#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.

#2626: Imperial Stormtrooper

IMPERIAL STORMTROOPER — THE MANDALORIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Stormtroopers are elite shock troops fanatically loyal to the Empire and impossible to sway from the Imperial cause.”

Given their prominence in the original trilogy, it’s no surprise that we got figure coverage of the Imperial Stormtroopers fairly early into Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  However, there’s really no denying that the quality of the figures has improved leaps and bounds over the last few years.  Many of the central characters have gotten some more recent figures in alternate looks to help update them a bit, but a character such as the Stormtrooper, who has the same basic look in all three of the original movies, doesn’t exactly make a variant release very easy t justify.  Fortunately, their reappearance in The Mandalorian gave Hasbro a pretty good excuse to give them the re-do treatment, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Stormtrooper is, much like yesterday’s Mando, part of the first wave of the relaunched Black Series.  He too is from The Mandalorian sub-set of figures, where he’s figure #02.  He’s officially based on the trooper design from the show (and Rogue One, since they use the same armor), but he works as a pretty basic OT-era Stormtrooper just in general.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The original Stormtrooper was the most posable figure in the line at the time of his release, but that was at the sacrifice of appearance, as a good number of those joints really jumped out off of the figure.  This one takes a page out of the recent Clone Trooper page and does a total overhaul on the movement scheme.  The joints are granted a much larger range of motion, while also being a bit more cleverly hidden, though use of actual armor plates that are separate pieces, rather than just sculpting them right onto the body.  This results in there being much more depth to the sculpt, which helps the give it a more realistic quality.  The helmet gets a re-work, so that now, instead of being a solid piece, it’s an actual helmet sitting on a head.  The head’s the same as the Clone Trooper, but at least this way we know there’s some consistency in sizing and design, and we won’t be faced with the same issues the original body had when the repurposed it for Luke and Han.  The helmet also seems to be just a touch more screen accurate than the original.  In general, the armor on this guy is a little closer to the movies and a little bit sharper in terms of detailing.  It’s just an overall slicker appearance.  The Stormtrooper’s paint work is pretty decent.  Fairly minimal, since the separate construction of the body and the armor allows for them to each be molded in the proper colors, but the accents look nice and sharp.  The Stormtrooper is packed with a single blaster rifle.  It’s a new piece, and certainly a nice one, though it’s kind of a shame that we’re down to just one accessory on these guys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I quite liked the original Black Series Stormtrooper when he was released, but after a few years of the line improving, I was definitely eager to see what Hasbro could do with an improved one.  I was on board for this guy as soon as he was shown off.  As with the rest of this first wave, he’s been pretty scarce, even more so given he’s an army builder, but I was able to at least get my hands on one, and I do really quite like him.  I look forward to seeing what other trooper variants they build on this body.

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.

 

#2625: The Mandalorian – Beskar

THE MANDALORIAN — BESKAR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Mandalorian is battle-worn and tight-lipped, a formidable bounty hunter in an increasingly dangerous galaxy!”

The Mandalorian just wrapped its second season last Friday, so I guess what better time to actually start reviewing Mando product again then right now.  It couldn’t be more time relevant, could it?  Last year, we got our first figure of the show’s main character, based upon his appearance in the show’s debut episode.  Though we didn’t know when he was released, that look wound up being rather short-lived, replaced just three episodes in by a shiny, new, all Beskar set of armor, which has subsequently remained his primary appearance.  Thanks to the same secrecy that kept The Child a total surprise, the Beskar armored Mando was likewise not shown to licensors until he appeared in the show, leaving something of a delay in getting him made in figure form.  Fortunately, he’s finally making his way to collectors, right as the second season comes to a close.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beskar Mando is part of the first assortment of the latest re-launch of Star Wars: The Black Series.  Rather than one overarching numbering scheme, they’re now breaking them down into smaller sub-sets.  Mando is, unsurprisingly, part of the Mandalorian sub-set, where he’s figure #01.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Structurally, this guy’s very similar to the prior Mando, which makes sense, them being the same guy and all.  His articulation works exactly the same, which is fine by me given how mobile that figure ended up being.  He shares a handful of parts with that previous release, specifically the helmet, hands, lower legs, and cape.  These parts actually remain constant in the show, so it’s sensible to re-use.  It does come with its own slight drawbacks, notably with the helmet and cape. The helmet is just slightly off from the show’s design in terms of shaping.  It’s minor, but there was a part of me hoping they might fix it for this release.  It’s not the end of the world, though, and I guess they’re at least consistent this way.  The cape isn’t a problem on its own, but is sort of a problem when you factor in the included jetpack.  In the show, he pushes the cape up and out of the way when wearing the jetpack, but with the cape here being plastic, you have to choose between one or the other when displaying him.  This isn’t screen accurate, so it’s a touch frustrating.  Either a cloth cape, or a newly sculpted cape piece would have fixed this.  As is, he’ll require a little bit of modification.  Mando gets a new torso, arms, and upper legs featuring his newer armor pieces.  They’re certainly a cleaner design, though they match up with the prior figure in terms of actual styling of details.  In order to match up with the inclusion of the jetpack, thereby making this a post-Chaper 8 Mando, his right pauldron includes Mando’s Mudhorn signet, which is certainly a very nice touch.  The Mando’s paint work is all pretty clean.  It matches with the depiction of the armor from the show, and is just generally pretty slick.  Mando is packed with the aforementioned jetpack, plus the same rifle and pistol that were included with the last version of the character.  Not a bad set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been patiently awaiting this armor set-up since it debuted on the show, and was curious exactly when it would show in the line.  Once it was announced, it was once again a patient wait until I could actually get my hands on one, because he’s been far and away the most demanded figure out of the newest Black Series line-up.  The end result isn’t perfect.  The helmet doesn’t bug me so much, but I was a bit let down by the cape.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing yet another version of this guy in the near future, of course, what with him being the main character and all.  This one’s still really good, though.

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.

#2435: The Child

THE CHILD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

The Mandalorian was a pretty huge hit right out of the gate, but pretty much everything else about the show pales in comparison to the Baby Yoda phenomenon.  Kept a well-guarded secret by those involved in the show, “The Child” (as he was officially dubbed by Disney) was immediately met with pretty much universal approval, and an insane demand for all the merchandise imaginable.  Of course, part of keeping Baby Yoda such a well-guarded secret was not letting any of the licensors even know the character existed until after the first episode had dropped, meaning there was a bit of a gap between his appearance on the show an any merch.  Fortunately, things have turned around pretty darn quickly on that front.  There are a lot of options right out of the gate, but I’m kicking things off with a look at Hasbro’s Black Series offering.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Child is a one-off Black Series release, which started hitting retail right at the beginning of May.  He’s using the packaging style introduced in 2018 with the Porg two-pack, but he’s at a slightly higher price point.  The figure is incredibly small, and indeed a lot smaller than many people expected.  However, at just over an inch tall, he’s pretty much exactly the size he should be to go with the rest of The Black Series line.  He’s better articulated than you might expect, with 7 points of articulation.  That includes ball joints at the neck, shoulders, and ankles (yes, he’s got a fully detailed pair of feet that no one’s ever going to see).  His range is rather limited overall, especially on the shoulders.  I was, however, quite pleased with the mobility on the neck joint, which allows for a good deal of expressiveness to his posing.  The sculpt is rather well detailed for the size, with the head exhibiting the best work.  The likeness to the puppet from the show is pretty spot-on, especially in the face.  The paintwork on this figure is fairly light.  The construction of the figure is such that most of the color work is done via straight molded coloring.  There’s a little bit of work on his face and ears, which is up to par with the current standard for the main line, so no complaints there.  Baby Yoda’s got a fun selection of cool extras, including the frog-like creature it eats after the Mando finds it, the bowl of broth he carries during Mando and Cara’s face-off in Chapter 4, and the knob from Mando’s ship that he gives to Baby Yoda as a toy.  There’s also a clear box to keep all of the extras in, so that you don’t lose them.  I definitely appreciate that, and they’ll be staying in that box pretty much exclusively for my display.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I will fully admit to being drawn in by the Baby Yoda craze, and his inclusion in The Mandalorian was definitely one of my favorite parts of the show.  I definitely wanted him for my Black Series collection, in what ever capacity Hasbro chose to deliver.  It’s hard to say that this guy’s really a full-fledged figure in his own right, but he’s a pretty fantastic companion to the rest of the Mando stuff they’ve put out so far.  He’s a fun little package.

I picked up this little guy from my friends at All Time Toys.  He’s currently sold out, but they’ve still got a bunch of other Black Series, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2329: Heavy Infantry Mandalorian

HEAVY INFANTRY MANDALORIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A brawny warrior encased in the strongest beskar armor, the mysterious Heavy Infantry Mandalorian is part of a secretive enclave of his people. A born survivor, he guards a precious armory and helps to keep the flames of Mandalorian heritage flickering in this time of galactic chaos.”

By far the breakaway merchandising hit of the three Star Wars franchise entries that had to share last year’s product, The Mandalorian has gotten most of its product from Hasbro in the form of their more collector oriented Black Series line.  The main line has gotten three show-related figures so far, plus there have been two exclusives through Best Buy to fill out the cast a bit more.  The first was IG-11, but the second is Jon Favreau’s unnamed (on screen anyway; his credited name is “Paz Vizla”) heavy infantry Mandalorian, who I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Heavy Infantry Mandalorian is Best Buy’s second exclusive Black Series item.  For the first time on an exclusive item, he’s actually a numbered entry in the line, being numbered D2, signifying him as the second entry in the Deluxe sub-line, following General Grievous last year.  He’s based on the character’s appearance in “The Sin.”  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Despite his bulked up design, Paz is never the less poseable on par with the rest of the more recent figures in the line, meaning he has a pretty easy time getting into all of the necessary poses for the character.  His sculpt is all-new, and it’s quite impressive.  He’s definitely got some serious heft to him, which is appropriate for a character with “Heavy” in his name.  The armored elements all match up with the design as seen on screen pretty well, and the detailing is all pretty sharply defined.  He definitely manages to be a bit more screen accurate than the standard Mando, and it’s not like that particular figure was all that far off.  The paintwork captures the slightly unique color scheme of the character nicely and cleanly.  I really dig the shade of blue they used here, and the flatter colors actually make him stand out pretty well from the rest of the line.  I also quit like the few spots of wear visible throughout the armor.  It gives it that appropriate lived-in feel.  The Heavy Mando only has one accessory, but it’s a really good, pretty darn sizable one, since it’s his heavy blaster.  It’s connected to his jetpack, and features a moving handle and spinning barrels.  Plus, it can also be stored on his back, as seen in the show, and it stays on there nice and securely.  Definitely a very nice piece for an already very nice figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this guy was shown off (prior to the character’s appearance on the show), I was already on board, because man is that a cool design.  I was a little bummed when I found out he’d be a Best Buy exclusive, but fortunately for me, Max let me know as soon as he went up for preorder on their site, so I was able to get one with no fuss.  Like all of the Mandalorian-centric figures, he’s a really, really solid figure, and just really one of the Black Series‘ best.