Friday 31 May 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Kanan Jarrus

Release Date: Early 2016
RRP: £20/$20

If there's one thing the Star Wars franchise has never failed at it's been giving every character, no matter how small or insignificant their role may be, the opportunity to get a toy. And though admittedly Hasbro's Black Series line has been mostly preoccupied with characters from the various films, they haven't shied away from offering collectors something outside of those as well. The cast of Star Wars Rebels being rife for potential in its 6" scale, kicking things off with the Black Series 6" Kanan Jarrus figure. A Jedi Padawan who managed to escape the effects of Order 66, Kanan then joined Hera Syndulla's band of rebels aboard the Ghost – with their team becoming an integral part of the Rebel Alliance's early days.

As part of the "red series" of Star Wars Black Series figures Kanan comes in the same standard black and red packaging as the rest of the current releases in the line, with the front of the box also featuring some excellent artwork of the character alongside the name and Star Wars logo. This art is also repeated on the back of the box, together with a short bio about Kanan printed in a number of different languages. The back and spine also feature Kanan's unique number designation in the "red series" – 19 (the lowest of the Star Wars Rebels characters as he was the first). Inside the figure is stored on a moulded plastic tray, alongside both of his accessories.

Kanan's arrival in the Black Series brought with it a more realistic look for the character to bring it in-line with the rest of the Black Series figures, as opposed to previous toys he'd received which were based directly off of the stylised CGI model. The sculpt was probably received a lot better in 2016 when the figure was first released, but with Hasbro now using new facial scanning technology on their figures it is beginning to show its age in 2019. Of course being based on a cartoon character there isn't proper face to scan in the first place, but Kanan's still has a sort of gormless look to it that only lends itself well to certain poses. It isn't so bad that it feels completely unrecognisable though, and it's more than close enough to Kanan's Rebels look to get the job done. The body has been similarly decked out in a realistic style, taking Kanan's original show look and applying an array of texturing to convey the various fabrics that make up his clothing. The costume is mostly solid colours, but the paint apps on the right shoulder pad look great with its weathered look.

Kanan's articulation is fairly solid too, matching the usual level of quality you'd expect from a standard Black Series figure. Altogether he has a ball-hinge neck, ball-hinge shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel-hinge wrists, ball jointed abdomen, ball-hinge hips, upper leg swivels, double-hinged knees and hinged ankle tilts. As can be the case with mass produced figures like this some of the joints can be stiff at first and need a little forcing (in my case, Kanan's right elbow) but in general all seems to work exactly as it should. All except his neck that is, which is pretty poor all round. The shirt collar makes turning side to side difficult (which isn't great for action posing) and the up/down motion the hinge has is equally limited. It's a shame because the rest of the figure is perfect for posing, but it just goes to show how restrictions in one key area can really hamper the overall effect.

Kanan's accessories include his DL-18 blaster pistol and lightsaber, both of which can be stored on his person when not in use. For the pistol it's just a simple case of slotting it into the holster on the right-hand side, but the lightsaber storage is a little more interesting. Just like in the show itself, the hilt can split into two separate pieces to keep his identity as a Jedi in a post Order-66 world secret. The main body and grip peg into the back of the belt, while the emitter shroud pegs into the front on the left hand side. Both pieces lock into the belt and each other fairly securely, resulting in an accessory that's both functional and show accurate. Naturally the translucent blue blade can also be removed when not in use. Both accessories are moulded in the same gunmetal grey plastic, and are clearly intended for specific hands as the right hand has been moulded with a trigger finger sticking out. Frustratingly said finger doesn't easily fit into its intended place, but at least the soft plastic makes it easy to poke it into place without fear of breakage.

When it comes to the heroes of the Star Wars universe I strangely tend to gravitate towards characters (or costumes) from Clone Wars and Rebels rather than the movies in regards to merchandise, so when I began picking up Black Series figures Kanan Jarrus was one of the first I was hoping to add to my collection. Although the face sculpt doesn't quite match up to some of the newer figures in the line, this is still a very solid release that ticks each box as far as everything else is concerned. With the main cast of Star Wars Rebels looking like it could be completed before the year is out (fingers crossed those deluxe Zeb rumours pan out), be sure to pick Kanan up before he becomes a lot harder to find.

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