So far this week, I’ve looked at a pair of the good guys from the new Star Wars flick and since Hasbro conveniently split this wave into two heroes and two villains, it’s time to turn to the baddies. Pressing on into day three of Force Awakens Week brings us to the mysterious villain of the new film, Kylo Ren.
There’s the snazzy new Star Wars Black packaging, which I seriously hope is going to be retained for the Classic Star Wars characters whenever Hasbro gets back to doing them. Again, the back panel has a little teaser blurb about Kylo Ren and we’ve had a few other snippets drop into our laps through the Internets. Disney seem to be making a bit deal out of the fact that he’s not a Sith Lord and it sounds to me like he’s going to be more of a hands-on kind of Field Commander of some kind. I like that idea a lot and all I can hope is that he turns out better than Darth Maul… blah!
What’s this? A dark, cloaked and masked villain in a Star Wars movie? Outrageous! I jest, of course, because I’m perfectly fine with this new Star Wars film looking to pop in an obvious Vader substitute. I’ll also say that I really dig the design of this guy’s outfit, even if there isn’t a whole lot that’s terribly original about it. On the surface, you basically just get a wide belt and a lot of flowing black robes. His arms are sculpted to look like they’re wrapped up, or the sleeves are just segmented.
I think this is easily Hasbro’s best attempt thus far at integrating softgoods into this 6-inch scale, although so far there hasn’t been much competition for such accolades. The material they used for Ren’s cloak is fantastic and flows about the figure splendidly. Even the hood looks perfect. I also dig that they layered the cloak with sculpted plastic “cloth” under it as well as the shoulder wrap. The combination gives the figure a lot of interesting depth and allowed for a very specific look to the tattered shoulder piece that probably couldn’t have been achieved as well with actual cloth material. And when I view this guy from the back, I can’t help but hear him hiss, “Bagginssssss!”
Kylo’s mask is nicely sculpted and the silver paint offers just the right little bit of flourish to what is otherwise an almost entirely black figure. It’s worth pointing out that the silver looks like it was just sprayed on and not terribly precisely. I wonder if that mask is ever going to come off in the movie. I’d dig it if he slowly removed it only to find it was Ricardo Montalban. You see, kids, before Cumberbatch there was another… ah, forget it. Never-mind. The mask design is cool enough, but there’s nothing about it that suggests it’s likely to become as iconic as Vader’s.
With a heaping helping of plastic sculpted robes under those cloth robes, one might expect Kylo’s legs to be rendered useless, but I’m happy to report that isn’t the case. Unlike poor Rey, Kylo Ren has full range of motion in all his points of articulation. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and double hinges at the knees. The ankles feature hinges and lateral rockers. It feels like there’s a ball joint buried in the torso and I’m not sure what’s going on in the neck, but he can at least turn his head side to side.
Kylo comes with one accessory, and that’s his controversial cross-hilted light saber. The hilt and blade are two separate pieces, and while I wasn’t expecting it, you can indeed remove the blade to display him with the weapon ignited or switched off. To make that work, Hasbro had to take a little liberty with the blade effect, by connecting the blade to the cross-guard and I have to say, I like the way this looks better than the actual onscreen design. By connecting the cross-guard to the blade, it just looks less gimmicky to me. I don’t see anyway to have him wear the hilt, but who knows? Maybe there’s a reason for that.
Kylo Ren is not only my favorite figure of this assortment so far, but he may be my favorite figure of the 6-inch Black line to date. Besides the cool, totally bad ass, character design, this figure exhibits the nearly flawless blending of plastic and cloth that I was hoping to see more of in these larger scale figures. And the articulation is the kind that makes me not want to stop playing with him. I don’t think the cloth robes could have been as effectively executed on a 3 3/4″ figure and right there this figure passes my litmus test in justifying the existence of this scale. On every count, I consider this one a homerun. Tomorrow, I’ll wrap up this themed week with a look at the First Order Stormtrooper.