Star Wars Black Series: Cassian Andor and B2EMO by Hasbro

A friend of mine once argued that beyond The Original Trilogy, Star Wars was incapable of any real depth and new ideas. I proffered that Rogue One shattered his argument, but he insisted that even Rogue One was just propped up by familiar imagery that we’ve seen over and over again. We had to agree to disagree on that one, but I understood his underlying point. And then came Andor, a series that even he had to agree expanded the Star Wars franchise beyond the same old, same old. Andor is so well-written that it’s almost unbelievable that it came from the same production company that gave us Obi-Wan and Book of Boba Fett. It introduces us to characters that are motivated and relatable, showers us with finely crafted and memorable dialogue, and does more to expand the Star Wars Universe than well, almost anything I can think of. Of course, all this comes at the cost of a lot of action. The show is slow and plodding. It’s deliberate and measured. So did I actually want action figures from this kind of show? You bet I did!

And Hasbro answered the call with this initial offering: A two-pack featuring the titular Cassian Andor and his droid B2EMO. This set started life as a Pulse Exclusive, but just this week it was offered up as a wide release by other online retailers. As far as I can tell, the retail release is identical to the exclusive, but if you went with Pulse, you got the figures in hand at about the same time it was going up for pre-order elsewhere. So, I guess that’s something!

The packaging here is very nice! You get what looks like an enclosed box, but it’s actually a slipcase holding two windowless boxes that slide out of opposite ends. Each of the figures is secured with twisty string, and they look quite striking against the red trays. And yeah, B2 looks a little awkward levitating in the middle of his human-sized tray. Let’s get them out of there and start with Cassian himself!

Well, I actually didn’t expect as much color as we got on this figure. Not that it’s all that flashy, but the blue shirt looks nice, as does the gold buckle and fixtures on his smuggler-style belt. The overcoat is a reddish-brown and the tunic is two-tone green. All in all, for a show that is pretty drab on screen, I think the deco on this figure pops pretty well. The sculpt work that went into the costume is very impressive. We get all sorts of stitching, rumples, and layers. It perfectly characterizes Andor as the common rabble that he is, with maybe just a hint of swashbuckling flare.

I’ve gone back and forth on this portrait. It’s definitely a huge improvement from the Rogue One versions, and I think the likeness is good from certain angles, but maybe not from dead on. The hair sculpt is especially well done, and the facial hair is pretty good too. The printing makes the details look rather blurry up close, but it looks fine as long as you don’t punch in too close.

The articulation here is a bit better than I was expecting, and by that I mean the bulky plastic costume doesn’t really inhibit anything. Alas, there are no double hinges in the elbows or knees, but instead rotating hinges. You do still get thigh swivels, but no bicep swivels. It’s not ideal to me, but it works OK, although the elbows can only manage 90-degree bends. The ankles are hinged with lateral rockers, there’s a ball joint at the waist, and the neck rotates at the base and has a ball joint further up in the head. Andor features two trigger-finger hands, which is kind of strange since he only comes with one gun.

The gun is a simple pistol, which was showcased a few times in the series. I like this boxy no-nonsense design. It’s not as flashy as some of the weapons of the Star Wars Universe, but it fits the pragmatic nature of the series to a tee. All in all, I’m very pleased with the way Cassian came out. There’s definitely some room for improvement, but overall not bad. I wish I could say the same about B2EMO…

Yeah, this guy is just a huge disappointment. Granted, the design doesn’t offer quite as much to work with as an Astromech, but this little salvage droid deserved better than what we got here. My biggest complaint are the feet, which are rubbery and not really straight. Hasbro couldn’t even throw this poor droid some actual wheels so he could roll. Instead he just has sculpted treads under the feet. All this makes him feel really cheap. I do like the rusted finish on his body, as well as the sculpted pitting, but he could have used something to bring out those panel lines. I may have to bust out a Sharpie and do it myself. You get one orange foot, suggesting that it was replaced at some point and Cassian couldn’t be bothered to paint it. It’s also really hard to make out any of the detail around the inside of his head, although I’m happy they gave his lens a little red to help make it out better.

In terms of articulation, B2 can close up into a box and then open up in three stages. He can turn his head and he can extend his feet out, which is something I didn’t even notice him doing in the series. The big disappointment here is that his head isn’t on some kind of ball joint so it could angle upward. If this were a 3 3/4-inch figure, I would have been OK with all these nitpicks, but… I don’t know, I was just expecting something a lot more impressive than what we got for a 6-inch scale figure. Maybe if we got his charging station, that would have helped him feel a little more substantial.

I got this set for 25% off when Hasbro was running their Pulse sale, and that certainly helps me accept B2 for what he is. Needless to say, I’m a lot more impressed and satisfied with the Cassian figure. I certainly don’t have any buyer’s remorse, but now that the set is available at multiple retailers, the chances of it turning up at deeper discounts or clearance is a lot better. Personally, I want to support the figures Hasbro releases for the Andor series so we will get more, otherwise, it probably would have been prudent to wait for a better price on this set.

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