Updated: Nov 24, 2018
Review : Kylo Ren, Starkiller Bas Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro) Wave/Series : Kmart US exclusive 2015 Released : November 2015
Price : £29.99 (UK Import Price)
The Starkiller Base version of Kylo Ren was announced, along with a raft of other exclusives, on Force Friday 2015 (4th September). The figure was due to be a Kmart exclusive in the US, but there was no details on a UK release.
The figure soon showed up on pre-order from a number of UK specialist retailers, and although it's never hit the shelves in a UK store it is relatively easy to pick-up online.
Although I am not going to go into any major detail, this review will discuss some plot elements of the Force Awakens in line with how the figure sits into that plot - so if you are yet to see Force Awakens, then please be warned and hit the back button if needed.
Kylo arrives in an oversized Black Series box, about twice the width of a usual box and slightly deeper. The design remains the same with the black colour prominent throughout and the character depicted in grey line art on the front and on the back. The right hand side is bright red, but like all exclusives is not numbered and instead simply has the character name in smaller lettering. Round the back and the bio short and sweet explaining that Kylo is a "dark warrior strong with the force"
Out of the box and you notice that the red backing card is not pure red like the other Phase 3 releases, but instead does have a silhouetted tree line design against it. This of course lines up with the scene in the forest on Starkiller base where we find this version of Ren in the film's finale.
Kylo comes pre-posed in the box with his lit lightsaber in one hand, and the other extended outward apparently performing a force push. The figure is also packed already on the diorama base and the whole thing lifts out of the plastic tray and can go straight on display.
Firstly, there is no real difference in sculpt or articulation between the original Kylo and this version. The figure looks really nice and the soft goods do work and then support the articulation, the lower part at least, which means Kylo can get into some good action poses - such as the one he arrives pre-posed in.
The first key difference is the décor on the bottom of his outer cloak, which is now spotted in white. This is meant to be weathering from the snow covered forest he is standing within. Sadly it looks more like you've dipped the figure in icing sugar and the crisp almost straight line between weathering and no weathering isn't good and I would have preferred a graduated transition.
I didn't expect the snow weathering to continue through to the boots and legs underneath, but fair play to Hasbro that it does. And actually this weathering looks much more natural and realistic.
The next key difference is the left hand which was a gripping fist on the first figure, but has now been adjusted on this release to mimic the force push position. This works well, but does tie you into one particular pose for this Kylo as the hand looks odd in any other situation.
Finally, the lightsaber on this Kylo does not have the joining piece between the cross guards and the main blade. I actually prefer this lightsaber to the original as its is cleaner and more defined. And of course you also get an unlit hilt which you can use if you wish - although it is much less effective, and also seems to signal the end of Hasbro using inserted blades like we saw on other Jedi characters in Phase 1 and 2.
The selling point of this set has always been the diorama base which is apparently one half of a larger diorama and will link up to another figure/piece in the future. Having seen TFA you have to assume this will be a Rey with lightsaber.
The base is actually pretty poor in terms of detail, it is quite slim and a lot of it is lost under the folds of the skirt. I would have liked to see a bigger piece with much more detail than a slab of white and blue plastic. The nice part of the base is that the feet don't simply slot into a peg, they actually sink into the base. This both secures the figure and also makes Kylo look like he has sunk a couple of inches into the snow.
All in all Kylo is just as good a figure as he was in Wave 1, and I am sure we will see him again in future waves perhaps sans cloak or more likely sans helmet. This figure has an improved lightsaber and the bonus of an unlit hilt - it is however very specific to the film with the snow weathering. If you want one definitive Kylo for your display, then this may not be the one to get because of this specific décor. And in real terms the base and weathering do not warrant the extra £10 or so you will have to pay for this version. It is also difficult to justify buying this without knowing what the 2nd half of this diorama will look like, or even if it will come to market.
I scored the original Kylo a 3 out of 5 and I am not sure this version does enough extra to change that - with any new parts (base, lightsaber) being neutralised by the price hike.