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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Captain Phasma sixth scale action figure
Star Wars The Force Awakens

Hot Toys
Date Published: 2016-08-26
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 2.5 out of 4

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Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Introduction

From the previews of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans saw a lot and learned little.  That's the way great trailers should work, wetting your appetite for the potential without giving away the best parts. One of the visual pieces that created quite a bit of interest was the large, chrome trooper called Captain Phasma, played by the excellent Gwendoline Christie. Fans love her as Brienne in the Game of Thrones, and were thrilled to see her portraying what appeared to be a serious bad ass in the new film.

Alas, she was a disappointment come opening day.  Not Ms. Christie, but the brief time she had on screen and the lack of any real badassery.  It's a great looking costume and an interesting character with lots of potential (can you say "Boba Fett"?) - fans can only hope that she gets her due in an upcoming movie.

Thanks to the great visuals, Hot Toys jumped all over producing a figure based on the character, and she is currently shipping just about everywhere.  Since the U.S. got her pretty late this time, particularly smaller U.S. retailers, this review is behind the curve a bit, but I suspect lots of people are still on the fence considering the $250 price tag.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Packaging - ***
I think they are able to do these in their sleep.  The outer cover of the shoe box package has a basic figure/character shot, and the interior includes a cover card with some more standard artwork.  The figure comes packed in a single plastic tray - there's not enough here to require more than that.  It's all collector friendly, and all very easy to work with, but also all very standard stuff.

Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Sculpting - ***
The marketing specs claim this is a newly designed body, although the say that an awful lot. I suspect we have a few new parts under the suit to give her the proper height and proportions.  She's large, standing a full 13 1/2 inches tall.

The overall impression is quite good inside the box or on the shelf, but when you pick her up you'll immediately notice how light she is. Hot Toys has used metal parts with characters like Iron Man and Robocop to give them some heft and gravitas, and it can skew your perception of an all plastic armored figure like this. Because of the silver paint, your brain expects weight, and when there is none, your brain tends to think 'cheap'.

They combat some of that by creating sharply defined and cleanly sculpted armor pieces. The armor fits together well, and the proportions are generally good. I'm not thrilled by the extra thin calves, but it's a minor issue overall.

The helmet also looks just a tad narrow to me, particularly from a straight on angle.  From other angles it tends to look better, but it does seem slightly smaller than the original prototype.  It sits up a bit high on the neck, but that's intentional, creating a better appearance when the cape is in place.

There's a ton of nicely sculpted and properly proportioned hands, designed to work with the one and only weapon.

Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Paint - **1/2
Phasma stands out thanks to her shiny metal everything. Bender would certainly appreciate that.  Everything is silver, with black used as the underlying background color. This high gloss chrome certainly does reflect the light, and the quality of the application is well above the usual cheap plating you see with most toys. In fact, I doubt this silver was done anything like plating, but rather is a standard paint job, just with silver instead of white like a regular trooper.

However, the armor has seen it's share of abuse and age.  There's lots of wear and spotting in the silver, which I'm also quite sure is fully intentional all the way around. And for me, it's just not working.  Rather than give the impression of a battle weary and hard fought soldier, I see a cheap looking paint job. Perhaps it's because it's actually quite consistent, following a pattern of stippling, and Hot Toys is usually so good at creating just the right amount of variation and inconsistency in their wear and damage that it appears much more realistic. I think it gets back to the fact that this IS a paint job, and not plating, which is creating my issue.  If you look at something like one of the Iron Man figures - I picked the relatively recent Tank - you'll notice the same sort of consistent stippling in the painted armor. But that's a realistic look for painted metal in general, and with colors like red or brown, my eye expects it and appreciates it.  With this high gloss silver, my eye is expecting an extremely consistent finish, and that's not what we get.  It would be the same if the white armor of any Trooper had this inconsistency - it just wouldn't look right to me. When it's actual wear, like around some of the edges and the top of the helmet, I'm good with it, but that pattern of stippling or spotting on just about every area is bugging me.

I looked at a lot of screen shots - like this one and this super close up - and there's certainly wear, dirt, smudging, and damage, which they've matched nicely here. But the spotting seems no where near as obvious with the movie character. Obviously, this one is going to be highly subjective, and you may find the finish meets your expectations perfectly. It's certainly not a quality issue or an unintentional manufacturing problem, but a design choice on the part of Hot Toys.

Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Articulation - **
This is not a highly articulated figure, although I'm sure the underlying body is just as well designed as every other Hot Toys produces.  This time around, the armor and body suit does restrict the majority of the joints, and there is an additional annoyance factor with the hands and feet.

The neck works great, with a terrific range of movement. Thanks to the extra space for the cape, it sits high enough off the shoulders to get plenty of lean and tilt, allowing you to add lots of personality to every pose.

The arms and shoulders can take basic gun holding poses, but the tight body suit doesn't allow for deeper bends or lifting the arms above the chest.  The chest and waist themselves are almost entirely locked up, thanks to the tight fit on the various pieces of armor.

As with the arms, the tight body suit restricts the hips and knees quite a bit.  It's really the armor that interferes with the ankles, thanks to the long sides of the shin sections. None of this is particularly unexpected, considering the results we've seen with other troopers wearing this tight body suit.

That in itself would not have caused me to drop the score in this category this much, but I also found myself quite frustrated with the ankles and wrists. Both tend to fall off at the slightest touch, which is particularly annoying with the feet. Since you're swapping hands anyway, popping them off repeatedly is part of the plan.  Sure, it's annoying when you have to continually reattach them while simply moving the arms slightly, but it's doable.  The feet drop off regularly as well however, which is not part of any normal expectation. Toss in these frustrations with the more restricted joints, and you get a lower score.

It's worth mentioning that it's not the small wrist post that goes into the hand that's loose - that's usually the problem, because of the short nature of the peg and the often deeply set hole in the hands. In fact, I just complained about that situation earlier this week with the Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy from Star Ace. No, this time it's the long post that goes into the forearm which is a very loose fit. Likewise for the ankles, it's the long post that fits up into the lower leg that is easily forced out by the armor when you are handling the figure.

Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Accessories - ***
If you like hands, you'll love Phasma.  Maybe it's a good thing they fall out of the forearms so easily.

There are ten hands - 5 pairs - in total.  These range from fists to gun trigger grips, to several that are designed to hold the weapon in various poses. The proportions are good, and while they look a little robotic, the design matches the rest of the uniform.

She also has her blaster, painted in a matte golden color with black details.  It has a extendable stock and can be holstered on her hip thanks to a magnet, much like we saw with the other FO Troopers.  The magnet is strong enough to keep it in place, but take some care when handling the figure to avoid knocking it loose to the floor.

Her only other accessory is a small display stand, done in the FO style with her name on the front. It adds some consistency to the display for those that like to use them.

Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Outfit - ***
We've already discussed the armor in great detail in the Sculpt and Paint sections, so there's no need to beat that very dead horse any further. The body suit looks good - I like the ribbing at various joints - but is quite tight and does restrict the articulation, also already noted.

This time there is one extra piece to the outfit though - her funky cape. It wraps around her neck, and strike one is the use of the cheaper plastic snap to hold it in place. I hate these things, and it is much too easy to bend or even break the tiny post when trying to snap it together.  I managed with much care and lots of sweat to get mine to snap closed without damaging it, but it's an area where a metal snap was really necessary.  At this price point it's not too much to expect, and it's not in an area where there would be problems with any thickness or bulging.

The cape has a thin wire through the outer edge to allow for posing, and the left shoulder is tailored and sewn to hang a specific way over the shoulder. I never got it quite the way I wanted it, but it lay well enough.  It also has some dirt and staining effects along the bottom edge of the outer material, adding some nice realism. I doubt Kylo Ren's right hand soldier could get away with wearing a dirty cape to work (he seems like he'd be a stickler for things like that), but I get the reasoning.

Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Fun Factor - **1/2
With the reduced posability due to the restrictive armor and body suit, you're not going to get a lot of mileage out of posing this figure.  You'll probably find that one look you really like and stick with it on the shelf.

Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Value - *1/2
This is probably going to be one of those figures that you wonder "I paid $250 for this?" That's because while she is taller, she is not any more complex or detailed than the average Trooper. They run in the $220 range, and it's hard to find the extra $30 here. It doesn't help that the final look and feel doesn't scream quality, and at $250 and up, I need to be wowed.

Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
There's really only one area where you could have an issue - the small plastic snap on the cape. Take your time, have a bright light source so you can clearly see what you're doing, and don't press too hard. When it's properly lined up, is snaps right in, and when it's not, you can easily bend or break the tiny post.

Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Overall - **1/2
Maybe I'm just feeling cranky today. Maybe price sticker fatigue is starting to get to me. But it does feel like I'm being a bit unfair with my final score. If you like the paint job better than I did, I can certainly see adding another half star here, but for me the combination of the wonky paint work, the limited articulation, the small number of accessories, and the frustrating hands and feet, results in a lesser Overall.

It's also worth noting that if you've passed so far on this figure, odds are good Hot Toys will take another crack at it with the next film.  Most of us - me included - pre-ordered her before the film was released, and with secondary villains you never know if they'll make it to a sequel. There was the very real potential that she'd get Maul'ed in the movie, and Hot Toys would never have a reason to produce another version, but with her survival and announced return in Episode VIII, I'm betting we see her return in sixth scale form as well.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - ***
Outfit - ***
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - *1/2
Overall - **1/2

Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- comes in at just $238.

- has the figure for $240.

- has her for $250.

- Sideshow also has the figure for $250.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Between Sideshow and Hot Toys, we've been getting a ton of Star Wars sixth scale.  Sideshow's latest was the Jawa set, and while I still have to get around to reviewing Finn, Hot Toys has been hitting up the Force Awakens with the FO Flametrooper, the FO Snowtroopers, and the First Order Stormtrooper. Other Hot Toys Star Wars figures include Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, C-3PO, Tatooine Luke Skywalker, Luke in his Stormtrooper Disguise, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Han and Chewbacca from ANH. If you'd like a bit more of a regular Stormtrooper, they've done him as well, along with a Blackhole version. Sidseshow has helped out with the Original Trilogy, with their Hoth Han, Hoth Luke, Tauntaun, Speederbike, and Scout Trooper.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

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Captain Phasma Star Wars sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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