#2132: Chopper (C1-10P)

CHOPPER (C1-10P)

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Chopper is the resident droid of the Ghost, assisting the crew in everything from ship maintenance to combat, even though he doesn’t always want to. After many years of repairs and patch jobs, Chopper has a beat-up, worn look that sometimes matches his cranky personality.”

No Star Wars story is really complete without a stubborn droid or two.  And while most of the main-series uses R2 and 3PO for that role, there are occasionally times where they’re not available, due to continuity stuff.  Rebels was one of those times (well, apart from a cameo appearance early on), so we got an all-new droid, C1-10P, better known as Chopper.  Chopper takes the usual stubborn droid traits and amps them up to 11, which has made him quite the fan-favorite.  With that in mind, the only thing that’s truly surprising about him getting a Black Series figure is how long it took for him to finally make it into the line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chopper is figure 84 in the Black Series line-up, part of the most recent assortment of figures, where he shares the Rebels spotlight with the Ezra figure from yesterday and the astromech spotlight with BT-1.  The figure stands roughly 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation, which is pretty darn impressive by astromech standards.  As a droid, Chopper is the member of the Ghost crew who required the least changes to make him workable in a more realistic line, so he actually stays pretty close to the show’s design for him.  Many of the recent Star Wars offerings have made use of Ralph McQuarrie’s design work for the original film, and Rebels had that in spades.  Chopper himself makes use of a lot of elements from McQuarrie’s R2 design, being more squat and utilitarian than the final R2 design.  This makes Chopper more divergent from the other on-screen astromechs, which honestly isn’t that out of place given his characterization.  The figure follows the lead of the main Black Series R2 and his various attachments.  However, unlike R2, who had lots of clip-on parts, most of Chopper’s parts are internal and can fold out.  By far the most impressive example of this is the arms on the head, which are completely articulated and fold back into the head totally flat.  It’s actually so convincing that I myself almost missed them when opening my figure.  There’s another arm at the front, which is pretty cool too, if slightly more simplistic in its implementation.  Chopper’s paintwork is true to this design on the show, so he’s plenty colorful, and all of the small details are there. Of course, Chopper’s hardly a brand-new model, so the figure is sporting a fair bit of muck and grime, which is handled via the same technique they’ve been using on the faces recently.  In addition to everything packed into the main figure, Chopper’s got a few add-on parts as well.  His third leg can be swapped out for a rocket booster, which also includes a rocket blast effect piece to keep him elevated.  He’s also got an extra left leg, which is paired with his right, so as to allow him to match, as seen in “The Forgotten Droid.”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I was already picking Ezra, it wasn’t too hard to convince myself to pick up Chopper too.  Honestly, he’s probably the strongest figure in this line-up.  The fold up arms are fun, and his animation-true design is a very clean look.  It’s a nice change-up from the more formulaic figures of the line.  He’s just a lot of fun, and I’m happy to have added him to the collection.

Chopper was purchased from 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.

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#2131: Ezra Bridger

EZRA BRIDGER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Growing up, Ezra learned to trust no one and to rely on his street smarts – and subconcious Force abilities – to survive. This all changes with his introduction to the crew of the Ghost, a small band of rebels fighting back against the Empire. Ezra comes to believe in their cause, and sees that he can help change the galaxy for the better.”

Cartoons have been a part of the Star Wars universe since the mid-point of the much maligned Holiday Special, and they’ve been a part of the toyline since Droids and Ewoks, but it wasn’t until 2003’s The Clone Wars that we really faced the dilemma of how to handle animation-based figures in terms of integrating them with the rest of the line.  Clone Wars set the precedent of “why not both?” and that’s pretty much been the standard since.  The cast of Star Wars: Rebels were initially  only released in their animation accurate forms, but Hasbro has subsequently worked them into The Black Series one by one.  The latest is the character that’s ostensibly the main character of the show, Ezra Bridger.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ezra Bridger is figure 86 in the Black Series line-up and is part of the latest assortment of figures.  He’s packed alongside fellow Ghost crew-member Chopper, plus Obi-Wan, and Aphra and her companion droids.   The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Ezra’s based on his Season 1/2 appearance, though like the prior animation figures, it’s a real-world take on his design.  I find that his translation to a real-world look was slightly more successful than Kanan, though I’d say it’s partially due to Ezra being younger, and therefore being slightly more excusable with an ever so slightly cartoony appearance.  I feel like his eyes could stand to be just a touch lower on the head, but beyond that, he’s fairly realistic, and his sculpt handles things nicely.  His articulation is fairly well integrated and for the most part has a solid range, but it’s worth noting that his hips are rather on the restricted side, due to the belt straps and their placement.  It’s not awful, and it’s not like we haven’t seen issues like this before in the line, but it’s a shame there’s not an easy fix for it.  Ezra’s paintwork is all pretty decent.  It’s mostly just base color work, but it gets it all down correctly and none of the sculpted details have been overlooked.  He also uses the printed face technique, which works pretty well for this particular figure.  Ezra is packed with his unique lightsaber, as well as his stolen Imperial Cadet helmet, which sits surprisingly well on his head.  Not a ton of extras, but its one more than the usual single lightsaber we get with Jedi characters, so I’m certainly not going to knock it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ezra is a good example of my herd mentality when it comes to collecting.  On his own, I’m not certain I would have bought him, but he came out alongside the Obi-Wan figure I knew I wanted and the Doctor Aphra figures I was picking up for Super Awesome Fiancee, and I figured that, since I already have most of the Rebels crew anyway, I might as well grab him, too.  Honestly, he’s a pretty solid figure, and I’m glad I picked him up.

I grabbed Ezra 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.

#2130: Darth Maul

DARTH MAUL

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)

“The evil Sith apprentice Darth Maul engages in a fierce lightsaber duel with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Star Wars: The Black Series‘ debut line-up was an interesting assortment.  Though everything included was instantly recognizable and a distinctive Star Wars element, everything was sort of adjacent to top tier.  The Luke included wasn’t his main look from any of the movies, the trooper included wasn’t a standard Stormtrooper, and the Sith lord included wasn’t Darth Vader.  It was Hasbro’s bid at trying out the line without potentially sacrificing any truly pivotal figures to possible early-line production issues.  Given the slightly more middling line-up, the first series was a much smaller run compared to later in the line, and some of its figures became quite tricky to track down as the line progressed.  In order to give new fans a chance to catch up, Hasbro instituted a new sub-line, dubbed “Archive” as an easy way to re-pop in-demand figures from older assortments.  While the first series was completely focussed on the Original Trilogy, the second line-up adds in some of the Prequel characters, including by far the most marketable character to come out of the Prequels, Darth Maul!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Darth Maul is one of the four figures in the second Archive line-up, and the second of the original Black Series figures to be featured (the third to get a re-release, counting the 35th R2; only the Sandtrooper remains without a reissue).  Rather fittingly, this assortment arrived at roughly the same time as the latest series of the main line, so Maul and Obi-Wan hit shelves together.  Maul stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Compared to more recent releases, Maul’s articulation is slightly more rudimentary, and a little less fluid; essentially it’s just the Legends articulation of 2013 applied to another line.  It’s most noticeable on the neck joint, as that’s an area where the two lines have most clearly diverged.  At the very least he has the ball-jointed torso to mix things up, which ends up being a pretty major saving grace of the figure’s articulation.  That said, it’s entirely workable even in its current state, and honestly a little better than some of the mid-line figures that would follow it.  Maul’s sculpt was always really the star offering of the initial line-up, being a solid recreation of his on-screen appearance with well-integrated articulation, and a decent level of detailing.  While it’s not all quite as sharp, it’s still a solid selection of work.  Maul’s paintwork isn’t too involved for the most part, with the body just being variants of matte and shiny black.  The real star work is on the face, and it’s also the only place where there’s a change from the original release, since he uses the new face printing for his eyes.  It’s not a super noticeable difference, but it helps him fit in better with the more recent figures.  The original pitch for the line was as close to one-and-done as possible, and Maul’s accessories were designed with that in mind.  He’s got an extra head with robes attached, his binoculars, and his double-bladed lightsaber, which has removable blades and can be split in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like a fool, I passed on the original release of Maul when the first assortment was out, because I was trying to stick to the “no prequels” rule, which I hadn’t yet abandoned.  By the time I’d rethought it, he had jumped considerably in price, and so I had to play the waiting game.  While the Archive line-ups so far haven’t been for me, Maul was on my list as soon as his name was floated for the line.  He’s definitely a strong figure, and probably one of the best from early in the line.  He also pairs really nicely with Obi-Wan, which is a huge plus.

Maul 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.

#2110: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

So, since the last time I discussed The Phantom Menace on this here site (just shy of 1800 reviews ago), public perceptions of the film have slightly shifted.  To be fair, last time around, the film’s 3D re-release had reinvigorated the fanbase’s hatred.  Now, it’s cool to like it, since the hate has shifted either to the new films, or to the portion of the fanbase who hates the new films.  Whatever the case, I’ve always liked Phantom Menace the most of the prequels, and that’s not changed.  As a kid, my favorite part of the movie was Ewan McGreggor as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The Black Series has placed the majority of its focus on the original trilogy and the new trilogy, so the prequels have been sort of pushed to the side, and Obi-Wan’s “debut” appearance had a little bit of a wait.  Fortunately, it’s finally here, and now I’m gonna review it!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obi-Wan is figure 85 in the Black Series line-up.  He arrived in stores in a mostly non-movie assortment, making him the a bit of an odd-man out.  It’s our fourth version of Obi-Wan in the line, and he’s the final of the three main Phantom Menace Jedi to be added to the line.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Obi-Wan’s sculpt is all-new, and it’s another strong piece.  It’s another step forward in working the articulation into the sculpt without things looking too weird.  The arms are a touch long and seem to bend a little too far down, but beyond that the joints are well-implemented and he has an impressive range of mobility.  The head is sporting a solid likeness of Ewan McGreggor, certainly an improvement over the head from the Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan.  The torso is constructed via layering, which has done a nice job of creating depth on the figure, as well as preserving the articulation.  His robes are nicely textured, and do a suitable job of looking lifelike.  Obi-Wan’s paintwork is pretty solid.  He’s the first of the Phantom Menace figures to released post-face-printing, and it does him a lot of favors.  He’s definitely a really lively looking guy, and it does the sculpt all sorts of favors.  The more basic paintwork isn’t quite as strong, with some noticeable slop on the edges of the boots in particular.  That said, it’s not as bad as some of the others we’ve seen in this line.  Obi-Wan’s only accessory is his lightsaber, which, following the trend of others in the line, has a removable blade and can be hung from his belt.  It’s a shame they couldn’t throw anything else in with him; even a cloth robe would have been nice.  As it stands, he does feel a tad light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Black Series first launched, I had one firm rule: no prequel figures.  Even before I broke it to get in on some Clone Trooper goodness, this guy was the one exception to that self-imposed rule.  I was definitely playing a mean waiting game with both Maul and Qui-Gon out already, so I was very excited when this guy was finally shown off.  He was at the top of my list for this assortment, and I gotta say, he’s a really satisfying figure.

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

 

#2035: Imperial Jumptrooper

IMPERIAL JUMPTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An elite squadron within the Imperial ranks, jump troopers (also known as rocket troopers) were outfitted with jetpacks and utilized in tight spaces.  They were trained to act in unison, often swarming and overwhelming their targets.”

Since the standard Imperial Stormtroopers first graced the screen back in 1977, we’ve been getting a steady stream of variants on the concept, be they Sandtroopers, Snowtroopers, Scout Troopers, etc.  There have been a few recurring concepts among the non-movie variants.  A popular one is the Jumptrooper, which has found its way into comics, video games, and, most recently, Star Wars: Rebels.  And now, it’s gotten a new figure, courtesy of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jumptrooper is a GameStop-exclusive offering from the Black Series line, released in the last couple of months.  The Jumptrooper is based on his Rebels appearance, specifically the commanding officer of the squad, as denoted by the colored shoulderpad.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The Jumptrooper re-uses a lot of parts from the standard Stormtrooper figure, which is pretty sensible, given that the designs are pretty similar.  It’s also a pretty solid sculpt in its own right, and certainly a nice starting point.  He has a new helmet, backpack, and shoulder pads, which match well with the pre-existing parts, and also match up well with his design from the show (albeit modified for a more real-world appearance).  Most importantly, though, they set him nicely apart from the standard trooper.  I really dig the changes they’ve made, because he’s just a super sleek looking figure.  The colorwork on the Jumptrooper is subtle, but pretty impressive.  The glossier finish of the armor looks nicer than the matte finish of the original, as do the additional accenting details that the original lacked on the belt and boots.  Throw in a little extra splash of color, and you’ve got a figure that pops nicely on the shelf.  The Jumptrooper is packed with a standard E-11 Stormtrooper blaster and a brand-new style of display stand.  The stand’s not quite as conventional as I’d hoped for, but it can make for some decent running poses once you get it properly seated.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As soon as the Jumptrooper was unveiled, I knew I wanted one.  Something about the design just immediately jumped out at me (heh), so when I found out he was a GameStop exclusive, it was Super Awesome Fiancee to the rescue!  She was kind enough to pre-order this guy through her work for me, thereby making his acquisition fairly painless.  I’m very happy with the final figure.  He’s definitely one of my favorite troopers.

#2001: Dryden Vos

DRYDEN VOS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

The public face of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate, Dryden Vos is a contradiction: a pitiless enforcer known as a gangster of wealth and taste.  His good manners shouldn’t be mistaken for weakness, though: he can change from generous host to ruthless killer in a moment.”

Solo‘s antagonist Dryden Vos had quite a time making it into toy form, largely due to the character having even more of a time making it to the big screen.  He was originally to be played by actor Micheal K. Williams, who filmed his scenes wearing motion-capture gear in order to facilitate the character being a CGI character of some sort.  When Ron Howard took over as the film’s director, Williams was unavailable for re-shoots, and the character was still without an actual final design.  Short on time and money, Howard cast his frequent collaborator Paul Bettany (whose text asking for a role is so perfectly in character) in the part, and changed his design from a CGI monster to…Paul Bettany, but with some scars.  Ultimately, it seems to have worked out pretty well, as Bettany’s turn as Vos was one of my favorite parts of the movie.  Of course, all of the shifting around with the character meant that he was almost completely absent from merchandise.  His first figure from Hasbro arrived on shelves almost a whole year after the initial Solo product launch, and I’ll be looking at it today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dryden Vos is figure 79 in the Star Wars: The Black Series line-up.  He’s from the most recent assortment of figures, which just started showing up last month.  He’s one of two Solo figures in the line-up, the other being a Mudtrooper Han variant.  Dryden has two looks in the film, both following a fairly similar theme.  This figure is based on his initial appearance, when meeting with Han and Tobias after their botched heist.  Of the two designs, it’s the more visually striking, thus making it a solid choice for the figure.  He stands a little over 6 1/4 inches tall (Bettany’s a tall guy) and he has 29 points of articulation.  Dryden’s sculpt is an all-new affair, and it certainly captures Vos’ svelte nature pretty well.  As is common with Black Series sculpts, he can look a little off in some more extreme poses, but for the most part it works.  The head sports a pretty spot-on Bettany likeness, building on the already solid likeness we saw on last year’s Vision figure.  Dryden’s rather distinctive jacket/half-cape combo is rendered here through a separate overlay piece, which can be a little finicky when posing his left arm, but is otherwise a really sharp addition to the figure.  I’m glad they didn’t go the cloth route for this one and risk losing the visual sharpness of the design.  The piece *can* be removed from the figure, but it really doesn’t serve him well to do so, nor do we see him in this outfit without it, so on him it will stay.  There is one small inaccuracy to this figure’s sculpt: his thumbs.  One of the few “alien” aspects of the character’s design were his oddly pointy thumbs, a feature that this figure lacks.  That said, it’s a minor feature, and one that most people are likely to miss.  It hardly holds the figure back.  Dryden’s paintwork is full of nice, very subtle work, keeping all those darkly colored pieces of the costume distinct from each other.  The most impressive work is definitely on the face, though.  In the film, Dryden’s scars become redder and more visible when he gets angry, a feature replicated here through thermo-sensitive paint.  At room temperature, Dryden’s scars are faint, but when exposed to cold, they’ll flare up to a dark red.  It’s a really fun touch, and something that could be easily overlooked.  Dryden is packed with his pair of distinctive knives, which he uses to dispatch those who disappoint him in true Star Wars villain fashion.  Like Dryden himself, these are temperature sensitive, and will exhibit a bright orange hue at the ends when exposed to cold, simulating how they power up in the film.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really liked Dryden in the film, and I was definitely bummed when no figures of him were available.  It’s been a long wait, but this guy hit Amazon for retail, allowing me to snag him pretty quickly.  Though perhaps not the franchise’s most pivotal character, Dryden is high in the running for my favorite Star Wars villain, and his figure absolutely did not disappoint.  He rounds out an already pretty awesome set of Solo figures.  Now, is it too much to ask for a Qi’ra that actually matches him?

#1914: Rio Durant

RIO DURANT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Rio Durant has carried out dangerous operations alongside the scoundrel Tobias Beckett for years. The good-natured Ardennian pilot is up for any challenge, not unlike his young counterpart Han Solo.”

What do Rio Durant and head Mandolorian Pre Vizla have in common?  Well, in addition to both being characters from the prequel era of Star Wars, they’re also both voiced by director Jon Favreau, who will once more be returning to the world of  Star Wars for the TV-bound The Mandalorian.  But, let’s stay focused on the here and now!  It’s time to look at this here Rio Durant action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rio is figure 77 in the Black Series line-up, the final of the four Solo figures, and the final figure in general in the latest assortment of Black Series figures.  Rio’s seen here in his basic pilot’s gear, which is really the only prominent look he’s got.  Fortunately, it’s a good one.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 41 points of articulation.  All those extra arms sure do help him keep that articulation count high!  Rio’s sculpt is an all-new affair, and it’s a top-notch one, just like the rest of this assortment.  As with L3, the figure really benefits from having waited until all of the final designs were available, thus allowing him to be as screen-accurate as possible.  He’s pretty much a pitch-perfect recreation of the on-screen design, and there’s a lot of very sharp detail work going on here.  Additionally, the articulation has been very nicely implemented, so he’s really, really posable.  They’ve even wisely given his holster an easy to pop-out plug, thereby removing the potential of restricting his hip joint on that leg.  It’s simple, but one of the more inventive things I’ve seen Hasbro implement on these figures.  Rio’s paintwork is clean, bold, and eye-catching.  There’s some slight weathering on his belt and jumpsuit, plus some pretty subtle accent work on his exposed skin, giving him a nice real-world-quality.  Rio is packed with a blaster pistol, a larger blaster rifle, and a removable pair of goggles, making him one of the best accessorized figures in the assortment.  The rifle in particular is one of my favorites from the line, just because of how unique and different it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rio was one of my favorite parts of Solo, and like L3, I was a little bummed that he wasn’t among any of the earlier offerings.  As a whole, this assortment had quite a few figures that were very high on my want list, and Rio still found himself near the top of the list.  A lot of great work went into this guy, and he continues the Solo sub-line’s trend of just being really darn good.  I’m happy to have finally rounded out Beckett’s crew, and even happier that it was with such a great figure.

#1913: Lando Calrissian – Skiff Guard

LANDO CALRISSIAN — SKIFF GUARD

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. When his old friend Han was held captive in the palace of Jabba the Hutt, Lando joined Princess Leia in a mission to rescue him from certain demise.”

Lando Calrissian may not have joined our heroes until their second outing, but he has maintained a notoriety amongst the fanbase, no doubt due to his suave scoundrel-y nature.  Despite this, he didn’t actually join the Black Series line-up until four years into its run, and with a figure that only saw moderate release at that.  Fortunately, his presence in 2018’s Solo brought him more into the spotlight, with two separate Black Series releases.  The first was based on his Solo appearance, but the follow-up gives us Lando’s Palace Guard disguise from Return of the Jedi‘s opening moments.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Skiff Guard Lando is figure 76 in the Black Series line-up.  He’s the second to last figure in the newest assortment, as well as the final of the OT figures this time around.  The costume is from Jedi, which makes it slightly out of place in a Solo/Empire split assortment, but it’s actually pretty well chosen, given the costume’s cameo appearance as Beckett’s heist disguise in Solo.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  This Lando is head-to-toe a new sculpt.  While prior Skiff Landos have been known to reuse previous heads, that is thankfully not the case here.  While the prior Black Series head wasn’t *bad*, the likeness definitely could have been better, as this one deftly illustrates.  It’s hands down the best Billy Dee Williams likeness we’ve ever gotten from Hasbro.  The rest of the sculpt is pretty strong in its own right, with nice balanced proportions and a ton of detail worked all throughout.  There’s no shortage of texturing on this guy, meaning he’ll fit right in with the other denizens of Jabba’s palace.  The paint work on this figure is in line with the current improved standards of the line.  The base work is all clean, and there’s some pretty substantial accent work, showcasing that Jabba’s palace really isn’t the cleanest place to hang out.  He also uses the face-print tech, which builds on the figure’s already very strong head sculpt to give us a very realistic looking Lando.  Lando is packed with his Skiff Guard helmet, as well as the standard guard armament, the vibro-axe.  He doesn’t include the blaster we usually see with Skiff variants of Lando, but his hand is molded with a trigger finger, should you wish to arm Lando yourself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The first Lando hit at a time when I wasn’t really able to buy many figures, so the one time I saw him, I had to pass on him.  While the Solo variant was certainly a strong offering, I was really hoping for a proper OT version.  While the Skiff Guard set-up isn’t necessarily my go-to look for Lando, there’s no denying that this is the best version of the character available.  I’m hopeful that Hasbro may give us a slightly udpated Bespin Lando down the line, maybe as part of the Archive line.  Until then, this guy will hold me over just fine.

#1912: Princess Leia Organa – Hoth

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA — HOTH

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Princess Leia Organa was one of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire. In the battle on Hoth, Leia helped evacuate rebel forces as Darth Vader and his fleet descended upon the rebel base.”

Empire Strikes Back is a lot of Star Wars fans’ favorite movie of the franchise.  While it’s not my personal favorite, there are certainly a lot of things I can appreciate about it.  The design work on the film is undoubtedly some of the best to come out of the franchise.  In particular, it’s more battle-ready takes on the power trio are really my favorite looks for all three of them, and they were the looks I wanted most when Hasbro launched The Black Series back in 2013.  We got Luke’s Rebel attire pretty quickly, but it’s been quite a wait for Han and Leia.  Han finally found his way into the line over the summer, and we got a teaser for Leia’s main look with the Bespin Escape release in November, but now we’ve finally gotten a proper release for Leia’s Hoth gear.  Is it worth the wait?  Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hoth Leia is figure 75 in the Black Series line-up, the second of this latest assortment’s OT-based figures.  If you want to get technical, this is actually the second release of this figure, as she was previewed in a con-exclusive two-pack this past fall.  Aside from this figure getting more accessories and not coming packed with a Han Solo, the two appear to be more or less the same.  This figure represents Leia from the first half or so of the film’s run time, prior to the Falcon‘s arrival on Bespin. By far her most prominent appearance from the movie, as well as one of her most remembered just in general.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  As I touched on in my review of the Bespin Escape figure, there is a fair bit of parts re-use between these two figures, given the fact that the two designs are pretty darn close and all.  This figure has a unique head, hands, left forearm, and boots, as well as a new vest piece.  They jibe pretty much perfectly with the prior parts, which makes a lot of sense, since I imagine they were actually designed for this figure first and then re-purposed for the exclusive offering later.  I do prefer this one’s boots, as it makes her a little easier to keep standing.  The new head is a decent piece, certainly one of Hasbro’s nicer offerings.  I think the exclusive figure has the superior Fisher likeness, but this one’s certainly not bad.  The paint on this figure isn’t much removed from the Bespin figure; there’s not a ton going on for most of the body, but I’m still okay with that, since accenting on white can go very bad very quickly.  The majority of the work is on the head, which is once again sporting a printed face.  Like the sculpt, the facial likeness isn’t quite as spot-on as the prior figure, but it’s still very good.  Like yesterday’s Dengar, Hoth Leia stands out in an assortment of rather lightly packed figures.  She gets her DH-17 rebel blaster rifle, which is a standard accessory for this version of the character.  In addition, she also has a welder and a pair of welding goggles, from when she was working on the Falcon.  While I might have liked to also get one of the breathing masks like we got with the SDCC Han, I think these are a solid selection of extras.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a figure I’ve been waiting a good long while for.  She was my #1 wanted Leia from the minute the line was announced, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting her release ever since she was finally shown off last year.  While the wait was long, it was most certainly worth it, especially since it means this version of Leia hit during the line at its strongest, and is therefore unlikely to need a replacement in the near future.  The same can’t be said of poor Empire Luke, who looks more and more out of place with each new figure we get.  There’s a lot to like about this figure, and I imagine she will be the go-to Leia for a good many collectors.  I myself am going to have a tough time choosing between this one and the Bespin Escape variant, because they both have a lot of points in their favor.

#1911: Dengar

DENGAR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Crude and slovenly, Dengar was nonetheless an effective bounty hunter. While some hunters prided themselves on finesse and style, Dengar preferred firepower and destruction.”

Every group has to have their weak link; the unfavorite; the guy on the receiving end of every pot-shot.  Well, in the case of Empire’s distinctive band of bounty hunters, that person is undoubtedly, without question today’s focus: Dengar.  Be it his less put-together appearance, his nature as a schlubby-looking middle-aged guy, or perhaps the fact that he appears to have wrapped himself in toilet paper, Dengar’s a character that doesn’t quite inspire the same cool factor as the rest of the group.  But, like so many weak links before him, he gets to ride along on everyone else’s coat tails, which means he has the same number of figures as all of the others.  And now, following the trend, he’s also got a Black Series figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dengar is figure 74 in the Black Series line-up, and is the first of the three OT-based figures in this latest assortment.  As I touched on in the intro, he completes our line-up of Executor Bounty Hunters, which is a pretty big deal for a large portion of the fanbase.  Dengar stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  His sculpt is unique, of course, and, as much as Dengar is a bit of mess design-wise, the sculpt is certainly a well-put-together mess…if that makes any sense.  The piecemeal nature of his design allows for Hasbro to put a good deal of smaller sculpted details.  The head wrappings and the actual head are separate from each other, which I believe is a first for this Dengar.  It certainly looks nice, and gives his face a slightly less lumpy quality than prior Dengars.  His face actually looks stern and determined, not goofy and schlubby, so he seems a little less out of place with the rest of the group in that regard.  Something that really impressed me about the sculpt was how little it interferes with his range of motion.  I had expected for him to be severely limited, as is usually the case with Dengar figures, but this guy can definitely get in some decent posing.  I mean, he won’t be pulling off any Spider-Man poses, but it’s certainly serviceable.  Dengar’s paintwork is a little cleaner than I’d expected, but upon comparing him to his on-screen counterpart, not too far off from the real thing.  He’s got enough wear and tear to make him believable and augment the sculpt well enough.  As will all the new human characters, he’s got a printed face, which includes the nasty scar running across it.  He lacks the burn scarring that he appears to have in the film, but it’s a relatively minor detail, so I can kind of forgive it.  In an assortment of somewhat lightly packed figures, Dengar is actually pretty darn well accessorized.  He has a larger blaster rifle, a blaster pistol, and a very detailed back pack.  It’s all stuff we see him with in the film’s one scene that features him, so obviously accurate, but that hasn’t stopped prior Dengars from lacking them, so it’s nice that nothing was cut.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I feel maybe I was a little harsh on Dengar up in the intro.  I’ve never had much of an affinity for the character, and I’d easily rank him as my least favorite of the Bounty Hunters from Empire.  With that said, I was still looking forward to this figure quite a bit, thanks to Hasbro’s accelerated efforts to complete the line-up in the last year.  The high of 4-LOM and Zuckuss and how awesome they were did a lot to give me some extra excitement for a character that might not have otherwise been too keen to pick up.  Despite my misgivings about his whole design, Hasbro’s definitely put in the effort to make him a good figure, and the end result is a fun toy that will no doubt please any Dengar fans out there.  Because there has to be someone *somewhere* right?