Friday 18 March 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Jango Fett

S.H. Figuarts Jango Fett 01

Release Date: September 2016
RRP: 6380 yen

With the Star Wars S.H. Figuarts range now encompassing nearly all of the franchise's live-action productions (though strangely not The Empire Strikes Back, but that's a discussion for another time), it's funny to believe that in the earlier days of the line they had a surprising amount of love for the prequel era. While there were still plenty of notable releases from the original and sequel trilogies at that time as well, you can't deny that getting an S.H. Figuarts Jango Fett long before the far more iconic Boba is out of the ordinary. But that's clearly how Bandai Tamashii Nations wanted to play it, with the father of the notorious bounty hunter and genetic template for the clone troopers releasing all the way back in 2016.

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S.H. Figuarts Jango Fett comes in the largely generic Star Wars range packaging, which features a large window section at the front of the box with the Star Wars logo written across it. The character name is written across the bottom in the smallest of lettering in both English and Japanese. One side of the packaging sports a nice big shot of the figure, while more images can be found along the back. Open it up and the figure/accessories and neatly stored on their plastic tray.

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The Star Wars S.H. Figuarts tend to have a cleaner, more toyetic look when it comes to armoured characters which perhaps isn't to everyone's tastes, but definitely suits Jango Fett. The clean colours Bandai have used on the figure suit the shiny look of his Beskar armour perfectly, which also makes all the blue sections stand out all the more. There has been some wash applied to the armour to give it some extra depth, but it's pretty sparing and (judging by pictures online) seems to vary from figure to figure. To their credit Bandai did a really good job on the proportions here, with it actually looking like a man in armour as opposed to something like the helmet being too small to realistically fit a human(oid) head in. Underneath the silver armour lays a washed out blue/purple undersuit with moulded fabric folds to give it that extra element of realism. As well as a moveable range finder, the jet pack is not only removable but also sports a removable plug at the bottom centre. Removing this allows it to directly plug into a Tamashii Stage arm, giving both a stabler and cleaner look when it comes to flight poses. 

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As a figure from 2016 Jango has a fair few joint types that have been slowly phased out by Bandai now, but even back then the brand was offering top of the range poseability. Altogether the bounty hunter features; 
- Ball jointed head, neck, waist and wrists 
- Swivel hinge shoulders and ankles
- Butterfly joint shoulders
- Drop-down ball jointed hips
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Single hinge toe sections
- Bicep swivels 
The shoulder pads are also hinged so can flap up and down when posing the arms. It's a little bit nostalgic to see those drop-down style hips, as even though the line has moved away from them for the most part now they were such a staple element for so long. The way they work may break up the sculpt somewhat if you aren't careful with the posing, but the range of movement they offer shows exactly why Bandai used them for so long. The rest of the body however isn't that far removed from what the line still uses today, offering good mobility for striking poses. The one big issue the figure has though is the waist joint, which is notoriously loose to the point that the whole lower half of the figure becomes floppy. While it can still hold a pose, the issue can result in either the top half wobbling about or the legs widening and eventually toppling in more action-orientated poses. Though there may be workarounds and fixes for loose joints on these figures, the problem with Jango doesn't seem to be that there's a risk of the waist getting loose – it's that it is inevitable. 

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Jango comes packaged with three pairs of alternate hands (open and two weapon gripping pairs – one with curled trigger fingers and the other straight), his twin WESTAR-34 blaster pistols, two grappling hooks (with one on an extended wire) and a bladed armament for his right gauntlet. Of course the big omission here is a helmetless head sculpt, which seems like a huge oversight given how much of the film Jango spends with his helmet off. Even back when the figure was first released Bandai were doing plenty of releases with alternate heads, so to completely skip it here is really surprising and a pretty significant flaw with the overall package. While I'd always display my Jango Fett with the helmet on, having options would be nice nonetheless. But focusing on what is included in the box, there is a decent little array of accessories here. The holstered pistols are actually half-pieces that slot in and out of the holsters, so are completely separate to the full guns. The WESTAR-34 pistols aren't especially detailed, but there is a certain elegance to their design that goes nicely with Jango's overall look and colour scheme. But really it's the gauntlet pieces that separate the Figuarts Jango from its competitors, because as small as they may be they aren't the kind of accessories you see for him all that often. Both grappling hooks can plug into either armament part for the gauntlet, slotting in comfortably without any risk of falling out (which is great because the retracted hook is extremely small). Swapping the gauntlets also requires removing the tubing from lower arm, which is thankfully a lot more straightforward than it sounds. The fit isn't so tight that there's any risk of breakage, and the tubes slip in deep enough that they won't keep falling out either.

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Despite its age S.H. Figuarts Jango Fett is still a relatively strong showing for Bandai's range of Star Wars figures, even if there are a couple of issues that can't be ignored. The omission of an alternate head is both baffling and disappointing, but the real concern is just how loose that lower half of the body is – not the kind of thing you want to see on a highly poseable action figure. However when it comes to the proportions, paintwork and overall sharpness of the sculpt this figure has some real shelf presence that just can't be denied.

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