Thursday, December 3, 2015

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,251: First Order TIE Fighter Pilot (The Black Series 6-Inch)

The Force Awakens The Black Series 6-Inch Vehicle
Item No.:
  No.  B3954
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: TIE Fighter, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $169.99
Availability: November 2015
Appearances: The Force Awakens

Bio: The elite starfighter pilots of the First Order have access to specialized craft, such as two-seater TIE craft outfitted with enhanced weapons and sensor systems. Pilots launch into combat aboard these advanced fighter craft, hunting down enemy vessels and protecting space around installations and warships.  (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:  Complete with red stripes, the First Order TIE Fighter Pilot marks the debut of this mold - a black version is expected in regular $20 packaging any day now.   This one has unique markings, and costs a lot more, and takes up a lot more room once you get the TIE Fighter - itself bulkier than that Imperial Shuttle that your parents didn't love enough to buy you when it was on Red Tag Special at Lionel PlayWorld in 1985.  Toys of this size spark the imagination and bragging rights, while simultaneously making you question your devotion to your hobby.  One of these toys is enough to require you reorganize your office or home collecting space.  Odds are Hasbro won't stop here - and odds are they wouldn't be satisfied to keep things at smaller sizes like Dewbacks and Landspeeders, either.   Hasbro's initiative to include a unique figure with vehicles will also test your ability to stay your definition of "all in," if you still are - my TIE is so big that its wings block out light in much of the room that my vehicles live in right now.   In some respects, Hasbro's grab for higher-dollar collectibles and the level of impressiveness we've clamored for since 1995 could be our undoing in fairly short order.

The figure itself is about as good as anything else in this line - although (and I can't believe I'm saying this) the 3 3/4-inch package is more fun.  After all, the smaller TIE and pilot has gun storage and firing rockets - the large one is a tedious (but gorgeous) craft with the most beautiful interior I've ever seen in an action figure toy.  It's also damn near impossible to fit the figure in there - I could not seat the figure inside without dismantling the seating and removing parts with a screwdriver.  Perhaps your fingers are more nimble.  This is no critique of the figure, but figure/vehicle compatibility has been a recurring problem since the 1995 relaunch and I don't get the feeling these things were fully tested.

As a figure unto itself, you're going to like the TIE Pilot. Of course you will - you always have.  Now it integrates elements of other figures, which adds to the charm.  His blaster design looks a lot more like the original 1982 Kenner figure's (incorrect) weapon, and the back of his armor has the famous Stormtrooper "OII" markings.   Shoulders feature the First Order symbol, while the rest of the figure is a mishmash of elements remixed from previous pilots - the red stripes may be familiar to fans of the Expanded Universe, while the helmet's one tube and smaller chest components feature fewer, smaller switches than the "old" original.  The suit fits quite well, but seems more armored than before - take note of the forearms being covered, and the shoulders too.  This gives the figure an even more militaristic look when compared to the original TIE Fighter, whose only real armor was on the head and chest.  The quality of the paint is on par with Hasbro's better efforts, with glossy "plastic" and more matte "cloth" elements - but it all shines a bit.

Articulation is similarly on par with other figures - single-jointed elbows, double-jointed knees, and rocker ankles.  I had to have him basically "kneel" to fit in the TIE Fighter, but he does fit and does look awesome through the cockpit's glass.   His movement is a little bit better than his Stormtrooper companions, but I'd be lying to you if I said the belt and straps didn't get in the way of the hip movement.   As a TIE Fighter with pilot - assuming the two were never meant to interact - this is a wonderful set.   I don't believe any figure should require this much fidgeting and fudging to fit in his vehicle, mostly because it wasn't a problem for any toy that I can recall from my toy box in the 1980s.  Figures fit, period.   This TIE Pilot will look great on your shelf - which is where you may as well keep him, because really, why bother hiding it in the vehicle anyway?   Unquestionably not worth the asking price of the whole set unless you really want the TIE (and despite its problems, I still do) but perhaps a clearance sale will flush these out of brick and mortar in the next few months - maybe.   Then again, maybe so will the movie.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth, and so far I've seen them online, at Target, and mostly at Toys R Us.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,251: December 3, 2015

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has had issues getting the pilot into his seat. I haven't had a lot of time to sit and mess with him since getting the TIE, but I don't know if I can bring myself to taking the ship apart to get him in.

You're right on about the TIE being huge. I knew going in that it was going to be big, but I didn't appreciate just how big until it was dwarfing my big AT-AT. AT this point it looks like I'm going to have to build a shelf to hold it - nothing I currently have is quite big enough.

I also completely agree that the smaller First Order TIE is probably more fun. If the scale was just a little closer to accurate it would be perfect for the 4" line. It's not too far off from what it should be, but it's far enough to be obvious.