Updated: Nov 26, 2018
Review : Clone Captain Rex Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro) Wave/Series : Hascon (US) 2017 & London Film & Comic Con (UK) 2017 Exclusive Released : September 2017 (US) & October 2017 (UK)
Pros : One of the best head sculpts to date. Perfect execution of the tweaked armour that Rex wears, and weathered to a high standard Cons : Availability and we would hope the basic version is just as good (if not better) than this exclusive
It was late 2015, shortly after Commander Cody was solicited, when Habro first started talking about bringing Captain Rex to the 6" Black Series. At that time the other figures were all movie based - Rex, at that time, would be the first movement towards bringing characters from an animated series into the Black Series 6" line.
It ended up taking nearly 2 full years until we finally got our chance to purchase Captain Rex. But like a lot of things Black Series, it wasn't that simple.
Rex was confirmed initially as a 2018 release, and would be one of the first figures to use the new Face Printing technology that Hasbro were already using on their 2017 Marvel Legends releases. It would then transpire that an exclusive version of Rex would be sold early at Hascon, Hasbro's first consumer convention in September 2017. This was touted to be a special version and he would come with extra accessories vs the original release. While UK fans were venting their anger at another US exclusive out of reach to them - it was thankfully announced that Hasbro and Forbidden Planet had struck a deal to bring Rex to the London Film and Comic Con in October and sell it there, shortly followed by an online offer..... phew!
But even that didn't go to plan. While Rex was sold at MCM London, the promised online sale did not' materialise on the Monday - he only showed up in the few Forbidden Planet stores. This was due to stocks not being counted back from the show. That meant Rex eventually went up for online sales on the Weds - with no real announcement - and sold out in under 24 hours. With me so far?
I was lucky enough to be online when the order went up, especially as the online Forbidden Planet nearest had already sold out. And I received Rex a few days later via the post.
He arrives in box that uses a sleeve design that we had seen previously on exclusives like the First Order Stormtrooper (2015) and Jyn Erso (2016). Like the 501st that Rex commands, the overriding colour scheme is blue - but with the black sub-tones to link it into the Black Series. The front of the blue box contains a Gregory Titus illustration of Rex down to the bottom right. The Black Series logo sits centre in bold. You will then start to notice the more subtle elements on the front like the tally marks - which will make more sense as we explore the figure more.
The right spine (which would be red on the current phase 3 box) is s black with the Republic logo at top in electric blue, and the character name as Clone Captain Rex. At the base of this right spine is a the side of the front image, wrapped around the corner of the box. The back of the box is essentially blue with two cut out segments to make a black design that replicates the one Rex wears on his helmet. There is a repeat of the character name down bottom left, but no character bio. The bio actually sits nicely on the left spine in white text and talks about Rex as "The Clone Commander of the 501st Legion" and then goes into his personality and how he personalised his armour - something we will see shortly.
Everything we've looked at so far is the outer part of the box and is in essence a sleeve that is placed over the tray of the figure. Unlike most Black Series this inner tray is as well decorated and designed as the outer packaging - with the principle that this inner tray can be used to display the figure without compromising the "mint in box". The inner box is now a deep black and has two cutouts on the front to show off the figure on the right, and the weaponry on the left. These are set into an electric blue plastic tray and are all held in by elasticated ties. Another Republic logo sits top left and the Star Wars Black Series logo bottom centre.
This inner packaging also carries on around the two spines. The left is a touch plain with just the Black Series logo at the top.
The right spine see's a repeat of the Rex illustration and now this wraps round again onto the back of the box. There is no other detail on the box reverse.
If you are opening Rex, then you can slice the tape on the top or bottom flap and slide out Rex in his plastic blue tray. There were some factory defects with a lot of the US versions of Rex where this tray had misshapen and melted. Thankfully we didn't see any real evidence of that with UK stocks.
The figure and accessories, as we've said, are held into place by clear elasticated bands - this means they are not overly intrusive if you leave the figure in the box - but once snipped and removed the figure won't stay in the tray on his own - it's not as tight a fit as the clear tray with normal figures to grip the figure and guns.
While Rex, like Cody, reuses a lot of the existing Clone Trooper sculpt - this release takes this to a whole new level of detail. We start with the helmet, which is a faithful replication of the lid that Rex uses in the Clone Wars. Rather than change to the Mk2 helmet on release, Rex chose to combine parts of the Mk1 & Mk2 helmets and welded them together to create his unique helmet. This is captured in the sculpt with the Mk1 visor welded into place. These weld marks are done in bronze with a silver line down the middle.
Rex also decorates his armour with tally marks for the battle droids he has destroyed. These start on the helmet, either side of the crest, in crisp black. The Jaig eyes Mandalorian symbol of courage in blue sits on the front of the helmet and the same blue then trims the visor and down to the breather gear. There is a viewfinder on Rex's right and this articulates so can be swung down over the eyes.
The helmet is also really nicely weathered with brown weathering to represent grime that had accumulated in the joints.
The rest of Rex's body is the Clone Trooper body we've had since wave 4 (Phase 1) in 2014. This armour is painted with the blue markings of the 501st particularly on the knees and down the sides of each arm. There is also two more of these welding marks on the chest piece to reflect another customisation by Rex - although unlike the helmet this is not a new piece.
The body is then accessorized by the pauldron. This is a new piece and connects by slipping over the neck peg before the head is added. This is made in black rubbery material and includes the pauldron over the left, with the pouches that hang down onto the chest on the right.
We also get a new belt, with twin holsters. This looks to be a tweaked version of the standard belt rather than a whole new piece. From this belt hangs a soft goods kama skirt. This is quite clean compared to the rest of the figure, but hangs pretty well and is trimmed in an electric blue colouring that is not far off being a good match to the rest of the blue on the figure.
The body is weathered like the helmet with brown dirt across all the armour and accumulating in the gaps - very realistic considering the battles and skirmishes that Rex would have been involved in. The detail doesn't end there. If you look at the blue striping you can see added scratches and scuffs. We then also get more tally marks down the left arm and onto the hand - and again starting on the leg armour - Rex was obviously a busy boy.
The next improvement vs any other Clone release to date - including Gree and Cody - is that Rex comes with an unmasked head under the helmet. While we have had the Temuera Morrison head sculpt before on Jango Fett, this is a brand new realisation of the head and is a huge improvement.
We should bear in mind that this we are told by reliable sources who have seen the 2018 release this is still NOT the face printing technology and therefore while this head sculpt is stunning, it could well be eclipsed by the standard release come January 2018 should Hasbro stick to the plan.
The head is cast in the skin tone and with short cropped blonde hair which is painted in a simple blonde tone with no highlights or washes. The eyes are what makes a good Temuera Morrison sculpt, and this is where this head is streets ahead of the older Jango sculpt. They are well painted and look intense and focused.
We should remind ourselves too at this point that this is an animated character brought to a "real life" range of figures, and while the Morrison head sculpt is embedded in canon thanks to the Prequels - this is a great job of combining the Clone Wars animation and Morrison's likeness to realise this figure in 6" scale.
Articulation is only as good as any of the Clone Troopers that have come before Rex, and even being a few years old it is not actually too bad.
The head is ball jointed and can rotate fully, but then also pivots up and down at the front. This is more wide ranging with just the Clone head, adding the helmet adds some restrictions to this movement.
The arms are ball jointed and are not held back by the shoulder armour as this withdraws into the chest section as the arms are raised. The left arm works just as well as the right, even with the pauldron. But the pauldron will stop you then rotating the arm to take it above shoulder height. Being an older sculpt and design - we still get the double jointed elbows and a bicep swivel built in under the upper arm armour. Both hands rotate at the wrists and pivot forward too.
The armour is also used to disguise the torso joint which fits under the chest piece. This also rotates and allows Rex to lean forward to the point the chest armour starts to press against the bulky belt.
The hips are arguably the worst joint. They are ball jointed, but are locked into very limited motion by the shape of the thigh armour. Rex will not kneel or sit, but can take up some wider stances. The knees are double jointed and the ankles are on rockers - and these feel tight and Rex stands easily with no need of stands or particular posing.
Rex comes with four different weapons. The first are the dual blasters that are a bit of a trademark for Rex. We would hope these DC-17 hand blasters will come with the basic release, otherwise we may see a bit of an uproar. They are cast in plain black plastic, with no paint apps. They are pretty detailed with visible parts and ridges.
The blasters fit into either hand, although only the right has a working trigger finger. As Rex uses both hands for his twin blasters it might have been nice if Hasbro had not just included the standard hands from the Clone Trooper mold, and instead given us a left hand with trigger finger.
When not in use the DC-17's slot into the two holsters. This is a nice tight fit, to the extent it can be difficult to get them back out again. Thanks to those double jointed elbows and wide ranging shoulder joints - Rex can take up a gunslinger pose as though he is about to draw his blasters.
The next weapon is the usual DC-15S blaster we've had with every Clone release to date. This is also cast in black plastic, but now we get a gunmetal silver dry brush - the first time this weapon has had this detail added. It too fits in the right hand with trigger finger in the trigger slot with a bit of bending.
Articulation plays a big part here with the posing on this weapon, and two handed poses are easily achieved.
The larger DC-15A rifle is also packed in with Rex. It too is cast in Black Plastic with metallic drybrush.
We would expect that the DC-15A and DC-15S are not going to be included in the standard release.
I always feel the beauty of troops like these is how well they look together. Rex looks great with other Clone figures like Cody, albeit he does make the others look a touch too clean. The 501st trooper from the 2016 4-pack is also a reasonably good match, but sadly the blue shading is lighter on this figure vs the blue shade used on Rex. This may seem like nitpicking, but the same was done with Cody and the 212th Utapau trooper from the same set and it is frustrating for Clone Army Builders.
Before we finish we should talk about the way the helmet works with the head. Often with removable helmets we get either an oversized helmet or an undersized head. Rex seems to have avoided both of these, while the helmet still works and fits well over the head.
Yes, we will get some rub if you have this on and off with regularity. And the other niggle is that Rex's chin can be seen when the helmet is in place.
Of course many, like me, while do something similar on display with Rex tucking the helmet under his arm.
Rex is the closest I think we've come in the Black Series to a 5 star plus figure. The reason I am holding back from this rating, is that it will give us nowhere to go in 2018 if the bar is going to be raised with the face print technology. Rex then gets a 5 out of 5 score and I just hope that if you want this particular figure you had the opportunity to get one - either in the US or the UK via the limited options for purchase.