#1426: Clone Commander Gree

CLONE COMMANDER GREE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Clone Commander Gree, designation 1004, led the Elite Corps of clone troopers during the Clone Wars.  He saw deployments on such heated battlefronts as Kashyyyk.  Though a faithful commander who carried out the Jedi’s orders, Gree was ultimately loyal to the Republic.”

I’ve spent two whole weeks looking at the smaller scale offerings for The Last Jedi, but I’ve not yet looked at any of Hasbro’s other big line, The Black Series.  There’s a simple reason for this:  I’ve yet to see most of the new Black Series stuff anywhere.  I did manage grab at least one figure, albeit not one of the characters from the new movie.  Instead, we jump back to the Prequels (I know, not my first choice either), and take a look at one of my favorite clones, Clone Commander Gree!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Commander Gree is a Toys R Us exclusive offering for Star Wars: The Black Series.  A smaller supply of this figure initially showed up at SDCC this year, but the vast majority of figures showed up at TRU retail stores for Force Friday, allowing Gree to take the slot taken by the Snowtrooper Commander and Hovertank Driver in years past.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Gree is seen here in his Phase II Clone Trooper from Revenge of the Sith.  It’s definitely the more distinct of his two designs, and thus not a surprise for this figure at all.  Gree is largely built from the same pieces as the Clone Sergeant I reviewed way back when. It was a good sculpt then, and it’s still a good sculpt now.  Gree obviously gets the Phase II helmet in place of the Phase I version, and it fits well on the body and looks far more accurate than a good number of other Phase II trooper figures.  Gree gets a unique torso and left thigh piece as well, patterned after the standard pieces, but adding some of Gree’s extra straps and such.  The torso even gets a port for a removable antennae, which is a nice touch, though the antennae has a tendency to fall out of place a lot.  Paint is the most important part of a good Commander Gree figure, and this figure definitely delivers on that front.  All of the colors match up very nicely with his on-screen color scheme, and the level of detailing, especially on the camouflaged areas of the armor, is just top notch.  They’ve even included a good deal of silver detailing, showcasing the wear and tear that Gree’s armor’s undergone.  That’s a detail that’s largely been left off of the smaller figures, so I’m very glad to see it show up here.  Gree is actually quite well accessorized for a Black Series release, getting both small and large blaster rifles, and a pair of quadnoculars to hold.  I wouldn’t have minded an unmasked head as well, but that’s still more than what’s been included with prior 6″ troopers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I first started collecting The Black Series, my one rule was no Prequel figures.  I broke that rule for the Clone Sergeant, but I’ve stuck to it since.  However, even when I decided on that rule, I knew this guy would be an exception.  Gree’s always been my favorite of the Clone Commanders, and I have just about every other figure of him, so I certainly wasn’t passing on this one.  My TRU didn’t get any Black Series figures on Force Friday, but this guy showed up about a week later.  This is easily the best Gree figure ever released, and definitely one of my favorite Black Series figures.

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#1303: Captain Cassian Andor

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his Rebel troops with this ability to keep a cool head under fire and complete his missions with minimal resources.”

Poor Cassian seems to keep drawing the short straw on the action figures. Jyn’s main looks were covered as widely-released single-packed figures.  We got a single-packed version of Cassian in both main scales, but they were both sporting his Eadu attire, which he only wears for short periods of the film. For whatever reason, Cassian’s main brown-jacketed look has been primarily limited to larger multi-packs.  The only version of that design to be released on his own is today’s focus figure, who was still a rather difficult to find exclusive.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cassian is the second of the four figures in the Walmart-exclusive Rogue One assortment of the small-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Like Jyn, Cassian’s articulation is a significant step up from what we saw with the Force Awakens figures, making for a much more playable figure.  He sports an all-new sculpt, which is definitely one of Hasbro’s finest, especially at this scale.  Prior Cassian’s have really struggled to capture Diego Luna’s likeness, but I think this one just about nailed it.  It’s really not wildly different from the previous sculpts, but there are subtleties that just make all the difference.  The body does feel a little on the bulky side for Cassian (I think the two-pack/U-Wing figure may have gotten the build down better), but the detail work is definitely top notch, with the jacket in particular really impressing me. I also appreciate that the joints don’t stick out like sore thumbs on this guy.  Bad integration of the joints was a really issue on the Force Awakens figures, and I’m really happy to see them moving past it.  Cassian’s paint is largely pretty good, barring a few small issues.  It’s definitely cleaner than the two-pack version, and the eyes/eyebrows in particular are very clean and well-placed.  That can be really tricky, and was something that marred both my Poe and Han figures from the prior assortments.  My one really complaint with this guy is the beard.  It still isn’t quite right for Cassian; they keep giving him a full goatee, when it should really be a lot less pronounced on the sides.  Still, that’s quite minor, and it looks better here than on prior figures.  In a similar fashion to Jyn, Cassian includes his modular blaster, which can be broken down into three parts.  Of course, this is more key for Cassian, since we actually see his full blaster in action in the movie.  The stock is a little loose and prone to falling off, but I’m otherwise quite impressed with how well they executed this blaster’s design. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had wanted this version of Cassian as soon as it was shown, but I was unfortunately unable to find him anywhere at retail at the time of his release.  That’s really the main reason I ended up grabbing the TRU-exclusive one, since I didn’t want to be without this particular look for Cassian.  I was thrilled to actually find this guy at retail last week, and at half-price too!  Jyn was a fantastic figure, and Cassian manages to top her.  This is a truly impressive figure, and hands down the very best version of Cassian out there.  He rivals the larger K-2 figure for the spot of my favorite figure to come out of the Rogue One merch.

#1302: Sergeant Jyn Erso

SERGEANT JYN ERSO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A highly skilled soldier in the Rebel Alliance, Jyn Erso is an impetuous, defiant warrior eager to bring the battle to the Empire.  Jyn has little patience for debate within Alliance High Command, enough that she takes matters into her own hands.”

Remember back last year when I reviewed those special smaller-scale Black Series figures based on the characters from The Force Awakens?  Well, Hasbro also did a set of those for Rogue One, albeit a more concise one.  They were a bit more difficult to find, since stores seem to still be swimming in the last few series just prior.  I did manage to finally track down some of them, including that set’s version of the film’s primary protagonist, Jyn Erso!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jyn is one of the four figures from the Rogue One-themed assortment of the smaller-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  She hit in late November (well, in theory) and, like all of the small-scale Black Series figures since The Force Awakens, she’s a Walmart exclusive.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 24 points of articulation.  I’m happy to report that they seem to have realized how difficult to pose some of the Force Awakens figures were, and have reworked the articulation scheme for the Rogue One offerings.  While I’m still not totally sold on the hip joints, the overall poseablity really great.  This figure sports an all-new sculpt, and she’s notable for being a Jyn look that we hadn’t yet gotten in plastic form.  Granted, it’s just a slight variation of the main look that we’ve gotten in both the small and larger scales; it’s her main Scarif look, which is her vested look, but without the underlying green jacket that she’s had on the prior vested figures.  All of the Black Series Jyn figures have had rather nice sculpts, and this figure is no exception.  I honestly think it’s the best Felicity Jones likeness of the bunch (this was also true of the Rey figure from this line), and the body sports halfway decent proportions, which is good for this line.  The vest is a removable piece; she looks a bit off with it removed, but it’s nice to have the extra option.  The paint work on Jyn is quite good for the scale; there’s not a ton of super intricate work, but the application is all pretty clean, especially on the face.  There’s some slight slop here and there, but I find it to be lot better than earlier figures in this style.  Jyn is packed with her small blaster pistol, along with two attachments for it to be converted into a sniper rifle configuration.  It’s not something we saw in the film, but it did show up in Battlefront, and it’s a cool concept.  Certainly a better extra than yet another giant missile launcher.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This particular series of figures *mostly* eluded me at retail.  Jyn was the one figure that I actually saw.  In fact, I saw about ten of her right after Christmas, but since she was all alone and there were so many of her, I figured I’d wait.  Of course, then I didn’t see her or any of the other figures anywhere for the next five months, so I figured I’d missed my window.  Last week, I was killing some time while Super Awesome Girlfriend, and I happened upon a whole rack of the smaller Black Series figures, Jyn included.  For half-price no less!  I had resigned myself never to find her, but I’m super happy to have found her.  Genuinely the best version of Jyn on the market, and a marked improvement over the so-so Walmart-exclusive Force Awakens figures.

#1298: Imperial AT-ACT Driver

IMPERIAL AT-ACT DRIVER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Empire’s combat drivers are trained to handle everything on the Imperial ground arsenal, from heavily armed AT-ATs to the more utilitarian AT-ACT walkers.”

You can’t have Star Wars figures without a metric ton of generic Trooper figures.  They’ve long been the backbone of the line, so it’s not a huge surprise that the movie makers put effort into introducing a few extra variants every time there’s a new movie.  Rogue One gave us the whole Scarif sub-set of troopers, which are some of my new favorites.  Today’s figure isn’t *technically* a Scarif trooper, but he share’s a lot of design elements, and he only actually shows up during the Scarif sequences of the movie, so I’m grouping him with them.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial AT-ACT Driver is a Target-exclusive entry in the Star Wars: The Black Series line.  He follows the store-exclusive trooper trend, coming out after the TRU-exclusive Hovertank Pilot and the Walmart-exclusive Scarif Trooper.  In the movie, there are actually two drivers seen in the AT-ACT; a basic driver and a commander.  This figure represents the commander.  Of course, thanks to the fairly easily swapped heads on all these troopers, if you swap the head on this guy onto the Hovertank Pilot’s body, you can get both the basic AT-ACT driver and the Tank Commander, if one were so inclined. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s a total parts re-use; he’s got the body of the Hovertank Pilot and the head of the Scarif trooper.  It’s totally warranted re-use, since the movie design was the same.  Plus, the pieces are solid, so I have no issues with having them used again.  This figure’s main differences are, of course, the paint.  The basic colors match up with those of the Hovertank pilot (no doubt intentional, since it makes the previously mentioned head swap much easier), but he also gets the additional grey markings on the shoulders to denote him as a commander.  The markings are nice and sharp, which is good.  There’s also a little bit of weathering on the armored sections, offering a bit of accenting to the sculpt.  I’m glad to see the weathering on troopers is remaining a rather consistent thing.  The AT-ACT Driver includes a standard E-11 Blaster.  In uses the same extra detailing used for the blaster included with the K-Mart-exclusive Jyn, which is another thing that’s nice to see be a recurring feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy caught me by surprise, since he wasn’t really promoted that much by either Hasbro or Target.  On the same trip where Tim bought me Moon Knight, I also found this guy, but I was still planning to pass, since I was trying to hold off on buying as much.  Of course, this just wouldn’t sit with Super Awesome Girlfriend, who insisted on getting him for me.  This figure doesn’t exactly offer anything new, but I do really like him.  He’s probably my personal favorite of the various Rogue One troopers that have gotten Black Series releases.

#1290: Princess Leia Organa

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Princess Leia Organa was one of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire.”

May the 4th be with you!  Yes, it’s May 4th again, known to geeks all over the world as Star Wars Day.  This year’s Star Wars Day is extra special, since this year marks to 40th anniversary of the release of the original movie.  I had initially planned to review another vintage figure today, but as luck would have it, I got a newer item that I wanted to slot into the schedule as quickly as possible.  So, without further ado, here’s Princess Leia Organa!

THE FIGURE IN QUESTION

Princess Leia was released as part of the first series of the special 40th Anniversary sub-set of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  All of the figures in the first series are re-releases of prior Black Series figures, but this time on special commemorative cards patterned after the vintage Kenner hardbacks of old.  The packaging is super nifty, and I was almost a little sad to have to open it up to take her out.  Leia is a re-release of the #30 Black Series figure released last year.  Unlike the others in this set, she’s actually got a slight tweak from her predecessor.  The initial head for the #30 figure was deemed unsatisfactory by Hasbro.  However, they were too late in production to completely replace it, so the initial shipments went out with the initial sculpt.  There was talk of a running change to replace the head, but I’m not actually sure if they ever made it out.  This release is making use of the new head from the start.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Like Luke and Obi-Wan before her, Leia makes use of a mix of sculpted and cloth parts.  The head, boots, and underlying body are all sculpted, and the dress and hood are a tailored piece, held in place by a sculpted belt piece.  In terms of the sculpted parts, the general work is pretty solid.  The head is, as noted, the improved piece.  It’s really quite a nice piece of work; easily one of the better Carrie Fisher likeness out there.  It’s leaps and bounds beyond the prior piece, and I personally think its a closer likeness than the Boushh disguise Leia, which was my personal favorite prior to this.  The underlying body sculpt is decent enough; it’s not really meant to be seen, so the proportions are more on the marionette side of things.  I do wish some of the joints offered a little more range, but other than that, it seems fine.  The boots are a pretty decent sculpt, and make for a pretty decent replica of the actual costume pieces.  They aren’t going to to be seen much, but the attention to detail is appreciated.  The cloth pieces on the Black Series figures have never been one of Hasbro’s strong suits.  I was particularly letdown by how the shirt turned out on the ANH Luke figure.  So, I was definitely apprehensive of how the dress would turn out here.  While I think I still would have preferred a sculpted dress, I’m happy to say the cloth dress is better than I was expecting.  It seems to be less ill-fitting than prior pieces, and sits on the figure rather nicely.  It’s not without issue, mind you.  The seams on the sleeves are rather annoying, and the hood is just sort of a mess.  It doesn’t really want to say up or down; I think sewing it in place would have been a better idea.  The belt piece holds the whole thing together nicely, and adds just the right folds.  It also doesn’t seem to ride up as much as Luke’s did, which is a serious plus!  I’ve been a little letdown by some of the Black Series paint as of late, but Leia actually turned out really well.  Her head gets the majority of the work.  It’s all pretty clean, and I was pleasantly surprised by the slight accent work on her face, which adds some extra color and brings some much needed life to the figure.  Here’s hoping that this style of paintwork continues!  Leia is packed with two blasters: the smaller one she carries during her opening scene and the larger Stormtrooper blaster she’s hauling around during the escape from the Deathstar.  I really appreciate the variety.  Of course the fact that she got both guns only further hammers home how annoying it was that Luke didn’t get any of his Stormtrooper gear, since both Han and Leia did.  Oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I never did see the first release of this figure at retail (In fact, the only figure I did see was the Obi-Wan figure that I bought).  So, I was pretty happy to hear about the re-release, since I didn’t want my A New Hope set stuck without a major player.  I ended up finding this figure at the nearby comic book store, Power Comics, while Super Awesome Girlfriend was picking up last week’s comics haul.  I was going to wait to grab her, but Super Awesome Girlfriend insisted on buying her for me, because that’s what she does.  For once, I’m glad I had to wait for a figure, because this release is definitely superior to the prior figure.  The end result is a figure I’m really happy with.  She was definitely a pleasant surprise.  Here’s to more awesome Leia figures in the future!

#1210: C-3PO

C-3PO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

c3pobs1

Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series has been running almost 5 years now, and over the course of that 5 years, we’ve gotten the main look for just about every major character from the Original Trilogy.  However, one major character has been pretty consistently absent: C-3PO.  Now, obviously, with a character like Threepio, it’s not a question of if he’s going to be made, but rather when he’s going to be made.  You don’t just willy nilly leave out one of two characters to appear in every film in the franchise.  So, when his name popped up as one of 2016’s upcoming figures, no one was really surprised.  Well, that is, not until they saw the figure, standing there in all his red-armed, The Force Awakens-glory.  Why would the first release of this much anticipated character be what is undoubtedly a one-off look?  It turns out Hasbro had more up their sleeve, and a regular Threepio found its way to release.  I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

c3pobs2This C-3PO figure is Walgreens’ 2016 Star Wars: The Black Series exclusive.  This has been a point of contention for a lot of fans, since many of them think this Threepio should have had the main retail slot, and the Force Awakens figure should have been made the exclusive, citing the second version as a less necessary variant.  While I can’t argue with that, I can sort of understand why the figures ended up the way they did.  In 2015, Walgreens got stuck in the Emperor’s Wrath Darth Vader as their exclusive, and sales on him were pretty soft.  With that in mind, I can easily see Walgreens pushing for a higher profile exclusive.  On Hasbro’s side, I can see them feeling that Threepio might be more easily acquired for some fans as an exclusive item shipped in solid cases of himself, as opposed to being stuck in a revision assortment of the main line, which may or may not get put out (I can attest to having seen more of this guy out in the wild than I’ve seen of his red-armed counterpart).  In addition, Threepio has traditionally been a slower seller than the rest of the main characters, a fact Hasbro is likely banking on.  Ultimately, it’s not the ideal solution, but it’s workable.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  Early reports had me worried that this guy wouldn’t be very posable.  The final figure lacks any elbow joints, but this ends up having little effect on the posability, and the rest of the joints offer a more than serviceable range of motion.  Threepio’s sculpt is shared with his Force Awakens version, but is otherwise totally new.  It’s a very strong sculpt, and does a really solid job of capturing Threepio’s basic design.  There’s a lot of really sharp detail work, and he’s definitely one of the best figures in the line in terms of working in the articulation.  The arms do seem a touch long when compared to the legs, but it’s only barely noticeable, and far from the worst case of this in the line.  Threepio’s paint is pretty decently handled; Hasbro let fans know from the get-go that this figure wasn’t going to be vac-metalized like many of the smaller Threepios have been.  Some fans were a bit let-down by this, but I find myself not minding that much.  While the process is fine on smaller figures, it can rob a sculpt of a lot of its best details, and on larger, more articulated items, it can also be rather susceptible to damage.  I was happy to see they opted for gold paint instead of gold plastic, as it allows for a brighter sheen and a more consistent application of the color.  The only part that seems a bit odd to me is the eyes; rather than the usual flat yellow, they’ve been done with three white dots on each eye.  It’s not terrible looking from far away, but looks quite strange up close.  Threepio includes no accessories, which is a real letdown, especially since there are technically no new sculpted pieces here.  The communicator from the Death Star would have been nice, especially since they already have the tooling for it. Oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

News broke on this guy back around Rogue Friday, and I pretty much immediately started looking for him.  I didn’t have much luck, but on a hunch, I stopped at a slightly out of the way Walgreens on the way home from grabbing some dinner last month.  He wasn’t in the proper action figure aisle, but I remembered that a lot of Walgreens stores had a separate Star Wars end display, and, sure enough, there he was.  Odd choice of distribution aside, this is a really good figure, easily the best Threepio that Hasbro’s put out.  Hopefully everyone that wants one can get one!

c3pobs3

#1188: Lando Calrissian

LANDO CALRISSIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

landogen1

For Day 22 of my post-Christmas reviews, I’ll be taking a look at the last of the Star Wars-themed figures I got this year, before once again returning to the world of Marvel (spoilers for tomorrow’s review?)  Today, I’ll be looking at everyone’s favorite suave scoundrel.  No, it’s not Han Solo, why do you ask?  Okay, so it’s everyone’s *second* favorite suave scoundrel, Lando Calrissian!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

landogen2Lando was released as part of Series 5 of Walmart’s exclusive smaller-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line, the same assortment that brought us Wednesday’s Admiral Ackbar figure (along with Ahsoka Tano and a Royal Guard).  Like Ackbar, Lando is a re-release of an earlier Vintage Collection figure.  Also like Ackbar, I don’t have the earlier figure, so this one is new for me.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  The Vintage Collection was where Hasbro finally started adding in some additional hip movement for some of the figures.  Lando was from later in the line, when they started adding it to non-Jedi/Trooper characters.  At this point the movement was still rather primitive when compared to lots of other small-scale lines like this, but progress is progress.  The sculpt is generally pretty decent.  He’s based on Lando’s General look from Return of the Jedi, which isn’t my go-to Lando look, but it’s a decent enough choice.  The uniform is pretty solid and matches up with the onscreen costume.  The holster is a separate, removable piece, which is actually pretty convenient, since it had a tendency to switch shoulder from shot to shot.  The head sports a passable Billy Dee Williams likeness.  It’s hardly perfect, but it’s about as close as any other likeness this line’s ever given us.  The cape is cloth, and that’s probably the one major detractor about this figure.  It’s not awful; the actual cape bit is decent enough, but the clasp, which is rather thin in the film, is replaced here by a rather thick spandex band.  It’s totally inaccurate and ends up covering a good portion of the rather nicely sculpted collar.  Lando sports some pretty decent paintwork.  Nothing particularly spectacular, or super exciting, but the application is quite clean, continuing the upward trend from Hasbro as of late.  Lando includes a small blaster pistol, which can be placed in the holster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Just like Admiral Ackbar, Lando was a Christmas present from my Super Awesome Girlfriend, though there’s no special reason behind me getting this guy (aside from an offhand confirmation of “yeah, I like Lando”).  While this isn’t my first choice of costume, this is otherwise a pretty solid figure, and I’m glad to add him to my collection!

#1184: Admiral Ackbar

ADMIRAL ACKBAR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

ackbar1

For the 18th day of my post-Christmas reviews, I’m ducking into the galaxy far, far away for a quick stop.  This time around, I’m heading back to the original trilogy and looking at the best trap-detecting commanding officer in the whole Rebellion, Admiral James Tiberius Ackbar.  No, he’s not really James Tiberius Ackbar, but that felt appropriately Admiralitorial.  Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ackbar2Admiral Ackbar is part of Walmart’s current exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series.  His assortment (which also included Lando Calrissian, Ahsoka Tano, and a Royal Guard) hit around Rogue Friday.  Ackbar is a re-release of the previous The Vintage Collection Ackbar.  I don’t have that figure, so this one’s new to me.  Yay!  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  He’s based on Ackbar’s Return of the Jedi look which, at the time of the original figure’s release, was the only Ackbar design (since then, he’s appeared in both Clone Wars and The Force Awakens). It’s a very good recreation of his on-screen design.  In fact, it’s probably one of Hasbro’s best Star Wars sculpts, even seven years after its initial release.  The best part is definitely the head sculpt, which perfectly captures Ackbar’s distinctive head prosthetics.  The paintwork on Ackbar is solidly handled.  Like yesterday’s Spider-UK, Ackbar showcases a definite step-up in the overall paint application from Hasbro.  There are some slight differences on this guy’s paint compared to his TVC figure  The black details on his head and hands are a bit less subtle, which is a slight detractor, but the rest of the paint is a lot bolder and crisper, which makes him just look a lot better put together.  Ackbar is packed with a baton and the control panel from his ship (which is rather on the random side, but better than nothing, I suppose).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ackbar was a Christmas gift given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend.  We’ve been playing through Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Jess particularly loved Ackbar’s extra sassy personality in the game, dubbing him “Sassbar.”  When she found out there was a new Sassbar figure out, she told me I had to get it.  True to form, she went the extra mile and actually got him for me.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the good admiral, and I gotta say, this is easily one of the best Star Wars figures Hasbro’s ever put out there.  He certainly warranted the re-release, and I’m happy it allowed me to get him!

#1165: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

obiwan1

When Star Wars: The Black Series first starting to hit, I made up a list of figures I really wanted to see released, entirely made up of Original Trilogy characters.  As the line progressed, a lot of those figures found their way into release.  In series three, I hit my first real breaking point with the announcement of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Rather than the OT, Alec Guinness version that most fans were hoping for, we got the Episode III version of the character.  The fact that it wasn’t the version most people wanted, coupled with the general weak quality of the final product made him one of the line’s longest lasting peg warmers (the fact that he was subsequently re-packed just a few series after his initial release didn’t help matters).  Without much effort, you can probably still find him in some retail stores, almost four years after his release.  That doesn’t really make a good case for releasing another version of the character, no matter how fan demanded it may be.  Fortunately, Hasbro wasn’t too deterred, and we’ve finally gotten a proper Alec Guinness Kenobi, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

obiwan2Obi-Wan was released in the fifth series of the Rogue One-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures.  He’s figure 32 in the line, which places him around the middle of this six-figure series numerically.  Obi-Wan was also one of the three summer convention exclusive Black Series figures for 2016, where he included an extra holographic Princess Leia accessory, but apart from that, the two releases are pretty much the same.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Like a lot of figures in this particular line, Obi-Wan is a mix of sculpted and tailored elements.  He’s mostly sculpted, with just the robe being cloth.  Cloth robes are nothing new, and Obi-Wan’s works pretty well, actually.  The rest of the figure is an all-new sculpt, which is probably one of Hasbro’s strongest Black Series sculpts to date.  In particular, the head sculpt is a very good recreation of Guinness’ likeness.  There have been some decent likenesses in this line before, but I think this is the best one they’ve ever done.  Heck, it’s just one of Hasbro’s best head sculpts period.  I really like it.  The rest of the sculpt, while not being quite as “wow” as the head, is still quite solid, and definitely translates his movie design into action figure form quite nicely.  Even the paintwork on this guy is pretty solid.  Everything is nice and clean, and the head has a lot of nice variance in the shading (it’s still a bit too blonde, but seems less off than Han and Krennic).  I wouldn’t have minded a bit of weathering on the robes, but they don’t look awful.  My one complaint about this figure has to do with the included extra.  He just includes his lightsaber, which is a perfectly fine extra, and is even quite nicely done.  The problem I ran into is that my Kenobi’s saber blade broke off, which is quite annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was anticipating finding this guy would be difficult, but it actually wasn’t.  I found him at the Gamestop outside of Super Awesome Girlfriend’s hometown, just mixed in with the Force Awakens and Rogue One figures.  I actually wasn’t going to get him (it was right before Christmas and my budget was a bit tight), but Super Awesome Girlfriend refused to let me leave him there and ended up buying him for me.  I’m really happy to have this guy, and he’s easily one of my favorite entries in this line.  After being rather letdown by the Tatooine Luke, this guy was a nice pick-me-up.  Here’s to more like him!

#1164: Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader

SCARIF STORMTROOPER SQUAD LEADER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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Like pretty much every single Star Wars film, Rogue One introduced it’s own set of faceless troopers, variations on the original Stormtroopers.  In addition to the basic Stormtroopers and TIE Fighter pilots, we also got Krennic’s bodyguards the Death Troopers, a few new vehicle pilots, and (my most favorite) the Scarif Troopers (also known as the Shoretroopers, a name I kind of prefer).  None of them really amounted to all that much in the final film, but they did make for a slightly more diverse selection of faceless mooks for the heroes to take out right and left.  There were a few different types of the Shoretroopers featured, and thus there are few different figures available.  I’ve already looked at the Black Series version of the basic Shoretrooper, but there’s also the Squad Leader, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

scarifsquadleader2The Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader was released as part of the second assortment of Rogue One-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures, which, as I noted in yesterday’s Krennic review, is actually the eighth series of red-boxed Black Series figures.  The Squad Leader is figure 28, making him the second numerically in this series of three.  The figure stands just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  For the most part, I’ve seen this figure before, both in terms of design, and in terms of the actual pieces in use.  Of course, he’s sporting the same design as the smaller Squad Leader, albeit slightly more detailed.  As far as pieces, he’s built on the Hovertank Pilot body, just like the basic Shoretrooper, and also makes use of the same helmet as the basic Shoretrooper.  These remain good pieces, and I can hardly fault the re-use, since they should be consistent.  He gets a new belt piece, which features the kama sported by the Squad Leader.  Surprisingly enough, the articulation isn’t all that affected by the new piece, and the general quality of the sculpt matches well with the rest of the pieces.  Most of the new-ness of this figure comes from the paintwork.  At the most basic level, it’s pretty similar to the basic Shroetrooper, which makes sense.  He’s also got a lot of very similar weathering to that figure, though it should be noted that it’s slightly different, which prevents the two of them from looking too cookie-cutter.  The main difference between the two figures is the presence of the blue detailing on his upper torso and left shoulder.  It does a lot to differentiate him, and I like the extra splash of color it adds.  In addition, the weathering seen on the rest of the armor is also seen on the blue sections, which looks pretty cool.  The Squad Leader includes a larger blaster rifle.  It’s got the same base as the usual Stormtrooper blaster, but with a number of extra add-ons.  It makes for a pretty fun new design.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Krennic, the Squad Leader was picked up for me by Super Awesome Girlfriend, during a bit of a “stress buy.”  After getting the smaller version of this guy, I definitely wanted the larger one too, though I initially thought I’d be okay with the basic Shoretrooper.  Once I saw this guy, I knew I needed him too.  He’s just as much fun as the basic trooper, and I’m very happy to have gotten him.

Also, fun fact: the Rogue One products were solicited to retailers using code names.  The Rebels and the Imperials were the “SEALS” and “SHARKS,” and each figure was then given a short descriptor.  It seems Walmart never changed the codenames to the real names in their system, so this guy rung up as “SHRK TOOPER” which I found rather amusing.

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