#2237: Offworld Jawa

OFFWORLD JAWA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Jawas that arrive on new planets continue their old habits in their new surroundings, but their obsessive need for technology still drives them.”

Introduced in the very first film, the Jawas have sort of hung around in the background of the Star Wars universe ever since.  Classically, they’ve been confined to Tatooine, at least for their appearances in the first two trilogies, but The Mandalorian is mixing things up, having them show up at least one other place that we know of.  The creatures’ notable appearance in the show has also been a good excuse to put out another release of them in the main Black Series line, and I’ll be taking a look at that release today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Offworld Jawa is figure 96 in the Black Series line-up, being the second Mandalorian-based figure in the eight figure Triple Force Friday product launch.  It’s our third Black Series release of a Jawa, following the 40th Anniversary and #61 releases.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  Those numbers should be somewhat familiar, since they are the same ones as the #61 Jawa.  That’s because this figure uses the same sculpt as that one, but loses the plastic skirt piece from that figure, and gains a cloth goods robe.  Though I am not always a fan of the cloth goods in Black Series, and I was okay with the plastic robe of the prior Jawa, I will admit that this robe ended up working far better than I’d expected.  It honestly ends up looking a little better than the plastic version, and has the added benefit of finally letting the figure take full advantage of all that leg articulation that the old figure had hidden beneath the plastic skirt.  The only slight downside is that they didn’t re-sculpt the arms to remove the sculpted robes, so the articulation there is still as restricted as the original release.  Though the head isn’t actually changed, the way the hood is connected is slightly different between my two Jawas, and I find that this one has a more natural look about it than the prior, which I’m totally okay with.  The Jawa’s paint is actually more involved than you might think.  There’s some nice weathering on the feet, and the bandolier now gets a wash to bring out more of its details, which definitely does it some favors.  This figure includes the same two ion blasters from the prior release, with one still being permanently attached to the harness.  Again, this feels a little light, but at this point, I think this just how the Jawas are gonna go in the Black Series.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was expecting very little out of this figure.  I already had the prior release, and I’m generally not that big on cloth.  Mostly, I bought him because I was buying everything else.  In person, he certainly looked better, but it wasn’t until I opened him up that I realized how much I enjoyed him.  I liked the prior figure a lot when it was new, but this one is an improvement in pretty much every way.  I’m glad I picked up this figure, especially after watching Episode 2 of The Mandalorian.

I got the Jawa from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Star Wars, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2236: 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 Hunter’s Guild protocol to the letter.”

Ranking the distinctive bounty hunters from Empire Strikes Back has become something of a running gag on this site, so I don’t believe it’s at all a secret that my favorite of said bounty hunters is the robotic IG-88, a character that doesn’t do much on the screen, but like all of the bounty hunters has a rich background in the expanded universe.  Also like all of the bounty hunters, he doesn’t really have much going on post-Empire.  When The Mandalorian was in production, they originally planned to include IG-88 as one of the series’ characters, but at a very late stage it was decided that it would be better to let IG-88 keep his EU backstory, leading to the creation of the very similar, but still ever so slightly different IG-11, who we meet in the show’s very first episode.  He’s voiced by none other than Thor: Ragnarok director (and voice of Korg), Taika Waititi, and is just generally pretty awesome.  And, it being Star Wars, he’s also gotten a figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

IG-11 is a Best Buy-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series offering.  Yes, apparently Best Buy is also getting in on the exclusives game, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.  I guess it’s not a total shock to see them try to expand outside of selling dying forms of media, but I’m not entirely sure that backing action figures is quite going to be the salvation that they’re looking for.  Time will tell, I suppose.  IG-11 was officially street-dated for November 1st, and has been cropping up in fairly decent numbers since then.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  Most of this figure’s sculpt is exactly the same as the main line’s IG-88 figure from 2015 (or, if you want to get really technical, the very slightly improved version of that mold from this year’s Archive release), which more or less makes sense, since the two character’s designs are very, very similar, and they are meant to represent the same model of droid.  That being said, there were a few issues with IG-88 that I know a lot of fans were hoping to see corrected on any potential IG-11 release.  The head is the most glaring inaccuracy, being the wrong shape for both droids; I myself don’t mind it too much, but inaccurate is still inaccurate.  He should also really be a little larger as a whole to be properly scaled.  At his current size, he’s still taller than the standard figure, but he doesn’t tower quite the way he should.  The cut joints on the hips are also still quite restricting, even more noticeable for a more mobile on-screen character like IG-11.  The last issue *wasn’t* an issue with IG-88, but is for 11; his hands should be the new design from the show, but are instead the same as 88’s were.  IG-11 does get one new piece: his two bandoliers, which are a single, non-removable add-on.  It’s a suitably distinctive look to separate him a little bit from IG-88, and I can certainly dig it.  11 is also a little bit different on the paint front, with a slightly grimier, generally darker color scheme, as well as some nifty accenting that wasn’t present on the original or Archive releases.  The weathering takes advantage of the same technique Hasbro’s been using on faces, and it looks pretty solid here.  IG-11 is packed with two styles of blaster.  The longer rifle is the same one included with IG-88, while the shorter one, though very similar, is actually a new, smaller mold.  Both attach to the forearms in the same fashion as they did with 88, and there’s a spot on the bandolier that can hold either one of the guns.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite it not being perfect, I’ve always been a big fan of the Black Series IG-88, and IG-88 in general.  I was beyond thrilled when he was rumored for the show, and still thrilled when they revealed him to be IG-11, not 88.  I figured the 11 would end up being mostly just a re-deco, and I wasn’t wrong.  Would I have preferred to get an all-new mold?  Probably.  Would I have wanted that original mold to wind up as a store exclusive like this figure is?  No, I would not.  As it stands, I love this figure just as much, if not a little more than the 88 figure, even if he’s not entirely accurate.  I wouldn’t mind getting a more accurate one further down the line (alongside an updated 88), but this one will certainly hold me over.

#2235: The Mandalorian

THE MANDALORIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

His body is shielded by beskar armor, his face is hidden behind a T-visored mask, and his past is wrapped in mystery.”

The Disney+ streaming service officially launched on the 12th of last month, and brought with it The Mandalorian, our first live-action TV series set in the Star Wars universe.  The prospect of a live-action Star Wars show has been rumored for years now, with one supposed to go into production around the same time as Clone Wars, but nothing ever came of it.  Running sort of right alongside all these plans, there has also long been discussion of actually centering some piece of mainstream Star Wars media on fan-favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett (you know, to finally actually do something of consequence with the character after 30 years).  Rumors of a Boba Fett series were floating for a bit, but ultimately those plans found themselves reworked into producer Jon Favreau’s new series, centered not on Boba Fett, but instead on an as-of-yet-unnamed fellow Mandalorian bounty hunter.  As of this writing, I’ve seen two episodes, and I’m quite enjoying what I’ve seen so far.  The show was one of the three projects focused on during the Triple Force Friday launch back in October, with a Black Series version of its title character being front and center.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Mandalorian is figure 94 in the Black Series line-up, and was one of 8 Black Series figures made available on Triple Force Friday, two of which were based on the show.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Compared to our previous Mandalorian Boba Fett, whose figure ended up a little restricted in a few spots, this one can actually pull off a decent amount of range with his articulation, certainly some of the best range I’ve gotten out of a Black Series release.  The sculpt is an all-new affair (though it’s also shared with the “Carbonized” variant of the figure), based upon the Mandalorian’s Episode 1 appearance from the show, mostly clearly denoted by the *MINOR SPOILERS* right shoulder pauldron sill being the scavenged Shoretrooper piece, rather than is proper Beskar piece he has crafted mid-way through the episode.  I’m honestly okay with it, since the Mandalorian is bound to get a lot of toy coverage, and as someone who really loves the Shoretroopers, I totally geeked out seeing that piece there when I got the figure.  The rest of the character’s piecemeal armor is rather nicely recreated, with some solid detailing all-around.  His helmet’s not quite a pitch-perfect recreation of the piece from the show; some of the angles are a little bit softer, and the general detailing is also a little softer too.  It’s possible that Hasbro was working from design sketches, or on a slightly shorter production schedule than usual.  Given that the helmet appears to be the one element of the design that will remain constant, I wouldn’t be shocked if we got a slightly improved version for the next figure.  Whatever the case, it’s hardly a bad sculpt, and honestly I didn’t really notice until I was directly comparing the figure with photos from the show for the purposes of this review.  In contrast to Boba, this Mandalorian’s asymmetrical cape is a sculpted element, rather than a cloth one.  Personally, I tend to prefer plastic, and I feel this ends up looking better then the cape on Boba did.  It’s also a soft enough rubber that it doesn’t really limit posing too much, and it’s pretty easily removed if you really don’t like it.  I’ve heard that Island Journey Rey’s poncho makes for decent replacement piece.  There’s also an add-on piece for his belt/webgear, which isn’t really meant to be removed, but adds a nice element of depth to the figure.  The paint work on this guy is pretty solid work.  It’s not super weathered or 100% show accurate or anything, but it’s got a decent amount of extra detailing going on, keeping it from being totally devoid of detail like some of the mid-line figures ended up being.  The colors are also accurate to the show, which is more than can be said about the Carbonized version.  The Mandalorian includes two styles of blaster: a rifle and a pistol.  Both are fairly nice pieces, held well in the figure’s hands, and appear to match the show’s designs pretty closely.  The rifle is definitely my preferred of the two, in part due to it’s cool throwback to Boba’s first appearance in the Holiday Special.  Both weapons have storage on the figure, though the rifle’s pegging into the figure’s back can be a little bit tricky, and not super reliable.  The peg is just too long, and it results in a very loosely hanging weapon.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Mandolorian was definitely the figure in this assortment I was most interested in.  Of course, that’s true of pretty much every one buying these figures, so this guy is consistently the first to go from any case of figures.  I was able to get mine without too much trouble, but he’s probably going to be a little rough to get until the solid cases of him start hitting in a few months.  He’s a strong figure, no doubt, and I found him to be a notable improvement on the Boba and Jango figures from this line.  He’s a lot of fun, and I heartily recommend him if you can get him.

My Mandalorian came from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve sold through on initial quantities of him at the moment, but they do still have some of the others from the assortment in stock.  If you’re looking for Star Wars, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.