#2782: Moff Gideon

MOFF GIDEON

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Imperial Moff Gideon is fiercely determined to capture a specific quarry. Clever and formidable, Gideon values power and knowledge.”

Werner Hertzog’s un-named and mysterious “Client” serves as the main underlying antagonist of The Mandalorian‘s first season, but is dispatched in a rather spectacular fashion just before the season finale by the character who becomes the main antagonist moving forward, Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon.  Esposito does a pretty great job of playing a compelling villain, and he’s definitely been at the top of people’s want lists for the toys since the end of the first season.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s gotten around to delivering on that front, giving us a Gideon in each of their three styles, in rather close succession.  Today, I’m looking at his Black Series offering.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moff Gideon is part of the Mandalorian sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation, where he’s figure 08.  He’s the last of the Mando figures in the third assortment since the relaunch.  Gideon is presented here in his custom Imperial attire, which has thus far been the only look he’s had.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  So, here’s my thing on this figure: he’s too tiny.  Like, not just too short, but actually too tiny.  Esposito isn’t the tallest guy, but his costume for Gideon has him wearing lifts, which the figure’s design includes.  It seems to me that somewhere along the line, the used Esposito’s listed height as the basis for the figure, not factoring in the costume design, and ultimately resulting in him just being actually too small all around.  It’s not super noticeable with a helmeted character like Mando, fortunately, but next to Kuiil and Karga, who he’s in the same assortment with, mind you, he looks a little bit like he’s supposed to be from a different line.  These size issues are most annoying for one major reason: the sculpt’s otherwise really good.  The likeness on the face is strong, the expression’s perfect for the character, and the detailing on his uniform is sharply handled.  It all looks really good.  They’ve even done well getting the cape to hang convincingly.  All in all, just a really nicely rendered sculpt.  Gideon’s paint work is nicely handled as well.  The printing on the face is nice and lifelike, and the variations in the various blacks of his uniform.  The red accenting is appropriately eye-catching, and the smaller details on his chest armor are cleanly applied.  Gideon is packed with two accessories: a small blaster and the Dark Saber.  The blaster’s standard, and can be kept in his holster.  The Dark Saber’s a great piece, and a large plot point in the show, making it a great extra.  Ultimately, I still think he feels a little light, but he’s in a better spot than the others so far.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Moff Gideon’s certainly a memorable, and definitely important character for the show, so I was definitely down for adding him to my collection.  He’s not a bad figure.  Honestly, he’s a pretty darn good figure.  But he’s also too small, and that just kinda bugs me.  I guess I’ll just stick him next to IG-11 all the time, so that it’s not so noticeable?

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

#2781: Kuiil

KUIIL

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Kuiil came to seek peace in an out-of-the way world. He has worked a lifetime to be free of servitude and offers valuable skills for those willing to meet his price.”

One of the things The Mandalorian has excelled at is taking pieces of Star Wars left kind of unexplored (in mainstream media, anyway) and actually putting a decent amount of time and energy into making audiences care about those things.  Take, for instance, the Ugnaughts, the race of small, pig-faced, troll-men, who served as background filler for the Bespin scenes in Empire.  Did anyone really care about them?  Really?  Then The Mandalorian comes along and gives us Kuiil, and all of the sudden we’re sad when an Ugnaugh dies.  Feelings about Ugnaughts?  That doesn’t seem right.  Damn you, Nick Nolte-naught and your lovable speech quirks!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kuiil is a Phase IV Black Series release, as figure 07 in the Mandalorian sub-set of the line.  He’s part of the third assortment of this phase, alongside yesterday’s Greef Karga figure.  He too is based on his Season 1 appearance, because he kind of has to be, doesn’t he?  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Despite his slightly smaller stature, Kuiil is still more or less on par with most Black Series releases in terms of posability.  About the only area I might say could use some improvement is the elbows, which are a little restricted, thanks to how the sculpt works out.  Thry aren’t terrible, just not quite up to the latest standards, especially given the recent trooper updates.  Kuiil’s sculpt is generally a rather impressive one, and certainly a benefit of him not getting a figure for over a year past his original debut.  By far the most impressive part of the sculpt is the head, which is just the spitting image of his in-show design, and also features a impressively designed and scaled aviator’s cap and goggles.  I honestly wasn’t expecting them to be removable at first glance, but I was very pleasantly surprised to find out they were.  The rest of the sculpt does a quite nice job of capturing Kuiil’s attire from the show, varying up the textures for the various different pieces of clothing, and adding some nice depth to the sculpt where possible.  Kuiil’s paint work is, for the most part, pretty basic.  The head again gets the best work, with the face printing working well with the sculpted elements to really nail that likeness to the prosthetics.  The rest of him is really on the straight forward side, with just solid colors.  I do feel he might benefit from some more accenting, to really sell that used universe look, but at least the sculpt does its part to keep things going.  Kuiil’s only accessory is his rifle.  It’s a nicely detailed piece, which fits well in his hands, but, like Greef, it winds up feeling pretty light for the price.  I might have liked to get maybe some of his tools, or even a tea set to go along with our IG-11 figure.  Just something extra to sweeten the pot a little bit.  But, again, he does at least get bare minimum.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve pretty much been wanting a Kuiil figure since episode 1 of the show (before I even knew his name, mind you), because I really dug the character.  I had been sort of crossing my fingers for maybe a deluxe release packed in with a Blerg, but getting him on his own isn’t so bad either.  Lack of extras aside, there’s a lot I like about this figure, and at his core he’s just really solidly done.  He’s honestly my favorite figure from this assortment.  I have spoken.

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

#2780: Greef Karga

GREEF KARGA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“As an agent of the Bounty Hunters Guild, Greef Karga secures bounty hunters in pursuit of valuable and rare quarries in the galaxy.”

Carl Weathers’ Greef Karga begins The Mandalorian as a rather unassuming sort of character, just a guy that hands out the jobs to the bounty hunters.  He’s clearly a bit disreputable, but he doesn’t seem overly complex.  When Mando turns on him later in the season, he does the rather expected thing, and turns right back.  However, his return after that is what really changes things up, taking him from sci-fi middle-management to a character that’s actually got a pretty good hold on how to spin things to his advantage as they happen.  He becomes a man with a grasp on the bigger picture, and suddenly he’s very intriguing, and a definite highlight of the show.  It’s only fair that he get a Black Series release out of it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Greef Karga is part of Phase IV of The Black Series, a piece of the Mandalorian sub-set of the line, where he’s figure 06.  He’s part of the third post-relaunch assortment, which is generally pretty Mandalorian heavy in its character selection.  Greef is based on his Season 1 appearance (in contrast to the Season 2 appearance of his Vintage Collection and Retro Collection figures), which fits with most of the Mando stuff we’ve gotten so far.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Karga isn’t quite as agile as some of the line’s more recent releases, but he’s still got plenty of movement to him, and it’s certainly enough to cover the way the character is portrayed in the show.  His sculpt is an all-new piece of work, and it’s a pretty respectable one at that.  The head’s got a pretty solid likeness of Weathers from the first season, and his outfit does a respectable job of capturing the texturing and detailing on the various pieces of his outfit.  The coat/cape is a separate piece; it’s not designed to be removable, but can be with a little work if you are so inclined.  I wasn’t, personally.  Greef’s paint work is pretty heavy on the browns, as is appropriate for the character.  It matches pretty decently with what we see on screen, and the printing on the face is appropriately life-like.  Greef is packed with his two blaster pistols, which can be stowed in his holsters.  They’re nice pieces, but he does wind up feeling a little bit on the light side.  Maybe throwing in a few of the pucks, or even a piece of Beskar would have helped to alleviate it somewhat.  He’s got the basics, but that’s really it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was surprised by how much I liked Greef in the first season of the show, as I think a lot of people were.  I was definitely down for some toy treatment, and was pleased when he was shown off for the line.  He’s the sort of figure that doesn’t quite have the fancy flair of the other characters from the show, so I think he may wind up getting overlooked by a lot of collectors, but I see him definitely picking up in the long run.  It helps that he’s honestly a pretty solid figure, and a nice addition to the cast.

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

#2755: Bo-Katan Kryze

BO-KATAN KRYZE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A gifted warrior, Bo-Katan Kryze is a legendary Mandalorian. She refused to align with the Empire’s occupation of Mandalore.”

One of the very short list of characters who have pulled the trifecta of Clone WarsRebels, and The Mandalorian appearances (while still remaining absent from the movies proper), is Katee Sackoff’s Bo-Katan Kryze.  Despite being a rather prominent character across three different Star Wars series, Bo-Katan has, up until recently, been without any action figure coverage.  I suppose an argument could be made that it’s because she’s just the worst, but that’s, admittedly, not a universal opinion.  Also, not my opinion, really, though I do get the argument.  Whatever the case, it’s her appearance on The Mandalorian that finally got her the toy coverage, going straight for the Black Series offering, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bo-Katan Kryze is Figure 10 in the Mandalorian sub-line of Star Wars: The Black Series.  She’s the final figure in the latest assortment of the line, as well as the only Mandalorian figure included.  She’s patterned specifically on her appearance on the show (or at the very least a very close to final version of the show’s design), but it’s worth noting that her other appearances aren’t terribly far removed from this one, so she can sort of pull triple duty, if you’re looking for her to fill out your Clone Wars or Rebels shelves as well.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her articulation is pretty well standard for a modern Star Wars release, which is to say it’s quite good.  In particular, I was quite impressed by the range of motion on her hips, especially with that belt and holster set-up there.  Her sculpt is an all-new affair, which isn’t too surprising.  As I touched on up above, she’s definitely based on her appearance in The Mandalorian‘s second season, but there are some minor design elements that point to her being based the designs for her outfit for the show, rather than the physical prop suit.  It’s still very close, though. and it’s more of how the parts all fit together than it is the actual individual parts.  Underneath of her removable helmet (complete with articulated range finder; I’m glad that’s become standard) is a fully-formed head sculpt, which sports a rather decent likeness of Katee Sackoff, on the face, at least.  The hair’s a different story; it’s styling is slightly off for the show, though it’s possible that owes more to making the helmet sit a bit better than it is an actual misinterpretation of the design from the show.  It means that she works better with the helmet on than off, but it’s not a terrible look either way.  More so than the sculpt, the paint work on this figure shows some of that not-quite-final source material it was working from; she winds up with generally a more muted color scheme than she had in the show.  Her blues should definitely be brighter, and some of the accents should be a little darker.  But, as with the sculpt, it’s not like it’s incredibly far off.  The base coloring is still there, and she’s even got some decent accenting on the armor, to wear it in a bit.  Bo-Katan is packed with her aforementioned helmet, her jetpack, and a pair of matching blaster pistols (borrowed from Sabine).  It’s not a ton, but it’s a good match for the character and what she needs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My re-watch of The Clone Wars and Rebels definitely left me hoping to see Bo-Katan show up in figure form at some juncture.  Her re-appearance on The Mandalorian, as frustrating a character as she may have been to some of the viewership, just really pushed it for me.  She’s definitely prominent enough to deserve figure treatment, and I definitely dig the character’s design enough to want that figure.  The end result is a pretty strong one.  She’s not without flaws, but she’s still pretty solid, and I’m glad to have her.

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

#2727: IG-11 w/ Speeder Bike

IG-11 w/ SPEEDER BIKE

STAR WARS: MISSION FLEET (HASBRO)

After following the line for a good chunk of last year, I finally dove into actually reviewing Hasbro’s current, more all-ages aimed Star Wars line, Mission Fleet, in January of this year, and I ended that review by saying that I should probably go back and review some of the others…well, I haven’t gotten to that yet, and I’m not starting it today.  However, I do have another Mission Fleet review just the same, of a non-back-log item.  As The Mandalorian is the main event for Star Wars right now, the line has taken something of a focus on it, and we’ve already gotten a handful of show-inspired sets, with plans for more.  I looked at the main version of Mando in January, and now I’m looking at one of his compatriots, and certainly my favorite portion of the show, IG-11!

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

IG-11 with Speeder Bike is part of the first crop of Mission Fleet sets to be added to the line in 2021.  The set is officially dubbed “Protect the Bounty” and is another Expedition Class set.  It’s specifically patterned on IG-11’s retrieval of the Child from the Biker Scouts at the beginning of the first season finale.

IG-11 is the core figure of this set, and is presented here in his slightly dressed down appearance following his rebuilding by Kuiil, where he drops the twin bandoliers from his earlier appearance.  The figure is about 2 3/4 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  IG-11 is also available in the “Defend the Child” boxed set, with the bandolier, which hit at roughly the same time, if not a little bit earlier.  It’s the same core figure, just with the extra piece.  It’s a pretty solid sculpt; IG is hit a little less heavily by the stylization of the line, being a non-human character already.  In a rather amusing fashion, because of his hands actually having IG-11’s proper adjusted manipulators, this IG-11 sculpt is currently the most-show accurate version of the character we’ve gotten from Hasbro.  How about that?  Beyond that, it’s a very nice sculpt.  The detail work is quite sharp and in depth, and the articulation scheme works best for him out of all of the figures I’ve gotten so far in the line.  IG’s paint work is pretty nicely handled.  The bulk of his coloring is molded plastic, but there’s a surprising amount of paint apps, and he’s nice and cleanly defined.  IG-11 is packed with his two blasters, like the ones seen with earlier releases of the character.  He also includes another version of the Child, this one less of his own figure and more of an accessory.  He’s in the bag he was in during the finale.  It’s molded to sit on IG’s shoulders, and is scaled well to the other version of the character.

The vehicle component of this set is another speeder bike, this time the Imperial one that IG steals during the finale.  Like Mando’s vehicle, this one’s about 6 inches long, and scales well to IG and the Child.  The detailing’s all pretty solid, and it does a nice job of capturing the classic speeder bike design in the smaller scale.  It’s been adapted to add a couple of ports to it for use with the line’s various canons and such, which keeps the play style for the line going pretty well.  The color work on the bike is generally pretty basic, mostly with just molded colors, but there’s a touch of accenting on the main body of the bike, which is pretty impressive.  The bike is packed with a large missile launcher and corresponding missile, which can be mounted at any of the port points on the bike.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I knew of the “Defend the Child” set thanks to an in-hand photo late last year, and I knew of several of the other early 2021 offerings for this line, I didn’t actually know this one was coming.  My first knowledge of it came from Max finding two of them in-store, and texting me to find out if I wanted one.  Since IG’s my favorite part of the show, and this is one of my favorite sequences in the show, I was definitely down for this set.  It’s another nice little contained package set.

#2662: Scout Trooper & Speeder Bike

SCOUT TROOPER & THE CHILD (w/ SPEEDER BIKE)

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Scout troopers were lightly armored compared with other Stormtroopers, which allowed them to move more quickly and easily in a range of environments. They were also trained for more independence and adaptability than most Imperial troops. The Empire used scout troopers for a range of missions, including reconnaissance and infiltration.”

Back in August of 2014, The Black Series dipped its toes into the water of vehicles for a larger scale toyline with the first release of the deluxe Biker Scout and Speeder Bike set.  While it certainly wasn’t a failure, it also wasn’t quite the smash success Hasbro had been hoping for on vehicles for the line, so it did mean a bit of stagnation on that front.  However, as the line has really grown into its own, the prospect of vehicles, especially on the smaller side isn’t quite as crazy, especially when those vehicles get a reappearance on The Mandalorian.  The Scout Troopers and their associated rides first showed back up in the first season finale, and much like the Stormtroopers, they were part of the remnant set-up, with appearances slightly worse for wear.  Since it’s been a little bit since the Speeder Bike set came out, Hasbro opted to refresh it with a Mandalorian-themed re-deco, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

This set is an Amazon-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series offering, which went up for order in the fall, and shipped out just before the end of last year.  It’s clearly based around the last episode of the first season, given the specific accessories included with the set-up.

The core Scout Trooper has been included with all three Black Series releases of the vehicle, as well as getting two stand-alone uses of just the figure mold as well.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the same mold as all of the previous Black Series Scout Troopers.  That’s hardly an issue for me, because it was a standout sculpt from early in the line, and it’s aged far better than most of its contemporaries.  It looks perfectly at home with the more recent releases, and the only slight drawback is the range of motion on some of the joints.  Even so, he’s able to get onto the bike with no troubles, which is clearly the most important thing.  The main change-up to the figure is, of course, the paint.  It’s nothing super major, just a generally dirtier appearance on the figure, signifying the “remnant” nature of this guy.  It’s not a bad look overall, but also not so drastically different that he looks super out of place with the prior release.  Like the original release, this guy includes his very small blaster pistol, and also adds in the target that the two scouts use for practice at the beginning of the episode, as well as the messenger bag carrying Grogu.  Technically, Grogu’s listed as his own figure, and even has a point of movement on his neck, but he’s still more accessory than anything else.

The Speeder Bike mold was on its second use for 2020 here, following a re-issue in the Heroes of Endor set.  It’s the same one that was used back in 2014, of course, which is fine by me.  It’s 10 inches long and abut 2 1/2 inches tall at its tallest.  It’s got the same moving flaps on the back as before, as well as the rotating canon on the underside.  The paint gets a more drastic overhaul here, since the bikes in the show are white, rather than the traditional brown.  It’s a different look to be sure, and they do a nice job of handling the dirt and scoring on the edges of it, matching up pretty well with the show appearance.  Instead of the old three tiered stand, this time the bike gets the new hovering base, as seen on the Cosmic Ghost Rider.  While it’s got a bit cleaner aesthetic appearance, I don’t find the functionality to work quite as well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I already had the prior release, and was very happy with it, so I didn’t *need* this one…but it’s a Biker Scout, and I really like Biker Scouts.  Plus, there was enough difference for me to justify it to myself, anyway.  So, I placed the pre-order when Amazon put them up, and then he just arrived.  Honestly, it was pretty low investment for me, I mean, apart from paying for it, I guess.  It’s a cool set, and adds enough value to what was already there to make it worthwhile in my mind.

#2661: Armorer

ARMORER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Armorer plays a vital role in keeping the culture of the Mandalorians alive. She forges beskar armor in the ancient tradition of her people.”

The Mandalorian has focused not just on the titular Mandalorian, but on a good chunk of Mandalorian culture as well, giving us a variety of different members of said culture.  Within the first season, we meet several members of the Mando’s own tribe, each with their own variants on the Mandalorian armor.  And someone’s got to make all that cool armor, don’t they?  Who could that possibly be?  Why it would be the Mandalorian Armorer, of course!  Introduced in the very first episode of the show, she’s also got one of the coolest Mando designs, which pretty much just begs for proper toy treatment.  And, as luck would have it, toy treatment’s what she got.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Armorer is part of the second Phase IV assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  She’s another piece of the Mandalorian sub-set, where she’s figure #4.  This is our second figure of the Armorer in the line, following a slightly more deluxe release earlier last year as one of Hasbro’s shifted con-exclusives.  The core figure is mostly the same between the two releases, with only the small cape piece on her back changing.  It pretty much follows the trend of prior Black Series con-exclusives getting slightly stripped down re-releases in the main line fairly quickly after their initial release, though this is notable the only one with a notable change on the actual core figure.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articualtion.  She’s following what is essentially the new standard for articulation, meaning she’s got newer joints such as the butterfly joints on the shoulders, and she’s got increased range of motion on most of her joints as well, making her a rather agile figure.  The sculpt does quite a nice job of recreating her armor design from the show.  The helmet in particular is pretty spot on, which is good to see given that Din’s helmet continues to be ever so slightly off in this line.  The rest of the armor is well-shaped, and cleanly detailed, and there’s plenty of texture work going into the rest of her clothing.  The one truly new piece to this release is the cape, which was a soft-goods piece on the con release, but is plastic here.  It looks perfectly fine this way, and matches with other such pieces on more recent figures.  The only downside is that it does have a tendency to pop out of place rather frequently.  Her paint work is all quite nicely applied.  The base colors are clean and sharp, with little slop or bleed over to speak of.  She actually gets some accenting as well, with some slight dry brushing on the helmet, as well as a wash on the cape and her skirt.  It really helps to bring out the sculpted details, and it’s always nice to see a little extra detailing going into these figures.  For this more basic release, the Armorer gets her hammer and tongs.  It’s not as much as the prior release, of course, but it’s really all that I would deem essential for the character, and two accessories seems to be where Hasbro has settled into for a standard release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like yesterday’s Incinerator, the Armorer is one of those designs I’ve wanted as a toy since she showed up on screen.  I was not alone in this, as she was definitely one of Super Awesome Wife’s favorite parts of the show, and S.A.W. was eager about any news of figures.  So, when it came time for the deluxe release, I of course got one for her, and patiently awaited the standard release for myself, since I knew full well it was coming, even before there was an official announcement.  Regardless of version, she’s a really awesome figure of a really awesome design, and she makes for a truly great toy.

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

#2660: Incinerator Stormtrooper

INCINERATOR STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Incinerator Stormtrooper armor was exceptionally heat-resistant and bore red markings, similar to the shock troopers, in order to indicate their specialty.”

You can’t have a decent selection of Stormtroopers if you don’t let them specialize, now can you?  It’s an important part of infrastructure, you guys.  I assure you.  Don’t underestimate the infrastructure!  Flame based troops aren’t a new concept in the Star Wars universe, with Scorch existing in the Clone Wars era, and even the First Order getting in on things with their own brand of Flametroopers.  Once a video game-specific EU entry from The Force Unleashed, the Imperial’s own Incinerator Troopers were introduced into the more official side of things in the first season finale for The Mandalorian.  This newly canonized take on the concept has subsequently made it’s way into the toy world as well, including some Black Series coverage, which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Incinerator Stormtrooper is part of the second assortment of the re-launched Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s figure #3 in the Mandalorian sub-line of figures, and one of the two Mando-specific figures in this particular round.  He’s our second show-based army builder, but he shan’t be our last.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Structurally, the core of this guy is shared with the upgraded standard Stormtrooper from the last series, which is sensible, seeing as he’s a Stormtrooper variant.  It helps that it’s also just a rather nice sculpt, so that’s going for it.  He gets an all-new overlay piece, featuring his pauldron, his webgear, and his actual flamethrower device.  This piece isn’t removable from the figure, and it’s all one part.  If I’m honest, it’s my main complaint, because there’s also no storage for the actual flamethrower, leaving him with no real way to set the thing down.  It might as well be molded into his right hand grip at that point.  That being said, I don’t know that I’d really do anything else with it, so him being forced to hold his weapon isn’t the worst thing in the world.  I’d just like to have the option, that’s all.  Making the backpack removable would have also been some good future planning, since I’m sure they’ll be looking to give us a Mortar Stormtrooper at some point as well.  On the plus side, the whole overlay piece is pretty nicely sculpted, and he holds the weapon well in his right hand (it has to sort of rest atop the left, since there’s not a real grip there).  Paint work is pretty key on this guy, since it does a lot of the differentiating.  The red is nice and vibrant, and I like that they’ve manufactured some wear around it’s edges, showing that this armor has been in use.  All in all, the paint does a pretty great job of setting him apart from the standard, and it makes him look rather eye-catching as well.  While the weapon may be mounted to the figure proper, he does still get one extra: a flame effect piece for the front of the weapon.  It’s a cool piece, and it slides into place quite securely.  Additionally, the back pack gives him enough weight to decently counter balance, which is certainly cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been hoping to see this figure since this guy turned up in the show.  I wasn’t expecting him to be on an all-new body at the time, but I’m okay with that as well.  He’s a cool looking trooper, and one that I’m glad to have.  I do wish he had more built-in display options, but it’s not like he’s inaccurate to what we saw on screen, and it’s not like he’s a bad figure by even the faintest stretch.

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

#2640: The Mandalorian w/ Speeder Bike

THE MANDALORIAN w/ SPEEDER BIKE

STAR WARS: MISSION FLEET (HASRBO)

Alright, are you guys ready to get cyclical?  I sure hope so, because we’re going to be rounding up this year’s post-Christmas reviews by circling back to where we kicked them off, namely Star Wars, or more specifically, The Mandalorian.  Before the dumpster fire that was last year had really kicked into high gear, Hasbro was looking to experiment a little bit with their Star Wars output.  Obviously, The Black Series and The Vintage Collection have the collector’s side covered, but that leaves a bit of a lack of stuff for a younger audience, or indeed someone who just likes a good, fun toy.  Their first attempt at slight more all ages fare was Galaxy of Adventures, which I covered as they were released in 2019, and which was *supposed* to have more product added in 2020 but…didn’t.  The other line, shown off at Toy Fair last year, was Mission Fleet, a stylized line with a heavier focus on vehicles.  The line started showing up at retail last fall, and it’s been a fun little experiment.  Today, I’m taking a look at its first set based on The Mandalorian.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

The Mandalorian with Speeder Bike is part of the launch wave of Mission Fleet product, in a set officially dubbed “Battle For The Bounty.”  They have a few different sizes and price points for the sets, and this one is part of the Expedition Class set up, which covers more proper vehicles of the smaller persuasion.

The core figure gives us Mando in his full Beskar armament, and was in fact the first toy from Hasbro to do so, having beaten both the Black Series and Vintage Collection versions to market by a little bit.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Despite the small stature, he does still get a ball-jointed neck and universal joints on the shoulders, so he’s got an alright range of motion.  His sculpt is a pretty respectable little offering.  He’s definitely rather stylized, with a slightly enlarged head, hands, and feet.  He’s not quite as far removed as, say, a PlaySkool offering, but definitely not a hyper realistic recreation of the live action stuff by any stretch.  I think it works pretty well for him, and gets all of the important details for the character, while making him perhaps a touch more kid-friendly.  His paint work is pretty on the basic side, but all of the important details are again present.  Application is clean, and he matches the show depiction pretty well.  Mando is packed with both his cape and jetpack, though, like the Black Series figure, you have to choose one or the other.  He also includes both his rifle and pistol.  The only downside to the two weapons is a lack of storage for them while he’s on the vehicle, an unfortunately recurring issue with the line.

Though not quite as much of a figure proper as the Mando, this set also includes the *other* major player in The Mandalorian, the Child, who was still unnamed at the time of this figure’s release, so he sticks with just being “The Child.”  In an effort to be kind to people who aren’t entirely current on the show, I’ll just stick with that here.  He’s about an inch tall and is articulated only at his neck, which is honestly more articulation than I’d been expecting, really.  He’s definitely way too large to be in proper scale with the Mando or any other normal sized characters from this line, but for proper scaling, he’d be incredibly minuscule, and even more easily lost than he already is.  He’s sculpted holding the control knob from the Razor Crest, and is caricature-ized, much like the Mando.  His paint work’s not quite as clean as Mando’s, but it’s still not too bad.  Again, all of the important details are there.  The Child includes his floating pram from the first few episodes.  Like the Child itself, the pram is quite up-scaled compared to the rest of the line, but it’s a cool piece.  I do wish it was a little easier to get him sitting up in it, though.

The main vehicle component for this set is the speeder bike the Mando uses while on Tatooine in the episodes “The Gunslinger” and “The Marshall.”  It’s a pretty basic speeder bike layout, and it’s certainly a more economical vehicle choice for the character than going the Razor Crest route, so I can dig it.  It’s about 6 inches long, so its scale relative to the Mando is pretty decent.  The detail work is more on the basic side, focusing on the more broad stroke details to sell it.  It works well with the style they’ve gone for with the figure.  There are some slightly obtrusive ports on the sides, two of which are for the included cannon, and the other two don’t seem to match up to anything.  I’m guessing they’re for something in the future, maybe?  There’s also a spot on the back allowing the pram to be hooked up, making this whole thing one larger piece.  Also included with the vehicle is a rather large missile launcher, with included missile.  Obviously, it’s not based on anything from the actual show, but it’s a cool extra, more toyetic thing to throw in, and you can mount it in a few different spots on the bike.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was pretty interested in Mission Fleet when it was shown off at Toy Fair, and when it hit, I enlisted some help from Cheyenne in tracking down a few of the sets.  She obliged on a handful of them, and requested that I maybe, possibly, not buy any for myself, so that she’d have an easier time getting me gifts and the like.  So, I held off, and then I honestly forgot, truth be told, until she presented me with this bad boy just a few days after Christmas.  This is a fun line, and one that I honestly put off actually reviewing for far longer than I should have.  This set in particular is a nice little contained package of all the major Mandalorian elements, but the whole line is just great.  Maybe I should review those other ones I’ve got sitting around at some point, huh?

#2632: IG-11

IG-11

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“One of a series of dangerous assassin droids largely outlawed in the galaxy, IG-11 is a hired gun programmed to follow Bounty Hunters Guild protocols to the letter.  This distinctive collection features premium deco applications inspired by the end credit images from The Mandalorian, plus a collectible Imperial Credit accessory”

Usually, around the holidays, I’m out of town for the week surrounding Christmas, meaning that, pretty much since I began the site, I’ve been jumping into my Post-Christmas reviews as the new year begins.  2020 was having none of that, so I was still at home this year, allowing me to just turn these reviews right around.  Don’t you guys feel so lucky?  For the first few years I was running the site, I kicked off these sets of reviews with an Alien Queen, but in recent years, that’s shifted to Star Wars, something that will stick this year, as I kick things off with a variant of IG-11!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

IG-11 is part of the “Credit Collection” sub-set of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  These guys hit right around the launch of The Mandalorian‘s second season, and were effectively this year’s equivalent to the Carbonized figures from last year.  Theset was split up as exclusives amongst a few different retailers, with IG-11 being available through GameStop.  Structurally, this figure is the same as last year’s standard IG-11.  That means he too stands about 7 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  It also means that he too is based on the IG-88 figure, and is therefore a little bit inaccurate for IG-11.  That said, it’s not like anyone was really expecting a new mold for this release.  He’s designed to be a quick repaint, and that’s exactly what he is.  At least the IG-88 mold is still a pretty fun toy mold.  The differences on this guy come down to two things, the first being the paint.  He, and the rest of the figures in this set, are based on the illustrations seen in the show’s closing credits, which showcase some of the early art for the show.  IG-11 is illustrated in these images with a much warmer, and more colorful palette than is seen in the show, and that’s replicated well here.  I really dig how they’ve captured the sort of graininess of the illustrations, as well as the really divergently bright colors used.  These two definitely won’t get mistaken for each other.  The second change to the figure are the accessories.  He gets the same two blasters as the prior release, but also gains one of the credit pieces that the bio talks about.  It’s a pretty basic piece, and obviously not meant to go with the actual figure, but it’s a cool little extra nevertheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got all of the standard color versions of the figures chosen for “The Credit Collection”, so I wasn’t in a rush to pick any of them up, especially given their exclusive status.  I did kind of want the IG-11, because I just really like the IGs.  I wasn’t going to buy it from Gamestop for myself, though.  It’s okay, because I didn’t!  Max and I were discussing the figures when they were shown off, and I said I’d hold off, so he went ahead and ordered an extra IG for me for Christmas.  I’m glad to have this guy.  He’s not my primary version or anything, but he’s a fun alternate deco, and goes well with my other IG-related stuff.