The first figure I looked at in the Black 3 ¾” scale series was the Stormtrooper and it was pretty disappointing. Nonetheless, thanks to Amazon selling these things for ridiculously cheap I couldn’t resist picking up a bunch of different figures in the line. Case in point, they were handing out Biker Scouts for less than $3 each so I gambled and picked up four of them to add to my already sizeable Imperial Forces. Could I possibly go wrong buying Biker Scouts for $3 a pop? Let’s find out!
I love the minimalist and artsy deco used for Star Wars Black’s 6-inch window boxes, but I do not care for it all that much on the 3 ¾” carded packages. These figures look like the same kind of stuff we’ve been getting on the pegs for a long while and wrapping them in collector-style art house packages doesn’t really do them any favors. It’s kind of just bizarre and confusing. Now I don’t care one way or the other because I’m tearing these bitches open, but even the MOC collectors may have issues here since the matte finish on the cards don’t wear well and three of the four Biker Scouts I got have issues with the bubbles separating from the card. In fact, one bubble was completely off the card and rattling around in the shipping box. Also, there are no pictures of other figures on the back of the package. It goes against ages of Star Wars figure packaging tradition. It’s just wrong.
Ok, so there he is. I picked one of the four I got at random for most of these shots. I wouldn’t say he’s the best or the worst, as they all have their share of problems. If you were gracious enough to read my SWB Stormtrooper feature than you know I’m not keen on scrutinizing and comparing different versions of figures. I find it boring and tedious. That having been said, quick research tells me that this figure is a repack of the one that came with the updated Speeder Bike released not too long ago. I never did pick up one of those, but most of my Biker Scouts are from the Legacy Collection, which in turn were repacks of the Vintage Collection figures… I think. I’ve always been very happy with the sculpting and articulation on those figures and so I bought them whenever I saw them on the pegs.
From the waist down, this new Black release appears to be a repaint of the Legacy figures I own. The pic above shows the two figures side by side. The sculpting on the Black figure strikes me as being much softer in some areas, and the plastic doesn’t feel as good a quality. Happily the ankle holster is still there for him to stow his pistol and most of the detailing has transferred over. But the real problem with this figure lies in the paint job or specifically the lack of painted hinges in the shoulder joints. Yes, the shoulder hinges are left black giving him huge black stripes running down his shoulder plates. Blah! The hinges in the ankles are also left black, but with the shoulders being so obvious, it’s kind of hard to get upset about the ankles too. I suppose I could try to convince myself that the shoulder hinges are a paint stripe to denote a special squad of these guys, but I’m really reaching for an excuse. I am usually extremely forgiving about unpainted pins and hinges, but here the oversight is just too obvious and the fact that they were left unpainted in what is supposed to be a 3 3/4″ collector line is just bullshit. The rest of the paint on this figure’s body is give and take, with a fair amount of slop and bleeding between the black and white. The one notable improvement in the paint is the lack of mud on the boots. I prefer my Biker Scouts to be clean, although it was never a major sticking point for me on the Legacy Scouts.
The head on the Black figure is the one thing about the sculpt that varies from the older release. Besides the detail being a lot softer on the Black release, the paint isn’t applied as well and the visor is notably bowed. Of the four figurs I have, the visor varies from being totally rounded to just somewhat bowed, but none of them are as straight as they should be. I definitely prefer the straighter visor and crisper detail on the older figure.
I’ve never featured the Legacy Scout on FFZ before so let’s run down the articulation. The head rests on a generous ball joint, which is nice because he can look up when riding a Speeder Bike. The shoulders are ball jointed with a pin and hinge and the arms feature ball joints in the shoulders and swivels in the forearms. The legs have ball joints in the hips, knees, and ankles. There is no waist swivel, but there is a pretty flexible ball joint in the torso that gets the job done.
In the end, I’d say the Biker Scout is only slightly better than the Stormtrooper and still quite a disappointment. With the cheap plastic, soft sculpt, and spotty paint it literally looks and feels like a knock-off. At $10 he is a huge step back from the previous released versions and the people at Hasbro should be ashamed of themselves for putting these on the pegs. It’s one thing to repack an old figure and sell it as new, but for the love of God, why make the figure worse? Granted, at less than three bucks a pop, I can’t get too upset about buying these. There’s always room in the back of my AT-AT for these guys to chill out and just buff up the numbers of my Imperial cannon fodder, but it’s no secret why Amazon is practically giving these things away as “Ad On Items.” So, that makes Strike Two for the 3 ¾” Star Wars Black line, Hasbro. We’ll come back to the line again in a couple of days and see if the next one is any better.