Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,657: First Order Stormtrooper (2019 TLJ, The Black Series 6-Inch)

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER The Last Jedi Redux
The Black Series 6-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E4071 No. E7519
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #97
Includes: Riot shield, riot baton, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2019
Appearances: The Last Jedi

Bio: The first order’s Infantry units are trained from birth, given unit designations instead of names and fed a steady diet of first order propaganda to ensure absolute loyalty   (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: This is my unhappy face.  Figures like this particular First Order Stormtrooper make me sad - because it doesn't need to exist.  It's a pared-down version of the Amazon exclusive Stormtrooper from a couple years back which is a decent accessory pack/tweak.  If you have that one, you don't need this one - but if you need more troopers, this one is fine.  You can steal his weapons for other figures.

The core figure is the very nice 2015 SDCC First Order Stormtrooper [FOTD #2,162] which itself was tweaked for a similar Riot Control First Order Stormtrooper [FOTD #2,235] mere weeks later.   This figure is also slightly different from that last one.  There's a revised The Last Jedi trooper helmet with a sharper mouth, and there's a revised batom that has rotating clubs on the tip of it.   Other than that?  It's pretty much the same great figure with one fewer weapon - the normal, larger blaster has been dropped in favor of the smaller pistol.  You get the tiny pistol here, you get a baton, and you get a shield.  You get a perfectly nice trooper with rocker ankles and what seem to be slightly better elbows.   It's still basically the same trooper though - do you need more?  Well, here you go.

I'm glad it's a trooper and not Rey again under a new number, but I still would've loved to see a nickel spent on some blast damage on the shield, or perhaps some scorch marks on the baton.   It's OK.  It's fine.  There's nothing wrong with it.  It's just that there's not much new here.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,657: January 21, 2020

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,656: Heavy Infantry Mandalorian (The Black Series 6-Inch)

HEAVY INFANTRY MANDALORIAN Paz Vizla, Probably
The Black Series 6-Inch Deluxe Best Buy Exclusive Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E4071 No. E6996
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #D3
Includes: BFG with rocket pack
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $29.99
Availability: November 2019
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: A brawny warrior encased in the strongest beskar armor, the mysterious Heavy Infantry Mandaloian is part of a secretive enclave of his people.  A born survivor, he guards a precious armory and helps to keep the flames of Mandalorian heritage flickering in this time of galactic chaos.   (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: I don't believe I'm being hyperbolic when I say you'd have punched a stranger in the back of the skull to get a Heavy Infantry Mandalorian back in the 1990s, because you are a terrible human being and were less mature  back then.  This is the kind of figure fans would dream of back in the day - it's something new built on something all-too familiar.  The name "Paz Vizla" appeared in the credits for The Mandalorian, so that may well be his name, but his origins come from a much more familiar place.  Elements of the original Kenner Boba Fett inspire the design with more blue and grey armor elements, in particular yellow and red armor.  Once you see the mythosaur skull on the left shoulder combined with the yellow left greave, it should be obvious that this figure was designed as an unsubtle nod tot he olds still out there.  The angular armor elements and giant gun seem like a post-Halo thing, but the rest is pure original Star Wars.  The battered armor, the nifty jetpack, and the worn gun all come together nicely.

The figure's joints move much more smoothly than other figures. Getting him into a variety of big gun poses didn't take a lot of work, but I did need reference to figure out exactly how it was supposed to be carried.  The big gun has a cord connecting to the backpack, which itself has a second smaller cord connecting to the left wrist.  On top of that, there are multiple  handles on the big gun itself with a giant rotating grip further complicating things.  Some reference photos on the box - or a poster, or a trading card - would do wonders in explaining how the figure should hold his weapon.  It's somewhat complicated - even Hasbro's official photography for this figure clearly gave up or didn't even try.   I swear, some toys get no respect.

The Heavy Infantry Mandalorian makes excellent use of the abundant articulation - never have I been happier to have good, working bend-and-swivel wrists along with smoothly moving elbows.  Double-jointed knees with joints hidden behind the pads and rocker ankles ensure that this figure is going to be stable, dagnabbit.  This is one of Hasbro's best 6-inch scale efforts, and while I have no doubt there are missing details there are quite a few that also took me by surprise. The jetpack has little holes that seem designed for future blast effects.  There's a second hose hook-up on the side which presently serves no purpose, too.  Will this part be used again? Will we see a fire blast for the barrel on the left gauntlet?  Might Hasbro someday do a version 2.0 with the various scars on the armor painted more?  (And more importantly, why is this $30 without premium paint?)


And I totally forgot to mention there's a brown kama covering his butt that you wouldn't even miss if they left it out.  It's a nice piece and it means we may not see what butt beskar should look like.   I would strongly recommend buying this figure on sight, unless you have access to a better or cheaper alternative.  It's big and bulky, and it's just so nicely executed.  Go on, treat yourself.  You've probably not earned it, but I won't tell anyone if you won't.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Best Buy.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,656: January 16, 2020

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,656: Cara Dune (The Black Series 6-Inch)

CARA DUNE Former Rebel, Shocktrooper
The Black Series 6-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E4071 No. E6960
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #101
Includes: Pistol, rifle, knife
Action Feature: Store pistol in holster, knife in boot
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2019
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: A veteran of the Galactic Civil War who fought for the Rebellion, Cara Dune is a seasoned warrior who has put her days of military discipline behind her, and now has reinvented herself as a mercenary.   (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: Before it aired we had no idea who would be who in The Mandalorian, and it could just as easily be assumed that Cara Dune could be a regular or a guest star.  Her first appearance in late November introduced us to a Rebel shock trooper, which you can get because of the "tear" Rebel tattoo under her left eye and the vertical bars on her right bicep that recall the Republic and Imperial Shock Troopers you've seen in games and movies.   Or that would be my guess - as of my writing this, there's no guide to all this stuff yet.  Like with the movies, the small screen toys are a blank slate until the episode airs - and this is a good one.

Cara Dune is a strange mix of modern and retro.  The hair and non-overly-sexualized chest armor, not to mention the ink, feel very much a 21st century flourish while the muted colors and gauntlets feel like vintage Star Wars.  If you saw this figure come right out after Return of the Jedi I assume kids and parents would assume Dune to be some sort of punk-inspired thing, but now we're just seeing flourishes of normal people.   I love the haircut, and the face printing is remarkable - not only does the portrait look great, but the tiny, teeny, atomic Rebel symbol on her face is one of the smallest details I've seen on an action figure.  It looks like a mole at first glance, but it isn't.

When I first got this figure it drove me up the wall trying to figure out where the knife could be stowed - it turns out there's a tiny gap in the left boot, and oh I wish Hasbro would reconsider product photography on The Black Series packaging.  It would be great to be shown when a helmet is removable, when a blaster can be stored, or that a knife fits somewhere.  She has no problem holding her weapons, or slinging the big one over her back.  In an interesting bit of synergy, her rifle has two barrels like the Amban sniper rifle that the Mandalorian uses.  Coincidence?  Probably. Maybe.  The figure is wonderfully detailed without overdoing it, keeping the blues and teals clean with excellent boots.  The texture is no slouch, either.

Hasbro has so far very slowly rolled out The Mandalorian figures - and there's a ton of opportunity here.  IG-11, Mando, Cara Dune, the Offworld Jawa, and the Heavy Gunner are a decent start.  I'm hoping to see a full range - preferably in a smaller size - but that's how I roll.  The big guys are great, but what I wouldn't give for 1980s-style 5-jointed figures of the entire cast and creature roster.  Cara Dune is a gem, so pick her up to go with your other Gina Carano action figures.  (I'm fairly sure this one has the most articulation, though.)

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,655: January 14, 2020

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,654: Offworld Jawa (The Black Series 6-Inch)

OFFWORLD JAWA The Egg! The Egg! The Egg!
The Black Series 6-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. E4071 No. E7943
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #96
Includes: 2 blasters
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2019
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: Ships traveling to and from Tatooine have resulted in some Jawas leaving their desert home-world.  Those that do arrive on new planets continue their old habits in their new surroundings, but their obsessive need for technology still drives them.   (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: This is an interesting one - when I first saw the Offworld Jawa I was told it was from The Mandalorian, but I didn't realize it'd be significant. Apparently neither do fans right now.   Hasbro took the figure from 2017 and changed the colors by giving us darker robes, red eyes, and by changing the material.  The plastic cloak has been replaced by a cloth one.  Other than that, it's pretty much the same figure.

The arm movement is hindered slightly by design, as bulky plastic arm sleeves are under the big cloth sleeves - this means it can be hard to get a good pose out of the figure.    The legs are wrapped nicely and sculpted to freely move, complete with rocker ankles.  As you didn't see them in the previous release, this gives you a good chance to examine the work Hasbro put in these figures under robes and in spots you couldn't see before.   I appreciate this.  The holster seems pretty useless, and the red eyes don't glow like the yellow ones did.  It's an extensive repaint.

The Mandalorian also asks us to consider who and what Jawas are.  They're not native to all worlds, and they're clearly sentient - but a number of them are vaporized for almost comic effect while the survivors are seemingly willing to work with the killer in exchange for a certain object.  That seems really bizarre, but so was that entire episode.  It was strange, and sure to be analyzed by the film students of tomorrow.  I'd say get yourself a few of these guys. And the egg, if it they ever make it.

Now that we know the Jawas have colonized the stars, I expect we'll see more variations on them and their gear in years to come.  This was a really interesting choice for a debut wave figure, particularly considering how many astonishing costumes and actors have been in this series.  I hope to see another one down the road.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,654: January 9, 2020

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,653: Finn (Galaxy of Adventures 5-Inch)

FINN Action Vest
Galaxy of Adventures   5-Inch
Item No.:
Asst. E3016 No. E3814
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, satchel
Action Feature: Fast Blast Attack
Retail: $9.99
Availability: October 2019
Appearances: The Rise of Skywalker

Bio: "Finn" was the nickname of FN-2187 ("Eight-Seven"), a human male stormtrooper who served the First Order until his desertion and subsequent defection to the Resistance during the First Order–Resistance war. Though trained since birth to be a loyal and obedient soldier, FN-2187's conscience conflicted with the methods of the First Order. For a time he was unwilling to support the Resistance, hoping to escape the galactic conflict instead of fighting for a cause he believed was doomed to fail. As the galaxy became consumed by war, the renegade trooper was ultimately forced to decide where his true loyalties lay.   (Stolen from Wookieepedia. Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: Now that he has new hair and a new costume, Finn seems to not be getting as many toys.  As of my writing this there's no 6-inch or 3 3/4-inch figure based on his new costume, just this one 5-inch figure.  The stylized costume keeps the brown motif we got from the previous movies, but the vest on top of the brown shirt is significantly different.  His hair is longer, he has a new blaster.  The pants are still very much like Han Solo's, but the fact that he droppe
d the jacket and grew his hair make for a figure that's different enough to be interesting.

The likeness is John Boyega-ish, expressive but not overly so.  He stands, he sits, he could sit in a vehicle if Hasbro made one for him - I'd love to see if they  have the courage to consider an appropriate Millennium Falcon at some point. (They won't.)   Finn can stand and with 23 points of articulation allowing him a great range of movement, but it's worth noting his left shoulder has an action feature.  Pull the arm back and let go for a "quick draw" attack.  I can't say it's exciting - I find it kind of annoying, but it doesn't get in the way of posing him too much.  Figuring out just how much to pull it back before it clicks and won't work is tricky, but once you figure it out it works perfectly.

It would seem Hasbro is treating Finn as a kid-targeted character this time around, but anything can happen in an environment where nobody really knows what he's going to be doing - or if he's going to be surviving - the "final" chapter of the Star Wars Skywalker saga.  I'm hoping that Hasbro either finishes the main group of heroes in this style, or makes Finn in the other formats - the weird mismatched sizes are vexing, but at least we're not getting multiple figures of the character in the same costume in every size at launch this time around.   That hasn't worked out so well so far.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,653: January 7, 2020

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,652: MSE Droid (The First Order, Galaxy's Edge, The Black Series 6-Inch)

MSE DROID (The First Order)
Galaxy's Edge The Black Series 6-Inch Figure Disney Park Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E5160
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Mountain Trooper, Kylo Ren, Commander Pyre, Blaster pistol, blaster rifle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $69.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Galaxy's EdgeBlack

Bio:  MSE (mouse) droids perform simple tasks aboard starships and in military and corporate facilities.  They beep to themselves as they perform small repairs, deliver messages, and guide visitors, occasionally exploding into panicked squeals when confused or frightened. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  New! The MSE Droid is an accessory more than a figure - but Hasbro treated it like a figure on the box, so I guess I will too.  When writing this review I assumed we already had one - but we didn't! This 6-inch scale robot has rolling wheels and, for some reason, gold accents on top.

We've had these guys in various sizes over the years, regardless of scale - teeny ones, jumbo ones, but none specifically sold as 6-inch scale figures. There's no pull-back motor or articulation, but it rolls nicely despite tiny wheels. I am stunned how nicely they roll given the Mouse Droid's history, but there is a drawback - they're made of a translucent grey plastic.  You probably won't notice this, especially since they're functionally so darned good.

The sculpt looks consistent with other Imperial Mouse Droids, so it can go anywhere.  The textured paint job is pretty remarkable - I thought it was actual wear and tear at first glance.  Hasbro really nailed the scuffing on this one.  To the naked eye it looks dirty with worn-down silver, like something you left battered in a toolbox for years.  Under a microscope, you'll see the silver is all printed dots and Hasbro just tricked you. They're good at this.

It's a simple figure that's oddly great.  It doesn't impress but everything about this mundane accessory is so nicely done that I had no idea it was new at first glance. The coloring, the sculpt, the rolling wheels, it's hard to not be taken with the little guy.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from my pal Shannon who went to Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge in June.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,652: January 2, 2020

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,651: 3PO (Color-Changing Droids, Droid Factory, Galaxy's Edge)

3PO PROTOCOL DROID Color-Changing Droids
Star Wars Disney Droid Depot
Item No.:
No. ???
Manufacturer: Disney
Number: n/a
Includes: 4 droids - CZ, 3PO, R4, BB
Action Feature: Pops apart, changes from white to orange
Retail: $39.99
Availability: ca. July 2019
Appearances: n/a

Bio: All different types of Astromech droids populate the galaxy.  Each droid is different and has their own unique personality and colors.  These droids have the special ability to change color!  (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:  This is a color-change thing that makes sense. This 3PO Protocol Droid is gold - not unlike the Disney-era version of C-3PO - but turns black in cold temperatures.  In your hands, it will swiftly turn gold.  In the freezer, it's a matte black color.  3PO was molded in a shiny gold plastic and coated with a plastic that seems to turn clear when warm or black when chilled.  The clear coat is a little fuzzy - it tones down the sharpness of the details of a build-a-droid figure mold we've had in circulation in some form or another since 2009.  

Articulation is nothing new for a Disney protocol droid.  The 20 points of articulation all  move fairly well, but that's not what makes this figure interesting.  You could buy a black or a gold protocol droid years ago.  What you couldn't buy is this sort of dynamic oil leak thing that a color-change figure is uniquely capable of pulling off.  If the figure is at room temperature but in "black" mode, a few moments from a normal hand will start making the black vanish, revealing gold underneath.  What's particularly nifty about it is that, like the R4 droid, it looks like something a pack of Jawas pulled out of an oil or tar bath.  You can "clean" it up or "paint" it just by touching it, which gives it a dynamic look display fans might find annoying and kids may hopefully find enticing, should they get one.
Detail is about as good as always, and while the droid mold is a little taller than the latest C-3PO and 0-0-0 3 3/4-inch scale figures it's still plenty good.  I am amazed that Disney found a way to make what was essentially a new action feature on C-3PO.  Hasbro did do a Stormtrooper with color-change battle damage about 20 years ago, but that's just a blast mark - this is the total recolor package.  I am impressed, and if you're the kind to refrigerate your toys you should score this set.
 
 
Collector's Notes: I got mine from my pal Shannon. Thanks Shannon!  There are 2 droid 4-packs and 1 droid playset with a Gonk Droid at this time.  "Warm" colors on the droids are their movie-like state.  "Cold" colors tend to be a lot stranger.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,651: December 31, 2019