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Star Wars Black - Bespin Luke, Stormtrooper, and Obi-Wan Kenobi
Hasbro

Stormtrooper Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro


The third series of the excellent Star Wars Black 6" series of action figures has started to ship, although I haven't seen them at any local retailers yet. The usual schedule for these, at least in this neck of the woods,  is they hit online retailers first, then several weeks later start showing up on the pegs at the local Toys R Us and Target.

This third series includes a standard Stormtrooper, Luke in his Bespin gear, and a young Obi-Wan Kenobi. There is a fourth figure shipping with them, but it's the same Han Solo that was part of series 2.

I assume these will run the usual $20 each at the local stores, but you can pick them up a smidge cheaper at some online retailers.

Packaging - ****
I love these boxes - clean, sharp designs, and completely collector friendly. That's something you don't see much on the local pegs, and it shows that Hasbro has a good idea of what the market wants.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Stormtrooper Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro
Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro
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Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro
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Luke Skywalker Bespin Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro
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Stormtrooper Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro
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Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro
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Luke Skywalker Bespin Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro
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Stormtrooper Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro
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Luke Skywalker Bespin Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro
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Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro
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Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro

Sculpting - Stormtrooper,  Luke  ***1/2; Obi-Wan **1/2
If you recognize this Stormtrooper, that's because he was dressed up like a Sandtrooper for series 1 last year. Take off the shoulder pad and clean up the armor, and you have this guy.

That's not a bad thing though. The sculpt is solid work, and there's really no need to re-work it for this release. The sculpt even works well with the articulation, allowing for natural poses and little restriction. The hands are sculpted to hold the accessories, and the holster is a perfect fit for the smaller blaster. EDIT: As a reader pointed out, there are some very subtle changes to the armor, that you can notice with careful side by side inspection Perhaps the most obvious is the slight change to the left kneecap, but there's minor alterations in a few other spots as well.

Luke is a nice head sculpt, better than the usual Luke in any scale. The paint job doesn't really support the sculpt, but that's a discussion for the next category.

His costume is also nicely detailed, with a cloth texture. The holster is properly sized to hold the blaster, and his lightsaber hilt has a loop to hang from the belt. The belt hanger is a little soft, making it difficult to get the hilt to attach and stay in place, but at least they gave it the old college try.

Obi-Wan has the weakest sculpt of the three. The head sculpt is not particularly attractive, although it's worse in macro photos than in person. He also appears a bit pinheaded, because of the wide shoulders on the Jedi robes.

He also has a way to attach the hilt to his belt, but this time it's a peg and peg hole arrangement. It's in a rather awkward spot though, so it doesn't work a whole lot better than Luke's.

The scale between these is fairly good, with the Trooper coming in just a squeak over 6", Obi-wan just under, and Luke is about 5 1/2".

Paint - Stormtrooper ***1/2; Luke ***; Obi-Wan **1/2
As I mentioned above, the work on Luke is a bit of a let down to the sculpt. I think that the likeness is solid, but the sloppy eyes are a killer. There's also more slop on the costume than is appropriate, with some bad edges between the neck and the collar, and around the boots.

He's not completely awful though, and if you step back and look at the overall, you come away with a positive feeling.

Obi-Wan isn't so lucky. The face work is poor again, but because of the amount of facial hair, there are a lot more bad edges with bleed and slop.  The paint does nothing to improve the overall look of the sculpt, and there's even more slop on the costume, especially around the tops of the boots.

The Trooper is the big winner here, with his clean, undamaged armor.  The white is fairly consistent, and the smaller details are the cleanest of the three figures. There's still a minor issue here and there, but overall he's the best of the lot.

Articulation - Stormtrooper ****; Luke, Obi-Wan ***1/2
When I reviewed the Sandtrooper, I scored him at ***1/2 in this category. But the longer I've worked with him, and now this new Trooper, the more I like what they've done.

There's a reasonable ball-like neck, with movement in most directions. It doesn't tilt quite as well as a true ball, but it's not bad, and a reasonable compromise. Think Marvel Legends.

The shoulders have a decent range of movement, and there's a cut bicep, double pin elbows, and pin wrists that allow for very good arm poses.

His waist is a ball joint with a great range of movement, and his true ball hips work well with the cut thighs, double pin knees, and pin/rocker ankles. While all the leg joints work well together, the rocker ankles are particularly important, allowing the feet to remain fully flat on the ground in deep stances.

Both Luke and Obi-wan mirror this articulation - almost. Neither has a cut bicep, and it does hamper the arms a bit. The NECA style shoulders look good, but don't have as much movement as a true ball, and without the cut bicep it can be tricky to get them in just the right spot.

They try to make up for it by altering the elbows. Rather than standard double pins, they went with the peg/disc style joint that allows the elbow to turn as well as move forward and back. It does help, and I'm sure the idea was to maintain a more attractive arm sculpt. But if you look at those ugly elbows on Obi-Wan, you'll see they missed that mark.

All the figures stand great on their own though, and the joints are tight and solid. I didn't have any trouble breaking them free, and it didn't feel like they'd snap or warp easily.

Accessories - ***
None of these have the assortment of extras of someone like Han Solo or the Sandtrooper, which is a let down of course.

The Trooper has the long and short blaster, but that's it. No other special weapons, and no other hands. The blasters do look good though, and fit in the hands he has and the holster properly.

Luke and Obi-Wan have one extra - their lightsaber. Again, no extra hands. That's too bad because the gripping hand sculpts are pretty specific, and when they are in  relaxed stance or single hand grip pose, they can look a little weird.

The lightsaber blade is removable though, so they can be posed with it lit or unlit.

Luke also has his blaster, which fits nicely in the holster on his hip.

Fun Factor - ****
These are the best Star Wars action figures on the pegs right now, overall. There are some great 4" figures, no doubt about it, but as a series, these are much better toys than the average release. Great articulation, solid sculpts and paint - kids will love them.

Value - **1/2
I'm loosening up a bit on the price point here. I knocked them down another half star with the first series, but considering the quality of the articulation, I can understand the $20 price point. They aren't doing a billion figures either, making them a bit more expensive to produce than the smaller series. 

It'd still be nice for the Troopers to be a little cheaper though - once they release Vader, you'll need at least two, and a whole army couldn't hurt.

Things to Watch Out For -
Try to pick out the best paint you can. Other than that, you should be good to go.

Overall - Stormtrooper ***1/2; Luke ***; Obi-Wan **1/2
The Trooper is sweet - but that should be no surprise, since the Sandtrooper was as well. He's going to sell well too, since most of us won't be satisfied with just one. If Hasbro needs to pack in a fourth figure with a future wave, make it a trooper, please.

Luke is nice, although I'm not sure this is the outfit I was really jonesing for. I have this bad feeling that Luke is going to become the Homer Simpson of the Star Wars Black series.

Obi-wan is a disappointment, due to the sloppy paint and slightly sub-par sculpt. If you have Maul, then this Obi-wan at least gives you a character to pair him with, but I'm not sure that's a good enough reason to drop the twenty bucks. You might want to wait for a Qui-gonn for the same purpose, and hope they do a better job.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - Stormtrooper, Luke ***1/2; Obi-Wan **1/2
Paint - Stormtrooper ***1/2; Luke ***; Obi-wan **1/2
Articulation - Strormtrooper ****; Luke, Obi-wan ***1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - Stormtrooper ***1/2; Luke ***; Obi-Wan **1/2

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Mike's Comics N Stuff has this set of three for $73.

- Entertainment Earth sells the set of four (includes Han) for $80, and they usually have the singles for $20 each.

- Things From Another World has them at $27 each.

- Big Bad Toy Store has the set of four for $80 as well, but you can also just get the set of three new figures for $75.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I covered both the first and second waves, including Slave Leia and Boba Fett, and Han Solo and Greedo. I also covered the first wave, with Darth Maul and the Sandtrooper, as well as X-Wing Pilot Luke and R2-D2.

Discussion:
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Luke Skywalker Bespin Star Warrs Black action figure by Hasbro


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

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