We are in the full press of The Last Jedi product deluge, and I have been able to keep up with Hasbro’s Black Series offerings in fairly timely fashion. Store exclusives are, of course, part of the game, and this new Toy R Us two-pack features a First Order Officer and one of my most beloved Star Wars characters: Admiral Ackbar. While I am pleased to get both of these characters, is this the proper execution for a two-pack? Maybe, but beware because it might have some of you quoting the beloved Admiral in declaring, “It’s a trap!”
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE getting new Star Wars characters to display, and, as I said, Ackbar has been one of my most-wanted figures in SWB for a long time, so from that perspective, I am pretty happy, but I feel like this set breaks a cardinal rule of the multi-pack configuration, and it comes in the form of the First Order Officer. I understand placing a rather faceless “character” in a set, but man, as an army-builder, it pains me when one army-builder is packed in a set with anything other than another army-builder. It makes expanding the rank and file of the armies that dominate the Star Wars landscape difficult and rather expensive. So, yeah, bad Hasbro! Bad!
So, issues with the thought process around selecting characters for this set aside, the FO Officer is actually a pretty keen figure. I mean, he is not the most exciting figure in the world (I will get to that in a bit), but this figure functions exactly in the way it was intended and required. Earlier this year, we got the Death Squad Commander to fill the officer ranks of the Empire, and this guy is a good stand-in for the First Order to serve the same purpose. Plus, General Hux needs some flunkies to boss around since Kylo Ren isn’t having it. This is just the figure you need to stand at attention for inspection, or to lead a rank of Stormtroopers, but man, it is just more convincing with multiples.
The figure is solid overall in its construction and it looks exactly what we have been trained to know as an officer in just about any iteration of Star Wars. His high-polish black jack boots are iconic, and they standout against the material finish on the rest of the figure. There are likely some reused parts from previous SWB officer figures employed here, and that is fine, because it works. I think the upper jacket is completely new, though, and it includes the Empire carryover of having pens denote some manner of rank (his armband might do that, too). It is interesting to see that this costume is actually a dark grey, rather than the black I am typically used to for these officer types, but this should help to continue to set them apart from their black-clad commander.
Like most SWB figures, I am rather fond of the head sculpt on this guy, and it is befitting of a military man. He has strong, but generic, features and a rather dour expression. The eye paint continues to suck, but his eyes are somewhat obscured by his hat, and since this is not a high-profile character, the hit to the likeness isn’t as deep. Speaking of the hat, the SWB team at Hasbro has gotten really good at making removable hats function well, and in a way that does not sacrifice proper head scale. So often in the past, when a hat or helmet has been removable on a 1:12 scale action figure, “pin head” syndrome would set in to counterbalance the hat itself, but everything looks great here. This guy has a high and tight haircut to help facilitate this, but I am really pleased with how the hat fits. Man, I need at least one more of this guy.
The other figure included in the set is Admiral Ackbar, and he is likely the anchor of this two-pack for most people, and he definitely is for me. However, even with such anticipation, this figure is still kind of a bummer on some level to me. Now, the head sculpt, forearms, and hands are AMAZING, and Ackbar is definitely one of the most visually interesting SWB figures we have gotten in a while, but even then, this is a pretty boring and not iconic version of him. I get it, this set is being released to support The Last Jedi, and this is likely how Ackbar will appear in that movie, but man, The Force Awakens (and perhaps, subsequently, TLJ) sure did a bang-up job of making the main character’s costumes boring. Sure, I have a predilection for the Return of the Jedi look anyhow, but with this, we get more brown, and more … other brown.
Admiral Ackbar is still a good figure for what he is meant to be, though, and those aforementioned Mon Calamari parts are some of the best sculpt of the Black Series line thus far. I really do love these, and I hope that when/if we get a single card release of his more iconic white togs look, these Ackbar pieces will be carried over. The arms and hands have all of the required details and the colors are good, too. You can see that arms might have a bit of shelled exoskeleton to them, and I can almost see his fingers flopping in true early ’80s rubber costume format.
The good Admiral’s giant cranium is where the real magic is, and honestly, it is an example of SWB running at its best. First and foremost, the likeness is pretty perfect, and as I love the Mon Calamari any way, seeing this an absolute joy, and almost enough to get me to look past the drab uniform. Almost. The sculpting work is wonderful, and I cannot believe I am saying this but, the paint is really strong, too. There is a nice dark wash to pull out the details, as well as some highlight hits, like the “freckles” on the back of the head. Plus, since he has big googly eyes, the paint on those is actually really clean! The biggest win in all of this is the fact that Ackbar has an articulated jaw, and I am love with it. Go ahead, ask my wife how many times I have made him say, “it’s a trap!” I promise you will get a disgusted look.The jaw does inhibit some of the neck articulation, but I am not plussed by it because the tradeoff is tremendous.
Oh, both of these guys come with completely forgettable blasters, but since this is Star Wars, that is kind of a requisite inclusion.
Well, I am glad to have both of these figures, but this set isn’t perfect. I HATE having to get an army builder in a set with a figure that is not an army builder, because that limits my desire to buy more, and it is pretty expensive. I mean, I am not kidding anyone, so I will be in for at least one more set, but that is only because I want to try to customize an Admiral Raddus from the Ackbar since Rogue One seems to be left in the dust by Hasbro, even though Raddus is awesome. As I said, HOPEFULLY I will get a more iconic RotJ Ackbar soon because that is what I really want. As I said, this set is a Toys R Us exclusive, so you need to go there to get it, but it is/was available on their website, so keep an eye on that, too.