Updated: Nov 26, 2018
Review : Grand Admiral Thrawn (Rebels) Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro) Wave/Series : Wave 12 (Phase 3) Released : Sept 2017
Pros : Striking blue skin tone and crisp white uniform. Can adopt his iconic hand behind back pose Cons : Knowing that there were so many cool accessories from his office available, but in the SDCC pack only
I was lucky enough to be at Star Wars Celebration London in 2016 when it was announced that Grand Admiral Thrawn would be joining Rebels in Season 3 as the primary villain.
I'd always been a fan of the Chiss Admiral, and while I enjoyed the novels seeing him realised on screen was brilliant when he made his Rebels debut. What was extra special was the intention to take the animated Thrawn and imagine him in a realistic style within the 6" Black Series.
Thrawn got his first release as an impressive pack at SDCC 2017. This release was in an exclusive blue box and came with a wealth of accessories that made up the collection from Thrawn's office that we see quite often on Rebels.
The Grand Admiral made his debut on 3rd September 2017 as part of the Force Friday II release of The Last Jedi figures. He is number #47 in the Phase 3 red packaging and is included in Wave 12 alongside the early Last Jedi releases, the new Vader, a re-released Stormtrooper and his Rebels adversary - Hera Syndula.
The box is standard fare with black background and headed with the brighter Star Wars Black Series logo .The artwork is also a "realistic" version of Thrawn - and even in grey scale it is recognisable as the Grand Admiral.
Around the back of the packaging we get a larger version of that artwork and a short paragraph that talks about how Governor Pryce of Lothal required a stronger commander to face the rebellion and how Grand Admiral Thrawn was the Empires answer. The text also goes on to confirm Thrawn's species as a Chiss and talks about his blue skin, red eyes and angular face.
The figure slides out in its inner tray via the top or bottom flap. Thrawn comes packed with a single blaster.
While the majority of the Black Series releases are based on actual actors from one of the movies - the Rebels releases are a little bit different in that the sculptors at Hasbro not only have to replicate the character but they also need to use their artistic licence to take an stylised animated visual and make it realistic. So far they've done a brilliant job with Kanan, Ahsoka, Sabine and Hera - but I think Thrawn could be the best of the bunch.
The skin is obviously a focal point and is a beautiful shade of blue, albeit without any shading. Thankfully the depth of sculpt and the angular lines of Thrawn's face lets the natural light define the features of the figure. The hair is swept back and deep in texture and a rich black colour. The eyes are deep red with neat pupils. The only gripe on the face paint is some bleeding around the neck where the white goes from the tunic and up onto the neck.
Thrawn is also impressive in terms of his stature and height, he stands a good 6 1/4" tall and therefore stands taller than a lot of other figures in the range.
The Imperial outfit is well designed and sculpted with folded panels, creases and bunched cloth around the knees. There are two gold epaulettes on the shoulders and gold designs around the collar. The small canisters, which we see on other Imperial officer uniforms, are tucked in just under the shoulder epaulettes. The rank insignia sits on a silver panel and is painted neatly in blue, yellow and red.
Collectors will be aware of the SDCC version of this Thrawn figure, and it is worth noting that there is a minor difference on the rank insignia between the two releases - with the SDCC having a white plate and the standard release being silver.
The articulation on Thrawn is impressive. The head is a ball joint with pivot so this rotates, but looking up or down is blocked by the angular chin and the rear hairline respectively. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulder and then jointed at the elbows, with a rotation built in. With the pivot wrists this means you can replicate the mannerisms of Thrawn including his hands behind back pose he adopts most often.
Thrawn has shown in the show he is capable of defending himself when called upon, and the articulation does allow some variety of movement in the lower legs if you desire a more action orientated pose. The lower part of the tunic stops full movement, but wider poses and stances are easily achieved.
Watch out for loose joints however at the hips. The right hip on my Thrawn is particularly floppy. This will, as many collectors know, cause stability issues going forward as the hip won't hold the weight of the figure and will slide and then cause the figure to fall.
Thrawn comes with a single blaster pistol. From some investigations, this looks to be a new weapon for the range and is based on the officer blaster pistols in Rebels. These are not officially names as yet but could be a SoroSuub SC-4 blaster which Star Wars wiki states is designed and created for Imperial use.
The pistol fits snugly into Thrawn's right hand, with the usual slightly flexible trigger finger that slots into the trigger. Coupled with the upper body articulation, and if needed the more action orientated lower leg stances, then you can get some nice firing poses with Thrawn - taking things into his own hands against those Rebels.
And if you don't want Thrawn with a weapon in hand? Then the gun fits perfectly into the holster worn on Thrawn's belt.
Cynics may look at Thrawn and think that there are some parts carried forward from the other Imperial Officer figures to date - The Death Squad Trooper and Director Krennic. From what I can see this is not true on any level, and from Thrawn's tunic to his trousers and boots - they are all new sculpts. I do suspect Thrawn may share parts with the announced, but not scheduled, Grand Moff Tarkin figure.
Going back to the comparison with Krennic, and you can see in the images above how Thrawn towers over the Director. The two obviously cross over in terms of Star Wars era and those inventive collectors may consider Thrawn and the rebels figures closer to the Rogue One figures than any others and display them all together. Thrawn for example looks great flanked by the Rogue One Death Trooper.
Grand Admiral Thrawn is a figure that will appeal to many facets of Star Wars collecting. While a canon part of Rebels now, those who remember his role in the old Expanded Universe (now Legends) will also want to put this iconic figure on display and slot him in where they imagine and feel he should fit within the Star Wars universe.
This aside, Thrawn is also a stunning figure in terms of the sculpt and the paint and colouring. His height also means he will dominate most figures he is put alongside. He is that fine line between human characters - which have not been too well realised so far - and the alien figures. As a figure he carries a good standard of paint application and a good range of articulation, I do have an issue with the loose hip which is going to cause stability problems.
I also have an issue with the lack of accessories. This is because I know there is a huge amount of accessories produced from Thrawn's office and packed solely in a SDCC and knowing they exist makes packing Thrawn with a tiny blaster is disappointing. It would have been nice to put one or two of these in the pack. Tarkin, as a comparison, is getting an Interrogation Droid in his single release. Was it too much to add a plinth and say the Hera family heirloom into the standard release?
To that end I am going to award Thrawn a 4 out of 5.
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