Updated: Nov 24, 2018
Despite being packed two per case in Wave 1 and we think repacked in the upcoming wave 3, Kylo Ren has been an elusive figure for many since his debut on Force Friday.
Kylo arrives in the Red & Black phase 3 packaging, with what I believe is the best grey scale illustration to date on the front right lower flash. Kylo is #03 in the Force Awakens wave of figures and having arrived pre-release of the movie, the bio on the back of the box is suitably brief and intentionally without detail.
Out of the box Kylo stands 6 1/4" high, a good half a head taller than his First Order Storm Troopers. The first thing that is evident is that the majority of Kylo is soft goods. Starting with a soft good hood this runs down under a rubber shoulder cape into a soft good covered torso. This is then wrapped in a molded belt and the cloak then flows down to drag on the floor. All in all the soft goods does a decent job. The flow and texture of the cape is pretty good, with my only criticism being the hood which like the Emperor doesn't sit well over the head. The head itself is nicely done and fully detailed to the back of the helmet which can be uncovered, although the hood does really hold itself in the uncovered position. The head is highlighted in the relevant places in silver.
The shoulder cloak is really well done, so much so I kind of wish that a lot more of the figure had been done in molded rubber rather than soft goods. The Disney Elite figure, and of course the wave 1 Darth Maul, has shown that this can look just as effective. The arms are sculpted in a ribbed material from shoulder down to the gloved hands, and the same material can be found under the soft good cape with an inner skirt. The figure is finished in high gloss boots.
Paint across the figure is minimal but where applied, helmet and belt, it is neat and without any bleed or obvious errors.
Articulation does suffer a little on this figure. The head is ball jointed, but only moves a few millimeters either side as it is prevented from going any further by the shoulder cloak. You can feel a torso joint under the cloak, but again this doesn't really move anywhere. The arms are a little better. The left can move to something close to 90 degrees to the body and can revolve to go above Kylo's head. The right however is restricted massively by the shoulder cloak - this is a pity as this is Kylo's sword arm. Although there is the rotating elbow joint and a swivel and pivot wrist, Kylo has only one real position where he can hold light saber with both hands - another shame, as it's not the most natural and dynamic of two-handed saber poses.
Under the rubber skirt is some nice hip movement, which thanks to some strategic skirt splits can allow Kylo to stand with a much wider and action orientated stance - supported by the standard double jointed knees. The ankles are on rockers which then allow the feet to sit flat to the floor to support your chosen pose. Any attempt to get Kylo to kneel is blocked by the front of the skirt, so there is no way to mimic the Vader kneeling pose with Kylo.
Kylo's only accessory is his broad-saber. The hilt is a good sculpt with plenty of detail and a couple of different paint jobs. The issue, unless the film is going to prove otherwise, is that the side plasma beams are joined up to the main blade rather than separated as we saw in the trailer, and as is included on all the other Kylo figures including the 5POA 3.75" figure. As I say, this may be a plot point, and if not it looks to be corrected on the upcoming Starkiller Base exclusive version.
So how to score Kylo. Well for me Kylo was always going to be a balance between articulation and looks. I don't mind an awesome looking figure with some articulation restriction, and prefer this over a super articulated figure where the looks are sacrificed. Sadly on this figure the articulation is already lost at the head, right shoulder, hips and knees by the superior (in my opinion) rubber material. And yet soft goods were still applied over this. Now the cloak is one of the best we have seen, but it needs to sit right over the helmet, and like Palpatine it just doesn't unless you are going to do some serious work in either starching the material or adding wirework to the seems. It may be controversial, but I would have preferred to see a rubber hood similar to that of Maul. Until I have seen the film I am not going to say the saber is a mistake so I will remove this from the scoring at this stage.
Good figure, I would certainly have him in any TFA collection but for me he only gets 3 out of 5.