SEARCH REVIEWS    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE 


Star Wars Black Series - R2-D2, Luke Skywalker
Hasbro

Luke Skywalker X-Wing Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro


Hasbro has done the greatest variety of action figures of any line with their decades of Star Wars releases. How do you bring new life to a license that has seen so many characters, gimmicks, ploys, hits and misses? It's not easy.

Hasbro decided to switch up the scale to a current fan favorite - 6". They knew that wouldn't be enough though, and decided to take the chance to improve in every category, from sculpt and paint to articulation  and accessories. And they've called this new line the Black Collection.

They've also said that they won't over saturate the market with lots of releases, and so far are holding true to their word. The first wave, available know, has Darth Maul, a Sandtrooper (both reviewed last week), Luke in his X-Wing pilot gear, and R2-D2. I'm checking out these latter two tonight.

Series 2 should include Boba Fett, Han Solo, a Slave Leia, and Greedo. These are running around $20 each at mass market retailers, including Target.

Packaging - ****
The longer I look at these packages, the more I like them. The simple black design reminds me of other high end products, and the clean look reminds you that these aren't just the same old same old.

They are also collector friendly, with no need to damage the package to get the figure and accessories out. No twisty ties either (although R2 has a rubber band), which is very much appreciated.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Luke Skywalker X-Wing Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro
Luke Skywalker X-Wing Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Luke Skywalker X-Wing Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Luke Skywalker X-Wing Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
R2-D2 Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
R2-D2 Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
R2-D2 Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
R2-D2 Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
R2-D2 Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
R2-D2 Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
R2-D2 Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro

Sculpting - R2 ****; Luke ***1/2
I like both of these figures, but R2 is really a stand out. That's not just because of the sculpt, but because of the overall execution.

Luke's portrait looks good, right down to his mole. The hair detail is nice, considering the scale, and the textures and small details on the X-Wing flight suit look good.

My one complaint is around the rather zombie-ish expression. The slack appearance is a little too soft, but it's truly a minor issue.

And while the plastic here is still softer than I'd like, I didn't feel like the joints or pins were going to wilt or easily break, which is an improvement over Maul and the Sandtrooper.

These are a six inch scale, but Luke was always a little shorter than his comrades, so it's appropriate that he's about 5 3/4". R2 comes in just about right at about 3" tall.

Speaking of R2, I'd say this is probably the only one you'll ever need in this scale. The detail work on the outer shell and dome are excellent, and there's no stickers - every detail is sculpted.

The only way I could see them improving on this figure is to add a sound chip and light, but until they do, this is the guy to get.

Paint - R2 ***1/2; Luke **1/2
The paint work is nice on both figures, but Luke does have a bit more slop around the edges.

The colors look great, and are consistent in their tone and coverage. R2 is particularly well done, especially with the silver and blue, tricky colors to do cleanly.

Luke has some issues though, especially with the white vest. The edges are sloppy, and the coverage is a bit gloppy. The stripes on the helmet are a bit rough, although some of that can be attributed to battle damage.

Articulation - R2 ****; Luke ***1/2
Luke has similar articulation to Maul, with the Marvel Legends style neck joint; ball shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and ankles; ab-crunch, cut waist, cut thighs, and double pin knees.

The neck isn't as tilty as I'd like, which was also always a problem with Marvel Legends figures. It's a minor nit, and really the only one with this figure's joints. The ankles are really the stand out, with a good rocker movement that allows the feet to stay flat on the ground.

R2 is not exactly a design that lends itself to a lot of articulation. Somehow, Hasbro found a way to give us plenty, plus a little more.

Both legs are articulated at the 'hips' and 'ankles', and turning the dome extends (and retracts) his third leg. Yep, I said 'third leg'. This leg can be fully hidden, or can actually over extend, and of course you can put it in just the right spot showing only the foot if you prefer.

That's not the end of his articulation. Both front panels open, and two small tool arms can swing out! That's so damn cool...

Accessories - R2 ****; Luke ***1/2
Luke comes with the necessary extras, all done extremely well.

There's his light saber of course, and the blade is removable. I incorrectly said that Maul's blades weren't (which I edited later when a reader pointed it out), and getting his out was tough. I finally did, but it felt like I was about to break the saber.

With Luke's, the fit is still tight, but the blade did pop out and back in again easier. It's a nice look either way of course, and having both options is always a plus.

He has a small blaster as well that fits perfectly in his gun gripping right hand. The soft rubber is a bit annoying - the barrel tends to wilt - but it's a minor issue.

Finally, he comes with his pilot's helmet. The sculpt and paint are good - the scale is about right - and it actually fits on his head nicely.

R2 is fully outfitted. There are three compartments on his dome that open up, and each can hold one of three extras, one at a time or all at once if you'd prefer. There's two different sensors, as well as Luke's extra saber, that can be inserted in small holes in each compartment. Obviously, you'll be displaying him with just one at a time, but I did take a photo with all three so you could see it was possible.

Along with those three extras, there are two sets of leg attachments. One set is his standard look, while the other is his rocket boosters. These swap easily, and only go on one way, so no fear of getting them upside down.

Fun Factor - ****
Like the Packaging, this is another category where the score has improved the longer I've had the figures. With nice articulation, cool accessories, and the larger scale, these things are a ton of fun. Kids still love Star Wars, so there's no problem with recognition, and it's clearly the perfect license for conflict play.

Collector's will have a ton of fun too - with all the accessory options and the articulation, you can easily repose these in cool ways in your display on a regular basis.

Value - **
At $20, it's tough to give these an average value score. They have upped the ante though with much better articulation and some solid accessories. It's a close call, and the cost is not probably going to be an issue for most collectors with the smaller number of figures being released.

Things to Watch Out For -
The little covers on R2's dome can drop off when you turn the figure over, so pay attention when you're handling him. They are very easy to lose!

Overall - Luke ***1/2; R2 ****
This is an excellent series so far, and they've already managed to produce an exceptional R2-D2. For me, that's a huge surprise, since R2 is not the character I was really looking forward to the most as part of this wave.

But they've gone all out here, and with the various attachments, this is the figure to buy.

Luke is nice as well, although I wish the paint work was a bit better. I do like the new articulation, and the scale is a welcome change overall. I'm still not sold on becoming a completist myself, but I will be picking up my favorite characters as the line rolls along. Sadly, that's all of wave 2!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - R2 ****; Luke ***1/2
Paint - R2 ***1/2; Luke **1/2
Articulation - R2 ****; Luke ***1/2
Accessories - R2 ****; Luke ***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **
Overall - Luke ***1/2; R2 ****

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 bargain.

Related Links -
I covered the first two figures in this initial wave last week, including Darth Maul and the Sandtrooper.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find thousands more just like it!

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR MORE PHOTOS!



Share this review with others! 
 Google +1
 
Digg it!
 StumbleUpon Toolbar
Stumble It!
 
Reddit

R2-D2 Star Wars Black action figure by Hasbro


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

This page copyright 2000 - 2013, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Click here for copyright permissions!