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…

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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!

Star Wars Black: Grand Moff Tarkin by Hasbro

The 6-inch Black Series is perpetually in danger of getting dropped by your’s truly. It seems like for every great figure, there are a handful of mediocre ones. It also seems like Hasbro continually squanders the opportunity to make use of the larger scale and produce figures that are genuinely better than what could be done in the 4-inch scale. But just as I’m about ready to call it quits, Hasbro goes and teases a new release that gets me all hot and bothered again. And yep, Tarkin is just that kind of figure. I pre-ordered him, which is something I rarely ever do with this line, and it felt like it took forever for him to finally arrive.

I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, so let me gush over Peter Cushing for a bit. There’s no doubt Star Wars introduced him to me, but as I got a little older, I would discover the films of his horror career and I became smitten with him as an actor. Darth Vader may have had the spotlight in merchandising, but let’s not forget that Tarken was holding his leash, making him one of the greatest bad asses of the entire Original Trilogy. When he featured prominently (and posthumously) in Rogue One, I was so delighted, it was easy for me to look past the blemishes in the CG. Yup, I really dig him and here he is in all his 6-inch action figure glory. Hopefully there isn’t any foul stench!

OK, I’ll concede that this is not the most exciting action figure around. It’s an old man in a uniform. Indeed, for as much as I adore having this figure in my collection, I have surprisingly little that I can actually say about it. The uniform has some nice texturing and stitch lines. I was expecting heavy reuse from the Director Krennic figure, and there’s definitely some here. The legs appear to be the same, as do the arms, albeit with new hands. The tunic looks like a re-sculpt, as there’s some added wrinkles to the area below the belt, among other minor differences. The belts are different too, and of course Krennic wears a blaster, whereas Tarkin does not.

The head sculpt is pretty solid, but I will admit that it looks better in hand than it does in photos. I also think it loses a little something when viewed from straight on, but give that head a little quarter turn and I think it’s a pretty impressive likeness. The paint is also much improved over what we’ve been seeing in this line in the past. In terms of human portraits, I’d say this is definitely a step in the right direction. On the downside, the tunic area on my figure has some paint inconsistencies with some splotches that make it look perpetually wet in some areas. It’s not a disaster, but it is noticeable enough that I may pick up a second Tarkin if I can find him for a good price.

The articulation here is pretty standard stuff for the Black Series. You get rotating hinges in his shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hips. He’s got double hinges in his knees, and his ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint in his waist and both a hinge and ball joint in his neck. The joints feel good and all have a fairly decent range of motion. But hey, this is Tarkin. You pretty much just need him to stand somewhere and gesture while he commands the people around him. Conveniently, Hasbro used a gun holding right hand for him, and while he doesn’t need it to hold a gun, the trigger finger works nicely for pointing. Normally, I would have liked it if Hasbro threw in a gun, but instead we got something a lot cooler.

Yup, Tarkin comes with the Interrogation Droid! This black plastic ball of pain comes mounted on a clear flight stand with a ball joint so you can adjust it’s positioning a bit. It features a great amount of sculpted detail and some silver and red paint apps. It also has its various instruments of torture deployed, including a rather chunky version of the syringe it was going to use on Princess Leia. As far as accessories go, this one is fantastic!

It’s possible not everyone is going to be as excited to get Tarkin as I am. There’s a fair amount of reuse and resculpt here, he’s a simple design, and he doesn’t exactly put the action in action figure. But as much as I love the character and the actor, I’d say this one was pretty high on my 6-inch Black Series Want List. Hasbro did a nice job on him and even stepped up the game by bundling him with the Interrogation Droid, and all in all he was well worth the wait. And yeah, I’m also pretty excited about the releases of General Veers and Admiral Piet. I’ll take as many top Imperial brass as I can get!

Star Wars Black: 4-LOM by Hasbro

I’m sure that I’m not alone when I say the Bounty Hunters from The Empire Strikes Back are one of the sub-groups that I’m the most excited to see completed in the 6-inch Black Series. Hasbro started out of the gate with a Boba Fett in the very first wave, but after that it took us a little while to get Bossk and IG-88. I wouldn’t have bet money on the next release being 4-LOM and yet here he is, the fourth Bounty Hunter from The Empire Strikes Back to hit this line.

4-LOM, or Zuckuss if you’re Kenner old school, comes in the typical Black Series packaging. Yeah, it’s kind of boring, but the black and red deco has grown on me over time. Like all the bit characters from Star Wars, 4-LOM has been retroactively credited with a backstory. In this case the package says a glitch allowed him to break out of his protocol droid programming and become a Bounty Hunter. Back in the day, I always just assumed he was a droid owned by Zuckuss to help him hunt bounties, and I tend to stick with that idea in my head canon.

Whatever the case, I always thought 4-LOM was a bad-ass looking droid. Sure, he’s sporting a design that is very close to the standard protocol droid, but there are some key differences. Plus, Hasbro really stepped up to the plate to point them out and even toss in some improvements over the two 6-inch Black Series C-3PO figures they have released so far. The legs look identical to me, as does the pelvis, but that’s where the parts recycling seems to end.

For starters, the arms are new and actually feature elbow articulation this time around. Yup, that was a pretty big sticking point with me on the previous 3PO body. Now, granted, there isn’t a huge range of motion in those joints, but the fact that it’s there, complete with little tracks for those hydraulics to slide on, really impresses the hell out of me. At the same time it makes me wonder why they invested the extra work into 4-LOM and not into a main character like 3PO. Sure, the hydraulic on my figure’s right arm seems to prefer bending instead of sliding in the track, but I still appreciate the effort. Apart from the added articulation, the arms look mostly the same, although there is new sculpting in the shoulders and the hands are now designed to hold a weapon. The rest of 4-LOM’s articulation is identical to the C-3PO figure and I’ll refer you back to that review for the details.

Also new are both the torso and the exposed midriff circuit area. 4-LOM still features the familiar protocol droid concentric circles design in the middle of his tummy, but he looks like he has two sets of chests. The coloring on the body is very simple, as it’s all done in a matte black with a lighter gray used for the midriff, and an orange rust wash to pick out the details. He also has a red stripe of paint slashed over the left side of his chest.

The head sculpt is quite a little masterpiece. I’ve always loved the idea that Industrial Automoton would just tweak a standard protocol droid body and slap a Gand head on it to make it more familiar to that species of clientele. The detail in the facial sculpt is absolutely superb and I love the translucent green plastic they used for the giant compound eyes. It’s still amazing to me that a line that still struggles with producing basic human likenesses can turn out something so good when it comes to the aliens and masked figures.

4-LOM comes with his rather distinctive, and rather long, blaster rifle. It has a very thin profile and features a folded bi-pod under the barrel, which cannot be articulated. I really dig how well 4-LOM can hold this thing and even the stock is a perfect fit to get him into a firing position where he’s aiming right down the barrel.

I don’t think I was expecting to enjoy 4-LOM nearly as much as I do, and yet I’ve been messing around with him ever since I opened him up. The extra articulation is certainly a welcome surprise, but beyond that everything about this figure just comes together so perfectly. That’s the thing with the 6-inch Black Series. There are so many figures that could be done better and mediocrity often rules the day, but when this line is good, it’s really really good! Now bring on Zuckuss and Dengar!

Star Wars Black (Solo): Qi’ra by Hasbro

How about that Solo: A Star Wars Story, eh? Who could have thought that such a fun and simple little space adventure could elicit so much controversy? And I’m not even talking about people picking it apart. From the “this was an unnecessary prequel” mantra to “let’s form a boycott campaign against this movie because we didn’t like another movie” all I have to say is “Holy shit, people!” Let’s all just relax and have a look at a Star Wars figure.

If you need any indicator of how much I enjoyed Solo, the fact that I’ve purchased and actually opened the entire wave of figures should do the trick. I have a short stack of figures from The Last Jedi that I just can’t bring myself to open, so it feels good to be a little excited about some SWB releases again. Qi’ra wasn’t one of my favorite things about the film, but as a character, she was perfectly serviceable. To be honest I’m just not a big fan of  Emilia Clarke, so I may be a little biased here. Oh, and she’s Figure #66. I don’t usually pay attention to the numbers in this line, but really, Hasbro? You couldn’t have thought of a more appropriate character for the 66 slot?

Qi’ra wore a few outfits throughout the movie, but Hasbro is dubbing this her Corellia outfit and it was a curious look to go with, since I seem to recall her only wearing it in the beginning. Indeed, while doing some research it was hard to find that many pictures of her wearing it. Either way, her sculpted digs include black boots, pants, and skirt, as well as a red top and a jacket. The skirt is a bit weird, as it’s longer in the front than in the back, it has tabs coming off the sides that don’t seem to have a function, and there’s some dirt or mud splashed up against the bottom front edge. She also has a brace of what looks like some kind of ammo or blaster charges across the front of her belt. The bit of additional mud splash on her boots is a nice touch.

The red and black top is smooth and doesn’t have a whole lot of sculpted detail. It does, however have a front flap that’s partially pulled down. What is it with these flappy shirts in this movie? Both Lando and Han had similarly designed tops, all of which remind me a bit of the Starfleet uniforms that debuted in Star Trek II. The jacket is gray with a textured collar that extends down the front and looks like it’s supposed to be some kind of wool or fur. The sculpted sleeves are also rumpled quite a bit and looking like they’ve been partially pushed up to reveal the various devices on her wrists. All in all, Hasbro did a nice job on the outfit.

I’m a bit torn on the portrait. If I were judging it strictly on likeness, I wouldn’t give it the highest marks. There are some similarities here and there, particularly in her lips. It’s not the worst likeness this line has turned out, but it’s certainly not the best either. Still, it’s certainly better than Funko did with the likeness of Clarke from their 6-inch Game of Thrones line. The face here is very pretty and the paint on her lips and printing on her eyes are both on point. The somewhat distinctive haircut is recreated especially well. All in all, I’d say not bad, just not great.

Qi’ra comes with only one accessory and that’s her blaster. It’s a very small, double-barreled pistol with a gray body and silver barrels. Oddly enough it’s even designed to come apart. It’s a nice little gun and while it’s meant for her right hand with the trigger finger, she can actually hold it in either one. I just wish there was somewhere on her to store it.

As for poseability, we have some pretty standard female SWB articulation on display here, which means rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints at the hips, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There are swivels in the thighs, a ball joint at the waist, and her neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The skirt is slit up the sides so it doesn’t impede her hip movement all that much, and the range of motion on her elbows is surprisingly good.

Qi’ra was actually the hardest figure in this assortment for me to find. I happened upon the Range Trooper before any of the others, and I even saw one more on the pegs since then. Meanwhile the pegs are always chock full of Lando and Han, almost to the point where they’re outnumbering DJ from The Last Jedi. Can’t imagine why that figure isn’t selling! As for Qi’ra, I only found her once and she hasn’t turned up again since, so I’m glad I bought her when I did. I’m also glad that Hasbro is following through with another wave of 6-inch Black Series Solo figures. I’ll be keeping my eye out for those!

Star Wars Black (Solo): Lando Calrissian by Hasbro

As promised, I’m back for a Solo double feature. This morning I checked out the Alden Ehrenreich version of young Han Solo and this afternoon I’m looking at the Donald Glover version of young Lando Calrissian. I’ve already proferred my general feelings about the movie in the previous review (I liked it!) so let’s just dive right in and talk about Lando…

There were a few times in the movie where I had to remind myself that Ehrenreich was Han Solo, but that was never the case for Glover as Lando. I don’t think I’ve seen a re-cast this effective since Karl Urban stepped into the role of Dr. McCoy in the 2009 Star Trek film. His mannerisms were a little more fleshed out, but they still felt right and I have to say Glover’s was the standout performance for me in this flick. So how did his action figure turn out?

Pretty damn good! For starters, Hasbro did a fine job recreating young Lando’s flashy duds. He comes out of the package wearing a scupted plastic black cape, which clips around his neck, rests on his shoulders, and hangs down just a bit past his waist. The interior of the cape is painted blue, which hints a bit at the cape he wore in Empire. Yes, apparently Lando has a bit of a cape fetish and the movie took a few opportunities to point it out and have fun with it. The trousers are unremarkable, and he has a serviceable pair of glossy black boots. He also has a gun belt with a silver buckle and an open holster for his gun.

The flashiest thing about the outfit is the bright yellow high-collared shirt, which features a sculpted chest-flap that’s partially folded down to reveal the black interior. I suspected this shirt might be a reuse of Han’s, because both have a similar flap designs, but they appear to each be unique. There’s also a black bar on the left side of Lando’s chest, which I thought was a flap for a pocket, but it just seems to be there for ornamental purposes. Contrasting this yellow shirt is his long black scarf with a diagonal white pattern. This is the kind of outfit that I would see at The Gap when I was a teenager, but wouldn’t have the chops to wear it to school.

I’m a tad mixed on the head sculpt. It’s certainly not bad, but I think it leans a bit more toward caricature than a straight on likeness. It might be because of the expression in the brow. Also, I didn’t notice it in the film, but the dent in Lando’s coif is channeling a little Moss from The IT Crowd. Like the Han figure, Lando features the halftone printing for the facial features, and it looks good around the eyes, but I think the beard and mustache could have been a bit sharper.

Lando comes with a rather unique blaster and holster. The holster is open with three bands to secure it. The top two bands are open on one end and the bottom is a loop to stick the barrel through. It can be a bit tricky to get it seated right without the barrel looking like it’s bent and sometimes when I remove the blaster from the holster, the barrel will stay in, because…

The muzzle is detachable. We’ve seen a few modular weapons in Rogue One and even in Solo, Han’s DL-44 Blaster gets broken down from a larger gun before Beckett tosses it to him. I’m just not sure if this particular blaster was meant to come apart, or if Hasbro just designed the accessory that way. And if its meant to come apart, what does the longer barrel do for it? Is it a silencer? Does it make it more accurate? Honestly, I can’t even remember seeing this gun in the film, but I assume it’s the one he was using while escaping a certain mining facility. Whatever the case, I like this gun a lot. The sculpted detail is excellent and the silver paint job makes it look very snappy.

I’ll note here that Lando’s articulation here is identical to what we saw with Han Solo and since I just reviewed that figure this morning, I’ll take the lazy way out and refer you back to that review. The cloak does impede shoulder articulation, although the right side is billowed out a bit so he can draw and raise his blaster with the cape on.

No doubt about it, young Lando is a worthy addition to my SWB Collection. It’s a great representation of Lando from the film and I’m really glad I picked him up. The only thing I’ll really nitpick is, I wish he came with some Sabacc cards. They could have sculpted a hand of cards as a single accessory, or even included an extra hand with the cards as part of the hand sculpt. Oh well. Before seeing the movie, I was pretty sure I was going to be happy with just getting Han, Lando, and the Range Trooper, but now that I”ve seen it I’m going to go ahead and pick up Q’ira to finish out this assortment. I’m also happy to see that Hasbro has shown off pictures of a second Solo-themed wave and I’ll be all over that like stink on a Wookie.

Star Wars Black (Solo): Han Solo by Hasbro

Solo, the latest Star Wars Story hit theaters last week and I have to say that while I was pretty apprehensive about this one going in, I ended up enjoying it very much. There were a few things here and there that I felt were a little off, but overall the movie generated enough goodwill to allow me to overlook those things. Yeah, there was one cameo that I think was a terrible idea and left a bad taste in my mouth, but I won’t go into anything spoilery just yet. But ultimately, Solo (in conjunction with Rogue One) gave me a well-needed shot of assurance, that if the proper episode-whataver saga movies don’t right themselves, I’ll have these Star Wars Story films to fall back on for my Star Wars fix. In the meantime, I’m doubling up on Star Wars Black reviews today, with a look at Han Solo right now, and Lando Calrissian later on tonight.

And here we have my first Han Solo figure based on someone else playing the character. Let me confess, I didn’t know who Alden Ehrenreich was before he was cast in this film, and I was pretty dubious about how this was going to play out. My main concern was that I’d go through the movie and my brain wouldn’t allow this person to click as Han Solo. Thankfully, that fear wasn’t entirely realized and I think Ehrenreich did a pretty damn good job. Let’s face it, he had some huge space boots to fill, and if I was an actor, that kind of pressure would have killed me. In most scenes I think he sold it entirely, while there were a few (very few) times where I had to remind myself in the back of my head that this was indeed supposed to be Han Solo. But this film was a fun and gripping adventure and I was willing to go along for the ride, and I would not at all be opposed to seeing Ehrenreich take on the role again.

And I’m happy to report that Hasbro did a fantastic job on this figure! Young Han wore a number of outfits throughout the movie, from Imperal uniforms, to disguises, to a big furry jacket, but this figure is based on the one he settled on for most of it and clearly this is supposed to be iconic young Han Solo. The outfit has plenty of nods to the Han Solo that we all know and love. Indeed from the waist down, the similarities are striking. He has the familiar blue trousers with the red striping running up the tops, the high boots, and even his iconic gun belt with the large silver belt buckle, low slung holster with leg strap.

From the waist up, the costume mixes things up a bit. He still wears a jacket, like he did in Empire Strikes Back, but this one is a deep brown with black shoulder patches and a badge or some kind of ID shingle on his left side of his chest. Besides the usual sculpted rumples and wrinkles, Hasbro did some nice work with the sculpted seams and stitching, as well as a pleated effect on the flaps. The coloring on the jacket is also particularly nice, with a glossy finish making it look like well worn leather. Of course, the jacket is the usual soft plastic vest with sleeves sculpted on the arms, and it works quite well here. Under the jacket, Han wears a black t-shirt, with a sculpted flap on the front, somewhat similar to the one Luke wore in Return of the Jedi. 

It’s no secret that Hasbro hasn’t always been on point with their likenesses in the Black Series. Most would argue that the sculpts are there, but the basic paint the portraits get is where things go pear-shaped. Whatever the case, Hasbro did a bang-up job on this one. I think the likeness to Ehrenreich is pretty solid, and I particularly like the way they sculpted his coif. The facial detail uses the halftone printing that we’ve seen with many of the recent MCU figures in Hasbro’s own Marvel Legends line and the improvement is certainly there. It’s not perfect, but it’s come a long way from what Hasbro was doing for this line in the past. And don’t think it’s lost on me, the fact that this Han Solo figure features a much better likeness of Solo as played by Ehrenreich than any of the previous figures based on Harrison Ford.

As expected, Han features a functional holster on his gun belt and he comes with his trusty DL-44 Blaster, although I guess it’s a little too early to refer to it as his trusty weapon in this film since it was newly acquired. Nonetheless, the sculpt on this Broom-handled Space-Mauser is excellent and Hasbro spared a lick of brown paint for the handle.

While the movie may have had a few surprises about Han, the figure’s articulation comes out right where I expected. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinged knees, swivels in the thighs and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso features a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

I haven’t always been terribly kind to the 6-inch Black Series, and it’s track record of hits and misses has really made me lose some of my enthusiasm for this line. Hell, almost all my SWB figures from The Last Jedi still sit unopened, but that could be blamed more on the film than the figures. But would I really be interested in buying a figure of Han Solo not played by Harrison Ford? Apparently, yes. Because, after seeing Solo the film, and getting this figure in hand, I’ve been pulled back in. Indeed, I was a little surprised at how excited I was to grab this figure off the peg, along with Lando and toss them into my cart. Both the movie and the figure turned out great, and I’m ready for more. So, come back later on tonight, and I’ll have a look at Lando Calrissian!