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Super-Articulate: Star Wars Black Series Mando & More

Welcome back to the ongoing effort to, y’know, catch up. This is Troy Brownfield and we’re back with another look at the Star Wars Black Series. Obviously, this is one of the busiest figure lines, with new things arriving all the time. I decided to focus on four of the “newer” arrivals in the interest of trying to get ahead for when more things land soon. Three are figures drawn from The Mandalorian, and one is a deluxe figure pulled from The Phantom Menace.  Let’s take that last guy first.

Jar Jar Binks: Frankly, I was a little puzzled at first as to why Jar Jar was done in deluxe style. Sure, the larger accessories lend the figure to the deluxe box and treatment, but Jar Jar could have easily been a figure with one or zero accessories. That said, once everything is out of the box, I found the accessories to be cool enough to justify their own existence. Another thing that’s more evident upon reflection: Jar Jar is a figure that is mostly, if not entirely, new in the sculpting department. Other characters might be able to repurpose arms, legs, etc., but I’d wager that Jar Jar is entirely new. That’s one reason I put in a close-up shot of the feet; you can’t exactly put those on Leia.

Another unique sculpt section is the head and neck assembly. Jar Jar’s longer neck is distinctive to Gungans (outside of Boss Nass), and the different assembly provides a greater range of motion for both the head and the neck itself (turning at the shoulders, moving forward and backward, etc.). It’s a great set of tiny decisions that really lends a lot to the personality of the figure. The head and face are spot-on pieces of work, too. The vinyl costume pieces add more authenticity as well.

As for those accessories, they’re weapons used by the Gungan army as seen in The Phantom Menace. The shield is my favorite; the overall design and coloration are great, and the sheer size made me admit that the deluxe boxing and price was the way to go. The spear is impressively tall, but I like the booma atlatl as well. Hasbro put a lot of attention to detail in these pieces. Overall, I like the Jar Jar figure a lot, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some elements of the figure are used to give us a Captain Tarpals in the future. Really nice job.

Kuiil: I like short figures. Let me clarify: I like it when lines include figures of different heights. It can give the figures a much better since of scale. It’s great to see the Ugnaught mechanic/moisture farmer/babysitter/assassin droid rehabilitator Kuiil get a solid representation at proper height. I put it one shot of Kuiil with IG-11 to give a sense of that.

Frankly, this is a little gem of a figure. He’s not the flashiest, and his character (unfortunately) isn’t around for long, but the design team did him justice. The face is definitely the winning feature here, and the scarf is that kind of perfect extra touch that Hasbro really seems to be reaching for lately. This is an instance where the figure looks exactly like the character, and it’s all the better for it.

Greef Karga: Speaking of likenesses, the Greef Karga figure really does capture Carl Weathers. You almost expect the figure to tell you to save the packaging to get a stew goin’ (everybody get that who’s gonna get that? Great; let’s move on). At any rate, part of the fun of this one is the strong resemblance.

In terms of costume, Karga isn’t the flashiest guy. However, Hasbro did a lot of work to bring contrast to the varying browns, making the pants, shirt, sleeves, and cape all visually distinct from one another, even if they down come from the same palette neighborhood. Like the vinyl pieces on Jar Jar, the two-side cape with sculpted-in folds looks not only accurate, but natural; it looks like it does indeed lay over his shoulder, and not just like a piece of plastic stuck to other plastic.

Karga comes with two blaster accessories, each of which can fit in the functional holsters on the figure. I opted for the two-gun look. I included a photo of Karga with Cara Dune as a) they’ve spent a lot of screen-time together, and b) the photo itself is begging for a Mythrol figure. You hear that, Hasbro? If he’s a Funko Pop, he can be Black Series.

Moff Gideon: Of course he comes with a Darksaber. There’s a lot of fine detail on that weapon, and if you look closely, the edge all the way around varies from the body of the blade in color and opaque quality. That’s just crazy for something that thin. Gideon also comes with a pistol that fits the figure’s holster.

As for the rest of the figure, this is another strong effort. I’m not sure if the likeness is as close as Karga, but, damn, kids, that’s Esposito. Like the Darksaber, Gideon’s outfit is festooned with small details and tiny color additions that enhance the overall look. The two-toned cap is removable, and the interior red really makes the smaller details on the figure itself pop.

Hasbro continues to do a fine job with their offerings in the 6-inch scale. I know some fans would prefer faster turnaounds for certain characters, but you have to admit that the pace is accelerating, with Mandalorian Season 2 figures like Bo-Katan Kryze and The Bad Batch already making their way to shelves. This is a rock-solid group right here, and it will just reinforce the fandom’s desire for more.

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