#1483: Maz Kanata

MAZ KANATA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“The destruction of her castle has forced Maz to become more mobile and take a more hands-on (and blasters-firing) role in the turbulent criminal underworld.  She offers help in the struggle against the first order by pointing the Resistance toward a mysterious new ally.”

Poor Maz Kanata was largely absent from the product for The Force Awakens, which was sort of sad, given how popular and memorable she proved to be.  In the case of proper action figures, her only one was in the smaller line from Hasbro, and she was only available as part of a boxed set, packed with three previously released figures.  A little annoying to say the least.  Fortunately, The Last Jedi’s gone and given her a larger scale figure fairly early on.  Things are looking up for good ol’ Maz!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Maz Kanata was released in the second assortment of The Last Jedi-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures, numbered as figure 49.  At first, I thought she was another straight Force Awakens figure, but her bio at the very least seems to indicate otherwise.  I guess it wouldn’t be that odd for her to keep the same look for both films (it’s not like Yoda changed between Empire and Jedi).  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Amongst those points of articulation are two points for each half of her goggles, which can be rotated upwards, just like we see in the movie.  I was slightly bummed that the smaller figure didn’t have moving goggles, so I’m glad that was remedied here.  Max’s sculpt is all-new to her, and it’s a pretty solid one at that.  The body in particular has a ton of really top-notch detail work, not only getting all the layering and such of her clothing down, but all of the texturing of the fabrics and her skin as well.  My only real complaint is that, comparatively, the head is a bit less detailed and all around softer looking.  It’s still a good piece, of course, but it does seem slightly off compared not just to the body, but also to the other head sculpts the line’s produced recently.    The paint on Maz is decent enough.  Nothing really stand-out or anything, but it’s clean and seems to mostly match up with her on-screen appearance.  I’m still not entirely sold on the metallic gold they used for her skin, but it’s hardly the worst choice ever.  Maz includes a very similar assortment of accessories to that of her smaller figure: a blaster, Luke’s lightsaber, and the box of junk the saber was found in.  The only real difference (apart from level of detail, of course) is that the blaster is now one of the standard Rebel blasters, which I believe may actually be a new piece to the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I found most of Series 2 at Target a few weeks back, I was a little disappointed that Maz was the only one missing from the bunch.  A week or so later, Super Awesome Girlfriend and I were picking up a few pieces of furniture from Ikea and decided to stop by the nearest Target for a few things, and boom, there she was.  And, as luck would have it, Target was even having a sale on Star Wars stuff, so I got her for a discount even!  It was a long wait for this figure, but, like the Leia in this series, she was very much worth it.  I’m happy to finally add her to my collection!

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#1476: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (HASBRO)

Obi-Wan Kenobi…now that’s a name I haven’t heard in quite some time…  Or at  least not for about 11 months, since that’s the last time I reviewed an Obi-Wan figure.  A year’s “quite some time,” right?  That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.  Anyway, even 50 years after his demise at the hands of Darth Vader, Kenobi’s still getting new action figures, which seems like a pretty sweet deal if you can get it.  Today, I’m looking at the newest of those figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obi-Wan is one of two refresher case figures in Hasbro’s first series of The Last Jedi figures.  He and Yoda (the other refresher figure) are shipping in refreshment cases of the Teal Wave of Series 1, and they started showing up most places last month.  This Kenobi figure represents the Alec Guinness version of the character from A New Hope, which is certainly my favorite.  The figure is about 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He’s got an all-new sculpt, though parts of it, the head at the very least, appear to come from the same files as the Black Series figure.  In the case of the head, that’s definitely a good thing, since it means he’s on par with the earlier figure in terms of the likeness.  It’s a spot-on Guinness, no doubt.  The rest of the sculpt is pretty solid as well; the robes on the body are pretty similar in design to those of the Jedi Master Luke, right down to the way the articulation cuts through them.  The arms go with a slightly different style than most of the figures in this line.  They’re bent at the elbows and the articulation at the shoulders is cut at a slight angle.  The end result is that if you get the posing right, he can actually hold his lightsaber two-handed, which is a first for a basic series figure, at least for a good long while.  I dig it.  Kenobi’s robe is a separate, soft plastic piece.  The hood’s sculpted to be permanently up, but you can fold it inside out for an approximation of his hood down look.  I don’t mind the hood up, but I certainly won’t be surprised if this mold shows back up with a tweaked robe piece down the line.  The paint work on Obi-Wan is fairly basic, but certainly passable.  The application is all pretty clean, and the colors all match up pretty well with the on-screen look.  Obi-Wan was packed with his lightsaber, and also features the Force Link feature.  When placed up to the reader, you hear him say: “Obi-Wan Kenobi…,” “Run, Luke, Run!,” and there are a bunch of lightsaber sounds.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obi-Wan was a fairly recent purchase.  I got him from Toys R Us, at the same time as the Dark Phoenix two-pack, in fact.  I don’t have a ton of Guinness Kenobis, and I rather liked the look of this one, so I grabbed him.  He’s actually pretty solid, and another fantastic addition to an already awesome line.

#1469: Luke Skywalker – Jedi Master

LUKE SKYWALKER – JEDI MASTER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“After tragedy destroyed his attempt to rebuild the Jedi Knights, Luke Skywalker vanished from the galaxy. Now, the Resistance needs his help to thwart the efforts of the evil First Order.”

FINALLY!!!!!!  I got the freaking Black Series freaking Jedi Master freaking Luke freaking Skywalker!  And it only took me two freaking months to find it!  *deep breath*  Okay, it’s out of my system.  Sorry, it’s been a long journey to getting this guy.  But I have him, so now I’m gonna review him.  I thought about putting him in a nice casserole, but I didn’t really fit the formula.  So, hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to the review we go!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jedi Master Luke Skywalker was released in the first assortment of The Last Jedi-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures.  He’s figure 46, which makes him the second to last figure in the set numerically.  This figure also saw an early release at SDCC this year, in a two-pack alongside Jedi Training Rey.  As far as I can tell, the only difference is the packaging; the actual figures are the same.  Like the smaller Jedi Master Luke, this one is sporting his garb from the end of The Force Awakens, which is certainly a solid design.  The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  The joints in his legs are obviously a little bit restricted by the lower portion of his robes, but you can still manage some fairly decent poses, and the rest of the joints are thankfully left unrestricted.  Luke’s sculpt is all-new, and does a pretty respectable job of capturing Luke’s look from the two films.  The likeness on this figure is a reasonable approximation of Hamill, though I think I might actually like the smaller figure’s take just a little bit more.  Similarly, I do find myself drawn to the detailing of the smaller figure over this one.  It’s not that this one’s bad at all.  He’s actually quite well-done.  There’s a lot of nice layering and wrinkling to the clothing.  I just find it to be a little softer than the smaller figure, and I’m not a huge fan of that.  I’m also not a huge fan of the generic gripping pose on the hands, especially since he doesn’t include anything to hold.  It just seems to me that some more specific gestures might make for more dynamic posing options.  Also, like the smaller figure, this one had a loop from which to hang a lightsaber hilt, albeit one that’s not included.  I’m still appreciative of the forward thinking on Hasbro’s part, though; it’s not like I don’t have any Skywalker sabers laying around.  The paintwork on Luke is decent enough.  The best of it’s definitely on the head, which has some nice accent work on the hair and beard, as well as some of the cleanest eyes I’ve seen from this line so far.  In terms of extras, Luke’s got his cloak, which is a fabric piece.  It’s not great.  There’s no real way to keep it in place on the figure, so it just really flops off of him a lot.  I can’t see myself using it much.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke, and by extension the rest of the first assortment of Last Jedi Black Series figures, has been quite difficult to find around these parts.  They were practically nonexistent on Force Friday, and they never really showed up after that either.  When I found Series 2, I was pretty much convinced I wasn’t finding Luke.  And then I did find him at an out of the way GameStop, about a week later.  Unfortunately, I’d dropped over $100 on action figures the day before, so I just couldn’t bring myself to buy him.  So, back to the car I went, with the hopes that he’d still be there at a later date.  I mentioned this to my dad, who pretty much immediately turned the car around, said “I didn’t buy anything yesterday” and marched into the GameStop to purchase this figure.  I swear, I try not to always buy stuff, but my family and friends won’t let me escape.  Because they love me or something.  It’s frustrating at times.  I’m happy to finally have this figure, especially after the long wait.  Is he perfect?  No, but he’s still solid, and definitely worth your time if you like this line.

#1464: Elite Praetorian Guard

ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“As the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke was flanked by crimson-clad guardians, loyal protectors encased in ornate armor ready to defend the Supreme Leader from any threat.”

Does that bio sound familiar?  It should, because it’s exactly the same as the one used for the last Elite Praetorian Guard review I did.  I’m not unnecessarily repeating myself,  I assure you.  Hasbro just used the same bio twice, that’s all.  And honestly?  I can’t really blame them.  It seems a little silly to write two distinct yet essentially identical bios for what is undoubtedly a rather minor character when it would be just as easy to use the same one twice.  So kudos to Hasbro and their efficient allocation of resources!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Elite Praetorian Guard is another figure from the second Last Jedi-themed assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s figure 50, which makes him the second figure in the assortment numerically.  As I’ve noted in my last two Praetorian Guard reviews, there are three different helmets for the guards.  The one I’m looking at today is the same one we saw on the smaller Black Series release.  I think it’s safe to say this one’s the lead guard, given he’s the only one currently available in all of the styles.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  There’s actually some pretty clever design work going on with this figure’s articulation.  First of all, we get the ball-jointed shoulder pads, which are a godsend, and always encouraged.  I initially didn’t care for the arms, and found them to be exceedingly limited in posability, but after messing with them a little bit, I discovered that there’s a separate floating piece hovering over the elbow joints.  It takes a little bit of careful work to get it going at first, but once you do, you’ve got an elbow joint that’s just as posable as any other figure’s but without breaking up the segmented design of the armor.  I really dig it.  I definitely prefer the sculpt on this guy to the smaller figure.  Lines are sharper and proportions are more balanced.  I also much prefer the soft plastic robe to the cloth one.  Yes, it’s a little more restricting on the leg articulation, but not horribly so, and it looks way better.  The paintwork on this guy is about the same as the other two guards I’ve looked at.  The design is decidedly basic on the color front, but the variance in finish looks pretty great, and all of the details that are there are clean.  Like the smaller figure, this guy’s one accessory is his spear.  It’s a bit more detailed, of course, and still looks pretty slick.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this guy at the same time as Leia and Poe.  He was a little more of an impulse buy than those two.  I had been contemplating holding out for the slightly more expensive Amazon exclusive Guard, since he’s sporting my favorite of the three helmets, but upon seeing this guy in person, I had a hard time passing him up.  Definitely my favorite Praetorian I’ve gotten so far.

#1463: Captain Poe Dameron

CAPTAIN POE DAMERON

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“It takes defiant courage to stare down the threat of the First Order, and while Captain Poe Dameron is eager to fight, he worries that some of the Resistance leadership don’t have what it takes.”

What’s this?  Another Poe Dameron figure?  On this site?  Gadzooks, what a shock!

Okay, all joking aside, yes, I’m looking at another Poe Dameron figure today.  Now, this is in part because I just really like Poe and therefore want as many figures of him as possible, but it’s also because every single Poe figure released so far has been compromised in some way.  So, let’s see how the latest fares, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Poe Dameron is part of the second assortment of The Last Jedi-themed assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s figure #53, placing him right after Leia, and he’s also the first proper Last Jedi Black Series figure I’ve looked at on the site.  As the rank in the name may have clued you in, this Poe is sporting his brand new jacketed look.  It’s the more obviously different of his two main looks from this film, so it makes sense for this release.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  It’s an all-new sculpt, which I’d definitely say is for the best.  Not only does the design not have much overlap with prior Poe designs, the last two Poes in this scale were also not super great when it came to sculpts.  In particular, Hasbro’s had a lot of trouble nailing down Oscar Isaac’s likeness, especially on the larger figures.  Without a doubt, this figure has the best Isaac sculpt we’ve seen to date.  It’s still not 100% there, but it’s definitely close.  I think the thing that really sells it for me is the nose.  Isaac has a very distinctive nose, and I think this figure really gets that down.  Not to be outshone by the head sculpt, the body’s got some pretty awesome detail work going on.  Gone are the issues with odd spots of softness like we saw with the prior Poes.  Paint on this figure is also a notable improvement on the prior figures, but given just how bad the last two Poes were in that department, it means there’s still a bit of room for improvement.  The basic paint is way cleaner, and the details have a very pleasant tendency to not totally miss the spots where they’re supposed to go.  Hasbro still seems very much perplexed by how to handle Poe’s slight stubble.  It’s still way to dark (at least on my figure; there’s a good degree of variance from figure to figure), but at least it doesn’t look like he just slathered solid grey paint on his face.  It certainly helps the likeness to shine through a little bit better.  Poe is packed with his smaller blaster pistol, which is actually painted all of the correct colors this time.  I wouldn’t have minded a little bit more, but it’s better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Poe as the same time as yesterday’s Leia.  As much as I can appreciate the prior figures for what they are, they definitely left a little to be desired.  Early shots of this figure didn’t look much better, but once in-hand photos started showing, I definitely knew I wanted one!  The figure still has a few minor problems, but he’s hands down the best version of Poe to date.

#1462: General Leia Organa

GENERAL LEIA ORGANA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Despite all that she has endured and lost in a lifetime of war, General Leia Organa continues to shine as a beacon of hope for the loyal subjects of the Resistance under her command.”

Perhaps the most glaring omission from all of the Force Awakens product, even more than Luke Skywalker, was General Leia Organa.  Out of all the figures Hasbro released, there was exactly one older Leia, in the 3 3/4-inch Black Series line.  It’s *okay* but not great, and most annoyingly, it’s not sporting her main look from the film.  Two years after the film, we still haven’t gotten the basic Leia in the main line, but they have at least given her a larger-scale Black Series figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

General Leia Organa was released in the second assortment of Black Series figures following the Last Jedi re-launch.  She’s figure 52, meaning Hasbro’s really committed to keeping the numbering going this time around.  Also, she’s actually listed as a general on the packaging this time!  Yay!  She’s also finally wearing her actual military garb, which is definitely the more exciting of her two designs from TFA.  It just seems more true to the character.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall (keeping her consistent with the other Leia figures from the Black Series) and she has 27 points of articulation.  Leia has a brand new sculpt.  There was definitely an upward trend of improvement to these figures starting with the some of the later Rogue One offerings, and it looks like The Last Jedi is starting pretty strong right out of the gate.  This is definitely one of the stronger figures I’ve gotten from the line, and probably the strongest Leia sculpt we’ve gotten to date.  It’s certainly an improvement over the smaller figure.  The head has a pretty decent Carrie Fisher likeness, and the detail work on the clothing and such is pretty great.  The paintwork on Leia is fairly straightforward, but still a notable improvement over earlier offerings.  They’re still doing a lot of molded plastic for the colors, but there’s enough subtle accenting, especially on the face/hair, that she doesn’t look quite as bland and lifeless as the likes of the Tatooine Luke figure.  I do wish that her hair had a little more noticeable grey in it, but she’s doing a little better than the Han figure in that respect.  Leia is packed with a small blaster.  I don’t believe we actually see it in TFA, but it’s a cool design, and calls back to the one she carries at the beginning of A New Hope.  It’s nice to get at least something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a figure I’ve been wanting ever since the Force Awakens figures hit.  I was bummed when she didn’t show up around the time of the movie, and I continued to be bummed with the release of the rather lackluster small-scale figure.  When this figure was shown off at SDCC, I was excited, but a little apprehensive, since The Black Series has been rather scarce around these parts ever since the first assortment of Rogue One.  This was made worse by the fact that I’ve still yet to see most of the first Last Jedi assortment at retail, which left me a little worried about the prospects of finding Leia.  As luck would have it, I came across almost all of the second series while stopping for groceries at a slightly out of the way Target.  Leia is really awesome, and I’m really glad I got her. And, honestly, I’m sort of glad we had to wait, because it means she got added to the line right in the midst of its strongest run of figures to date.

#1455: Elite Praetorian Guard

ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“As the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke was flanked by crimson-clad guardians, loyal protectors encased in ornate armor ready to defend the Supreme Leader from any threat.”

It’s been almost a month since I reviewed the Force Link reader and wrapped up my Last Jedi reviews.  Now I’m back with more!  Woooooo!  I’ve yet to find any of the post-Force Friday basic figure releases, but I have managed to find a few other things of interest.  As with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, there’s a Walmart-exclusive assortment of smaller-scale Black Series figures.  It would seem the timing is a little better this time around, since they started hitting only a week or two after the initial product.  Today, I’ll be looking at that series’ take on the Praetorian Guard!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Elite Praetorian Guard is one of the four figures in what is the final series of Walmart-exclusive Black Series figures (the line’s being replaced by the returning Vintage Collection next year).  This guy’s got a different helmet than the one in the two-pack with Rey, denoting he’s a different guard.  I like this one a little more than the last one.  Given the presence of this design in the big playset with Snoke and as the main release in the larger Black Series, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this guy might be the “lead” guard, but time will tell.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  The Guard’s articulation is showing the same improvements we saw with the Rogue One figures, though I found his to be about on par with the Death Trooper, who was definitely the most limited of that bunch.  Still, he’s way easier to mess with than the TFA figures.  The Guard gets an all-new sculpt, which is pretty decent overall.  The upper half is really the best work; it’s sharply detailed, the articulation is pretty well integrated, and the build looks to match what we’ve seen so far of these guys.  The lower half has his skirt piece done with cloth, rather than sculpted.  It looks alright, and helps with porsablity, but the shaping’s definitely a bit off in basic standing poses.  His legs are also really skinny, at least to my eyes.  Like his more basic counterpart, the paint on this guy is pretty simple.  He’s mostly just molded in glossy red plastic, with some slight black detailing here and there.  It still looks pretty slick, and one can hardly fault them for following the film design.  This guy includes one accessory: his spear.  It’s a pretty cool piece, and this figure can hold it with both hands, which is a definite plus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I came across this assortment while I was out searching for a Voltron Keith (who I still haven’t found, by the way).  Luke and Rose weren’t different enough from the basic figures for me to feel they were worth it, and the Executioner’s built on the same body as the rather flawed FO Stormtrooper, so this guy was the only one that came home with me.  Admittedly, I don’t think he’s quite as strong as the Rogue One figures, but he’s still pretty fun, and I’m happy to have him.  Now, let’s wait and see if Hasbro decides to offer all of the helmet variations in this style.

#1431: Force Link Starter Set

FORCE LINK STARTER SET (w/ KYLO REN)

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Hey guys, remember how I wrapped up my Force Friday II reviews like not even a week ago? Well, I knew I’d be getting around to more of that stuff eventually, but I did sort of expect more than a 5 day break.  You can’t always get what you want…or expect…or something. 

Anyway, I’m plunging back into Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi line, and taking a look at one of the central items from the line, the Force Link Starter Set, i.e. the thing that provides the gimmick to every TLJ I’ve looked at so far.  Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, up until now all of my Last Jedi figure  reviews are incomplete.  It’s okay, I’m fixing it today!

THE SET ITSELF

This set was released alongside the initial product launch for Force Friday.  Included in the set is the Force Link Reader and a Kylo Ren.  The Reader is also available in the big BB-8 playset, and will also be offered in a TRU-exclusive pack later down the line, but this will remain the cheapest way to get one.  As of right now, this Kylo figure is exclusive to this set.  Not included in the set are the three AAA batteries that you’ll need to get the Reader up and running.

FORCE LINK READER

Obviously, this set’s main focus here is the reader.  The thing what makes the other toys do what they do.  Like the Comm Tech gimmick from the Phantom Menace toys, each toy in this line includes a small NFC chip (imbedded in the figures this time, instead of an exterior stand).  The Force Link reader contains the main chip with all of the actual sound information, and each smaller chip just serves to “unlock” that particular set of sounds.  Unlike the Comm Tech reader, this one’s wearable.  Wooooo!  Different!  The reader’s a fairly simple design; a bracelet with two bits and a strap.  The battery pack goes over your wrist and the actual reader part goes forward, sitting against the back of your palm.  There’s a hing between the two segments, which has a spring in it to keep the reader part forward, and thus always against your hand.  The whole thing’s not a terribly large contraption, which is certainly for the best; this is meant for kids after all, and they need to be able to actually use it.  The flip side is that it’s a bit of tight fit on anyone who isn’t child-sized.  The strap is adjustable, but it only goes so far.  I suppose you could change out the strap for a longer one if you really needed to, but it’s ultimately not a big deal.  Why isn’t it a big deal? Well, mostly because I’m not sure how many people are going to end up using this thing the way it’s intended.  The way the instructions and the back of the box show the reader in use, it’s strapped to the back of your wrist, and you hold the figure in your hand and move it about.  In order to get the reader part to best line-up with the chip in the figure’s torso, you pretty much have to entirely envelop the figure in your hand, and even then, it’s not always super reliable.  I found it much easier to just hold the reader in one hand, or even place it on a flat surface, and touch the figures to it directly.  I’ll give Hasbro some credit on this, though; I did find the wrist set-up was far more practical when using the vehicles, so the strap’s not a total loss.  I do have one minor complaint about the reader: there’s no on/off switch, so it just turns on when you tap a figure to it.  This can be unreliable, and a bit frustrating at times.  Once you get it going, the sound quality on all of the effects is fairly decent, at least for something of this size, and once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy to get the sounds going.  For the ships, there’s really just one sound for each, which includes the engine starting up, followed by some sustained flight sounds, which will pretty much go until you set the ship down.  The Imperial Probe works in a similar fashion, getting some sustained hovering sounds, but he does also get the distinctive robot chatter from the film, which will pop-up occasionally.  Each of the figure’s gets a whole list of dialogue, as well as one sustained battle sound, which will eventually culminate in an explosion of some sort.  A lot of the dialogue seems to be archive dialogue from the movies (including some new lines from Last Jedi), but a few figures, Luke and the unmasked Kylo most noticeably, get re-recorded lines with “soundalike” actors.  Luke’s is a little off, but not terrible.  Kylo’s, on the other hand, is downright laughable, and made worse by the fact that the masked Kylo is still using Adam Driver’s real voice.  I’ve gone through all of my figures now and made a list of the bits of dialogue each of them played.  It’s possible there are more for a few of them, since the clips are accessed at random.  There were a few times I thought I was done with a figure, only to find one last sound.  Unfortunately, while going through my figures, I did find that one of them, the Praetorian Guard, had the chip from A-Wing Pilot Tallie, instead of his own.  I foresee this being a recurring issue.  Here’s the list of dialogue by figure:

LUKE: “May the force be with you,” “Trust your instincts,” “Come, I’ll show you the true meaning of the Force,” “Leave this place!” “Stay Back!” and a loud whooshing sound.

REY: “I’m with the Resistance,” “You’re going to pay for what you did,” “The First Order are everywhere,” “I can do this,” and a lightsaber sound.

CHEWIE: Wookie sounds, as far as the eye can see

KYLO (SINGLE): “I feel the power of the Force,” “I know what I have to do,” “Traitor!” “You will bring Luke Skywalker to me,” and a sustained lightsaber effect.

POE (SKI SPEEDER): “Now we have a chance,” “We got a lot of company!” “I’m gonna get us in position!” “Red 4, Red 6: Cover us!” and a sustained blaster sound.

HUX: “We shall destroy the Resistance,” “Bow to the First Order!” “Capture the droid if we can, but destroy it if we must,” “We have their location,” and a blaster sound.

POE (SINGLE): “I’m Poe! Poe Dameron!” “I can fly anything,” “We’re gonna do this,” “Take my lead,” “Let’s light it up!” and a blaster sound.

ROSE: “I can fix anything!” “We have a mission to complete,” “You can’t give up on the Resistance,” “Bullseye!” “Blast ‘em!” and a blaster sound.

PAIGE: “Orders received,” “We have to tackle the First Order head on!” “My sensors are picking up TIEs; Brace yourself!” and a blaster sound.

TALLIE: “Reporting in, Squadron Leader,” “Protect the bombers!” “Here they come!” and a blaster sound.

FINN: “The name’s Finn and I’m in charge!” “Stay low! It confuses their tracking!” “Oh, you gotta be kidding me!” “Do exactly as I say, I can get you out of here,” “YAAAGGH!!” and a blaster sound.

BOBA FETT: “He’s no good to me dead,” “Don’t bother hiding,” “Orders are to finish you off,” “You’re on borrowed time,” and a jetpack sound.  (His flamethrower extra also makes a flame throwing sound.)

HAN: “Han Solo.  I’m captain of the Millennium Falcon,” “I got a bad feeling about this,” “They’d be crazy to follow us, wouldn’t they?” “Never tell me the odds!” “Great shot!  That was one in a million!” and a blaster sound.

VADER: “If you only knew the power of the Dark Side,” “Sweep the asteroid field until they are found,” “Prepare your troops for a surface attack,” and a lightsaber sound.

KYLO REN

Alongside the reader, this set also includes yet another variant of our boy Kylo.  This Kylo is distinct from the two other Kylo figures released at launch in that this one has his mask.  I can certainly get behind that.  Like his predecessor, he stands about 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Though you wouldn’t guess it at first glance, this Kylo figure is actually a completely unique sculpt from the single release.  The details here are all consistent with the single release, but he’s posed ever so slightly differently.  It’s a more intimidating, advancing sort of pose, with his legs a bit more spread apart, and his hunch more pronounced.  The hand poses have changed as well, with the right one in a grip, and the left in a slight Force-using pose.  The cape’s also been tweaked ever so slightly, so that it leans more to one side, thus exposing his right arm a bit more, and allowing him to better hold his lightsaber.  Of course, the biggest difference between the two figures is the head, what with it having the helmet now and everything.  It’s a very nice sculpt, and presents all of the details quite sharply.  Like the single release, the paint on Kylo is fairly simple; lots of black, with just a little bit of silver thrown in.  It’s certainly accurate to the source material, and they do what they can to keep it from being too bland.  Kylo is packed with his lightsaber, which appears to be the same piece from the single release.  This Kylo gets his own unique Force Link dialogue, which includes: “Show me again, the power of the darkness” “I will let nothing stand in our way” “I’ve been waiting for this day a long time” “Find them” “You know what I’ve come for; where is it?” “Put every hangar on lockdown!” and a lightsaber sound.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, why didn’t I just review this with the rest of the Force Friday II stuff, right?  Because I just bought it Monday, that’s why.  Here’s the deal: I was going to hold off of getting one of these readers until the TRU-exclusive set with the Executor Trooper and Praetorian Guard was released. Then I found out that General Mills was offering a coupon for $10 off the starter set in some of their cereal boxes, and found one of said boxes. The reader is rather gimmicky, and I don’t really know how much use anyone’s going to get out of it.  That being said, I much prefer this sort of thing to the random bulid-a-whatsits from The Force Awakens.  Of course, by the very nature of it’s design, it’s pretty much limited to whatever figures and ships Hasbro had slated when it went into production, so I doubt it’ll survive past the new year.  The Kylo figure included is actually surprisingly cool, and quite different from the one I already had. At $25, this set seemed a little high; at $15, it feels like a really nice deal. 

#1425: Darth Vader & Imperial Probe Droid

DARTH VADER & IMPERIAL PROBE DROID

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

“Tenacious hunters and searchers, Probe Droids (or Probots) have a variety of sensors and the ones employed by the Empire are armed with powerful blasters and, in some models, shields.”

Remember when I was mentioning the Empire Strikes Back stuff that hit with The Last Jedi product?  Just yesterday?  Well, hey, here’s some more of that.  This set pairs another variation of one of the franchise’s juggernaut characters with a fan-favorite design that actually hasn’t seen a new figure in almost 15 years, which seems a little crazy.  Onto the review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vader and the Probot are one of the two “creature” sets released alongside the Last Jedi product.  Interestingly, the two characters included here never actually share any screen time or even reside in the same general area over the course of Empire, but I guess that Vader’s the Probot’s boss, so that sort of makes a little sense.

DARTH VADER

So, I was discussing yesterday about how the whole Star Wars line would fall into disarray were there not a steady stream of Boba Fett figures offered.  That goes double for this guy.  Despite dying at the end of Return of the Jedi, he’s managed to find his way into every movie line launch since Episode 1 in some way or another.  This figure stands a little over 4 inches tall and has a whole 6 points of articulation (thanks to a cut joint at the waist).  This Vader is based on his appearance from Empire, which was slightly changed from A New Hope (and, by extension, Rogue One, which used the ANH design), but not terribly different from the one seen in Return of the Jedi.  Essentially, this figure’s sculpt is the later film equivalent to the fantastic Rogue One Vader we got last year.  At first glance, I actually thought this figure was mostly re-used from that one, but it’s its own wholly original work.  This means there’s no real compromises made, which is nice to see after lots of years of Vaders based indeterminately on several different movie’s designs.  It’s a very strong sculpt, and were it not for the RO Vader from last year, it would easily be my favorite Vader sculpt to date.  As it stands, it’s a definite top two.  I enjoy this just as much, but for differing reasons.  Interestingly, the helmet is a separate piece from the mask and head, but it’s not removable or anything.  I was sort of expecting this to be a “reveal” figure, showing the back of his head like we see in his chamber, but it wasn’t the case. It’s not really a big deal, though, and I honestly prefer a Vader with all of his pieces connected.  This Vader gets another plastic cape piece, which is a different piece than the one on the RO Vader, but still very nice.  This one drapes over the shoulders a bit more, which is certainly appropriate.  Vader’s paintwork is pretty solid all around.  There’s a lot more going on than might be evident at first, especially with all the differing shades of black.  I like that they’re putting in that sort of effort.  Vader includes his lightsaber, which this time around can be held in either of his hands.  He is also ForceLink compatible, though I still don’t have the wrist thing to try him out, so I don’t know what sounds he makes.

IMPERIAL PROBE DROID

In a movie full of distinctive things, the Probe Droid actually manages to stick out, being one of the very first things the audience sees on the screen.  The Probot’s only had two figures before in this scale; both were actually made from the same mold.  It’s long been a favorite item amongst the fan base, so an update was certainly much appreciated.  The Probot is about 5 inches tall (when placed on his stand, of course) and has an astounding 16 points of articulation.  Those arms really help him out on that front.  The sculpt on this guy is all new, and definitely top-notch.  Like Vader, it’s very accurate to the film prop, and offers a lot of really great little details.  Obviously, it’s a little less detailed than the real scale-model of the thing, but it’s far from “basic.”  The head in particular just perfectly captures the shape and sizing of the in-film design so well, and I love how well his large camera eyes have turned out.  In terms of paint, there’s not a *ton* going on with the Probot.  He’s largely just molded in a very dark grey plastic.  hat being said, it’s a good shade of grey, and there’s still nice paint work on the lenses of the cameras.  He’s also got a number of silver scuffs all over him, befitting the used-future look of the OT films.  It’s subtle, but it definitely adds a lot to the figure.  Since the Probot we see in the film is always hovering and doesn’t really have an easy way of standing, this figure includes a clear stand to help him “hover.”  It’s a fairly basic piece, which just plugs into the base of the figure’s body.  I do quite like the little Imperial insignia that’s molded into it.  It’s a fun touch.  There’s also a missile launching component worked into the figure, but in a less obtrusive way than the prior Probot mold.  It’s just one small panel on the body, and it’s not really noticeable when it’s in place.  Lastly, there’s the ForceLink feature, and this time around, I do actually have an idea of what sounds it makes.  It just makes the transmitting sounds from the movie, which is a feature I really look forward to trying out when I get the chance.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, I didn’t pick this pair up on Force Friday.  I didn’t even pick them up the next week when I went back.  In part, this was due to my thinking that the Vader was actually a lot more similar to the RO version than he ultimately was.  But I saw some photos online and I was really digging the Probot, so I decided to try and grab one.  Of course, I forgot that this set’s packed one for every three Rapthar packs, so it wasn’t super easy to track down.  I did eventually manage to find one at Walmart, so yay for that.  This is definitely a strong set.  Sure, a figure other than Vader might have been nice, but at least it’s a good Vader figure.  And at the end of the day, the Probot’s definitely worth buying another Vader figure to get.  And that wraps up the small-scale Force Friday offerings that I’ll be reviewing.  Not a bad assortment at all.

#1424: Boba Fett & Han Solo

BOBA FETT & HAN SOLO

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

We’re starting to wind down on the Star Wars: The Last Jedi stuff.  Yesterday’s Finn review marked the last of the actual Last Jedi offerings I’ll be reviewing (at least in this round of stuff), but as with every new Star Wars release, there’s a healthy helping of items based on prior films.  As TLJ is the second film in this new trilogy, they’re putting out more than a few items based on the Original Trilogy’s second part, Empire Strikes Back.  I’ll be taking a look at Hasbro’s latest versions of Han Solo and Boba Fett from that film today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Han and Boba were released in the two-pack assortment of The Last Jedi figures, alongside the previously reviewed Rey and Elite Praetorian Guard pairing.  This is one of the two ESB-themed items in the initial product launch.

BOBA FETT

They just can’t keep the Fett-man down, can they?  If the Star Wars toyline went too long without at least one Fett, it would surely collapse into some sort of null field of pointlessness, right?  Fett’s the glue that holds the fandom together! Gotta keep those Fett-fans happy.  Or something like that.  Anyway, this new figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation.  Now, after years and years of lots of nearly identical Boba Fetts, you might be wondering what sets this guy apart from the pack.  He’s an all-new sculpt, and it may well be the best sculpt we’ve ever seen on a Boba Fett figure.  It’s at least the best small-scale Boba we’ve gotten.  The last 5POA Boba I looked at had a number of issues that prevented him from being the best he could be, but this figure really tackles a lot of the issues I had with that and a lot of the other 5POA figures head on.  One big issue I’ve had with a lot of the basic figures is the rigidity of their poses.  This figure fixes that, giving Boba a slightly offset balancing of his weight.  It’s effectively still a straight standing pose, but it adds just a little more character, and makes him look a touch more human.  It also resembles the pose Boba had in the initial promo shots from Empire, which is a fun bit of nerdy trivia.  The sculpt also gives us a very nice take on Boba’s armor, with all of the details being sharply defined, and nicely recreated.  The head’s definitely my favorite part, as it’s easily one of the best Fett helmet sculpts ever produced.  It’s a spot-on recreation, and I just really love it.  Boba’s sculpt is aided by a pretty awesome paint job, which follows the trend of improvement on Hasbro’s part. The paint is clean and sharp for the most part, and there are a lot of really nice details.  There are a few details missing, but mostly minor stuff, and he looks far better than some of the earlier figures.  Fett is packed with his large blaster, his small blaster, and a big bulky thing that replicates his flamethrower.  Both the figure and the big bulky thing are ForceLink compatible, but as of yet I don’t have anyway to figure out how to test the sounds they make.

HAN SOLO

Han was actually completely absent from the product launch for The Force Awakens, so it’s a little bit amusing that he’s included this time around, despite not being in the movie (well, at least as far as we know).  This guy’s sporting Han’s spiffy jacketed look from Empire, which is my favorite look for the character, and which seems to be less common than you’d hope when it comes to toys (seriously, how do we not have this look in The Black Series yet?).  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  No real surprises there.  At first glance, this figure’s sculpt looks to have some parts in common with the Force Awakens figure.  An actual comparison of the two figures reveals that there are no parts actually shared between the two, but they appear to at the very least have started from the same basic source files.  Not gonna lie, this figure’s far from perfect.  One of the things that makes the jacketed look my favorite for Han is how sharp he looks, but this figure ends up looking a little bit schluby.  The real culprit behind this is the waist.  The waist is too low, which in turn makes the jacket too long, which has the illusion of making his arms look too short and gives him the appearance of his gut having out over his belt.  If the waist were a quarter of an inch higher, the figure would look a bit better.  The likeness on the head also isn’t one of Hasbro’s better Harrison Fords.  From some angles it’s manageable, but from others he barely even looks human.  It definitely feels like they took their old Han sculpt from TFA and tried to de-age it, which hasn’t quite worked.  On the plus side of things Han’s jacket’s pretty nicely detailed, and I appreciate the texturing on the stripes on his pants.  The paint on Han is kind of “meh”.  It’s okay in some spots, but there’s more noticeable slop here than on other recent figures, and worst of all, his got weird placement on his eyes, which just throws the whole figure off.  I hate when that happens.  Han’s packed with his blaster, which can be placed in the holster if you so choose.  I was happy to see it was actually the correct version that he carries in Empire, not just re-used from a prior Han.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Finn, I didn’t grab this set on Force Friday.  I had seen it beforehand, and I mostly checked out the Han figure, who left me kind of cold, and mostly ignored the Boba Fett, since the Saga Legends Fett did nothing for me.  So, on Friday I focused on the TLJ stuff and left this behind.  Then I saw some photos online, and realized what an improvement Fett was, and slightly regretted not grabbing them.  When my Target re-stoked the basic figures, they also marked the two-packs down a bit, so I got these two alongside Finn.  Boba’s fantastic.  He’s rivaled only by the 6-inch Black Series figure in terms of coolness.  Han’s okay.  Far from the worst Han Solo figure, but nothing particularly amazing, which is a shame, since I’m always eager to get a new Bespin Han.  Alas, I’ll just have to hang in there for the next version.  This one will do until then.