Monday 10 June 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Ahsoka Tano

Release Date: Early 2016
RRP: £20/$20

Dave Filoni's additions to the Star Wars mythos through both the Clone Wars and Rebels series have been vast, but of all the characters those series have introduced one arguably stands out as the most significant. Introduced in the very first Star Wars: The Clone Wars "movie" as Anakin Skywalker's new Padawan, Ahsoka Tano battled through the Clone Wars before eventually leaving the Jedi Order and surviving Order 66. Following that she become an informant for the Rebellion under the alias Fulcrum, battling against her former master as Darth Vader and eventually witnessing the fall of the Galactic Empire. With that kind of legacy, it's no surprise Hasbro eventually chose her to become part of the Black Series line. Though rather than go for her more iconic Clone Wars appearance, the first 6" Star Wars Black Series Ahsoka Tano figure is based off her older Rebels look.

Ahsoka comes packaged in the same black and red packaging as the rest of the current range of Black Series figures, released as the 20th figure in the line. The front of the packaging sports a nice big transparent window to show off the figure, complimented by some fantastic art of Rebels-era Ahsoka in the bottom corner. Said art is also featured on the back of the box, where it also sits alongside a brief character bio printed in a number of different languages. Inside the figure is stored on a moulded plastic tray, alongside both of his accessories.

Just like Kanan and the rest of the Rebels figures released thus far, the Black Series attempts to give Ahsoka a more realistic-look so that it can sit comfortably with all of the live-action movie characters released in the line. However even though there's already a live-action Togruta in the Star Wars canon for the sculptors to take inspiration from, the sculpt is still visibly Ahsoka even if some liberties were taking in the translation. At this point in time Ahsoka's lost most of her upbeat wit and demeanour, so the stoic facial expression is pretty fitting. The overall sculpt is a great translation of Ahsoka's animation model, but interestingly changes the skirt from grey to brown to presumably fit better with the overall colour scheme. As well as some nicely sculpted details for the fabric and etched hip guards, the figure also features a fabric material skirt to make it a little more varied in terms of textures. However as can often be the case with mass-produced figures like these overall quality can be a little varied, and unfortunately my figure has a rather noticeable paint scuff on her right head tail. Annoying, but unlikely a widespread problem.

Articulation-wise Ahsoka features a ball jointed head, swivel hinge shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel hinge wrists, ball jointed torso, ball jointed hips, hinged knees and swivel hinge ankles. Now I say Ahsoka has a ball jointed head but that actually means very little in the grand scheme of things, because thanks to those head tails her head and neck articulation is pretty much non-existent. She can very slightly in all directions, but that's about it. The rest of the articulation is good, albeit not perfect. The swivel hinge elbows are a particular disappointment, given their inability to do much more than a 90 degree bend. But then the same can also be said for the knees, and they're double hinge joints! The fabric skirt doesn't provide too much hindrance to the hips, and the range on the torso is just sublime. The small feet do make balancing a bit tedious at times and the ankle tilt is almost completely nullified by the boot cuffs, but ultimately Ahsoka can pull off some pretty great poses for a figure of this price point. 

Ahsoka comes packaged with her twin lightsabers seen in Rebels, both of which emit a white blade (though in toy form they do have more of a light blue tint) to represent her non-affiliation with the Jedi or the Sith. Both of the sabers have curved hilts, and additionally one of them is also a shoto lightsaber that emits a smaller blade. So not only to you have lightsabers with blade colours completely unique to this figure, but you also have two completely different sized ones as well. Little details like that definitely make what could be rather basic accessories that little bit more exciting. As is the case with all lightsabers released in the line, the blades can also be removed. The hilts can then be stored on the figure itself when not in use, hooking comfortably onto the hooks attached to her thigh armour. While the connection might not as secure as a straight peg, they fit on firmly enough that they aren't likely to constantly drop off and it does make a nice change to the usual way lightsaber hilts attach to belts. The hilts themselves are minimally detailed and mostly done up in silver paint, but there is some detail there just to make sure they aren't completely plain. Most importantly of all they fit comfortably into the figure's hands, ensuring the perfect lightsaber wielding poses.

Though for many the Clone Wars version will always be the definitive version of the character, in her absence this Rebels take on Black Series Ahsoka Tano to plug a rather significant hole in Star Wars collections. Between the (mostly) great articulation, nice variety of materials and unique coloured lightsabers there's plenty to enjoy about this figure - it's just a shame that Hasbro couldn't have figured a way to make the head work just to make that possibility complete. Nevertheless as a firm fan favourite every Star Wars fan needs an Ahsoka, so it's just as well that the only 6" option on the market right now is at least a fairly good one.

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