ROOM

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“One of the most fearsome and capable bounty hunters in the galaxy, Boba Fett seemingly met his demise in the Sarlacc pit. A survivor, Fett lived to fight another day”

I last discussed Boba Fett just over a year ago.  I mean, on the site.  I’ve discussed him elsewhere more recently than that.  I mean, I think.  I don’t have a photographic memory of when I’m talking Boba Fett, or anything like that.  Hang on, I’m getting kind of lost in my own intro.  Let’s re-center.  Right, so when I was last discussing Boba Fett here on the site, I talked about how The Mandalorian had finally given the character something to do after thirty years of him just sort of sitting around.  Did this please his fans?  To be short: not really.  But it’s okay, he had his own show on the horizon!  That had to make them happy, right?  Cuz, you know, he gets to be a bad-ass, like the movies implied he was but never actually showed?  And, like, he gets, like character growth and stuff?  No, they don’t like that.  Too much focus on Boba Fett.  So, the show takes a breather from Boba, focuses on others.  That makes it better, right?  Still going with no, apparently.  Well, I guess we should all just pack it in at this point.  Hey, at least I got this new toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Boba Fett (Throne Room) is a Deluxe-sized Black Series offering, as part of Phase IV of the line.  He, like all of the deluxes, is a solo release, but he’s also meant to tie in with the handful of other Book of Boba Fett offerings, which started hitting in the last month or so.  There are a number of potential Fett variants spinning out of his reappearance on The Mandalorian and follow up in Book.  This particular figure is based on his “Throne Room” look, from the post-credits-scene of Mando Season 2, after he’s regained his armor and had it repainted, but before he goes through the bacta treatments in his own show.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  Boba’s articulation scheme models itself on the improved style we saw with the last Deluxe Fett, although obviously slightly tweaked to be more practical with the new design.  Given that the new design is rather bulky, I was surprised by how much range some of the joints on this figure got, but I certainly won’t knock it.  We’re a far cry away from the Rogue One days, that’s for sure.  Boba is a mix of old and new pieces, as well as having a number of pieces that are designed for being shared.  The helmet and gauntlets are reused from the RotJ release from last year, while the head and parts of the legs are shared with the robed version of Boba from the main assortment that ties in with this guy’s release.  The rest is all-new, though, it’s worth noting that everything about this figure is getting at least one re-use, for the pre-repaint version of the armor from “The Tragedy.”  Whatever the source of the parts, they certainly work well.  Everything meshes well together, and it replicates his show design quite nicely, while also maintaining functionality as a figure.  The helmet may be the same as the Jedi version, but this time around it’s designed to be removable, and has even been modified to have an extra piece on the interior to make it sit a little better on this figure’s head.  The underlying head has a passable likeness of Morrison, albeit the heavily scarred version from The Mandalorian.  Honestly, the scarring helps to hide any weaknesses of the likeness a little bit, so it works in their favor a bit.  While I’d had issues with the prior helmet coming out of the package a little misshapen, this one was just fine right out the box, likely due to it not being packaged on his head.  Boba’s color work is fairly decent; it’s more basic, since it’s his much more cleaned up appearance, but it makes him far more bold and striking.  The work on the face is a bit more subtle, which is nice, and it adds to the overall lifelike quality of the figure.  Boba is packed with his jetpack (with removable rocket), a rifle, and a small blaster pistol.  It feels kind of light, given his deluxe status, but I guess that’s going more towards the overall depth of construction more than it is quantity of accessories.  Plus, there’s that whole business of Hasbro knowing with absolute certainty that people will always by Boba, even at a higher price point.  Can’t really fault them for playing the game, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really liked the last version of Fett.  It was a very fun release, and a great starting point for future versions of the character.  I also really enjoyed his updated appearance in The Mandalorian, and that was the main thing I wanted to see following the OT update.  This figure turned out really nicely.  He’s got a hefty price tag, but ultimately, he still feels worth it.  He’s just a lot of fun, and that’s what a good Boba Fett needs to be.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

Flashback Friday Addendum #0018: Captain Cassian Andor

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Oh man, is this another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum?  It sure is!  At this point, they’re almost becoming a recurring feature again.  I mean, three in less than a year?  That’s pretty crazy right there.

My last one of these was because of Rogue One, and so is this one.  I picked up the Jyn re-do, and I’ve decided to follow that up by also picking up the Cassian re-do.  Where Jyn was a re-issue of a single release figure, and therefore had a pretty one-for-one addendum, Hasbro decided not to re-issue the single Cassian, and instead did his three-pack release.  So, I’ve done a slight edit to the text of the original review, just to help it stay more focused:

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

There was one major piece of Rogue One merchandise I haven’t yet gotten around to reviewing.  It was sitting there in the store, staring at me, waiting, watching, and….uh, waiting.  Sorry, didn’t have a third “w” word, there.  Anyway, I finally have said piece of merchandise, so, without further ado, here’s this set with Cassian, Jyn, and a Deathtrooper!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This three pack was a Target-exclusive, and started hitting shelves about a month after the main Rogue One product launch.  Of the three figures included, only Cassian is a truly unique figure.  The Deathtrooper has some minor tweaks as well, but Jyn is exactly the same as both her standard and SDCC-exclusive releases.

Despite his placement in a big exclusive set, the Cassian seen here is the standard version of the character, seen most frequently throughout the movie.  It was oddly scarce in the initial product launch, but by the end of all the Rogue One product, it did end up fairly well represented.  It’s definitely the selling point of this release.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  His head is shared with the Eadu version, which admittedly wasn’t the best Cassian sculpt we got, but it looks a little bit better here than it did on that figure.  The rest of the figure is a unique sculpt, and it’s a definite improvement over the Eadu look.  The details are generally a lot sharper, especially on the jacket, and the overall aesthetics just seem to flow a bit better.  He’s still a little bulky for Luna, but not as bad as the Eadu figure.  The movement is a lot better as well, thanks to the slightly less restrictive design.  Just like the sculpt, the paint on this Cassian is a marked improvement on the last figure.  The face is still a bit off, especially the beard, but it’s definitely a step up.  The eyebrows are less caterpillar-like, and the scruff is a little more reserved, so that’s a plus.  The rest of the body is pretty solid overall.  There’s a little bit of fuzz in a few spots (like the tops of his boots), but generally it’s pretty sharp.  Like his oh-so-awesome small-scale counterpart, this Cassian is packed with his modular blaster rifle, which maintains the oh-so-awesome-ness.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on this set when it was new, because paying the cost of three figures and only getting one I actually wanted seemed a bit much.  Just after the new year, however, Target got around to marking the set down, to about the cost of a standard Black Series figure. That brought into a reasonable range for me, so I finally got it.  I’m glad I finally got this Cassian; he’s definitely my go-to figure of the character.  I’m also not unhappy about the Deathtrooper variant, though I can’t say it’s the sort of figure I would have paid full retail for.  Ultimately, I think bundling Cassian into this three-pack was a mistake, and I think the fact that the set ended up on such deep clearance speaks to that.  I get Hasbro’s desire to get as many Jyns as possible out there, but this exclusive really would have worked much better as a two-pack with Cassian and the Trooper.  Three times was just one time too many for the standard Jyn to get a straight re-release.

I reviewed the original release alarmingly late in the game, at least as far as my Black Series reviews tended to go.  All of the first batch of Rogue One stuff I got up within the first month or so, but this one wasn’t reviewed until about a year and a half after its release.  Its all because I was waiting for clearance, as I touched on in the original review.  I really wanted that Cassian, but couldn’t justify the whole three-pack for him.  I was fairly kind to this figure’s sculpt the first time around, and I stand by that.  A few years removed, the articulation’s not quite as good as it could be, but it’s honestly not as bad as some of the others from the era either.  The actual sculpted details are all still very crisp, and they did a solid job of capturing the design.  Once more, this figure’s change-up is the face paint.  All of the Cassian releases suffered from some pretty awful paint.  The two Black Series figures had it so bad that the actual sculpt took a fair bit of the blame.  With a much improved coat of paint, the sculpt is definitely a lot better than I originally thought.  It’s still not spot on, but it lands much closer, and I really do like it a lot more now.

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

#3109: Baze Malbus

BAZE MALBUS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Baze Malbus has a bravado that provides a marked contrast to the spiritual centeredness of his best friend and moral compass, Chirrut Îmwe.”

Hey, look at that, we’re back to Star Wars.   It was bound to happen eventually, I suppose.  Back in February, I took my first look at Hasbro’s re-visit of Rogue One in Black Series format.  I’ve already looked at the main line’s one new figure, Bodhi, and a pair of the re-issues that hit alongside him.  Today, I’m following that up with another re-issue.  But it’s okay, because it’s one I didn’t get the first time around.  So, it’s like it’s all-new, right?  Sure!  Alright, here’s Baze Malbus.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Baze Malbus is figure 5 in the Rogue One set of Black Series Phase IV.  He reissues the #37 figure from Phase III of the line, which hit alongside Chirrut during the latter part of the original Rogue One run.  The figure stands a hair shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  As I discussed in Chirrut’s review, the Rogue One era figures, especially the later ones, don’t represent the line at its best in terms of articulation schemes.  Hasbro was definitely still learning how to adapt the schemes to differing designs, so there are a good number of figures where the joints just aren’t optimized for the sculpts they’re attached to.  Baze is definitely one of those cases.  The shaping of the hair reduces the neck motion to little more than a swivel, the structuring of the chest armor makes the mid-torso joint mostly immobile, the hips are unable to get much motion at all to the sides, and the ankles can only go forward the slightest bit, making keeping the rather back-heavy figure standing something of a challenge.  The arms do at least get some okay movement, giving him the ability to at the very least hold his weapon half-way decently.  It may not seem like much, but it’s actually rather significant for this era of figure.  Baze’s sculpt was unique when he was first released, and has thus far only been used for this particular release since.  Issues with the articulation aside, it’s not a bad one.  The joints aren’t quite as clunky looking as they were on Chirrut, and the general level of detailing is pretty sharp.  The head sports a pretty strong likeness of Jiang Wen in the role, and is probably the nicest of the original Rogue One era sculpts.  The outfit is a good mix of clean and smooth armor with very broken in cloth pieces.  The boots are slightly on the softer side, but other than that, everything looks alright.  Baze’s paint work marks the primary change-up for this release.  The face gets the printing, and the head in general just gets a bit more detailing.  Some of the other colors on the palette have also been tweaked a bit, and he’s just generally a little bolder and more well defined than the prior release.  It makes an incredible difference, especially on the face, elevating the sculpt a whole lot in the process.  Baze is packed with his heavy repeater cannon, its ammo belt and canister, and a small taser which can be stowed on the back of his belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my review of Chirrut, the assortment that included these two was never particularly plentiful, so I only saw Baze and Chirrut once at retail each, and not even at the same time.  I’ve had a few more chances to get one or the other in the following years, but with it looking like the team wasn’t going to be finished, and not being able to even get the two of them at the same time, I didn’t have much drive to actually grab either of them.  With the team actually set to be completed, it’s easier to justify them both.  While Baze still exhibits some of the articulation troubles I had with Chirrut, he’s overall a stronger figure, and one that benefits far more from the improvements of this release.  And, hey, now I’ve got the full team.  How about that?

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

#3107: Migs Mayfeld – Morak

MIGS MAYFELD — MORAK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A hot-headed ex-Imperial sharpshooter, Migs Mayfeld was once the leader of a gang of criminals. Mayfeld’s old ties help The Mandalorian on his mission to rescue Grogu from Moff Gideon”

We’ve been seeing some lulls as of late in some of Hasbro’s major lines.  Not all at the same time, of course; they’ve been kind of rotating a bit.  Hasbro’s still having some noted issues with proper distribution, and all that, resulting in some lines being few and far between on their releases.  I looked at one Black Series figure over a month ago, which was actually one that had been sitting in my “to review” pile for several months.  Before that, my last three Black Series reviews have all been reissues of one form or another.  How about something new for a change?  Well, newish.  Migs Mayfeld was first introduced in The Mandalorian‘s first season, as point man for the group performing the heist in “The Prisoner.”  He was portrayed by stand-up comic Bill Burr, noted for his (likely comedically exaggerated) dislike of the franchise, and was, at least in his first appearance, really just playing himself…IN SPACE.  The character returned during the show’s second season, in the episode “The Believer,” which gave the character a surprisingly effective emotional journey, and gave Burr a chance to deliver an incredibly nuanced performance, far outside of his usual range.  This second appearance rather resonated with viewers, making it the natural choice for the character’s first figure treatment, which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Migs Mayfeld (Morak) is figure 15 in the Mandalorian sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation.  He’s one of three Mando-themed figures in this particular assortment…not that I’ve actually had the chance to see the whole assortment, or anything, of course.  Just Mayfeld.  Mayfeld is based on his disguised appearance from “The Believer,” after he and Mando steal Transport Driver armor to infiltrate the Imperial base on Morak.  It’s what he’s wearing during what’s really the character’s most definitive scene, and it also means that he can double as a Transport Driver, should you want such a thing.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Since Mayfeld is disguised as an Imperial, it makes sense for the figure to re-use some Imperial tooling.  While the Transport Driver isn’t strictly speaking one we’ve gotten before, it’s show design was heavily built from the Mudtrooper design we saw in Solo.  Subsequently, a good portion of this figure is making use of the Mudtrooper Han parts.  It’s a solid sculpt, and not one that really got out there, so it’s a fairly sensible re-use.  Apart from the collar of the undershirt not being the same, and there being some lingering holes in the back meant for the hoses from the Mudtrooper mask, it’s a close enough sculpt to work.  He gets a new skirt piece, with his slightly tweaked belt and holster, as well as a new head and removable helmet.  The helmet is on in the package, so you can’t actually see the Burr sculpt at all until its opened.  You almost have to wonder is Burr requested that, since it’s out of the ordinary for how such figures are usually packaged.  The helmet is supposed to be the same one that the Tank Pilots were sporting, and it matches up pretty well, while still being removable.  Under the helmet is the proper Mayfeld sculpt.  It’s a pretty solid one, if perhaps a touch too large for the body.  The likeness to Burr is fairly strong, and it’s great that he’s got an expression that really breaks from the usual emotionless appearances we tend to see on these.  Mayfeld’s paint work is generally decent, with one notable thing that I hesitate to really call an “issue;” it’s more of a discrepancy.  The armor on his right arm is red, as it was on the Han figure, denoting a higher rank.  However, Mayfeld’s armor in the episode is without this extra coloring; it’s Mando who gets the extra detail on his armor.  So, this one gets extra paint that he shouldn’t technically have, which is the opposite direction that such issues tend to go with paint.  At this point, I wonder if Hasbro might intend to just give the inevitable disguised Mando the green arm, just so that you can swap them both for the proper set-up.  That said, VC made the same mistake on Mayfeld, and Mando was still sporting the red as well, so perhaps Mayfeld is just cursed to be given a promotion.  Worse things have happened.  Mayfeld is packed with the previously mentioned removable helmet, as well as a small blaster pistol, which is a pretty key accessory for him.  It’s kinda light, but it also covers the basics, so I’m not too bummed about it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mayfeld was a character that I had no issues with in his first appearance, but not one I was particularly intrigued by, or eager to see more of.  That said, his reappearance in “The Believer” was genuinely one of my favorite parts of the second season.  So, the announcement that he was getting a figure based specifically on that episode was cool by me.  Plus, it’s a Bill Burr figure, which is kinda cool in and of itself.  The figure turned out pretty well overall.  The issue with the coloring on the arm is honestly pretty forgivable, and I think he otherwise handles things well.  Now, the wait for the inevitable Mando to go with him begins.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3079: Admiral Piett

ADMIRAL PIETT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An ambitious Imperial officer, Piett rose through the ranks to captain and was assigned to the Super Star Destroyer Executor, Darth Vader’s flagship. When Vader strangled Admiral Ozzel, Piett was granted a battlefield promotion to admiral — and given a grisly warning of the penalty for failure.”

Hey, remember yesterday, when I was filling in the lull between Marvel Legends releases with stuff I had sitting around unreviewed?  Well, prepare yourselves for the same thing, but with Black Series.  Sure, there are theoretically new figures out there I haven’t reviewed, but I also haven’t seen any of them, so I’m pretending like they aren’t really out there yet, and doing my first Black Series review in a month and a half about a figure that’s been sitting to the side of my desk, unopened, for, like, six months.  Eh, it’s just Admiral Piett.  Everyone forgets about ol’ Firmus.  Okay, not everyone.  There was actually a sizeable campaign to bring him back for Return of the Jedi.  So, I guess it was really just Lucas that forgot him.  Well, Hasbro didn’t, at least as far as The Black Series is concerned, so I guess I’ll remember him for the day and take a look at that figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Admiral Piett was released in 2018 as an online store exclusive Black Series release, predominately shipping through Entertainment Earth.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  Structurally, Piett largely shares his parts with Tarkin and Veers.  It’s sensible, them all being in the same uniform and all.  As with Veers, Piett’s torso sculpt has been tweaked ever so slightly to change up the pins and properly designate his rank.  He’s also got an all-new head sculpt, sporting a pretty solid likeness of actor Kenneth Colley.  Not as strong as Tarkin, but a touch better than Veers, which is saying something.  He’s still got hat hair, but what do you expect?  Piett gets his own removable had, which is a distinct piece from the one included with Veers figure.  They should be, since their hats are slightly different, but it’s still nice that Hasbro went that extra mile, especially since the hat’s really just a bonus with Veers in the first place.  The paint work on Piett is up to the same par as Veers; nothing too terribly exciting or anything, but he gets the colors he needs to, and the printing on the face is nice and lifelike.  Piett is packed with the aforementioned removable hat, as well as the same small blaster pistol included with Veers.  Not that he ever really uses it for much, but it lets him be ready should he ever, you know, be, like, in the same vicinity as an actual fight.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since Piett was released right around the same time as Veers, and one can only get so excited about a bunch of stuffy British guys in grey, I wound up passing on ordering him.  I kind of regretted that after the fact, since, as I mentioned in my review of the PotF figure, I do have a bit of a soft spot for the character.  Fortunately for me, I got a second chance at grabbing him, courtesy of him getting traded into All Time before the holidays.  Of course, then I dragged my feet on actually opening and reviewing him, but that’s hardly the point.  While not the most thrilling figure, he’s nevertheless a rather nice one, and fills out the upper ranks of the Imperials just a bit more.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.