Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” Captain Phasma 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

The Force Awakens, eh? How topical is that? Well, they did just drop a sorta-trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, so I guess that’s something. Anyway, today’s review may feel like I’m digging all the way down to the bottom of my backlog, but in reality I just got this figure a few months back. A certain e-tailer was tossing out large credit incentives to help them unload their unsold Hot Toys stock, and this one was just too good to pass up because it basically reduced the figure to $75. I know, that’s not a ringing endorsement to start the review with, but fair is fair. And I don’t mind stating ahead of time that without the incentive, I wouldn’t have otherwise bought Phasma. But am I glad I did? Let’s find out…

Here’s the box, and it’s so bare bones and completely uninteresting, that I’m not going to spend any time on it. If you’ve picked up any of Hot Toys’ Star Wars figures, then you know what to expect from the presentation here. And so, with a package not worth talking about, I’ll take the time here to explain that I decided to dredge up Phasma to review today because I had fun looking at the Stormtrooper a few weeks back, and while the new trailer for The Rise of Skywalker did nothing for me, I did re-watch Solo and The Force Awakens recently and had a good time doing it. OK, let’s check out the figure!

Like the recent Hot Toys Stormtrooper, Captain Phasma is an incredibly simple release, but she makes up for that by looking so damn good! Let’s face it, on the big screen, Phasma failed as a character, but as a high end action figure? It’s the perfect canvas for that sublime chromed out First Order Stormtrooper armor. Yes, she’s so good, I can forget that she was another non-character in a cool outfit. The figure body is appropriately taller than the First Order Stormtrooper (which I promise I will get around to reviewing some day), and dressed in a pleather undersuit, which looks great peeking out between those armor plates, but really cramps the figure’s articulation something fierce. I also dig how it’s ribbed around the arms and neck. It’s quite reminiscent of the old Cylons from Classic Battlestar Galactica and that’s why I love it so much. The armor itself is worn in pieces over the bodysuit and for the most part these pieces are held fast by friction. Each of these pieces sport an absolutely dazzling reflective finish along with some moderate rust effects to give the suit a weathered and well-worn look.

In addition to her suit of armor, Phasma’s other fashion accessory is her flowing cape. This garment fastens together around the neck and is easily added or removed simply by popping the head. You can certainly display her without it, but the spacing between the helmet and the shoulders looks awkward to me when she isn’t wearing it. This is especially the case from behind where you get a glimpse of extra neck, and the zipper to the bodysuit as well. The cape is odd in that it looks refined and finished on the interior liner and ratty on the outside. After doing some research it looks to be accurate, but I didn’t get that sense from my memory of the film. It also has a tailored red stripe running down the edge. The cape is worn in a lopsided fashion to cover more of her left side and leave her gun hip unencumbered.

The helmet sculpt looks great and features a lot of the pitting and rusty speckling as seen on the rest of the armor. I like the recessed textured screen that makes up the “mouth” and the visor is dark and foreboding.

As if attempting to beef up the contents a bit, Hot Toys loaded Phasma up with hands, and I have to say that a lot of these just seem pointless. She has relaxed hands, slightly more relaxed hands, fists, and hands to interact with her weapon. Sure they all serve their different purposes, but outside of this review, I doubt I’ll ever swap them out. She’s destined to be holding her rifle all the time. Another reason I’m less than enthusiastic about changing them is the fact that the pegs come out in the hands each time, requiring me to grab some pliers to get them out. It just isn’t worth all that fussing to me.

As we’ve already seen, the only other accessory in the box is her customized F-11D Blaster rifle, and I am absolutely in love with how this weapon turned out. The details are so sharp and the platinum finish with black trim is drop-dead gorgeous to me. It includes a scope, a telescoping stock, and a swing down grip under the barrel. The accessory is also magnetized so it can be worn on her right hip without the need for a holster. The gun works quite well in her weapon-holding hand and she looks great wielding it!

Our last stop is the ubiquitous figure stand and, like the packaging, there’s no surprises here. It’s a typical hexagonal stand with a crotch-cradle post. The surface of the base features the First Order emblem and the front panel says “Star Wars” and “Captain Phasma.” It does it’s job, and that’s about it.

Are you looking for that one great Hot Toys figure that shows what the company can do and really feels like solid value for your money? Well, Captain Phasma probably ain’t it. Oh, she’s a great looking figure, and I honestly can’t complain about any must-have accessories that have been left out. But in the end, I just can’t see the value here. This figure retailed for over $250 and there’s precious little in the box to account for that price tag. There’s no likeness rights, no complex and realistic portrait, no die-cast parts, and accessories that amount to a pile of hands and a gun. It’s hard not to look at some of my Marvel figures that cost less and came with so much more. It’s no wonder this figure hung around long enough to need credit incentives to get rid of her. I don’t know, maybe the chrome and weathering technique on the armor was some kind of crazy expensive process, but I think this was just an example of Hot Toys getting greedy to sell a figure of a character that a lot of people wanted even before they saw the movie. But, I like her well enough and I was able to pick up a TBLeague Phicen figure with the credit, so I consider this purchase a win-win!

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Star Wars Black (The Force Awakens): Snowtrooper by Hasbro

I’m winding down the last few days at work until vacation and that means I’ve got a lot of shit to do and not a lot of time for bloggery. So today I’m coming at you with a quick-and-dirty Feature of a figure that I’ve basically already looked at. The First Order Snowtrooper Officer was released late last year as a Toys R Us Exclusive and was followed more recently by the regular rank-and-file version, which I’m checking out today. This also enables me to open these guys and get two more figures off of the pile on the floor of the closet. And eureka… the pile is almost gone… I can see carpet!

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Packaged shot! You don’t need to talk about the packaged shot. I don’t need to talk about the packaged shot. There’s nothing new to report. There’s nothing new to report. You can move on. Moving on…

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Last time, I commented about how I like the Original Trilogy Snowtroopers design better than these First Order guys, and I’m sticking to that. of course, that’s also like me saying, I like prime rib better than cheeseburgers. It’s all good, and this new design is still plenty cool. Plus, these are now among my favorite 6-inch Black Series figures, or at least my favorites from The Force Awakens assortment. The quality of paint and plastic is excellent. What should be glossy is glossy, what should be matte is matte, and while there aren’t a ton of paint apps, what’s here is all pretty nice and sharp. The consistency between these two figures is also a lot better than the handful of regular First Order (or Imperial) Stormtroopers I have. Don’t even get me started on the drop in quality between these guys and my Flametrooper. There’s a good reason I only own one of them.

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As expected, these guys are identical to the Snowtrooper Officer in both sculpt and paint. The only difference is their lack of paldron. The backpacks simply peg into the back and alas, there’s still nowhere to clip the guns, but maybe that was the case with the costumes as well. And speaking of guns, the guns are the same too. I really dig the sculpt and paint on these rifles.

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Obviously, articulation is the same as we saw on the Officer as well. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but still no bicep swivels. The legs have ball jointed hips, and yes that pesky kama still restricts the movement a bit. The knees are double hinged, there are swivels in the thighs and the ankles feature rotating hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint in the torso and the neck is also is ball jointed. The articulation isn’t totally ideal, but it’s plenty good for what we’ve been seeing out of the 6-inch Black Series.

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Suffice it to say, I love these figures and getting them open and playing around with them has made me realize how badly I want the 6-inch Black Imperial Snowtroopers. It’s worth noting that Hasbro seems to have recognized the demand for troop builders as these guys were double packed in their case and they are readily available at several retailers for under the usual $20 retail. And yes, that means I’ll probably be picking up at least a couple more.

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“The Lieutenant’s been hit!”
“Pfft. Officers… AmIright?”

Star Wars Black “The Force Awakens:” Flametrooper by Hasbro

The First Order. They don’t f’ck around. We learned that pretty early on in The Force Awakens when they murdered and torched an entire village of civilians for harboring a couple of The Resistance. It was an effective scene and a side of Star Wars that we seldom saw in the films. Oh, sorry Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. I guess y’all got torched by Stormtroopers too. I wonder if they were Imperial Flametroopers or if those Sandtroopers just brought along a book of matches. What? Oh yeah, let’s look at the figure…

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If you don’t count pauldrons, this is the third flavor of First Order Stormtrooper in the Black Series. Maybe the fourth if you include Mr. Badass Riot Trooper. I’ve already looked at the regular version Stormtrooper and the Snowtrooper Officer, and I’m still waiting on my regular Snowtroopers to arrive. Anyway, the box is the same and the figure comes with his gear all spread out so you can get a good look before you open him up. Well, at least I got a good look at him in the store before I got the package home and it became a cat hair magnet.

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The base figure includes an entirely new set of armor, which is more featureless than the ones worn by his non-flame-toting brothers. His armor is slightly bulkier too, probably because it’s padded out by his asbestos underwear. I dig the simpler design, in a way it makes him look even more sinister, although I’m not sure if there’s any logic behind it. He has a different style belt with a hip pouch on one side and a grab bar just above his ass. You’ll also note the lack of hip clip for a pistol or other sidearm. When this guy runs out of flame juice, he’s pretty much done.

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The back features a couple of pegs so that the backpack can be fitted or removed quickly and securely. This is as good a time as any to point out that my figure has an unusual amount of mold flashing and ugly seams. I’ve never seen anything quite like it on a 6-inch Black figure before. If I bought this loose on Ebay I might be inclined to start leveling some bootleg accusations against the seller. But nope, it’s official Hasbro alright.

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As far as the helmet goes, I’m really torn. The design is somewhat similar to the Snowtrooper, but even more minimalist. Unfortunately, when you have a helmet that is this devoid of detail and relies on just a few features to make a statement, it really needs to be sharp and flawless and that’s far from the case here. The silver paintwork isn’t too bad, but the two black lines that make up the visor and the line running above it, is too sloppy to make the helmet work. I imagine that the effectiveness will vary from figure to figure, but I’d guess that perfect ones are few and far between. It’s a shame because I think Hasbro did a fairly decent job on the other trooper helmets. Also, why does he have such a bad case of giraffe neck? I know in some cases it was to allow room for a pauldron, but I don’t think I’ve seen any mention of a Flametrooper Officer.

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The articulation holds no surprises. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, with swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. It’s overall solid articulation and you can easily get him to hold his weapon across his chest with both hands.

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If the helmet feels lacking, the flamethrower backpack certainly makes up for it. It’s a very credible looking piece of kit with two tanks and all the appropriate pipes and tubing. I particularly like the “OII” emblem carrying forward on the little block on the upper right tank. The flexible hose comes off the bottom pipe and plugs right into the grip of the thrower. Remember, Resistance, when you see this guy enter the fray, that tank is what you aim for.

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All geared up, this guy looks pretty damn imposing. The sculpting on the thrower is exceptionally good and the white paint apps make it really stand out. It’s obviously made of soft plastic, but it isn’t easily deformed or warped. There’s an obvious grip for his left hand, but it fits him more naturally if he’s cradling it a little further up towards the trigger.

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While I was particularly hard on the quality of the helmet paint, I still think this is overall a decent figure. Obviously, he’s all about his specialty weapon and that part of the figure is executed with great success. That having been said, while I’ll still happily buy all the First Order Stormies and Snowies that I come across, I think one Flametrooper will be enough for me. That is unless I can find one with much sharper paint on the helmet. I think this is one that would be drastically improved upon by one of the higher end 6-inch scale lines.

Star Wars: Unkar’s Thug, Jakku Scavenger, and BB-8 by Hasbro

It’s December, folks! We now reside in the very same month into which The Force Awakens will release. And while I’m not completely losing my shit over it like some people are, I’m still pretty excited. And wouldn’t ya know it, I’ve got some more Star Wars figures to check out! Today’s feature is another of those boxed Mission Series packs. The previous two I looked at were based on the Rebels series, but this one is most definitely from the upcoming new film. It’s also based on some characters we know basically nothing about!

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I’ve gushed plenty about this packaging, but isn’t it just great? The figures come in a little window box with some fantastic artwork and the ominous Kylo Ren and lightsaber up at the top. Everything is collector friendly and there’s a symbol on the side panel that denotes this set is part of the Desert Mission Series. The back panel features some pretty basic descriptions of the characters. Interestingly enough, the little guy is just called Jakku Scavenger on the front, but on the back of the box he’s named as Teedo. I’m assuming no relation to Teebo, although I suppose there could be an Ewok under all those wrappings. Let’s start big and work our way down…

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Unkar’s Thug is completely covered from head to toe in desert garb. He’s a fairly basic looking figure, but the sculpt is still solid. You get texturing on his shirt, a quilted pattern on his jacket, and some nice detail work on his mask, hood, and goggles. While previous robed figures in this series had detail sculpted between the legs, here it’s just left smooth like the old Kenner days. For the most part, the simple articulation is what I expected, but I was surprised they were able to work a ball joint into his hooded neck. The Thug comes with a staff and a blaster pistol.

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His buddy, Teedo is a tubby little dude all wrapped up in bandages like a mummy. His pale green hands, feet, and part of the skin on the top of his oddly shaped head are exposed. I’m guessing he’s some kind of reptile. There’s some really nice detail on the mask, he’s got a tank on his back and some pouches hanging off his hip, and some funky looking sandals. Alas, he comes with zero accessories, but I’m content to give him the staff.

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So who are these guys? Well all we know is they work for the scavenger Unkar Plutt (allegedly played by Simon Pegg), a junk dealer on Jakku. And based on the scenes in the trailer and the artwork on the package, I presume Rey runs afoul of them as they are capturing BB-8. While most of what we’ve seen pairs the little droid with Rey, he’s still clearly named as Poe’s droid. Could he be the common thread that brings Rey to the Resistance? Who knows, but it’s fun to speculate.

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Anyway, speaking of BB-8, yes he’s in here too, and imagine he’ll be the main selling point of this set. He’s a pretty solid representation of the spehrical droid, especially considering how small he is. You get some good paint and sculpted panel lines. The bottom of his body is flat, so he can stand without wobbling over. He also has a peg hole, but it’s really not necessary. The head is ball jointed and on a post, so it not only swivels, but can move front and back a bit. I’m going to assume this is the same figure packed in with the Force Awakens Millennium Falcon. I can’t imagine much they could do to change him.

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As usual, these packs come with a large gimmicky weapon. In this case it’s a gigantic missile launcher that fires two missiles with a net between them. I give Hasbro credit for actually working something in that’s possibly in the movie. We do see the little guy and Rey fussing with BB-8 in a net, but it’s still a ridiculous accessory and the net is small and made of plastic. So, meh!

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The going rate for these packs is $14.99 and I’ve been happy with that so far. In this case you technically get three figures, so it’s a pretty nice deal. I can’t say as I would have been rushing out to buy single carded versions of either of these junk scavengers, but they’re well done for what they are and the 3 3/4″ Star Wars line has always been about universe building for me, so the more diverse characters the happier I am. And hey, this was a much better way to get BB-8 into collector’s hands than making us buy that big dopey new Falcon, because that was never going to happen.

Star Wars Black (The Force Awakens): Riot Control Stormtrooper and Poe Dameron by Hasbro

Wave Two of The Force Awakens 6-inch Black Series is being fickle. I have the wave pre-ordered, but now all the figures, except Captain Phasma are showing up everywhere. I can’t buy them and cancel my pre-order because then I’ll probably never get that chromed Stormy beauty and so I’m destined to wait. Well, at least there have been some exclusives to tide me over. I’ve already looked at the TRU Exclusive Snowtrooper Officer and today I’m checking out Target’s Exclusive Riot Stormtrooper and Poe Dameron 2-Pack.

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The figures come in a window box that manages to capture the deco of the single boxed figures. You get monochrome character portraits on the front lower right corner, the red backdrop behind the tray, and the one red side panel, albeit without any numbers for the figures. The packaging is totally collector friendly and gives you a great look at what you’re getting. Let’s start with Poe, since this is the first version of him I have in this scale.

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Most of what we’ve been seeing of Poe has been him in his X-Wing pilot suit, but this is regular Resistance Fighter Poe in the Galaxy Far Far Away’s version of a Members Only Jacket, which appear to be very popular in the film because we also saw it on the 6-inch Finn figure. Is it just the same figure with a head swap? Surprisingly, no. In fact, I don’t see any shared parts at all, except maybe the hand sculpts. Poe sports new trousers, boots, and a shirt with a plunging collar. Even the jacket and arm sleeves, which would have been logical recycled parts, are new on Poe. His jacket sculpt is sharper and more defined, and even has a number of different details to make it distinctive. It’s also more of a brown and less of a caramel color. The paint is OK, the red shoulder patch application is a little ham-fisted, but not too bad. He also has some spray on his knees that makes it look like he’s been kneeling in the sands of Jakku. Finn was a damn good figure, but everything about Poe from the neck down is just a bit better.

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The portraits, on the other hand, are the other way around. I don’t see a lot of Oscar Isaac in the Dameron head sculpt, whereas I think the Finn figure is a pretty solid likeness for John Boyega. That having been said, my expectations on the 6-inch Black likenesses have been tuned down a lot this year, so I’m not terribly disappointed. The hair sculpt is decent, the paint on the eyes is good, although the paint used for his unshaven face looks a little blue to me.

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The articulation here is identical to what we saw on Finn. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. The chest and neck both feature a ball joints.

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Poe comes with two accessories: HIs flight helmet and a blaster rifle. Like Finn’s gun, Poe’s looks rather large and unwieldly and not very much like a Star Wars weapon, aside from the muzzle tip, which kind of looks like the old Rebel blaster muzzles. The helmet is a decent piece of work, although the paint is a little rough around the edges where the yellow plastic shows through. It kind of just looks like weathering. Let’s move on to the Stormtrooper…

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I don’t have a lot to say about this guy, as he is a straight repack of the regular First Order Stormtrooper, including both of his guns, with just a couple pieces of extra gear. Actually, let me qualify that… my Riot Trooper is missing the little ding in the right shoulder armor that both of my regular First Order Troopers have. That’s the only difference that I can see. Now, don’t mistake that as a complaint. I’ve only been able to find two of the 6-inch First Order Stormies, so I’m happy to get another one, especially when its bundled with some extras and a new figure as well.

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The two extras are a riot shield and a baton. While I suspect the shield is a bit of Expanded Universe equipment and not actually see in the flick, it looks good and is designed to match the armor. It’s held on the arm by two straps, but unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be designed to come off and the backstrap is seated right in his elbow articulation. I did a little snip-snip with mine and carefully cut one end of the back strap to make it removable. This allow allows him to equip it with the front strap in his hand and it gives him his elbow articulation back. All of the pictures I took for this feature were shot after I clipped it off.

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That baton is like a futuristic version of the police issue PR-24 baton with some nice sculpting and painted detail. It looks like it’s meant to have a mechanism in there, so I’m guessing it’s a stun baton.

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This two-pack seems to be selling for $39.99 at Target stores. I actually got mine off the website and used some scraps off a couple of Target Giftcards to get it closer to $30. Either way, it’s a pretty sweet deal. I like both figures a lot and I’m especially happy to get yet another First Order Stormtrooper for my little squad. But now I think I’m all out of Exclusives, so I’m back to waiting for my pre-order of Wave Two to roll in. Maybe I’ll pass the time by picking up some more of the 3 3/4″ figures.

Star Wars Black (The Force Awakens): First Order Snowtrooper Officer by Hasbro

I didn’t think I’d be seeing another Star Wars Black figure until the next full Wave arrives, but thanks to Toys R Us I have a little something to tide me over via their Exclusive Snowtrooper Officer. I was a little pissed off when I first saw this figure revealed and I mistook it as news that the regular First Order Snowtrooper was going to be a TRU Exclusive. Afterall, sometimes those are impossible for me to get hold of. I settled down a lot when I saw it was just the Officer variant and as it turned out I had no difficulty getting it off their website anyway.

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The box is right in line with what we saw in the first wave of 6-inch Force Awakens figures. It’s tweaked from the original 6-inch Black line with a larger piece of monochrome character art and a nice red background, which makes the figure pop in the package a little more. Both side panels now tell what the figure is, which was one of my gripes about the older style boxes. The red panel, however, does not designate a number for this figure, presumably because it’s an Exclusive. And speaking of Exclusives, the box does have the silver “R” sticker on the window identifying it as such.

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Think you’re safe from the First Order just because it’s chilly where you live? Think again! Much like The Empire, TFO has specially bundled up troops to invade your icy world and oppress you. I’ll confess, I don’t like the design of these guys as much as the classic Imperial version, but I do still like it a lot. The biggest similarity is the kama, but in this case it looks like it’s evolved more into a trench coat and I ain’t hating it. I do, however, wish they had sprung for some soft goods because the plastic kama does impede the leg articulation quite a bit. But more on that later.

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I dig the helmet design a lot. It’s nearly featureless design, little gas mask nubs and creepy, almost non-existantly narrow eye slit conspire to create a rather disturbingly blank visage. To me, the more impersonal you can make a soldier the scarier he is and these guys are quite a bit scary.

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Since this is an Officer, the figure does include the rank-defining pauldron on the right shoulder and in this case it’s red. Ah, I bet Hasbro is thanking their lucky stars for the original Sandtrooper Pauldron that has since given them the ability to sell variant figures with very little effort. I presume the piece is removable, but my figure’s noggin is on there pretty good and I didn’t want to risk pulling it off and breaking the neck post. The backpack, on the other hand, is easily removed. It comes separate from the figure in the package and simply pegs right into the back. Obviously the bulk of the figure is white, although Hasbro did mix up that white to use a nice glossy coat on the armored parts and a matte for the cloth. It’s subtle, but nonetheless appreciated. A little black paint here and there and the big red pauldron are the only other real coloring to be found. Still, what’s here is pretty tidy.

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Articulation is serviceable, but there aren’t an over abundance of points. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but sadly no bicep swivels. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, but that plastic kama restricts them quite a bit. The knees are double hinged, there are swivels in the thighs and the ankles feature rotating hinges and lateral rockers. The torso features a ball joint, which is cleverly masked under the chest armor and the neck also is ball jointed. Even with all that being said, the figure feels rather limited. Not to make excuses, but I imagine that might be fairly accurate for a soldier all bundled up in arctic gear.

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Besides the backpack, the Snowtrooper Officer includes his rifle, which is not only a very nice sculpt, complete with scope and extended stock, but also features some lovely white and silver painted accents. His right hand is sculpted to hold it, complete with trigger finger that fits in the guard.

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This guy really doesn’t hold many surprises, but I do like him a lot. A little cloth would have gone a long way to improve the range of leg movement and reinforce that this is a premium line for collectors, but there I go again setting my expectations for 6-inch Black a little too high. Still, I don’t want to go out bitching about what is a rather nice figure. I’m very glad to have been able to find him and I’ll look forward to scooping up a pair of the regular Snowtroopers when they make their appearance.

Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” (Space Mission) Poe Dameron and TIE Fighter Pilot by Hasbro

I’ll confess that last week’s trailer for Force Awakens has done its job and whipped me into some serious anticipation. It’s also motivated me to take my last look at the initial assortment of Force Awakens 3 3/4″ figures. So far, I’ve looked at two figures from each of the Desert, Jungle, and Snow Mission series and that just leaves the Space Mission Poe and TIE Fighter Pilot, so let’s blow this thing and go home.

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I’m still quite in love with this packaging. The cards look amazing and it’s so nice to see individualized character art on each one and not just a small headshot on a bubble insert. Alas, they are not collector friendly, which leads me to the admission that I really wish I hadn’t opened any of these. I know, at about eight bucks a pop, it wouldn’t break my bank to get doubles, but I’m not about to get involved in all that. Anyway, let’s start with Poe.

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As this is the Space Mission Series, Poe comes in his X-Wing pilot gear, which pays homage to the OT flight suits, but still manages to be rather distinctive. The sculpt on the suit is pretty wonky and while there are some nice details, like the texturing and all the rumples, there’s something off about this figure to me. It kind of looks like it’s a poor custom job made from another figure using sculpey. The paint, especially around the white vest, is also rough. But hey, he does come with a little functional holster for his tiny pistol. I guess that’s something.

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And yet my biggest criticism here is the permanent helmet on the head. Hasbro has been doing removable helmets on their pilot figures for a while now, so this strikes me as a particularly cheap way to get collectors to buy the X-Wing, which includes a Poe figure sans helmet. It’s also worth noting that the head on my Poe is crazy loose. Top it off with the fact that it isn’t a paritcularly good head sculpt, what with the super thick visor.

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Poe’s Build-A-Weapon piece can peg into his back to form a kind of VTOL jetpack sort of thing. It’s kind of dopey, but still infinitely better than Finn’s shoulder-mounted machine guns. In case you can’t tell, this figure is not impressing me. Let’s try the TIE Fighter Pilot…

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Now, this guy should have been a slam dunk, seeing as how all the 3 3/4″ Stormtroopers have been quite good, but here’s another one that I think Hasbro stumbled on. The body is fair enough with some decent detail and some minimal paint apps on his chest boxes and insignia on his shoulders, but the helmet sculpt is so soft, I can barely make out any of the details. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s black on black on black, but I really have to get the light to shine on that head just right to pick out what’s going on there. He comes with a little pistol, but no holster to put it in.

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The TIE Fighter Pilot’s Build-A-Weapon piece is a chair. I shit you not. It’s a chair. Getting the piece that comes with the Resistance Trooper will allow you to build a sort of gun turret kind of thing.

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This Space Mission Series is easily the most disappointing assortment in the wave and really drives home why I wish I had kept these carded. On the cards, these figures were enhanced by some great packaging, loose they’re mediocre at best. Neither figure is all that remarkable and if you’re not already sold on this line, I doubt this pair will do it. At some point, I’m going to swing back and check out the Resistance Trooper from this assortment and Constable Zuvio, but I don’t have either figure yet and with the sour taste these two have left, I’m not in a big rush to pick them up.

Star Wars “The Force Awakens” (Desert Mission) Finn and Flametrooper

I’m continuing to chip away at the initial assortment of Force Awakens 3 3/4″ figures. So far I’ve looked at Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma from the Jungle Mission and Rey and a Stormtrooper from the Snow Mission. Let’s move things to the desert today and open up Finn and the First Order Flametrooper.

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I’ve already gushed on and on about how much I love these packages, but damn, don’t they look nice? Individual character art right on the card, great colors, a big bubble to show off the figure. It gets me a lot more excited about buying action figures than the bland packaging Hasbro has been using for Star Wars Black and Marvel Universe Infinite. I hope this is a sign of things to come. Let’s start with Finn…

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This version of Finn is associated with Jakku and it’s the exact same outfit that we saw used for the 6-inch Black figure. This is a really solid sculpt for the smaller scale and apart from the obvious hit to articulation, I don’t think much is lost from the 6-inch figure. The jacket is sculpted in soft plastic and layered onto the figure like a vest with sculpted texture on the shirt underneath. The illusion of the sculpted arm sleeves actually works better with the simple rotating shoulder hinges. The portrait is excellent with a solid likeness and sharp paint. Once again, the eyes are painted looking up, which is getting to be a weird trend for Hasbro and this character. It’s perhaps worth noting that Finn is ever so slightly pre-posed as he stands naturally with one foot slightly in front of the other.

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Finn comes with the same style blaster as the 6-inch figure, which makes me reconsider my prediction that the weapon might not be in the film. It still looks rather large and ungainly to be a carried in the movie, but I’m probably wrong about that. At least this time it’s cast in gray plastic and not in the same color as the jacket. Alright, that’s enough about Finn… moving on to the Flametrooper…

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I was really excited to get this guy, mainly because he isn’t available in the 6-inch scale yet. I dig the design of this armor a lot and, to my surprise, the Flametrooper doesn’t share any parts with the regular Stormtrooper. I’ve always loved the idea of specialized Stormtroopers, especially when they involve new armor and not just different colors painted on them. The helmet design is pretty damn sinister looking.

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Naturally, the Flametrooper comes with a flamethrower, which consists of a removable backpack that pegs into place and the gun connected with a flexible plastic hose. Not sure why the hand held piece has to look like a friggin assault rifle, but it’s neat nonetheless. I also love the little OII sculpted into the backpack. It’s a nice little nod back to the Imperial Stormtroopers.

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The build-a-weapon pieces included with these figures are a little better as standalone pieces than what I’ve seen so far, but they’re still plenty goofy. Finn’s looks like a tracked robot with twin machine gun arms and it can be pegged into his back. The obvious downside here is that they had to put a hole in his back just for this gimmick and I’d rather they didn’t. The Flametroopers’ piece can be used as a big, bulky shield. If you connect them together, you do get what I think is a pretty cool looking little robot. It works fine as it is, but the third figure in this assortment, Constable Zuvio will add blade pieces. Frankly, I haven’t decided whether I’m picking him up yet.

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With six of these figures now opened, I find I’m still rather soft on them. The sculpts are not bad for what they are, but I’m not sure I’m feeling motivated to keep collecting them, at least not with the 6-inch Black series out there promising releases of all of these characters. On the other hand, when they’re available at $7.99 a pop, it’s kind of hard for me to resist. I’ve still got two more to open before I make any final decisions, so sometime next week we’ll check out Poe Dameron and the First Order Tie Pilot from the Space Mission!

Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” (Snow Mission) Rey and Stormtrooper by Hasbro

It’s time to open up some more 3 3/4″ Star Wars figures and this time I’m going with the “Snow Mission” series, which oddly enough consists of Rey and a First Order Stormtrooper. I say it’s odd because neither of these figures seem to fit their “mission” series. Rey is specified as “Starkiller Base” Rey, which we know is on an arctic planet, but she’s still wearing her Jakku robes and we already know that The First Order has specialty Snowtroopers for those arctic climates. Ah, but I’m probably trying to read way too much into a movie that I haven’t even seen yet, so let’s just press on…

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No question about it, Hasbro absolutely nailed the packaging for this line. Sure, they’re not at all collector friendly, but the cards are just gorgeous and it’s such a treat to see individual character art on the cards again. For the longest time I was convinced that Hasbro had sacked their entire art design department, but it looks like they may have hired a few back for these snazzy packages. Let’s rip these open and kick things off with Rey.

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Yeeeah… Well, as already mentioned, Rey is wearing the same clothes she has on during all those Jakku scenes we see in the trailers, which makes it the same outfit as her 6-inch Black counterpart. I suppose it’s possible she doesn’t change clothes, but that would mean less variant figures to sell and I think Disney and Hasbro are smarter than that. Also, she looks like she’d get really cold in that outfit while traipsing through the snow. Anywho, this is a fairly detailed sculpt for the scale, complete with all the little wrinkles and wrappings of Rey’s garb. The head sculpt isn’t good, but I’d say it’s not all that much worse than the 6-inch version. That’s not really so much a compliment for this figure but a jab at the other. The paint is serviceable for the scale, but not great. It looks fine with the naked eye, but when the camera gets in close I can see all sorts of slop.

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Rey comes with her staff or gun or whatever the hell this thing is. She also comes with a pretty cool backpack with snaps on the shoulder straps. It looks great on the figure and it’s adjustable so you could put it on pretty much any figure in the series. That was a nice surprise!

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I don’t have a lot to say about the he Stormtrooper, as it is more or less the exact same figure that came with the Assault Walker only minus the pauldron and with a slightly less plastic sheen to him. It’s a great looking figure and includes the same blaster, which can be tabbed into his leg for storage. I commented early about it being odd that a Snowtrooper wasn’t included in the “snow” mission assortment, but I imagine these regular troopers will be on patrol inside Starkiller Base. Either way, I’m probably in for a least couple more of these, assuming I can ever find any.

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Last time, I didn’t even bother to talk about the build-a-weapon pieces, but I will this time because these two sort of interest me. Rey’s piece looks like it could make a decent jet pack if the figures had peg holes in the backs, but neither of these do. The Stormtrooper’s weapon is a giant gun, which can be used as a weapon all on its own, even if it is ridiculously huge. Combine these two with the piece that comes with Darth Vader and you can build a pretty decent looking gun turret. Alas, I have no interest in picking up the Vader so it’s not going to happen.

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Obviously, these are very basic figures and still only feature that basic 5-POA style of articulation, slightly enhanced with ball jointed necks. Some fans are never going to get past that, and I can understand the hang up. Nothing about these figures is especially great or noteworthy and while I don’t hate them, the thought is constantly nagging at me that a brand new Star Wars movie deserves so much better than this. I probably would have been a lot more resentful of these if the articulated 6-inch line didn’t exist, but since it does, I suppose I can accept these for what they are, throwbacks to a long gone age. Whether I continue to collect these past the initial wave that I have remains to be seen. Next week, I’ll revisit the line with a look at the “Desert Mission” Finn and Flametrooper.

Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” (Jungle Mission) Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma by Hasbro

I get the idea that Force Friday proved to be more of a hit with Hasbro than it did with the fans. Stores quickly sold of of all their figures and to my surprise the 3 3/4″ line seemed to be among the hardest to track down. Even the e-tailing juggernaut Amazon has been dry. Luckily Toys R Us added some to their website about a week after the big day and I was able to order most of the initial assortment before they disappeared again. The figures are assorted into “mission” categories (Desert, Snow, Jungle, and Space), which feels rather weird for a Star Wars line, but it’s not something that’s really emphasized, especially if you’re like me and have no interest in the lame build-a-weapon gimmick. Yeah, take a good look at those pieces in the package, because I’m not going to bother to show them again.

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The figures come on cards which are folded over to envelope the edges of the bubble. It’s kind of weird and hard to describe, but it gives the card the illusion of being made from thicker stock. At first, I thought this meant that I’d be able to carefully cut the tape and slide the bubble out, but there’s still plenty of glue making these decidedly un-collector-friendly. The packages themselves look amazing with some wonderful individualized character art and Kylo Ren’s mask and lightsaber up at the top. With Hasbro’s ho-hum package design lately, it’s nice to see presentation that looks this good swinging on the pegs again. I imagine they’ll be a real treat for Mint on Card collectors. Me? I’m an opener, so let’s tear these babies open and check them out. I’ll start with Kylo Ren…

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As everyone knows by now, these are very basic figures and the articulation here is a straight 5-POA style exactly like the old Kenner figures only with a ball joint in the head instead of just a swivel. Like it or lump it, it is what it is. That having been said, Kylo Ren, the mysterious hooded villain, is reproduced here quite well in the 3 3/4″ scale thanks to a surprisingly detailed sculpt. The entirety of his robes are textured with a crossthatch pattern, the arm wraps are sculpted and even the insides of his robes if you move his legs apart reveal his sculpted legs underneath. The hood is part of the head sculpt, but the cape is a separate piece that can be removed if you pop off Kylo’s noggin. There’s not a lot of paint here, but that suits the design. You do get a little silver on the mask and a little on the belt buckle.

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Naturally, Kylo Ren comes with his unconventional lightsaber, which looks great for the smaller scale and even includes the crossguard blades cast in clear red plastic. The only downside here is that the blades don’t come out, so the only display option is to go with it activated. Moving on to…

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Captain Phasma! This character’s popularity has already reached critical mass via what I like to call “Boba Fett Syndrome.” We know nothing about her, but her bad ass chromed out Stormtrooper armor sure is bringing all the boys to the yard. It’s nice to see that this isn’t just a re-used Stormtrooper and that she’s properly sized and about a full head and shoulders taller than the troops. I don’t think anyone was expecting a vac-metal figure in this scale, but the silver plastic Hasbro used does a fairly decent job. There’s a few stray black marks here and there, but otherwise the paint is sharp and clean.

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Phasma comes with her cape, which is cast in soft, pliable plastic and is removable by popping the head off the figure. She also comes with her blaster, which can tab onto her leg and can be held fairly well in either hand.

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Overall, I’m pretty pleased with this pair, articulation not withstanding. The plastic feels good and the sculpts are quite detailed. They look great standing on the shelf and only really disappoint when I take them down and start fiddling with them and their limited poseability takes over. I’m sort of warming up to the idea of looking to the 6-inch scale for my articulation and relying on these smaller figures for the whole retro-charm thing. I can understand collectors not embracing these, but I find I’m totally fine with them and at $7.99 a pop, they seem to be priced right.