Review: Bandai Tamashii Nations Star Wars Movie Realization Onmitsu Shadowtrooper

Samurai? In MY Star Wars? It’s more likely than you think.

Star Wars is popular.  That goes without question; even after the prequal trilogy, Jar Jar Binks and even the divisiveness of The Last Jedi, the fandom is stll very strong.  A key point to the popularity of Star Wars has been, from the very beginning, the toys.  Beside a brief lapse from the late 1980’s to about 1994, Star Wars has always had toys on the shelves.  We rarely, however, see the toys produced for other regions of the globe, particularly Japan.  The popularity of Star Wars is so worldwide, Japanese companies also licensed out the brand to produced their own figures.  Usually they are action figures, just more detailed and intricate.  Sometimes they are Bishoujo statues of female characters from the Expanded Universe.  But sometimes, something uniquely Japanese is produced that still works so well.

Anyone with an interest in the history behind Star Wars knows that Lucas was partly influenced by Japanese culture and Cinema.  The Force had elements of Eastern mysticism, the Jedi had a samurai vibe, Darth Vader’s outfit evoked the stylized armour of Samurai lords and the movie itself was influenced by Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress.  So that is why combining the look for some of the character’s armours and reimagining them as samurai works so well.  That is the basis behind Bandai’s Tamashii Nations Movie Realization Star Wars figures.  This review will be looking at the Onmitsu Shadowtrooper.

“Onmitsu” is a Japanese term meaning spy.  The Shadowtrooper, in Star Wars canon, were specialized Stormtroopers assigned to the Imperial Intelligence for security and espionage.  This figure combine the two, giving us an all black samurai stormtrooper that would scout out ahead to identify threats.  The figure stand about 7 inches tall, made from a sturdy plastic.  The figure is black, with some white wash to accent the design in the helmet and armour.  The figure is well articulated,  with a wide range of motion at the head, shoulders and legs due to ball joints.  The elbows bend at more than 90 degrees  and  the knees are double jointed as well.  The ankles are movable up and down and left to right, but there is not much of an ankle pivot. Lastly, he is articulated at the wrist and can rotate and bend in and out at the joint.  The hands are removable (more on that later).  Overall, he has a good deal of posablity , though ankle pivot and a bicep swivel would improve it.

Whitewash brings out the design on the black plastic.

For accessories, he comes with spare hands, a sword with a sheath, throwing knives and a blaster.  Besides the hands that come on him in box (closed fists) he has several hands with each stile comes for the left and right.  He has hands for holding the pistol, with the finger on the trigger; a set of holding hands for the sword; a set of more open hands for holding the blaster at the barrel or even the sheath; and, a set of holding hands for the small throwing knives.  The sword, which I believe is a wakizashi, has a silver blade and guard, with a black hilt with a silver pommel.  The sheath is flat black with no distinguishing marks.  The blaster combines the look of the standard Imperial blaster with the look of a flintlock pistol, with a movable handle.  It is done in a gun metal grey and black paint scheme.  Finally, the throwing knives (kunai, if I am not mistaken) are  done in a slightly shiny black, with a purpleish handle.  Out of the accessories, the blaster is the best part.

The wakizashi can go into the sheath and the sheath can go on the belt.
The blaster is nicely done
Hands are interchangeable so the figure can hold different accessories

The figure is well designed and is sturdy.  Too often, import toys see so fragile, with them feeling that they would break even if you just change the accessories that you want to display them with.  Other times, the exchangeable hands tend to fall off easily and get lost.  With the Onmitsu Shadowtrooper, you don’t get that feeling.  The hands stay on the peg and you can turn them and put in accessories without it falling off.  You can pose this figure without fear of breaking it, unless you try to move a joint in a direction it was not meant to go and force it real hard.

You can fit in the accessories without the hands falling off.
The tighter gripping hand is meant for the kunai knives

Scale wise, if you have any of the Star Wars Black 6 inch scale figures, the Onmitsu Stormtrooper would tower over them.  Sure, Leia says that they are tall, but not that tall!  They are definitely bigger that some, if not all S.H. Figurarts figures, which are also made by Bandai.  IT would go good with other 7 inch figures, such as some of NECA’s s stuff like Aliens or even Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics.  For theme-wise, I’d place them with the Aliens.

The figure is large compared to those in the Black Series
Comparison with the S.H. Figurarts Injustice Harley Quinn, also by Bandai
Next to Mezco One:12 Suicide Squad Harley Quinn

This is a great albeit pricy figure.  This is the cheapest one, running at about $99 Canadian, with some online sites having it on sale for around $94.  Other figures in this line run about $110.00, with aftermarket prices higher for older figures.  They can be found at some comic game and hobby shops around the world.  In Canada, they are available at EB Games/EBX, with assortment and availability varying by store.

Who has the power?

I hope you enjoyed my review.  I hope to do more reviews on toys, games, movies and anime in the near future.

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received anything from Bandai, Lucasfilm, Disney, EB Games, or any person, group or the Empire for this review  This item was purchased by me with my own funds.  All opinions are mine and any pictures were taken by me for review purposes.

Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty- March 2017 – Star Wars Rebels

Just when I think I am out, they pull me back in.  Funko got around to doing a box based around the popular Star Wars: Rebels cartoon.  I could not pull out of the sub if there was a chance to get some cool merch with my second favorite Mandalorian on it (Sabine Wren), so I let it go for another round.  Will it be worth it?  Let’s see.

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The box has the Star Wars Rebels logo and a pop style Ezra on it.  Other than that, the box is the same one we’ve come to know and love.  Next!

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Under the lid we see this month’s pin and patch.  The patch is of Zeb Orrelios, the Lasat honour guard who is the team’s muscle.  His look was based on the Ralph McQuarrie sketches for Chewbacca.  The pin is of Sabine Wren (yes!), or, at least, her helmet.  Both are pretty decent.

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Next is the shirt, featuring the main Rebels cast in Pop form.  The blue and orange in the picture looks good on the black shirt.  There are no variants for this month’s shirt.

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Next is a Hikari of the Ghost’s resident droid, Chopper.  This is supposed to be a Hiraki Mini, but it is larger than my Darth Vader one from months back.  It stinks as well.  I mean there is a strong plastic smell.  There are five colours variations that you can get (red, orange, silver, black or white.)  I am still not a big fan of these figures.

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Finally we get to the Pops.  We get two.  One is Darth Maul, who has recently been featured on the show.  He was reveled to be alive on the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon. with a robotic lower half.  The other is another holdout form The Clone Wars:  Captain Rex, one of Kenobi’s and Anakin’s trusted clone troopers.  Now aged and grizzled and on the run from the Empire, he also helps the Rebels.  Though both are on the series, I am disappointed we did not get one of the main characters, they are still cool looking Pops.

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So that was the Rebels box.  I am kind of disappointed by it, as there is no Sabine pop and I don’t like the Hikari Minis.  Still what we got was good so, it just the was it goes.  Maybe a future Mandalorian Box will get me the unique Sabine Pop I want to pair with my Boba Fett.

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The next Smuggler’s Bounty box will ship in May 2017.  May’s theme is Star Wars 4o0 anniversary. You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Empire Strikes Back box is 15 May 2017.

 

 

Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty- Jan 2017- The Empire Strikes Back

Finally, the next Smuggler’s Bounty box has arrived.  Funko decided to base this month’s theme on one of the better, if not best of the Star Wars movies, Empire Strikes Back.  Lets see how they decided to celebrate one of the most exciting chapters in the Star Wars saga..

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First off, this box is huge.  It is definitely the largest of the boxes so far.  Besides the size, the only noticeable difference is the image of Luke in his Dagobah fatigues.  Other than that, it is the standard box.

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Opening it up you see the standard patch and pin.  The patch is of Yoda with Empire Strikes Back written on the side.   The pin features Lando Calrissian, though, if you look at it at a certain angle, you would swear it’s a pin of Lionel Ritche.  I can’t be the only one, right?

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Beneath the flap, we find another little Star Wars plushie.  This time, we get a Wampa, the creature thar captured Luke on Hoth.  It is very cute and has nice soft fake fur.  Including the Boba Fett one from a half a year back, I now have two from this line.

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Funko has given us hats and shirts so what other clothing items will they branch into?  How about socks?  Yes, we get a pair of Pop! Socks, with a Star Wars theme, featuring Pop heads of Darth Vader and Storm Troopers..  They fit me fine (size 10 1/2 feet) and are mostly polyester.

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Last is the much hyped Han on a TaunTaun.  This was revealed at least a far back as November and it looks fantastic.  Han is wearing a brown coat (which I thought was blue; even my action figure of him had a blue coat) but obviously, Funko falls into the brown camp.  It doesn’t bother me but I’d hate to start a debate like the blue and gold/white and gold dress from the internet last year.  Anyways, the Han Soo Pop is not removable from the TaunTaun, but it comes with a large base with pegs to plug into the Tauntaun’s feet.  Finally, the Han figure is a bobble head, but the Tauntaun isn’t.

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It’s brown! It’s blue!  WHO CARES!

This newest box may seem a bit light, but it is still a good value.  The deluxe Pop definitely is of the most value and is the best part of the box.  The socks are nice and I could always use more (they get lost so easily.)  The plushie is nice.  I’d give it to my dog, but he’d destroy it in seconds.

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The next Smuggler’s Bounty box will ship in March 2017.  January’s theme is Star Wars Rebels, the current animated show on Disney XD.  The Smuggler’s Bounty page promises an exclusive Darth Maul Pop! bobble head in that box..  You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Empire Strikes Back box is 15 March, 2016.

I hope you enjoyed this review.  Excuse me as I look for my Lando pin.  I seem to have misplaced it.

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Hello?. Is it me you’re looking for?

 

Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty – Rogue One (Nov 2016)

The next Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty subscription box is out now.  This month’s theme is the upcoming movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  The movie tells the story of a group of Rebels who set out to steal the plans for the Death Star before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope (the original movie).  Will this box help to build the excitement for the movie?

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The box have the same over all look as the other boxes we’ve gotten.  This month has the title Star Wars: Rogue One on the top flap, with a picture of a storm trooper variant of some kind.  While not as large as some of the last boxes, it is a bit longer than a standard box.

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Opening it up, we see the pin and patch for this box.  They are of… characters from Rogue One I guess.  The pin is of a droid (K-250) that has been featured in some of the Rogue One trailers.  He is an enforcer droid, so he’ll be doing more than C-3po has even done.  The patch is of Cassian Andor as best I can tell.  I think the likeness is a bit off.  It looks like David Tennant in a beard (David Tennant is NOT in Rogue One) than whoever plays Cassian.

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We also get a shirt.  Seen above is the image on the shirt, with the characters from Rogue One done in the Funko Pop style.  It s cool shirt and I’m sure I’ll like it more after I know more about the characters.  Most of what I’ve read or seen have been focused on Jyn Erso.  The image of Darth Vader’s helmet reminds me of Darth Stewie from the Family Guy parodies.

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We also get a special collectible vinyl this month.  It is from the min-Hikari line of Japanese style vinyl figures.  Darth Vader came in 5 different colours randomly inserted in the box.  There is black, while, gold blue or red (seen above).  The paint is also a bit sparkly.  It is different but I probably won’t actively seek out more.

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Finally, we get two Pop vinyls this time.  One is the Imperial Death Trooper, the fierce new flavor of Storm Trooper featured in the movie.  We als get a vinyl of main heroine Jyn Erso, in a helmet and poncho outfit echoing the rebel outfits on Endor,  Both a new to the line so they definitely would be new to your Pop collection and they look good.

This was a good box.  Great on value if a little light on content.  Like the Force Awakens box from last year, we are going on hype whether or not the movie will be any good.  There hasn’t been as longa as a build up for Rogue One than Force Awakens, and there is no new bad guys to hype (we get some Imperial dressed in white and Darth Vader is kicking around.  We got Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso) and she’s hot and the promise of delving into the history of the Star Wears universe.  I have high hopes ans so far I haven’t seen a Jar Jar or equivalent in the trailer.

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The next Smuggler’s Bounty box will ship in January 2017.  January’s theme is The Empire Strikes Back, the second Star Wars movie released.  The ad above promises an exclusive Han Solo on a Tauntaun in every box.  You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Empire Strikes Back box is 15 January, 2016.  May the Force be with you!

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Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty- Death Star (September 2016)

Once again, Funko has released the next installment of its Smuggler’s Bounty subscription box.  This month’s theme is the original bad-ass killer space station, the Death Star.  Will the contents live up to this reputation?  Let’s see.

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The box is what we have come to expect from the line, with its black, white and red colour scheme.  Darth Vader is the featured character  on the box since his memorable duel with Obi-Wan was on the Darth Star.  Maybe we’ll get a new Vader pop to go with the Obi-Wan from a few boxes back?

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Inside the box, we get our standard pin and patch .  We get an awesome Darth Vader patch and an original storm trooper pin.  Both look good and fit in the them of the box..  Nothing surprising, but not disappointing.

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Next is the T-shirt.  After two month of non-pop themed shirts and a hat last box, it is nice to get a shirt with Funko-ized characters.  As you can see it features Vader and Kenobi facing off in a theme designed to look like an old boxing match announcement.  I like the “Battle on the Death Star” announcement.  This has to be my favorite shirt (that I got) thus far.  I doesn’t look like there are variants this month so everyone who got the box will have this one.

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We also get a luggage tag.  It is Death Star shaped with a tag to write you address showing on the back.  It is kind of cool, though it would not go well with most of my luggage I take while travelling.

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And, finally, we get to the Pop vinyls.  As expected, we do get a Darth Vader as well as a Grand Moff Tarkin, who was in overall command of the first Death Star.  Vader is in a new pose, with his light saber lowered and his left hand stretched out, perhaps doing a force choke.  Tarkin (or as I like to call him, The Moff) is standing at ease, with his hands behind his back. The card included with the box noted that the Moff has a unique head sculpt, with sunken cheeks to have him look more like the character.  Both of them are great additions to my collection.

Overall a pretty solid box.  It was like on the extras but it delivered us two solid Pops so it balances out.  It can’t all be Jabba-sized boxes, right.  The shirt is what made the box for me.  Funko has kept my interest with this subscription and I hope they continue to do so.

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Smuggler’s Bounty will ship again this November.  The next box will be based on the upcoming Star Wars film, Rogue One and features a specialized Storm Trooper of some sort on the box.  You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Rogue One box is 15 November, 2016.  May the Force be with you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty- Jabba’s Palace Box (July 2016)

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Funko has sent out the next Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty box earlier this month.  July’s theme for the box is Jabba’s Palace and, befitting to such a…large character, this month’s box is the largest in size so far.  But does the content inside constitute a large haul this month?  Let’s take a look.

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As we open the box, we see the standard pin and patch we get with all of Funko’s subscription boxes.  Keeping with the Jabba’s palace theme, the pin is of a Gamorean Guard, the green pig-like men that guard the palace, and the patch is of the bounty hunter, Boussh, who turned out to be Leia in disguise.  The character for the pin is fitting, but you’d think Bib Fortuna, Jabba’s majordomo, would be a better pick for the face of Jabba’s Palace, but Boushh does look cooler.

This month’s box comes with a card (which I’ll show at the end, as not to spoil the reveals) that shows the concept art and the planning of the various objects in this month’s box.  This month is the premier of two new items that will launch some new product lines from Funko.  The first is…

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….Funko’s Pop Plush!  Boba Fett here is the first of a line of licensed plushes done in the Pop style. I believe Funko may have done something similar in the past (called Fabrikations) but this have more of a “Beanie Baby” feel to them and are (probably) smaller.  Still, two Boba Fett items two months in a row?  I call that a win.

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The next item is Funko Pop Tops, a line of hats.  Taking the place of the T-Shirt this month, we get this back and yellow hat with a picture of a Funko C-3PO head with “Programmed For Etiquette”, you know, since 3PO is a protocol droid and can serve as a translator.  The hat is adjustable and made well.  It is a good change from a T-shirt, but I hope it is just a once in a while thing.

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You can’t have a Jabba’s Palace box without something with Jabba’s slimy mug on it, there’s a Jabba mug (see what I did there?)  We already got a mug in the second box (The Resistance Box) of C-3PO, so another mug is fine.  This can be used for your morning coffee if you wish, just have it on your desk as a conversation piece on why you have so many Star Wars things on your desk. You might convince someone to sub.  Funko should have some sort of referral plan…

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Of course, it wouldn’t be a Funko box without a new Pop inside.  We get a R2-D2 (Jabba’s Skiff) pop of our favorite astromech serving drinks for the Hutt.  The pop is of a all-new design for R2-D2 and will be reused on future astromech Pops.  For those who already have an R2, this might be underwhelming, but for those who don’t have one yet, this would do nicely.

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Martini, shaken, not stirred.

So that is this months box.  I can honestly say, I am not disappointed in this one.  The new products are great and it is nice to get those special items in this subscription.  The aforementioned card tells a bit about each item.  There are no variants in this month’s  box,  so no one got a cooler hat than you this month.

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Smuggler’s bounty will ship again this September with the Death Star box.  The insert in this month’s box shows the box with Darth Vader on it.  You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Death Star box is 15 September, 2016.  May the Force be with you!

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Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty: Bounty Hunter Box (May 2016)

Funko has released the May 2016 edition of its Star Wars-themed Smuggler’s Bounty Subscription box. Their newest box celebrate the Bounty Hunters, some of the coolest-looking yet criminally underused characters in the Star Wars movies. Let take a look inside to see what we get this time!

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This month’s box is what we have come to expect from the subscription.  This month, a FUNKO-ized Boba Fett is featured on the box.  Since he is the most recognizable bounty hunter in the Star Wars series, it is appropriate for him to feature on the box.  Who else would they put there?  Bossk?  The Star Wars logo is featured as well, without the “The Force Awakens” subtitle like the last few boxes.  That was a minor nitpick I had with the Cantina box, so it’s good to see that FUNKO is changing things up.

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Under the lid we see our standard club pin and patch, reflecting this month’s theme.  The pin features the reptilian bounty hunter, Bossk, who has all but three seconds of screen time, but was fleshed out in the books and in the Clone Wars cartoon.  The patch is rightly everyone’s favorite clone son of Jango Fett, Boba Fett.  There is even the Mandalore symbol on the patch too.  I’d like to see a Mandalore themed box in the future, perhaps with some characters from the Clone Wars cartoon and Sabine Wren from Star Wars: Rebels.

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The next thing is the T-Shirt.  This time we get some awesome art of various bounty hunters from the Star Wars universe, including Boba Fett (of course).  The art features descriptions of the gear and weapons of each of the featured characters.  It is good to see that the shirts will vary in art style from box to box.  While the ones featuring FUNKO-ized characters are good, some straight-up Star Wars T-shirts is nice to have.

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Now for the main draw of this subscription box, the FUNKO Pops!  We get two of them this time and both are extra special.  We get the killer robot, IG-88 and, of course, Boba Fett!  I’m sure there would have been an outcry if one of the Pops weren’t old Boba here, but FUNKO delivered.

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IG-88 is a brand-new Pop created for this subscription.  He (or “It”) had not had a Pop released up until now.  His unique  look will make the figure stand out amongst your other Pop vinyls as his head is much skinnier.  Still, the sculpt captures the look of the character perfectly.

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Boba is unique too as his stand is built in to the sculpt.  He is in a launching pose, with the fire and exhaust from his jet pack serving as the stand for the figure.  This is a perfect pose for the character, as it shows how awesome the character could be, if only he wasn’t defeated so easily in Return of the Jedi.

This has been my favourite box so far in the Smuggler’s Bounty subscription.  The Bounty Hunters looked awesome to me as a kid and Boba Fett is my all-time favorite, if only for the fact he was a mail-in figure I got as a kid and the comics and books I’ve read and the games I played with him make him seem like a bad-ass.  There was not little item like a pen or lanyard this time around, but the overall awesomeness of this month’s offering made up for it.

Smuggler’s bounty will ship again in July with the Jabba’s Palace box.  You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for July’s box is 15 July, 2016.  May the Force be with you!

Subscription Box Review: Star Wars: Smuggler’s Bounty: Cantina (March 2016)

FUNKO has released the newest installment of the Smuggler’s Bounty Subscription Box.  This installment’s theme is the Cantina, the space bar in the “most wretched hive of scum and villainy” of Mos Eisley,  from the original Star Wars movie.  Here is a run down of all the Star Wars goodies you will get in this box.

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The Cantina box

The box itself is the standard Smuggler’s Bounty Box that we’ve gotten so far.  This time the box features Greedo ,who is best known for his confrontation with, and untimely demise at the hands of Han Solo.  The box still says “The Force Awakens,” even though Greedo (or anyone like him) doesn’t appear in that movie.  That’s okay because I remember as a kid, they’d reissue old figures from the previous movies on a card with the newer movie’s logo.  So, precedence?

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As with all of the FUNKO subscription boxes, you get a pin and a patch matching that box’s theme.  We get a patch, featuring cover alien (and murder victim) Greedo  and a small picture of Mos Eisley.  The pin features and alien the Cantina  band, known  by Star Wars die-hards as Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes.  Also note the message on the top has been changed, no longer saying this is you first share.  It’s a minor thing, but shows attention to detail.

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Next in the box is a pen.  FUNKO has a line of pens featuring Funko-ized characters from their various licensed properties.  As you can see in the picture, we get a Chewbacca pen, with a little Chewbacca Funko Pop! at the end.  The mini-POP is not (easily) removable, at least without destroying the pen.  I like this better than the lanyard we got in the first box.  I actually have use for a pen.

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Next is the shirt.  There are four shirts going around featuring Imperial wanted posters for various smugglers.  The best of these (in my opinion) is the Han Solo one, because is the most recognizable.  Other’s include, Ponda Baba, a.k.a the Walrus Mna, a.k.a. the alien that Kenobi crippled in the cantina, a Hammerhead alien (Ithorian, according to the Star Wars wiki) and Muftak, a Talz pickpocket and burglar.  As the picture shows, I got Muftak.  All the shirts are black  with each design having a different colour.

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Now for the real prize of this box, the POP! bobble heads.  We get two this time and we did see them in the cantina in Episode 4.  First is Ben Kenobi (using the name he used while hiding from the Empire because, apparently, “Kenobi” is the Star Wars equivalent of “Smith.”)  He is different from the previous release of Kenobi, with the light-sabre at the ready.  The second POP! is called Red Snaggletooth, referencing both the character in the movie (you see him reach up and get a drink at the bar) and the characters toy in the Kenner toy line.  There were two versions of Snaggletooth:  The first was in a blue version of its outfit and was as tall as the human characters, which was inaccurate.  They released a corrected version in the next wave, shorter and in a screen accurate red outfit.  Whether or not there are subscribers who got a Blue Snaggletooth, or FUNKO plans to release a blue version, I don’t know.

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So this was a good box in my opinion.  I like the shirt and that they didn’t make the characters look like their POP version.  Those shirts are good, but it’s nice to know that they won’t all be like that.  I can see me using the pen (at home because I don’t want to lose it)  and the POPs are displayed with the rest of the POPS my wife and I have.

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The Smuggler’s Bounty subscription page is www.smugglersbounty.com.  You can still order the three boxes already released or sign up to get the next one, scheduled for May 2016.  The next theme is Bounty Hunters, so chances are , there will be at least something with Boba Fett on it.  Deadline to subscribe is May 15, 2016

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Subscription Box Review: Star Wars: Smuggler’s Bounty: The Resistance (Jan 2016)

With the launch of the Smuggler’s Bounty bi-monthly subscription last November (see review here), Funko’s Star Wars themed subscription got off to a good start. Each box promises to have a theme based on the movies and characters in the Star Wars universe. The initial box was based on the First Order, the evil faction in the then still unreleased Star Wars The Force Awakens. It was a good choice, helping to ramp up excitement for the new movies and showcasing characters who we knew little about, but still looked cool. You can’t go wrong with a shiny chrome storm trooper. January’s box focuses on the Resistance, the successor to the Rebel Alliance . How does this box compare to the other one? Let’s find out.

 

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Smuggler’s Bounty Jan 16 Box

Like in the first box, the art on the box features a character from this month’s theme. We get BB-8, the little ball droid from the new movie featured on the box. Other than that, the box is the same as last time.

 

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This month’s patch and pin

Opening the box, you see this boxes collector patch and pin. The patch is of BB-8 to match the box (like November’s box with Kylo Ren) and the pin features a Resistance pilot. There are nice enough and complement that last set well The flap features the same tag line as November’s box, “Behold Your First Share of Smuggler’s Bounty.” Now, since the this is the second share and the boxes are different, it is strange that they did not change that. It is minor since I will eventually recycle this box, but it would have been nice.

 

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T-Shirt with Poe, Rey, Fin, Han , Chewie and BB-8

Opening that flap will reveal the rest of the goodies. The T-shirt features not one but six characters (counting BB-8), showcasing the heroes of the new movie. There is Poe Dameron, Finn, Rey, Han, Chewie and BB-8. The Millennium Falcon and a X-Wing are also featured. The T-Shirt designs are the same, but there are four colours.. I got a dark blue one; one You Tube blogger got a gray shirt.. But the art is cute, in the Funko style and is a great T-Shirt.

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It would not be a Funko box without a Funko Pop! bobble head and we got a special one. The Pop! is of Chewbacca and he is flocked. It has a velvety feel to him and is really cute. The box has a sticker stating that Chewie is a Smuggler’s Bounty exclusive. I guess it means the flocked version. He is definitely going on display with my Phasma and Tie Pilot from the first box and my Rey Pop! Bobble head.

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Chewbacca looks very cute in Pop! vinyl form.

 

 

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Azrael likes characters that are as hairy as he is.

 

 

Lastly, this month we get a coffee mug. It is a Funko Pop! Home C-3PO head 12 oz. coffee mug. It has a large mouth and can fit a fair bit of coffee in it. It is yellow, not gold, but that’s okay, and it has a red handle, referencing the new movie. I had hear a few people got broken mugs so be careful. It is ceramic and will break if mishandled. I have had no issues with mine and use it for my weekend coffee.

C-3PO.  You might not recognize him with the red handle.
C-3PO. You might not recognize him with the red handle.

This month box is a good second outing for the Smuggler’s Bounty line. I will use all the items on the box (save the pin and patch, but like the Pop! itself, is more for displaying than wearing) and I feel I got my money’s worth. The new box will ship mid March and the theme will be The Cantina (Greedo features prominently on the box.) We will see if the line can still deliver an enjoyable box without there being a new movie to draw inspiration from. At least until Star Wars Rogue One in December.

See www.smuggelrsbounty.com for subscription details. Deadline to subscribe in time for the Cantina box is 15 March 2016.

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Star Wars The Force Awakens

Star Wars fans have had a rough go for the past 15 years. The Prequel Trilogy was over all a disappointment to the fans. The Phantom Menace put many off Star Wars with the whiny kid Anakin, trade blockades, Jar Jar Binks and Darth Maul, a villain that seemed so bad assed and poised to be the face of evil for the films, barely gets used and dies at the end of the movie. The next two movies were better, but fell short of redeeming the series. It would take a CGI animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (not to be confused with the Clone Wars mini cartoons that aired in the years between Eps 2 and 3) to get Star Wars back on track and make us like the Force again. They even tried to make Jar Jar likable but they are not miracle workers. The Clone Wars make Star Wars cool to a new generation. But there was a disturbance in that Force when Disney bought Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise. A million voices cried out when they cancelled Clone Wars. They started a new cartoon, Star Wars: Rebels, which some see as inferior to The Clone Wars (they’re wrong, by the way. It gets good.) And they announced a new movie, the first live action Star Wars film in over 10 Years, continuing the story from after Return of the Jedi. 30 years of stories, from novels to video games to comic books are suddenly non-canon to give the writers a blank slate to craft the next saga of the Star Wars universe.

Of course with a movie like this, built up in the minds of fans for over 30 years. Much like the Prequel Trilogy, the new trilogy will have a hard time meeting the fans expectations. The post-Jedi novels had Han and Leia marry and have three kids. A New Republic takes over in place of the Empire. Imperial factions consolidate in the outer reaches of their territory. Dark Jedi emerge from hiding in the Outer Rim. Finally Luke Skywalker establishes a new Jedi Temple and begins to train the next generation of Jedi alongside his wife, Mara Jade, and son. All of this, and much, much more, have been cast aside as the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, establishes a new history for the Republic and the Empire.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is Episode 7 of the Star Wars series and the first of a new Trilogy, set thirty years after the events of Episode 6: Return of the Jedi. The movie mostly follows the story of two characters; Finn (John Boyega), a storm trooper in the First Order (the reformed Empire) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) a human female living as a scavenger on the war scarred planet of Jakku. When Finn starts to question the methods of the First Order he decides to escape. Freeing a Resistance pilot who was captured on Jakku, Poe Dameron, they set out to escape the Star Destoyer. Instead of leaving the star system, Poe intended to return to Jakku to pick up his droid, BB-8, who holds a partial map to the location of Luke Skywalker, which the First Orderand one of its generals, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) seek. They escape, but crash land on Jakku and Finn is separated from Poe. Meanwhile, Rey rescued the BB-8 Droid form a scavenger and allows it to follow her to the nearest town to await its master’s return. When Finn reaches the same town, he see Rey being attacked by the local thugs and moves in to help. Rey defeats the attackers on her own and chases Finn down as BB-8 identified the jacket he is wearing and belonging to its master. Finn lies and says that he is Resistance and agrees to help Rey return the BB-8 to the Resistance. With the First Order hot on their trail, they quickly look for a spaceship to escape in. Settling on a abandoned Corellian YT-1300 light space freighter (look it up,) they took out several Tie Fighters and escaped into hyperspace. Fortunately for them, the ship’s old owner was looking for that ship…

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Rey, Finn and BB-8 run as the First Order close in.

The movie continues on re-introducing the viewers to key concepts like the Jedi, the Republic and the Empire. Familiar faces from the original trilogy pop up, too. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know that our heroes encounter Han Solo and Chewbacca. You also see Leia Organa, now called General, as she leads the Resistance against the Frist Order. Kylo Ren is also given screen time as you learn his motivation for finding Luke and why he reveres Darth Vader so much. You also get to glimpse the real power behind the First Order, the Supreme Leader Snoke, a scarred alien of unknown origin who leads the First Order and the Knights of Ren. Much like with the Emperor, we do not see much of him, but he has a larger role in this film than the Emperor had in his first appearance, The Empire Strikes Back. And, of course, you see one of the main characters begin the journey to becoming a Jedi that will play out over the new few films.

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Kylo Ren fills in the position left vacant by Darth Vader: Resident Bad Ass

 

I really liked the movie. I do not want to post spoilers or anything, but I felt that Finn and Rey are likable characters that can carry the new trilogy. Kylo Ren and the First Order are great antagonist and seem far more competent and fanatical than the Empire was. Kylo is a menacing enough villain for the movie, but he is much less so menacing and a bit more whiny when the helmet comes off (maybe it’s genetic?). He is more emotional when disappointed than Darth Vader ever was, but he is a lot less homicidal than Vader, thrashing a console rather than killing the lackey who brought him the bad news. Like all the new blood in this series, he has time to develop into a more menacing character, as Rey and Finn become more competent heroes.

I can truthfully say that I am not disappointed with this film. It is a great Star Wars film. Star Wars fans who can let go of their hate and the Expanded Universe continuity will enjoy this return to a galaxy far, far away. J.J Abrams did a great job capturing the spirit of the original trilogy and moving the series forward. Truthfully I had concerns over his involvement in this film (and not just because of his overuse of lens flare), with his Star Trek reboot, while pretty good, had some (what I consider) chronological and logical errors that detracted from my enjoyment (asked me about my nu-Star Trek/Muppet Babies argument, in which I compare Kirk and Chekov to Baby Kermit and tadpole nephew Robin. And, honestly, I am not a Trekkie). With the new Star Wars Trilogy being a continuation rather than a reboot, there shouldn’t be any rewrites to already established (i.e. in the movies) continuity. And best of all, there is no Jar Jar Binks, and that should be enough to get Star Wars fans excited again.

 

5/5. Because I like Star Wars.