The Black Series 3 3/4-Inch Basic Figures
Item No.: Asst. A5077 No. A5164
Number: Black Series #16
Includes: Helmet, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: December 2013
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith
Bio: This clone commander is leading a speeder bike recon team on Saleucami when he receives Order 66. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam's photo lab.
Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!
Commentary: When it comes to The Black Series there's more or less a template. It's very paint-by-numbers now, which is good in the sense that expectations are pretty modest and more of then than not fans know what they're getting before they open to package - in other worse, when it comes to repaint/retool figures like Clone Commander Neyo our love is Hasbro's to lose.
We have seen numerous figures use this body with new deco or a new helmet, and by and large they've all been pretty good. Since we've had several versions of Neyo released since 2007, most of which were based on the 2003 Episode II Clone body, it's not at all unreasonable to expect that for what must be at least the third release, that what was actually a great idea got knocked down a few pegs by another simple factory error - his belt is bright white, and the rest of his armor is overly dirty. CC-8826 would be great as a clean figure. Or as a dirty figure. He's clearly filthier than he needs to be, but this wonderful dirt wipe brings out all sorts of detail, particularly on the buttons on his wrist armor. It makes the helmet look better. The colors are largely improved, plus Hasbro tooled up a whole new back of the figure's torso for the first time - it looks awesome! But the belt! I can't get over it. Sure, he has a new shoulder strap too, but an overly white (and gloopy) belt is what made the 2007/2008 figure look a little wonky, too. It's downright painful to see Hasbro repeat its mistakes in a line that costs more, especially when it could have been easily avoided just by cheaping out and leaving the body armor a plain white color.
The biggest positive surprise of this figure was the head - I've probably gone on record more than a few (dozen) times about how I'm sick of removable helmets, but this is a bucket I can get behind. The helmet itself is a little large, but its exceptional deco looks good and it hides a wonderful little surprise! The new Clone head sculpt has a new hairstyle, and a green face tattoo. My eyes are not the best, so the fine detail is really hard to see - the green stripe is actually the designation of the character in the Aurebesh letters, CC-8826! This comes from a design on The Clone Wars cartoon, thus giving us another figure that pulls double duty as a movie figure and a "realistic" TV clone. I can dig it! The bemused face sculpt and slicked-back hair are a nice touch, so I tip my hat to the sculptor (or sculptors) responsible for the new parts.
I'm not overly fond of the black rings used in the ankles as it looks pretty ugly on a white plastic figure, but other than that it's on the happy side of decent. You get bend-and-swivel wrists and the now normal compliment of 14 total joints, making this a better Neyo for speederbikes than the one that was originally included with a bike a few years ago. The fact that it falls shy of perfection really hurts in this era of remakes and little in the way of new figures, because each slot has the chance to delight and disappoint. I doubt most fans will be disappointed because it's a huge improvement in terms of sculpt and deco, but those wanting the perfect Neyo will have to wait. Oh, and he's got that horrid stamp carved into his thigh like so many recent figures do. Should Hasbro introduce a 6-inch version eventually - and I'm beginning to doubt that it will be soon - I hope the deco issue is addressed. That belt is going to bug the snot out of me for years.
Collector's Notes: I am hearing this figure is hitting Walmart stores. I got mine at Entertainment Earth in a wave 3 case. Given that many collectors are narrowing their focus a bit, and he's the only character from the original trilogy, well, I wouldn't get your hopes up. Good hunting.
Day 2,079: January 16, 2014