Review : Baze Malbus (Rogue One)
Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro)
Wave/Series : Wave 10 (Phase 3)
Released : March 2017
Price : £24.99
Arriving in Wave 10 alongside his partner, Chirrut, is Baze Malbus.
Baze is packed in the tweaked phase 3 packaging with the wider base panel and artwork, the reduced window down the left hand spine and with no overhead window on the top flap.
That aside, the design basics remain the same with a lovely grey lined artwork of Baze adorning the front of the box. To the right is the bright red gloss spine with the #37 emblazoned in big bold black text above a smaller line of text repeating the character name.
Around the back is a larger version of the grey portrait and a short paragraph that talks about Baze's home under Imperial occupation and how that hardened him to his current role as a soldier. Interestingly there is no mention of the Guardian of the Whills.
Out of the box and Baze is strapped into the plastic insert atop a bright red card back. To the right, as you look, is the Repeater Cannon. And to the left is the backpack and what appears to be a communicator or similar device. The ammo strip is slung under Baze, hidden from site when in the box.
Baze stands a touch over 6", and slightly higher than Chirrut. He is a hefty figure with plenty of weight behind him. Sculp wise and the likeness to Jiang Wen is a good one, although as is the case with most Black Series human figures of late the lack of any paint application on the head loses what could be a spectacular looking likeness. What you actually end up with is a skin tone that looks translucent with eyes and beard floating on top. The hair is also a little lumpy and looks too thick, particularly on the front locks where the ties look really thick and too brown.
Once past the head the rest of the body is really well done. Baze is wearing a brown combat uniform, and this has a good level of creasing and folds to replicate cloth. The colouring is a touch too light, but Hasbro have weathered the suit and by dirtying up Baze you capture the grittiness and grime of Rogue One and the Jedha scenes in particular.
Over the combat suit is a variety of parts, starting with the large red collar come chest piece. This is smooth and glossy with a "V" decal to one side, and to the other some wiring parts which unlike the lumpy and undefined hair are actually slim and well detailed. Just under this collar is a chest piece in a cream colour. This too is washed and grubby and with some additional grey painted detail. Baze's right shoulder carries a red shoulder panel, in the same style and finish of the chest piece.
Other accessories around the body include red cuffs at each wrist and some panels on the right thigh and knee. There is also a belt from which hangs a couple of large pouches. The outfit ends in some ankle combat boots in a darker brown and these have been painted to look scuffed / weathered also.
Baze only really becomes the Baze we know when we assemble his weapon. The easiest thing to do is to start with the back pack which slots firmly into a corresponding hole on the centre of the figures back. This back pack uses the same red colouring as some of the armour. But it is much more than that when you look at the gold coils and the silver panelling. There is also a rubberised plastic cloak that hangs down one side - reminiscent of the small side cloak/sash worn by Boba Fett?
With the backpack in place the Repeater Cannon can be placed into Baze's hands. This is a solid piece and like most of the Rogue One weapons is more defined and in a harder plastic than a lot of the ones we saw on the Force Awakens figures. The gun is cast in a light grey, but is then painted in parts with a darker grey and a red decal on the centre above the ammo socket.
The final piece is the ammo strap itself. This is a harder plastic than I thought it might be, but it is flexible enough to work with a number of poses. It slots into corresponding slots on the back pack and then snakes round under the figures right arm to connect to the gun itself.
The final accessory is this communicator device. I don't recall it being significant in the film (correct me if I am wrong) and it took me a while to work out if Baze should hold it or whether it has a home? It actually goes on the rear of the figure in a pre-cut slot on the back of the belt. This seems like an over complex detail for something that goes on the back of the figure and that is obscured by the cloak?
Articulation is standard although with the armour and the bulkier stature of Baze you may find posing limited. The head is ball jointed but will barely move within the neck section and with the way the hair is sculpted around the head and onto the shoulders.
The shoulders are ball jointed and raise up enough to work with the rotating elbow to allow Baze to hold his weapon in a natural 2 handed pose. The wrists are pegged to help with this grip. The shoulders continue up from this weapon pose if you wish to a 90 degree position and from here you can rotate above the head.
There is a torso joint tucked neatly behind that chest unit, and this makes it possible to twist the torso independent of the legs if you wish for more action oriented poses.
The legs are ball jointed at the hips, followed by a thigh swivel then double jointed knees and an ankle rocker. These combined to allow Baze to stand solidly even with the weapon and backpack pulling either side to overbalance him. You can spread the leg poses wider, and if you really want to Baze will kneel on both knees - the belt pouches stop you doing it on one knee.
You can't fault Baze for the amount of gear that is packed in his black & red box. The Repeater Cannon is a nice piece and is engineered very well. Head aside, the Baze figure is well sculpted and in the main well painted and weathered so he looks gritty and grimy and not just having stepped out in brand new clothes. As with any human figures the head lets the figure down. While the sculpt is there, the flesh coloured plastic does not work and leaves the painted features look like they are floating on wax. Even the hair on Baze is poorly executed vs what we have seen on recent figures like Rey or Kanan.
I score Baze 4 out of 5, one better than his counter-part Chirrut. And I recommend that you buy these figures as a pair, they just look right paired up on display.