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Darth Maul and the SandTrooper - Star Wars Black Series
Hasbro

Sandtrooper Star Wars Black action figure review


All through the nineties, Star Wars fans whom also loved toys begged Hasbro to up the ante and the scale by producing 6" figures. With lines like DC Unlimited and Marvel Legends all the rage, it seemed like an obvious opportunity, but Hasbro seemed to be deaf to the idea.

Turns out, they were just waiting...for something. Whatever they were waiting for (someone else owning the license with more vision perhaps?), it apparently happened, because earlier this year they announced a new 6" scale line of figures, called the 'Black Collection'. They've promised to keep these figures to a minimum of releases each year, and the idea is for each to have top notch everything - sculpts, paint, articulation, accessories, etc.

The first release was actually an SDCC exclusive, and it was (as all Hasbro SDCC exclusives are) practically impossible to get. I was there, and while I had no trouble getting any other exclusive at the show, I had zero chance over the course of four days with this one. Therefor, no review of the Boba Fett exclusive.

Now the first series is hitting stores, and includes Darth Maul, the Sandtrooper, R2-D2, and Luke Skywalker in his pilot gear. Tonight I'm going to cover Maul and the Trooper, with Luke and R2 coming soon.

These will run you around $20 each at most retailers, including stores like Toys R Us and Target. You can also pick them up online at about the same price, and can pre-order series two that way as well. Series 2 includes Boba Fett, Greedo, Han Solo and a Slave Leia.

Wave 2 is scheduled to include Boba Fett, Han Solo, Slave Leia, and Greedo. They're scheduled to hit in a couple months.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Darth Maul Star Wars Black action figure review
Sandtrooper Star Wars Black action figure review
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Sandtrooper Star Wars Black action figure review
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Darth Maul Star Wars Black action figure review
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Sandtrooper Star Wars Black action figure review
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Darth Maul Star Wars Black action figure review
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Darth Maul Star Wars Black action figure review
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Sandtrooper Star Wars Black action figure review
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Darth Maul Star Wars Black action figure review
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Sandtrooper Star Wars Black action figure review
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Darth Maul Star Wars Black action figure review

Packaging - ***1/2
These come in boxes, although there is a plastic hanger on the top to allow peg hanging as well.

The boxes look great, and the basic black is classy and attractive. You can see the figure and accessories clearly, and the package itself is also very collector friendly. There's a rubber band or two, but that's about it, and you can easily replace the figure and accessories in the tray and box without any real damage to the package.

I did drop a half star though because there's no mention of the other figures on the back. Since Hasbro has said they plan on keeping these to a minimum each year, it would be nice to see what else is planned for each wave on the pack.

Sculpting - ***1/2
These sculpts are supposed to be top notch, and I have to say that both of these figures are extremely nice. Proportions seem great on the Trooper armor, and the Maul likeness is solid work.

I also like the soft rubber outer cloak on Maul, which is actually attached permanently to his head. There's a second head included so you can remove the cloak. This was a smart idea, since it allowed them to get the cloak and hood looking just right, and keep it that way.

Maul does have some pretty weird looking legs. He has the poofy pants of course, and because of how they are sculpted, they look like tree trunks, especially around the knees. It's a minor nit, but you know I love to pick those most of all.

I did drop a half star on these for one consistent problem that bugged me. For some reason, Hasbro has gone with a soft, rubber plastic for the figures and accessories. I get it with the accessories - we're seeing it more often to avoid kids poking themselves in the eye. Of course, these aren't intended for kids, but you know the ones with taste will be picking them up.

But the figures themselves? Very rubbery, especially the Sandtrooper. They feel as though you could rip a post in one of the joints, and I fear that the soft material will wilt in any hot weather. While the articulation allows for some great stances, the soft material may not maintain them over time.

Paint - Sandtrooper ***1/2; Maul ***
Of the two, I think the paint work on the Trooper is slightly better. The fine details on the armor are well done, with very clean lines, and the dirt looks nice in person. In the macro photos it can seem a bit overwhelming, but they hit the sweet spot with the nekkid eye.

Maul is fairly clean as well, and I like the use of matte and gloss black on the layers of the costume. The tattoos are decent, although the work around the horns is a bit sloppy. He also has a slightly wonky eye, but it's not too bad considering the scale.

Articulation - ***1/2
I've already complained about the rubbery material, so I won't beat that particularly dead horse again here.

There's a nice assortment of joints, and the design of each figure works well with the articulation.

The Sandtrooper has a ball jointed neck - double ball, actually. The neck pose has a ball at the top and bottom, giving the head a terrific range of movement.

The shoulders are ball, with cut biceps, double pin elbows, and a ball waist at the armor. The wrists are ball (pin/post style) but are restricted by the armor quite a bit. There's ball hips and double pin knees too, as well as ball ankles with a nice rocker action.

Darth Maul has a neck that's more reminiscent of Marvel Legends, which means it lacks much tilt action. There's ball jointed shoulders, ball elbows, ball wrists, ball hips, and ball ankles with that same nice rocker action. He has double pin knees too, and a cut waist, which rounds things out.

Many of these joints are clicky as well, which can help with the soft rubber. They click into a spot and hold it, and it's a good feature to offset some of the problems that might occur in a warm environment.

Accessories - ***1/2
Both figures are nicely outfitted, much more so than the 4" scale figures currently being released.

The trooper has several weapons - the short blaster, the longer cannon-like blaster, and the rifle that can be propped up with an attached tri-pod.

The support is there, but it doesn't fold out. All three weapons are also made from the very soft rubber, which means they can be damaged if you're not careful, and they tend to wilt over time.

He also has the full backpack, which attaches easily with a peg. There's also an ammo pack that's attached to the pack that flips over the left shoulder. It's a nice job of engineering, and the paint work and sculpt are nice. I liked the figure better without the pack - it makes some stances tough of course, since it's heavy - but it looks good.

You can easily remove his shoulder pad as well, which makes it another extra I suppose.

Darth Maul has the removable cape and head, with the second head included. The heads swap easily too. He also has the doubled bladed light saber, which attaches and de-ttaches cleanly, but the blades do not come out. Once again, be careful because of the very soft, rubbery material. EDIT - hmmm, supposedly the blades do come out, thanks to a reader's comments. Too bad the box doesn't mention it, but mine seem pretty stuck. It's that soft rubber they used for the hilts I think, stuck to the harder blades. Take care when you try to pull them out!

He also has the funky binoculars we saw him use in the desert, which fit neatly in either hand.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
While I suspect Hasbro thinks these are for collectors, kids will love them. The scale allows them to mix and match with some of the superhero lines, and the larger size also works well with small hands. Add in some nice accessories and the simple fact that Star Wars is the ultimate confrontational role play license, and you have a toy winner.

Value - **
While I appreciate that these are a massive improvement over the $10 4" figures currently on the pegs (with the possible exception of the new Black Collection in that scale), I'm having a tough time with the $20 price tag. I'm sure a big reason for that is the figures in the 7" scale that NECA is doing for licenses like Predator that are coming in $4 cheaper, with similar quality. I'm betting that much of this is still due to the cost of the license itself, but I'm still having a tough time accepting it.

Things to Watch Out For -
The soft rubber accessories can tear - be careful putting them in the hands and removing them.

Overall - ***1/2
Hasbro's release of the SDCC exclusive Fett hurt this line for me, at least in terms of picking up the entire series. The completist in me didn't even get a chance to consider going all crazy on this series.

I do think Hasbro has upped their game here, and my only real complaint is with the rubbery material. I really don't like the feel, especially with the Trooper, and I'm hoping that we don't see it continue.

I know a lot of Star Wars collectors abandoned the smaller scale when the number of figures just got to be astronomical, and I think that a lot of them might be brought back into the fold by this series. As long as Hasbro sticks with a limited number of figures each year, old school collectors might find themselves sucked right back in once again.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - Sandtrooper ***1/2; Maul ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- DrakeShip has a great price for both wave 1 and wave 2, at just $79.

- Entertainment Earth also has a great price at $79.

- Big Bad Toy Store has a great online price, with the first wave at just $80.

- Mike's Comics N Stuff comes in at $80 for the first four as well.

- Urban Collector has the first wave of for at $104.

- Alter Ego Comics has the set of four for $108.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've coved a lot of Star Wars figures over the years - a lot. This is my first review of the new Black Collection though, but more will be coming soon, including R2 and Luke.

Discussion:
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Darth Maul Star Wars Black action figure review


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

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