Monday 5 August 2019

Toybox REVIEW: SDCC 2019 Exclusive Star Wars Black Series Boba Fett (Toy Colours)

Release Date: July 2019 
RRP: $27 

San Diego Comic Con 2019 may have come and gone, but the various exclusives released at the event live on as both a reminder and potentially the bane in collectors’ wallets. Being one of the biggest toy lines out there Star Wars has had some pretty good exclusives over the years, and 2019 was no exception. 3.75” Vintage Collection fans had a both special prototype style Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker Jedi Destiny 3-pack to enjoy, while over in the 6” Black Series there was a sneak peek at The Rise of Skywalker with an early look at the Sith Trooper. But along with that was something some collectors have been lusting after for years, a special edition Boba Fett figure decked out in the colours of the original 1979 Kenner figure to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. Despite the colours of the toy eventually being revised the deco has remained a piece of Star Wars history, appearing on various bits of merchandise before finally being immortalised as part of the Black Series.

A special occasion calls for special packaging, as Boba Fett comes carded on oversized packaging that closely mimics that of the original Kenner figure. The old style Star Wars logo border, Kenner logo and explosion-style imagery are all faithfully recreated, along with some new flourishes like a holofoil finish and a 40th anniversary The Empire Strikes Back logo in the top corner. The back of the packaging continues the tribute but mixes things up a bit, replacing the character bio with a little bit of history about the original toy and its unique colouring. It's some really nice packaging but an utter nightmare for people (like me) who like to open their toys, since there's no way of opening it without damaging the plastic bubble. Since the front of the card is fixed over the to of the glue holding the bubble down, you can't simply melt the glue with a hairdryer and hope for the best. So if it feels like part of you might ever regret opening this, it might be worth forking out the extra money for a second one. Honestly if I could have afforded it at the time I probably would have, because as much as I love the toy inside it really does look amazing on that retro-style card. Anyway once you've chosen your way to break into that plastic prison, you'll find the figure and its accessories safely housed in a moulded plastic tray.

This Kenner toy-deco Boba Fett may be a straight repaint of the standard Black Series figure, but that doesn't mean Hasbro haven't gone the extra mile in making this thing look incredible. Before getting into the colours themselves the most obvious difference with this figure is that the shoulder cape has been completely removed from the sculpt, an omission that makes it accurate to the original toy. It would have been nice if Hasbro had taken the opportunity to fill the hole that's left in the shoulder, but at least it's only really visible when viewing the figure from the top down. Moving onto the actual deco this Boba Fett features more solid, pastel colours than its onscreen counterpart - most significantly changing the helmet to aqua blue/grey so that it matches the bounty hunter's undercut. The reds, yellow and greens of the armour sections are also far brighter, with the red and yellow also being used on the arm gauntlets to give Boba a bit more flare. The pouches that hang from the belt are brown as opposed to the suit's blue/grey, and finally the jet pack is a nice mix of blue, silver and red. Sadly there's no launching missile in the jet pack, which would have been a really nice tribute to the original toy if Hasbro could have stretched to the additional tooling. Even the Mandalorian crest on the chest plate has been painted smaller to be a closer approximation to the original. However it's important to note that Hasbro haven't just slavishly copied the old Kenner toy - they've also made a few little alterations to make it fit better with the rest of the Black Series figures. The silver battle damage that adorns Fett's armour remains intact to give the colour scheme more depth, and perhaps most interestingly it isn't in all the same places as it is on the standard figure either. Unfortunately my figure does suffer with a minor QC issue when it comes to said battle damage, as the silver spray seems to have found its way onto the visor as well. A little annoying for a limited edition figure for sure.

All in all though I'm very impressed with this release. It isn't just a great tribute to the original Kenner toy, it's also just a fantastic looking colour scheme in general.

But despite the big difference in looks this figure is still at its core simply a repaint, so the articulation compared to the previous Black Series Boba Fett releases is completely identical. However it's very much a case of "if it isn't broken don't fix it", because Boba comes loaded with a ball hinged neck, and shoulders, right bicep swivel, swivel hinge elbows and wrists, a ball jointed waist, ball jointed hips, thigh swivels, double hinged knees, and swivel hinge ankles. Despite the mould having been rolled out numerous times now there's no obvious signs of degradation, so the joints still all have that satisfying clicky feel as they lock into place. Of course the good still comes with the bad, so if you're hoping to get much forward leg movement out of the figure those pouches are blocking it significantly. Everything else is just as good as ever though, which goes to show that a Boba Fett figure can look great in any pose no matter what colour his armour may be.

As basically just a repaint it’d be fair to assume that this Boba Fett simply comes with the same accessories as the previous releases, but while this is mostly true there has been one surprise thrown in as well. On top of the standard jet pack, Sacross-K-11 blaster pistol and EE-3 carbine rifle (both of which are moulded and unpainted in solid black like the Prototype Armour release), this Boba Fett also comes with an E-11 blaster rifle! Adding an Imperial issue blaster in with a bounty hunter might seem odd, but the original figure featured the very same thing. It’s a really simple but perfect little homage, and the ability to have the figure wielding a different weapon helps set it apart from previous releases. Unfortunately since the hands aren’t designed to hold this particular weapon it isn’t a particularly tight fit, but with a little bit of finger bending it can get a decent grip. The mould being completely unchanged also means this still struggles to hold the rifle without inadvertently bending it, but having extra gun options here makes that a little more unbearable. It’s just a shame that there’s still only space to store the pistol when not in use, but if it’s accurate to the suit then there’s not much that can be done about that.

It isn't easy to come up with the perfect convention exclusive. It both needs to be desirable enough to catch the interest of collectors, but not so unique that it results in complaint from those who can't afford and/or may never get a chance to own one. The SDCC 2019 Black Series 6" Boba Fett definitely hits that sweet spot. Casual buyers aren't missing out on something that feels in any way "essential" to a collection, but that original toy deco is both a huge nostalgia draw and looks incredible on the already exceptional mould. Little touches like the classic packaging, cape omission and additional "new" accessory make it all the sweeter. A unique addition to any Star Wars collection, and I really hope Hasbro also have plans for an animation colours version somewhere down the line just to truly complete the line up.

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