Updated: Nov 25, 2018
Review : Rebels vs Imperials 3-pack (Deathtrooper, Cassian Andor and Jyn Erso)
Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro)
Wave/Series : Target (US) Exclusive
Released : November 2016
Price : £69.99*
*£69.99 is the current import price for UK customers. We will update this review in the event of a UK official release.
2016 (Rogue One) has already surpassed 2015 (The Force Awakens) in terms of volume of Black Series 6" exclusives. I count 6 exclusives last year vs 12 already confirmed for 2016. Each of the main US retailers has picked up an exclusive, and the one for Target is the first 3 pack ever released in the Black Series range - everything before this has been 2 pack,4 pack or a deluxe figure with vehicle or creature. The nearest we have come previously would be the 2014 Target exclusive Shadow Squadron which had two figures and the speeder bike.
The set is being badged as Imperials vs Rebels on the Target website, and is made up of two rebels and an imperial Deathtrooper. This is the largest box we have seen so far in the Phase 3 packaging, and while it keeps all the same design features as the single releases it isn't going to be easy fitting this into your display, although at least height wise it is a match to single packed figures.
If you look at the box front then there are a few design variations that we don't normally see. First off is the use of the grey scale art work in both right and left corners. To the left corner as you look is the Deathtrooper head shot, and this is a different image to the one used on the single release. To the right is a combined picture of Jyn and Cassian.
The box front also covers off the three character name. Jyn gets the same full title as her box release, Sergeant Jyn Erso (Jedha), with her outfit seemingly specific to the Jedha location. Cassian is listed as Captain Cassian Andor. The rank was used on the single carded release, and I guess the lack of a planet or location is the most obvious difference here where the blue coated version was listed as Eadu. The final character name is simply Imperial Deathtrooper, the significance here being we are told this is a Specialist within the Deathtrooper ranks, with his added pauldron and equipment.
The right side spine remains bold red, but without any numbering and a simple repeat of the character names in smaller font under a hatched panel where the number would normally sit.
Round the back, and sat under the Black Series logo, are three equally sized panel - each dedicated to one character. The grey scale images are repeated in each panel, with the Jyn and Cassian art split this time round. Overlaid on each image is the usual paragraph of background bio for each figure, repeated in four languages. Each of these bio's is identical to the text used on the equivalent single release.
Unlike the normal boxes, this packaged opens from the side and not the top/bottom. Once the tape is released the tray slides out and each of the figures is presented in a single inner tray, with accessories either side.
The first figure out of the box is the Deathtrooper. This is the same base figure as the wave 7 release we saw in September. However, we've now got the addition of a pauldron and some added equipment and he now represents the Deathtrooper Specialist. He comes packed with two weapons, a small hand blaster and a larger rifle.
The Death Trooper stands an impressive 6 1/4 inches high, making him the tallest Black Series Imperial Trooper to date and a replication of the tall and sleek stature we will see in the movie. Like the long line of Trooper figures before him, the Death Trooper is a lovely looking thing and well executed all round by Hasbro. The new helmet is more angular at the front and this is perfectly captured and then is really well coloured. The paint see's neatly applied silver to the front breathers and up the face plate to the eyes, and here the eyes do have a green tint to match the prop.
The armour on the Death Trooper, once you get up close to it, is not as bulky as the standard Storm Trooper but does carry through the same characteristics. The shoulder straps are there, although are more defined and with an actual strap that is picked out neatly again in a brushed metal finish. Round the back is the iconic Stormtrooper back plate and further down on the rear is the circular tube on the belt. All the armour is a high gloss black, and then beneath this there is a greyer under-suit which is also sculpted to include a ribbed finish. This all meas what looks at first glance to be a shiny black figure does turn out to include a lot more depth than you would first think.
The arms are very similar to the standard troopers and again are high gloss and the same applies to the legs, although here the knee pads are not included and you can see that ribbed under-suit again between the upper and lower panels. Round the waist is the aforementioned utility belt, and unlike the Storm Trooper there are some varying pouches here and a flexible rubberised strap which is the holster for the smaller blaster.
The added Pauldron section is also cast in a rubber material and comprises of a pauldron that sits over the figures right shoulder. To the left shoulder is a three section ammunition pouch and both of these have a strap that goes down to a belt that holds the whole piece in place. There are no paint applications as such on this piece, although the ammo pouch does have silver detailing on each of the three clasps.
The two guns included are cast in a plain grey plastic and for me don't quite live up to the quality of the figure. The smaller blaster on mine came out with a bent scope and the plastic here is a bit too soft. The larger blaster does carry a bit more detail with a red indicator panel round one side, and with it being thicker and bulkier it shouldn't bend or misshape easily.
Articulation is brilliant on the Death Trooper, particularly as the expectations for me were quite low when you consider the Clone and Stormtroopers we have seen to date and how they are restricted by the armour. As the Death Trooper is sleeker and more streamlined this translates to much more movement. This all starts with the usual ball jointed head which can rotate fully and is then hinged to be able to look down as far as getting the mouthpiece of the helmet to touch the chest armour.
The arms are ball jointed and rather than the shoulder panel withdrawing into the armour, on this figure the shoulder panels have a level of flex which see's them smoothly transition over the shoulder and bend to match the contours as the arms are raised. This means the arms go up a full 90 degrees to the body and can then rotate. Add in a rotating elbow joint which bends past 90 degrees, and a two handed weapon pose is a piece of cake.
The torso is also jointed, hidden nicely under the chest plate. What this means is the Torso can lean forward and back and also rotates right round, adding more action poses and scope on displaying the trooper.
The hips are ball jointed, and with the belt being a similar flexible plastic like the shoulders, Death Trooper can sit down and comes close to doing the splits. The knees remain double jointed and because of the wider hip movement you can easily have the Death Trooper kneeling on one or two knees and again opening him up to some dynamic action poses. The final joints are the usual ankle rockers, and these are nice and stiff and that means the Trooper is dead easy to stand up and stay that way.
Captain Cassian Andor
Interestingly, the figure least being talked about is the figure that is actually essentially brand new in this set. This is the Cassian Andor that we see in the Rebel base scenes of the Rogue One Trailers, a more casual look than the cold weather gear we saw in the wave 7 release.
Cassian stands 6" tall and uses the same head sculpt that we saw on the wave 7 Eadu version. The look is not a bad likeness for Diego Luna but the paint is not the best, with heavy handed black paint around the eyes and the beard and hair a little one dimensional. This version does have a variant beard paint job with a much darker grey tone used on the sides of the main goatee as opposed to a lighter drybrush on the Eadu version. The goatee is also trimmer. I will revisit this review if this is the case and let you know, but I would certainly doff my hat to Hasbro if the movie has Cassian starting with a trimmed beard and it growing longer as he hits Eadu and the latter stages of the movie.
The costume consists of a flight jacket which is very similar to the one used by Luke Skywalker at the end of A New Hope. It also has similarities to the jacket worn by Poe Dameron and latterly Finn in the Force Awakens. The jacket is painted a flat brown, but has a silver panel to either lapel, one with green buttons and the other styled like some form of communicator. There is a ridged trim detail down each arm, and this is painted in a further flat brown that is lighter than the jacket. The jacket, even without any paint depth, does carry off a lot of detail with sculpted panels, zips and clasps - and the two clasps round the back side of the hem are also painted in gunmetal.
The undershirt is very "Han Solo" with a flat collar and folded down chest panel. It is painted a simple flat cream. Also a flat colour are the trousers, a light shade of olive. These trousers to carry a lot of creases and folds in the fabric as well as seams and panels for the pockets. The trousers are topped off with a gunslinger type belt, again very Han Solo in style. This is cast in a brown rubber, but there is a leather almost wood effect texture to the rubber. The belt wraps the waist and then hangs down into a holster which is then also wrapped to the right leg mid thigh.
The final touch is the ankle high combat boots. These are similar to the ones Jyn wears in her Jedha outfit that we will look at shortly and are almost a boot with a further spat (spatter guard - I had to google this) over the top. This means the top section is a slightly lighter brown than the bottom. This makes the boots almost the most detailed paint job on the figure as they are further enhanced with darker brown straps and silver buckles.
Now at this stage you have probably looked a few times at Cassian and thought "he reminds me of something/someone". This is exactly the feeling I had reviewing him, then it hit me - this costume is very reminiscent of the flight suits worn by Apollo and Starbuck in the original Battlestar Galactica. I wonder if someone on the Rogue One crew is a fan?
I would say that Cassian comes with one weapon, but that is not strictly true. He arrives with a three part rifle that actually is engineered in 1/12 scale to be assembled. You start with a handgun that can be used as such and that slots into the holster we talked about earlier. Onto the front of this you can slot a larger barrel and sight. There is then a shoulder stock that slots onto the end. Each part is cast in grey plastic and then is beautifully decorated in gun metal silver in strategic places. Finally an accessory to be impressed with and that harks back to those early Black Series figures like the way Darth Maul's saber could be constructed.
With gun to hand let's look at articulation, and starting with the arms these are made up of the usual ball jointed shoulders and rotating single joint elbows. The arms therefore go out fully 90 degrees to the side and can be raised above the head. Coupled with a pegged hinged hand the arms can achieve a number of poses, most importantly some action poses and particularly a double handed weapon pose. The gun fits into the right hand, with the flexible plastic of the finger allowing it to be slotted into the trigger. The left hand can then cup the barrel of the longer weapon if required.
Back up to the head and this is a ball joint with the same pivot as seen on recent releases. Cassian's head rotates and looks up and down, but the collar and the angle of his chin means he doesn't look up or down as far as some of the other human figures we've looked at for Rogue One.
Rather than a waist joint, Hasbro have put a torso ball joint and this allows the torso to rotate to either side of the legs. This cut does spoil the look of the undershirt, but most of the joint is neatly hidden behind the jacket. That leaves us with the legs which can get into both splits and sitting positions via the ball jointed hips ad with the flexible holster moving in line with the leg. The ugly thigh swivels remain, again not adding much than swinging the legs outward if you need a more stable foot position and surely a rotating shin joint built into where the boot meets the trousers would have done the same job. There are double jointed knees to further help positioning, and Cassian can kneel on one or both knees, or get into running or firing stances - particularly with the use of a stand. The final joint is the ankle rocker that allows the feet to be tweaked and keep the figure standing solidly on any flat surface.
Sergeant Jyn Erso (Jedha)
Jyn arrives dressed in a grey head scarf identical to how she is packed in the single wave. Her pistol is packed to the right of the inner tray. She stands 5 1/2 inches high, matching the smaller frame of Felicity Jones and therefore scaling accurately against taller characters like Cassian, and of course K-2SO. She is identical to the standard release, albeit with some minor paint variations that are consistent with a different production run. This is disappointing for an exclusive set which is costing you upward of £60-£70, especially since the announcement was held back until after the release of SDCC Jyn and Wave 7 Jyn who are also the same figure.
The facial sculpt is very generic and not the greatest likeness of Jones, and it could realistically be any number of general female characters. It is cast in the flesh tone plastic, so there is no paint apps to speak of. The eyes are pretty neatly done with a crisp white background, thin eye liner and then brown irises. The lips are also neat, but a bit too pink. The hair is a touch soft also in the sculpt at the front but redeems itself round the back where it seems to become more defined and runs round into a loose unkempt pony tail. The paint on the hair does vary in shade with some darker streaks on top of the base colour. The paint doesn't quite however fill its lines round the face, leaving an odd patch of skin coloured hair around Jyn's left ear.
The outfit in contrast is a really nice design that starts with a grey undershirt with some sculpted collar detail. On top of this is a green and brown flight jacket and this is ribbed with a yellow stripe down the two arms and with ribbed detail on the front lapels and a checked quilted pattern round the back - all of this is sculpted detail. The paint on this upper torso are all flat tones and it would have been interesting to see what a wash would do across these sculpted patterns. Despite the flat tones the look is enhanced with silver buckles and zips being picked out on the jacket. The gloves are finger-less and painted brown, with the final finger details then painted and are a different shade to the head which is of course cast in flesh plastic.
Jyn's trousers are slim fitting but have been made with a base texture to them and sufficient rolls and folds in the fabric to add some character. They are again flat painted in black with a slight sheen. The only details on the trousers are what appears to be a strap just under the knees on both legs. This is painted grey round one side, but left the same black as the trousers round the other. On top of the trousers is slung a separate belt and holster, similar to the one Han wears in the original trilogy. This belt hangs lob sided around the waist and is then strapped to the right thigh with a second strap. It is cast in brown rubbery plastic, but with some incredibly small studs painted in silver - and neatly painted at that.
The figure ends with ankle boots, although the top doesn't match the bottom in colour and I suspect this is deliberate and the top section are more like a separate wrap. Like everything else these two pieces are a flat colour with some very small details on the boot buckles painted in a subdued gun metal.
The other piece of clothing is of course the removable head scarf. This is cast in a flexible rubber and yet holds quite a bit of sculptural folds and wraps. These aren't quite as crisp as I'd like, but I guess that was the balance between a scarf that came off or a fixed piece in a harder plastic with better detail. The scarf is cast in a grey rubber, and for the first time on the figure there is some level of paint application on top of this to dirty it up slightly with a very subtly applied brown wash of some kind. The head scarf is not the easiest to slot on and off, it is a tight fit and that works to the figure's benefit as when in place it doesn't look oversized or awkward like a lot of removable head gear you see on action figures. The best bet is to turn Jyn's head to the side when slotting this on and off, but watch out doing it too often as I expect it will result in some rub or wear and tear over time.
The only accessory with Jyn is her blaster. This has been cast in black plastic but, unlike a lot of guns in the Black Series, it does have paint applied on top with details picked out in silver down the barrel. The blaster fits into the sculpted right hand with the trigger finger slotting into the trigger thanks to some give in the plastic on the hand. When not in use the gun can also go into the holster on the right thigh and be locked in place by a working strap that plugs into the holster to strap down the grip of the blaster.
Articulation on Jyn is brilliant, aided by her slim frame. Her head, without scarf of course, rotates fully round and can look up and down - so much so she can almost look at her own shoes. The shoulders are ball jointed moving out to the side a full 90 degrees and then rotating so they can be raised above Jyn's head. The elbows are a single joint, but do bend to a full 90 degree angle also - whilst also rotating fully. The wrists are pegged and rotate and then also pivot forward and backward, this is more evident on the left wrist where as the right is held back a little by the cut of the sleeve.
There is a torso joint built into the chest, and reasonably well disguised as a fold in her bust area and this also sits and moves behind the jacket. This joint will allow Jyn's whole torso to rotate a full 360 degrees - I know this is not natural, but what this joint does do is aid more action orientated poses perhaps when running, or shooting.
With the torso joint, the waist joint is skipped - not that I am sure it needs one anyway. The legs then start with ball joints that spread out to the side as well as forward and backward. The right leg is of course wrapped with the holster, but this works with the articulation and doesn't hold the leg back from matching anything the left one can do. A thigh swivel is cut into the thigh and allows you to turn the lower portion of the leg to aid in stances and posing. Anyone who knows me knows I don't like these joints too much as they ruin the look of the leg when the joint is turned, but here it doesn't look too bad thanks to the darker colouring of the trousers.
Knees are double jointed and means the lower shin can pretty much bend round on itself into a kneeling position.And with the ankles also bending you can kneel Jyn on one or both knees. Despite her slim frame, and being relatively light, Jyn still stands well enough. There is a future risk that I feel the ankles will start to flop in time and that might mean Jyn has to go onto a stand at some point.
For me, the star of the set is the very understated Cassian Andor figure which looks as good as the Disney Elite version, and gives collectors a more casual Cassian to pose with the Jedha Jyn. The Deathtrooper is also a nice figure, and tweaked to add a bit of value. My issue is the fact that anyone wanting to army build the Deathtrooper Specialists would be highly restricted and to me that is a shame, and throwing in a standard Deathtrooper would have felt better if this then allowed the Specialist to get a single card release. I would have then replaced, update or removed Jyn altogether. Giving us a third Jyn in since July with no added value, paint apps or accessories feels lazy - particularly for a set that is setting us back at least £60 if it ever gets to UK retail, closer to £70 on import. A different figure would have added to the value for money, or as I say had they removed Jyn and made this a 2 pack, akin to the Poe and Riot Trooper from last year, then everyone would have been a winner.
I kind of feel this set is one of those that has been bought, including by me, on the basis that it is a US only released and "hard to get". Essentially I've jumped on this bandwagon and paid £70 for a set that is not particularly good. My advice to anyone thinking about this set is to wait for the inevitable price reduction in the US, which should then see the UK price fall too. Or alternatively, and if you don't mind the slight scale variance, go and spend £40 on the Disney Elite Deathtrooper and Cassian, which are both identical in terms of costume to the Black Series figures in this set.
I can only judge a release on what we get, how well these contents are presented and the price we pay. As a set this is essentially one new figure, one old figure and one tweaked figure and all for a price that is more than three single releases. Therefore no matter how good the individual contents are (or were as a single release) this set doesn't quite do enough for collectors and I suspect US customers at least will see this heavily discounted in the run up to, or after Xmas. As it stands at the US retail price / UK import price then it warrants a 2 out of 5. If the price does ever drop by say a third then the value for money would be vastly improved and take this to a 3 out of 5 release.