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.

Subscription Box Review- Star Wars: Smuggler’s Bounty

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Subscription boxes have been very popular these past years.  Companies like Geek Fuel, Loot Crate and NerdBlox have been selling boxes full of pop culture items, collectables and t-shirts for a reasonable monthly price.  Quite often, these boxes feature items from Funko, a company known for it’s line of collectable vinyl figures.  Funko has its own line of boxes, one being a Marvel Comic subscriptions themed one and the other features Star Wars.

Called Smuggler’s Bounty, it is a bi-monthly (every two months) subscription box that promises to have a exclusive t-shirt, Funko pop vinyl and items unique to the line.  They promise that the subscription is 100% exclusive with “no fluff, no filler.”  Let’s take a look at the box to see if that is true

Open the lid!
Open the lid!

Like the Marvel Collector Corps box, you get a special patch and pin revolving around the month’s theme.  This Month’s box is The Force Awakens, though it mainly focuses on the First Order, the successor to the Empire.  So the patch is a Tie-Pilot from the First Order.  The pin is of Kylo Ren, the Sith-wannabe that seems to be the big bad of the new movie.  Both are pretty cool and are definitely unique to the sub.

First Order Tie FIghter pilot patch
First Order Tie FIghter pilot patch
Kylo Ren pin
Kylo Ren pin

Next is a unique T-Shirt featuring a character in the Funko style.  There are 4 different t-shirts that you can get.  There is Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma  a First Order Storm Trooper and a Snow Trooper.  This is the Storm Trooper:

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First Order Storm Trooper

 

The next items in the box is a lanyard.  It has picture of various type of  the new Storm Troopers in the Funko style.  What more can you say about a lanyard?  Take a look.

This is it.
This is it.

Sure it is fine.  Sure it is unique.  It just seems like filler in a box that promised no filler.  I’m okay with it, though.

The dog's not impressed, though.
The dog’s not impressed, though.

 

The real feature of this sub are the Funko Pops.  You get two Pop Vinyl bobble heads in this month’s box.  The come in special packaging indicating the are Smuggler’s Bounty exclusives.

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Oooh, shiny!

The Tie Pilot one have two different versions, one with the red stripes on the helmet, or one without.  How rare one or the other is, I do not know.  The difference is purely cosmetic with the box art reflecting the version you get.

 

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Tie Pilot

 

The other figure is of Captain Phasma, the shiny storm trooper squad leader(?) played by Gwendoline Christie.  The figure is made of a shiny plastic to better resemble her in the movie.  There has been some bloggers that had a defective figure with parts falling off, but I had no issues.

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Very shiny

The subscription box cast $25 US every two months.  I do think it is a good deal if you’re a Star Wars fan.  My excitement for the box was partially fueled by the upcoming movie.  Whether or not I will feel the same after December 18, only time will tell

Smuggler’s Bounty’s next box will ship end of January.  The next theme is The Resistance  and there are taking orders until 1r January 2016.  There are bi monthly subscription (pay for each box as they come out, cancel anytime) or a 12 Box commitment (pay now, get the box for the next two years!).  Check out https://www.smugglersbounty.com/ for details.

PS4 Review: Disney Infinity 3.0- Star Wars Saga pack

Disney Infinity 3.0
Disney Infinity 3.0

Disney Infinity is an open world/sandbox action-adventure game developed with Avalanche Studios and published by Disney Interactive.  It is a sequel to the original Disney Infinity game and Disney Infinity 2.0. The game is available on multiple platforms  including PC and iOS devices.  Like the other two, it required the purchase of figurines and “Play Sets” to gain more characters and levels..  I am reviewing the PS4 Saga Starter Bundle, which included the game, the Twilight of the Republic and Rise of the Empire playsets and a exclusive Boba Fett figurine.

Twilight of the Republic follows the Clone Wars cartoon.
Twilight of the Republic follows the Clone Wars cartoon.
Boba Fett takes on all comers!
Boba Fett takes on all comers!
Rise of the Empire tells a very abridged version of the Original Trilogy
Rise of the Empire tells a very abridged version of the Original Trilogy

The basic game has been improved from 2.0.  The game starts with several quick scenes from the various properties (Star Wars, Inside Out and a racer starring Mickey Mouse) and leads into the new and improved Toy Box Hub.  Here you can  use any Infinity character to go through tutorials and challenges such as racing, platforming combat and, how to use your sidekick.  Sidekicks are AI characters that follow you around and help out in combat.  You can use them to get to certain areas or you can equip them with weapons and items that grants them abilities to hep you, such as healing or invisibility.

Side kicks can help you in you Hub and your Toy Box adventures
Side kicks can help you in you Hub and your Toy Box adventures

Once you open up all the areas in the Hub, you can go back and play different challenges.  The Hub doesn’t stay quiet those as enemies send to spawn and come out of the combat zone, attacking the townsfolk.  Occasionally, a Star Destroyer will appear and you will have to get in a X-wing and destroy a wave of TIE Fighters.  You also can build your own personal space called an INterior, decorating it with various picture and items you’ve unlocked.

You can create a home  in the Hub called the INterior.
You can create a home in the Hub called the INterior.
Sometimes you will need to take to the skies in an X-wing to defend the Hub from the Empire
Sometimes you will need to take to the skies in an X-wing to defend the Hub from the Empire

The Playset work the same as the last two games,  Old playsets do not work on the new game and only characters the setting of the playset will work wit them.  Only Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan and Yoda will work with the Twilight of the Republic set and only Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie work in the Rise of the Empire.  Cross over coins are back, allowing other Star Wars characters play in those levels, but, unlike last time, all characters in the franchise can play in either Playset as long as you find their particular cross over coin (Boba Fett’s is located by the Saarlac in both playsets, by the way.).

You will need to find her cross over coin to allow Sabine Wren to play in either Star Wars playset
You will need to find her cross over coin to allow Sabine Wren to play in either Star Wars playset

There are additions playsets as well.  In addition to the Inside Out set currently and the Force Unleashed set coming out in December, there is something called the Toy Box takeover playset, where Syndrome (from the Incredibles) stealing Mickey’s magic wand and taking over the Magic Kingdom.  Every character is playable in this Toy Box as you fight bad guys from the various properties, including Marvel and Star Wars.  There is also a Toy Box Racer and a 4 player Marvel Battle Arena coming out later.

Boba Fett vs. Pirates in the Caribbean.
Boba Fett vs. Pirates in the Caribbean.

Of course, there is the Toy Box itself, an sandbox in which you can create your own level.  Community created content is back and toy boxes created in previous versions and uploaded can be re-downloaded again.  You can create levels that allow any character or ones that only a specific one  There is tons of levels available and once you unlock different building sets with blue sparks earned in game

Some user created levels are for specific characters.
Some user created levels are for specific characters.

All previous Disney Infinity characters are playable in the Toy Box.  With the exception of all the Star Wars characters (who are unlockable, if not immediately playable in/ both sets) and the Inside Out characters in their set, all the new figure are only usable in the Toy Box or Toy Box Takeover.  I would have like to see a Playset for the Star Wars Rebels characters or one for Tron 3.0, but I’ll have to settle for ones created in the Toy Box

Boba Fett!
Boba Fett!

Disney Infinity 3.0 is a definite step in the right direction.  Having more to do in the Toy Box lets players use their favorite character, even if they are from different properties (which would be great for kids)  The Toy Box takeover was good idea, but I feel it should have been built into the game  With LEGO Dimensions promising (and delivering) crossover between various brands, 3.0 seems a bit lacking, but still offers a decent, all-ages Star Wars experience to tide you over until Episode 7.  Or Star Wars Battlefront, at least

4/5

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Disney Infinity 3.0_20150830192808
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Let it go.

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