Friday 29 July 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Teeka (Jawa)

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Release Date: July 2022
RRP: $27.99/£33.99

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series hasn't long finished but for once Hasbro are completely on the ball, with plenty of Star Wars Black Series figure announcements that not only coincided with the release of the series, but released shortly afterwards as well. Whilst a lot of the main characters are present and accounted for, there have also been a small number of more obscure characters as well – for example the Target exclusive (or Hasbro Pulse/fan channel exclusive in other parts of the world) Black Series Teeka (Jawa). The shrewd little businessman often traded with the estranged Jedi on Tatooine – even going so far to steal Kenobi's parts so that they could sell them back to him.

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As a brand-new chapter in the Star Wars universe, the figures from Obi-Wan Kenobi show off a brand-new colour accent for the Black Series packaging. This time around it's a third shade of blue, having been previous used for both The Empire Strikes Back and Gaming Greats releases. It's fine, but there's less difference between them all than you'd expect which is a little disappointing - especially when a light blue to match Obi-Wan's lightsaber is right there ready for use. In terms of layout the box is business as usual, with some great artwork of Teeka printed on both the mural spine and back of the box. Curiously the box does not have a unique character bio, but instead a general synopsis of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Presumably this was due to the details of the series not being available to Hasbro when they began production of these figures, and ultimately doesn't feel like it really matters for a bit part character like Teeka. Open it up and the Jawa is neatly fitted to their plastic tray alongside all their accessories.

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Teeka is a retooling of the classic Jawa figure, which in turn was retooled different a few years back for the Offworld Jawa. Teeka sports similar colouring to a standard Jawa but a lighter brown robe, as well as white legs and brown hands (both of which were black on the original). The white legs are particularly interesting as you can make out all the bandage detailing on them much more, adding to the intrigue of the species. Brand new parts include a soft plastic "overcoat" piece that sits over the top of the standard robe, as well as a new single-side bandolier piece slung over their left shoulder. Finally the deco on the head sculpt is also slightly different, with the eyes now painted in a vibrant gold as opposed to the UV-reactive yellow of the original. While it's still very visibly a Jawa, the differences between the two are more than enough to make Teeka feel unique – and in turn add a bit of variance if (like me) you like the idea of having lots of Jawas but aren’t so keen on them all being identical. All the great texturing of the original figure, such as the fabric detailing on the robes, are all present here as well which add to the overall presentation. It's a little surprising Hasbro didn't opt for soft goods robes here like they did with the Offworld Jawa, but the quality of the sculpt is definitely good enough that this shouldn't be considered an issue.

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While the look of the figure may have been slightly altered, Teeka's articulation remains exactly the same as the previous Jawa releases. Altogether this includes; Swivel hinge neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and ankles Ball joined hips But of course, once again a lot of this doesn't really make a whole lot of difference to the figure given how much of it is covered by that soft plastic robe. You can get some good expression out of the head and arms alone, which is just as well really because that lower half isn't just completely nullified by the robe – it's completely invisible as well. It's only the feet sticking out from under that baggy robe and even they're not really needed for balancing, so ultimately it's only the positioning of the ankle joints that make any difference. Truthfully it's hard to imagine a Jawa being able to do much more than this (or even wanting it to do more really), so as unnoteworthy as it may be it at least serves its purpose.

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Moving back to the new though, Teeka has a fair few new accessory pieces to try and help justify that rather costly exclusive price tag. First off they come with one recycled piece from the previous Jawas – their trademark ion blaster, which has been moulded in a silvery plastic with an added black wash. The accessory itself isn't much of a surprise, but the colouring is far nicer than that of the original Jawa's. In terms of new pieces though Teeka also comes with two scrap part – a conical lanter/thruster shaped piece and a larger cube piece. Both are nicely detailed bits of machinery with good sculpting and paint, and can fit in the figure's hands even though the hands weren't really designed for them. The smaller piece fits rather nicely, but the larger one is a little unwieldy and arguably works better as a piece for separate display. It's a decent little bunch of accessories, but undoubtedly missing the most important element of Teeka's inclusion in the whole series – the T-16 Skyhopp model that Obi-Wan later gives to Luke (and is seen in A New Hope). Missing something this significant feels like a huge oversight on Hasbro's part, so I can only assume it's because they weren't aware it was part of the scene when the figure was being manufactured. And that's the problem with figures coming out so soon after a series with so much secrecy behind – sure you get the toys earlier, but you inevitably end up missing out on key accessories that are either forgotten about or sold to you later in more "complete" releases.

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Overall Black Series Teeka (Jawa) should be a pretty great release. Sure it's an easy remould for Hasbro but it serves a purpose - reminding fans of a fun scene from Obi-Wan Kenobi as well as creating a unique character that stands out from the rest of the Jawas. What really brings the figure down though is the price. $27.99 is already a pretty high price for a smaller figure, but for the UK collectors among us £33.99 is an absolutely horrific price – and sadly one those of us who want to continue collecting the Black Series will have to get used to. The new parts and accessories are nice but not nearly enough to justify the high price point, particularly when said accessories are missing a key part of the scene. A great looking release, but one that's really only for the diehards out there.

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