Tuesday 26 July 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Fennec Shand

Black Series Fennec Shand 01

Release Date: March 2022
RRP: $24.99/£23.99

The true success of Star Wars: The Mandalorian can be seen in the number of iconic it's managed to produce in such a short time – with many rivalling (and arguably surpassing) those that appeared in the sequel trilogy films. Among those is none other than mercenary Fennec Shand, played by the legendary Ming-Na Wen. After seemingly meeting her demise in her debut appearance in season one of the show, Fennec returned alongside Boba Fett in the following season – becoming his new right-hand and trusted ally in The Book of Boba Fett. Her quickly established legacy doesn't make Black Series Fennec Shand an obvious addition to the line, but also the perfect way to kickstart a new chapter in Hasbro's six-inch collector line.

Black Series Fennec Shand Box 01

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"An assassin and elite mercenary who has worked for all the top syndicates. Clever, capable, and cunning, she is a formidable opponent."

The first release in the Black Series' The Book of Boba Fett range, Fennec Shand proudly shows off the olive green accents (which nicely match Fett's armour) Hasbro have chosen for this selection of figures. Other than that the box is identical to the rest of the line design-wise, featuring some fantastic artwork of Fennec on the connecting spine mural which is then repeated on the back alongside her character bio. It's a fairly generic description which could easily fit Fennec at any point in her story, which makes me wonder if this release was originally intended for The Mandalorian range before being moved over to The Book of Boba Fett. Open the box up and you'll find the figure and accessories neatly stored on their moulded plastic tray.

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Fennec Shand is a brand new sculpt consisting of all new parts, which is always pleasing to see when so many figures in the line tend to be repaints or parts reuses these days. The overcoat section of the body suit has been moulded in softer plastic, which is important for both the look of the figure and the articulation. As well as being nicely moulded with plenty of detailing, the figure uses glossy parts to represent armour against the matte "fabric" areas. The key point of discussion though as always is the head sculpt, which isn't the best the line has to offer but at the same time is far from Hasbro's worst efforts. The likeness to Ming-Na Wen is definitely there and the photo-real application of the features is sharp, but proportionally the face does feel a little soft/rounded. It's one of those heads that looks really good from certain angles, but less so from others.

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Fennec has standard Black Series articulation, which these days doesn't really have much difference from body type to body type. Altogether she features; 
- Ball jointed head, neck, upper torso and hips 
- Swivel hinge shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists and ankles 
- Thigh swivels 
Lamenting the lack of double-jointed elbows and knees seems futile at this point as Hasbro seem to have firmly established them as a thing of the past for the Black Series, and even if they hadn't as a female body figure Fennec probably wouldn't have been privy to them anyway. But what is here works reasonably well, and Fennec can still pull off some good action poses even with those soft plastic jacket parts surrounding the hip area. The move to dual ball joints for the head and neck are far more preferable to the old ball hinge neck construction, giving the figure far more movement and in turn far more personality when it comes to posing. Ultimately there's nothing really worthy of special note here, but being par for the course isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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Fennec Shand comes packaged with her helmet and MK sniper rifle, both of which are of course newly sculpted pieces. The helmet is moulded in both black and orange parts, fitting snuggly over the head with the ability to have the visor section slightly pulled open to reveal her face. Ideally it should be so that her eyes are peering through, but positioning it perfectly can be a little tricky. Nevertheless the helmet looks good and is well-proportioned to the figure, though the tight fit may lead to some paint rub issues over time. Meanwhile the sniper rifle is a nice big hefty weapon, moulded in black plastic with some additional orange paint on the strap. The strap can be a little unwieldy when the figure is holding the gun, but perfectly sized for slinging the weapon over Fennec's shoulder. Getting Fennec to hold the gun thankfully isn't much of an issue either, as her hands are soft enough that the fingers can be pulled back to grip properly without any risk of breakage.

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As a firm fan favourite Black Series Fennec Shand has been a long time coming, and thankfully the release does not disappoint. While the facial sculpting/printing could perhaps be a little sharper, it nevertheless delivers a likeness that is recognisably Fennec while the rest of the figure is up to the standard one expects from the line. Most will agree that Fennec Shand is basically a must-have figure for any fan of the current era of Star Wars – not just because the character herself is wonderful but also how she'd fit into a number of different collections. Whether its amongst characters from The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett or The Bad Batch, Fennec is going to look great.

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