Saturday, 16 July 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron Luke Skywalker's X-Wing

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Release Date: July 2022
RRP: $16.99/£17.99

The launch of a new Star Wars toy line is always exciting, particularly when another company is getting on the action to challenge the stranglehold Hasbro has over it. This time it's Jazwares getting in on the action and they've got spaceships in mind - creating the Micro Galaxy Squadron line, a spiritual successor to the Micro Machines Action Fleet range which ruled the roost back in the 1990s. Joining Darth Vader's TIE Advanced as part of the initial launch lineup is Luke Skywalker's X-Wing - one of the most iconic vehicles from the Star Wars universe (perhaps second only to the Millennium Falcon) and an obvious choice to kickstart this brand new range.

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Pushing forward with chunky plastic bubble/cardback packaging that has trays within trays, Jazwares have made sure that it's the toy itself that's the spectacle here rather than the artwork - with both the X-Wing and the minifigures fully on show so buyers can see exactly what they're getting. That certainly isn't to say that the packaging itself isn't interesting though, featuring some fantastic artwork of X-Wings and TIE Fighters battling it out in space as well as an insert card at the front of the bubble telling you exactly what you're getting. The top corner of the backing card also sports a gold "launch edition" sticker - noting these as the line's initial releases. On the back of the card there's some nice blueprint-style artwork of the X-Wing, with the toy's vehicle displayed in the top corner and the other vehicles currently available at the bottom. This is broken down in both the regular releases and the extremely limited edition "chase" variants, which currently include Moff Gideon's TIE Fighter and Luke's X-Wing as it appeared in The Mandalorian. Inside the X-Wing is neatly stored in its own moulded plastic tray, with Luke and R2-D2 housed within a separate tray fitted within that.

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Luke Skywalker's X-Wing is moulded in off-white plastic with accurate red markings along the body and wings, but what really catches the eye is the amazing job Jazwares have done with the weathering on this. The whole ship has been given a brown wash that gives it that perfect dingy look of the Rebel Alliance fighters, as well as getting into all the panelling the mould has to show off just how well-detailed it is. The thrusters at the back are painted black, but done so in a way that they look scorched - with the black slowly fading the further up the cylinders you go. Additional paint apps also come in the form of the grey panel of mechanical detailing at the top, as well as the lining around the cockpit window. Compare that to the TIE Fighters, which (accurate as they may be) are extremely light on the paint apps and detailing. It gives a good indication of exactly what Jazwares are able to pull off at this price point, and while it might not have ALL of the detailing down (there's a fair bit of colouring missing from the front of the cylinders) it's certainly an impressive attempt.

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In terms of features the X-Wing has several moving parts, the most obvious of course being that the wings open into their iconic attack position. To do so simply requires splitting the wings open, with the four of them locking into position nicely. You might think this isn't really worthy of mention since it should be a basic function for ANY X-Wing toy (to which I agree), but having handled at least one in the past that didn't it's good to see that here. In addition to that the X-Wing features retractable landing gear, consisting of two legs at the back of the vehicle and one at the front of the nosecone. These are thick, sturdy pieces of plastic that can hold the ship up without any issues, and all retract quite firmly into their cavities when not in use. Finally the cockpit window can also open up, but much like Vader's TIE Advanced getting the purchase underneath it to lift it up can be a little fiddly. Nevertheless once it's unlocked it swings up a full 90 degrees, giving you a good look at the little bits of moulding added to the cockpit area. Not including some sort of display stand is still a rather significant miss with these toys, but the retractable landing gear definitely makes up for it. Overall the features are rather basic but together make the X-Wing feel like the full package, and I really can't deny how fun it is to swoosh about and open/close the wings.

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The X-Wing comes with two one-inch minifigures - one of Luke Skywalker in the rebel pilot suit and one of R2-D2. Both are amazingly detailed for their size, with Luke sporting a full painted orange jumpsuit with white chest piece/belt/helmet and black gloves/boots. Additional bits of paintwork include the yellow goggles, grey chest piece and red symbols on the helmet - simply represented here as blotches due to the size but nevertheless unforgotten. The Luke minifigure has articulated arms and legs, with each pair of limbs moving as a pair rather than individually. Meanwhile R2-D2 lacks any articulation but certainly isn't any less impressive - complete with a silver dome and blue detailing across the body to get all of the key colouring across even at this small size. Given the size of these figures and the overall price point of the Micro Galaxy Squadron line the detail on these is really impressive, and I can't wait to see how all the other characters from the Star Wars universe turn out as the line gradually expands.

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The R2-D2 minifigure fits into the Astromech droid compartment located just behind the cockpit, with R2 firmly slotting and attaching to a peg at the bottom for security. Since he sits quite deeply inside the ship getting it out again could have been tricky, but Jazwares have gotten around this nicely. The area R2 sits in can be raised simply by pushing the underside of the X-Wing, popping the figure out of place for easy removal. Little touches like that don't just improve the overall quality and playability of the toy - they're just a lot of fun as well. Meanwhile Luke fits into the main cockpit area when placed in a sitting position, with his legs fitting underneath the sculpted control panel. Basically he fits comfortably into his spaceship just as any pilot does, and remains visible through the cockpit window. 

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Whereas the TIE Fighter was a fun but fairly basic introduction to this brand new toy line, the Micro Galaxy Squadron Luke Skywalker's X-Wing does a much better job of showing off what Jazwares are capable of. A fantastic rendition of the iconic spaceship that doesn't skip on any of the detail, with just the right amount of paintwork to show it all off. But while the quality of the ship is good it's the minifigures that really steal your heart - offering a fun gimmick for children while tugging at the heartstrings of collectors nostalgic for the Action Fleet line. The lack of display stands continues to be an unfortunate downside that's hard to overlook, but other than that this line has some real potential. Despite an annoying dedication to "chase" releases and variants, this could be the modern Star Wars vehicle range we've all been waiting for.

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