Star Wars Black: Deluxe Emperor Palpatine by Hasbro

The first time Hasbro released The Emperor as part of the 6-inch Black Series, I took a pass. I think I was on the outs with collecting Star Wars at the time. or maybe I had too many other things on my wish list that month, but for whatever reason I didn’t pick him up. It was a decision I learned to regret because he started going for a good amount of money on the second hand market, so when I finally decided I wanted him, I was shit out of luck. But to my surprise, this was a case where hesitancy ultimately paid off, and Hasbro released this new Palpatine figure with an extra pair of heads and his almighty throne. Truly, the Sith Lords had smiled upon me.

Submitted for your approval, the terrible mock up package used by Amazon as their official image. Mine arrived with the package smashed to smithereens, so I’m forced to use this one. You get the idea. The window box follows the usual deco for this series with a black box, red interior, and red right panel. You get some monochrome character art in the lower right hand corner, a multi-lingual blurb about the character on the back, and as usual everything is collector friendly. The only difference between this box and the regular releases is the size, as this one is thicker than normal to contain the throne piece. Also, this release is an Amazon Exclusive, so there’s no number on the right side panel.

And here’s Papa Palpy out of the box and overall I am very pleased with him. One of my unending gripes with the Black Series is Hasbro’s reluctance to use soft-goods when it’s called for. Hell, it took a do-over from The Mandalorian to give us a proper robe on a Jawa! Well, if there was ever a figure that needed soft-goods, Palpatine was it. The figure features sculpted robes covered with a black cloth skirt, and finally a hooded and sleeved robe on top of that. There’s a plastic sash around his waist and a plastic catch holding the robe together just under his neck. Does it look perfect? Nah, not really. But I am willing to grant some leeway because of how difficult it is to get tailored clothing to look right at this scale. Hell, even at the bigger one-sixth scale, it can be tough. But in this case, I think the robe falls about the figure quite naturally and the sleeves are tailored to give him the hanging wizard sleeve effect. I do find that it’s necessary to futz around with the cloth a bit to get it to look right, but that’s to be expected too.

The only area where the cloth gives me trouble is in the hood. The sides of the hood are supposed to fold out a bit on his shoulders, and the garment is tailored to make that happen, but they tend to hover a bit higher. Also, the fold on the left side tends to ride higher. It sometimes gives him a Sally Field Flying Nun look to him. That’s a reference to an old TV show, kids. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, and honestly, it may not be an issue on all figures. My guess is that a lot of these will have their own individual quirks, so your mileage may vary.

I’m not going to run down the articulation here, but it feels like the figure makes use of all the standard points. He is definitely a lot more agile than I need my Emperor figure to be. Seriously, in terms of posing him, he can do most anything, but all I need him to do is stand there looking haggard and menacing. Palpatine comes with his rustic black cane, which he can hold in his right hand, and his left hand is sculpted so as to be pointing. The cane feels a little short. I don’t remember The Emperor hunching over quite that much when walking. But I can live with it.

You get three different heads and all of them are spectacular sculpts. The figure comes out of the box with a neutral expression or, in The Emperor’s case, slightly dour. You also get a smiling face and an angry “Imma Gonna Force Zap You” face. All of these are excellent sculpts with some solid paint to back them up. Unfortunately, all the years of Robot Chicken have made it difficult for me to take The Emperor seriously. Especially when he’s pulling that smiling face.

Of course, the big draw of this set is the inclusion of his throne. It’s likely to get collectors to double-dip on the character, so how is it? Pretty damn good, actually. It’s solid and sturdy and features some great detail, particularly in the control panels on the arm rests. It’s a shame they couldn’t have included a cardboard backdrop showing the window behind him, but then I guess I’m asking for a lot.

The figure fits in the throne quite well. At first, I thought there wasn’t enough head clearance, but it looks like that was the case on the actual film prop. I think my only gripe here is that his feet don’t quite touch the floor when he’s sitting in it, and that looks a bit silly.

The last accessories in the box are a pair of Force lightening hands. I’m really glad, Hasbro went this route, rather than just give us blue energy tendrils to attach to his arms. It works very well and I think the effect looks great.

I pre-ordered this figure ages ago, and had completely forgotten that it was even coming. At close to $40, it was a bit of an indulgence, since I try to be finicky about how much I spend on my Black Series collecting these days. I’m at that point in collecting where space is running out and something’s got to give. Black Series is often close to hitting the chopping block, but then it releases a figure like this and I’m sold on it all over again. With that having been said, if some third-party out there wants to produce a display base for this set with the illustrated cardboard backdrop, I would probably pony up the cash for that.

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Star Wars Black: The Mandalorian by Hasbro

This week was Triple Force Friday where Disney launched merchandise for the upcoming Rise of Skywalker film, as well as a Star Wars video game and TV series. Now, sadly I have almost zero interest in the upcoming movie, Yeah I’m at a weird crossroads with Star Wars. I’ve got a case of franchise fatigue, but buying the toys is a tough habit to break when I’ve been doing it all my life. Fortunately, there is still one spark that may re-kindle my love for this franchise, and that’s The Mandalorian series coming to Disney+ next month. And today I’m checking out the 6-inch Black Series version of the titular character.

It’s safe to say that I was completely blown away by The Mandalorian trailer. I was expecting something flat. stuffy, and dire like Game of Thrones with Star Wars characters. What we got was exciting, explosive, and downright cool. To me it looked more like a Star Wars movie than, well… the last Star Wars movie. If they can make the story and characters work, I think this thing is going to be hugely enjoyable. But all of that is still wrapped in mystery. Even the blurb on the back of this box doesn’t betray any of the main character’s secrets. So let’s open him up and check him out. I’ll note here that this figure was also released with a metallic paint job as a Target Exclusive, and I’ll also be taking a look at that one in the near future.

Yup, this is basically a show built around a guy in a cool-looking set of space armor, and Mando here definitely fits the bill. And while the similarities are certainly there, I was pleased at just how different this armor is from that of our friend Boba Fett. Mando’s ensemble looks more rustic and patchwork, and Hasbro did a beautiful job sculpting in all of those details. I am particularly pleased with the sense of depth here, and although nearly everything is just sculpted as part of the figure, it really does look like we’re getting layers of plate armor and belts worn on top of an underlying suit. For example, the mismatched upper leg plates actually protrude up and away from the hips as they cross those thigh swivels. That’s cool. There are sculpted straps over the halves on the lower right leg armor, and the strap of whatever those little canisters are is neatly painted.

The shoulder armor are separate pieces and cast in soft plastic to help the shoulder articulation along. The cross strap and pistol belt are also separately sculpted and worn by the figure, as is the cape, which hangs around his neck and on his right shoulder.

The head sculpt looks more similar to Jango’s than Boba’s, but maybe that’s just me. As many have pointed out, it’s missing the iconic range-finder, and I find this helmet to be more form fitting than Fett’s. It’s also sporting an all silver paint job, with some blemishes of dirt, which interestingly is at odds from what we’ve seen int he trailer where his helmet is clean and shiny. Of course, the T-shaped visor is painted black, further shrouding the man in mystery. While on the subject, all the paint on this figure is well done. From the silver on the buckles and clips, to the weathering on the armor plates.

The articulation here is fairly straightforward for a Black Series figure. I think the only big surprise for me was the lack of swivels in the biceps. Instead, Mando is sporting rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double-hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint hidden up under the torso, and the neck is ball jointed. Yup, he’s pretty fun to play around with, although he does seem to be a little back-heavy.

The Mandalorian comes with a pistol, which is not dissimilar to the one usually included with Boba Fett. This one strikes me as having more of a 19th Century American West quality to it, which suits the outlaw frontier flavor of the series trailer. The pistol fits nicely into the figure’s right hand and the trigger finger threads through the guard comfortably. It can also be kept in the holster on his right hip.

He also comes with his rifle, and I am both in love with, and very curious about, this distinctive weapon. It looks like a composite between an antique Moroccan firing piece, a Winchester, and a… tuning fork? Yeah, that last bit was immediately identified by fans as a homage to Boba Fett’s weapon in the Star Wars Holiday Special. It looks like it’s some kind of plug bayonet, but in reality, I’m thinking that the energy blast produced by the rifle is emitted from these prongs. Either way, I dig it, and Hasbro did a wonderful job on this little plastic version. The stock and furniture is painted brown, the receiver is gun metal gray, and the prongs are silver. It’s a lot of detail and color variation on an accessory in this scale. I also appreciate that the figure can hold it well and even assume a firing position, by drawing it up to his face.

There’s a tab on the side of the gun that looks like it’s intended to be a magazine, but it doubles as a tab that fits into a slot on his back, passing through a slot on his shoulder strap, so he can wear the rifle on his back. Now, I say “fits” but that may be pushing it. Mine barely goes in at all. I can make it work, but it doesn’t take much to knock it off.

If you’ve been around FFZ long enough, you may know that I love getting Star Wars figures of characters before they appear on the big screen. It’s a great way to first experience all the nuances of their look, and get familiar with them before seeing them in action. It also let’s me enjoy them as a blank slate for a little while. I fill my mind with all sorts of assumptions and imaginings of what they are going to be like, and it really brings back the magic of being a kid again. I’ll only have about a month left until more about this character is revealed, but in the meantime, he’s a very exciting figure to add to my collection.

Star Wars Black: Imperial Jumptrooper by Hasbro

Gamestop is not a company that I enjoy doing business with, and that’s a rant for another time. But even I have to get off my high horse for a $5 action figure clearance sale. Yes, even though I know full well that they’re going to take my order then cancel most of it later when they find they didn’t have enough inventory to fill it all. I’m convinced that it’s all just a big come-on to get you on the site to maybe buy a few things at full price. In this case, I ordered about ten figures, and four of the ten were cancelled with the excuse “Item not available.” And a 60% success rate is a lot better than I usually do at these sales. But still, it’s a pretty shitty way to run a business. One of the figures I ordered that actually got fulfilled was the Imperial Jumptrooper, so let’s check him out today!

This guy was supposedly a Gamestop Exclusive, although there’s no indication of that on the package. You can, however, tell it was exclusive to somewhere because there’s no number on the side panel. I had little hope of ever finding this guy in the store, since I try to avoid going in there, and when I do I find it to be pretty terribly stocked. Nonetheless, this wasn’t a figure that I wanted badly enough to go on their site and pay full price plus shipping. My last experience with the Jumptroopers was the 3 3/4-inch figures that were tied to the Force Unleashed game. Those were pretty cool. This one isn’t the same design, but rather it’s based on the look from Star Wars: Rebels. And I guess the older ones aren’t even official canon anymore, but screw that. I have proof it existed! You can’t take away my figures, Disney!!!

Unlike the previous Jumptrooper, this one features a heavy reuse of the regular Imperial Stormtrooper armor. Indeed, most of the body is just recycled from the Black Series Stormtrooper. The big differences include the elongated shoulder pauldrons, and the new helmet. This one also has unpainted lateral hinges in the ankles. Boo! I’m a big fan of the Black Series Stormtrooper, and most everything I dig about that figure can be said about this guy as well. The articulation is solid, albeit appropriately limited for a guy wearing armor. The sculpting is pretty convincing as pieces of armor over an underlying black bodysuit, at least it is for this scale, and the functional holster is a very welcome treat. The orange paint on the left pauldron adds a splash of color to the armor and includes an Imperial insignia stamped on it, as well as the right shoulder.

You can’t have a Jumptrooper without a jetpack, and to be honest, I find this one to be a little understated. I mean, in fairness I guess Boba Fett’s wasn’t that big either. This one has a tank on the top, which I presume is for oxygen, as it has two hoses leading from it and going into the helmet. The pack is mostly white and has minimalist detail, which I guess matches the design of the armor pretty well. The pack itself attaches to the figure simply by pegging into the back, and features a little red and black paint, including some scorch marks around the jet exhaust ports.

The new helmet instantly reminds me of some of the Imperial pilot helmets, like the TIE Pilot or the AT-AT Driver. It still retains a lot of the regular Stormtrooper helmet features, but here the eyes are a continuous visor, the breather tubes protrude from the front, and there’s a crest running up the top of the helmet. The side vents are neatly painted blue, and you get some gray and orange paint on the top. It’s a pretty cool variant that incorporates a number of different Imperial design tropes.

While he may be a specialist, the Jumptroooper still comes with the regular old E-11 Blaster. It’s an excellent sculpt, albeit the plastic is rather soft. Rather than just cast in black plastic, it has a bit of a gunmetal finish to it. He can hold it in his right hand, and it fits into the holster quite well. I don’t mind so much getting this weapon included, as it is the mainstay of the Imperial army, but I still feel like these elites should have been given some kind of special weapon as well.

There is a figure stand included, and this was a big disappointment, mainly because I expected it to be something it wasn’t. As a figure stand itself, it’s perfectly functional. The foot slips into it, and it does a decent job holding him up. I probably wouldn’t mind having a pack of these to prevent some of those action-figure-avalanches in my displays. But when I saw this in the package, I assumed it was going to be some kind of flight stand, with a second piece concealed at the bottom of the box. Obviously, that wasn’t the case and so it feels like a major missed opportunity here.

And as a jetpack trooper, this guy is a little underwhelming to play around with. The regular Stormtrooper armor makes him not terribly agile for those flying poses, which makes me think that maybe Jumptroopers should have more unique armor designed for them to maneuver in the air. Another big missed opportunity here is the lack of any jet blast effect parts to draw attention to that jetpack and really make him look like he’s blasting into action.

Does it sound like I’m down on this figure? Well, maybe. To be honest, I liked the design of the Force Unleashed Jumptrooper a lot better than this one, and I’m kind of sad to know that we’ll never get that one in the 6-inch Black Series. This figure is perfectly serviceable, but it also feels rather lazy. Sure, a lot of that has to do with the design from the show and it isn’t the figure’s fault, but there are also too many missed opportunities for extras. I suppose it’s a good Exclusive release, because I wouldn’t have felt left out if I was never able to get him. As a $5 clearance figure, I’m perfectly happy to have him, but ultimately I am coming away very underwhelmed by this guy.

Star Wars Black (Rebels): Ezra and Chopper by Hasbro

No, I’m not back to my regular schedule yet, but I am happy to be back with a second update this week. Progress! And I decided to do two figures today to make up for the fewer updates. While I still have a pretty big backlog of Star Wars figures to open and review, today I’m going with a pair of more recent acquisitions. It’s no secret that I’ve been a huge fan of the 6-inch Black Series Rebels figures and with the release of Ezra and Chopper, we’re getting ever so close to having a full set of The Ghost crew! Let’s take a look!

It’s the same old packaging! It would have been cool if they did a little something fresh for the Rebels figures, but then I don’t keep these boxes anyway, so do I really care? Nah! They are, however, collector friendly, so if you are in a mind to keep being able to take them out and return them to the box, well there’s nothing stopping you. You get the usual black box with red inserts, monochrome character art on the front, and multi-lingual bio on the back. I had to go online for these since the stores in my area have had the same DJ and Solo figures clogging their pegs forever. Let’s go ahead and start with Ezra.

I’m not usually a big fan of what passes for fashion in the Star Wars universe. A lot of the casual attire comes off to me as boring and flat. That’s not the case with Ezra here. He wears what appears to be a flight jumpsuit, with the lower left leg torn away above the knee, revealing a brown pants leg and piece of knee armor. The right lower leg is covered with a piece of white armor. He lacks the usual control box and straps commonly found on the flight suits, but he does have a waist belt with a holster and pouch, each of which secure to his legs with thigh straps. The outfit is rounded out by a pair of green, fingerless gloves, and his familiar vest with short sleeves and logo on the back. I think Hasbro did a fine job recreating all the little details here, both in terms of sculpt and paintwork. The suit has sculpted rumples, stitch lines and pocket, while the texturing on the jacket looks great. The yellow fringe could have been sharper. Or maybe it was applied intentionally rough to give it a weathered look. At least the logo on the back is nice and crisp.

The holster on his right hip is really just a hook with a flat flap for his lightsaber to rest against. It was a little tough to get it looped in there the first few times, but I got it to work eventually.

Of course, these figures are more realistic takes on the very stylized character designs from the show, and I’m always intrigued to see how they are going to turn out. I was a little worried about Ezra since he always struck me as having one of the odder looks in the series. There was something about his nose that looked really bizarre to me. Nonetheless, the portrait that Hasbro came up with here looks really good. The finish on the skin is a bit too waxy, making him look like he’s sweating, but as for the face sculpt, they definitely managed to make him easily recognizable while casting off the stylized look. The hair is sculpted as a separate piece to give it some depth and it falls around the face in a very convincing manner. It also features some nice purple highlights.

Of course, Ezra comes with his trusty lightsaber-blaster combo, which fits comfortably into either of his hands. I was not a big fan of this weapon early on in the series, I thought it was gimmicky, but I’ve grown to dig it quite a bit. This version looks good for what is a pretty small accessory. It even has multiple paint apps. Obviously, the lightsaber blade is removable, but it was really hard to get out the first time I tried. I was afraid to twist it and have the peg twist off of the blade so I just had to keep pulling on it until it finally gave way.

He also comes with his Imperial cadet helmet. It’s a great looking piece, exhibiting that lovely McQuarrie flavor, and fits over the figure’s head perfectly.The black and red paint apps are overall pretty sharp and crisp.

The articulation here is pretty standard stuff for a 6-inch Black Series figure. Ezra’s arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. His legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso has a ball joint under the chest, and the neck has both a hinge and a ball joint. Ezra is lots of fun to play around with and I am absolutely delighted with how he turned out. Let’s move on to Chopper!

Chopper would have been an easy figure to cheap-out on since he’s so small, but I’m happy to say that Hasbro went the opposite route and instead poured the love into this grumpy little rust-bucket. Indeed, the most surprising thing for me after getting Chopper out of the box is that he feels so substantial. A lot of that has to do with the crazy depth in some of the sculpted details. Besides the panel lining and bolts, you get some components that have been sculpted separately and inserted into the open compartments. I particularly love the yellow square plate that’s just bolted haphazardly on the front. Granted, there’s a lot more detail on the front of Chopper’s body than the back, but I think that’s more a characteristic of the droid’s design than it is a cop-out on Hasbro’s part. Even the tiny eyes and the radar dish are wonderfully realized. And the sculpt can’t take all the credit, because the paint features some nice rust-weathering, in addition to the orange and yellow bits.

Chopper includes a retractable third leg with the beefy little tire on it. There’s no gimmick connecting it to the head rotation, like we saw in the Black Series Astromechs. The column is just held in there by friction so you can rotate it as well as push it in and pull it out. Naturally the side legs rotate back to put him in an ambulatory position and he looks great doing it.

Chopper comes with a replacement left leg, which was a plot point in one of the episodes. It’s definitely a cool bonus and I haven’t decided which way I’m going to display him yet. I am leaning toward the different one because it gives Chopper even more of a junky asymmetrical look.

Of course, you can’t have Chopper without what I like to call his tantrum arms. These pull out from the sides of his head and are remarkably sturdy and easy to manipulate. He also has a utility arm that can fold out from the horizontal panel just under his head. These three appendages even feature some articulation at about the midpoints.

Chopper’s final surprise is a rocket jet, which can replace his third leg, and has a thrust effect part. And since he can’t stand with this piece in, Hasbro included a larger effect part that serves as a stand for when Chopper is in flight mode. Yup, Hasbro really went all out on this little guy. In many ways I think this figure is executed way better than their original Black Series R2-D2. He’s chunky and fun, and he has so many extras that I would have never expected. I think the best thing I can say about this little fella is that he feels like a decent value even at the regular twenty dollar price tag.

And so Hasbro continues to hit these Black Series Rebel figures out of the park. I’ve loved them all, and I think Ezra and Chopper may even be the best ones yet. Indeed, I think I’d be comfortable saying that I think these are some of the best Black Series figures, period! Surely, they can’t stop now and I’m hoping to see Zeb revealed in the next couple of days. He may be a little tougher to do in this realistic style, but I have faith that Hasbro will be able to pull it off. And hell, I’d also like to see them continue and give us some of the baddies from the series as well. And that’s a wrap for this week. Slowly but surely I’m trying to come back. I should be on track for Marvel Monday and then we’ll see how much time I have for the week’s content after that. Thanks for your patience!

Star Wars Black: Zuckuss by Hasbro

I’ve been waiting for it ever since the beginning of the Black Series, and now I’m almost there! Hasbro has finally delivered on a complete run of the bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back in the 6-inch scale.¬†And while Admiral Piett may not need their scum, I absolutely do! I’m still hunting down Dengar, so in the meantime I might as well open up the penultimate bounty hunter release and Disney Store exclusive, Zuckuss. This guy arrived a bit before Christmas and got lost in the insipid miasma of the Holiday Season, and I’m more than ready to check him out!

I was pretty vocal in my anger when I saw that Hasbro agreed to license out Zuckuss as a retailer exclusive release. Making it tougher to get a complete set of these guys is just bad business. But as it turns out, Disney Store exclusives are pretty easy to get, and I don’t mean because I live just a few hours away from Disney World. Nope, I just hopped on the store website and had no problem getting him sent. They were even running a free shipping special for the holidays! If only Hasbro’s own site would make it this easy to buy their regular releases!

And damn, don’t he look cool! Zuckuss has been the subject of some truly memorable figures over the years. Even going back to his Kenner mail-away when he was called 4-LOM. I had no idea who he was when I first saw that commercial, but once he showed up, I knew it was five proofs-of-purchase well spent. His 4-inch outing in the Legacy Collection was pretty damn rad too, so I had high hopes for the 6-inch Black Series version, and I am not disappointed! Interestingly, there are a number of key design differences between the two figures, and from some cursory glances at pictures of the original costume, I think this is probably the more screen accurate, but I’m not about to jump down that rabbit hole of nitpickery. I will say that this figure looks great and features some nice improvements over his most recent 4-inch predecessor.

First off, the cloak goes back to full soft-goods like on the original Kenner figure. The Legacy figure had only a partial cloth cloak and sculpted sleeves. I also really like the material they used. It feels soft, but it looks like whatever that heavier and grimy material was that they used for the costume. The coloring makes it look appropriately greasy and the speckling looks pretty damn good too. The fit isn’t perfect. It does look a puffy around the arms, but I can’t say that’s not entirely inaccurate. His harness features sculpted pouches on the front and back as well as some light wash to give it a little wear and tear and make it look like leather. The biggest difference in design between him and the Legacy figure is the backpack. That one was silver and more rounded, this one is a dark metallic color and more squared off. It also has a little black hose running from it into the harness that looks like it could serve no possible purpose.

The head sculpt is right on the money. The wrinkled segments in his head look fantastic and contrast beautifully with the large silver compound eyes and the the breather piece covering his lower face. Indeed the silver paint they used is quite striking. The tubes coming off his head look like umbilical cords and I love the way the same lumpy organic stuff partially covers his breathing canister. I honestly have no idea what’s going on with Gand anatomy here, but it looks gross as hell, and I mean that in every good possible way.

As for articulation, it’s impossible to see what’s going on under that robe, as I’m not prepared to take it off, but what’s here feels pretty similar to what we usually see on the 6-inch Black Series figures. There are cuts in the lower cloak, so he can still get some pretty good range of leg movement too. I will note, however, that the left elbow on my figure is rather loose.

Zuckuss comes with one accessory, and that’s his very distinctive blaster carbine. I swear this was one of my favorite guns from the old Kenner line and even after all these years, I could still spot it out of a lineup. OK, maybe that’s not so impressive since I still have the Kenner figure on my shelf, but I do love the design so much and it’s cool to see it blown up to the 6-inch scale and even featuring some additional paint apps for the stock. They also sculpted his left hand as the gun holding hand, which lines up better with his iconic pose from the film. And despite him just having three big fingers, he can hold it surprisingly well.

For a guy who had a few seconds of screen time, it’s stupid how happy I am to have this figure. He’s always been among my favorite Star Wars alien designs and I’m doubly happy that my 4-LOM doesn’t have to be alone any longer. And speaking of which, after the wonderful job that Hasbro did with 4-LOM, it’s nice to see Zuckuss arrive with an equal attention to detail and execution. I think this is one of the rare exceptions where Hasbro made good use of the larger scale to deliver a truly better figure. Everything just came together beautifully. And as I put these figures together I realize more and more how badly IG-88 needs a re-do for this series, because he’s the only one in the bunch that falls shy of excellence.

Star Wars Black: Bespin Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Lando Calrissian by Hasbro

I don’t usually like to combine reviews, it messes with my OCD, but I’ve got to start making some exceptions because I’m so far behind with opening figures. And since I happen to have three Bespin-themed figures from The Empire Strikes Back lying on my 6-inch Black Series Pile of Shame, I decided I’d just go ahead and check out all three today! So let’s take a trip to Cloud City and open up some Star Wars figures!

And here are some quick packaged shots, although I’m not sure why I bother anymore, because at this point these are pretty standard stuff. Black boxes with mediocre monochrome character art, red inserts, and some pretty bland multi-lingual bios on the back. These are collector friendly, but I’ve never felt bad about pitching these boxes into the trash once they’ve been opened. Han is in what is considered his traditional Bespin Outfit, whereas Leia is labeled as Bespin Escape so as not to confuse her with the regal red gown she wore for part of her stay in the City in the Clouds. If you’re keeping track of the numbers, Han is #70, Lando is #39, and Leia doesn’t get a number because she’s a Target Exclusive. Let’s start with Han!

Han’s outfit in A New Hope is what I consider his most iconic look, but this outfit from The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite. I don’t know if it’s because I played with the Kenner’s version of this Han so much as a kid (owing mostly to my dog chewing up my original Han Solo figure), or just because Han is so damn cool and better fleshed out as a character in Empire. Either¬†way this is my preferred look for the lovable Space-faring Scoundrel. The outfit is simple enough: tall black boots, brown trousers with yellow piping up the sides, a white shirt with a flap-down collar, and a jacket. My figure has some odd glossy patches on the jacket, which I’m writing off to some kind of QC issue. It’s not the first time I’ve had that happen, and while it doesn’t bother me too much, if I can find him again for cheap, I’d probably try for a better one.

The sculpt features all the wrinkles and rumples I come to expect in my 6-inch plastic outfits, along with some sharp tailoring detail and stitch lines. The jacket features the usual soft plastic vest with the sleeves sculpted as part of the arms. All this is great, but the real showpiece for this figure’s outfit is the low-slung smuggler’s gun belt. Thanks to some nice paintwork, it has a great weathered leather look to it and the holster features a retaining strap that pegs into the holster to keep Han’s trusty blaster in place.

The Black Series portraits have been all over the place, but when it comes to the humans. They started strong with that original X-Wing Pilot Luke, but since then they’ve been mostly mediocre at best. Here’s a figure that starts to buck that trend. The likeness is pretty damn good, and I’d say it’s easily the best (Harrison Ford) Han this series has put out yet. Not only are his facial features spot-on, they even got the scar under his lower lip right. The figure also uses the new(ish) printing method for the eyes, eyebrows, and lips. The hair sculpt is great and I love how his bangs hang down over his forehead. The only downside here is the weird choice to use a gloss finish for his hair, which makes it look wet under bright lights.

And of course, Han comes with his trusty DL-44 Blaster. We’ve seen this accessory before, so there’s nothing new to say, other than his right hand is perfectly sculpted to hold it and you can thread his trigger finger into the guard. Let’s knock out articulation here too, because all three figures have the same basic poseability. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There are ball joints in the torsos, and the necks have both ball joints and hinges. Moving on to Lando…

Here he is in his classic Empire outfit and looking as dapper as ever! Lando’s outfit is even simpler than Han’s, as he’s just sporting a pair of blue trousers, a lighter blue tunic-like shirt with puffed out sleeves and a black collar, a wide belt, and shiny black shoes. Hasbro didn’t have to do anything amazing to make this outfit work, and they sure as hell didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, Lando looks fine, but I put off picking this one up because he didn’t look terribly exciting in the pictures and in hand, he really isn’t terribly exciting either.

I will take a moment to bitch about how ridiculous it is that they gave him a sculpted plastic cape, and I think that one issue is a big reason why I dragged my feet on buying him for so long. FOR F*CK’S SAKE ONE OF THE 3 3/4-INCH BLACK SERIES LANDO FIGURES HAS A F*CKING CLOTH CAPE!!! Hasbro, do you even realize how insane that is? It’s not just an aesthetics issue for me, but I’d like to be able to pose him without a plastic wrap-around cape hindering his articulation. There’s just no excuses for this. Hell, at the price point, they probably should have included both a cloth and a plastic cape. What an enormous fail!

The portrait here is fairly solid, although this is an older figure from before Hasbro started stepping it up with the portrait sculpts and using the new printing techniques. Reviewing Lando with two new figures is an interesting experiment as to just how jarring the new figures will look when displayed with the older ones. Honestly, while the difference is night and day, I don’t really have a big issue with the way the figures look together. The likeness to Billy Dee is definitely there, and while the paint is a lot more flat and cartoony, I don’t think that it looks particularly bad.

Lando comes with two accessories. The first is his little communication device, so he can tell his citizens to evacuate the City and take the ice cream makers to safety. This is a pretty cool little bonus item and his left hand is sculpted so that he can hold it well. It would have been nice if there was a way to attach it to him somehow, because I’ll probably not display him holding it and I’m afraid it’s going to end up getting lost.

While not really an accessory, I do like that they sculpted the control panel on his right wrist. I think this is what he used to secretly signal Lobot. It’s a nice little bit of attention to detail.

And finally, Lando comes with a DH-17 Blaster. We’ve seen this sculpt before, but who’s going to complain about getting another one of these cool weapons? Not me! I love this design and I dig the silver paint applications. Let’s round out this trio with Leia…

I saved Princess Leia for last, not because she’s the best and not because she’s a bad figure, but just because I have so little that I can possibly say about her. This is the outfit she gave up her gown to wear so she would have something a little more sporty to run around in. It’s essentially just a white jumpsuit with some sculpted padded areas and it has got to be one of the most boring outfits worn by any of the main characters in the film. That’s not to say it’s bad. Hasbro did what they could with it and it looks fine. I just think this costume was a really odd choice to go with before giving us a proper Bespin Leia in her red gown. It’s also kind of strange to have this one on the pegs so close to the release of the Hoth Leia, because at a casual glance the two figures could look somewhat similar. On the other hand, is it possible that this is the first time Leia has been released in this outfit? I know that I never owned this version of her in figure form before, so that would be something.

Bland and simple outfit aside, the real selling point of this figure is the portrait, which is absolutely fantastic. Not only is it a great likeness, but the printing used for the eyes and lips looks great. They even did a beautiful job with her rather unique hairstyle. As much as I love this head-sculpt, it makes me sad that they did the A New Hope Leia before they got their shit together like this. Because as much as I said Lando looked fine with the two newer figures, putting this Leia next to the previous ones really shits on the old portraits.

Leia comes with one accessory and that’s her E-11 Blaster. Again, we’ve seen it before, but I’m always up for adding another to my collection. Now I find myself wanting to pick up another one of those 3PO’s clogging up my Walgreens and chopping it up to put on Chewie’s back.

While I clearly had a few nits to pick with some of these releases, truth be told these are all solid figures. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that Han and Leia are both excellent. They show some great progress in the head sculpts, and while there isn’t anything here that couldn’t have been done as well in the 3 3/4-inch scale, over the years I’ve come to accept that most 6-inch Black Series aren’t being designed to take advantage of the larger scale. And while Lando’s plastic cape will forever be a blight on him in my eyes, he’s still a decent enough figure and I’m ultimately glad I got around to picking him up. Now I just need that proper Bespin Gown Leia… and Lobot and a Bespin Guard, and some Ugnauts, and a Cloud Car Pilot, and…

Star Wars Black (Solo): Rio Durant by Hasbro

I only caught Solo once in the theaters, but I picked up the Blu-Ray when it was released and I’ve re-watched it three times since then. It’s a movie that continues to settle in my heart as an example of what these Star Wars Story films should all be aiming for (if and when they do any more) and it introduced some fun new characters into the Star Wars Universe. One of those was the Ardennian pilot, Rio Durant, may he Rest In Piece. Oh, um. Spoilers?

Dialing in at figure #77 in the current series, Rio was one of those characters that I wanted to get as a figure the moment I saw him. He was likable, and his weirdly endearing alien design made him a great choice for the plastic treatment. But as news of Solo‘s disappointing earnings filtered in, I would have bet real money that a Rio figure was just a pipe dream. The tooling and articulation needed for the extra set of arms would be extensive, and I was convinced the Black Series Solo figures were going to be a one and done wave. But happily, Hasbro proved me wrong and here he is, so let’s open him up and check him out!

With Rio out of the package, I find myself instantly impressed with all the work Hasbro put into this guy. I mean, seriously, we’ve had figures of main characters in the Original Trilogy that don’t feel nearly as well executed as little Rio here, and while he was far from a background character, he didn’t have a huge amount of screen time either. So, where do I even begin? Well, let’s start with his flight suit. It’s a unique looking suit, but it still has that unmistakable Star Wars flavor to it. It’s mostly blue and gray with some silver and red highlights. I dig the tightly compressed bands of rings on the sleeves and lower legs, as the sculpted lacing reminds me a bit of the Compression Suits from Alien.

The control box on his chest is a separate piece held on by the wide, orange harness. There’s a hose that runs out of the box, connects with the left shoulder strap, and then connects to the microphone and earpiece on his head. The harness and box features some great sculpted detail and extra paint hits. The white belt is also sculpted separately and has plenty of detail, including a tiny belt buckle, pouches, and a functional holster for his blaster pistol. There’s a little bit of weathering on the belt, but I think it should have been applied more heavily and evenly throughout. I think the fact that the belt and holster are too bright and new looking is the only nitpick I can come up with.

The head sculpt is excellent, but then the Black Series has always been great at recreating the aliens. All his little wrinkles are present and the gradation in skin tone from the brown in his face to the blue-gray in the back of his head is well done. There’s also a notable scar running across his forehead, and I’m not sure if that’s screen accurate or just a mishap in the mold, but either way it adds some character. I think the only thing missing are his whiskers, and that would be tough to do in this scale.

I was surprised to see that the goggles are sculpted separately and can be pulled down over his eyes, or removed altogether. What a great touch! The strap is sculpted in soft plastic and there’s a translucent red piece for the lens.

So let’s talk arms!!! I was particularly interested to see how they were going to do his arms, and they look pretty damn natural, with one set connecting to the body just a bit above and behind the other. His four hands feature finger-less gloves and he’s got a red band around one of his left wrists. And so long as we’re talking arms, let’s go into articulation. Rio has got it in spades, which is especially cool for such a short figure. Each of his arms have ball joints at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and swivels in the biceps. His legs are ball jointed at the hips and have rotating hinges at the knees and ankles. There’s a ball joint in both the chest and the neck. The range of motion on most of these joints is very satisfying and I’ve been having a blast playing around with this guy ever since I got him.

Rio comes with two weapons and he can hold either in any of his four hands. The first is a scoped blaster pistol that fits into his holster.

The second is what looks like the blaster equivalent of a sub-machine gun. In addition to the regular grip, this has a grab bar coming out of the side and a second grip under the barrel. Both of these are cool and unique designs and very welcome additions to my collection of 6-inch scale Star Wars weaponry.

For a line that sometimes feels pretty damn mediocre, Star Wars Black has a distinct way of surprising me just enough to keep me collecting it. Rio is one of those figures. He’s an absolute homerun, featuring some fantastic sculpting and paintwork and a perfect execution of a cool alien design. This is exactly the kind of figure I expect out of what is supposed to be a premium collectors’ series. I dig him so much, if I had any skills as a DIY person, I’d already be building an Imperial AT-Hauler cockpit for him to sit in. For all the shit I give Hasbro for the Black Series figures they clearly phone in, I’ll happily give them the highest of praise for this one. Fantastic work! Now I just have to hunt down Beckett and Val!

Star Wars Black (Solo): Moloch by Hasbro

Solo may have had disappointing returns at the Box Office, but I enjoyed the hell out of it, and Hasbro is still supporting it with their 6-inch Black Series. Not only are we getting a second wave of figures hitting soon, and not long around the film’s home release, but Target is offering a Deluxe Exclusive of Moloch, the Grindalid Enforcer of the White Worms!

Like Target’s other Black Series Exclusive, Moloch comes in a larger, bulkier version of the standard Black Series box. As this is an exclusive, there’s no number on the side, but you do get a little bio blurb on the back and the package is totally collector friendly. The wider box allows this larger figure to be viewed through the window beside his accessories and I think he displays great in the package. I may actually keep this box!

And he’s not too shabby out of the box either! I thought this Moloch had a cool design in the film and Hasbro has translated it to action figure form quite nicely. He has sculpted plastic robes with a an additional layer cast in a sleeveless soft plastic with the sleeves sculpted onto the arms. It gives the figure’s outfit a lot of depth and the robes themselves feature some texturing as well as sculpted stitch lines. You can even see his sleeves protruding from the shorter sleeves of the robe. He’s also wearing sculpted gloves with reinforced leather-like patches on the backs of his hands.

Moloch looks like a humanoid, but looks can be deceiving. He’s apparently the same species as Lady Proxima, and that means that he’s really just a big worm with arms. If you peek under the robes, you won’t see legs, but just a big, bloated worm body and I really dig that. The stubby worm legs actually run all the way up his body. Here’s a case where I really wish Hasbro had gone for softgoods for this Moloch’s robes. It would have allowed me to get a much better look at the worm body under there, but I suppose you could argue that the costume wouldn’t have looked as good. Either way, being a worm means that there aren’t a lot of points of articulation on this fellow. The arms have the usual rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but apart from a ball joint in the waist, that’s all you get.

The figure comes unmasked in the package, but I started out with his face all closed up. The covered worm body protrudes out of the robes and hunches over to have the “head” encased in a giant ring and mask with breathing apparatus. There’s some particularly nice attention to detail here in the sculpt. The surface of the mask looks pitted and old in some areas, there’s further detailing on the flat “nose” piece, and the segmented tubes that come out the sides are a nice touch. The bulk of the mask is not removable, but the face plate can be taken off to get a look at Moloch’s real mug inside.

And it turns out he’s a blue-eyed slug. Hasbro did a fantastic job with the sculpting and paint on the worm head. He’s got some cool wrinkling around his eyes and a pair of slits for nostrils. The skin tone has some different shades and there’s a slightly glossy finish, which makes the plastic look like honest-to-god alien worm skin. Obviously, the removable mask isn’t a surprise, since the figure comes packaged with it off, but this feature still delighted me to no end and goes a long way to make this figure feel like it’s worth the Deluxe price tag.

In addition to the removable mask, Moloch comes with two more accessories. The first is this staff. I’m not sure if this is meant to be a weapon, like a mace, or just some kind of badge of office, and I’m not even sure what the disgusting mass is supposed to be at the end. He may just run around threatening to touch people with it. Either way, he can hold it well in his left hand.

The second accessory is his blaster pistol, which can be worn on the holster on his belt. I’ve been a big fan of the blaster designs in some of the new Star Wars movies in general, but definitely in Rogue One and Solo in particular, and this little gun is a good example of why. It’s not what I would consider a conventional Star Wars design, but it has that same sense of a realistic looking firearm modified with sci-fi bits. I also really dig that they actually painted the wood grips.

Unlike the other Deluxe Target Exclusive in this line, Moloch was really easy for me to find. My Target had three of him on the shelf and he’s still been there the last few times I’ve been through the toy aisle. Granted, he’s not an army builder and maybe not as iconic a character as that Green Space Pig, but he is in excellent figure and I’m very glad I picked him up. The extra $10 he runs is somewhat justified by the larger size of the figure, although I can’t help but think that if this was a Marvel Legends he would have been the same price as a regular figure. I think the biggest missed opportunity is not giving him a Corellian Hound. I would have happily ponied up a little extra to get one of them!

Star Wars Black: Gamorrean Guard by Hasbro

Indulge me folks, for a moment, as I preface today’s review with a heartfelt thanks to @Grip_86 on Twitter for hooking me up with today’s review. He’s a fellow Floridian, fellow toy collector, and an all around great guy! If you’re reading this, thanks again, man! Ok, on with the review…

Boy do I love the Gamorrean Guards, and boy do they not love me. When this fellow was released as part of the Vintage Collection, I went back to toy hunting for the first time in a while to try to find some. I never did. And I was never willing to pay the crazy prices that he was selling for online. In the end, I got shut out, and was forced to be content with the handful of Gamorreans from the Power of the Force 2 line and my old Kenner originals. And now when Hasbro finally gets around to releasing these Space Pigs in the 6-inch Black Series, it was the same thing all over again. Of course, I lucked out this time (see above) and I’m super excited to get this guy opened up and check him out!

The presentation here is the same thing we’ve been seeing all along: Black box, red interior, monochrome character art, although there’s no number on the side panel, because this release is a Target Exclusive. Of course, the box is also bigger to contain the corpulence of the figure. It’s also what I would consider a Deluxe release, because he comes with more stuff than your average Black Series figure, along with a heftier price tag of $30. All in all, the presentation here isn’t as snazzy as the Amazon Exclusive First Order Stormtrooper, but it’s nice enough to make me want to keep this figure in the box when I’m not playing with him.

And I have to say, out of the box this guy does not disappoint as it is a tremendous sculpt! As expected, he’s a figure with a big presence. Either Jabba feeds these fellas well or I’d imagine a lot of prisoners go missing. His leather tunic is sculpted with a patchwork of stitching as well as the circular embossed medallion on the front and the whole thing is painted with a sumptuous brown and black wash that makes it look like the finest of supple Bantha hide. The short sleeves are sculpted with ragged edges and covered with two pieces of silver armor on each shoulder, each sporting some ornate studs. The shoulder armor is matched by his silver arm bracers and down below he has sandals sculpted into his feet and legs.

When it came to the Gamorrean’s fuzzy diaper, Hasbro did the right thing and splurged for soft-goods. This was an absolute must as far as I’m concerned, as they did the same for the smaller Vintage Collection version. The brown fur looks and feels great and underneath it, the Guard has a sculpted and textured brown plastic diaper. I also really dig that the belt and shoulder strap are sculpted separately from the buck. Sure, it’s a little thing, but not having it sculpted onto the buck adds some nice additional depth to the costume.

The head sculpt is also well worthy of praise. Generally speaking, Hasbro has done a fine job with most of the aliens and creatures in this line, but even having said that, I think they went above and beyond here and the results are porcine perfection. They captured all the nuances in the shape of the face from the prominent brow and puffed out jowls to the pronounced piggy nose. I also dig that they lathered a load of glossy paint on his lips and nose to simulate space pig snot. The helmet is permanently attached to the head, but side flaps are soft plastic to make it look like it could be removed. Also, I never noticed what haunting blue eyes these Gamorreans have! And if all this wasn’t good enough…

GAHHHH! You get an articulated jaw! Oh boy is this great. The Gamorrean has a maw like a large mouthed bass and a beautifully sculpted tongue in there to boot. It’s perfect for putting him in a squealing pose for when Hasbro inevitably releases a two-foot tall Black Series Rancor.

I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of poseability on this figure, and it’s true that his girth does limit some of the range of motion, but all the points are there and he’s still surprisingly fun to play around with. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and you get a surprisingly tight bend on those elbows, all the way to 90-degrees. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the waist, and another in the neck.

As for accessories, the Gamorrean Guard comes with three different weapons. First off, you get the rather distinctive looking axe that came with the original Kenner figure. It has a handle sculpted to look like wood a nice pitted texture to the blade, along with some paint for weathering. This design is so iconic to me that it’s going to be my weapon of choice, providing I only end up with the one. If I get more, I’ll probably mix up the weapons for a little variety.

And just to show Hasbro isn’t playing favorites, they also included the axe that came with the Power of the Force 2 version. This weapon is more of a straight on hatchet. It doesn’t look anything like a space weapon, but I appreciate it for it’s simplicity.

And finally, he comes with this staff weapon, which I assume is some sort of vibro-axe. This is a nice sculpt, and it’s a design that I don’t recognize from any of my previous figures. I’m always a sucker for these staff weapons among Jabba’s crew so I’m really glad they threw this in the box.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Gamorrean Guard is quite possibly one of the best figures Hasbro has released in this entire line. Yeah, that sounds crazy because he’s such a bit character, seen only briefly in a few scenes at the beginning of Return of the Jedi. Nonetheless, it’s a design that gave the sculptors a lot to work with and they certainly rose to the challenge. The only shame here is that the figure is tough to find, at least for me, because I’d love to pick up at least one or two more of these guys. Hell, now that I know how great he is, I may even just plunk down a premium online to ensure I get one more. Having this figure in hand is also reminding me how badly I want Hasbro to start turning out more of Jabba’s denizens in the 6-inch Black Series. I need Skiff Guards and Bib Fortuna, and why not a Max Reebo band? Hasbro needs to start playing to their strengths with this line and clearly their strengths lie with the aliens and creatures.

Star Wars Black (The Force Awakens): Admiral Ackbar and First Order Officer by Hasbro

It’s weird to still have Toys R Us exclusives in play, what with the company folding this year. I didn’t get all emotional about TRU closing, because visiting the nearest one was a two-hour round trip and it was so poorly maintained that it was never worth the effort. Obviously, I’d rather they stayed open so people didn’t have to lose their jobs, but what can you do, eh? In any event, a few weeks back, I picked up this TRU Exclusive 2-pack on the cheap from Amazon, and I’m finally getting around to opening it up today. Let’s check out Admiral Ackbar and the First Order Officer!

The figures come in a window box that’s pretty typical of the Star Wars Black Series from the red backdrop behind the tray right down to the monochrome character art. You also get the silver foil TRU Exclusive sticker on the window, which may very well be the last one of these we see here at FFZ. I’ll also note that my box looks like it’s been punted around the backroom a couple of dozen times by disgruntled soon-to-be-ex-TRU employees. But that’s OK, I don’t save these packages and at the price I paid for this set, they could have just wrapped the figures in old newspapers for all I care. Let’s start with mah-boy Ackbar!

It’s kind of weird that we’re getting Ackbar from The Force Awakens before a Return of the Jedi version, but I’m sure that one will be coming down the pike soon enough. In this case we get the Mon Calamari Admiral in his Resistance uniform and while it’s kind of drab compared to the duds he was sporting in Jedi, it’s still a good look for him. His costume consists of a pea-soup colored tunic, which has a sculpted rank or ID badge on the left side of his chest. The plastic garment looks like it’s made to secure behind a sculpted front flap, which spills over his belt, concealing where the belt buckle would be. The rest of the outfit is rounded out with a pair of blue trousers and brown boots. I always thought it was weird that the Mon Calamari have giant fish heads and flipper arms, but normal feet. Indeed, Ackbar’s feet are kind of tiny, but he still stands just fine. There’s some really nice sculpted detail and texturing on his forearms and hands too.

But it’s the head sculpt that really sells this figure, as Hasbro did a beautiful job on him. That probably shouldn’t come as any surprise, because as much as I rag on the mediocrity and poor likenesses of the 6-inch Black Series, they almost always do a fine job on the alien portraits. Ackbar here is certainly no exception. They recaptured Ackbar’s fishy noggin in every little detail. I’m especially impressed by the ribbed area round his lower face and those tendril-like whiskers that hang down from his nose. And as fantastic as the sculpt is, the paintwork elevates it even more. The glossy finish on the red gives him a bit of a wet look and the gradient shades of red make for a pleasingly complex finish. The eyes are also perfect.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Ackbar even features an articulated jaw. I was not expecting this, but what a pleasant surprise! The hinge is really well hidden and I’m happy to say that adding this gimmick doesn’t take away from the head sculpt at all.

I’d like to think Ackbar was some kind of badass action hero in his younger days, but this is older Ackbar and as an Admiral, he doesn’t need to do much besides sit in a chair and bark orders. Still, he has decent articulation if you want to give him something more to do. Rotating hinges in his shoulders, elbows, and wrists allow him to do the standard, arms behind back pose that suits these officer-types so well. The legs are ball jointed in the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles are both hinged and have lateral rockers. You get a ball joint in the torso, and the neck is ball jointed, but I don’t think there’s a hinge in there. As a matter of fact, I can’t get much movement out of his neck at all.

Ackbar does actually come with a blaster, and I’m always down with that. This one looks like it’s supposed to be an offshoot of the DH-17. I don’t know what happened to Ackbar’s little swagger stick. Maybe he just doesn’t use it anymore. Or maybe the Resistance is more of a rough-and-tumble kind of outfit that requires even the Admirals to be armed. Either way, I really dig the design of this little pistol and while Ackbar doesn’t really have a trigger finger on that flipper hand, he can hold the gun quite well. Alas, there’s nowhere to store it on his person. I would have liked a loop on the back of his belt to tuck it in there, so he could pull it out and repel boarders on the bridge of his Capital Ship. Whatever the case, Ackbar is a fantastic figure, and I would have been perfectly happy getting him as a single boxed figure. And that brings us to the First Order Officer…

Don’t ask me why, but I love getting figures of Imperial, or in this case First Order, Officers. Maybe I have a delusion that someday Hasbro will release an Imperial bridge as a playset and I can populate it with all sorts of top brass. I doubt that’s going to ever happen, but it won’t stop me from snapping up these officers every time I see them. I have no idea what this fellow’s actual rank is, but he’s wearing a sharp-looking uniform that looks like it’s a very dark charcoal in color with shiny black boots. I really love the sculpted tunic on this guy. It has flared shoulders and it’s belted with one of those wide belts with a big slab of belt buckle, which hasn’t changed much from the Imperial days. He has two sets of rods on his chest, which I’ve been told are some kind of security keys, and he has a sculpted band around his forearm with white edges. The outfit is rounded out by a holster on his right side.

For the head sculpt, Hasbro did a pretty decent job giving us Generic Officer Man. I actually think the sculpt itself is actually quite good. He’s got more than a bit of personality in there, from his pouty bottom lip to the little cleft mark in his chin. As usual the very basic paint lets the sculpt down. His eyebrows look extra cartoony and while his eyes are fairly neat and straight, they don’t lend a lot of realism to the portrait. My only other complaint would be that the skin tone is really pale.

Much like Ackbar’s jaw, the First Order Officer also hides a pleasant surprise and that’s his removable cap! Under the cap, he’s just got a buzz cut painted on with no actual sculpted detail on the hair. But that’s fine, because it means the cap fits the head so well that I didn’t even think it was removable. Besides, the military style cut suits him.

The articulation here is identical to what we saw with Ackbar, minus the hinged jaw of course! He can take some solid poses, but like Ackbar, I don’t anticipate these fellows seeing a lot of action, unless their ship gets boarded or Poe makes an attack run and they have to scuttle off to their escape pods.

The First Order Officer comes with a pistol, which fits nicely into his holster, and can be held in either hand. As with a lot of weapons in The Force Awakens, this one is a pretty unique and interesting design.

Originally I was going to pass on this two-pack, because I had no chance of finding it at a Toys R Us and other places online were selling it for around $45 and that was just more than I wanted to spend. I was ultimately able to pick it up on Amazon for $18 and even at that price I found myself really thinking over whether I actually needed it. In the end, I’m really glad I picked it up. It’s definitely worth it for Ackbar alone. He’s a fantastic figure, but the First Order Officer is no slouch either. And yes, I’ll happily buy another Ackbar when Hasbro gets around to doing a Return of the Jedi version!