Like many Star Wars fans, I love the short but iconic Bounty Hunter scene from Empire. The six bounty hunters were amongst my favourite figures as a child as I imagined all the various nefarious adventures they got up to.
Hasbro has brought us one step closer to replicating that line up with the release of IG-88 in Wave 9 of the Black Series. That puts us at half way there, with the lesser appreciated Dengar, Zuckuss and 4-LOM still to go (don't let me down Hasbro).
IG-88 arrives in the blue-line box and like all the other wave 8 and 9 figures comes with grey lined artwork but no blurb or write up on the rear.
Unpacked he stands an impressive 7" tall, putting him the tallest of the other Bounty Hunters we currently have (Boba Fett & Bossk). Having read a few reviews I was expecting IG88 to come out in a very soft and pliable plastic, so was surprised he is relatively robust. Perhaps this is due to mine being a later batch?
The sculpt is absolutely stunning with so much detail built in to the figure from the head right down to the feet. There are wires, panels, screws and some brilliant flexible conduit that moves with the leg articulation. This is finished off by a paint job that isn't just a dirty gun metal, but that has some bronze and gold hues that make the figure pop when lit in a display case.
I remember the old Kenner figure of IG-88 came with a weapon he couldn't hold, and the same occurs here. The claw hands have no movement and therefore on first glance IG-88 can't hold any of the three weapons he comes packed with. And then you spot the clever engineering with each of the two blasters carrying a small hole under their grip section which correspond to a plug on IG-88's hand. Plug the blaster into the plug and you have a posed grip on either the E-11 or DLT-20A that are packed with IG-88. Both weapons are smaller than previous releases and look to be specially cast for this release. The weapons also slot neatly into a holster on IG88's back and make him look at least like he is packed and ready to go to work.
IG-88 also comes with a vibro blade, but this is too slim to be held or have any special gizmos to hold it in place. Instead it slots into the holes on the backpack just above the blasters. The fit on this is tight and you will likely lose gold paint as it is slid into place.
Articulation was always going to be a worry on a figure as slim as IG-88 and when I first picked him up I thought he was only 5 POA. Surprisingly Hasbro have built much more articulation into the figure, but hidden it really well. The head simply swivels, but that is reflective of the original IG-88 prop. The shoulders look like they will just rotate - but a clever joint allows them to be pulled out to 90 degrees to the body. The elbows then bend to about 45 degrees with the joint hidden under a rubber corrugated joint which contracts with the joint. This rubber grommet will certainly prone to wear and damage over time so I would use sparingly. Finally on his top half, a Torso joint allows you to swivel IG88's top half side to side.
The legs aren't quite as good, with a basic peg joint on the hips which means the legs can only swing out into a sitting position, and no sideways movement at all. The knees bend, again hidden behind the sculpt. The feet are on a pivot also and can also be rotated. All of this means you can get IG-88 to kneel, but when stood neutrally I feel his legs are a little too close together and you also need to move his feet out to a wider stance to keep him upright.
I mustn't let my love of IG-88 cloud my scoring here. In terms of sculpt and paint finish, I think it is excellent. The articulation they have built in is more than I perhaps expected and also well hidden and cleverly designed to allow parts to move in conjunction with the joints. But he isn't the easiest to stand up (some weight in the feet would help).
IG88 does enough for a 4 out of 5, and now sits plotting with Bossk and Boba Fett awaiting the release of his other three rival Bounty Hunters.