#1725: Imperial Speeder (w/ AT-DP Pilot)

IMPERIAL SPEEDER (W/ AT-DP PILOT)

STAR WARS: REBELS

“AT-DP Pilots are elite ground vehicle pilots for the Empire. Equipped with unique armor, they are formidable opponents for all of the Empire’s enemies.”

While everyone else seems to have gotten in on the speeder bike game, our first taste of speeder bikes were property of the Empire.  They also had the absolute coolest variants of the Stormtroopers driving them, which was always a plus for me.  Rebels, which is set before the original trilogy, doesn’t make use of the Scout Troopers, but they do have their own unique pilots, which are pretty cool in their own right.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Imperial Speeder was released as an initially Toys R Us-exclusive item alongside the main Rogue One product launch.  It was a more informal exclusive, though, since it bore no actual denotation of the status (and, of course, now it’s not an exclusive at all).  Unlike the last two sets I looked at, it just had the one release, likely due to it being a pretty simple re-skin of Ezra’s Speeder from yesterday.  The only difference between the two sculpturally is the addition of a cannon on the left side of this one.  It’s a little obtrusive, but I guess it mixes things up a little better.  The paint work is the main changing point here, as it’s done up in a much milder palette than the last, which is certainly much more pleasant.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the speeder is the AT-DP Pilot.  No, the speeder isn’t actually called the AT-DP, he’s technically the pilot of another vehicle, who’s been repurposed.  His sculpt’s been re-purposed as well, being a reissue of the Saga Legends figure from back in 2014.  But I missed the first one, so I appreciate the re-release.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt is probably one of the finest to come out of the Rebels subset of figures, being a pretty awesome translation of his on-screen design.  The detail work is crisp, and there’s actually a ton of smaller detail work, even for him being one of the animated designs.  His paintwork is a pretty straightforward recreation of the first figure’s paint, which was itself a good recreation of the colorscheme from the show.  It’s pretty clean overall, though it gets a little fuzzy at some of the edges.  However, since it’s all shades of grey, it’s not all that off looking.  The AT-DP Pilot is packed with a standard Stormtrooper blaster, should you want him to be doing something other than driving.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, unlike the last two sets, this is actually an item I fully intended to buy when it was new.  However, I never actually saw it at retail, and then I sort of forgot it.  Fortunately, it showed up in pretty high numbers at my nearest Toys R Us during the liquidation process.  I gotta say, it’s a pretty simple set, and not really anything new, but I really dig it.

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#1724: Ezra Bridger’s Speeder

EZRA BRIDGER’S SPEEDER

STAR WARS: REBELS (HASBRO)

“Once a lone street urchin stealing to survive on Lothal, Ezra Bridger has been taken in by the crew of the Ghost and is now a determined freedom fighter who plays a critical role in the rebellion against the Empire. With the help of his master, Kanan, Ezra is well on his way to becoming a Jedi – he uses the Force to fight the Imperial opposition that threatens to destroy the galaxy.”

If there’s a competitor to Kanan Jarrus for the “main character” slot in Rebels, it’s his apprentice Ezra Bridger, who is essentially Aladdin in space.  Cool?  But, instead of a magic carpet, he’s got a speeder bike.  So, that’s different, I guess.  Let’s just review this toy already.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Ah, yes, who can forget the eternally memorable, unmistakably distinctive…speeder owned by Ezra Bridger.  Okay, so I still haven’t actually gotten past more than the first season of Rebels, and I only watched it the once, so I don’t recall off-hand if this is actually in it.  I want to say it is.  But I doubt it’s a prominent fixture regardless.  Anyway, this set was part of the smaller scale vehicle releases that hit on the first Force Friday, alongside the Force Awakens products.  It was then re-released alongside the Rogue One product, which means it pretty much never, ever left store shelves.  The vehicle is about 6 inches long and stands about 2 inches tall.  It’s more of a basic seated bike than the ones from Return of the Jedi, which is fortunate given the reduced articulation of the figures.  It’s a pretty decent sculpt, slightly softer on the details like prior vehicles, but it’s not terrible.  It’s certainly sharper detailing than we saw on the Y-Wing yesterday, so that’s a plus.  The paintwork on the bike is certainly unique. Green and orange is quite a unique combo.  A hideous combo, but certainly a unique one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obviously, it would be odd to release Ezra Bridger’s Speeder without an Ezra figure, so here it is.  Of course, as sensible as it may be in this particular case, he ends up in the same boat as the Kanan figure, since at this point we had a ton of Ezra figures already (and, like Kanan, there was a single-packed Ezra, released at the same exact product launch as this one).  That said, this is actually the first figure of him I’ve gotten, so it’s not a total waste.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt is largely the same as the first Rebels Ezra, but with the legs tweaked to add some pouches.  The sculpt does a respectable job of capturing the show design, and I think it’s a slightly better sculpt than the Kanan figure.  His paintwork is pretty clean, and pretty bright as well (this signifies that my figure is the later release; the earlier ones were rather washed out).  Ezra is packed with his lightsaber, which, unlike Kanan’s has a removable blade, which is pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Kanan and the Y-Wing, Ezra and his speeder were picked up in the TRU liquidation sales.  I hadn’t really planned on getting it, but I didn’t yet have an Ezra figure, and this was the easiest way to get him.  While it’s hardly the most thrilling set, I can appreciate it for what it is.

#1723: Y-Wing Scout Bomber

Y-WING SCOUT BOMBER (W/ KANAN JARRUS)

STAR WARS: REBELS (HASBRO)

“Discover exciting stories of good versus evil in a galaxy of starships and vehicles. Armed with proton bombs and laser cannons, this prototype Y-wing Scout Bomber uses its rotating engines to provide enhanced maneuverability during flight.”

For the next entry in my week of Star Wars vehicles, I’ll be starting off a trend that’s going to finish out the week: Star Wars: Rebels.  Rebels had its own devoted line of figures back when it first started out, but it was sort of swallowed up by the recent movie toylines (which is how I acquired my rather modest collection of figures).  The main crew has each cropped up at least twice, with a few of them popping up a little bit more than that.  Kanan Jarrus is probably the most common, and he’s part of today’s review, alongside a variation of the Y-Wing.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Y-Wing Scout Bomber was released as one of the mid-sized weapons in the Force Awakens toyline, and was re-released unchanged for the Rogue One line as well.  It’s a much smaller variant of the traditional Y-Wing from the original trilogy, with its roots in The Clone Wars.  The vehicle is actually an almost entirely re-used sculpt, from back in the Clone Wars days, but tweaked a bit to fit Chopper in place of a more standard astromech droid.  The ship is about 7 inches long by 4 1/2 inches wide, and stands about 3 1/2 inches tall.  The thrusters on the back are both posable pieces, as is the turret for the astromech droid.  Overall, it’s a very squat and compact ship, which isn’t perhaps as impressive as a more standard piece, but for the price point, it’s about what you’d expect.  The paint work on this piece shifts it more from a Clone Wars design to something closer to the Original Trilogy, adding in some white and yellow.  The details are a little sloppy in some spots, but nothing too terrible.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the Bomber is the aforementioned figure of Kanan Jarrus.  Kanan is sort of the show’s lead, I guess, so his prominence in the toy form makes a little bit of sense.  What makes less sense is how many times they released him the exact same get-up.  This was the fifth time this figure was released, more or less.  This one has a slightly tweaked head with the head set, but that’s the only difference.  Most egregiously, there was a standard Kanan in the launch wave of the Force Awakens product, so he was hitting twice on that same day.  The fact that he was picked over the less oft-released Chopper, whom the ship kind of needs to look complete, is rather frustrating.  It’s not like anyone who needed a Kanan was missing him.  But I digress.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  He’s using most of the same sculpt used several times before, but with the new head.  It’s Kanan’s basic garb, which works decently enough.  The sculpt is softer than later releases, in part due to his animated nature, but also due to him just being a slightly older sculpt.  He’s still a pretty respectable looking figure.  Kanan’s packed with his lightsaber, which is a pretty cool piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kanan and the bomber is a set I saw very many times, but never picked up.  However, in Toys R Us’s last days, they had a bunch of these various vehicles for rather cheap, and I got sucked in.  Honestly, it’s not much to write home about, but it’s a decent enough toy, especially for the much lowered price.

#1721: Millennium Falcon — Kessel

MILLENNIUM FALCON — KESSEL RUN

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

Well, poor Solo’s kind of come and gone.  You can still find it playing in a few theaters, but not nearly as many as you might expect.  And that’s really a shame, since it wasn’t a bad movie at all.  But, it had the misfortune of being the last in a string of summer blockbusters, being too close to the last Star Wars flick’s release, and being the Star Wars film that was in theaters when parts of the fanbase decided to…do…something?  I haven’t gotten that piece figured out quite yet.  Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed Solo, and have picked up a slew of the toys, including the newest (but technically oldest) incarnation of the Millennium Falcon.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Kessel Run variant of the Falcon hit stores alongside the rest of the Solo product in April of this year.It’s by far the biggest of the items offered this time.On the flipside, it’s also the smallest version of the Falcon we’ve ever gotten that was still intended for use with the standard figures.This size has certainly upset large parts of the fandom, who have become accustomed to more robust offerings for the Falcon, and weren’t pleased to see it scaled down quite so far.  I’m of two minds on this.  While I appreciate the play set approach of earlier versions of the vehicle (the POTF2 version is my jam), but they could certainly be a little unwieldy for actual use as a space ship.  This slightly streamlined and smaller model, on the other hand, allows for more use for flying around and such.  It’s not a move that’s going to please longer term collectors, but there’s definitely a rationale behind it.  As it stands, this version of the Falcon is still noticeably bigger than most other recent ships, and upon opening it, it actually wasn’t quite as small as I’d expected. I’d say it’s about 80% of the size of
the POTF2 version, which is respectable.  Obviously, the sculpt on this thing is all-new, given not only the new size, but also the cleaner, sleeker design of the Falcon in Solo. It’s a nice looking ship,to be sure. There are three main areas where the figures can interact.  The most obvious, of course, is the cockpit.  It’s somewhat negatively impacted by the scale.  Getting two figures into the cockpit of even the vintage Falcon mold was difficult enough, but this one throws the concept out all together.  There is one single seat in the cockpit, and one person’s going in there.  If you really try, you can kind of get Han and Qi’ra both in there, but it’s far from natural looking. Of course, once the cockpit’s canopy is shut, it’s not like you can really see who’s in there anyway, so the point is kind of moot anyway.  There are two panels towards the back of the ship which can also be popped off.  Unlike earlier versions, there’s not a ton you can really do with either of these areas. I mean, it’s still nifty to see them there, though.  The details seen there look pretty nifty, and it’s a nice little bonus. The last area of interaction is the escape pod between the mandibles.  It’s really just a simple hatched piece, with space for another figure, albeit laying down. The interior matches the other sections, and is better than just smooth grey plastic.  The pod is, of course, removable, and features further detailing for the thrusters and such, allowing it to fully function as it’s own separate piece.  Personally, I prefer the ship without it, but the option is much appreciated.  The paintwork is a little sparse on the Falcon, being limited mostly to the blue detailing.  The Falcon is supposed to be cleaner, so it works alright.  Smaller details and the like are done with decals, which have to be applied after you get the ship out of the box.  The Falcon has a few action features built in.  It’s compatible with Force Link 2.0, but that’s thankfully limited to the escape pod.  The other features are native to the toy proper.  There’s flight sounds, activated by a “takeoff” (theres a spring-loaded piece of landing gear that senses when the ship is picked up).  There are then some lights and sounds determined by the gyroscope within the ship sensing motion.  Pressing the buttons on the sides intensifies the lights and sounds which each subsequent push, with the third push enacting the “hyperdrive”, which has some rumbling, and pops off two panels on the back and two on the front, thus simulating the damage the Falcon takes during the Kessel Run.  It takes a little bit of work to learn the rhythms of the mechanics.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the Falcon is a variant of the title character, Han Solo himself.  It’s a unique version of the character, based on his appearance from the very end of the movie (and not the Kessel Run as the figure’s name suggests).  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  This Han gets the coveted wrist articulation, which is pretty cool. The sculpt is, surprisingly, totally new.  Not even the head is shared with the other two Hans.  I think I like this one more than the one from the speeder.  It’s certainly a sharper sculpt.  Even the paint is a bit cleaner, which is a plus.  Han includes his blaster, as well as a canister of cargo to go in the ship.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I realized at the time of this set’s release that I hadn’t actually gotten a Millennium Falcon since the ‘99s, which didn’t seem right.  However, the higher price tag on this boy meant I was definitely waiting for a sale.  And find a decent sale I did, so now I have it.  Yay! It’s got its issues, and it’s not going to be for everyone, but I found myself quite liking it, a fair bit more than I’d expected to.

#1676: Enfys Nest’s Swoop Bike (w/ Enfys Nest)

ENFYS NEST’S SWOOP BIKE (w/ ENFYS NEST)

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

“The Cloud-Rider gang led by Enfys Nest terrorizes the skies atop their mean-looking swoop bikes.  Little more than engines with seats, swoops are hard to control but capable of incredible speed.”

Alright, Solo is officially out today!  …I haven’t actually had a chance to see it yet, and probably won’t be able to until after the weekend, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep right on reviewing the toys!  I’ve taken a look at some of the “heroes” (a loose term, given it’s a heist film) from the movie, but how about looking at one of the film’s villains, the mysterious Enfys Nest, leader of the Cloud-Rider gang (a gang who, fun fact, originated in a comic from 1977; pretty nifty, right?).  Next to nothing is known about Nest, including gender, so this will certainly be an interesting review.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Though Enfys Nest is very much the title-part of this set, the actual main focus is Enfys’s swoop bike.  Now, this is actually not the first swoop bike I’ve looked at on this site.  The first came from the Shadows of the Empire line in ’96, and it’s been a little while since then.  That one was definitely more on the conservative side as well, which can’t so much be said about this one.  The bike measures 9 inches in length, and is 3 3/4 inches tall and it’s highest point.  There aren’t any moving pieces on the bike, but as a hover bike, that’s not a huge shock.  The all-new sculpt on this bike is pretty impressive.  There’s quite a bit of detail work, especially on the main body.  I was impressed by how small and intricate a lot of the work was, and the fins and such don’t feel too heavy or clunky.  There’s a nice flow to this vehicle.  My only concern is one of construction; it’s a very frail design, and in some spots, especially the front half, it can feel like it’s going to fold in half if you look at it funny.  I’ve had no issues with it as of yet, though.  The paint work on the bike is pretty decent stuff, and it’s certainly a step up from the last swoop I looked at.  While it’s not exactly real-world level detailing, there’s some definite effort that’s been placed into making it look pretty convincing, and it’s not as bland as some vehicles can be.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obviously Enfys Nest’s Swoop Bike is going to include an Enfys Nest figure, right?  It’d be a little odd if it didn’t, right?  I mean, that’s what I think.  Anyway, Enfys here is so far exclusive to this particular pack.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall measuring to the top of the head (it’s a more even 4 if you count the horns), and it has 7 points of articulation.  Like Qi’ra, Enfys has wrist articulation, presumably to make piloting the bike a bit more manageable.  Enfys is another new sculpt.  I was surprised by how slight of frame he/she is, but after double checking against some shots from the movie, this is actually pretty accurate.  Overall, I like the sculpt, but it’s ever so slightly hindered by being designed to go in the bike. The limbs are all angled out a bit, and the feet are somewhat pigeon-toed.  Just standing around, Enfys looks a little bit awkward.  On the plus side, the armor and such has been translated quite well.  Enfys has a unique look, and that’s been captured here.  The mixed medium on the cape with the sculpted shoulders is an interesting way of handling it, and probably the most sensible, since the figure is meant to be able to sit, and I can’t really see a plastic cape accommodating that.  Enfys’ paintwork is decent enough, though this is certainly a figure that would benefit from a little bit more work in the accenting department; that armor really should be a bit grimier than it ends up here.  Still, it’s far from bad.  Enfys is packed with a staff, which is pretty sensible, since the character is seen carrying it in pretty much all of the promotional stuff we’ve seen.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was procured at the same time as the Range Trooper, during my third round of Solo purchases.  It was one of the items I was most looking forward to, since I rather like Enfys’s design.  The bike is fine for what it is (I’ve got a lot of speeder bikes, so one more isn’t really going to blow my mind or anything), and the figure’s certainly passable.  I can’t say this is my favorite of the items I’ve gotten for the movie (that would probably be Han’s Land Speeder), but for the price and the scale, I’m happy with it.

#1672: Han Solo’s Land Speeder (w/ Han Solo)

HAN SOLO’S LAND SPEEDER (w/ HAN SOLO)

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

“Han is cagey about where he scored this overpowered M-68 land speeder, saying little beyond that its previous owner no longer had need of it.  The M-68 is a design from the ancient Core World of Corellia, now a principal starship production facility for the Galactic Empire.”

This week sees the release of the latest entry in the Star Wars franchise, Solo: A Star Wars Story.  The film’s been the source of its share of controversy since day 1, with its entire premise being based around re-casting a very prominent pop-culture icon.  The firing of its initial directors a good way into production didn’t help either.  Of course, the replacement director is Ron Howard, and he’s pretty top-notch, so I’m trying to go in with an open mind.  Anyway, I’ve got some of the toys, and I’m kicking things off with the main man himself and one of his vehicles.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Since he doesn’t yet have the Falcon at the time of this new movie, Han’s got a few different toys.  If Star Wars has taught us anything, it’s that before a main character can get a space ship, they have to have a land speeder of some sort.  Han gets one that’s more of a sports car than the one that we saw Luke driving in the first movie, but that sort of fits his character, right?  Anyway, Han’s Speeder was part of the new Solo product launch, as a mid-sized vehicle (it’s at the same price point as the A-Wing and Canto Bight Police Speeder from The Last Jedi).  There’s less assembly on this guy than on other vehicles, with just the back tail fin needing to be popped into place.  The speeder measures 9 1/2 inches long by 5 inches wide.  It’s got no articulated parts, not even the steering wheel, which was a little disappointing, but not incredibly surprising given other vehicles in this range.  As far as scaling goes, this is definitely the least scaled down of all the modern Star Wars vehicles, and going by what we’ve seen from the film, it looks like it’s not terribly far off from the intended size.  The sculpt is, of course, unique, and does a respectable job translating the design from the film, which looks to be a decent melding of the Prequel and Original Trilogy sensibilities.  I like it a lot.  Paint’s kind of basic, but it gets the job done, and there are at least a few cool dings and scrapes to make it look a bit more “real.”  The speeder has an action feature built into it.  There’s a spring under the driver’s seat, and it pops up when the front of the speeder is depressed, as if in a head on collision.  I’m guessing this is related to something that happens in the film, but time will tell.  The only real downside of this feature is the use of rubber for the front of the speeder, as I’m not quite sure how that will hold up long-term.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the vehicle is your main character, Han Solo, in his new, non-Harrison-Ford-y form.  This figure gives us a slightly different look than the standard jacketed look we’ve been seeing most places.  It looks to match the vehicle, though, which makes sense.  It’s a different look, though, and I quite like it.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has the usual 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt is new, but I’m going to assume the head’s probably shared with the other 3 3/4-inch Han figures from this line.  It’s a decent enough match for the actor, though clearly not at the same level as the larger Black Series figure.  The body’s a pretty decent piece as well.  The vest is separate, and can be removed if you so choose, though he’s definitely not designed with that in mind.  His legs are a little boxy for my taste, but for the most part, his proportions and build do seem pretty realistic.  Han’s paintwork is about par for the course on this line.  Its clean overall, and the important details are all there.  They’ve attempted some dirt detailing on his boots, but it really just looks like paint splatters.  Han is packed with a blaster, which is curiously different from his usual model.  He has no holster for it, but he can hold it well enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first stop looking for Solo product yielded only the Black Series Han, and no small-scale offerings.  My second stop was more successful, but it was on this second stop that I discovered that to get a smaller Han, you’re pretty much locked into at minimum a $30 purchase.  Given the choice between Han and the new Force Link reader and Han and a Speeder, I felt the speeder set was the better value.  Going by what I’ve seen on shelves, I’d say most fans agree with me.  This is a pretty fun set, provided you’re into this style of line.  If you liked the small vehicles from TLJ, you’ll like this one.  If you’re looking for something less toy-etic, this might not be for you.

#1558: Swoop Vehicle

SWOOP VEHICLE (w/ SWOOP TROOPER)

STAR WARS: SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE (KENNER)

“The Empire’s broad reach has included thousands of planets in the galaxy. With such a vast territory to police, the Empire often pays bounty hunters huge sums for the capture or elimination of certain “wanted” individuals. The mercenaries favored by the Empire are expert trackers and assassins, dangerous individuals who are highly intelligent and extremely skilled in both weapons use and air combat. A preferred vehicle of many of these elite bounty hunters is the swoop, a brawny speeder craft most often associated with gangs and outlaws such as the Nova Demons and the Dark Star Hellions; its toughness and incredible speed make it a perfect mount for bounty hunters.”

For the most part, Shadows of the Empire’s focus was placed on our recognizable heroes and villains, filling in a few gaps in their personal stories.  Totally new concepts weren’t a huge piece of it.  Sure, there were the likes of Dash and his ship the Outrider, but they were really just quick concepts thrown together to replace a popular character who couldn’t actually be in the story.  There were a few more original concepts, but mostly off to the side, such as today’s focus, the Swoop speeder!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Following in the vein of Return of the Jedi’s Speeder Bikes, here’s the Swoop.  It’s sort of the chopper of the galaxy far, far away, I suppose.  Of the three vehicles offered in Shadows of the Empire packaging, this is certainly the smallest.  It’s about 6 inches long and stands 2 1/2 inches tall.  The cannon on the side swings up and down, but beyond that there’s no other moving pieces.  Not a shock on a vehicle of this nature, though, and its not like the design really allows for them.  It’s a decent enough design for a bike in the Star Wars ‘verse, matching up alright with what we’ve seen in the movies, while also not being a total retread.  The sculpt is fairly well rendered, albeit perhaps not as intricately as some of the actual movie designs.  It lacks some of the smaller details that sold that whole “used future” aspect of the franchise.  Still, it’s a visually intriguing design, and it fits well with the rest of what Kenner was doing at the time.  The paintwork on the bike is pretty solid stuff.  A lot of red and silver, but it looks good, and there’s some pretty cool accent work on the larger sections of the bike.  Smaller details are handled via decals instead of actual paint.  The decals are fine, but they are a bit less advanced than the sort of thing you’d see now, thereby making them rather obvious.  That said, the bike certainly looks better with them than without them.  The bike includes a missile for the cannon, which has a spring-loaded feature.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the Swoop is its own dedicated pilot, simply dubbed the “Swoop Trooper.”  Very original name there.  The package proudly boasts that this figure is exclusive to this particular set, and, unlike a lot of Kenner/Hasbro’s “exclusive” pack-in figures, it actually stuck for this guy.  I’d guess that’s largely due to his obscurity…and reminder, this is a Star Wars figure I’m taking about here.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  The bike pilots all got extra articulation at the knees, which I was always a fan of, though he does end up losing the waist joint.  This figure also has a different neck joint; instead of the usual swivel joint, he’s got a hinge sort of thing, which allows him to look up and down instead.  The same joint had previously been used on the Biker Scout from the main Power of the Force II line, and, while I don’t mind it, it certainly made a bit more sense on that figure than it does on this one.  The Swoop Trooper’s design was, of course, created wholesale for the Shadows of the Empire event.  It’s alright, but, like a lot of the Shadows designs, it doesn’t necessarily fit the classic Star Wars aesthetic, instead falling into more typical ‘90s comics design concepts.  It’s certainly not a bad design, but I can’t say it’s a favorite of mine.  Still, it’s a decent sculpt of a decent design.  I certainly appreciate the presence of some shared armor elements between this guy and some of the other troopers (namely the knee pads from the Biker Scout).  In terms of paint, the Trooper is a bit of a step up from the bike, since there’s a bit more going on.  I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the assortment of browns, as they aren’t a super thrilling combo.  That said, application is all pretty clean, and he looks respectable enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Swoop bike was a rather recent addition to my collection.  I missed a lot of the Shadows of the Empire stuff when it was new, so I’ve been piecing it together little by little.  I found this set at Lost in Time during their winter sale.  Since it was like $5, I figured it was worth it to finally grab it.  Not the most thrilling thing to come out of the franchise, but it’s another solid offering from Kenner’s ‘90s Star Wars output.

#1453: Spider Racer (w/ Spider-Man)

SPIDER-RACER (w/ SPIDER-MAN)

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (HASBRO)

Spider-Man: Homecoming hits physical media next week, and I’m definitely looking forward to giving it another watch.  It was an awesome film that felt a little bit crowded out this summer.  The actual film did great in theatres, but a lot of the tie-in stuff was scarce from day one.  I still haven’t seen the Legends figures in any substantial numbers, and while the more basic line’s coverage has been a little better, it still seemed a little small for a Spider-Man movie.  Back in May, I looked at one of the basic line’s takes on Spidey. I ended up picking up one more item from this line, though it’s admittedly not one directly aimed at my particular demographic.  So, without further ado, here’s Spider-Man driving a car!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Spider-Racer was a mid-sized offering in Hasbro’s basic Spider-Man: Homecoming toyline.  It was released fairly early on, right around the same time as the first four basic figures.  The racer measures about 8 inches long by 5 1/2 inches wide, and it has working wheels and a pop-out Nerf feature.  The overall construction of the racer is new to this particular item, and it’s fairly well-rendered.  The racer is pretty solidly put together, so it’ll hold up to fair bit of play, which is good, since that’s kind of the whole point behind an item like this.  Design-wise, it’s totally concocted from the minds of Hasbro’s designers, of course, but they’ve at least managed to create a vehicle that’s plausible as a real thing.  It’s got consistency in its design as well, so it doesn’t just look like a bunch of random elements tacked together.  There’s a bit of an old-style Formula 1 race car look to it, mixed in with a little bit of the Tumbler from Batman Begins.  It’s hardly the most original thing ever, but I dig it. Throughout the body, there’s lots of little details that add a bit more character to the racer.  I appreciate that they didn’t just leave large chunks of this thing totally smooth and featureless.  The racer’s a single-seater, which is a little bit of a letdown if you’re like me and you want to put a couple of alternate reality Spideys in it for a cross-dimensional adventure, but seems reasonable enough within the confines of a movie-based-racing-centric-solo-hero-vehicle.  The latter’s probably a little more marketable than the former, so I can’t really blame Hasbro on this one.  Paint on the racer is pretty straightforward.  Lot of red and blue, which are the Spider-Man colors and all, so that makes sense.  It’s obviously on the toyetic side of things; it’s not like anyone will be mistaking this for a real scale model of a car or anything.  The application is all pretty clean, and the colors are fairly eye-catching.  One of the selling points of the Spider-Racer is its Nerf feature.  There’s a small Nerf gun built into the left side of the vehicle.  Press it in and it pops out, and then you can shoot a Nerf dart.  There are two Spidey-themed darts included, but only one can be loaded at a time.  It’s a mildly amusing feature, but not particularly powerful.  Since it’s Nerf, though, I did go ahead and get a few words from the FiQ’s resident Nerf-Expert Tim.  Here’s what he had to say about it:

“So, if there’s one defining thing Peter Parker does, besides the whole spider thing, it’s invent stuff.  And take photos.  And get bullied in school, but the inventing is the main thing. That’s why it’s a little disappointing to see that he chose to equip his car with one of the lamest Nerf mechanisms ever.  When you load the dart in the barrel, you press back on the collar piece around it which primes the blaster to fire.  It’s super compact, probably more so than even the Jolt and that means it can at least fold away neatly into the side panel of the car.  It’s the same setup we’ve seen on the Rogue One vehicles and that one Build-A-Saber lightsaber set and it wasn’t great then either.  Sure, it gets the job done, but it might have been nice to see a more  creative solution, especially given who’s driving.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

A car’s no good without a driver, and by extension, a Spider-Car’s no good without a Spider-Driver.  Fortunately, this Spider-Car does have a Spider-Driver, in the form of an included Spider-Man Spider-Action Figure. Spider.  The figure is very much on the basic side.  He’s about 5 1/2 inches tall (the same scale as the other basic figures) and has 5 points of articulation.  The articulation is less than the other standard figures, but it’s enough to get him seated in the car and holding the controls, and that’s really all this figure needs to do.  Spidey uses the same head and torso as the standard Homecoming Spider-Man, with new arms and legs.  It’s a fairly decent sculpt. Nothing ground breaking, but the costume is translated pretty well here and the proportions look decent enough.  He’s even got all of the proper texture work!  The paint on Spider-Man, like the Racer, is fairly straightforward.  Basic color work with clean application.  At least he doesn’t have any of the weird flaking paint issues the he Homemade costume had.  This figure doesn’t have any accessories, but he’s really just an accessory himself, so it’s excusable here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: “why’d you buy this, Ethan?” To explain that, I need to give a little history lesson.  Back in the ’70s, Mego was producing their World’s Greatest Super Heroes line.  The Batmobile was a strong seller, so they decided to give all of the big heroes their own themed vehicle.  This included Spider-Man, whose Spider-Car was sort of worked into the comics, albeit in the rather tweaked form of the Spider-Mobile.  The Spider-Mobile’s picked a sort of a cult following over the years (in no part due to some rather brilliant uses by Spider-Man scribe Dan Slott), and I’ve always been a fan of it, as goofy as it is.  So, I saw this on the shelf this summer, in the midst of trying desperately to find Marvel Legends, and it just called to me.  It’s not some amazing piece of unskippable merchandise, but it’s pretty amusing, and will at the very least hold me over until Hasbro releases an official, comics-accurate, Marvel Legends-scaled Spider-Mobile with a Spider-Ham pack-in figure.  Please?

#1422: Resistance A-Wing (w/ Resistance Pilot Tallie)

RESISTANCE A-WING FIGHTER (w/ RESISTANCE PILOT TALLIE)

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

“A longtime reliable fighter model used by the Resistance that dates back to the struggle between Empire and Rebellion, the A-Wing is a nimble, wedge-shaped fighter propelled to incredible speeds by large twin engines.”

I’ve looked at one of The Last Jedi’s new vehicle designs, but like its predecessor The Force Awakens, it’s also borrowing from the Original Trilogy’s sizable bank of pre-existing vehicles.  Today, I’ll be looking at another of those returning vehicles, the A-Wing fighter.  The A-Wing’s actually had a fair bit of play recently; not only is it returning in TLJ, but a prototype version of it was also fairly prominently featured in Star Wars: Rebels.  That translates to not one, but two toy versions in the last year.  I’ll be looking at the most recent version today.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The A-Wing Fighter is one of two smaller-sized vehicles released on the Force Friday launch of The Last Jedi line (the other was the Canto Bight Police Speeder). Like the Ski Speeder, assembly is rather minor for the A-Wing.  The thrusters need to be popped into place, as do the side cannons, but that’s it.  It should be noted, however, that once you put this sucker together, it’s not coming apart.  At all. Moving on: once assembled, the fighter’s about 11 inches long and 7 inches wide.  The ship features an opening hatch and  a small landing leg, which swings down out of the ship’s front.  The A-Wing is sporting a brand-new sculpt, based on it’s updated design from the new film.  The ship isn’t too terribly different from the A-Wings of the past; same basic design elements and everything.  In general, it’s just a little bit longer and thinner than prior A-Wings.  The sculpt is pretty decent overall.  It’s in keeping stylistically with the other vehicles we’ve gotten in the last few years.  The details aren’t the sharpest ever, but they’re decent for the scale and price.  Speaking of scale, the A-Wing is the least down-scaled vehicle I’ve looked at yet from the new movies.  There’s still a tiny bit of tweaking to keep it at least believably in scale with the rest of the vehicles, but it’s hardly noticeable.  What is rather noticeable is the way the cockpit connects to the rest of the body.  It’s not particularly subtle at all, and it’s rather different from how the hatch looks to work on the actual ship. It doesn’t ruin the ship or anything, but it’s rather annoying all the same.  On the plus side of things, the paint wis fairly decent on the A-Wing.  The blues and reds are vibrant, and the edges show off some nice wear and tear, which gives the ship a nice used feel.  I do feel a nice wash would go a long way towards helping to further sell this used look, but what’s there is definitely solid.  The A-Wing has two main play features.  There are two missile launchers, mounted on each side of the ship, which use the standard spring-loaded schtick, as well as the current-standard ForceLink feature.

RESISTANCE PILOT TALLIE

Included with the A-Wing is one of its pilots, a Resistance fighter named Tallie.  That’s all I’ve got on her.  I have no idea if she’s prominent in the film or if she’s just another Goss Toowers in the making, but I do know she’ll be flying this ship at some point in the film.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and she has the standard 5 points of articulation.  Design-wise, she’s rather similar to Paige, which I suppose makes a degree of sense.  I had initially assumed most of her tooling was shared with Paige, but a comparison of the two in-hand shows that, while they do share certain elements to their sculpts, it doesn’t appear that these two figures actually have any parts in common with each other.  Being that the two sculpts are still very similar, I do rather like this one, same as with Paige.  The details are nice and crisp, and have a nice realistic look to them.  Her helmet is permanently attached to her head, which is a shame, since I really dug the two removable helmets on the basic pilots.  On the plus side, they did at least have the good grace to mold her visor as a separate piece, so it can be translucent and thereby avoid another appearance of the infamous banana visors of TFA.  I appreciate that they went to the effort of putting a whole face under there, and the helmet is at least nicely detailed.  Tallie’s paint work is fairly standard stuff.  Mostly just basic color work.  There’s a bit of slop here and there, but nothing terribly noticeable.  The best work’s on the helmet, which even gets some smaller details to keep it interesting.  Tallie is packed with a standard small Resistance blaster, in a very dark brown.  Yay for variety of colors?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I hadn’t initially planned to grab this one on Force Friday.  I tend to skip vehicles at launch, and I was already breaking that rule by getting the Ski Speeder.  Surely I couldn’t also grab another vehicle, right?  And I didn’t.  Well, not at Toys R Us, anyway.  But then we went to Target, and Super Awesome Girlfriend (who had gotten there before me) wandered up with this set in her hand and said it was the last one they had.  That, plus Target’s “Spend $100 and get a $25 gift card” promotion, helped convince me to get this one.  It’s not the most exciting item I picked up on Force Friday, but it’s a decent ship with a decent pack-in figure, and I can’t ask for much more than that.

#1417: Resistance Ski Speeder (w/ Captain Poe Dameron)

RESISTANCE SKI SPEEDER (w/ CAPTAIN POE DAMERON)

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

“An older design predating those of the Rebel Alliance, these low-altitude, high-power ski speeders use a stabilizer strut to keep balance when zipping across alien terrain.”

The Star Wars franchise has a history of introducing fun new vehicles with just about every installment.  The Force Awakens didn’t do this as much, preferring to stick with variations of some old favorites, as a call-back to the older films (I didn’t mind).  The Last Jedi looks to be meeting somewhere in the middle, giving us both old favorites and some new designs.  I’ll be looking at one of the newer creations (though, if the bio’s any indication, that’s not the case “in universe”), the Ski Speeder, which looks to be the standard Resistance transportation following the trailer’s ominous hints at the destruction of their old fleet sometime during The Last Jedi’s runtime.  Hasbro’s offering a small-scale version of the vehicle, packed with ace Resistance pilot, Poe Dameron!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Resistance Ski Speeder was one of the launch items for The Last Jedi’s Force Friday II event.  It’s a C-Class-sized vehicle, and is the only one of its size at launch time.  Time will tell if that’ll change later.  In terms of assembly, this vehicle’s a bit easier than the last few vehicles.  Pop on the right wing, the stabilizer strut, and a  blaster cannon and you’re good to go.  When fully assembled, the vehicle measures an impressive 18 inches long and stands about 5 inches tall when sitting and about 8 inches when the strut is fully extended.  In terms of moving parts, there’s the landing gear, which drops out of either wing, as well as a very small rotating gun on the left underside of the cockpit.  There is *not* an opening cockpit hatch; it’s open-topped, which does appear to be accurate to the film.  The Ski Speeder is sporting all-new tooling, based on its film design. Though they may be a new design, the Ski Speeders definitely take influence from earlier ships, most notably the Rebel B-Wing, which it should be noted is one of my favorite OT ships.  I tend to like this design, as impractical as it would be in real life.  From what we’ve seen of the Ski Speeder, this toy does a respectable job of translating it into plastic.  Like a most recent SW vehicles, the Speeder looks to have been scaled down a little bit from its on-screen counterpart.  It doesn’t look to be as expensive as the AT-ACT or even the Resistance X-Wing, which is likely due to the ship’s more feasible size.  The details have also been slightly simplified, so as to better fit the line’s overall aesthetic, but once again, it seems to be a less drastic change than we’ve seen previously.  There’s still quite a bit of detail on this thing.  Paintwork on this vehicle is a step up from recent vehicles.  It’s still not quite up to the level it used to be from Hasbro, but there’s a bit of weathering and such, which keeps it from being too dull.  There’s a few action features built into this ship, though nothing particularly obtrusive.  The most obvious is are the two missiles which can be launched from the central engine.  The stabilizer strut serves as a handle, and there’s a trigger at the top of it.  It’s essentially a big gun.  Shame that they went back to hard plastic missiles; this would have been a perfect place for Hasbro to work in some Nerf.  It would literally just be a Nerf gun.  The second feature is a detaching wing.  When you press the turbine at the top of the engine, the right wing springs off, in a similar fashion to the wings on the TIE Fighter.  I’m guessing at least one of these ships is losing a wing in the movie.  The final feature is the ForceLink feature, which looks to be the same basic concept as with the figures.

CAPTAIN POE DAMERON

Oh, he’s a captain now, is he?  That’s new.  I think.  I mean, I don’t know what his rank was before, if there was one.  I’m assuming this is a promotion.  Good for Poe.  This figure gives us Poe in his casual gear from The Last Jedi.  Since he gave his awesome leather jacket to Finn in the last film, he was in the market for a new one.  Now he’s got this snazzy dark brown jacket, which makes him look not unlike Han from the last film.  Or the Fonz.  I guess cool guys have a consistent look.  I’m not complaining.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt is all-new to this guy; nothing re-used from any of the prior Poes.  The proportions are all well-balanced, and the detail work is all quite sharp.  I dig the texture on the jacket.  We’ve gotten yet another stab at an Oscar Isaac likeness on this new head sculpt.  It’s not awful.  It’s closer than earlier attempts, I think.  His cheeks are definitely too pronounced, which makes him look ever so slightly like a young Al Pachino, but his not terribly far off.  Maybe they’ll get it by Episode 9.  One thing I think is probably helping this figure is the paint, which is a step-up from the last few figures.  I did have to pick through a few sets to find the one with the best work, but they did seem a bit sharper in general this time.  There’s still a bit of slop around the wrists, but that’s a minor issue.  Poe’s packed with his blaster pistol (the same one included with several Poe figures), as well a headset, or as a like to call them: “Beats by Rey.”  Yeah, I went there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Poe fan. Ever since the first images of this set leaked, I knew it was going to be at the top of my list.  It was actually one of the few items I didn’t find the week prior to Force Friday, which bummed me out initially, but less so in the end, since I wasn’t able to buy anything then anyway.  This set was the very first item I grabbed on Force Friday.  I almost got stepped on to get it, but them’s the risks you take, right?  The ship’s pretty fun and I look forward to seeing it in action.  Honestly, I kind of bought this for the new Poe figure, and he didn’t disappoint.  Now, knowing my luck, he’ll end up released on his own in like a month.  Still, this is one of my favorite items I picked up this time around.