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!
Last week I doubled down on Transformers reviews, and I’ve decided that this week I’m going to do the same with the Star Wars Black Series. Hell, I’m going to do better than that. I’m going to knock out three figures today, and at least one more on Friday. I’ve just got so many of these SWB packages piled up and waiting to be opened, it’s starting to get frustrating! So let’s go crazy and check out some figures from The Mandalorian! And yeah, these will be somewhat brief because I’m tackling three figures.
Hasbro hasn’t gone all that deep with the figures from this series, but they at least gave us a good sampling of the main and side characters from the first season. It feels like an eternity ago that I last watched this series, but that’s probably because I deep-sixed my Disney+ after the end of WandaVision. As much as I loved the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, I think it had closure enough to move on, using Boba Fett as a spring board to move on to something else. Especially since I’m bummed we won’t be getting the Rangers series with Cara Dune. Either way, I’ll likely pick up my subscription again after The Book of Boba Fett premiers, but for now, I’m just not that interested in what Disney is selling. I am, however, still excited about most of these figures. Let’s start with Kuill!
If I were to go back in time about 20 years and tell Past Me that we were going to have a Star Wars TV Series with Nick Nolte playing an Ugnaught, Past Me would have punched me in the balls for being a lying sack of shit. And who could blame me? The idea is crazy! Who could have foreseen any of this stuff? Anyway, I loved Kuill and I was very sad to see him die. OH, COME ON. THAT’S NOT A SPOILER. IT HAPPENED FOREVER AGO!!! Well, at least Hasbro immortalized him in plastic, and did a damn fine job at that! I really dig the complexity of the outfit here, as it feels rather layered. The orange tunic is sleeveless, showing the rumpled sleeves of the brown shirt under it and has a belt piece with an extension of the tunic below it. He’s got some puffy brown trousers, which are tucked into his Blurrg riding boots. The belt has hip pouches, he’s got a worn, rugged backpack, and the outfit is tied together with a scarf around his neck and shoulders, which is sculpted separately from the figure.
And man, what a great head sculpt! Hasbro usually does a bang up job on the aliens in the SWB Series, but I still think this one is especially nice. His deep set eyes are surprisingly expressive, and they did a particularly great job sculpting his whiskers. His goggles are sculpted in place, so you cannot move them down over his eyes, but you know what?
I had no idea that the helmet was removable! It really does fit the figure so well, that I thought it was either part of the head sculpt, or it was secured on with glue. This was just a wonderful little surprise. Did I know that Ugnaughts have tiny pointed ears? Feels like I’m discovering that for the first time right now!
In addition to the removable helmet, Kuiil comes with his little blaster rifle. This highly detailed piece of kit has some brown paint for the wood on the stock, and a sling that looks like it’s probably removable. He can sling it over his shoulder, or ready it for action. Honestly, the only downside I can come up with for this figure is that they didn’t make him a Deluxe and bundle him with a Blurrg to ride. Either way, Kuiil gets an A+ in my book! Moving on to Greef!
Greef Karga, played by the always charming Carl Weathers, is a cool character and I was happy to see him get carried over into the second season and right his wrongs toward Mando. I was pretty damn sure that he was going to be a major baddie in the series, and certainly never expected to see them team up! The figure is a very solid effort, but nothing about Karga’s character design is terribly interesting to me. Sure, you could argue the same about a lot of characters from the Original Trilogy, but their outfits have long since become iconic. Greef’s hasn’t, so it’s really just a brown suit. But don’t get me wrong, the texturing on this figure is excellent, and there’s some nice detail to be found, like the quilted pattern on his gauntlets, the wraps on his boots, and the double-holstered gun belt. I also like the cape, which only hangs over his right shoulder and is secured with a belt that runs across his chest and under his left arm.
Alas, I don’t think the head sculpt is one of Hasbro’s better likenesses. It’s not terrible, but it’s just kind of soft. Also, there’s a weird glossy finish to his face, which makes him look like he’s wet. It’s probably sounding like I don’t dig this figure, but that’s not the case. I actually dig him a lot and he’s going to look great on the shelf with Mando and Dune.
Karga comes with twin pistols, which look like someone took the grips and backs of .45’s and gave them sci-fi fronts. I don’t know if it was intentional, but this reminds me a lot of how most of the guns in Star Wars were just modified versions of real firearms, so I’m a big fan of these. Ok, that’s two down and one more to go!
The last figure I’m looking at today is The Armorer, and if I’m being honest, I probably would have been fine skipping this figure entirely. She’s OK. There’s nothing specifically wrong with her, but with storage and display space at an all time premium around my place, I’m not sure I really needed her. She kind of strikes me as being like an upscaled 3 3/4-inch figure, although I can’t really put my finger on why. There’s certainly enough detail in her outfit, like the quilted pattern on her gauntlets and shoulders, or the stitching on her apron. I also find that I like the look of the sculpted half cape a lot more than the softgoods one that came with the Pulse Exclusive version. Although it does drop off of her with the slightest bit of encouragement, to the point where I may just glue it on.
The helmet sculpt is nothing special, as the visor isn’t terribly convincing. It just looks like that part of the helmet is painted over. Maybe gloss finish would have helped. The gold finish does have a decent worn patina to it, and I do like the metallic paint they used for her cuirass. Even still, this figure is doing much for me.
The Pulse Exclusive came with a few extra accessories, whereas this retail release just comes with her hammer and tongs. These are decent enough pieces, and she can hold them pretty well. Obviously, I would have liked to get the extra stuff, but even with them, I wouldn’t have been any happier paying an extra ten bucks for the Exclusive.
I didn’t mean to end this trio of reviews on a downer, and honestly, The Armorer is not a bad figure at all. Maybe she just doesn’t stack up as well to Kuill and Greef, both of which are quite excellent. And with three more figures opened and up on the shelf, I feel like I’ve made a tiny bit of progress with my backlog of Black Series figures, but there’s still a lot more to come. I haven’t yet decided what figure (or figures?) I’ll be checking out on Friday, but it will definitely be more from the 6-inch Black Series, and I’ll probably stick to The Mandalorian. So come on back at the end of the week!
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.
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!
Feels like it’s been a while since I checked out a Star Wars vehicle, and I’ve got quite a stack of them from the Vintage Collection, piling up in the corner and waiting to be opened. One of the ones that had me the most excited was the Imperial Troop Transport from The Mandalorian. Of all the fan service that Disney could have packed into that series, who would have guessed that one of the biggest would be a nod back to an old Kenner toy? And this is after the Troop Transport got a previous nod (and toy) in the Rebels 3 3/4-inch line. The ITT has become one popular little vehicle. I never owned the original toy when I was a kid, but my best friend did and I loved playing with it, despite it’s boxy and impractical design it somehow quickly became iconic to me.
And boy does this thing look great in the vintage packaging! Mine arrived a little rough around the corners, but hey… IT’S VINTAGE!!! Getting beaten up in shipping gives it character! You get shots of the toy in action on the front and back panels as well as some close up shots on the side panels. The ITT comes nearly fully assembled, so you can get a pretty good idea of the vehicle’s size before you even open the box. And yes, that means it can go back into the box for storage, which is always a HUGE plus for me with these Vintage Collection releases. It’s also worth noting that there are no electronic features, so if you like pretty lights and sounds, you’re out of luck. On the other hand it also means you don’t have to have any batteries handy, either. I really think they missed an opportunity at packing in a Remnant Stormtrooper with this vehicle, but I’ll have more to say on that later. For now, let’s open this baby up and check her out!
Based on its appearance toward the end of The Mandalorian Season One, the Imperial Troop Transport takes the old Kenner design and peppers it with realism. And rather than beat around the bush, let me just toss out the best and worst things about the ITT right away: It’s got some amazing detail and it’s too small. Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is quite as nice a piece as the Rogue One Hover Tank, but that vehicle is damn hard to beat when it comes to its weathered paint scheme and its great attention to even the tiniest details. The Transport comes pretty damn close, though. For starters, the sculpt is packed with all sorts of little hatches, panel lines, vents, piping, and everything the design needed to make it look like a real vehicle. Coupled with the greasy and grimy paint weathering, this cool deco goes a long way to convince me that this is a relic of the old Empire that’s been dragged back into service by the locals to try to maintain a scrap of power and bully the population. Much like the grubby Stormtrooper armor worn by the Remnant, this thing has seen better days, and it seems like the days of Imperial disciplined maintenance are a thing of the past.
There aren’t a ton of features on the outside. There are a pair of blaster cannon protruding from slits in the cheeks of the cab, and there’s a turret on the top that can rotate. That’s pretty much it. The vehicle does have some concealed wheels on the bottom, so it will roll, even though it’s intended to hover. It’s a shame they couldn’t have done something similar to the old Kenner Landspeeder and made them a little springy to improve the hover effect, as the simple engineering on that toy still impresses me and I think that would have been a cool feature here. If you flip the vehicle over you can check out all the amazing detail packed into an area you that you are likely never going to actually see, and that’s pretty cool! There are a series of vents, which I presume are repulse engines of some kind and a bunch of other bits and bobs.
The back of the vehicle opens up to reveal the interior and allow the Stromtroopers to burst out with E-11’s blazing. It seems like it would have made more sense to have the back drop down like a tailgate, giving the troops a ramp to descend, but I guess this design affords the disembarking troops some protection from strafing fighters.
The interior is also accessible from the top, which lifts off to reveal more amazing detail. The deck plates are fully sculpted and there’s a section over the cab that reveals some of the inner machinations of the vehicle. I suppose this could serve as a service hatch. There are some other features inside that we’ll check out in a bit. As a stand alone model of the Troop Transport seen in the series, I have no complaints at all, as this thing is absolutely gorgeous. But at this point, I’m going to grab a bunch of Stormies and we’re going to see how things go down hill once we start playing with it.
The cockpit opens up via the two side doors and… Wow is it cramped in here! It took some doing just to get the Stormtroopers seated in a reasonably convincing manner. There’s a ton of great detail in the cabin, but it’s tough to appreciate it because of the crazy tight quarters. I really wish the top piece that came off included the top of the cab as well. That way I could position the drivers better and maybe even get their hands on the steering yokes. I could also get to see all the work that went into sculpting this area. Such a simple change would have made a huge difference. I do like how there’s a window between the cab and the back compartment, and they did a great job detailing the interior of the doors.
The ITT is most known for the human pockets on the sides, which betrayed the true purpose of the toy being to hold figures. As a kid, I couldn’t imagine anyone owning SIX Stormtroopers to fill it up! I mean, holy smokes were some parents made of money??? But now I’m all grown up and I can buy as many Stormtroopers as I want. Who thought it was a good idea to have troops exposed in these side-pockets, rather than ride inside the armored transport is beyond me. I imagine this thing pulling up to deploy with six corpses slumped in the compartments. But I do like how they incorporated it into the show and had the troops pouring out of it. I think I actually said out loud, “Cool! So that’s how that works!” My cats were confused and unimpressed. Only two of these compartments open up, which is INCREDIBLY cheap for a toy that costs this much. How does seventy dollars buy me only two opening hatches? The doorways leading inside from each side pocket are also very small, which would be forgivable if you climbed up some stairs to get out through it, but the way it is you really have to use your imagination to make it work. And I’ll tell ya… imagination is made for $20 Troop Transports. Not ones that cost this much, Dammit!
There’s a hatch on the top that opens so you can have a Stormtrooper poke his head out, maybe as a spotter or something. Unfortunately, doing so really shows off the limitations of that turret. The opened hatch blocks its line of fire, and while we’re on the subject notice how if they started firing that thing it would head-shot all the Stormtroopers on the sides of the vehicle! It all harkens back to the running theme of this review… the ITT is too damn small.
As we saw, the back opens up to allow troops to disembark, but the hatch is so low they can’t even stand up under it. It’s hard to believe stumbling out of this thing at a low crouch is an ideal way to enter the heat of battle. And what you’re seeing is also the same clearance as exists inside the vehicle with the top closed. That means the Stormies can’t even stand up in this thing when it’s buttoned up. So let’s go inside and have a better look.
There are some cool ideas going on in here. Firstly, there’s a weapons rack for your Stormy’s guns. I wasn’t really able to make it work very well. Also, the toy is $70, could you not fill the rack with some guns to pad out the value??? There are folding seats inside, which is a neat, but it’s so tight inside that there’s barely room for two occupants to sit opposite each other. It works better if you stagger. The seats are also so low that they have to sit awkwardly or with their legs all the way out. Needless to say, a Stormtrooper can’t stand in here with the top on and so the whole thing just feels very limiting and not a lot of fun. Now, I understand that Hasbro frequently down scales ships to make them work, but the ITT isn’t an example where that should have been necessary. I feel like if this thing were 10% bigger it would have made all the difference in the world. And considering that it has no electronics, no pack in figures, and not a lot of play features, it seems like they should have been able to make it bigger within the price point.
I suppose the Imperial Troop Transport makes a worthy display piece if you want to throw some troops on it and display it on your shelf. But if you’re hoping to have any fun playing around with it, you may want to keep those hopes in check. It’s clear Hasbro put a lot of love and craftsmanship into the sculpt and paint, but then they stumbled at the finish line by under scaling it so much. And I honestly can’t see where all the money went with this toy. Hell, the Rogue One Tank was overpriced too, but at least it had a lot more complexity to it. Keep in mind, I only paid $50 for my Troop Transport, and it still feels like too much. When I had a hankering to review a Star Wars vehicle today, I probably should have gone for the Black Series 6-inch Scale Snowspeeder. It was a much more impressive toy, and I kind of feel bad that I bumped this one ahead of the line.
Six episodes in and I am still enjoying the hell out of The Mandalorian. And I’m overjoyed that Hasbro has released at least a few action figures from these episodes. Sure, there’s opportunity for plenty more. Sure, I’m hoping Hasbro goes full guns on this series. But whatever happens, I’m still plenty happy with what we’ve got. Today I’m having a look at the Heavy Infantry Mandalorian who turned up in Chapter 3: The Sin.
I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, other than this box is a little wider than most Black Series packages, and that’s to accommodate the extra gear. And in keeping with tradition, we don’t know a hell of a lot about this character. Well, other than he seems like a real prick at first. He even picks a fight with the titular Mando, to the point where the vibro-blades come out, all in what seems to be mostly a case of misplaced jealousy. But in the end Mr Heavy proves that Mandalorians stick together when he jumps in to support Mando as he breaks bad with his employers.
What we do know is that this guy is an absolute bruiser and that his armor and gear (at least to me) step just a little bit closer to Boba Fett’s familiar armor. I think a lot of that comes from the helmet and the forearm armor. Unlike most of the other Mandos, this guy is armored up from head to toe with the sculpted under-suit really only showing in his upper thighs and his elbows. This guy has obviously proven himself, because his armor is so complete and in relatively good condition. Not to mention that with his heft, it must have taken a lot of that precious besker steel to outfit him. The armor itself is pretty smooth and simple with a mostly blue deco. The exception is in the brown kneepads, lower right leg, and left leg cuff. It gives him that slightly ragtag look, like maybe those are the last pieces he needs to upgrade when he gets his next big score. The forearms feature some nice detailing in the way of panel lines and gizmos, and he’s got a hefty belt with a number of brown pouches, each with painted snaps. The armor is rounded out with some sparing and effective silver brushed weathering, some of which is emphasized in the sculpt with pockmarks and dents. This is a great looking figure!
Of course, one of the big draws in this design is the weaponized jetpack, which looks passingly familiar to the one worn by Boba. This one lacks the central missile and seems to have beefier thrusters, but makes up for it by powering two pretty impressive weapons via two cables. The heavier segmented cable coming out of the right side attaches to his big gatling laser, somewhat reminiscent to the one worn by Baze Malbus in Rogue One. And I’ll come back to the gatling laser in a bit.
The smaller gray cable attaches to the weapon mounted on the left gauntlet. I haven’t re-watched the episode recently, but I don’t remember him actually using the gauntlet weapon, so I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. Maybe just a big-ass flame thrower? That would be cool.
The helmet also strikes me as more reminiscent of Boba’s than the one worn by The Mando, but I think that has to do with the pock marks and the range finder. The helmet is mostly blue to match the rest of the armor, and features lighter blue paint apps for the “cheeks” and more of that silver brushed weathering. The range finder is on the left side of the helmet, is sculpted in place, and a lot beefier than the one on Boba’s helmet. I dig it!
And how about that big-ass blaster! That’s how you make a statement! This beast of a weapon looks like the kind of thing that would be mounted on a tripod, but they don’t call this guy Heavy Infantry Mando for nothing. He’s up to the task to wield this thing like a champ. The weapon can be pegged into the side of the jetpack for storage, and I’m impressed that even with all this gear on his back, the figure has no problems standing up. The giant death stick is just packed with sculpted detail, has some beautiful silver and blue paintwork near the muzzle and barrels, and even features a swiveling hand grip on the top allowing him to hold the weapon perfectly in a number of firing positions.
Oh boy, do I love this figure! Naturally, it would be great to get figures of all the Mandalorians in the series, but if we only get one, I’m glad they went with this one. He’s an absolutely gorgeous figure from sculpt to paint, and his giant weapon and near perfect balance makes him loads of fun to pose and play with. And I’m kind of glad that he didn’t turn out to be a total asshole by the end of the episode. Will we be seeing more of him? Well, we don’t have many episodes left, so who knows? I can’t imagine how the writers will spend the last two episodes they have wrapping things up, but I’m excited to find out.