#1722: TIE Silencer (w/ Kylo Ren)

TIE SILENCER

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (HASBRO)

“Kylo Ren has inherited piloting skills from his father, though he uses these abilities to pursue the Resistance from the seat of his unique, angular TIE Fighter.”

In the last few months, I’ve picked up quite a few Star Wars ships. There was a store going out of business or something.  So, in an effort to make my way through them, I’ll be devoting this whole week to reviewing them.  Behold Star Wars Ships Week…which technically started yesterday.  Shhhh, don’t worry about it.  Yesterday, I looked at Han Solo and his signature Millennium Falcon.  Today, I’m following that up with his son, Ben Swollo Solo, and his ship, the TIE Silencer.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The TIE Silencer is the latest derivation of the TIE Fighter.  Like his grandfather before him, Kylo is flying a brand-new, advanced form of TIE amongst his troops.  After going more classic for the Force Awakens, this design is definitely more divergent.  This ship was the largest of the ships meant to interact with the figures from the Last Jedi toyline.  Size-wise, it’s footprint isn’t much smaller than the Kessel Run Millennium Falcon, though that’s largely due to the wings.  This makes the Silencer much closer to its proper scale than the Falcon.  It’s still a little smaller than it technically should be, but no worse than the X-Wing and TIE from the last film.  Kylo looks a little goofy in there, but worse things have happened.  Like some of the prior vehicles, the Silencer needs a little bit of assembly when you get it out of the box.  There wings need to be popped into place, and then the front guns need to be placed on.  Once assembled, the ship is about 12 inches tall, 8 1/2 inches wide, and stands 3 inches tall.  The Silencer’s sculpt is a pretty decent recreation of the ship’s design from the movie, following the proper shaping and internal proportions (even if it’s small). The internal cock-pit has had to be tweaked a bit to fit the smaller size, but isn’t far enough, and you won’t really be able to see much of it anyway.  The detail work, especially on the wings, is really in depth, which is a nice change of pace for these vehicles, which have a tendency to be lighter on such details when compared to the figures.  The paintwork on the ship is fairly scarce.  There are some silver details, but mostly it’s just the same very dark grey plastic. There’s one slight error there: the color of the (actually pretty cool) transparent windshield, is incorrect.  It’s just more grey here, but was red in the film.  In Hasbro’s defense, however, this was a rather late change, and the same error shows up across a lot of merchandising.  The Silencer, like the whole Last Jedi line, is Force Link compatible, and it’s probably the coolest bit of compatibility we saw from the line.  When you pick up the ship while wearing the bracelet, in addition to the usual swooshing sounds, there are also some light-up features.  It’s pretty fun, though I can understand why some people were upset about being unable to access those features without the reader.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the Silencer is its pilot, Kylo Ren.  This figure’s just a slight tweak on the standard single-careded release.  He’s one of those figure’s that’s bafflingly different.  Like, why did they make a figure that’s technically all new molds, instead of just re-using the other figure?  I mean, I guess they didn’t want to force people to buy the same figure twice, but I can’t really say this is much better.  Between the two, I find myself preferring the last one, but I guess I can appreciate having the second to keep in the ship.  Kylo includes his lightsaber, should you want him to have some non-ship battles.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was the one main vehicle I *didn’t* pick up on Force Friday II.  It was the most expensive, and I was already getting the basic Kylo, so that worked for me.  But then it sat around at my nearest Walmart for a good long while, and eventually got mega clearanced, and then it was cheap enough for me to get invested.  It’s a pretty fun ship, and a design that I certainly like, though I can’t say I find it quite as fun as the Falcon.  Guess I’ve always been more invested in the hero’s vehicles.

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#1700: Rey – Island Journey

REY – ISLAND JOURNEY

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“With the power of the Force awakening inside of her, Rey travels to the hidden world of Ahch-To. There, she seeks out Luke Skywalker as the last hope of the Resistance.”

I’ve bought a lot of Star Wars figures recently.  Try as I may to space them out, sometimes you’ve just got to paraphrase Tom Cruise and say “What the heck?” and do a week of Black Series reviews.  Because that’s just how I roll.  So, let’s kick this week off by answering the that question I love answering, “Where’s Rey?”  She’s right here!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rey (Island Journey) is figure 58 in Star Wars: The Black Series.  She originally hit alongside DJ and Captain Rex in the first assortment of 2018, and she’s also received a re-pack alongside the Solo-themed offerings.  She was originally shown off prior to the Last Jedi releases, intended as a Force Awakens release.  But, since her Resistance togs appeared in both films, it was pretty easily re-fitted into a Last Jedi variant.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Rey sports a mostly new sculpt, with her arms and hands being re-used from the Jedi Training version of the character.  I had initially thought this caused a slight inaccuracy on the figure, since she’s lacking the wrist covers that go with the resistance outfit.  However, after double-checking various stills from the movie, she actually removes those covers for some parts of TLJ, especially when she’s wearing the poncho that this figure added.  So, the re-use is actually warranted here.  The rest of the sculpt is really quite good.  The proportions are nicely balanced, and the details of her outfit are sharply defined.  The vest piece can be removed, and she manages to not look totally goofy without it, which is a plus.  My favorite part of the sculpt is definitely the head, which is my favorite Rey headsculpt yet (it’s managed to supplant the Titan Heroes sculpt), and has a really strong Daisy Ridley likeness.  As with the previously reviewed Han Solo (who Rey actually predates, of course), the paintwork on Rey is really strong, and helps to further elevate an already strong sculpt.  Her assortment premiered the introduction of Hasbro’s new face-printing technique into The Black Series.  As with Han, this adds a much more lifelike quality to the figure, almost on par with the likes of Hot Toys, and just makes the figure look that much better.  In terms of extras, Rey is pretty well packed, coming with her staff, blaster, and Luke’s lightsaber (all shared with the Jedi Training figure), as well as the poncho she’s seen sporting on Ahch-To.  The poncho’s just a simple cloth piece, but it’s better tailored to the figure than prior softgoods pieces from this line, and it does add a lot more to display options.  I’m kind of a sucker for a nice poncho.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rey’s Resistance look is definitely my favorite of her three designs, so I’ve been on-board with this figure since day one.  The announcement that she was getting the poncho from TLJ and would be introducing the face-print tech only got me more on-board.  Of course, I had to find her first, which proved a little difficult.  I never lucked into her in her initial case packout, but the reissue made her a little easier to track down, and I was able to get her through Super Awesome Girlfriend’s work.  This is a really nice figure, and hands down my favorite Rey.  I liked the Jedi Training version quite a bit, but this one blows it out of the water.

#1575: Admiral Ackbar & First Order Officer

ADMIRAL ACKBAR & FIRST ORDER OFFICER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Star Wars fandom has a tendency to latch onto certain characters, and blow there contributions way out of proportion.  The biggest example of this is, of course, Boba Fett, but coming up close behind has got to be Admiral Ackbar.  Ackbar’s big claim to fame is a unique design and one highly memorable line.  Pretty much the only difference between him and Nien Numb (introduced in the same movie, and with about the same amount of screen time) is that Ackbar actually spoke English.  Despite all of this, there was a sizable chunk of people who were genuinely angry that Ackbar’s role in The Last Jedi was that of a background character….just like he has been for his entire existence.  I personally was happy to see him again in whatever role they could give him, and even happier to see him get a new action figure out of the whole thing.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Admiral Ackbar and his pack mate, a generic First Order Officer, were released in a Toys R Us-exclusive two-pack as part of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.

ADMIRAL ACKBAR

“Ackbar became a Grand Admiral in the New Republic, winning many victories, including the pivotal Battle of Jakku.  He retired to Mon Cala but was coaxed back into service with the Resistance by Leia Organa.”

Ackbar is no stranger to action figures, but this is his first time in the 6-inch scale.  He’s seen here in his uniform from The Last Jedi, which is different from his TFA uniform, which was in turn different from his RotJ uniform.  Each time, it seems his uniform’s gotten a bit less unique.  I don’t dislike his Last Jedi design, but Ackbar is really just wearing the same togs as everyone else.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation, which includes an articulated jaw.  Pretty swanky.  Ackbar’s sculpt is new to him, and it’s certainly impressive.  The best work is definitely on his head and forearms, which capture the prosthetics from the film quite nicely.  The head in particular does a great job of working in the jaw movement without disrupting the sculpt too much.  The rest of the figure is decently handled.  The uniform features the appropriate texturing and such, and the proportions match up well with the head and hands.  Because of the way the waist articulation is implemented, the overhanging flap on his jacket is cut off at the belt, which looks a little goofy and is hard to get properly aligned when posing him.  The paint on this figure follows the example of the sculpt.  The most impressive work is on the head and hands, which get a decent amount of accent work and the like.  The body is certainly passable, but there’s no accenting on any of the uniform, which looks a bit goofy and cheap.  Ackbar is packed with a standard rebel blaster, which he can hold in his right hand.

FIRST ORDER OFFICER

“The officers of the First Order military forces show unwavering allegiance to Supreme Leader Snoke, leading his massive armies and fleet in a relentless drive to dominate the galaxy.”

This is a figure we’ve seen most of before.  With the exception of the head, he’s identical to the First Order Disguise Finn figure.  Obviously, it’s a sensible re-use, and a great way of justifying the totally unique tooling for Ackbar.  Anyway, I liked Finn, so I like this figure.  His new head is suitably generic, so if you wanted to get a few of these, it wouldn’t look too terrible.  It’s got a slight resemblance to Vinnie Jones in my eyes, but I hardly mind that (even if it is a bit goofy to see such a head on such a scrawny body).  The paint on this guy is pretty much comparable to Finn’s, with the obvious changes to the head.  The face is a little sloppy, but the faded hair actually looks pretty decent.  Like Finn, this guy includes the small blaster pistol and removable hat.  He loses the riot baton, but I’m guessing those aren’t standard issue for officers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this set once before the movie’s release.  I’d just dropped a bunch of money on figures the day before, so I decided to hold off.  Then I didn’t see the set anywhere for a month, and I started to worry a bit.  Fortunately, it showed back up, and I was able to snag one last month while on a trip out and about.  Ackbar’s the definite draw, and he’s a solid figure.  Not 100% sold on this particular costume, but it certainly could be worse.  The Officer’s not really anything special, but he’s a decent figure nonetheless and a welcome addition to my First Order ranks.

#1571: Rose – First Order Disguise, BB-8, & BB-9E

ROSE – FIRST ORDER DISGUISE, BB-8, & BB-9E

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (HASBRO)

A couple weeks back, it was announced that the remaining announced but unreleased figures from Hasbro’s basic Last Jedi line were being distributed solely by online retailers Entertainment Earth (at least in North America, anyway; the rest of the world may yet see them show up at regular retail).  This means, that, without any real fan faire, the set I’m looking at today, is the final piece of Last Jedi product to hit retail.  Weird.  Well, might as well review it. (EDIT: strike that, there’s the four pack that’s hitting alongside the home video release.  Forgot about that one.)

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Rose, BB-8, and BB-9E were part of the second assortment of “two-packs” for the Last Jedi line.  For those of you who have halfway decent counting skills, you may have noticed there are three figures in this supposed two-pack.  Hasbro presumably realized how silly it would look to try and sell a normal figure and a BB unit for the same price as two normal figures, so they did the wise thing and threw in a second BB.

ROSE – FIRST ORDER DISGUISE

Our second standard line version of Rose follows the Star Wars tradition of giving us variants of our heroes disguised as the enemy.  Rose is, of course, seen here in the First Order uniform that she wears alongside Finn when infiltrating the Supremacy. It’s kind of amusing to get her in this scale, since the corresponding Finn was a 6-inch figure, but not to worry, there’s going to be a Finn to match soon enough.  This figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is totally new.  Not surprising, since she’s got a whole different look.  It’s a decent sculpt, though I can’t say it’s quite as interesting to look at as her standard figure.  The uniform’s carefully pressed and everything, so there’s no real room for the fun texturing of the last figure.  I also don’t find the head to be sporting quite as strong a likeness as the prior figure, though it’s not like this one’s terrible.  Also, minor point of contention that I suppose isn’t 100% fair to hold against this figure but I’m gonna bring up here anyway:  Hasbro’s still being inconsistent about the way they handled the bottom sections of the tunics.  Hux had his sculpted as part of his legs, but Rose gets an overlay piece.  Given that they’re supposed to be in a variation of the same uniform, it’s the slightest bit annoying.  I’m not saying I mind Rose getting what I feel is the superior implementation of the design, but I do really wish Hasbro would fully commit one way or the other.  Rose’s paint is decent, though not without its flaws.  The big issue with my figure is the eyes, which aren’t lined up properly.  There were two sets at the store where I picked this up, and I assure you, this one was the better of the two.  Beyond that, it’s mostly pretty passable work.  There’s not a whole lot going on, but it’s a good match for what we saw on the screen.  Rose includes a standard First Order pistol, as well as one of the heavy guns first included with the FO Legion set.  Like the rest of the TLJ line, Rose is Force Link compatible.  I got: “I’m ready for my mission,” “Quickly, Stormtroopers are coming!”, “Quiet! We have to be careful,” “Take cover!”, and an assortment of blaster sounds.

BB-8 & BB-9E

Once again, the only way to get a BB-8 is as part of a multi-pack.  I think that’s just going to be this character’s lot in life, since selling him on his own just doesn’t seem practical at all.  Also along for the ride is his “nemesis,” BB-9E.  Both droids measure about an inch and a half tall and have a single ball joint at the base of their head.  Both of them sport brand new sculpts, which do a respectable job of capturing the droids from the film.  I like that the time was taken to give them both completely unique sculpts, as it keeps the set from getting too redundant.  Paint on these two is about what you’d expect.  I think BB-9E is a little cleaner, and just a slightly better looking scheme all together.  BB-8 suffers a bit from the lack of any sort of accent work, which causes the large sections of white plastic to be a little overpowering.  Both of these droids are also Force Link compatible, each playing a couple of clips of each droid’s “dialogue.”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a set that eluded me for a little while.  For reasons I can’t really understand, Hasbro decided to pack this trio in a case with more of the two-packs from the first series, as well as the Rogue One-themed Chirrut and Baze pack.  As the only truly new pack in the case, this one was guaranteed to be the first one to go every time.  Fortunately, on the way back from putting my brother on an early bus to New York, I was able to stop by a Walmart that had just opened and put their stock out, meaning I was able to finally get these guys.  Admittedly, it’s not the most thrilling set, but I like all three figures included enough to feel they were worth tracking down.

#1567: Poe Dameron

POE DAMERON

STAR WARS: ELITE SERIES (DISNEY)

“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.”

Disney’s die-cast Star Wars: Elite Series is one of those lines that has a tendency to slip under my radar.  It’s not that it’s a bad line or anything, it’s more that it’s a line that’s exclusively available at Disney Stores, and those aren’t the sort of thing I tend to visit with much regularity.  As it stands, my collection of figures from this line is mostly confined to just my very favorite characters, which includes today’s focus, Poe Dameron!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Poe is part of Disney’s Last Jedi-themed assortment of Star Wars: The Elite Series.  He wasn’t in the initial assortment of figures, but was instead one of the seven figures released solo after the fact.  Poe hit stores on November 7th of last year.  Like most of his other figures from the movie, this Poe is based on his jacketed look from TLJ.  As his most prominent look by far, it makes sense, especially since his pilot look was already covered for TFA.  Poe stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  As with prior Elite Series figures, the vast majority of this guy is made from die cast metal.  His head, hands, feet, and jacket are plastic, but that’s it.  I was impressed to discover that Disney’s made some improvements to how they construct these figures since the last Poe.  This one isn’t nearly as stiff and restricted as the last one when it comes to posablity.  In addition, the overall quality of the sculpt seems to have improved.  The details are much sharper, especially on the plastic parts, but on the metal parts as well.  He’s still slightly less detailed than the average Hasbro figure, but he’s certainly a step-up from the last figure.  It’s the little things, like his hands actually looking like hands, or the assembly screws on his back actually having mostly inconspicuous caps on them.  Then there’s the head.  I’m not 100% sure if the head sculpt on this figure is new or not.  Given how different it looks, I initially assumed it was all-new, but after comparing the two side by side, I’m starting to think this might just be a better pressing of the mold, coupled with some much, much better paint.  Regardless, it’s the best likeness of Oscar Isaac we’ve seen so far, out pacing even the recent Black Series offering, which I thought was pretty good in its own right.  Poe’s paint work also marks a definite step up for this line.  It’s a lot less thickly applied here than on prior figures, and there’s far less slop.  He’s also got some very clean work on his face, and I was certainly happy to get a Poe figure in a larger scale that doesn’t try to slather on a bunch of grayish paint in the hopes of replicating scruff.  Poe includes his blaster pistol and a display stand (same as the other figures).  It’s sad he couldn’t came with something else, especially since the last Poe had the helmet, but I suppose it’s not terrible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m always looking for an excuse to buy a new Poe figure, and the Elite Series Poe from TFA was actually one of his better figures, so I was definitely on board for picking up this guy.  The only trouble was actually finding him, since none of the stores near me got him when he was first released.  A few weeks ago, I was killing some time at the local mall, and remembered I hadn’t yet found this guy, so I swung by the Disney Store there, and they had finally gotten him in.  Upon purchasing him, I realized he’s actually the first figure from this line I’ve paid full price for.  Of course, he’s by far the nicest figure I’ve gotten from this line as well, so I don’t feel that bad in that regard.  Now I’m tempted to check out some of the other TLJ figures, since Poe seems like such a step up.

#1550: Captain Poe Dameron

CAPTAIN POE DAMERON

STAR WARS: TITAN HEROES (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.”

If that bio sounds familiar to you, it’s because you’re losing your mind!  Nah, it’s actually because it’s the exact same bio that was used on the Black Series Captain Poe Dameron figure.  He’s the same guy and all, so I guess it’s okay.  So, today I’m breaking from my trend of Black Series figures, and switching gears over to the line that’s sort of the exact opposite, at least from a collecting perspective, Titan Heroes.  Let’s have a look at the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Poe was one of the first three The Last Jedi-themed Star Wars: Titan Heroes, released back in September for Force Friday II, alongside Rey and a Stormtrooper.  He was also available in the big Target-exclusive 6-pack with Rey, BB-8, Kylo, and two troopers.  The figure stands 12 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His construction is pretty much the same as the other two Titan Heroes I’ve looked at, with the main body being molded in a harder, hollowed out plastic, with softer pieces for his head and hands.  He’s also a little skinny like those two, but that’s really just the aesthetic of the line.  Poe’s sculpt is surprisingly good, given the line he’s from.  These figures tend to be more on the basic side, but Poe is quite detailed, and the head in particular is one of the nicer sculpts I’ve seen out of this line.  I can’t say it’s a spot-on recreation of Oscar Isaac, but it’s pretty decent, and it looks like a real human being, which is certainly a step-up.  The work on the body is also pretty decent, with lots of texture work.  The hands in particular impressed me.  His paint work is also pretty decent, again, given the style of the line.  What I found most impressive was the work on Poe’s face scruff.  It’s something that Hasbro’s been unable to handle with any sort of subtlety on any of their Poe figures, but they actually managed to do it really well here.  Hopefully, this will translate to future figures.  Poe is packed with his usual blaster pistol, sadly without any painted details, but well-sculpted nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After picking up Rey on my own and then getting a Finn for Christmas, I figured I might want to track down a Poe from this line, just to complete my power trio set.  I ended up finding him at the same time as the Black Series Finn and Kylo figures.  He was a bit of a spur of the moment purchase, since I had just seen the movie, and it was a Poe figure I didn’t have and he was relatively inexpensive.  That said, I’m happy I picked him up.  He’s a better figure than I’d expected.

#1549: Resistance Tech Rose

RESISTANCE TECH ROSE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Part of the support crew that keeps the Resistance star fighters flying, Rose has hated the First Order since she was a child.  Now able to fight back against the enemy, Rose keeps her focus on her mission.”

Introducing a new main character to an established franchise is always tricky business.  Our new heroes from The Force Awakens sort of got away with it, thanks to the narrative effectively rebooting, and giving the new characters more of a clean slate to work with.  For The Last Jedi, things have been re-established, and become more rigid.  Nevertheless, our newest hero Rose Tico made herself feel right at home with the rest of the cast, and is one of my favorite parts of the movie.  I’ve looked at her basic figure back during the Force Friday reviews, but now I’ll be taking a look at her Black Series release!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rose (who is officially called “Resistance Tech Rose” on the box.  Are we not supposed to know her last name?) is part of the third assortment of TLJ-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures, numbered at 55.  She’s seen here in her Resistance Tech jumpsuit, which was her main look in the movie, and the one used for her smaller-scale figure as well.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is all-new to this figure, though it definitely shares some origins with the two smaller scale figures, as a lot of the details line up with each other.  Given it’s the same character and all, it’s kind of sensible, though.  As much as I liked the smaller Rose’s sculpt, I must admit, I find this figure to be a slight downgrade.  A lot of it’s changes that had to be made for the sake of adding in extra articulation, but there were also a few changes in proportions, so for instance her neck seems a bit longer than it should be.  There are also some areas where the details seem a little simpler than I’d expect for a figure of this scale, namely her hair, which looks almost animated in nature.  Still, there’s plenty of solid detail work on the jumpsuit, so it’s not a total downgrade.  Honestly, it’s really just the head that’s throwing things off.  Even the likeness to Kelly Tran seems a little off the mark, which is especially surprising, since the smaller figure was spot-on in that regard.  In terms of paint, Rose is generally pretty good.  The application is clean, and the small details, such as the information printed on her pocket, are all really sharp.  Her eyes seem to have been painted slightly wider than how they were sculpted, which I think is likely contributing to the likeness being a little bit off.  I do appreciate that she actually gets extra detailing on her belt that the smaller figure didn’t have, since it could have easily been left one solid color.  The larger Rose comes with the same accessory compliment as her smaller counterpart: a standard Resistance blaster rifle in gold, and her small taser device, which can once again be clipped onto her belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

You know the last three figures I looked at?  The ones I saw once and passed on at first before ultimately picking them up again after seeing the movie?  Yeah, I found all of them because I was actually looking for Rose, because I really wanted her in this scale.  I did actually find one that I passed on, because I found her two days before Christmas and had better things to do with my money.  By the time I went back, she was gone.  Not to worry, though, because I found her at the same Target where I ultimately ended up getting Rey.  Despite some of my complaining here, Rose is actually a really good figure.  I was just spoiled a bit by her exceptionally good basic figure, so the fact that this one doesn’t completely out place that one is slightly frustrating.  Still, I’m very happy to have found her.  She’s really great.

#1548: Finn – First Order Disguise

FINN – FIRST ORDER DISGUISE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“To carry out a mission crucial to the Resistance, Finn adopts a First Order officer’s uniform, going undercover and doing his best to blend in among his former ranks.”

Toy companies seem to have a hard time making toys of Finn exciting.  When the product for The Force Awakens first hit, all of the Finns were in his jacketed civilian style look.  While that’s certainly his main design from the movie, it was perhaps not the most thrilling, especially to a customer base that wasn’t yet familiar with the character.  For The Last Jedi, where Finn is sporting a look very similar to the one from the last film, toy makers wisely chose to use Finn’s disguised look from later in the film as his initial go-to for the figures.  While Hasbro gave us the standard Finn for their smaller basic line, they did the Officer’s uniform for his Black Series release, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

First Order Disguise Finn is part of the second assortment of TLJ-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures, hitting just after Force Friday II, alongside Leia, Poe, Maz, and the Guard.  He’s figure 51 in the line, placing him between the Guard and Leia numerically.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  His sculpt was technically new to him, but all but his head was almost immediately re-used for the First Order Officer included in a TRU-exclusive two-pack with Ackbar.  Given that it’s largely just a standard Officer’s uniform, that’s a rather sensible re-use, and I have no doubt it was part of what made this particular look appealing to Hasbro.  It’s a solid sculpt, and also makes for a very easy to pose, very playable figure.  The only truly unique piece is the head.  They could have just re-used the first Finn head, but they didn’t.  I’m not entirely sure why they didn’t, since that was a pretty solid sculpt and had a decent Boyega likeness.  While I certainly don’t dislike this sculpt, I do feel it’s resemblance isn’t quite as strong.  From a purely technical standpoint, though, it’s the better piece, with sharper detailing and better relative scaling to the body, though, so it’s not a total loss.  The paint on this guy is generally pretty decent work, with pretty clean detailing and a palette that’s a good match for what’s seen in the film.  I wish the pupils on my figure were a little better centered, but they aren’t as bad as some figures I’ve gotten.  Finn’s packed with a removable helmet, a pistol, and a riot-control baton.  The hat’s a good fit to the head, and isn’t overly bulky like some removable pieces, so that’s good.  The pistol’s pretty basic, but a good match for the material.  It’s a little hard for him to hold it, since his hands aren’t really designed for it, but it’s still a welcome addition.  The best piece is definitely the baton, which, rather than being a simple re-use of the one from TFA, has been totally re-tooled, so that it now can be properly extended into attack mode.  It’s a really fun piece, and I hope it sees re-use elsewhere.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Rey and Kylo, Finn is a figure I passed on when I first saw him (sensing a theme to this week’s reviews?), since I already had the TFA Finn and this was a non-standard variant.  I ended up grabbing him at the same time as Kylo, while I was actually on my way back from seeing the film for the second time.  Despite not being the standard version of the character, I really like this figure, and I think he’s an improvement on the standard Finn from TFA.  I’m hopeful that Hasbro will find a way to release his standard look from TLJ somewhere down the line, though, because I’d like to have it in this quality.

#1547: Kylo Ren

KYLO REN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Growing more powerful in the dark side of the Force, Kylo Ren pursues his enemies with sinister determination.  He will prove to Supreme Leader Snoke that he is truly capable and will hunt down those who caused his defeat at Starkiller Base.”

There was a lot I liked in The Last Jedi, but I think perhaps my favorite character arc contained there-in was that of Kylo Ren.  He goes from a character that could have been a rather one-note retread of Darth Vader, to something much more fully formed and unique.  Certainly the similarities still persist, but I don’t find his arc quite as predictable as it was at the end of TFA.  Just like the last movie, he was a prominent fixture of the associated toys, including the fan-favorite Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kylo is figure 45 in Star Wars: The Black Series.  He was originally released with the seven-figure assortment that hit on Force Friday II, and was then immediately re-released with the next assortment, alongside Leia, Poe, the Guard, and Maz.  This had the unintended side-effect of making Kylo look like a particularly slow seller for a little while, but it appears things have mostly evened out now.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  As with yesterday’s Rey figure, this is a figure that shares more than a few design elements with its TFA predecessor (and even more with the unmasked variant of that from the Rogue One product), but there are no shared pieces between them.  This Kylo is an entirely unique sculpt, and it’s quite a good one at that.  The likeness is definitely one of Hasbro’s best attempts at Adam Driver, and is closer than the last unmasked Black Series Kylo.  The rest of the body does a pretty great job of capturing all of the texturing and patterns of Kylo’s costume from the movie, thankfully unencumbered by ill-fitting cloth pieces this time around.  He’s perhaps a little scrawnier than I’d like, but beyond that, this sculpt is a pretty fantastic translation of his look from the film.  This Ren figure marks the third time we’ve gotten a sculpted plastic cape in the larger Black Series line.  It’s a much better look, especially when you’re doing the over the shoulders draped look as seen here.  It’s actually a little odd that they did Kylo this way, but still went with the cloth set-up for Luke, who was released in the very same series.  I definitely prefer how it was handed here.  In terms of paint work, Ren is admittedly pretty straight forward, mostly being a lot of flat black.  They did put some effort into making his pants a slightly different temperature of black, as well as adding a gloss finish to the boots, which certainly makes for a nice look.  Unlike the smaller figure, Ren’s scar goes unpainted here.  I’m actually not sure which way I prefer it.  While it was a little too obvious on the smaller figure, here the scar gets rather lost.  Maybe a slightly less jarring paint app?  Beyond that, the paint on the face is pretty great, and I’m happy to see he has a healthier skin-tone when compared to the very pale unmasked Kylo from TFA.  Kylo is packed with his distinctive cross-guarded lightsaber in both ignited and non-ignited forms, which, combined with the removable cape, makes for a pretty solid selection of extras.  For those that are so inclined, there’s also a deluxe version of Kylo, just released in the last few weeks, which adds a die cast helmet and a display stand based on Snoke’s throne room to the mix, though that one does swap out the nice plastic cape for a rather standard cloth one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kylo was certainly the easiest to find of the initial TLJ Black Series figures, but, as with Rey, I passed on him due to how similar he was to the previous figure.  And, just like with Rey, I regretted having passed on him as soon as I saw the movie.  Whilst on vacation the week after Christmas, I found this guy at a nearby Walmart, marked down to $15 no less.  I guess it was a good thing I waited.  This is definitely Hasbro’s best Kylo so far, and I’m glad I finally grabbed him.

#1546: Rey – Jedi Training

REY – JEDI TRAINING

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“At long last, Rey has found Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi Master in the galaxy.  Hoping to find a hero of legend, she must unlearn what she has learned as Skywalker challenges her expectations.”

Oh boy, this might offend some people, but you know what?  I really liked The Last Jedi.  It was a solid, thoroughly enjoyable film.  Most importantly for any entry in the Star Wars franchise, it made me want to go out and buy some toys.  And buy some toys I did.  So, I’m gonna do a bit of a Star Wars week, because why not?  Let’s start this whole thing off with a look at the new trilogy’s central figure, Rey!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rey is figure 44 in the latest iteration of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  There are actually a few different releases of the figure.  The first was in the SDCC 2017 two-pack with Luke. She was then released solo during the Force Friday II product launch.  All of the initial TLJ Black Series figures were rather scarce, so she was given another release as part of the latest assortment (the one that includes Rose and Snoke).  While the first two are identical, the last release (which is the one I have) has one minor detail that differentiates her: the small cut on her right shoulder, which she earned during her battle in Snoke’s throne room.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Though there are some slight design similarities between this figure and the Force Awakens release, this figure is a wholly unique sculpt.  I was actually a pretty big fan of the last Rey when she was released, but in the two years since then, there’s no denying that The Black Series has definitely made some leaps and bounds in quality.  So, that older figure was looking a little out of date.  This one, on the other hand, is an incredibly strong sculpt.  The proportions on the body feel more realistic, her outfit now consists of several overlays to convey the proper depth, and there’s just a tremendous amount of detail and texture work all throughout.  The likeness on the head still isn’t quite as spot-on as the Titan Heroes figure (my favorite Rey head sculpt to date), but it’s certainly a marked improvement over the TFA release, and there’s still a lot of Daisy Ridley in there.  This figure is also an improvement when it comes to paint.  The painted skin is gone, replaced by molded plastic, but unlike some of the later TFA Black Series offerings, the sheen isn’t too shiny or lifeless.  The application is all pretty clean, and the colors match well with the source material.  There’s still some room for improvement, of course.  There’s some slop on the hairline and on the wrapping around her waist.  I also feel like the eyebrows are a bit too which, which is likely contributing to the slightly off likeness.  But, for a mass-produced figure, she’s not bad.  Rey is packed with her staff (which is a brand-new mold, and a definite upgrade to the last one), the blaster she got from Han, and Luke’s lightsaber.  I miss BB-8, but it’s still a nice assortment of extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Black Series offerings for Force Friday II were amongst the most difficult to find, so I didn’t come across any of them in my first week or so of hunting back in September.  I did eventually find a Rey, but ultimately passed on her, feeling she was rather similar to the one I already had.  After seeing the movie, I somewhat regretted this decision.  Fortunately, Hasbro did the re-pack, and I was able to score that one just last week.  While I’m sort of kicking myself for waiting so long on this figure (given how big an improvement she is over the last one), it’s one of those times where I’m ultimately grateful I waited, since I do kind of prefer the running change with the scar on her arm.  This is probably my favorite Rey in my collection.  Of course, there’s that Island Journey Rey looming on the horizon which may unseat her, but we’ll see.