Thursday, January 21, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,771: Electrostaff Purge Trooper (Jedi: Fallen Order, The Black Series 6-Inch)

ELECTROSTAFF PURGE TROOPER
Back in Black, Again

The Black Series GameStop Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E9993
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Staff, 2 energy pieces
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: October 2019
Appearances: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Bio: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order features Purge Troopers, a new class of soldiers who assist the Inquisitors in hunting down any remaining Jedi. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
I am not as crazy about the Electrostaff Purge Trooper as I am the Purge Stormtrooper [FOTD #2,686] from 2019. In many respects the figure is very similar, with the differences being a much less dramatic paint job and a new staff (that's good) and magnum-sized electricity blasts for a snug-fit pole. They slide right off - they're bad. Fans are likely to want this figure for either the new accessory, which isn't very good, or just for the trooper because they missed the previous edition.

In 2021, this figure feels old. It uses the original Clone Trooper body with double-jointed (stiff) knees and elbows, making it harder to pose and keep him upright. Had this figure used the new 2020 body, it would undoubtedly feel more stable. It has a lot less red than the previous release (and fell over for the fourth or fifth time since I started to write this), with a very dark lens on the helmet, no red markings on the "face," one nice big Imperial cog on the left shoulder, and one masked (but present) on the right under the dark black pauldron. He has the grey chevrons, though, but is largely just a very black Clone Trooper body with an Airborne Clone head. The black is incredibly glossy and looks like a premium product, so for those of you who keep your figures in a box, go ahead and keep leaving it in the box.

The pole accessory is massive, and may be one of the largest accessories in this line to date. It has no deco, and is pretty thick - getting the figure to grab it with the stiff hands is a little tricky. You'll want to take care posing the weapon, because the purple energy falls right off. It's unpleasant. It feels undercooked. This is the kind of thing that shouldn't get approved, let alone manufactured. Hasbro has had years of energy blast accessories done right, from various forms of Grievous' Magnaguard Droid bodyguards to Jedi lightsabers deflecting blasts to Sith lightning. To Transformers: War for Cybertron C.O.M.B.A.T. effect pieces to Power Rangers Lightning Collection energy pieces to Destro's burning money... let's just say I could go on. So far I haven't been disappointed by the grip on the energy pieces, and in some cases - like the Inferno Stormtrooper - I've been quite impressed by how well they perfectly plug on their weapon. But not this one. If this came out of a gumball machine for a buck, you'd be disappointed. Seeing as you got upcharged on this exclusive accessory, it's a disappointment.


For completists or fans of the game, I assume this is a fun buy. The figure is nice, and if they did a better job with the accessories I would say it was a worthwhile purchase. As it is, I feel I got taken for yet another $25. A bad figure hurts a lot less in the 3 3/4-inch line thanks to the lower costs, but here each $25 disappointment adds up quickly. If you have the chance to get the previous release from a reissue (or a lucky find), get that one first. Get this one if you like losing more accessories to gravity.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from GameStop.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,771: January 21, 2021

Monday, January 18, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,770: Remnant Stormtrooper (The Black Series 6-Inch)

REMNANT STORMTROOPER
6-Inches of Dirt

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Orange Star Wars The Mandalorian Packaging
Item No.:
No. F1862
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #09 - Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: December 2020
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: The Empire is in disarray. The once-proud pristine and uniform ranks of Stormtroopers that fought for the Empire now resemble a ragtag army of mercenaries for lawless gangsters. (Taken from Hasbro marketing materials.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
I like this Remnant Stormtrooper because it makes a lot of sense. Fans love battle damage, and The Mandalorian, and killing and white uniforms. We know this. The figure is the same as the Imperial Stormtrooper [FOTD #2,739] from a few months ago, but with more dirt. From where I sit, that's good enough - it also makes at least three uses of this new mold so far. Between exclusives, variant troopers, and the like, Hasbro is really cashing in on these molds right now.

Articulation remains good, the figure's hands are great at gripping the blaster, and articulation is as good as a better-than-average 3 3/4-inch figure - complete with the nicely articulated shoulders. Limbs all move nicely, without any weird ratcheting or wobbly feet threatening to knock the figure over at any time. I had no problems getting the figure's helmet posed to look menacing or inquisitive, and it once again has a blank white human head glued to the inside of the helmet. It's future-proofed for customs or other possibilities, but it's still kind of odd to me as it means an extra piece and extra materials were used to manufacture the figure.

The main selling point is the deco. It's different! For those who have been here for decades, the brown dirt looks sort of like the Endor smudging we saw on 3 3/4-inch troopers in 2007, while the grey splatter seems new. I think it's supposed to present wear and tear, but given that the armor has looked (and sounded) like plastic, I can't imagine it isn't white all the way through. From where I sit, that would mean we're supposed to assume they just plain don't clean the armor any more, or live in a galaxy where faster-than-light travel is possible but melamine foam somehow got overlooked. The grit looks true to the show, so it's certainly a good replica - but it's light on damage on the back. There are some stains, including one very unfortunate looking one that looks like a leak out of the butt region. I leave it to your imagination to explain.

The Remnant Stormtrooper is a good one - decent sculpt, better than average deco, nothing special in the weapons department but at least it's a decent $20 release. If you see it, do yourself a favor and get it. Or maybe get two or three. Collector's Notes: I got mine from Target.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,770: January 19, 2021

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,769: Clone Trooper (Phase I, The Black Series 6-Inch)

CLONE TROOPER
Phase I

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Red Attack of the Clones Packaging
Item No.:
Asst. E8908 No. E9367
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #02 - Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
Includes: Long rifle, shorter pistol
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2020
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: The Republic Clone Troopers represented the future of galactic warfare. So symbolic were they of their times, the galaxy-wide conflict that saw their debut took its name from their ranks: The Clone Wars. (Taken from the 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:
As time goes on in any collectible toy line, the snake eats its tail. It just happens. This Phase I Clone Trooper is the second mold Hasbro made to represent this style of figure - and the body has been shared with at least two other figures so far. It's good - on the whole, it's built like an above-par 3 3/4-inch figure with hidden or recessed pins, making it a good Clone to army-build. If you have an existing army, maybe just buy one or two - or one of each, as I assume repaints are inevitable.

The sculpting is very much a Clone Trooper - there are no real surprises beyond the forward/backward joint on the shoulders, allowing additional movement beyond just swiveling. It's nice, but a limited range means you're not going to get too much of a dramatic difference in what you can pose here. This joint is a relatively new addition in the line, so I assume Hasbro is still going to perfect it in years to come. Wrists still bend and swivel, ankles rock, knees bend, and the head moves around nicely. It's worth noting the helmet has a head glued inside it, so sometimes you'll see a lumpy helmet. It's a good move to future-proof figures for when they want to do removable helmets down the road, but for now it seems like it's just added costs and a misshapen head. The helmet sculpt itself remains good, with the grey stripe around the back and the red light on the back of the crest. There's not much to dislike in terms of how it was all conceived.

The one thing I don't love is the rubbery knee and elbow armor - there's a chance it might snap with age or stress, so be careful when moving those joints around. I saw enough busted-up Dewback and Tauntaun reins in my day to recognize a possible problem, but I'm also much older now and at least know what to expect. Moving those joints carefully allows you to get a bunch of nice action poses, and the figure has an excellent center of gravity. He's not so wobbly, and that's helpful.

The figure has a lot of potential for future repaints, and now that The Clone Wars is a popular show on a streaming service there's a new generations of fans wanting "shinies." I haven't seem a lot of this one in the wild as of yet, and I hope Hasbro keeps making them because fans will probably want a few in their toy boxes.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,769: January 14, 2021

Monday, January 11, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,768: Death Trooper (Credit Collection, The Black Series 6-Inch)

DEATH TROOPER
Amazon Exclusive

The Black Series The Credit Collection
Item No.:
No. F1186
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #04 - Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Includes: Blaster rifle, blaster pistol, bronze Imperial credit
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: November 2020
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: This distinctive collection features premium deco applications inspired by the end credit images from The Mandalorian, plus a collectible Imperial Credit accessory. After the fall of the Galactic Empire, usage of their form of money, Imperial Credits, became less common, with many planets refusing payments in the currency on principle. (Taken from the packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
While not named as such on the packaging, in conversations with Hasbro this line has been referred to as "The Credit Collection" so that's what I'm going with. In 2020 five figures were repainted and put on vintage/anniversary-style cardbacks including this Death Trooper as an Amazon exclusive. It's pretty good. IG-11 and The Mandalorian are also pretty distinctive, while it seems Cara Dune and the Heavy Infantry Mandalorian aren't as striking - but your mileage may vary. For this collection, Hasbro decided you should pay $5 more for some different paint and a plastic (not metal) credit prop replica. Is it worth it? Kinda.

I bought two of this line so far, mostly because of the back half of 2020 being packed with figures that, while distinctive, were not necessarily new characters or sufficiently different. It's one thing to buy 1 or 2 figures for completism's sake every year, but with 5 Christmas figures and 5 Credit Collection figures that could be a fast $250+ out of your pocket - so I decided, for the first time in 25 years, to say "you know what, nevermind." But I made an exception for Mando because it was so saturated, and the Death Trooper because it looked battle-damaged. (And IG-11, I still might get.) All of these guys make me feel like Hasbro is taking lessons from the sofubi and indie toy world again - this time it feels like we're getting things that may not be too out of place in the Glyos system.

The Death Trooper takes the mold from way back in 2016 - which is still in some demand - and changes the coloring to match the end credits of The Mandalorian. Now cast in dark grey instead of black, the figure has striking green lenses, odd muddy smears, and some intense purple on the helmet. The blaster has some red highlights, making a few details pop. The pictures look fine, but up close it's striking and feels like more of a weird art piece than a collectible for aging man-children. The holster loop is still there - and weird - for the small blaster, while articulation is standard for 2016. 27 points of articulation await you, but I also can't help but think this paint could have looked just as god applied to a less-articulated figure or a statue. On a retro cardback, it's pretty nice - but the "vintage" look certainly has been about keeping the past alive, and this is more of a weird mutation.

For those of you contemplating buying one and leaving it in the packaging, I would say that's probably a good idea. The credit isn't much to gawk over, it's light and there's nothing of interest on the flip side. On the front you'll see an Imperial cog and what I believe is "ROWE." Presumably this is derived from Republic credits but I have no idea what the significance here is.

I don't regret picking this one up - it sort of fits in as a troop builder, but really, it's a unique art piece unto itself. I hope it inspires fans to pick up and paint figures in strange ways, sort of like that awesome The Vader Project and the similar Stormtrooper project. I like weird. (Christmas sweater-themed, not so much.)

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Amazon.

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,768: January 12, 2021

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,767: The Armorer (The Black Series 6-Inch)

THE ARMORER
Mass Release

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Orange Star Wars: The Mandalorian Packaging
Item No.:
Asst. E8908 No. E9362
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #04 - Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Includes: Plastic shoulder cape, tongs, Mando's silver hammer
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2020
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: The Armorer plays a vital role in keeping the culture of the Mandalorians alive. She forges beskar armor in the ancient tradition of her people. (Taken from the 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 wasn't able to get (and missed the announcement of) the exclusive deluxe version, but at least I got the regular The Armorer figure. The exclusive version is a little fanicer, with more accessories and soft goods "cape." I don't think I will be sad if I make it to the end of my life without the exclusive variation, because this figure is perfectly good. If you just want another cool figure in armor for your desk or shelf, you may not miss the extra accessories.

With something like 27 points of articulation, she has a good range of movement for forging and combat - but some of those joints are a little stiff. She can stand and hold her tools, with sharp armor. The metallic chest armor looks great, as does the waist coat and the shiny (but dirty) ornate helmet - with spikes. Her boots are nicely done, and the quilted pattern on the gloves looks ideal to protect yourself from burning in the furnace. The design translates nicely to a toy.

The one element that irked me is the plastic cape. It plugs in to three slots on the back, but doesn't stay put particularly well. It pops out a bunch. I don't get why there's any problem here in 2020 - we've seen amazing ways to connect to a figure. G.I. Joe's peg hole system worked in the 1980s, the 1995 Boba Fett had a unique t-slot system that never fails. Anyway.

She's got a great neck joint with an unusually good range of motion, and because she's a Mandalorian she's probably going to keep selling for years. Despite the fact that since Boba Fett, pretty much anyone who looks vaguely like him sells like crazy seems lost in the business. You don't see the likes of the Armorer, or various 2-packs or 4-packs or singles, ever sit around. Hasbro could crank out an 8-pack of generic Mando repaints in the color of Crayola's best-selling crayon line-up and it'd be a hit - which is why you should buy an Armorer if you can find one. The unique costume design and distinctive helmet looks great, right in line with The Clone Wars or something out of a Return of the Jedi creature shop. It's really wonderful that we have Star Wars costumes and toys that look increasingly, unapologetically, like old-school Star Wars trilogy designs.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,767: January 7, 2021

Monday, January 4, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,766: Incinerator Trooper (The Black Series 6-Inch)

INCINERATOR TROOPER
Co-tool

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Orange Star Wars: The Mandalorian Packaging
Item No.:
Asst. E8908 No. E9366
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #03 - Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Includes: Flame, flamethrower, harness
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2020
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: Incinerator Trooper armor was exceptionally heat-resistant and bore red markings in order to indicate their speciality. (Taken from the 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:
Happy new year! This Incinerator Trooper comes from The Mandalorian, but previously was seen in The Force Unleashed video games. While most likely never to be integrated into the new canon on their own, the troopers have gotten a lot of love as toys from Hasbro as GameStop exclusives over the last year - and thankfully so, they're wonderful designs and easy repaints. The previous ones used a mold that's been in use since 2013, while the 2020 Incinerator Trooper uses the 2020 Imperial Stormtrooper [FOTD #2,739] mold. It's new, it's good, and you can probably safely assume we'll see many more figures using it going forward.

What's kind of awesome - and also not - is that this is the same figure at the same price, with lots more paint and gear. You don't get the basic Rogue One-style blaster, but you do get a much bigger torch, a pauldron, a harness, and lots of red paint - plus a massive fire blast effect piece. The plain trooper was a decent value proposition, but this plussed-up specialty torch Stormtrooper is significantly more exciting. (You will, of course, want both.)

I had no problems getting the figure to hold a torch in one hand, but gravity does make the fire blast seem to sag a bit over time on a shelf. You may want to make sure the figure - and possibly the accessories - are propped up if he is to spend a year or more on a shelf. The fire blast is molded to snap in perfectly on the nozzle of your torch, which is a lot more stable than the 3mm (or 5mm) pegs used in the Transformers: War for Cybertron C.O.M.B.A.T. system. (Check 'em out in Siege and Earthrise toys. Less so in Kingdom.) I wish he could hold the weapon in both hands without a fuss, but the left hand isn't as well-equipped for gripping things.
As a figure, this is a sensible and desirable retool of a trooper fans want anyway. Repaints of them are likely to continue, but that's a good thing - this is the sort of thing that sells easily. What's particularly exciting about figures like this is that we're seeing today - like when Lucas pulled Aayla Secura out of the comics and put her in the movies - that being removed from canon certainly doesn't mean a ticket to oblivion. We're still seeing Darth Revan products, we got a Jaina Solo figure, and seeing good designs plucked from relative obscurity and upgraded to full-fledged on-screen props could mean just about anything could make an appearance in a future TV show. (I volunteer to play Tig Fromm if the chance comes up, maybe in some sort of audio drama, please and thank you.)

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,766: January 5, 2021


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,765: Mandalorian Loyalist (The Black Series 6-Inch)

MANDALORIAN LOYALIST
6-Inch Debut

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Yellow Star Wars: The Clone Wars Packaging - Walmart Exclusive
Item No.:
No. F0015
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #04
Includes: Backpack, 2 blasters
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: November 2020
Appearances: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Bio: When Darth Maul betrayed and defeated Pre Vizsla, Death Watch splintered into two groups. Those who wanted to embrace Mandalore's warrior heritage remained loyal to Maul. (Taken from the packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary:
This Mandalorian Loyalist is a great figure, and it's been nearly ten years since Hasbro made figures of them in any size. I'm glad they did - this Jango Fett retool isn't as ornate as the Super Commando, but it's still very good and fits in with the armor we saw in flashbacks during The Mandalorian. It shares some parts with Jango Fett and the aforementioned Super Commando, but the helmet and shoulder pads are unique to this figure, as is the deco. I'd love to get more of these but a) they're hard to find, and b) they're expensive.

Based on a design previously sold as other figures like the very good 2010 Mandalorian Warrior [FOTD #1,379] which was a bit more saturated, so this looks like a more "realistic" trooper. It's missing the Boba-style rocket pack and instead goes for Jango's Geonosis battle arena, but it does have the proper helmet. There's a bit more light grey and silver on the animation models, but they did a good job capturing the red markings on the jetpack and right shoulder, plus the white mark on the left shoulder. Sadly, the lighter grey was left off the helmet, and the blue body suit isn't that blue. It still seems like an accurate rendering of a cartoony costume, though!

Since he uses Jango's body, you get the same 29 points of articulation. The retooled thighs with the specific holsters (and slightly less armoring) are present, leaving you with quite possibly the most perfect bulk purchase Mandalorian. Hasbro could easily make Pre Vizsla or other Mandalorians from the cartoons based on this outfit. Customizers could build a number of characters off of this design. Also, you'd probably want to troop-build this one if Hasbro and Walmart reran a ton of them. At press time that seems unlikely - but the long tail of history tends to trend toward meeting market demands over the last few years.

Hasbro did a good job here - and could recolor, retool, and keep reselling it for years to come. The Mandalorians should be the new Clone Trooper, where Hasbro finally milks the molds dry to give us Fenn Shysa, Jodo Kast, Pre Vizsla, and anything else they feel like doing. They would probably sell really well - if people will buy weird green troopers, it might be prudent to make bright green Mandalorians with actual history and stories people remember and in some cases, really love. Kudos to Hasbro on a job well done here.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walmart.com.

--Adam Pawlus



Day 2,765: December 31, 2020