#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.

#2357: Knight of Ren

KNIGHT OF REN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An enclave of masked warriors wielding distinct weapons for ranged and close quarters combat, the Knights of Ren are elite, fearsome enforcers of Kylo Ren.”

First mentioned and briefly glimpsed during The Force Awakens, the Knights of Ren were the source of much fan speculation.  After their more proper appearance in The Rise of Skywalker….well, people are still kinda speculating, I guess.  Like the Praetorian Guard in The Last Jedi, the Knights of Ren had a cool look and did at least get one cool fight scene, so they weren’t quite as pointless as, say, the Sith Troopers.  Of course, they all had unique appearances, so they aren’t quite army builders, either.  We got one of them as a Vintage Collection figure at the Force Friday launch, and now we’ve gotten another as a Black Series release.  So, let’s have a look at this guy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Knight of Ren is figure 105 in the Black Series line-up.  Thought the package just lists him as “Knight of Ren,” this guy is actually meant to be “Vicrul”, since all of the Knights were actually named.  He’s also the Knight named “Grenade Head” by the production crew, because his…head…looks like…a grenade.  Yeah, I guess that one’s pretty cut and dry.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  His articulation has its ups and downs; the range on the arms is pretty nice, but I found the movement on the legs to be a little bit awkward, especially at the knee.  He’s not really restricted, just the style of movement is a little weird and not as smooth as a lot of the line’s more recent figures.  The sculpt on Vicrul is an all-new affair, and it’s pretty decent.  It’s not quite as close a recreation as some of the other figures in this assortment.  His body definitely seems  a little more squat than in the film, and the helmet’s design has a few elements slightly out of place.  The faceplate is a little bit on the long-side, especially compared to the other details.  It’s still a pretty sharply detailed piece, and the rest of the outfit’s got some decent texture detailing mixed in.  Vicrul’s paintwork is actually pretty nice.  While most of the Kylo’s have just stuck with the clean black look, this guy actually gets some decent grime and dirt on he gear.  It’s the heaviest on his feet, but there’s some spots of it on the jacket as well.  It does a respectable job of getting that worn-in appearance that the character really had in the movie.  Vicrul is armed with a Phrick-Schythe (the pointy thing) and a blaster pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The smaller-scale Knight figure didn’t really pique my interest, so I ended up skipping him.  The announcement of this guy didn’t do a lot to excite me either, but I was on board for the others from the set, and I did like the look of this particular figure a little bit more, so I ended up grabbing him.  Of the four figures I picked up from this assortment, I expected to like this one the least, and ultimately that proved true.  However, I did end up liking him more than I’d anticipated.

The Knight of Ren 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.

#2355: Clone Commander Bly

CLONE COMMANDER BLY

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A veteran of many Clone Wars battles, Clone Comander Bly (clone designation CC-5052) served in the 327th Star Corps on such worlds as Quell, Maridun, and Felucia.”

When first introduced during the climax of Attack of the Clones, the Clone Troopers had no names, no personality to speak of, and no hint of individuality.  It wasn’t until Revenge of the Sith that we really got any hint of there being more to the clones than that, with the introduction of a handful of named individual clone commanders.  Amongst that handful of clones commanders was Bly, whom I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Commander Bly is figure 104 in the Black Series line-up.  Amazingly, he’s only our third clone commanding officer in the main line, and only the second under the current numbering system (the two prior figures being Cody under the blue-style packaging, and Rex under the current set-up).  Bly was one of the clones who we saw in both sets of armor over the course of The Clone Wars and the movies, but the figure opts for his Phase II appearance from Revenge of the Sith.  It’s sensible, given that all of our commanders so far have been in their Phase II armor, making for a more cohesive appearance. The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  While the vast majority of the clones use the same pool of standard clone parts, Bly marks the first time we’ve seen a re-use of the upgraded parts used by Rex.  I’ve been waiting to see these parts re-appear since they were introduced with Rex, and I’m very happy to finally see them again.  They’re a noticeable improvement over the other body, especially in terms of the poseability on the arms, making Bly a far more playable figure than most of the other clones.  Bly uses the lower right arm, left arm, pelvis, legs, feet, and the back of the torso from Rex, a slightly modified version of the standard Phase II helmet with a visor, and a new front torso, upper right arm, pauldron, and belt.  It’s actually a fairly large number new parts, and more than I’d been expecting to see here, but they’re really nice parts, and match nicely with the pre-existing parts, as well as the source material.  It all makes for a really sharp looking figure.  The only downside is that he’s still got only one trigger finger, despite having the dual pistols, though at least in Bly’s case the dual pistols aren’t his primary weaponry, unlike Rex and Wolf.  Bly’s paintwork is pretty strong; his distinct markings are replicated, but they have been properly weathered and scarred, showing that Bly’s been on the battlefield for a while.  Bly is packed with his DC-15A blaster rifle and a pair of DC-17 hand blasters, which a fairly standard selection for a clone release, and honestly pretty good for one that uses so many new parts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back in 2005, when the original Bly figure was released, I came across both him and Gree at retail, but was unable to buy them at the time.  While I was able to track down a Gree, I went many years without a single Bly in my collection, and have long viewed him as the one that got away.  I actually managed to get one a few months go…just in time for this guy to be announced.  Oh well, now I’ve got them both!  I really like this guy a lot, and he’s honestly the best clone Hasbro’s put out, and narrowly edges out Zorii Bliss as my favorite figure in this assortment.  Here’s hoping for more like Bly!

Bly 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.

#2354: Zorii Bliss

ZORII BLISS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“It is difficult for scoundrels to remain neutral in the war between First Order and Resistance, and Zorii Bliss and the Spice Runners of Kijimi must soon take a side.”

Though her screen time was a little more on the brief side, I was nevertheless quite a fan of Zorii Bliss’s appearance in The Rise of Skywalker.  She had a cool look, served a designated purpose in the plot, gave us a little more development for Poe, and was just a rather intriguing character.  Prior to the film, I had purchased her Vintage Collection figure on something of an impulse, but after opening I wasn’t wowed.  So, after the movie, I was definitely jonesing for a slightly better version of the character. Black Series to the rescue!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Zorii Bliss is figure 103 in the Star Wars: The Black Series line-up, making her numerically the first of the most recent assortment of figures (and placing her directly after the last assortment’s Wedge Antilles figure).  She’s one of three Rise figures in the latest assortment, and the only actually named character of those three.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and she has 31 points of articulation.  The smaller Zorii’s articulation was one of my biggest issues with the figure.  There was a lot of it, but not much of it was very practical.  This figure’s articulation works out far better, and is on par with the best of the more recent Black Series offerings in terms of poseability.  In particular, there’s a ton of range on the neck and the arms, which makes her a lot of fun to get into various action poses.  The joints are well-toleranced, so she can hold stances well.  She’s also a good deal more stable on her feet than the smaller figure.  While the figure still does fall over in more extreme poses, I had a lot less trouble keeping her up for the photos for this review.  The sculpt was really the one thing the smaller Zorii had going for her, but this figure nevertheless builds on that further, taking advantage of the larger canvas to add even more detail, and to also sharpen up the details.  The helmet in particular really turns out much nicer on this version, with a more film-accurate design, cleaner lines, and the one feature missing from the smaller figure: a removable visor!  In the film, Zorii never removes her helmet outright, but she does slide the visor back a few times, giving us a glimpse of her eyes and some of the helmet’s internal structure.  The visor on this figure can be popped out, revealing a fully detailed pair of eyes, as well as some more of the helmet.  It’s a really cool feature, and I was happy it didn’t get overlooked here.  Paintwork is again an area where the smaller figure did okay, but again this one does better.  The base detailing is all clean, and the metal sections get some decent weathering to match the real world items.  The eyes use the face printing tech, so they look nice and realistic as well.  Zorii is only packed with her two blaster pistols, which is slightly light, bt the removable visor does at least off set that a bit.  It probably would have made more sense to include Babu here, but then they wouldn’t have the hook for that 3PO figure, so it’s really a catch-22.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was hopeful for this figure when it was shown off, because it looked a bit better than the smaller one, but I was a little apprehensive.  That lessened a bit when Hasbro confirmed the removable visor, and after getting the figure in hand she’s just genuinely a really nice figure.  She’s got one really good figure giving her a run for her money on best figure of her assortment, but it’s neck and neck, let me tell you.  Definitely the best Sequel Trilogy figure in the line, though.

I picked up Zorii 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.