Saturday 6 April 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Hera Syndulla

Release Date: September 2017
RRP: £20/20

It's proving to be a rather arduous process, but slowly but surely Hasbro seem to be working their way through the cast of Star Wars: Rebels. Though there doesn't seem to be any clear plans for Zeb, at the very least Ezra and Chopper will both be coming out later in the year to round out the main crew. But before then cast your minds back to late 2017, when ace pilot, captain of the Ghost and rebel leader Hera Syndulla was finally added to The Black Series. A Twi'lek and central figure in the beginnings of the Rebel Alliance, Hera is a particularly interesting character in the modern Star Wars canon - with her ship having made a cameo appearance in Rogue One and her being retroactively confirmed (albeit offscreen) to have participated in the battle of Endor during Return of the Jedi.


Hera comes in the standard Black Series black and red packaging, which as far as generic packaging goes is pretty much a win in my books. Simple, elegant and easily shaped for storage - it's fancy enough to catch your eye in a store but no so fancy that you have any qualms about opening it up and actually enjoying the figure inside. The front corner and back of the box sport unique artwork of Hera in the line's semi-realistic style, and the back of the box also has a short character bio in various languages. Inside Hera and her tiny accessory are comfortably stored on a moulded plastic tray.

Though admittedly Hasbro's sculpts when it comes to human characters has improved significantly over time, it seems that they've always had it easier when it came to those "humanoid but quite clearly alien" characters. Even moreso for someone like Hera, who has the luxury of not needing to look like a specific actress but just needs to be a close approximation of her animation model done up in the line's realistic style. And in that respect Hasbro have done a pretty great job here - the default facial expression doesn't really sell Hera's personality very well but that's a complaint you could say about a lot of the figures in the line. The figure also does some great things with moulding and textures to pull off the look of different fabrics, with dark brown parts of the upper half emulating leather nicely while the baggy pants are replicated through a wealth of moulded folds and creases. The outfit is mostly made up of solid colours but the few paint apps there are all done nicely - particularly the face detailing and the faint silver markings on her lekku head-tails. The goggles resting on her forehead are made from a soft plastic, but unfortunately do not come down to fit over her eyes. 

One minor complaint that may just be unique to my copy but still seems worth mentioning is that her back has a rather noticeable black streak across the orange overalls, which is fairly frustrating from a quality control perspective. At least it's in a place that's out of sight, but annoying nonetheless.

Articulation-wise Hera has a ball-hinge neck, ball-hinge shoulders, upper elbow swivels, hinged elbows, wrist swivels, hinge wrists, a waist swivel, ball jointed hips, upper leg swivels, double hinge knees and ball-hinge ankle rockers. While that sounds like an impressive range of motion on paper, in action it does leave quite a lot to be desired as many of the areas are impeded either by the design or just plain old bad QC. The ball joint part of the neck offers very little side to side motion, and what it can manage is quickly impeded by the figure's immovable lekku. Meanwhile the hinge part similarly offers minimal up and down movement. Moving downwards the waist swivel is both stiff and obstructed by the soft plastic section of her overalls, while the wrist hinges have been rendered completely useless by the paint slapped over them. The joint is very clearly there, but good luck getting any movement from them without breaking the hand first. On the upside the whole lower section offers a fantastic range of movement, with those ball-hinge ankle rockers proving especially flexible for more dynamic poses.

Hera's sole accessory is her Blurrg-1120 holdout blaster, which when not in use can be stored comfortably in the holster on her left boot. Obviously the blaster doesn't have all of the colours or paint apps it should but Hasbro have done a pretty good job getting it close enough to how it should look. But the big problem here isn't the size or paint apps of the gun, or even the fact it's Hera's only accessory. The problem here is that she can barely hold the damn this. Despite being moulded in a gripping pose the right hand is useless, and while the left hand is better (not to mention moulded properly complete with a trigger finger) even that struggles to hold the gun with a reasonably tight fit. If there's anything a figure should be able to do above all it's that it should hold its accessories properly, and when its something as small as Hera's gun the risk of it falling out and disappearing is much higher than it should be. Better to just keep the thing in its holster and figure out a decent display pose for Hera without it.

Leia, Rey, Sabine, Ahsoka - these are all great characters but when it comes to the women of Star Wars, Hera is by far and away my favourite of them all. So as you can probably expect I was really looking forward to having this figure in hand. But while I'm ecstatic to finally have her as part of my collection, Star Wars Black Series Hera Syndulla is a pretty average figure at best. The limited head movement, tight joints and minimal accessories are one thing, but the inability to hold her weapon and spotty QC (which admittedly is something that could vary figure to figure) make it difficult to not be somewhat underwhelmed. Still, having another Rebels cast member in the line is far from a bad thing, and at the very least she looks fantastic with the rest of the the Ghost crew.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Unboxing Star Wars Boba Fett Lego Figure