#1535: Inferno Squad Agent

INFERNO SQUAD AGENT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“In the wake of the Death Star’s destruction, the Empire created the Inferno Squad to ensure that Imperial secrets would remain safe.  Their fierce loyalty to the Empire and exceptional skills in both aerial and ground combat set this squad apart from the rank and file troopers.”

It’s Day 4 of my post-Christmas reviews.  Today, I’ll be turning my sites on that galaxy far, far away, and looking at a figure based on the *other* highly divisive Star Wars sequel released this year, Star Wars: Battlefront II.  I myself haven’t yet played Battlefront II, but that certainly doesn’t mean I can’t partake in any of the cool figures that have come out of it, right?  The game has reintroduced an actual campaign to the gameplay, but rather than playing as the 501st (like in the original Battlefront II), you now play as members of the Inferno Squad.  Which apparently translates to TIE Fighter pilots with a little bit of extra detailing.  Cool by me.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Inferno Squad Agent is one of three GameStop-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series offerings from 2017.  This one was released to somewhat coincide with the release of the game he’s based on, which seems sensible enough.  This figure stands 6 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  There’s not actually anything new to his sculpt.  For the most part, he’s a pretty straight re-hash of the first Black Series TIE Pilot.  That was an incredibly strong sculpt the first time around, and it still holds up very well three years later.  In place of the original belt, this figure has the spare Stormtrooper belt from Han.  It’s a nice, yet simple, way of differentiating him a little bit more from the original release, and matches up with at least a few of the Agents from the game.  Paint marks where most of the changes are from the original TIE Pilot.  He’s still not crazy different or anything, but different enough to matter.  He’s got the same basic detail work as his predecessor, but now he’s also got some extra red accent work to help denote his Inferno Squad status.  I found the edges of said accenting to be a little fuzzy on my figure, but I was otherwise pretty happy with them.  The bright red contrasts well with the rest of the figure, and helps him stand out when placed next to the original.  The Inferno Squad Agent is packed with the standard E-11 blaster.  Thankfully, this one continues Hasbro’s trend of including accent work on the accessories, which is a pleasant change from the last TIE Pilot’s straight black blaster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy came to me courtesy of Super Awesome Girlfriend.  She’s been working at GameStop for the last couple of months, and was able to score this exclusive for me for Christmas.  He’s not wildly different from the standard TIE Pilot, but I dig the red accents a lot, and I was enough of a fan of the first one that I don’t mind getting a lot of that figure again.  A good toy is a good toy.

#1376: TIE Fighter Pilot

TIE FIGHTER PILOT

POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“With its vast space fleet, the Imperial Navy is a model of military efficiency. The best pilots in its ranks are rigorously trained to useto use highly maneuverable and heavily armed Twin Ion Engine (TIE) fighters. The small ships are used to both attack – and defend against – Rebel forces.”

Do I have to turn in my nerd card if I admit that until I read that bio in preparation for this review, I actually had no clue what TIE stood for?  I kinda thought it was because they looked like bow ties.  Now I know, and knowing is half the battle!  Wait, wrong 3 3/4-inch-based franchise!  Without further ado, let’s look at one of these Twin Ion Engine fighter pilots!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The TIE Fighter Pilot was released in 1996, during Power of the Force II’s second year.  This marks the second time this design had been seen in plastic, following the vintage figure.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation, which was standard for the line.  The figure’s sculpt was unique to him, and does a fairly decent job of capturing the TIE design from the movies.  He’s surprisingly tame in his stylization and his pre-posing, and also helped by not having a likeness to really worry about.  The lack of pre-pose is likely owed to his intended use with the actual TIE Fighter vehicle (which, fun fact, arrived on store shelves a year before this guy’s release), since too much of a pose would have made seating him in the ship rather difficult.  I appreciate that the figure’s been designed in such a way as to keep his neck movement, by way of attaching the tubes and box to his head.  It can look a little weird when turned to certain angles, but is by-and-large a well-worked out concept.  The paint on this guy could have been rather lazy and un-inspired, but Kenner went the extra mile and added differing sheens to the various black tones, as well as making sure he has all of the proper insignias.  It’s really quite remarkable work.  This figure was packed with two different blasters, one large, and one small.  Neither really seems to go with the figure, and mine has been without both for a little while.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was growing up, in addition to grandchild-specific gifts, both sets of grandparents would tend to go out and buy one smaller item in bulk, to give everyone that one same item.  The TIE Fighter was one such gift, given to all of the grandkids on my Dad’s side one year for Christmas.  We were all pretty into Star Wars at the time, so it was pretty sensible.  While I’ve never really had a particular attachment to the TIE Fighter pilot, I do still really like this guy, and he’s always been a steady fixture of my collection.

#1220: Baron Soontir Fel & Hobbie Klivian

BARON SOONTIR FEL & HOBBIE KLIVIAN

STAR WARS: COMIC PACKS (HASBRO)

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On top of the usual movie faire, a lot of the success of Star Wars is due to its continued presence in other media during the periods between films.  Star Wars has had pretty much a consistent comics presence ever since Marvel first adapted the first film.  Dark Horse Comics took over in the ‘90s and had a rather lengthy and very successful run with the license.  There were lots of different series over the years, but one of the most popular by far was X-Wing Rogue Squadron, which followed several of the X-Wing pilots we met throughout the Original Trilogy.  When Hasbro renewed the Star Wars license following Revenge of the Sith, one of the ways they kept things fresh was with comic-based figures, and a number of them were based on Rogue Squadron, including the pair I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Baron Soontir Fel and Hobbie Klivian were pack 12 in Hasbro’s Star Wars: Comic Packs, and they were officially part of the 30th Anniversary line as well.  The two included figures are based on their appearance in issue #24 of Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron, which was included in the set with them.

BARON SOONTIR FEL

baronhobbie2Baron Soontir Fel.  Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in quite some time.  No, wait, scratch that, that’s a name I’ve heard never.  Yeah, I got no clue who this guy is.  Going by the gear, he’s a TIE Fighter pilot, so that’s cool.  Obviously, he plays a part in Rogue Squadron, so…yeah.  Anyway, the figure stands a little over 4 inches tall (he actually seems  a little out of scale), and he has 16 points, which was really good for the time.  The sculpt for this figure is actually pretty strong, but it’s also a little odd, because it feels less like a Star Wars sculpt and more like one of the GI Joe: 25th Anniversary figures.  That’s not really a knock against the figure himself, since I quite liked a lot of the 25th Anniversary line, but it does make him stand out quite a bit from the rest of his peers.  It may have to do with his pack-mate being a bit older in style (more on that in a bit).  In terms of his sculpt, there’s a lot of cool stuff going on.  His jumpsuit has some awesome texture work, and all of the various parts of his uniform are quite sharply detailed.  His helmet and chest apparatus are removable, revealing his head and the rest of his uniform beneath.  The head sculpt is sufficiently smug and Imeperial, so that’s cool.  I also like that the helmet is pretty decently scaled to the body, and is probably one of the best trooper helmets I’ve seen at this scale.  As far as paint goes, the Baron is pretty solid.  He’s mostly grey and black, but all of the application is nice and clean, and he looks decent enough.  In addition to the removable helmet and chest piece, the Baron is packed with a small blaster pistol, which is the same style as the Biker Scout.  It’s a cool piece, and it can be stowed in his holster.

HOBBIE KLIVIAN

baronhobbie3Okay, I kinda know Hobbie.  I think.  I recognize the name.  He’s not really distinctive enough that I could point him out to you in the movies, but I know he’s in there, so that’s good, I guess.  The figure stands just under 4 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  He’s a lot stiffer than the Baron, which is a little sad.  A lot of that has to do with being built on the body of the 2004 Dutch Vander figure.  The line made a lot of leaps and bounds between Vander’s release and Hobbie’s, which made Hobbie feel a little out of place at the time.  He’s not really helped by being packed with Baron Fel, who was rather ahead of his time.  Nevertheless, Hobbie’s certainly not a bad figure on his own merits.  He’s got all the basic X-Wing pilot gear, and the sculpt is really sharply rendered.  I love the amount of detail they were able to get into all of the folds and wrinkles on the jumpsuit.  Also, he comes from an era when Star Wars figures were really good at hiding articulation, so his sculpt is at the very least very aesthetically pleasing.  His only truly new piece is his head, which is rather on the generic side.  He’s sporting a cap under his helmet, which aids in the generic-ness.  Honestly, this feels like the closest you can get to a straight up generic X-Wing pilot.  In terms of paint, Hobbie is once again pretty solid.  The colors all match up to what you’d expect from an X-Wing pilot.  In particular, I rather like the custom details on the helmet.  The figure includes his removable helmet, as well as a later pistol.  No holster for this guy, but his arm’s in a permanent gun-holding pose anyway, so I can’t really see many people posing him without it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These two were a gift from Super Awesome Girlfriend.  She got them for me last summer during a visit to Yesterday’s Fun.  Honestly, they’re the sort of set I might have overlooked on my own.  And that would have been too bad.  They’re not going to blow anyone out of the water, but they’re certainly a fun little pair, and a worthy addition to my collection!

#0849: First Order Legion Boxed Set

CAPTAIN PHASMA, FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER, RIOT CONTROL TROOPER, HEAVY ARTILLERY TROOPER, SNOWTROOPER, FLAME TROOPER, & TIE FIGHTER PILOT

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

FOLegion1

Staaaaaar Wars! Nothing but Staaaaar Wars! ….Okay, maybe not “nothing but Star Wars.” I do still have other stuff. But, the amount of Star Wars stuff getting reviewed recently compared to just how much Star Wars stuff I actually own does seem a little disproportionally large. I guess a new movie does that. So, how about some more Star Wars toys? I’ve certainly had quite a focus on many of The Force Awakens’ dashing heroes, so why don’t we have a hearty look at the other side, with this here First Order Troop set!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These seven figures make up the “First Oder Legion” boxed set, which is part of the smaller-scale Star Wars: The Force Awakens line. The set is an Amazon exclusive, and, after a sizeable delay, it started shipping out in mid-January. Most of the included figures are simple repacks of regular release figures, though the Heavy Trooper and Riot Control Trooper are currently exclusive.

CAPTAIN PHASMA

FOLegion2One of the biggest reasons I got this set, due to her single carded figure being virtually impossible to find. While her part in the film made me glad I hadn’t shelled out the big bucks for her, I still liked her design enough that I wanted at least one figure of her. The figure is just over 4 inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation. The sculpt on id pretty decently handled; the details of her armor are all nicely carried out, and the under suit has some nice texture work. Her helmet exhibits some much finer detail work than the basic troopers, which is nice. She has just the slightest bit of a pose to her, which keeps her from having an awkward straight-up -and-down pose, without getting too extreme. The cape is a separate piece, made from a soft plastic material. I much prefer the plastic to cloth here, so I’m glad that’s the way Hasbro took it. The paintwork here is decent, but nothing to write home about. The somewhat flat silver plastic is definitely not as striking as the chrome-plated look from the film. Granted, the single release was like this too, but giving the exclusive version chrome plating would have been a nice way to incentivize this set for people who already had the single release. Oh well; she’s not that bad. Phasma is packed with her unique, gold-colored blaster, which she can hold reasonably well in either hand.

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

FOLegion3Do you remember when I reviewed the Stormtrooper Commando included with the Assault Walker? Well, then you’ve more or less seen this guy already, minus that figure’s shoulder pauldron. That’s not to say the two are identical, though. The legs are just the slightest bit wider in stance, and, most importantly, the neck pegs are the same size as the ones used for the un-helmeted characters, allowing for easy swapping, which is a definite plus. Aside from those small changes, the sculpt looks very much the same outwardly as the Commando. It’s a good translation of the film design to the smaller scale. Once again, the paint is just a fairly straightforward white plastic with black detailing deal, which looks fairly decent. The black is definitely fuzzy around a few of the edges, but not terribly so. The Trooper includes a basic mid-sized blaster, which can be stored on his thigh, like all the other troopers.

RIOT CONTROL TROOPER

FOLegion4This is one of the two exclusive figures in this set. He has the notoriety of being the same class of trooper as the fan-favorite “TR-8TR” (who’s actual name was FN-2199). As far as the figure goes? Like his larger-scale counterpart, he’s just a basic trooper, with the addition of a few new accessories. He has the same blaster as the normal trooper, but in addition to it, he has his baton and shield. Both pieces are quite nicely sculpted, and very well painted. Perhaps the only downside is that the shield isn’t quite as nicely handled on the underside as the larger version. However, it’s also a lot easier to remove, so silver lining.

HEAVY ARTILLERY STORMTROOPER

FOLegion6This figure is the other exclusive figure in this set, and is one of the major reasons I picked it up. I really like the look of the Heavy Trooper. The figure is yet another variation of the basic trooper figure. This time, he gets a unique add-on for his web-gear, which appears to hold extra ammo of some sort. It’s a bit bulkier here than in the film, but that’s to be expected, and it’s not terribly far off. In addition to the vest piece, he also gets a larger, cannon-style gun, with three pieces to help it stand. He has some trouble holding it due to the limited articulation of the figure, but he looks alright just posed standing behind it.

SNOWTROOPER

FOLegion5Where would the Stormtroopers be without a few environment-specific variants? The original trilogy Snowtroopers were always a fan-favorite, so it’s no surprise that that was the first really environment-specific trooper to get an update (having a climax that took place at an arctic locale probably helped too). The figure is 3 ¾ inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation. The sculpt does a pretty good job of translating the design into figure form. Like Hux, this figure’s “skirt” piece has been made a part of the legs, though I feel it works far better here than it did on Hux. One thing I did notice about this figure was his rather present tilt forward, which can be a little frustrating. Aside from that, the sculpt is generally very nicely done. The paintwork on this figure is pretty basic (again), but still suffers from some of those fuzzy edges. The Snowtrooper includes a removable back pack, as well as a blaster with an extended stock.

FLAMETROOPER

Here’s the one figure in the set for whom I already owned the single-packed version. Yes, this figure is 100% identical to the regular release Flametrooper, minus the weird build-a-thing piece. Click here for my review of this figure.

TIE FIGHTER PILOT

FOLegion7The TIE Fighter pilot included here is different than the one included with the TIE Fighter. That figure had a removable helmet. While it was a cool idea, it ended up making the figure’s head a little large. So, this figure’s permanently attached helmet actually works to its advantage, giving us a more faithful rendition of the helmet design. He also has a noticeably different set of arms, which are just a bit longer and look more relaxed and natural than the other pilot’s. The paint on this figure is pretty basic, being mostly just black, with a few smaller details here and there. The insignias and small details are particularly sharp, and add some nice pop. The TIE Fighter pilot includes a small blaster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being disappointed by Toys R Us’ midnite opening on Force Friday, I went home and took a look at what was available online, and wound up preordering this set from Amazon. It was originally supposed to hit in late September, just after the Force Friday stuff, but it was delayed until January. I was definitely bummed, but I decided to hold out and wait for it. I’m glad I did. Not only did I finally get a Phasma figure, but I also got one of my personal favorite Troopers (the Heavy Trooper), and one of the more important Trooper variants (the Riot Control Trooper). The other figures are all pretty solid too, and add a ton of value to the set. Plus, my First Order lineup expanded pretty quickly!

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#0809: First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

FIRST ORDER SPECIAL FORCES TIE FIGHTER (w/ FIRST ORDER TIE FIGHTER PILOT)

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

TIEFighterFO1

It’s day 8 of the Post-Christmas gift reviews. I’ll be continuing off of yesterday’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens-themed review, by taking a look at another of the franchise’s thrilling space ships. I can’t very well let the Resistance have all the fun, so let’s have a look at the First Order’s own TIE Fighter.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

TIEFighterFO2Since their inception, the TIE fighters have had their own specific branch of Troopers assigned to them, unsurprisingly titled “TIE Fighter Pilots.” Who could have seen that one coming? Pretty much everybody, that’s who. The TIE Pilot is a little on the short side (a common trait for TIE Pilot figures) coming in at a little under 3 ¾ inches tall.  He’s got the standard 5 points of articulation as well, in case you were wondering. The TIE Fighter Pilot appears to have an all-new sculpt, or at least a heavily tweaked version of the single-carded figure’s body sculpt. The TIE Fighter Pilot’s design hasn’t changed drastically since the Original Trilogy, but they appear to be a bit more armored and overall more streamlined than their predecessors. The sculpt is pretty decent overall, with lots of nice small detail work. The figure sports a removable helmet, which is a little bit on the bulky side and is a little soft on details, but is otherwise a pretty well executed piece. Underneath the helmet is a somewhat generic head, which works. Mine has this weird formation running down his forehead, but looking at pictures of other figures online, this appears to just be a malformation of the sculpt. So, I guess my TIE Fighter Pilot’s just got an awesome face scar that no one else’s has! Paint on the TIE Pilot is rather minimal. He’s mostly just molded in black, but he does have a few extra details here and there, such as the First Order insignia on his shoulders. His face also has a bit of paintwork, which actually looks a bit better than some of the other figures in the line. In addition to the removable helmet, the Tie Fighter Pilot also includes a small blaster pistol.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

TIEFighterFO4The main focus here, is, of course, the First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter. Which is quite a long name, isn’t it? Like Poe’s X-Wing, the TIE Fighter requires a bit of assembly when removed from the box. The lower cannons need to be popped into place (which is just the slightest bit unnerving), as do the wings. Once put together, the TIE Fighter stands 11 ½ inches tall, 10 inches wide, and is 9 inches deep. It has an opening cockpit hatch, as well as a rotating cannon on the bottom. Over the course of the Original Trilogy, the design of the TIE Fighter slowly evolved. By the time of The Force Awakens, it has gone back to something not too far removed from the design in A New Hope. According to J.J. Abrams, there was originally a far more advanced TIE Fighter design, but it was ultimately decided to go with a slightly more retro look, to make the connection between the two more clear. The sculpt of the TIE Fighter is actually quite impressive, especially when compared to the X-Wing. It’s still a little under-scaled for the 3 ¾ inch figures, but the generally larger size of the cockpit means that getting the pilot in place is a fair bit easier here than it was with the X-Wing. Of course, the TIE Fighter in the film was built for two. This fighter has two seats, but they aren’t quite oriented like they are in the film, in part due to the size of the fighter and also due to the slightly limited articulation of the figures. Getting two figures in place is definitely tricky; Stormtroopers are too large to fit, so you’ll need to actually have one of the single carded TIE Pilots to make it work. The sculpted details on this are quite nicely handled. They’re still a bit simplified compared to the actual movie design, but all the important details are there and the ship as a whole looks pretty sharp. Also, small bonus: the top of the hatch has a spot to stow the pilot’s blaster, which is pretty cool.  The TIE Fighter is, fortunately, not plagued by as many construction issues as the X-Wing, but you will want to keep an eye on the wings. One of mine is TIEFighterFO3just the slightest bit warped. It’s really not noticeable unless you’re looking for it, but it’s annoying nonetheless. Like Poe’s X-Wing, paint is a key piece in why this is a “special forces” TIE Fighter. It’s denoted by the red stripe, on the fighter’s left side. The red is pretty consistent, though there are a few missed spots at some of the connecting points. The rest of the ship is more or less molded in the proper varieties of grey, so very little paint is used. I like this, because it makes for a sharper overall design. The TIE Fighter has two spring loaded feature. The first is a missile launching feature, activated by a button at the bottom, just below the cannon. The two missiles at the front launch, though the mechanism doesn’t appear to be as strong as the one on the X-Wing. The second feature is the wing-launching feature, which replicates what happens to the TIE Fighters when they’re shot in a space battle. There’s a button at the base of each wing, which pops them off. It’s a fair feature, but it does mean the wings will occasionally just pop off on their own.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The TIE Fighter was another Christmas gift from my parents, just like the X-Wing. I really like this one a lot, and it’s better put together than the X-Wing. Of course, it’s not the X-Wing, which is a slight strike against it, but it is still fun. And when I opened this one, my brother may or may not have picked it up and chased me around the house while I played with my X-Wing.

TIEFighterFO5

#0599: TIE Fighter Pilot

TIE FIGHTER PILOT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

TIEPilot1

Star Wars: The Black Series started out pretty strong, but it sort of got a little bit lost for a while, with weird case packouts and a few questionable character version choices. However, it seems like things have picked up a little bit in more recent assortments.  I’ve been starting to find new figures at a more steady pace, which is always a good thing! Let’s have a look at one of the line’s more recent additions, the TIE Fighter Pilot!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

TIEPilot2The TIE Fighter Pilot is part of …ummm….Series 5(?) of Star Wars: The Black Series. I think that’s just means it was the fifth series of the 2014-2015 segment of the line. Hasbro likes to confuse people that way. He’s marked #005 on the package; I think that places him in the second round of numbering, though it would seem he’s been released out of sequence. The figure is just over 6 inches tall and features 28 points of articulation. The TIE Pilot is based on his appearance from A New Hope. The sculpt is mostly new, which actually surprised me a bit. At first glance, I assumed that the TIE Pilot was making use of Pilot Luke’s body. However, upon closer examination, the only pieces they share are the left hand, and the hips. Some of the other parts are similar, but the TIE Pilot is taller than Luke, and the proportions have been tweaked to match. The star piece here is definitely the head sculpt. It’s got a lot in common with the Stormtrooper, but it’s all new. The details are nice and crisp, and everything is properly symmetrical. It looks pretty much like a miniaturized version of the real thing. Paint on the TIE Pilot is on the light side, but what’s there is quite well handled. He’s got the proper Imperial emblems on his shoulders and helmet, which are nice and clean. Also, the figure may be all black, but he’s got matte and shiny finishes on various parts of the uniform, which adds a nice level of realism. The TIE Pilot is also a bit light on accessories, including only a basic Stormtrooper rifle. However, given that the Pilot’s spend most of their time in the TIE Fighters, there aren’t really a lot of accessory options, so I guess it’s forgivable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The TIE Pilot is another addition to my collection courtesy of Super Awesome Girlfriend. We needed to pick up a few things from Wegman’s, and, as I’m prone to do, I wandered over to their small toy aisle, where I found this guy. Since she felt bad for dragging me along on a run to the grocery store, Super Awesome Girlfriend decided to buy the figure for me. Because, as I’ve noted many, many times before, she’s waaaaaaaaaay too supportive of this whole collecting thing. The TIE Fighter is a fun addition to the Black Series line-up, and I’m happy to have one.

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