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!

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Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” Snowtrooper Officer 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

Hot Toys and impulse buy aren’t usually words that go together, at least not for a working stiff like myself. But last week on Amazon, some Marketplace sellers have been blowing out some of their First Order troopers from The Force Awakens at prices that I just couldn’t refuse and before I knew it I was clicking away a large chunk of monies. The first one I went for was the Snowtrooper Officer, mainly because I dig the design so much and I was happy to see these guys turn up again in The Last Jedi on Crait (as Salt-troopers?), because it makes this review just a little less dated.

If this is your first trip to the Star Wars Hot Toys rodeo, you should know that the boxes all feature the same stark black-on-slightly-less-black decos so they do all match, but to me they aren’t very visually striking. Indeed, the only art here is a nice photo of the figure on the front panel. But what these boxes lack in artistic value and eye candy they make up for with overall construction. These shoe-boxes are very much like the higher quality boxes Hot Toys used to use for all their lines before moving to the flimsier window boxes in sleeves. And there’s something to be said for that when you’re paying a lot for a figure and want to store the extra pieces in something other than a Ziploc bag. You also get a really nice illustrated cardboard insert placed over the tray, something that Hot Toys also used to do. Inside the box, the figure comes on a single tray with all his extra bits flanking him on both sides.

The First Order Snowtrooper comes out of the package all bundled up and ready to hunt Resistance scum through the snowy tundras or clear out their icy hidey-holes. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the classic Imperial design is tough to beat, but I’ve really come to love the new First Order look, possibly even a wee bit more. Either way, the design makes for an interesting figure in this scale because of the mix of plastic armor and fabric. Indeed, I don’t think I really realized how much of this uniform was fabric until holding this figure in my hand. It’s just not something that I got a sense of with Hasbro’s 6-inch version, and it’s not like these guys were on screen all that much.

The underlying suit is beautifully tailored with some lovely quilting effects on the arms and legs, as well as immaculately stitched borders running down the front of the suit and the edges of the kama. He has a pair of knee pads attached with elastic straps and below that is all sculpted plastic leading down to the boots, with black paint applied to the sculpted straps. Moving up from there, he features a codpiece, armor sleeves on his forearms, and a chest and back-plate with the shoulder armor attached with flexible straps. The most striking thing about this figure for me is how shockingly bright all the white is. He’s like a walking advertisement for bleach. This is a figure that makes me want to scrub up before handling him, like I’m going into surgery, for fear of leaving a smudge on the fabric. I should also say how much I dig the contrast between the shiny armor pieces and the fabric of the rest of the uniform, both in texture and finish.

The black belt around his waist features two pouches, which are basically fabric wrapped around boxes to help them keep their form. They’re non-functional, and I’m not sure what he’s supposed to keep in there. Maybe rations or just extra power magazines for his blaster. The backpack features some great detailing on the sides, and attaches very simply by sliding it onto a triangular tab. It’s easy to take off, but it also holds on very securely. I’ll also note here that the predominantly fabric uniform makes this Snowy a lot of fun to play with. There’s still more restriction than I would like in the legs, but the arms have a lot more range than Hot Toys’ regular First Order Stormtrooper, which is a pleasant surprise.

The only thing that I can tell that sets this guy apart from the rank-and-file Snowies is his right shoulder pauldron. This piece of flexible plastic has a leather-like texture and is painted with a deep red finish. The head is easily removable, but it looks like the pauldron is attached to the armor pretty well. It may be possible to get it off if you want to convert him to a regular trooper, but that’s not something I’m going to risk messing with. I’m guessing this could be intentional so that Hot Toys could sell more of the Officer and Trooper two-packs.

As for the helmet itself, it’s a great piece of work. The nearly featureless, and totally flawless, smooth curves make it super creepy and intimidating to me. It features black markings running around the back to the sides, a narrow, visor, and two silver caps on the end of his breather units. Like all the armor pieces, the helmet features a super glossy finish.

As expected from any Hot Toys offering, the Snowtrooper comes with a hearty helping of hands, which are fairly easy to pop on and off. You get a pair of fists, a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of weapon holding hands, a single left hand with the fingers opened, and a pair of accessory holding hands. The accessory holding hands are designed to work with his binoculars. The binoculars were a nice surprise, as I didn’t know they were included. They’re satisfyingly large, beautifully detailed and have a hinge in the middle to fold them up. They’re also pretty rugged, making it easy for the trooper to hold them and I was happy to see that the articulation allows for him to hold them up to his face. Am I ever going to display him with these? Probably not. If I had more than one of these guys on my shelf? Then definitely.

His only other accessory is his blaster rifle, the E-11D, and this has got to be one of the sexiest weapons in the Star Wars Universe. One of my favorite things about the First Order design aesthetic is the addition of white paint to the Stormtroopers’ weapons. It really makes the designs pop and look so much more distinctive than those of their Imperial predecessors. This scoped blaster features a telescoping stock and a fold down grip under the muzzle. It’s a striking piece of futuristic military hardware. Unlike the binoculars it does have some delicate parts, but the articulated parts seem to allow for a little give to help minimize breaking.

Finally, the figure comes with a hexagonal stand that is identical to the type used for the previous First Order releases. The base features the First Order emblem and the front reads “Star Wars First Order Snowtrooper” so, no it does not denote this fellow’s rank. Attached to the base is a simple post and crotch cradle to help keep him vertical. It may not be flashy, but I really appreciate it’s simple design and the fact that it doesn’t take up much space on my shelf.

When it comes to Hot Toys, I tend to avoid the “Troop Builder” type figures, because it’s a dangerous road to go down. Even now, I find myself wanting to pick up a regular Snowtrooper to display next to this Officer and keep burning myself with cigarettes every time the thought comes up. But the truth is, one of the reasons I try to resist these is that the Troopers tend to be priced right in line with the regular Hot Toys releases, and I have a hard time swallowing that. Case in point, This Snowtrooper retails at $219 over at Sideshow. I’m not saying there isn’t a great amount of craftsmanship at work here, indeed he’s a gorgeous figure. But I’m taking into account that they didn’t have to sculpt and paint a likeness for his portrait, they don’t have to pay an actor for the likeness rights, and he doesn’t come with a whole lot of accessories. Also, they knew they were going to be able to sell at least one variation of this guy too. All that conspires to make me feel that Hot Toys could have snuck these in at under the $200 mark. Maybe that’s why some retailers are slashing prices. When this guy turned up on Amazon for $139.99, I didn’t even have to think about it. And yes, I will eventually get around to reviewing the First Order Stormtrooper that came with Finn. I just need to find the time to go into the storage and find his box.

 

Star Wars Black (The Last Jedi): Maz Kanata by Hasbro

How about The Last Jedi, huh? It’s really bringing the fan community together! That was sarcasm. I’m honestly surprised at how polarizing it’s been, because personally, after two viewings I’m still pretty mixed on it. There were parts I loved, parts I hated. I didn’t like it nearly as much as The Force Awakens or Rogue One. Overall I didn’t find it to be all that enjoyable, and it was a really weird movie Still, it’s not worth losing my shit over by attacking other fans who didn’t love it and/or hate it enough. Apparently I’m in the minority on that one. What’s all this got to do with Maz Kanata? Well, she had a cameo in the new movie, and oddly enough Hasbro chose now to give her a figure, rather then back when she had a slightly bigger role in The Force Awakens. Let’s take a look…

There isn’t a lot to say about the packaging, as it hasn’t changed much this past year or so. Black box, monochrome art, red backing behind the tray. Maz is figure #49 and the copy on the back clearly places this figure from the period after her castle was destroyed in The Force Awakens. Strange, since she comes with the accessories seen in that movie instead of maybe the jetpack she wore in The Last Jedi. As much as I liked Maz in TFA, her cameo in The Last Jedi just didn’t work for me. I’d argue that it might have been worthwhile to keep her in the audiences’ minds for an appearance in the next movie, but I highly doubt the continuity in this trilogy is being planned that carefully.

But all context aside, this is a fantastic little sculpt! Her little vest and belt are sculpted from separate pieces and there’s some wonderful texturing on her shirt, as well as detail on her bracelets and boots. The excellent sculpt is backed up by some very nice coloring, including brown trousers, and a teal shirt. The gold and silver bracelets and some rather colorful paint applications on her boots make the figure’s deco quite striking. I just love everything they did here.

The head sculpt here is equally impressive, and continues to reinforce the fact that SWB’s sculpts and paint tends to excel with the aliens as much as it often fails with the human characters. They’ve managed to capture personality, as well as all little wrinkles, in her face and her skin has an almost metallic coppery sheen to it. It even looks like they added some gloss to her bottom lip. The paint on my figure’s eyes could have been a little more even, but I’ve definitely seen worse.

The hat and googles are also pretty damn neat. The goggles are pegged into the sides of her head, so you can actually slide them down over her eyes and they look great in either position. It’s a simple little gimmick, but I’m really happy Hasbro made the effort to do it.

While Maz may be small, she doesn’t lack in articulation. She has rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles, as well as ball joints in the hips and neck, and swivels at the thighs and the waist. There’s not much missing here then you’d find in a regular sized figure, except maybe a torso ball joint.

Maz comes with a few pretty cool accessories, the most notable being the old trunk that she kept Luke’s lightsaber in, and yes, she also comes with the lightsaber to put in it. I really dig the sculpting on this chest. The wood looks ancient and warped, the fixtures holding it together have a hammered metal finish and feature sculpted rivets. The only downside here is that the hinges are not really hinges, but just soft, bendy pieces of plastic, so I imagine that opening and closing it a lot will eventually cause them to stress and break. It’s just an all around great looking piece, but I’ll confess that it’s probably going to end up getting re-purposed to either my Mythic Legions or LJN Advanced Dungeons & Dragons collections. You can never have enough treasure chests in your fantasy action figure lines! The lightsaber hilt is the same old thing we’ve seen countless times in the 6-inch Black Series.

Maz also comes with an old DH-17 Blaster pistol, which feels more like a rifle when wielded by someone with her tiny stature. We’ve obviously seen this accessory before, but I have a soft spot for this design, so I’m always happy to get another.

I think Hasbro did a beautiful job on this little lady, but is she worth $20? Well, in fairness I got her on sale for $11, so I’m pretty happy. But I do think the value here feels a little better than that of the other small 6-inch Black Series figures like Yoda or the Jawa. Part of that comes from the sizable trunk accessory, but a lot of it also comes from the excellent articulation, as well as the top notch sculpt and paintwork. It would have been cool to get this figure back when The Force Awakens was out, but better late than never, I suppose! It’s just a shame that Hasbro never gave us more figures of some of the characters hanging out in Maz’s castle. Maybe later on down the road, they’ll fill in some of those spots.

Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” Resistance Outfit Rey, Stormtrooper Finn, Unkar Plutt, and Tasu Leech by Hasbro

OK, folks… After dunking my head in ice water and snorting a line of coffee grinds with a crisp dollar bill, I’m ready to press on with this marathon of 5-POA Star Wars goodness. This time I’m going back to The Force Awakens and opening up another random four figures. I’m fresh out of pithy things to say in the introduction, so let’s just get to it…

I believe three of these figures were fairly late releases, but I’m not sure about Finn. I remember almost getting suckered into buying his Deluxe figure with the goofy armored head and shoulders, but then I realized he didn’t come with the regular helmet and backed off. At this point, it should go without saying that I really love these card designs. The character art is just fantastic, and if your a MOC collector, these heavy duty, multi-layered cardbacks don’t bend or crease easily. Note that each figure is color coded from when they were still releasing these as Desert Mission or Ice Mission or Jungle Mission. I was never a fan of that or the Build-A-Weapon parts, but as we’ll soon see, some of those parts weren’t all bad. Let’s start with Rey!

This figure was freaking impossible to find when it first came out and I’ll confess that I almost paid a lot of money for her. Thankfully I held off and eventually got her on clearance. And that was probably for the best, because she only wears this outfit at the very end of the film, and it doesn’t look like she’ll be wearing it very long in The Last Jedi, or at least that’s my takeaway from the trailer. The likeness here isn’t great, but it’s better than the mug on my Jakku Rey with her huge 1980’s anime character eyes. From the neck down, everything is pretty good. I like the separate vest, and the belt with functional holster. There’s some nice sculpted detail in the reinforced pads on her knees and the backs of her forearms. It’s a little weird how the color scheme matches her Jakku outfit exactly, but that’s the costume design and not the figure’s fault.

Rey comes with more than a few accessories. For starters, she has the little pistol that Han gave her and somehow I managed to not lose this one. She also comes with her staff, which in this case is a little weird. It doesn’t have the carry strap, but it does have a weird box in the middle of it. That’s so that it can be integrated into the Build-A-Weapon thing, which is a shame. Then again, I’ve already got two of these staffs from the other Rey figures. The last of the regular accessories is Luke’s lightsaber, and wow does that blade look extra long to me!

Rey’s BAW piece is a blaster rifle with a shoulder stock. It actually isn’t a bad looking weapon, but she can’t hold it very well. Maybe one of my other figures will have to inherit it. Moving on to Stormtrooper Finn…

There’s not a hell of a lot to say about this figure, except how much I’d love to hear the conversations this figure inspires in the toy aisle. “Mommy, what’s all that red on his helmet for?” “That’s a bloody hand print from his dying comrade who reached out to his friend to save him from the darkness of eternal death.” Hey, the little kids need to learn about that shit eventually. Yup, this is basically just a First Order Stormtrooper with a bloody helmet. It looks good, and he comes with his standard issue blaster, which can tab into the slot on his right leg.

Of course, the helmet comes off and we get a Finn head under it. Most of Hasbro’s 3 3/4-inch Finns have been good likenesses and this one is too. Hell, it’s probably the same head.

Finn’s BAW accessory is freaking awesome. It’s this steampunk looking blaster cannon with some nice copper paint accents. It’s ridiculously large, and the only way Finn can hold it and remain vertical is to put him on a stand. This thing looks like it would be right at home mounted on the railing of Jabba’s Sail Barge. The peg hole on the bottom suggests it has a stand of some sort. Usually, I don’t bother with putting together the Build-A-Weapons, but let’s put a pin in this one as I move onto the next figure, Unkar Plutt…

I was surprised it took so for Hasbro to get Unkar’s figure out, seeing as how he was rather prominent in the movie, and some of the initial waves of figures were aliens that didn’t even have any lines or barely appeared in the film. But here he is and he is glorious. Plutt looks a lot like the Vogons in the old BBC version of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (you know, the good one with the shitty effects. Not the terrible multi-million dollar Hollywood fiasco) and I find that to be utterly charming. I also absolutely adore the head sculpt on this guy with his bug eyes and his disapproving expression. He constantly looks like he’s judging me, and I need that in my life. He was a fun character and I wish we got to see him again when he caught up to Rey in Maz’s Catina, but they cut that scene out.

Ah, but that scene lives on in this action figure, because you can rip Unkar’s arm off, just like Chewie was supposed to have done. This also ties brilliantly into Plutt’s Build-A-Weapon piece.

Now if that isn’t the most ridiculous and yet coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I now picture an entire movie taking place after The Force Awakens where Unkar pursues Rey throughout the galaxy with his giant comical robot claw arm. This is the stuff 80’s Saturday Morning Cartoons were made of. Oh yeah… this piece also happens to be the much needed stand for Finn’s cool cannon.

Hot damn, look at this beauty!

Unkar also comes with a very small pistol, and like Rey’s, I’m amazed I haven’t managed to lose it yet. He can hold it in either hand, but there’s no where to store it on his person. Unkar is a great figure and I rate him 9 out of 10 portions. Moving on to the last figure… Tasu Leech!

While I understand a lot of fans didn’t take to it, I actually loved the scene where Han got caught between The Guavian Death Gang and Kanjiklub. Unfortunately, The Force Awakens line was inconsistent with the figures and so we got the Guavian Death Gang Enforcers, but no Bala-Tik (at least not until The Last Jedi line) and on the flip-side we got Tasu Leech, but no Kanjiklub soldiers. Tasu is a pretty cool little figure, but there isn’t a whole lot to him. He has some sculpted detail on his armor pieces, belt, and a leather-like smock that hangs down below his belt. The head sculpt is very basic, but not a bad likeness. My big issue with him is that he’s pretty difficult to keep standing, especially if he’s holding any accessories.

Tasu comes with a blaster rifle, which is certainly a unique design and made even more distinctive by the fact that it’s cast in tan plastic. Of course, he also comes with a BAW piece…

And it’s a cool looking rifle, which he cannot hold in any convincing manner. He can’t even hold it at all without a figure stand, because it weighs about as much as him. It does, however, split apart to become a rather large pistol, which he can hold. This is one of those BAW pieces that makes for a great weapon all on its own, but is probably better suited going to one of the more articulated lines in this scale, which is really the only reason I save all of these. One day they may wind up getting issued to my GI JOE or Cobra Forces.

And there we go… that’s four more figures down. All of these are pretty solid, with the one glaring issue being Hasbro’s inability to get Rey’s likeness right in any of the figures in this scale. Of all of these, however, I’m actually surprised at how much fun Unkar Plutt is and how great he looks displayed with some of the other aliens from Jakku. I remember having more or less written off this line by the time these figures were coming out, but I’m glad I decided to double back and pick these up.

Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” Rey’s Jakku Speeder by Hasbro

OK, I’ve had some sleep, the coffee is on, and I thought I’d kick off the second half of 5-POA’PALOOSA with a vehicle. Rey’s Speeder was one of the first toys from The Force Awakens line that I remember seeing on the pegs. This thing was everywhere, and yet somehow I never managed to buy it. I may have been observing a vehicle-buying moratorium at the time due to lack of space, but those never last very long. Like the First Order Snowspeeder that I looked at yesterday, this toy was re-issued and subsequently clearanced out pretty cheap and I eventually buckled and bought the damn thing. Was it a good move? Let’s find out…

The speeder comes in a pretty good sized box and is designed to either sit on the shelf or hang from a peg. Let’s take a moment to drink in that fantastic artwork on the front. Some people will have you believe that great box art died in the 80’s, maybe the 90’s, but Hasbro has really been killing it with some of the box and card art lately, and this is a prime example of that. Rey is speeding away from an explosion. It’s colorful, it’s kenetic, and just looking at is making me so pumped to open this thing up right now and start having crazy adventures. The front panel also has a window that shows off the Rey figure that’s included. And just like the Speeder I looked at yesterday, this one comes in a re-issue box branded on the top with the Rogue One art. This one doesn’t require any assembly, and comes out of the box all ready to go, but let’s start with the figure.

This is Rey in her full on scavenger gear, which is supposed to be mostly the same as the regular Rey only she’s wearing her head wrap and goggles. It appears to share most parts from the carded Rey, but there are some notable differences besides the shoulder wrap and head coverings. This one features sculpted gloves on her hands, and there’s some nice detail in the pack on her belt. I think they did a nice job on the coverings for her head and shoulders, although it does maker her a bit taller than regular Rey and it nixes one of those five points of articulation. She also has a weird orange thing coming off her left shoulder and I have no idea what the hell it’s supposed to be. I don’t ever recall seeing it as part of her outfit, and it’s certainly not part of my Hot Toys figure.

Rey comes with one accessory and that’s her trademark staff, which appears to be the same one that came with the single carded figure. Overall, I think this figure is pretty solid, albeit not exceptional. It’s also a good pack-in for the Speeder, as the only other way to get a masked Rey in this scale is to go for the 3 3/4-inch Black Series figure, which gave you the best of both worlds. I never bothered to dip into that line, because I can’t be bothered to go to Walmart and hunt them. Maybe when they start showing up on Vintage Cards, I’ll pick some up. Anyway, on to the Speeder!

Straight away, I’ll point out how much more visually pleasing this thing is than the Snowspeeder. I don’t want to make this review all about comparisons, but this one just feels like Hasbro put a lot more work into it. I guess that makes sense, since I’d regard this as the first iconic vehicle from the film, whereas the Snowspeeder is mostly from a deleted scene and its design is instantly forgettable. The sculpt here is quite nice and features some sharp panel lines, rivets, the front grill, and a lot of wires and hoses snaking around under the pilot seat. There’s also a big dent in the front that’s reminiscent of Luke’s Landspeeder from A New Hope. I also dig how they made it so the vehicle can stand on its own without a separate piece, although a clear plastic stand to make it look like it’s hovering would have been a cool bonus.

There’s a soft plastic net that pegs into the side to hold all of Rey’s scavenged junk. The junk is sculpted all as one piece, so there’s really no reason to take the net off. Some additional paint apps on the net would have been cool, but I still think it looks pretty good. What’s that big button for? We’ll come back to that. There are also clips above the net to store Rey’s staff when she’s driving. The dashboard features some sculpted detail, but no paint apps or stickers. The windscreen is cast in clear plastic and at first I thought it had a dusting spray effect, but it turns out it was just a film that developed from being in the box so long! It’s worth noting that the panels on the back do articulate slightly. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or just a byproduct of the construction. I guess they could be rudders or assist in breaking, but generally I think they’re just supposed to be stabilizers.

The coloring here is where this little Speeder triumphs over the nearly non-existant deco of the Snowspeeder. The orange plastic looks great, and you also get some lighter orange paint in the border lines, which run around the edges of both sides of the main body. The driver area features both bare gray plastic, as well as some silver and brown paint, and you there’s some dry brushing to look like paint wear on the rear flaps and the main body. The weathering certainly isn’t high art, but it’s nice that they did it and I think it adds a lot to the vehicles character.

For a 5-POA figure, Rey sits surprisingly well on this thing. There are foot pegs on the pedals, so all you have to do is plug her feet into them and clip her hands onto the handlebars. Not bad!

So, that button on the net controls the only real play feature on this speeder and that’s a hidden missile launcher. Press it once to have it deploy from the top of the body, and press it again to fire off the missile. I hear tell some folks had issues with this added gimmick, but I really dig it. Granted, it’s probably not canon, but it doesn’t really hurt the toy if you don’t want to use it. On the other hand Jakku looked like a dangerous place, and that cannon looks like it would have come in handy on plenty of occasions.

I’ve got to say, I really like this little speeder. I seem to recall this toy launching at about $25, but it was almost always on sale or rollback or some other shit around here for $20. Like the First Order Snowspeeder,  I picked up this Rogue One-branded reissue on Amazon for $9. Unlike the Snowspeeder, I would have been perfectly fine paying full price for this little vehicle. It’s fun, it doesn’t take up much room, and it’ll look great on my Episode 7 shelf if I ever get around to actually displaying my 3 3/4-inch Star Wars figures again. In the meantime, I’m going to grab another mug of coffee, and if you’ll join me back here in about an hour, I’ll have some more content for Star Wars Weekend!

Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” First Order Snowspeeder by Hasbro

What? Did you think it 5-POAPALOOSA was going to be all figures? Nope. If it’s 3 3/4-inch scale and I haven’t reviewed it, then it’s fair game for this weekend. And right now I’m about to open up the First Order Snowspeeder from The Force Awakens! A couple of these speeders were used in a chase sequence on the surface of Starkiller Base, which was never finished and cut from the film. It was, however, included as bonus content on the Blu-Ray release. I gotta be honest, I wasn’t terribly interested in the toy because it wasn’t featured in the actual the film. But when it was re-issued and clearanced for dirt cheap, I couldn’t resist.

The Snowspeeder comes in a fairly large box with some bitchin artwork of it in action and manned by a pair of First Order Snowtroopers. There’s also a window that shows the First Order Snowtrooper Officer that’s included inside. Note that the top strip of this re-issue box is branded for Rogue One and it simply says Star Wars. Inside the box, you get the vehicle, the figure, a bag of parts, and a folded instruction sheet. Assembly is very simple. You just snap in the tops of the seats and the two railings, peg the cannon onto the stand and place it in the vehicle. But before I get to the vehicle, let’s take a quick look at the figure.

As expected, the Snowtrooper Officer shares the exact same sculpt as the regular Snowtrooper, however, there are a few paint variations, mostly confined to his chest armor. The biggest difference here is his orange pauldron, which can be removed by popping off the head, if you’d rather have a regular rank-and-file trooper. He also comes with the same backpack and rifle as his squad-mates. This is a great looking figure, I really dig how glossy the helmets are, and I’m certainly happy to add him to my ranks. Moving on to the Snowspeeder…

Let me start out by saying that I think the design of this thing is very utilitarian and really lacks the iconic charm of the more familiar and fan favorite Star Wars vehicles. I don’t dislike it, but it’s not something that’s going to stick in my imagination like the Snowspeeders from The Empire Strikes Back. I just don’t feel like they poured a lot of love into the design. At the same time, the function over form here makes it look like a pretty credible and realistic vehicle. There’s a lot to like about what Hasbro did with it, but also some things that could have maybe been done better.

The overall sculpt is quite nice and there’s a good amount of detail on display. From the panel lines on the body, and the texturing on the seat cushions, to the molded supply containers stowed in the front of the cabin, there’s a lot of neat stuff to look at here. There’s grating on the floor panels, little hatches and rivets, and front and back of the engines look good.

What works against it is the feel of the plastic and the lack of paint. I don’t think the quality is poor here, it’s a pretty rugged little toy, but the Speeder has a light and insubstantial feel to it, as it basically just a hollow shell. The only moving part on the Speeder is the fold down landing gear, and while I’m not a big fan of play gimmicks, this thing really needed a couple more features. There’s a panel on the back that looks like it was meant to open at one time, but it doesn’t. That would have been neat to be able to store guns and backpacks back there.

I’m not usually a fan of this swirly gray plastic, but it works OK for this craft. Most of the coloring variations on the toy are subtle and achieved by using different colored plastic. The supply containers are teal, the seats are molded in a pale blue, the railings are cast in a paler gray, and some of the components of the hull are cast in a more coppery color. As for actual paint hits, there’s just a little bit of silver and black here and there. I’m not so sure that this is an instance of Hasbro being cheap, but maybe the design just not warranting it. Still, I would have liked some dry brush weathering, insignia, registry numbers, or anything to help it along.

The Snowspeeder is designed to carry two figures, one in the driver seat and one in the passenger seat, and I think it’s scaled very well. Hasbro has a habit of shrinking down vehicles, but in this case, I think they did good. Technically, the figures will sit OK with their backpacks still on, but it works much better if you take them off. One word of caution: There’s a hollow space under the steering column for the driver’s feet. Try not to loose any guns in there, because getting them out again can be a real bitch!

Of course, the passenger can also man the cannon. There’s a peg to hold him in place, but if you clip his hands onto the cannon handles, he should stay put pretty well. The cannon mounts by tucking the base into a slot. It stays in there pretty good, but the post can disconnect from it fairly easily. Of course, the cannon also features a firing missile. And if you want to set up a ground defense, you can remove the cannon and stand from the vehicle and set it up on the ground.

I like this vehicle, but I don’t love it. It’s kind of fun in a very simple way, and it looks great when it’s decked out with a couple of Snow-Stormies. At the same time, it feels kind of rushed and unfinished, or maybe like a Playmates vehicle from a franchise far less prominent than Star Wars. Keep in mind, I picked up the Snowspeeder for eight bucks and at that price it was worth the figure alone. But the original MSRP of this thing was $30. THIRTY DOLLARS!?! That feels outrageous to me for what you’re getting and if I had paid that I would have been pretty pissed off.

Star Wars Black: First Order Stormtrooper (Amazon Exclusive) by Hasbro

While I’m saving my pile of 3 3/4-inch Star Wars toys for the week leading up to Episode Eight, I’m still trying to get through the rest of this stuff beforehand. And that’s not an easy feat, because it keeps rolling in. Today’s release reminded me how surprised I was to see that Hasbro didn’t reissue the First Order Stormtrooper as part of the 6-inch Black Series figures for The Last Jedi. Nope, instead we got a regular Stormtrooper and the Stormtrooper Executioner, which was OK, but nothing really special. Yes, there’s still plenty of time, but maybe it had something to do with Amazon offering this pretty cool exclusive version with a whole bunch of extra gear.

Behold, the Amazon Exclusive First Order Stormtrooper and his snazzy packaging! The box features a bowed front with pictures of three different flavors of Stormtroopers: Regular, Riot Control, and Heavy Gunner. Based on the size of the box, you might be inclined to believe that all three are in here, but nope. You get one Stormtrooper and all the gear to make any of the three you want. The back of the package features another piece of monochrome art with a closer look at everyone’s favorite space-faring thugs. The graphics are actually on a sleeve, which lifts off to reveal…

Some windows, which feature a very familiar Imperial pattern, and a First Order emblem. These are actually folded flaps secured by velcro, which open to reveal the figure on his tray, flanked by all his goodies. I don’t tend to save the packaging for my Black Series figures, but I think I’ll make an exception here. It looks so nice, it’s totally collector friendly, and it’ll give me a place to keep all this stuff. Let’s start off by looking at the regular Stormtrooper.

There aren’t a lot of surprises here, and despite a few minor differences in paint, he appears to be the same figure we’ve been getting all along. That’s not a bad thing, because this was always a pretty solid release. The plastic has a nice shiny finish to it, although the black paint could have been sharper in a few areas. I’m still surprised how I’ve taken to this design since it was first revealed. My first knee jerk reaction was that Disney shouldn’t have messed with such an iconic design, but it’s really grown on me over the last few years.

Articulation is identical to what we saw with previous First Order Stormies. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinged knees, swivels at the tops of the thighs, and the ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso has a ball joint under the chest armor and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. I have no real issues with the points here, except for the elbows, where the sculpt doesn’t allow for enough of a bend. Some double hinges would have been nice there, but Hasbro seems to save those for the Marvel Legends and not the Black Series. I can’t imagine why, but I wish they would reconsider.

He comes with the same blaster and pistol that we saw with the regular release of this figure for The Force Awakens. Both weapons have a tab on the side, which can plug into the slot on his leg for storage. They’re both great sculpts and feature white and black decos to match the armor, and with a little silver trim on the scope. Before we move on to the rest of the gear, here’s a quick picture of him alongside the regular release Stormtrooper and the Riot Control Stormtrooper.

Which one is which? Don’t ask me. I’ve already mixed them all up. The biggest difference in the paint that I can see is on the belt. There’s a black dash painted on the box that is second to the left on two of them, but third to the left on the other. Let’s move on to the accessories and start by kitting him out as the Riot Control Stormtrooper

This guy, made famous in The Force Awakens by FN-2199, is equipped with his electrified baton and riot shield. The shield is basically the same one that came with the Riot Control Stormtrooper that was packed with Poe Dameron in his Resistance jacket. It features two soft straps, one to go around the forearm and the other can be grasped in the Stormie’s hand. It can take a little work to get him to hold it right, but once it’s in position it looks great. The baton, on the other hand is a new sculpt and where the previous one was just a static piece, this one has articulated tongs that can be turned around to make it look like it’s activated. I was pleasantly surprised that they produced an entirely new piece for this set. Now let’s go for the Heavy Gunner!

Oh boy, do I love the way this guy looks. The equipment includes a heavy artillery vest, which fastens around his torso and fits the figure perfectly. There’s also an ammo pouch, which you can clip to the vest, and a backpack that plugs into a peg on the back of the vest’s straps. Of course, he isn’t a Heavy Gunner without a big gun, so you also get his Mega-Blaster.

This is a pretty damn big gun with the same white and black deco as the smaller weapons. It also has a hinged grab-bar on the side. I love the look of this thing, but I do wish he could hold it better. His right hand seems to be sculpted pretty well for it, but it’s so bulky that it’s hard to get it into the crook of his arm. It also doesn’t help that the figure doesn’t have a lot of range of motion in those elbows. Now, I’m not saying he can’t hold it. I’ve been able to get some pretty good poses of him ready for action, but it isn’t as comfy a fit as I would have liked. Fortunately, he really doesn’t have to hold it…

Because it comes with this mount and stability bar, both of which peg into the bottom of the weapon. OK, so if we’re to assume the Hot Toys version is accurate, the stand is actually supposed to fold up under the gun when it’s not in use, but I can forgive Hasbro for going this route for the 6-inch figure.

You also get one final piece of equipment, and that’s a pair of binoculars. These are surprisingly nice, with a very detailed sculpt and a hinge that lets them fold up in the middle. Unfortunately, it’s pretty tough to get him to hold them like he’s using them.

If you can’t tell, I’m very pleased with this set. I’m always happy to add another Stormtrooper to my collection, and the versatility that comes with swapping out all this gear makes this figure a lot of fun. It’s even more fun if you already own a few First Order Stormies to borrow some of the gear. The Amazon Exclusive Stormtrooper retails at about $35. I’m OK with that price, but if you break it down the extra $15 seems a little steep, even with all these accessories in the package. At least you do get some nice premium packaging to store it all in and to date, this is the only way to get a Heavy Gunner Stormtrooper in the 6-inch Scale.

Star Wars Toybox: Rey by Disney

In case you missed it, Disney has introduced a new line of articulated action figures based on the character designs from the now defunct Disney Infinity video game. I loved Infinity, and holy crap, did I blow a lot of time and money on it! Even with the online features shut off, I’m still afraid to fire it up again, or I’ll lose myself in that damn Toybox creating levels or just wandering around as any one of those dozens of damn figures I bought. Well, last week I looked at Thor from the Marvel Toybox and today I’m checking out Rey from Star Wars.

As you can no doubt tell, the packaging goes for utility over flash. The only real artwork is the character portrait on the side panel insert. Otherwise, it’s just a big bubble on a boring card that lets you see the figure you’re buying. Rey is #2. in the Star Wars Toybox series, I think #1 is Kylo Ren, but don’t worry, even though I’m doing them out of order, I’ll get to them all eventually. The packaging is not at all collector friendly, but there’s really no reason I’d want to keep it anyway, so let me shred this thing to pieces and we’ll have a look at Rey.

Like her Infinity counterpart, this figure features Rey in her Jakku outfit from The Force Awakens. I think they did a wonderful job capturing the Infinity style, while also embellishing it a bit for the larger scale and incorporating the articulation. To keep with the animated style, the sculpted detail is kept to a minimum, while still producing a great looking figure. The belt and outer layer of the robes are cast in a separate piece of softer plastic and worn over the figure, which gives her outfit some extra depth. Other sculpted detail includes the arm wraps, the pouch worn on the back of her hip and some simple boots. The coloring is mostly found in the plastic, although there is some paintwork as well. For the most part the paint application is neatly done, although there’s a little bit of slop between the flesh tones of her legs and the brown of her boots.

The head sculpt is also pretty damn close to her Infinity counterpart, a lot closer in this case than Thor was to his. Her hair includes the sculpted triple-buns and the paint applications for her eyes, eyebrows, and lips are all sharp and precise. She looks both adorable and fierce at the same time.

The articulation includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knees. She has ball jointed hips and hinges in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the neck. While the points are all the same, the range of motion feels a little bit better here than on Thor, because the sculpt here isn’t as much of a hindrance. Although, the loop that her robes make under the belt on her left hip does get in the way of that leg a bit. Even with some restrictions, she’s a hell of a lot of fun to play with.

Rey comes with Luke’s lightsaber with the blade permanently ignited. Her right hand is designed to hold it, while her left hand is sculpted for Force casting. I like the lightsaber a lot, but I’ll confess to being a bit disappointed that she didn’t come with her staff as well. It doesn’t seem like it would have been that big a deal to sculpt one for her, and since she uses a lot less plastic than Thor, it probably should have costed out at this price point. But then what the hell do i know?

As with Thor, Rey sells for $12.99 and appears to be exclusive to the Disney Store and their website. Thor sold me on the Marvel Toybox line instantly, and now Rey has done the same for this Star Wars Toybox series. I just wish they had more figures to show. The only other figures for the Star Wars Toybox right now are Kylo Ren and a First Order Stormtrooper. It feels like we needed Finn in there to even things out. Nonetheless, I’ll be grabbing more of these, so they’ll all be turning up here eventually.

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

Nope, no Transformers Thursday this week. Sorry. I was hoping to get a little MP-36 action going today, but he was not in the budget this week. Probably not next week. Maybe I’ll get lucky and nab one in at the end of April or perhaps the prospects of the ridiculous orange plug will piss me off enough that I can save my money. For now, I happened to be re-organizing my sixth-scale shelves to make room for some new arrivals last week when it dawned on me that I had yet to review a couple of my Hot Toys figures from The Force Awakens. Let’s remedy that today by checking out Big Deal himself,  Finn!

I’ve already looked at Hot Toys Rey and BB-8 and the packaging here is very similar. Finn was available on his own or boxed with the First Order Riot Stormtrooper, which is the route I went. Other than this bigger box, I don’t think there was any real difference between the two releases of Finn. And don’t worry, I’ll be looking at the Riot Trooper on his own in the next week or so. But let me take a moment to declare what a testament it is to how much I loved the new characters in The Force Awakens, that I’m buying them as Hot Toys and not The Original Trilogy characters. Truth be told, the main reason is that collecting the OT Hot Toys is too big a plunge for me to take. First I’d be spending $220 on Luke Skywalker and next thing I know, I’m 20 figures deep and making five $60 Flex Pays on a Hot Toys Power Droid and wondering what happened. The smaller cast of The Force Awakens seems a lot more manageable. Especially since WE STILL HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN A HINT THAT POE DAMERON IS EVER COMING OUT. What? Oh yeah, let’s have a look at Finn…

In case you’ve never met a Resistance fighter before, this is what they look like. Well, some of them. Others look different. But this is most definitely FN-2187, better known to his new pals as Finn. As a character, I found Finn to be instantly likable and this figure captures him beautifully. It is, however, a pretty simple figure, especially once I discarded the nearly useless extra, which I’ll get to in a bit. Finn sports a pretty standard pair of space trousers, a t-shirt and, of course, Poe’s Resistance jacket.

And yes, Poe’s trusty jacket is easily the star of this otherwise pedestrian outfit. It’s a splendidly crafted garment with some immaculate stitching and it hits all the right points of the real thing. Some of those high points include the reinforced patch on the front of the right shoulder and the ribbed stripes that run down the outside of each sleeve. The material is a very pliable and a convincing substitute for leather. One of the other great things about this outfit is how it isn’t at all restrictive and there are no super delicate pieces, like buttons that can fall off. While a lot of Hot Toys sacrifice pose-ability for tightly crafted costumes, Finn feels like an honest-to-goodness action figure and he’s loads of fun to play around with.

I can remember some early reactions to this figure and people picking on the likeness. Honestly, I don’t know what there is to complain about. To me, this looks spot-on to actor John Boyega and features the usual crazy level of realistic detail both in sculpt and some sterling paintwork. The expression is fairly neutral, which I think is always the way to go unless we’re getting an extra head. The eyes have that eerie “I’m alive” look to them, and the sculpted hair looks fantastic. I think this one is a total home-run. I’ll also toss in here the fact that Finn comes with Hot Toys’ usual assortment of extra hands. These include fists, saber holding hands, gun holding hands, and relaxed hands.

Let’s kick off the accessories with mention of the electronic lightsaber, so we can never speak of it again. Yes, this is where my appreciation of the figure takes a momentary dive. This saber hilt is actually an integral part of a replacement arm, which has to be swapped out and doing so is an unbelievable pain in the ass. I did it once when I first got the figure and I’ll never do it again. Nope, not even for this review. Because of the sleeve, it’s impossible to see what you’re doing, and I’d say it probably took me a good twenty minutes to finally get it in there. It was a whole ordeal during which, I was constantly afraid that I was going to mess up the outfit or break the figure’s arm. Yes, it looks mighty pretty when it’s all lit up, but it’s still not worth the risk to me. And, I have to ask, is it really necessary to integrate the electronics into the whole arm? Couldn’t they have done it in just a hand? I mean, I have a pretty damn small LED on my key-ring that could have easily lit this saber up. Just saying…

Well, since the lit saber and arm is not my cup of tea, I’m happy to say Finn also comes with a regular lightsaber that can share the blade with the electronic one. This saber is the exact same accessory that came with Rey and it’s still a beautiful piece. The hilt is intricately detailed and the translucent blue blade just pegs right into the hilt. It may seem odd to include the saber with both Rey and Finn, but in fairness, this set is intended to recreate Finn’s battle with the Riot Stormtrooper on Takodana, and I can’t say as I mind having an extra.

Next up, Finn comes with the rather distinctive blaster that he borrowed off of Han Solo. I remember not being terribly fond of this design and back when I reviewed the 6-inch Black Finn, I actually speculated that it wouldn’t even appear in the movie. Boy, was I wrong, actually on both counts, because this weapon design has grown on me a lot. I like the clear piece on the end of the “scope” and the barrel kind of reminds me of the Rebel DH-17 Blaster just a bit. The weapon does not feature any moving parts, but it does come with a pretty cool carry strap.

And speaking of carrying things, how about a big bag of bombs? It’s the explosive payload that Finn toted to The Starkiller Base in order to blow the place up. This could have just as easily been an accessory included with the Han Solo figure, since he and Chewie were the ones planting the things, but I’m glad they gave Finn some more stuff. The satchel includes a retaining strap that pegs together at the buckle and there’s a mesh side so you can see what’s in it when it’s full. It’s also a pretty big bag, as you could probably fit twice as many bombs in it as comes with the set.

And lastly, Finn comes with a stand that features The Resistance logo as well as a name plate. It’s the same style of stand that came with Rey, complete with a crotch cradle on an adjustable post to keep Finn standing proud.

Finn is available by himself for $205, which is a decent value for a Hot Toys figure, as they usually start in the $220 range these days. I picked up mine in the two-pack with the Riot Trooper for $360, so if you want to split the two figures evenly down the mdidle that makes Finn $180 and that’s even sweeter. Although, it’s worth mentioning that as I write this Sideshow has thrown up the “Low Stock” warning on his product page. I’ll concede that Finn’s a somewhat basic figure, especially if you’re like me and choose to ignore the electronic saber gimmick, but I can’t say as there’s anything really missing from his collection of extras. Not to mention he is a damn solid figure in his own right, with a nicely tailored costume and a superb likeness. And all kidding aside, I really am shocked that we haven’t seen or heard anything about a Hot Toys Poe, because him in his X-Wing pilot suit would be a wonderful way to round out my Rey, Finn, and BB-8 display.

Star Wars Black (The Force Awakens): C-3PO by Hasbro

So far, I’ve been OK with the bizarre relationship that Hasbro and Walgreens have forged over exclusives. In fact, most of them have been figures that I could live without so I haven’t really been hunting many of them. The one exception would be Marvel Legends Namor, and I was able to get him off the website easy-peasy. But now all bets are off. Because Original Trilogy C-3PO is a Walgreens Exclusive while the red-armed version from The Force Awakens is the wide release. And the very fact that I’m taking a look at TFA 3PO today means that I’m still hunting the exclusive one and stuck with the consolation prize. Not cool, Hasbro. Not cool.

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3PO comes in what is now the standard Black Series window box, with the figure’s number (in this case #29) on the side panel. These packages aren’t branded specifically to any movie, but this version is called “Resistance Base” 3PO and the blurb on the back calls out his continued service to General Leia. All that and… oh, yeah the red arm is all you get to designate that he’s from Episode 7. I have to say, I was pretty impressed with this figure just seeing him in the box, so I’m anxious to get him out and see if that impression holds.

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The first thing I have to say is that I really dig the gold finish on him. 3PO’s coloring is hard to get right. Do you go clean? Do you go dirty? Do you vac-metal him? Here we have a relatively clean finish, but somewhere between matte and reflective gold. It’s kind of a satin look. I think he was a lot more shiny in TFA, but even with that having been said, I really like the gold paint Hasbro used here. It looks rich and metallic and it’s just beautiful. And best of all, you don’t have to worry about him chipping or scratching. Indeed, the coloring here reminds me a lot of the paint my dad and I used when we built the MPC 3PO model kit when I was a wee lad.

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The sculpt and proportions on this droid look really good as well. I’m sure fanatics who have scrutinized the costumes can point out all the differences, but he hits nearly all the right points for me. If I had one complaint in the sculpt and paint department, it would be the left arm. The sculpt looks a little softer, and I suspect that’s due to the different type of plastic used and the fact that it’s unpainted. I think it also looks a lot more obvious that the left arm is static with no elbow joint and it looks a little weird, but I’ll come back to my outrage over the articulation in a bit.

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As a quick interlude… I should stress here that the red arm in TFA didn’t bother me like it did some. It did seem like a long way to go for a quick one-off joke (although I’ll confess that scene did make me laugh), but 3PO wasn’t a major player in the film so I didn’t really care. It makes sense that people would swap out damaged parts on their droids all the time and those parts wouldn’t always match. It’s like seeing a red Camaro drive by with a black bumper waiting to be painted. And, yes I know that Marvel explained the arm in one of their comics. Anyway, I’m certainly not opposed to having a TFA accurate version of 3PO, but not at the cost of being able to easily find the regular one.

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Like the coloring, 3PO’s head is also something that can be tricky to get right. Here, I think they did an admirable job. There are still certain angles where it looks better than others, but all in all I’m quite pleased with it. I especially like how they painted the tiny starbursts in the eyes to replicate the lights on the costume. I do wish they had blackened out the inside of his “mouth,” but that’s something that I can do fairly easy with a marker.

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3PO’s exposed midriff, for lack of a better term, looks pretty good as well. The underlying covering is sculpted with a ribbed pattern and the wires are all sculpted and painted as well. The paint could be a little neater in some areas, but it works for me.

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Alas, the articulation is this figure’s biggest downfall and that’s mainly because he’s completely missing elbow joints. I didn’t know that going in and I could hardly believe it when I got him out of the box. I mean, I was legitimately flummoxed. I’m sure there are all sorts of reasons why Hasbro didn’t do it. Maybe the joints would look weird. Most likely, it was too hard to make it work with the pistons at this scale. But you know what? Hasbro released a 3 3/4-inch 3PO back in 2010 that had elbow joints so why not here? Granted, that one didn’t have the pistons at all, but frankly I would have rather had the articulation. Besides, NECA managed to put working pistons on the legs of their RoboCop figure and he wasn’t much larger than 3PO. All I’m saying is that I was really shocked at the lack of articulation in 3PO’s arms, but the more I played with the figure, the less it bothered me.

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So what did we get? The shoulders are ball jointed, and the shoulder cups are separate pieces, which swivel at the shoulder and that’s pretty cool. The wrists are on rotating hinges. The legs feature ball joints at the hips, swivels in the thighs, which are concealed under the plates, and hinges in the knees. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. Yes… we got a 3PO with no elbows but lateral rockers in the ankles. That makes sense! There’s a ball joint inside the chest and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

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Having had an R2-D2 since the very first wave of the Black Series, it was really odd to have to wait more than 28 figures later to get 3PO. I’m very glad to finally have him, even if it means I’m still searching for the regular version. Yes, the lack of elbow joints is not ideal, especially on a modern collector figure. It’s something that will always stick in my craw when looking at this figure. On the bright side, everything else here is pretty well done and overall I’m still surprisingly satisfied with him. And hey, we can all thank god that Hasbro didn’t decide to give him removable plates as an homage to Episode 1 3PO like they did on the Vintage Collection version.