Definite Article: A Rogue One Recap

If I could review Rogue One in one sentence it’d be exactly what I leaned over and whispered to my fiance in the theater right around 15-20 minute mark of this film; “I need to ask them to pause so I can pick up my jaw.” Sure, it has some flaws and nitpicks, but the film is that good. Go see it. If you haven’t, don’t bother reading this. Google a showtime and go. You’ll thank me later (and probably LucasFilm to a greater extent, but whatever)

Continue reading “Definite Article: A Rogue One Recap”

Death Stars and Dinner Parties: A Recap of James Luceno’s Catalyst

Where do I begin with recapping Catalyst? It’s a great novel by James Luceno, one of my favorite Star Wars authors who also wrote some of my other Star Wars books – Tarkin in the new canon, and Labyrinth of Evil, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, and Darth Plagueis to name a few of his fantastic Legends works. I can’t call this a genuine review; I’d simply gush too much about this book. So instead, I’ve decided to put together a recap with no-spoiler and spoiler sections in preparation for Rogue One: A Star Wars story, which comes to theaters December 16th. Continue reading “Death Stars and Dinner Parties: A Recap of James Luceno’s Catalyst”

The Big Guns (Mini-MOCs)

I’ve been so busy Christmas shopping (read: hunting down Black Series figures) lately that I haven’t had much time for Lego! So tonight I tried putting together some heavy-weapons stormtroopers for my growing Empire.

20161203_193111.jpg

If you saw the Clone Wars Micro Series from 2003 then this guy might look familiar. Or if you’re playing Star Wars Commander on your phone, it was updated with Rogue One content and there’s a heavy Scariff Stormtrooper who also wields this. . .well, rather unwieldy weapon. Seriously, this guy is a one-man artillery unit. I really like how the ‘droid arm’ pieces overlap the shoulders, but the helmet definitely doesn’t fit with those in place. So yes, he’s a little taller than he should be. I put a 1×1 round stud in the helmet just to make sure it would actually attach to the head. You can see the almost perfect angle a bit better down below.

20161203_193120.jpg

20161203_193055.jpg

Another throwback of sorts, I armed two other troopers with matching Z-6 rotary blaster-style weapons. The technic piece on the end of the blaster gives the effect of having multiple spinning barrels, and the gas pump handles replicate the hand grips needed to handle such a weapon.20161203_193224.jpg

And what would all this firepower be without someone to tell you what to point it at? This artillery spotter directs the big guns straight at the waves of the Emperor’s enemies. He’s made using all the pieces of a heavy combat driver minus the face, which I swapped out to make another custom figure.

Leave me a comment if you like these weapons, or if you have any feedback at all! I’ll be trying to do more Lego posts and I’ll undoubtedly be picking up some more Rogue One sets once the movie comes out and I want everything I saw (even more so because I want them all already!) Thanks for reading!

-David

 

 

Black Series: Cassian Andor and the Death Trooper (Variants)

Fourteen days to go until Rogue One and about two hundred pages left in Catalyst. I have to say I’m enjoying the book just as much as the toys, and it’s all setting up what will without a doubt be a great Star Wars movie. I will probably do a mini-review on the book before the movie comes out. But for now, more toys!

Today I’m reviewing the variants of Cassian Andor and the Death Trooper that are exclusive to Target’s Rogue One Three Pack. Keep an eye out at your local Target and watch for deals – the pack retails for $59.99, but thanks to a 30% off sale I got the pack for right around $40.00. The three pack includes the variants of Cassian and a Death Trooper as well as the same Jyn Erso that is available on its own. Since that’s the exact same figure, I’ll be focusing on Cassian and the trooper.Cassian.jpg

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Cassian’s Eadu costume, the blue jacket, will probably be what he wears for the first portion or maybe half the movie. So this is the outfit he will likely wear on Scariff. The figure looks pretty good overall. His brown jacket is detailed with light brown/tan markings down the sleeves, a possible rank insignia on one side, and another metallic box with two blue dots – perhaps a comlink or some other gadget? The shirt underneath is detailed with a sort of Bespin Han Solo collar and extra flap of fabric below the neck. Cassian is a two-belt type of guy, one to hold his pants up and a separate one exclusively for his holster. Plain tan pants and dark brown boots round out his outfit, and all of it carries a nice earthy tone to its color pallet. Cassian is a pretty simple figure – not simple bad, just not the most interesting. However, I’m biased towards our glorious Empire, so that’s just me.

Here is something very interesting, however – Cassian’s blaster rifle.

blasterblaster2

Another theory; I really don’t think this modular weapon design is going to play into the movie at all. That’s just my guess, but if we were getting that kind of technology (like a gun that turns into an assault rifle with a couple attachments) I think we’d be seeing it on another toy somewhere. The blaster pistol in the center, while colored differently, is actually the same one included with the Eadu version of Cassian. The other one is just colored differently and lacks the small tab for the stock to attach to. My guess is that it was easier to mold the weapon in production as three pieces, given the level of detail. Regardless, it’s one of the coolest looking guns I’ve seen come out of the Black Series in a while and much more detailed than the blaster that comes with his Eadu outfit. Admittedly, I do take the gun apart just for the satisfaction of putting it back together.

Cassian is well-articulated like most Black Series figures – he isn’t missing ankle rotation like Luke and Ahsoka. The pistol fits his holster if you prefer to break the weapon down for a different look or for play. My only complaint is that there was a small bit by his ear that the paint seemed to have missed, which should match his hair, but that’s nothing that couldn’t be touched up.

Moving on to one of the new addition to our rogues gallery. . . (I’ll show myself out)

20161129_113906.jpg

I’m calling this one the Death Trooper commander as no specific rank is noted on the box art the way it is with the Scariff trooper squad leader. I’ve seen the name Death Trooper specialist thrown around and admittedly I like that name too. Anyway, this figure is identical to the solo Death Trooper that is also available right now, minus the fact that this one is armored up with extra gear. He includes the same rifle and pistol, but wears a harness containing extra ammo pouches (not unlike a sandtrooper or ARC trooper,) a rank pauldron, and what appear to be grenades strapped across his stomach. As with the previous Death Trooper, all the expected articulation is there underneath the jet black armor. Krennic’s enforcers just look mean. And if you’re like me and reading Catalyst right now, you can see where Krennic started his private attache of troopers during the end of the Clone Wars. But I’ll save spoilers for a spoiler post later on!

All in all, the Rogue One Three Pack is a good value, especially if you can get it through Target’s promotions during the holidays. 30% off was an especially good deal in my opinion, as the way I look at it, I essentially wasn’t paying for the second Jyn Erso. Really, it’s still not a terrible deal at full price – you’re basically paying for three full-priced figures still, but I’m always looking for deals on these. Keep an eye out on Reddit like I do or find a good collectors’ group. You’ll find out pretty quick which figures to grab up and when, and you’ll also known when a figure gets a case of the Constable Zuvios and it’ll be around for a long time (full disclosure – I wanted a Zuvio but waited it out until he was on clearance at my local Target. I think he’s cool enough and he was cut from the movie, which in my mind makes it cooler that he still got a toy release.)

I’m trying to plow through Catalyst before the movie comes out, so that will probably be the next thing I review. So far I’m really enjoying it, and I appreciate the parts of canon it connects and fills in. I was surprised by it, actually. And I can’t wait to see what happens after the fact in Rogue One, seeing it all tied up and fully enveloped into the canon not only by itself, but also by setting up A New Hope.

That’s it for this review. I recommend getting a hold on this three pack but look for the smart deals. The last exclusive to Target (the Poe Dameron jacket variant and the riot control stormtrooper aka FN-2199) was still in stock near me until this three pack came out, so keep you can probably keep your eyes peeled forĀ  clearance sale eventually if you have to wait. And as always, thanks for reading and happy hunting!

 

-David

Black Series: Ahsoka Tano

I found one of these on Black Friday and couldn’t believe my luck. Better yet, there was a sale at Target (buy one Star Wars anything, get another 50% off) so I was able to pick up Ahsoka and Luke Skywalker without breaking the bank.

20161129_142221.jpg

First off, I can’t gush about the overall look of this figure enough – it’s gorgeous. The new Togruta head sculpt, a first to Hasbro’s Black Series, is spot on. The skin tone and paint apps along the head tails look great. My only complaint about the head sculpt is that with two head tails in the front and one in the back, it makes it difficult to turn and pose her head. But that’s more a flaw in Togruta anatomy than it is anyone’s fault at Hasbro.20161129_142344.jpg

Like the new Luke Skywalker, Ahsoka includes hooks at her hips that allow her lightsabers (with the blades removed) to dangle realistically from her sides. Ahsoka is articulated nicely throughout her arms and under the chest armor. Her three-sectioned belt tied to the ring in the front reminded me of Revan’s iconic robes. Maybe the Rebels art department did that as a nod to another Force user who walked a grey path? I’d like to think that’s canon but that’s just me. Anyway, my only problem with the build of the figure aside from the neck rotation is that Ahsoka also seems to have poorly-articulated ankles. Her long boots run over the sides of her feet, which disables any ankle rotation (if there is any to begin with.) And one minor than minor detail about her lightsabers bothered me at first. The hilts are detailed but not painted, but I probably won’t even remember that after this lovely figure has been on the shelf for a while.

Rogue One is coming! Next I will be reviewing the exclusive three-pack of figures from Target’s Rogue One pack. We’re only fourteen days away!

 

-David