Thursday, July 6, 2023

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 3,044: Luthen Rael (The Black Series)

Antiques Dealer

The Black Series 2023 Closed Box Line Look Andor Packaging
Item No.:
Asst. E8908 No. F5529
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #06 - Star Wars: Andor
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: April 2023
Appearances: Star Wars: Andor

Bio: In an era filled with danger, deception, and intrigue, Cassian Andor embarks on a path that will turn him into the rebel hero who will challenge the evil Galactic Empire. (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!

Click here to buy it at eBay now!

It is weird to be in an era where Hasbro can make a good figure, and I don't love it. The series Andor dared to alienate young fans with its lack of adventure and optimism, old fans with very dark and often mumbly visuals, and Star Wars fans by mostly going out of their way to keep out the toy-friendly robots, aliens, droids, and ships that grease the capitalism wheels that keep this franchise going. It's not a bad show at all - it's just not fun. The math doesn't work out great for Luthen Rael in that he's from a classic trilogy era, but not in that size or style, and on a show that reportedly a lot of fans didn't finish watching. It's important to repeat: Hasbro did a nice job here. He's just so drab.

Speaking of capitalism grease, this is a $25 figure and Hasbro did make sure they put in extra joints and all of that stuff. But none of it enhances the figure. Hasbro and Lucasfilm (and Disney Consumer Products?) collaborated on a sculpt that looks superb. It's totally Stellan SkarsgÄrd's face, with his sneer and gravitas present. His hair has faded, his face has wrinkles, he's not a typical action hero and Hasbro did a top-notch job making him as an action figure. As fans of Star Wars get older, I have little doubt the machinery behind the franchise recognizes that you need to make sure you have characters and heroes older than the original fans to keep them on board - as soon as it ends up nothing but a bunch of kids, you might lose the old fans. That's why Luthen is cool - he's a heroic antiques dealer, plotting a rebellion, and has some of the best monologues of the show. He's also got the only really cool ship on the show, but we don't have a toy of that. But we do have an older man in suspenders, baggy waders, and a giant coat with cut-open sleeves. It both looks like a lot of things we've seen before in a general sense, but also I don't think I can name any other figure with these kinds of sleeves, or suspenders. He doesn't even have a holster - he's just some guy.

He can hold his blaster just fine, and he has a nice little stick with a dagger hidden in it. I don't remember it from the show - admittedly, I only watched the entire series once. The blade on mine is twisted around sort of like the pointy part of a screw, and I have no idea if it's supposed to be that way or not. Oh well. At least both accessories have some paint on him.

The over-engineered figure has great hip joints that are blocked by his coat since he can't sit. He has the typical shoulder joints, plus that newer one that lets them swing forward a bit - it's completely useless with the coat. He also has a double-neck joint with the collar of his shirt having a joint that really isn't visually all that great. Given the figure is mostly molded in color, I'd really like to have seen if Hasbro could have removed some of those shoulder and neck joints and perhaps an accessory to give us a figure at a $19.99 price point. They did a good job getting a lot of textures on this figure to look and feel good, with a little ore gloss on the figure than I'm used to seeing for The Black Series. I love gloss on The Retro Collection, but less so on fabric elements of my 6-inch figures.

As far as quality control goes, mine had a fused knee that took a lot to get to budge - it looks like the pieces may be melted together, perhaps destined to never bend. For $25 I have pretty high standards, but "the joints should all be able to move" seems like a pretty low bar to cross for success. The funny thing is if this figure came in a window box, I could see being disinclined to open it and would even recommend it - but you want to see him. What's the point of owning a closed box? I think fans of the show will enjoy this figure, but at $25 a whack I can't say I'm excited about drab-colored clothing on people, even if their faces are some of the best we've ever seen out of Hasbro. If you see this one on sale somewhere, I'd say it's probably worth it. Just check those knee joints before you throw away your receipt.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 3,044: July 6, 2023

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