Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:00 PM PST
CASSIAN ANDOR, IMPERIAL DEATHTROOPER SPECIALIST, & JYN ERSO
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES
There was one major piece of Rogue One merchandise I haven't yet gotten around to reviewing. It was sitting there in the store, staring at me, waiting, watching, and….uh, waiting. Sorry, didn't have a third "w" word, there. Anyway, I finally have said piece of merchandise, so, without further ado, here's this set with Cassian, Jyn, and a Deathtrooper!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
This three pack was a Target-exclusive, and started hitting shelves about a month after the main Rogue One product launch. Of the three figures included, only Cassian is a truly unique figure. The Deathtrooper has some minor tweaks as well, but Jyn is exactly the same as both her standard and SDCC-exclusive releases.
"An accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer with combat field experience, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his Rebel troops with his ability to keep a cool head under fire and complete his missions with minimal resources."
Despite his placement in a big exclusive set, the Cassian seen here is the standard version of the character, seen most frequently throughout the movie. It was oddly scarce in the initial product launch, but by the end of all the Rogue One product, it did end up fairly well represented. It's definitely the selling point of this release. The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation. His head is shared with the Eadu version, which admittedly wasn't the best Cassian sculpt we got, but it looks a little bit better here than it did on that figure. The rest of the figure is a unique sculpt, and it's a definite improvement over the Eadu look. The details are generally a lot sharper, especially on the jacket, and the overall aesthetics just seem to flow a bit better. He's still a little bulky for Luna, but not as bad as the Eadu figure. The movement is a lot better as well, thanks to the slightly less restrictive design. Just like the sculpt, the paint on this Cassian is a marked improvement on the last figure. The face is still a bit off, especially the beard, but it's definitely a step up. The eyebrows are less caterpillar-like, and the scruff is a little more reserved, so that's a plus. The rest of the body is pretty solid overall. There's a little bit of fuzz in a few spots (like the tops of his boots), but generally it's pretty sharp. Like his oh-so-awesome small-scale counterpart, this Cassian is packed with his modular blaster rifle, which maintains the oh-so-awesome-ness.
IMPERIAL DEATHTROOPER SPECIALIST
"The elite soldiers of Imperial Intelligence, Death Troopers are encased in specialized stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam. These soldiers serve as bodyguards and enforcers for Director Krennic, a highly placed officer within the Advanced Weapons Research division of the Empire."
For the most part, this is a figure I've looked at before, back when it was just the standard Deathtrooper. But, apparently, as a "Specialist," this guy is entitled to a whole web gear load out, with a shoulder pauldron, some ammo pouches, and a bunch of grenades. It's a cool piece, and totally removable, should you just want the standard Deathtrooper. Beyond that, his sculpt, paint, and accessories load out is the same as the basic variant.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I passed on this set when it was new, because paying the cost of three figures and only getting one I actually wanted seemed a bit much. Just after the new year, however, Target got around to marking the set down, to about the cost of a standard Black Series figure. That brought into a reasonable range for me, so I finally got it. I'm glad I finally got this Cassian; he's definitely my go-to figure of the character. I'm also not unhappy about the Deathtrooper variant, though I can't say it's the sort of figure I would have paid full retail for. Ultimately, I think bundling Cassian into this three-pack was a mistake, and I think the fact that the set ended up on such deep clearance speaks to that. I get Hasbro's desire to get as many Jyns as possible out there, but this exclusive really would have worked much better as a two-pack with Cassian and the Trooper. Three times was just one time too many for the standard Jyn to get a straight re-release.
Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:00 AM PST
TERROR-BILLY (B.J. BLAZKOWICZ) — THE COLD-BLOODED TERRORIST
WOLFENSTEIN II: NEW COLOSSUS (BETHESDA)
"Murderer…Spy…Saboteur…Assassin…only some of the ways to describe the Fiend William Joseph Blazkowicz—the Most Wanted Man in the World. A Captain of the vanquished U.S. Army Rangers, Blazkowicz was rendered vollig untauglich sum Dienst during a failed assault on a Regime compound. Blazkowicz awoke from his coma fourteen years later as "Terror-Billy"—a mindless killer!—and launched a six month reign of violence across Europe. After brutally assassinating the esteemed Minister of Advanced Research, Wilhelm Strasse, Blazkowicz vanished. Some think him dead, others that he went underground and lurks in the American Territories of the Regime. Now it is up to you and Elite Hans to hunt down Terror-Billy and make him face the justice he has so cruelly denied his innocent victims."
Alright, here we are. The review I teased a week and a half ago has finally arrived. Does this mean I sorted out my camera issues? No it does not. But, I've got a loaner for the time being, and I'm making the best of it. Wooo. As today's guest review of Wolfenstein II by my brother may have clued you in, this review is video game based. In fact, it's based on the very same game, albeit I'm not looking at the game itself but rather…
THE FIGURE ITSELF
That was clever, right? No? Well, I tried. BJ Blazkowicz, or Terror-Billy as he's dubbed by the packaging, is a pack-in figure, included with the deluxe edition of Wolfenstein II: New Colossus. If you want to get technical, the way the figure is presented, he's actually the main item, with the game being packed-in with him, but nevertheless, he's the extra, not the main selling point. This is something to keep in mind for the purposes of this review. In the context of the game universe, this figure is supposed to be part of the larger Elite Hans toyline, which is sort of the evil-alternate universe equivalent of G.I. Joe. Given the '60s setting of the last two Wolfenstein games, this is a rather appropriate. That being said, it's worth noting that this Blazkowicz figure owes most of his existence to the '90s revival of the 12-inch scale than to the vintage G.I. Joe. It's a perfectly sensible choice, mind you, and one that I think will resonate a bit better with the fanbase of Wolfenstein II, so I can't fault Bethesda for going this particular route. The figure stands 12 1/4 inches tall and has 22 points of articulation.
The head is the real high point of the main figure. It's somewhat generic, but overall is a solid rendition of Blazkowicz's in-game model. He should have a few more scars, I think, but he's got that overall grizzled and determined look down pat. The paintwork on the head isn't Hot Toys level or anything, but it's still pretty sharp, and pretty realistic. It's on par with the best of the older Joes and that's nothing to shrug off.
Flipping over to the definite weak point of this figure, let's take a look at his underlying body. I'm not sure if this is based on an existing mold (it wouldn't surprise me to find out it was; the molds from defunct toy companies are usually pretty easy to procure), but it's definitely not quite up to the quality of even Hasbro's older molds. It's hollow and very light, and not particularly lifelike. Now, none of these things are really a major issue on figures of this nature, since that's all pretty well hidden by the clothing. The real letdown of this particular body is the lack of any sort of swivel joint at the biceps or thighs. The legs I can get over, but no swivel on the arms means he can't two-hand any of his weapons, which is a bit of a disappointment. On the plus side, the hands, which are the only visible parts of the body, are actually pretty nicely sculpted, and look not unlike a lot of Hot Toys' offerings in this respect.
Blazkowicz's outfit includes a t-shirt, pants, rubber boots, and a two different leather jackets. The shirt is a little tight, and the pants are a bit shapeless, but they're decent enough, and would likely look better on a slightly better body. I like the Rangers emblem on the shirt quite a bit. The boots are big and a little clunky, however, given the style they were going for, this is accurate. The two jackets allow for the choice between the main designs of the two games. I'm partial to the bomber jacket myself, but the motorcycle jacket is certainly a well-put-together piece. Both of them are well tailored, and help to mask some of the body's faults.
In addition to previously mentioned extra jacket, the figure is packing "5 Deadly Weapons!" as is so proudly proclaimed by the box. Included are the Dieselkraftwerk (flamethrower), Schockhammer X (shotgun), Laserkraftwerk (laser), Maschinenpistole (machine pistol), and Kriegsbeil (axe). All of these weapons are incredibly detailed in terms of both sculpt and paint. By far the highlight of the figure. I do wish that in addition to the weapons he came with at least an extra set of hands, or even just an extra left hand with a grip to it. Blazkowicz can dual wield weapons in the game, so being able to do that here would go a long way, and would also distract from the lack of bicep swivels.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
As you may have gathered from Christian's earlier review of the game, Terror-Billy comes from another joint purchase between the two of us. Christian was quite fond of the last Wolfenstein game, so he was already on board for this one. When we discovered that the deluxe version had this figure included, we were both pretty pumped. Funds and time being factors, we didn't end up getting this set quite as quickly as we'd planned, but Amazon marked it down to a pretty good deal, and neither of us felt we could pass it up. Blazkowicz isn't a top of the line figure. He's not going to be winning any awards or changing the industry. But, as something that's really more of a fun side novelty, he's the sort of figure I can get behind. Yeah, I'd have liked it if the base body were slightly better, but that's honestly the easiest thing to replace on a 12-inch figure, and I can't deny, I had a ton of fun playing around with this guy when I opened him up.
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