The Mandalorian may be in hiatus, but that’s not stopping us from getting some great figures from the series. I’ve checked out a few figures from Hot Toys offerings, but I’ve also got a small stack from Hasbro’s 6-inch Black Series and 3 3/4-inch Vintage Collection. And some of them are Stormtroopers! I LOVE STORMTROOPERS!!! I don’t open the Vintage Collection stuff, but I’ll get around to showing it off one day when I’m short on time, but the Black Series is all fair game to tear into!
At the beginning of the year, I took a look at Hasbro’s excellent new Black Series Imperial Stormtrooper from The Mandalorian. These new recruits are basically variants built off of that updated figure. The Remnant Stormtrooper has been out for a little while, but the Artillery Stormtrooper just arrived and as far as I know is an Amazon Exclusive! I’m going to start with the Remnant Trooper since I don’t have a whole lot to say about him.
As expected, The Remnant is just a dirtied up repaint of the updated Stormtrooper, and that’s fine! I’ll refer you to that earlier review for all the improvements on articulation and tweaks to the sculpt that this Stormtrooper body introduced. Here, the once pristine white armor is now marred with chipping and some very light brownish-orange spray. Everything just looks delightfully flatter and grungier than the regular Stormy, and shows off what happens when you can’t hop on The Empire’s website and order fresh replacement armor for your goons. The chipping is heaviest on the helmet and left shoulder, as well as the upper thigh pieces. There’s also a smattering of it elsewhere. I think the chipping looks great, but I thought it odd how little there is on the back. Indeed, apart from the heavy chipping on the back of the left thigh piece, the back of the armor is almost totally clean. It kind of looks like Hasbro just forgot to do the back, except for that one piece.
The newer helmet sculpt still looks great, although I’ve spoken to a few people who preferred the older one. To be honest, I don’t really have a preference, and I’m fine intermingling my Black Series troopers with each other. The painted details are pretty sharp, and as for accuracy, I’m not enough of a Star Wars gearhead to notice a lot of the subtle differences. Not to mention, I would imagine there were lots of variations in the screen used props over the years.
Hasbro has been pretty good about making The Mandalorian Stormtroopers accessible. And I was able to pick up three of these guys without any difficulty. It’s not nearly as many of the regular Stormies I got when they released, but this was a rare case where my good senses told me to be happy with three. It would have been cool if they varied up the distress to the armor, but I can appreciate how that would be costly for a mass-produced action figure, and the fact that these three suits just happened to chip in all the exact same spots doesn’t really phase me. I still wish they had kept the holster for the E-11 Blasters from the original Black Series Stormies, but otherwise I love these guy a lot! OK, let’s move on to the star of the show… The Artillery Stormtrooper!
This guy made his appearance in Episode 14, The Tragedy, and as his name suggests, he’s basically a mortar specialist. Once again, we get the new Stormtrooper with improved articulation and the lack of an E-11 holster, and distinguished by both the yellow markings on his armor and the yellow officer’s pauldron on his right shoulder. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I am not a fan of carrying the specialized armor markings from The Clone Wars over to the Imperial Stormtroopers. It felt like a cheap excuse to sell toys back then, and it still does. It’s the kind of thing I expect to see in a video game so the player can tell what kind of enemy they’re dealing with. And it’s especially weird to see it just appearing now in The Mandalorian after never turning up in The Original Trilogy. I think the yellow pauldron would have been enough, and it’s the main reason I’m skipping the Hot Toys releases of this guy and the Incinerator Trooper. And yet with all that being said, I still dig this guy well enough.
There are no notable changes to the helmet, apart from the added yellow markings, which looks like he’s dipped his face in a bucket of mustard. I do really like the sculpt and coloring on the pauldron! The subtle creases where the strap is pulling at it is a really nice touch.
His specialist equipment consists of a backpack and the mortar. The pack holds four “mortar shells,” which I think are just supposed to be the thermal detonators that the regular Stormtroopers wear on the back of their belts. Three of these are sculpted into the pack, but the one on the far right can be removed and loaded into the mortar. The horizontal yellow cylinder looks like it could be some kind of specialty shell, but I’m not sure. The pack plugs into the “O I” on the backpack and it stays put pretty well. There are some fixtures on the sides, which look like brackets, but it doesn’t appear to be designed to hold the mortar, which is a shame.
The mortar is pretty big and features a ball joint at the base and a hinged bi-pod. It stands pretty well and I love the fact that you can load it. “Fire in the hole!!!” Normally, I would have preferred to be manning the WEB Blaster, but after seeing how that thing can be taken out with one well placed shot to the power source, I’m thinking these mortars might be the better way to go. Your far from the action, and accuracy doesn’t really count as much. You really just have to worry about one of those filthy space wizards using The Force to toss the shell back at you. But what are the odds of running into one of those these days, right?
In addition to all the mortar gear, this fellow also comes with a standard E-11 Blaster, which is the same one issued to the Stormtroopers, both Remnant and otherwise. But seriously, is there a petition somewhere to bring back the holsters?
For someone who ran out of space a long time ago, I sure love to troop build! It’s totally irrational, but I just can’t help myself. I think it stems from back when I was a kid and the biggest pie-in-the-sky dream I could have was to have a dozen Stormtroopers for my Rebels to fight. And here i am now with no one to stop me! I’m content with just the one Artillery Stormtrooper, but I can’t say I wouldn’t pick up a couple more Remnant Troopers if they cross my path. Either way, these are great figures and a fine addition to anyone’s Imperial Forces!
I could go on and on, recounting all the things that I love about Rogue One! But today, let’s go with Reason #1,256: New Troopers! The film gave us some brand spanking new Imperial Troops, all of which were conspicuously absent from The Original Trilogy, but I’m sure they’ll get digitally inserted in an upcoming Extra Special Edition. And while the Deathtroopers were probably my favorite additions, the Shoretroopers that were introduced on Scarif are a close second! And here comes Hot Toys to prey on my weaknesses by releasing both a Shoretrooper and the Squad Leader as well. The regular trooper isn’t due to ship until early next year, but the Squad Leader arrived on my front stoop a couple of days ago! Time to hit the beach and kick over some Rebel sandcastles!
Here’s the part of the review where I lament the bland and boring packaging we always get with the Star Wars Hot Toys, so let’s just say I did and be done with it. You’ll note that nowhere on the package is it branded as a Rogue One figure, and maybe that’s because these fellows made an appearance in The Mandalorian. That’s also probably why they’re now being called Shoretroopers, instead of Scarif Stormtroopers. Eh, it’s all marketing in the end. But, it’s worth noting that the official copy on Sideshow’s website makes the link to Rogue One, so that’s good enough for me. Not that it matters, because I’m more or less all in on both Rogue One and Mandalorian Hot Toys.
The Squad Leader shares a similar suit to his rank-and-file underlings. The big difference is the lack of the ammo pouch and hip armor, and the addition of the black cloth kama that hangs down to about his knees, and covers his butt. The Leader also features some coloring to his upper armor, with light blue on the tops of his shoulders and a light blue bar running across the top of his chest. He’s also got a white band on his left shoulder, and a red bicep guard on his right arm with three yellow bars. Otherwise, his armor is a sandy tan color with some pretty heavy and convincing weathering effects. The paint on this guy is just great, and it’s backed up by some excellent detail, particularly in the shallow backpack unit.
As for the armor itself, the suit falls somewhere in between the full armor of a regular Stormtrooper and the abbreviated armor of the Scout Troopers. The Shoretrooper enjoys the extra protection of lower leg and forearm armor, but the rest offers more or less the same protection as the Scout has. As usual, the figure is comprised of an undersuit with the plastic armor pieces worn on top and held on either by elastic straps or friction. Above the waist, the body suit is black, but the exposed trousers are brown. About the only thing I don’t much like on this fella is are the boots, which strike me as looking more like brown loafers than combat boots. But, they are still accurate to the design, so it’s hard to fault the figure.
The helmet is also an excellent sculpt and the paint is once again on point. Hell, no matter where you look, the paint just sells this figure so well. You get scoring and abrasions, and just general soiling. It looks like this guy has seen more than his share of action. All it’s really missing is some dried seagull poop! The helmet design is obviously influenced by the Scout Trooper helmet, but the angular plates over the cheeks make it look quite distinctive, as does the reinforced blast shield, which rests above the visor on the forehead. It’s a shame that the blast shield isn’t articulated here, as it would have been cool to be able to drop it down over the visor. But to quote a certain farmboy, then they couldn’t even see… so how are they supposed to fight? I do feel like the neck is a little too long and thin, but that’s mostly only noticeable to me when the figure is viewed from the back.
Rank may have its privileges, but unfortunately it doesn’t mean the Squad Leader gets a lot of extra stuff. Indeed, a lack of extras seems to be a continued sticking point for me and these Imperial Troopers. In this case you get three pairs of hands: Relaxed, Fists, and Gun-toting… plus you get the gun for those hands to tote. Oh, but what a magnificent gun it is! Sure, the E-11 Blaster is iconic as all hell, but this E-22 reciprocating double-barrel blaster rifle is one sexy piece of ordinance. It’s a much beefier and far more intimidating weapon than the ones carried by their vanilla Stormtrooper cousins, and this is an absolutely beautiful sculpt. There are no articulated or removable parts on the weapon, but it does come with a shoulder strap, and features some very nice weathering.
What’s our last stop on every Hot Toys review? You got it! The Stand! In this case it’s the usual rectangle with a silver name plate on the front. You get an illustrated sticker that can be placed onto the base, or you can omit it in favor of what looks more like the deck plate of an Imperial Star Destroyer. There’s also an optional piece to give the base an angled front that is flush with the name plate. As with the packaging, the name plate does not have any Rogue One branding, but rather just says Star Wars and Shoretrooper Squad Leader. The stand consists of your standard adjustable crotch-cradle, which works well with the figure.
I love this figure! He’s a great addition to my Sixth-Scale Imperial Troops, and you bet your beskar that I already have the regular Shoretrooper on pre-order. In addition to the great sculpt, tailoring, and paint, there’s very little in the outfit to hinder his articulation, making him a lot more fun to play with than the more restrictive suited Hot Toys. But I will admit that the price is really catching up with these guys. $230 just seems high for a figure that comes with so little in the way of extras, and doesn’t have an actual portrait. I consider the likeness and portrait to be a huge part of a Hot Toys figure’s budget, and when they’re just doing a helmet, it seems like that should save on the cost a bit. Plus, I think this armor is mostly the same as the Assault Tank Commander, so they’re already getting multiple uses out of it. I seem to recall the last two Hot Toys Stormtroopers I bought were around $200-220, and I think this figure should have shipped around $10 to $15 less than it did. But what the hell, they still got me to buy it, so I guess they know what they’re doing.
The Mandalorian sure has been getting a lot of my Hot Toys money these days, and as long as they keep the figures coming, I don’t see myself stopping. In addition to some of the main characters, we’ve been seeing plenty of Imperial troops, which should appeal to the wider Star Wars collecting audience as well. Most notably, we’ve seen some Rogue One troops resurface, and now the Scout Trooper! These guys distinguished themselves in a stand out scene of self-depricating and banter, which definitely helped to push this release to the top of my list.
The Scout Trooper comes in the usual boring and minimalist shoebox with a printed wraparound band. Yeah, I pick on the Hot Toys Star Wars presentation a lot, but it’s fine. Inside, the figure is laid out on a vac-formed plastic tray. The Scout was available in this single release or as a wallet-busting Deluxe set with the Speeder Bike and some extras. I went with the single release to see how he turned out, and that’s the one I’m checking out today!
If you’ve had any experience with Hot Toys Stormtroopers, then a lot about the Scout should feel familiar to you. Of course, these guys feature much less armor, allowing them increased mobility, not to mention being lighter and more suited to piloting the Speeder Bikes. This figure makes use of a black body suit with all the armor and gear worn on top of it. The suit is more loose than the traditional Stormtrooper suits, but it’s immaculately tailored and fits well. It even includes some stitched pockets in the legs.
The armor consists of a cuirass, backplate, shoulders, arm plates, knee and elbow guards, and hip pieces, all of which are cast in a pretty sturdy plastic with some decent weathering effects. Additional gear includes a quilted cloth cumberbund and codpiece, with a pair of large utility pouches. The utility belt is plastic, with clasps holding the hip pieces on, and the gauntlets are cast in plastic to simulate leather. The boots feature hard plastic feet with a soft plastic material for the tops, which close up along the backs with velcro. They look good, and serve to obscure the split-cut in the boots that improves ankle articulation for those wider stances. As you can no doubt tell from the pictures, the armor and boots feature significant weathering. The grunge is pretty convincing, and while I don’t think they over did it, if you’re looking for a clean and prestine Scout Trooper, this one is certainly not going to fit that bill.
The thermal detonator pack is the only part of the Trooper’s gear that needs to be attached when you get him out of the box. It clips ontot he belt rather simply, but it took me a while to get it on, because the belt curves and the clip doesn’t. Still, once it’s on it stays put. There’s some nice detail on this piece, and I do like that it’s removable even if I doubt I ever will, since I don’t want to bother with getting it clipped back on again.
The helmet sculpt looks pretty similar to what we saw in the good old days on Endor. I’m sure there have got to be some differences, but there’s nothing that really stands out to me. It has been pointed out that this helmet is sculpted with a noticeable gap where the faceplate meets the head piece. Apparently that was done intentionally to mimic the fact that the Scout Troopers’ helmets in the series didn’t close up all the way either. Yeah, I had to re-watch that scene to catch it, so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have picked up on that if it wasn’t brought to my attention. The helmet has more of that weathered dusting, and while it looks good, I think this helmet is dirtier than the on screen counterpart. The visor has a nice sheen to it.
If you’re looking for a dirth of accessories, prepare to be disappointed, because this guy comes with the bare minimum. You get several sets of hands, most of which felt so inconsequential that I barely changed any out for the pictures in this review. But trust me, you do get extra hands! You also get the standard EC-17 pistol, which fits into the holster on his lower right leg. The pistol features an excellent sculpt, but it doesn’t feature any articulation or removable parts like we sometimes get with Hot Toys weapons. It stays put in the holster very well, and the right gun-hand is a perfect fit without causing any stress when placing it in or removing it from his grip. Sadly, it does not rattle like a spray paint can when you shake it!
One of the coolest things about this figure is how well articulated he is. Sure, technically all Hot Toys are well articulated, but their costumes usually inhibit a lot of that range of motion. That’s not the case here, and that makes this fellow a lot of fun to play around with. That’s not something I can often say about my Hot Toys. There isn’t much need to worry about stressing the costume, so you can even keep him in action poses indefinitely without fear of damage to the suit. And because of the lighter armor, he has a much better range of movement than the traditional Stormtroopers.
And what’s our last stop on any Hot Toys review? Yup, the stand! You get the typical crotch-cradle stand with a rectangular base. The top of the base has a textured terrain covering with footprints to position his feet. The nameplate is in silver and simply states Star Wars: Scout Trooper without mentioning The Mandalorian.
It’s awesome that The Mandalorian is giving Hot Toys a reason to revisit some traditional Imperial troop designs, especially since I think this release improves on the Sideshow Scout Trooper from a little while ago. Indeed, the only thing I can really find to complain about here is the price. The regular Imperial Stormtrooper from a couple years ago released at under $200. The Remnant Stormtrooper was $205. The Scout Trooper here was $220. I wouldn’t be so picky about the price if they had thrown in a sniper rifle, but they didn’t have them in the series, so I guess it wasn’t considered essential. Still, if you want this fellow with a Speeder Bike, it’ll set you back another $220, and you’d have to be crazy to do that, right? Yeah… I did that too. So, we’ll be able to have a look at the bike when that set ships in a month or so.
I dominated most of last week with a two-part Star Wars Hot Toys review, so let’s go again… but only one part this time! Everyone’s favorite Nanny Kill-Bot, IG-11, arrived early this week, and I decided to bump him to the head of the line. How cool was it to not only see an IG droid in The Mandalorian, but also see him in full-on ass-kicking action, eh? And hell, he even had a better character arc in the series than half the stars of The Sequel Trilogy. I kid, I kid! But not really… Let’s check him out!
Do you want super premium packaging and fine presentation to go with your expensive action figures? Then look elsewhere, because you won’t get it here. Hot Toys serves up their Star Wars figures in minimalist shoeboxes with an illustrated insert and a vac-formed tray to protect the figure and all its bits and bobs. It’s efficient, it’s serviceable, but just not very flashy.
IG-11 is a tall boi! And he comes out of the box just about ready for display. The only thing required is to put on his bandoleer straps, which easily slips over his head and through his right arm and than velcros closed in the back. There are also some included batteries that need to be installed if you want to take advantage of his two light up features. The design of the IG assassin droid has long been a favorite of mine, and I think it perfectly captures that used future vision so distinctive about the Star Wars universe. Made from junk and a recycled prop, all IG-88 needed to do was stand in the background to ignite my childhood imagination and beg my parents for his action figure. Hot Toys captured every bit of that utilitarian, hunk of junk design here in this figure. And I mean that in the best possible way.
I should start by noting that there is indeed some die-cast metal in here, which is most welcome because he’s kind of a beanpole, and the metal in his thigh pieces gives this bot some well-needed weight right below his center of gravity. And then there’s the overall sculpt. There’s so much going on here! Hot Toys did a great job recreating all the exposed wires, pistons, canisters, and servos that make up the IG Droid’s body. And despite being mostly plastic, the beautiful paint job gives the figure a very convincing metal finish, complete with blemishes and rust patterns. I also really dig the flourishes of copper paint around the shoulders and upper arms. The bandoleer straps are made of a leather-like material and feature some kind of power packs or ammo canisters, each with more of that great faux-metal finish.
The head sculpt features lots of personality, as well as lots of posing potential, as each of those rings can rotate independently of each other. His main two eyes can therefore be rotated to just about any configuration along with the mess of eyes in the upper ring. Popping off the tip of IG-11’s crown allows you to turn on the eye lights, which have a pretty intense burn. I was surprised how visible they are even under the bright studio lights.
I’m also very impressed by his claws. These feature a total of four pincers, each with three hinges. Yes, these are plastic and rather delicate, but they are capable of grabbing and holding things quite well. I’ll come back to these in a bit when I talk about his guns.
As a rule, I don’t talk about articulation much in my Hot Toys reviews, because it isn’t terribly important to me. I tend to assume they will have very little, not because they don’t have the points, but because the suits are either too restrictive or too prone too damage from extreme poses. So, I was surprised and delighted to find how much fun this figure is to play around with. Since IG-11 is bare-ass-metal naked, you can not only see all of his points of articulation, but make good use of them too. And he has just about everything you can want. He’s also very well balanced. My only fear here would be that working those joints too much may make them loose, so as always a modicum of care is recommended.
IG-11 comes with two weapons, the first is your standard Stormtrooper-issue E-11 Blaster. Hot Toys probably has a warehouse full of these things to toss in with all the Stormtroopers they release, so it was a cheap and easy accessory to include. Not that it’s any less welcome. As always, this is a wonderfully detailed little blaster and includes an articulated folding stock. One of the things I love the most about this figure is the way his claws work with the weapons. Other than a little nub on his wrist to support the back, there isn’t any cheat here. The claws just grab the gun by the grip and one claw passes through to the trigger. It works surprisingly well and looks great.
IG-11’s other weapon is a DLT-20A Blaster Rifle. I’m pretty sure this is the same combo that IG-88 was meant to have, so he looks as iconic as ever holding these. The rifle features an excellent sculpt, but it doesn’t have any articulation like the E-11 Blaster. It’s just cast in one solid piece of plastic. Because the claws grasp the weapons as they should, you can have him wield either one in either claw. I do wish there was a way to store them on his back or something, though.
In addition to his guns, IG-11 includes his last line of defense… the one that he seems all too eager to use: His Self Destruct Core. Instead of a simple opening compartment, this is a swap-out block that secures into his chest cavity with magnets. The open core piece has a light up effect, which flashes red when activated and it looks great.
Our last stop in every Hot Toys review is the figure stand, and here we get an exact repack of the one that came with the Deluxe Beskar Armor Mando, complete with sand covered base and even Mando’s footprints. Wait, what? Yeah, that’s really disappointing. It’s not a huge deal, as IG-11’s feet cover up the human footprints, but it feels like a real kick in the teeth when you’re blowing $250 on an action figure and they can’t re-sculpt the base to give you robot footprints in the sand. I mean, holy shit, Hot Toys! At least you switched the name plate, I guess. On the plus side, using the same base means that you can join the Baby Yoda pram base with it and display IG-11 watching over Grogu. I gotta admit, I like that a lot!
Getting to see an old school Star Wars robot, that was designed to stand in the background of a scene, go on an action-packed killing spree was one of the high points of the first season of The Mandalorian. So, naturally I was pleased when Hot Toys revealed they were going to be doing him. And what a nice job they did! I have yet to decide if I’m going all in on the Hot Toys Mandalorian releases, but getting IG-11 was never in question. He may not come with a lot of stuff, and recycling that figure stand base was really cheap, but I’m still thrilled to have him.
Last time, I embarked on a review of Hot Toys’ excellent Deluxe Beskar Mandalorian figure, and as promised I’m back now to look at the other half of the set. Say it with me in your best Herzog voice… “I would like to see The Baby!” And fear not, this second part of the review will not run nearly as long as the first part did.
We saw the packaging last time, but here’s a quick refresher. It’s a Deluxe set, which means bigger and beefier package to hold in all that Star Wars goodness. The standard release came with most everything we saw last time (except the Whistling Bird effect part, I think), but about half of what I’m checking out today was exclusive to the Deluxe release. Now, make no mistake, despite containing two versions, Grogu is still just a small portion of this set’s contents, but that doesn’t make him any less welcome. Let’s start with the standing figure first!
And here he is looking as adorable as ever. Even at One-Sixth Scale, Grogu is pretty damn tiny, and yet Hot Toys packed a lot of detail into him. From the neck down, this is a static figure with his right arm down at his side, and the left arm reaching up. His little feets are sculpted under the robe, and he stands very well thanks to his plastic frock. The garment has sculpted stitching and a textured pattern and the collar and sleeve cuffs are sculpted to look like some kind of fluffy wool. The bottom of the frock also has some uneven threads, giving it a somewhat worn or crude appearance. Was it too much to hope for articulation in the shoulders? Honestly, I don’t think it would be worth it to mess up this perfect little sculpt.
The head is ball jointed, and while I can’t get much of an up or down movement out of it, he can turn his head easily. The portrait is admirable considering the size, with the ears and mouth slightly downturned. You can make out his tiny teeth peeking out of the part in his mouth, and those huge eyes look remarkably lifelike. I suppose you could argue that he’s missing his little tufts of hair, but I can’t find a lot else to nitpick here.
Grogu comes with one accessory and that’s the Mythosaur necklace, which consists of the tiny pendant on a string. To put it on him, you have to pop off his little head, which isn’t as scary as I thought it might be. What no shifter knob? Honestly, I don’t know what I would do with it since it would be so small. Maybe a tasty frog would have been cool. Of course, Hot Toys had to save something for Grogu’s solo release, which is up for pre-order at the time I’m writing this.
The set also comes with Grogu in his Hover Pram, and this is probably the one I will display with the figure. This Grogu is an entirely different figure, or more accurately half of one, since the bottom half is shaped specifically to magnetize to the inside front of the Pram. Everything I had to say about the other Grogu’s sculpt rings true here. It’s just a marvelous little piece with some fantastic paint. The inside of the Pram is fully detailed, and you even get a little blanket to put in there to keep Grogu warm and snuggly.
The Pram hovers on a clear plastic rod that plugs into the rocky base. The figure is able to be displayed alone like this if you want, but it’s also made to mate with Mando’s base for a joined presentation. And if you’re some kind of monster and want to display the base without the Pram, there’s even a rock designed to plug in the hole for the Pram’s pole. Why the hell Hot Toys thought it was necessary to include that, I have no idea. But hey, they got you covered.
And if you’re sick of looking at Baby Yoda, but you still want to display him with Mando, there’s a cover to display the Pram in it’s closed up configuration. Why? Well, to add value to the set, of course!
And there you go! As promised Part 2 didn’t take nearly as long as Part 1. This Deluxe set retailed for $315, which for Hot Toys these days is not bad at all. I was expecting it to be more like $350, but I think they are saving some money by recycling parts for the different Mando releases. Not to mention Grogu, who will be available again with the third Mando release, again with the Scout Trooper and Speeder Bike, again with Ahsoka Tano, and yet again as a solo release. I will have a review of the Scout Trooper coming up soon, and I am fighting a powerful urge to pick up the Scout Trooper with Speeder Bike as well, so this may not be the last time we see a Hot Toys Grogu reviewed around these parts!
I am quite seriously backlogged in my Sixth-Scale figure reviews, but what better motivation to get my ass in gear than the recent reveal of Hot Toys’ third figure based on the titular Mandalorian, this time appearing in his Second Season armor. The first release was how he appeared at the beginning of the series, and the one I’m looking at today is his later appearance, after securing some of that scrummy Beskar armor. I skipped the first figure, opting for what I hoped would be his final form, and I’m still pretty content with that decision. The second season saw him replacing the final pieces of his crappier armor, so as I see it this version is a nice compromise between his ramshackle beginnings and the spiffy complete suit. That’s also my way of convincing myself that I’m good with owning just the one release. Also note, this is a Deluxe figure and I’ve got to make it a two-parter, because there’s so much to look at here!
As I’ve said many times before, the packaging on these figures is nothing special. You get minimalist art design, and a pretty simple shoebox with an illustrated band around it. There’s also an illustrated inside cover over the trays, all showing pictures of the toy inside. Since this is a Deluxe set, the box is wider than your average Hot Toys release, and the three levels of nested trays are absolutely packed with stuff. So much stuff! I was genuinely overwhelmed when I first opened it. This may be the most accessories I’ve seen included with any of my Hot Toys purchases. Some of these goodies I’ll look at as part of the outfit, while other’s we’ll take a closer look at. I’ve kitted Mando out with most of his gear from the start, so let’s have a look!
Straightaway, I’ll say that Mando’s outfit presented Hot Toys with plenty of opportunities to go wild, and they certainly stepped up to the challenge. He comes out of the box mostly ready to go, with a few bits and bobs that need to be added to his person, and in this case I already slung his rifle across his back. The costume is built around a simple gray jumpsuit with the armor pieces attached. Wait, what? Gray? Yeah, I’m not sure what happened there. The solicitation photos showed the correct brown suit, but that’s not what we got. For a company that is so meticulous about correct detail, I’m not sure why they changed it to wrong. Personally, I think the gray looks better with the shiny Beskar, but that doesn’t make it right. Anywho, the armor includes his chest piece, pelvic piece, shoulders, arm bracers, two thigh guards, a right knee guard, and a couple of hip plates. All of these pieces are fashioned to look like shiny new Beskar, with the exception of his holdover right thigh plate and knee guard. The weathering on the older pieces is very well done, retaining the ugly brown of his old armor. There’s scuffing and even some splattering of silver on the thigh plate. The finish on all the Beskar pieces is beautiful and pretty convincing as metal even though they are all simple plastic. I just love seeing the light reflect off of it!
His cape is made of a fine material, which falls about the figure quite naturally. I dig the way it wraps around his front, and the color of the fabric matches his jumpsuit pretty closely. There’s a hole in the back of the cape where you can pass the retaining strap through, to help hold his rifle in place, whereas another strap goes over Mando’s left shoulder and pegs into his bandoleer to secure it. This makes it pretty easy to take off and put back on, which is always a good thing! I love that the cape doesn’t interfere with having the rifle on his back, but things will get a little trickier later when we equip his jetpack.
The right shoulder armor is actually removable so the figure can be displayed with or without his newly earned signet. It’s attached by velcro, so swapping them out requires no fuss at all. The embossed Mudhorn is the only difference between the two pieces, and I’ve chosen to go with the signet piece for photos throughout the review.
The brown bandoleer strap runs from his left shoulder down to his gun belt. There are loops on the strap and the belt to hold some of his ammo cartridges. Here you can also see a few pouches on the belt and a place where he tucks his bounty tracking fob for safe keeping. Or at least where I chose to tuck it! Below that he has a holster with retaining strap to keep his pistol and some additional cartridges on the belt behind it. He also has a place for three detonators on his left hip, the first of which is removable. As expected the belts and holster are meticulously stitched and look great on the figure. The holster is very easy to work with too, which was a welcome treat. Having passed on the first release, I can’t say for sure, but my guess is that a lot of this stuff is recycled from that figure. Boy was I happy to see all this rigging already on the figure straight out of the box!
Moving down to his high boots, he has a belt with more ammo cartridges around his lower right leg and a dagger thrust into the top of his boot. The boots are fairly convincing as being all one piece, but there is a ball joint hidden up in the ankle for those wide stances or flight poses.
The helmet hasn’t changed much between the outfits, although this one looks cleaner than the previous release. This set does not include an unmasked portrait, and that’s fine with me. Obviously the unmasked portrait would add a lot ot the value, but I honestly can’t imagine displaying the figure without his helmet, especially since we’ve only seen Mando’s face like three times during the run of two seasons. Sorry, Pedro, if it were up to me you would have kept your helmet on the whole time.
The helmet does include a swap-out flashlight for the right side. It’s easy enough to pull off the retracted plate and pop on the one with the device deployed. I may actually leave the light out when I display him, as it adds a little something to the helmet.
The vibro blade dagger and the tracking fob, which I already mentioned, are cool little accessories, but probably best displayed as part of his outfit. Both feature great sculpts with a lot of attention to detail. The figure comes with a hand specifically made for holding the dagger, but it’s a real tight fit. The fob can be coaxed into it as well, but I think this hand needed to be reworked in order to be up to the task. I might as well point out here that Mando comes with all the usual extra hands, including pairs of relaxed, pistol-holding, rifle-holding, and the so-called dagger-holding right hand. All of these are extremely stiff with next to no flexibility in the fingers, so be careful with those fragile accessories!
Each of Mando’s arm bracers contains a weapon, and there are accessories to show them off. On the left gauntlet, you get two different pieces for the Whistling Bird, one with the tiny missiles retracted and one with them deployed and ready to fire. I gotta say, the inclusion of two different pieces here just feels like Hot Toys flexing their ridiculous attention to detail. Even with the two different pieces side by side the difference isn’t all that noticeable to me. This is one of those tiny accessories that I would never have missed if it wasn’t included, but I can appreciate that they did it anyway.
The Whistling Bird also has a firing effect part, which I believe is exclusive to the Deluxe release. It doesn’t quite convey the sheer number of independently directional micro-missiles as seen in the show, but it’s certainly not a bad effort. I also appreciate that the effect part is super easy to put on and take off. My only real gripe here is that the range in Mando’s shoulders isn’t quite enough to have him hold his arm fully perpendicular to his body, which is really how they should be positioned when firing this weapon. Official pictures do show the figure in that pose, but I can only get about 70-degrees before it feels like I’m forcing it, and I’m not about to do that. It’s a little frustrating, since there’s nothing about the costume that should be restricting his movement like that. It feels like all the resistance is coming from the padding between the body and the costume.
The right bracer features his flame thrower, and this is a plastic effect part that clips onto the edge of the bracer and lines up with the tiny nozzle. Again, range of motion in the shoulder doesn’t make for optimal posing, but I absolutely love the way this effect looks. They did a beautiful job recreating the flame jet with translucent plastic. It’s substantial, but not too heavy, and to continue one of the running themes of this figure, it’s easy to attach and remove.
The final attachment for the right arm bracer is the grapple hook. The hook is attached to a piece of stiff wire which plugs right into the gauntlet. This was a cool surprise, as I hadn’t even realized it was going to be included. And now that we’re through all these hidden gizmos, let’s take a look at his regular weapons.
Being a firearms enthusiast, one of my favorite things about the guns of the Star Wars Universe is that they’re nearly all based on real world counterparts. Modifying these functional weapon designs gives these fantasy guns a great degree of credibility and realism. Mando’s pistol design comes from the Swiss made Bergmann M1894 7.5mm pistol. It was a distinctive design even before the sci-fi mods were added, and Hot Toys did a wonderful job recreating it in plastic. The sculpt is intricately detailed, features a nice weathered finish, and some additional silver and copper paint hits. It’s a good fit in the intended trigger-finger hand, and this piece is easy to remove and replace from the holster.
The Amban Phase-Pulse Blaster rifle looks every bit as cool as its name sounds. This design was famously inspired by Boba Fett’s rifle in the animated short of the Star Wars Holiday Special, and with the exception of the tuning forks at the muzzle, it reminds me of an old Moroccan firing piece. Once again, the sculpting on this accessory is absolutely off the charts. From the intricate mechanisms in the breech to the copper bands holding on the scope, it seems like not a detail has been missed and every one of those little details looks like it serves a purpose. Not only does this weapon look great, but it can even open and be loaded with one of the many cartridges on Mando’s person. Sadly, I’m not able to get him into a decent firing position with it, but he does look great holding it, or displaying it slung across his back. Hey… You still with me? We’re not done yet… Who wants some ice cream?
Fans of Willrow Hood, will be happy to see this rather detailed recreation of the camtono personal vault included in this set. It’s the vessel used to safehouse the Beskar paid to Mando for retrieving The Baby. This protector of valuables and crafter of cold dairy treats has some nice weathering on it, as well as a hidden battery compartment to power it’s LED feature.
When opened, it lights up to showcase the precious Beskar inside. Each of the container’s three hatches can be opened and the switch for the lights is hidden under a removable cap on the top. A cap that I did not do a good job of closing up in the previous photo. The Beskar can be removed and separated into a larger and smaller pile. The set also contains a single separate Beskar bar as well. These have a nice finish, but I think they could have done a better job on the Imperial insignia stamp. Hey, nitpickers gonna pick.
Mando also comes with this little armor hologram, cast in translucent blue plastic with a silver disk base for the emitter. He can hold this pretty well in one of his left hands. Phew… are we done yet? Almost!
Last, but certainly not least, is Mando’s jet pack. This beauty appears to be sculpted in mostly one piece and features a beautiful silver finish that matches the armor. The details are sharp, and the paintwork features a few areas of pitting, as well as some scorch marks from the heat.
The jetpack is covered on the reverse side with felt and there are magnets inside to attach it to the figure’s back quick and easy. And if you’ve spent any time attaching jetpacks to either Hot Toys or Sideshow’s Boba Fett figures, you know what a relief this is! No tiny clasps to deal with! You do have to push the cape all the way to one side to attach it, which gets me to thinking about how it’s probably not a good idea to wear a cape with a jetpack. Speaking of flaming exhaust… The jetpack also includes some effect parts that plug into the thruster cones, which look great, but are a little understated and difficult to see from the front. All in all I dig the jetpack a lot and it was an essential inclusion, but I’ll be displaying my figure with the rifle on his back instead.
Whoops, not quite done yet, because you also get the figure stand. The rectangular base with angled silver nameplate is pretty standard stuff for Hot Toys Star Wars these days. The sculpted sand base is a nice flourish, though. It actually has foot imprints to position Mando’s feet, although I would have preferred had they left those out. Instead of the typical crotch cradle, the stand features one of those thick semi-posable cables with a spring-loaded waist clasp. I can appreciate the thought behind this giving the ability to display Mando in a flight pose, but I would have much preferred a standard support. The bulky clasp tends to be at odds with the cape and rifle, and that’s how I plan on displaying him.
There’s no doubt that this set is worthy of the Deluxe moniker, and we still have more stuff to look at, so I’m going to call it quits here for today and reconvene on Friday, because I’m sure people “Would like to see The Baby!” As curious as I am as to why they went with the gray colored jumpsuit, the reality is it doesn’t bother me at all. I may not have even noticed if it weren’t for the brown suit depicted on the box. Yes, the limitations in the shoulder are more than a bit disappointing. It’s not that I usually expect crazy articulation out of my Hot Toys, but the costume didn’t seem like it would be restrictive, and in this case I was expecting more. I guess I hadn’t counted on the interior padding. Still, all in all, none of these downsides have really hurt my appreciation of this figure. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and there is a crazy amount of stuff here to mess around with. And I’ll bring even more to the table on Friday when I wrap up this review with part two!
A few days ago I reviewed a trifecta of action figures from The Mandalorian, and as promised I’m back to end the week with a couple more. And while last time was all about supporting characters, this time we’re going straight for the Dynamic Duo themselves: The Mandalorian and The Child! Yeah, Yeah, these are long overdue. I have a huge backlog. Get over it!
I don’t have much to say about Mando’s packaging, as it’s pretty standard Black Series fare. So let’s check out The Child! This box is so tiny! And it’s actually kind of bloated compared to the size of the figure itself! And here’s where I’m going to go off on a rant over WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??? Why, Hasbro, would you not include the Hover Pram and a stand in this set and beef it up to $15 or $20? Ten dollars isn’t a lot of money to me. I’ve blown more than that on questionable plastic purchases in the past. But even I was put off by plunking down ten bucks for the contents of this box. Was it all part of your evil scheme to make people buy another Beskar Armor Mando and another Child figure to get the Pram? Was it also your plan to make that version so hard to get that it’s selling for over $100 on the scalper market? Honestly, I don’t understand any of this! Let’s look at Mando.
So, this is the second version of Mando to be released in this format (I reviewed the first back in 2019), and as indicated it represents the character after getting his hands on some of that tasty Beskar and decks himself out with some new armor. I have to admit, I was disappointed that they changed his look so early in the series. I liked raggedy Mando. It really played into the whole Mando With No Name Spaghetti Space Western vibe that the series was going for. If it were up to me, I would have held off on the armor upgrade until the second season. But what do I know? Now with all that having been said, I still dig his Beskar look, and I absolutely love the way this figure turned out! Yes, it does reuse some parts from the first figure, but only where appropriate.
And to be fair, he does still have a bit of a rag-tag look to him. He upgraded his cuirass, shoulders, gauntlets, and added a few nice pieces of thigh armor. The rest of his costume is still pretty low-rent and I like that. With how costly Beskar is presented as being, it makes sense that he couldn’t afford an entire suit of it. Actually, I’m not even sure both of the thigh pieces are supposed to be Beskar. It looks like the left one is, but he ran out and so he just painted the right one to match, and the paint is already half worn off. If that’s meant to be the case it’s a wonderful little touch. I also like his newly earned signet, which is sculpted onto his shoulder. The lower legs are recycled, as is the shoulder strap and gun belt. The cape is also the same one we got with the previous figure, but the gauntlets are new sculpts, with the Whistling Birds launcher clearly present on the left gauntlet.
In addition to getting the Beskar upgrade, he obviously sprung for the wash and wax on his helmet. The head is recycled from the previous figure, which makes sense, as it’s the same helmet. But all the brown grime has been cleaned off and it looks nice and shiny to match the Beskar armor. A few smudges have been added here and there to the armor and helmet, but I really do love the metallic paint they used for these pieces. The finish is so rich and luxurious!
In terms of accessories, most of what we get here is a trip down memory lane from the first release. His trusty pistol is once again included and fits nicely into the holster on his right hip. The pistol is the same accessory, but it’s been given a brighter silver coat of paint. Hey, you’re throwing down some credits to get your gear improved, might as well detail your gun too! Now with that having been said, I actually prefer the pistol from the first figure. The duller finish brought out the details in the sculpt a lot better.
Mando also comes with his Disintegration Rifle. It can still be tabbed into his back when not in use, and the figure’s articulation works really well with it, allowing him to hold it pretty close to his cheek and sight his target through the scope.
The new accessory here is the jetpack. It’s certainly a necessary item, but it’s kind of bland and dull. The sculpt is kind of soft and there’s no paint applications at all. There’s some weathering sculpted into it, but it kind of looks more like a one of my cats got at it and chewed it for a while. The jetpack plugs right into the back of the figure, and while you can kind of put it on with the cape, it’s best to take the cape off entirely. Maybe this would have been a good opportunity for softgoods, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to be wearing a cape with a jetpack. It seems like a good way to set yourself on fire.
Any nitpicks I have with this figure are pretty minor, and I come away actually liking it as much, if not more, as the first release. Yes, I still like that more weary High Plains Drifter kind of vibe earlier Mando had, but this one has actually become more iconic to me. The figure itself is a great mix of old and new, it looks fantastic, and it’s loads of fun to play with. Let’s move on to The Child!
So, I really have very little to say about The Child. Yes, this figure is tiny, but overall I think Hasbro did a great job with what they had to work with. Indeed, the sculpt and paint executed for the portrait are rather outstanding for a figure this size. The body is just a solid piece of sculpted plastic robes, although his feet are visible from the bottom. I’m surprised they got ball joints into the shoulders, neck, and hands, although the arms do pull out rather easily and have to be snapped back in.
He does come with a clear plastic case with three accessories: A bowl, a delicious froggy, and the control knob from the Razor Crest. These accessories are so tiny that I haven’t even bothered to remove them from the case, and I’m not going to do it now either. I sure as hell don’t want to drop one and wind up making a 2am run to the Pet ER because one of my cats has a Baby Yoda soup bowl in his or her throat.
And there you have it! Besker Armor Mandalorian is a superb figure and one that I’ll likely have on my desk for a while. The Child is impressive for how small it is, but it still galls me that Hasbro put this tiny figure out as a solo release. I think the proper way to go would have been to bundle him with Beskar Mando as a regular retail release in the first place. Or, at the very least they should have given him his Hover Pram as a solo release. There’s no way I’m paying $100 just to get that Pram, but if that set does get a re-release, I’d probably go so far as to pick it up for $30. And oddly enough, just as I was writing today’s review, I got shipping notice for the Hot Toys Deluxe Mando and Child. It should be arriving early next week, and I’ll likely bump that set to the head of the line, as it’s been a while since I’ve done a Hot Toys review!
When we were introduced to the Remnant Stormtroopers in the first episodes of The Mandalorian, I assumed they were going to all look like that: Dirty and with armor in a state of disrepair. Nope! We later got to see that there are still plenty of fresh Imperial Stormtroopers left in the Galaxy. Naturally, Hasbro jumped at the opportunity to not only get us some Black Series Stormies back on the pegs, but also give them a much needed makeover. Make no mistake, it may look like just another Stormtrooper, but this is an entirely new figure!
There’s the packaging, and it’s worth noting that these are not identified as the Remnant Stormtroopers, but rather Imperial Stormtroopers. This distinguishes them from the dirty boys that we also got in the Black Series as part of The Mandalorian sub-line. And yup, I’ll be getting around to checking those out in the near future. I did review the older Black Series Stormtroopers, but it was so long ago, I might as well just make this mostly a comparison review. Some of the differences are readily apparent and deliberate, while others are more subtle and may just be variances in the molding process.
And here they are side by side, with the new release on the left. The thing I noticed first was the belt. The old figure’s belt was sculpted separately and attached to the figure. It also had a holster for the E-11 Blaster. The new one’s belt is part of the body sculpt, has a slightly different design, doesn’t stick out as much, and has smaller flaps hanging down over the hips. It’s a shame about the holster being omitted, because it’s the only gripe I have about this whole figure. I’m guessing the Stormtroopers in the series didn’t have them, but I’d have to re-watch some episodes to see for sure. The armor on the new figure has an overall shinier finish. Other cosmetic changes include a less angular chest, the “OII” backpack being smaller on the new version and also lacking the peg hole. The armor in the midsection is a little different, and the fanny pack is more prominent on the new version.
The helmet sculpt has been fully revised, and again the new figure is pictured on the left. The old figure had a prominent brow ridge over the eyes, a rounder dome, and larger plugs in the breather apparatus. The eyes are also smaller and set slightly wider apart. Frankly, I like both helmets well enough. The newer one looks tighter and a little more polished to me, but I think this change comes down to a question of personal preference.
Articulation plays a big part in the differences as well, as Hasbro has improved the overall poseability on the new version and many of the joints have been completely redesigned. The arms on the old Stormies could only move outward by about 30-degrees, whereas the new ones can go a full 90-degrees, The range of movement in the elbows has been increased a bit, as has the ability for the legs to more forward and backwards at the hips, allowing for a seated position and a deeper squat. It also feels like there’s a little more range in the torso’s ball joint. The exposed pins in the elbows and knees are also gone in the new figure.
The new Stormtrooper comes with a brand new E-11 Blaster, which is a much more detailed sculpt. And thanks to his improved arm articulation, he’s more capable of wielding it than his predecessor. Hell, he’s even better equipped to brandish the rifle that came with the older Stormies, but is not included with this new release.
With the exception of the holster being nixed, I think everything about this new version is an improvement. It’s a great looking figure, and I really appreciate the added shine to the armor and the all around better articulation. At the same time, I don’t mind mixing my old Stormies with the new ones. It’s reasonable to assume that there would be variances in the armor, either because of changes over time or because of manufacture in different factories across the Galaxy. Either way, they look fine together, and I’m thrilled to be able to expand my 6-inch Imperial army a bit more. Hasbro really did a fantastic job on this one, and I”m pleased to say that I was able to find them easily online and build up a squad of six without having to pay over retail.
If you’ve been reading my Black Series reviews for a while, you may know that I’ve been back and forth on whether to keep collecting this line. Some of the figures are great, but a lot of them have felt somewhat flat and average. Well, based on the figures that have been showing up this week, I think Hasbro may be turning things around. That’s good news for the line, bad news for my wallet. Just as I was about to quit… they pull me back in! Let’s check out Luke and Leia in their Endor fatigues! Both of these figures were offered recently in a Pulse Exclusive boxed set, but I sat that one out and went for picking them up individually. These figures follow an Endor trend with Han Solo, Teebo, and Admiral Ackbar also released in similar packages.
And here’s the new packaging! Goodbye boring black and red boxes and hello new hotness! OK, so they’re still mostly black with monochrome character art, but the splash of color makes all the difference. Also, it looks like they abandoned the numbering on the package. The boxes adopt an angled side panel to showcase the new character art and if you put these two together, the art actually connects, which I have to admit is cool, even though I’m still not keeping the boxes. So let me shred these open and check out the figures. Ladies first!
Princess Leia comes out of the package wearing her camouflage poncho and looking fabulous! One of my ongoing gripes with the SWBS is how infrequently it makes use of softgoods, so it’s nice to see this figure get a cloth costume. Although it would have been embarrassing if they didn’t since even the original Kenner figure gave Leia a cloth poncho. The tailoring is absolutely superb and I really dig the cloth they used. It just looks and feels like quality. The front of the poncho is belted with a black plastic utility belt, which includes a working holster and a sculpted pouch, as well as a little silver paint on the buckle. The back of the poncho is left to hang free like a cape. It also has a hood, which is stitched in the down position. It looks like you could probably pull the stitch so she can wear it up, but I’m not going to mess with it.
The likeness here is excellent! Not perfect, but pretty on point. Boy, we’ve come a long way in a short time, since that first release of Leia from A New Hope! The sculptors have often not been kind to Carrie’s likeness, but this one is pretty damn solid. The printed facial features look great and they did a wonderful job on her hair. The removable helmet fits great and features a chin strap, which pegs into the side.
The belt pegs together behind the pouch, so it’s pretty easy to take the poncho off the figure without too much fuss. You can then re-attach the belt once the poncho is off. Under the cloth, Leia has a sculpted tunic with the sleeves rolled up and a lot of detail, including pockets on the sleeves and what I presume is a rank or ID badge on her chest. She’s got high boots and yellow stripes running up the sides of her blue-gray trousers. The included pistol features the rather distinctive long barrel, a design that The Princess seems to favor. Her right hand is sculpted with a trigger finger, but she can hold the gun in either hand.
Articulation holds a few surprises. The princess has rotating hinges in her shoulders, elbows, knees, and wrists. Ball joints in her hips, swivels in her thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in her ankles. There’s a ball joint in her waist, and most interesting is the two ball joints in her neck, one at the base and one at the top. I’d like to think the added neck articulation is there if you want her to mount a speeder bike, but I might be giving Hasbro too much credit there. Let’s move on to Luke!
Everything I said about Leia’s poncho remains true for Luke’s. The camo is a bit more brown and the green is a lot less vibrant than his sister’s, but the tailoring is still top notch and it fits well. It too is belted in the front and the back is left to hang like a cape, and the hood is stitched in the down position. The quality and texture of the fabric is the same as Leia’s and absolutely top notch. Once again, Hasbro did a fine job here.
The portrait here is not bad. Maybe not a home run, but pretty solid. It’s definitely a whole lot better than what we got with the last Return of the Jedi Luke. The helmet sculpt is almost identical to Leia’s, just a bit bigger and it has a little more weathering brushed on it. Once again, it has a chin strap that pegs into the side.
Luke’s sculpted black belt is simpler than Leia’s as it has no pouch or holster, but then Luke doesn’t come with a blaster anyway. He does come with his lightsaber, which is the standard hilt with translucent blade that pegs into it. The sculpt and paintwork on the hilt look great, but there’s no hook to hang it on the belt. , You can kind of thrust it up through the bottom of the belt and it stays put.
Remove the belt and you can take off the poncho to reveal Luke wearing his black Jedi outfit. It’s not as impressive as what’s under Leia’s softgoods, but it looks fine and is an easy favorite to replace that last Return of the Jedi Luke. Indeed, I may pick up a second one of these for that purpose. I’m also curious to see if the head will swap with that figure, but I haven’t dug it out to give it a go yet.
The figures fit great on the Black Series speeder bike. Hasbro even had the forethought to put the peg holes at the front of Leia’s feet to better work with the pegs on the bike’s foot pedals. I’m glad that I picked up a couple of these, but I think it’s well past time that they reissued the Scout Trooper/Speeder Bike pack. Yeah, I know we’re getting one from The Mandalorian, but I’d like a couple more of the Return of the Jedi versions now. Maybe I should have just bought that PulseCon set because it included one.
It’s nice to see Endor finally getting some love beyond the Scout Troopers and speeder bikes, and that goes double for how great these figures turned out. These are easily some of my favorite Black Series releases in a while. Or at least my favorites from The Original Trilogy. I’ll be checking out Endor Han and Teebo soon, and hopefully we’ll see some more Ewoks, because this Leia really needs a Wicket to go with her. And some Rebel Commandos? That would be nice.
It’s well known that Hot Toys are pricey, so it’s not a line of figures that I tend to look at for picking up multiple variants or repaints. So, when I picked up the Stormtrooper a little while ago, I hadn’t planned on picking up any more. But it only took one drunken night of browsing Sideshow’s website along with some Reward Points and a Gift Card burning a hole in my pocket to get me to pull the trigger on this variant Stormtrooper. Drunk or no, I reasoned that I was already all in for the other Hot Toys figures from The Mandalorian, so there was no point in stopping now.
I make it no secret that Hot Toys packaging doesn’t impress me and nowhere is that more feeling stronger than when it comes to their Star Wars line. These boring boxes feature no flare of presentation or craftsmanship. It’s just a receptacle to get the figure to me. OK, so they splurged and added a colorful, illustrated wraparound band to this one, but it feels like a cheap afterthought. But hey, I should be thankful because I don’t have the space to keep all these boxes anyway, so I only keep the ones that feel like something special, and those are few and far between. Inside the box, the Remnant Stormtrooper lays on a tray with his extra hands and accessories around him.
To some, this may just be a dirty Stormtrooper, but I really dig what these guys represent. I can’t believe anyone bothering to read this review hasn’t watched at least the first season of The Mandalorian yet, but just in case… The series takes place after the events of The Return of the Jedi and recognizes that Galactic Empires, even defeated ones, don’t go away overnight. And that’s a pretty insightful concept for Star Wars. The galaxy is replete with planets where the local remnants of Imperial rule grasp desperately for a hold on their now baseless power. The Stormtroopers may still be at their posts, but as evidenced by their degraded armor, they’ve seen better days. As a result we have the Remnant Stormtrooper! After the unexplained, magical appearance of The First Order in the Sequel Trilogy, I found the world of The Mandalorian a lot more believable and interesting. And I just love the idea of a splintered Empire with Moffs and their Stormtroopers going it alone. The Empire ain’t sending any more replacement armor and the pomp and circumstance of inspections are a thing of the past. Hot Toys did a beautiful job taking their bright and shining galactic enforcers and making them slum it.
A good deal of this review will be making comparisons to the previous Hot Toys Stormtrooper, which I reviewed early last year, and I’ll have some comparison photos at the end. To be honest, I was expecting a straight repaint, but instead Hot Toys gave us what is practically a brand new figure. The biggest differences can be found in the abdominal armor, which is completely new, and the belt, which is now made entirely of plastic, where the previous one was plastic and cloth. Overall, the armor detail on this figure is a lot sharper in places, particularly on the detail in the back plate, but I think it would be safe to say that the majority of this armor is different, subtle in some ways and obvious in others. Is one better than the other? I guess it’s a matter of preference. The previous one looks more classic to me, and while I haven’t scrutinized any screen shots, I’m guessing these changes are made to reflect actual changes in the costumes for The Mandalorian series.
As has been the case with Hot Toys troopers, the underlying body is wearing a black body suit and the armor pieces are worn on top of that, rather than being sculpted as part of the body. Exceptions include the boots and helmet. Even the body suit is different, with the previous release being mostly plain cloth and this one having more of a quilted texture, which feels more in tune with the sharper detail on the armor. Either way, I’m always happy to see cloth as opposed to vinyl used for the suit, but unfortunately it only opens up the range of articulation a little bit. There is a nice range of motion in the arms, but not so much in the legs, and it’s hard to tell what exactly is holding it back.
The helmet also varies a bit from the previous Stormy, particularly around the chin and the vents on the cheeks. The helmet also feels like it sits a little higher off the shoulder, which would probably make it compatible with a pauldron if you happen to have one and want to make him an officer. Another notable difference is in the goggles, which were tinted green on the previous figure and here appear to be just black. And now is as good a time as any to discuss the weathering, which is really well done. All of it is achieved through paint, despite the fact that many of the chips look convincing enough that I thought I would be able to actually feel them on the armor. The chipping is particularly heavy on the helmet, perhaps because it gets thrown around a lot, and on the left shoulder. There’s also some yellowing around the edges of most of the armor pieces, and some splotches of general dirt and what looks like pitting from rust. It all looks great, but I’d be curious to see if the weathering is identical from figure to figure. Not that I’m planning on picking up a second, but that would probably be a deal breaker to have two or more with the exact same chipping patterns.
The last Stormtrooper was pretty light on the accessories, so I wasn’t disappointed to see this one is too. You do get the usual passel of extra hands, including fists, relaxed hands, weapon holding hands, and the like. These are very easy to swap out, which is always welcome, although positioning the arms can sometimes cause the forearm armor to shift forward and knock the hands off their pegs. It’s not a big deal and I’m happier to have them pop off now and then as opposed to being so hard to pop off that I’m afraid I’ll snap something.
And of course, you can’t have a Stormtrooper without his trusty E-11 Blaster. This looks like it’s borrowed directly from the previous Stormtrooper, and that’s fine because it’s an absolutely beautiful little blaster. The attention to detail is fantastic as always, and the folding stock is articulated, albeit rather fragile. Unfortunately, the Remnant Stormy does not come with a holster for the weapon, like the regular release did. I’m not sure if this was omitted for canonical reasons or just because Hot Toys didn’t want to toss it in, but seeing as how they don’t usually cheap out, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Much to my surprise, this box did contain one additional weapon, and that’s the SE-14 Light Repeating Blaster Pistol. This was a great little bonus, as I’ve never had a nice version of it for any of my figures. The sculpt lacks the complexity of the E-11 Blaster, but it’s still an excellent little piece, which he may wind up sharing with the other Stormtrooper. And not to sound ungrateful, but the inclusion of the pistol makes me wish even more that they had given him a holster so that he could carry both.
As always, our last stop on these reviews is the figure stand, and this one is both generic and functional. They did actually print Remnant Stormtrooper on the name plate, which I was happy to see, although I was surprised that they did not brand it with the series name.
The Remnant Stormtrooper probably isn’t a must-have, even for people who are going to be collecting other Hot Toys from The Mandalorian. Once again, if I wasn’t made extra impulsive by a bottle of Jameson, I probably wouldn’t have made this purchase. But ultimately, I’m very glad that I did. While this could have been a cheap-and-quick cash grab, Hot Toys put a lot of work into this release and the result makes for a distinctive looking figure, even when he’s standing right next to the vanilla Stormtrooper. And as I mentioned at the outset of this review, the whole concept of the fragmentation of the Remnant Empire is easily one of my favorite concepts introduced in the franchise and this fellow represents it well. I think this figure retails for just a tad over $200, but by the time I was done throwing coupon codes and reward points at him, I stole him for about $90. Well worth it if you ask me!