Thursday, September 19, 2019

Sttar Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,622: Commander Pyre (The First Order, Galaxy's Edge, The Black Series 6-Inch)

COMMANDER PYRE (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: MSE Droid, Kylo Ren, Commander Pyre, Blaster pistol, blaster rifle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $69.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Star Wars: Resistance

Bio:  A fearsome First Order stormtrooper officer, Commander Pyre stands out from the legions of identically equipped soldiers with his black-and-gold armor. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  Much like the Mountain Trooper, I don't believe Commander Pyre appears in Galaxy's Edge as of yet - he's a fairly generic baddie in the Star Wars: Resistance with a clever design that makes use of existing assets.  Pyre is basically the 2015 Black Series First Order Stormtrooper [FOTD #2,162] which we've been given a few times over the years.  The plain white figure has received alternate helmets, pauldrons, and other new accessories todress up an otherwise nearly identical figure.   As far as I can tell, there are no new parts on this figure - the Trooper-with-a-pauldron was sold previously as the First Order Stormtrooper Officer [FOTD #2,248], a 2015 Amazon exclusive.   So why buy this one?

It's gold.  It's also the reason to buy this set.  Hasbro could have easily sold this figure in its basic assortments or as a store exclusive, but for the time being it's a bit of a mystery why it wound up at a theme park without yet seeing it as a costumed character or as a known element of a ride.  Maybe it is!  We just don't know yet.

Since we haven't seen a "real" Pyre suit yet, we can only assume this is accurate.  It seems the dark elements on the arms and waist run a bit darker than a cartoon, but it could just be the lighting in the animation.  The layout matches the 3 3/4-inch figure, meaning that it's a gold Stormtrooper.  There's not a lot special here other than a black small blaster, a gold big blaster, and a pauldron.  I appreciate one change, though - the gloves.  I find the normal white trooper's partially white fingers weird and distracting, this figure has grey backs of the hands and black fingers for a more "classic" look.

As sets go, the First Order one is not the most interesting, but at least you get a trooper in C-3PO drag.  That's new - I don't believe we've ever had any sort of gold trooper figure before.   What is also interesting is that the figure was altered from the early test shots - Hasbro's first production had an all-black rifle.  This one has gold highlights.  I appreciate the change.   If you like this figure, go ahead and grab one - he's neat and I don't assume we'll see him outside Disney very much.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,622: September 19, 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,621: Stormtrooper (The Retro Collection)

STORMTROOPER Stiff Neck
The Retro Collection Target / Entertainment Earth Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. E6255  No. E6268
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: May 2019
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: As members of the Stormtrooper Corps, an independent branch that operated under the Imperial Army, they served as frontline assault forces and formed the backbone of the Imperial Military.  (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: With The Retro Collection, I'm getting updates of figures I have owned for decades - I really played with these as a kid!  So when something feels a little off, it sticks out - and this Stormtrooper is a bit off.  The basic figure is here, with its jointed shoulders and hips.  The hand grips the blaster rather loosely - and that was true of some of the originals - while the neck just plain doesn't exist. The helmet was fused to the chest.  It's white with  black paint - just like the original, and if you never open it I assume you will find it to be good enough.

For you olds out there, you'll feel some tactile problems.  The figure is a bit less glossy than the original.  It's a bit tougher to pose it to find his center of gravity - the 2019 release is prone to flopping over.  Also, the paint is a bit off.    The helmet is actually a bit better than the original figure, but the black on the wrists, elbows, and knees is just a bit off. The black doesn't cover quite the same spots, and what you're getting feels like a bootleg.  Admittedly, it's the very best bootleg, but it's still just not where it should be.  Some of the landmarks above the belt seem a smidgen off as well - the divots feel like they may not be precisely where I remember.  The front of the knees have a bit of black above the armor to show the body glove, which is interesting as some of the originals tend to lack that detail due to how they were painted back then.  Paint just couldn't make it there - so now it looks strange, even if it is arguably another improvement.

With painted wrists, it's possible Hasbro was trying to preemptively prevent yellowing in spots - but we won't know for sure until later.   The Stormtrooper is like someone speaking a language perfectly, but not natively - it's right, but it feels wrong.  The figure has traces of an accent while being technically flawless.  Most people will never notice, but linguists and super-duper picky collectors are going to notice.  If you didn't grow up with the originals, I would suspect you're going to like this figure with no reservations.  I doubt you'll find a better carded trooper anywhere near the price, and obviously I'm nitpicking because of my affection for the original.  He's still good.  He's just not an original.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,621: September 17, 2019

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,620: Mountain Trooper (The First Order, Galaxy's Edge, The Black Series 6-Inch)

MOUNTAIN TROOPER (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: MSE Droid, Kylo Ren, Commander Pyre, Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $69.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Galaxy's Edge

Bio:  Like all First Order Stormtroopers, specialized units of Batuu Mountain Troopers are trained from birth, growing up with 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 Amazon now!


Commentary:  I haven't found any photographs of the Mountain Trooper as a real-world, in-park or in-movie entity.  I've seen this action figure, and search engines don't seem to yield actual costumes.  That makes this something of an oddity - is it legit?  Is it necessary?  While Kylo Ren is in movies and Commander Pyre is on a TV show you aren't watching, the Mountain Trooper is something of a mystery - right now, he's just an action figure.  And a derivative one at that.

At first glance I thought it was a new figure, but the Mountain Trooper is a retool of the Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader [FOTD #2,350].  The feet bear the item number of its ancestor, B9801, and it shares the waist and thighs of the Scarif trooper too.    The hands seem to be the same, but everything else is new - the chest, the helmet, the arms, the boots, and the kama/skirt are all new.  Its articulation is identical, and I believe the blaster is new and pretty good too.

It's an oddity as it combines late Empire parts with First Order elements.  The red shoulder recalls the Sandtroopers, the helmet has the Scarif visor and a mouth/face that looks a lot like the Biker Scout/Scarif Trooper with a line across the face that looks like a standard issue Stormtrooper mouth.  The back of the figure has a decent First Order look, with the "O" you'll recognize as a recurring element on the back of First Order TIE Pilots and Stormtroopers.
Unless this shows up somewhere, it's a deleted scene/concept figure.  I think it was kind of cruddy to make a figure that doesn't appear anywhere that takes elements from the Empire and throws on some new First Order bits without there being some story reason for it.   It's a figure you can add to your army, and arguably it's not all Empire or First Order, but you could put it with either and probably not love it.  The sculpt is great, but it's busy and I just generally don't love it.   Merch for merch's sake - especially when new tooling is involved - is kind of upsetting when we could have had something from the movie, or the park, or even from Resistance instead.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,620: September 12, 2019

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,619: Kylo Ren (The First Order, Galaxy's Edge, The Black Series 6-Inch)

KYLO REN (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: MSE Droid, Mountain Trooper, Commander Pyre, Lightsaber, Cape, Hilt
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $69.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Galaxy's Edge

Bio:  The son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, Ben Solo was seduced by the dark side of the Force and renamed himself Kylo Ren, bcoming the First Order's champion and Supreme Leader Snoke's student. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  This is not an essential Kylo Ren figure.  While Rey, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca all had unique bells and whistles to make you want to give them a second look, Kylo Ren is a step backward.   You could cobble one of these together using the head of the 2015 6-inch figure and the 2017 6-inch figure, just by giving the helmet to The Last Jedi release - and it might be better.

If you look at Kylo Ren #45 [FOTD #2,454] this is pretty much that figure with some problems.  Kylo Ren has the 2015 helmet with some divots created by the plastic insert - it doesn't look good.  His ankles are looser, which is bad for displaying - sturdy ankle joints are incredibly important for ensuring a figure doesn't topple over on your shelf.   The lightsaber hilt will not fit in or stay in the belt slot, at least on my sample. 

On the bright side, the sculpt still looks good.  The simple paint job is still perfectly fine, and he can hold his accessories in his fists nicely.  I like the plastic cape which drapes over his shoulders nicely.  Since the figure is molded in black and has elbow joints with a marvelous range, it's a pretty good skeleton on which to build a figure.  With 26 points of articulation, it's totally fine but won't knock your socks off since you've probably got all the parts of this figure in your collection already.  
While you may wish to track down this set, this figure is not a worthwhile part of it.  Even if you're a Kylo completist, you'd be better served buying extreme-clearance Kylo Ren figures and cobbling together a similar one on your own.  This is a bad reissue, or a bad sample of a perfectly dull reissue.  I would advise getting a display stand with neck or waist support so he doesn't fall over, if your sample is anything like mine.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,619: September 10, 2019

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,618: DJ R3X (Droid Depot, The Black Series 6-Inch)

DJ R3X (Droid Depot)
Galaxy's Edge The Black Series 6-Inch Figure Disney Park Exclusive
Item No.:
No. E5158
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #n/a
Includes: R2-D2, BB-8, C-3PO
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $69.99
Availability: June 2019
Appearances: Galaxy's Edge

Bio:  RX-24 more commonlyknown as Rex, has given up the pilot's life and has reimagined himself as DJ R3X.   Behind his DJ table, he spins and plays upbeat music as he watches over the crowd of the cantina. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability:  Click here to buy it at Amazon now!


Commentary:  I dragged my feet on DJ R3X.  It's a good figure but it didn't push my buttons, probably in part because I haven't been to the park to see the character.  The new mold is a pretty great metaphor for the Disney stewardship of Star Wars - it's the skeleton of the old thing you liked with a new coat of paint and some added bells and whistles.  The silhouette of the original is there, the original voice actor is also there, but it changed.  Disney could just as easily have left classic Rex in there as a DJ and probably would've sold just as many figures - if not more - thanks to the potent poison of nostalgia.   There's a hint of AC-38, more than a bit of Old Rex, but it's a new thing with giant headphones and raver goggles, plus a new mouth microphone piece over the original speaker.   It's more. It's extremer.  It might be good enough, or it might be insultingly different - that's on you.

If you like the design, it's a good figure. The head telescopes - or periscopes? - up and down.  Each arm is on a body part that can swivel around the central pole of the body, and each arm has multiple points of articulation.  Unless I missed some, you're looking at about 18 joints including elbows, rotating poles, claw thumbs, and more.  Thing is, it's not super helpful as the DJ has no turntables or machines with which to interact.  It's nice that they overdesigned this guy to make him wonderful, but like some other figures in this scale you have to wonder if they couldn't have saved a few bucks and considered functionality once it comes home with you.


Deco is great.  You have this wonderful orange with grey, tons of scuffing, blue eyes, and a white helmet - it's very Star Warsy.  There's something odd about the orange, but it works - it feels like an old, used, and theoretically a used real piece of music equipment in a bar somewhere.  It feels legit, but it somehow doesn't belong with the rest of my The Black Series figures - everybody else feels like a degree off from a movie design, while this one seems just a bit more off.  It's good, it's close, but it feels like we missed a step or two in the stages of droid evolution somehow.    There's nothing wrong with it, it's about 4-inches tall, and as an exclusive mold you're probably in the market for one.  But the rest of the set was a bit more exciting for me, and I already had all those characters.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,618: September 5, 2019

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,617: Luke Skywalker (The Retro Collection)

LUKE SKYWALKER Old Lemon Hair Is Back
The Retro Collection Target / Entertainment Earth Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. E6255  No. E6266
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Yellow Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: May 2019
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Luke Skywalker, a Force-sensitive human male, was a legendary Jedi Master who fought in the Galactic Civil War during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Along with his companions, Princess Leia Organa and Captain Han Solo, Skywalker served on the side of the Alliance to Restore the Republic—an organization committed to the downfall of Emperor Palpatine and the restoration of democracy. Following the war, Skywalker became a living legend, and was remembered as one of the greatest Jedi in galactic history.  (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: Since I was born after the original film, getting the original Star Wars action figures were impossible by the time of Return of the Jedi.  You could get a Vader, but the original Luke Skywalker wasn't at Toys by Roy or Long's Drugs or Lionel PlayWorld anymore.  I went bonkers when I saw him in the J.C. Penney catalog and treasured him. And then our neighbors broke the lightsaber. Thanks, Julie. It's still broken.

Luke had been rereleased in 1995 as a shorter, cast-from-the-figure release that was a pretty good take on the original with a head that seemed a bit smaller and colors that were a little paler.  This new 2019 edition has eyes that are set a little wider apart and he's a smidgen shorter.  It's the yellow hair variant, and the "shorts" are painted white rather than being molded in white plastic - all the ones I've owned were molded in white plastic with brown paint.  This kind of variant existed on tons of vintage figures, but it's an easy way for me to see this new release as a little different.   Most of the rest of the figure is pretty close to the original, with slightly-off paint apps on the hands, the black belt, and the classic "broken"  hand that you might be able to grip a blaster despite not being designed to do so.  

It's a pretty remarkable design when you think about it - Luke's telescoping lightsaber was barely glimpsed at in the movie and a blaster or other accessory would have made just as much if not more sense.  This future-proofed Luke by making a figure that lives in adventures after the original film, rather than limiting it to specific scenes in the movie.  As a piece of history, this Luke design was a stand-in for the actual movie for millions of kids.  In 1977, you couldn't own the movie - maybe some comics, or a novel, or Super 8 clips.  You had to reenact things yourself in most cases, and that's what made the old toys extra special and resulted in four decades of obsessing over them.   If the price is right, I'd recommend it.

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

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,617: September 3, 2019