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  • Writer's pictureMephitsu

Review: Star Wars Black Series Bib Fortuna, Return of the Jedi


If you have followed me for any length of time, you will know that I am a huge fan of the Jabba's Palace scenes from Return of the Jedi. And ever since the release of Jabba the Hutt in 2014 I have been hankering after a Bib Fortuna to display with Jabba. For the past few years, a Gentle Giant (slightly oversized) Bib Fortuna statue has been Jabba's majordomo. I can now pack away the Gentle Giant piece with the arrival of the Star Wars Black Series Bib Fortuna.

Bib is part of Wave 6 of the Galaxy Collection and is the 8th figure in the Return of the Jedi series, following on directly from General Lando Calrissian. The box features the green accent colour of ROTJ and this extends on the border section and as a highlight colour on the greyscale side artwork showing Bib with the arch and stairwell of Jabba's Palace behind him. This artwork, as is standard, is repeated on the rear of the box alongside the background text.

"Those attempting to do business with Jabba the Hutt needed to maneuver past his pasty-faced majordomo, the Twi'lek Bib Fortuna"

Out of the packaging, Bib stands at 6.25 inches tall, a touch taller than figures like Luke Skywalker from Jabba's Palace, and in keeping with actor Michael Carter's on-screen height in the Fortuna costume and prosthetics. Starting with the body and the arms, legs and torso are all cast in the base blue of Bib's under-robes - the only decor added being the bracers at the wrist which are painted in grey. While most of the body is new, the legs are taken from the Dryden Vos figure from Solo. This makes sense both in terms of managing cost, but also to give Fortuna the added height he needs.

A plastic section sits over the chest containing the grey circular inlaid panel, and this then extends visually - but not physically - down to the sash belt and lower robes which are added as a further rubberised plastic piece. Here again, the grey elements are painted and do suffer from a few problems around the edging.

Over all of this sits the outer robes, also soft plastic, which drape over the head and shoulders and encase the arms with a slitted and open sleeve piece, and wraps all the way down around the legs and to the floor.

The head, as we expect from the Black Series, is a fantastic likeness to Fortuna and includes the sculpted head tails that stretch out and round the shoulders of the figures. The two slim skin-sacks sit under the elongated double chin and this and the bulbous forehead and eyebrows frame the face itself.

The facial features are really well done and enhanced perfectly by the photo-real application of the red and sunken eyes and that mouth which is slightly open with the filed pointed teeth exposed behind the top lip.

The whole head is cast in a bone-white plastic and includes plenty of textural surfaces such as ribbing down the lekku. These head tails do look to be glued into the head via sockets, but the fit is very clean and with an almost invisible join. The whole ensemble is treated with a blue wash which does vary from figure to figure - some looking very blue and others with nothing but a few blue hues. It is certainly worth shopping for Bib in person if you can to get a finish you are happy with.

My first real issue with the Black Series Bib Fortuna is the choice of accessories. Now in Return of the Jedi, we didn't see Bib handle or use anything that would warrant a film-accurate accuracy. When Kenner released the figure in the early 80s they created what they felt was an appropriate staff for Fortuna - and this was then made canon when Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau included it in the short end-credit scene that introduced The Book of Boba Fett. The POTF2 release gave him a blaster, while the Saga Collection had him come with a knife.

So with all these options to choose from, Hasbro decided to pack their Black Series Bib Fortuna with the three drinking cups they released as part of the exclusive Cantina set from last year? While I cannot deny that Bib looks fine holding any of the cups in his elongated clawed fingers, there is something about choosing a non-screen accurate accessory such as this when there were plenty of others that could have been used. While I appreciate recreating a Kenner accessory in the Black Series is something Hasbro have avoided before - namely Admiral Ackbar's baton - but this Bib Fortuna would have looked so epic with a 6-inch scaled twisted handle staff - or even a hidden plaster under his robes.

Articulation is also not fantastic for Bib Fortuna either, and not so much the joints themselves but the choice of a full rubberised outfit over the top. If you strip back the robes then Bib has a more than adequate count of 16 points with a pair of double-joint needs courtesy of the Dryden Vos figure. Sadly these legs are pinched together under the inner and outer robes and while Bib looks like he should stand fine - the ankle rockers are not quite set up correctly and he does fall forward far too easily. In the end, you may end up using the robes themselves to keep him standing.

The arms are a little freer to move thanks to the cut of the sleeves and they can move completely from the elbow joint downwards. The shoulders might as well not be jointed at all as they cannot move under the robes without pushing the robes out of place and into odd angles.

I'd quite like to see a stooping or bowing action at the waist to replicate Bib's movement on-screen and while the waist joint does the motion for us the robes are too fixed for it to be noticeable. That leaves the head which moves well enough with enough play in the lekku for a few variations in head position.

I recently spent a review (Boba Fett on Tython) bemoaning soft goods as they ruined that figure for me. Bib is an example where I feel a combination of soft goods kept in check by rubberised parts might have been the way to go? Revan or Zuckuss being two figures that spring to mind with that sort of combination.

What we get from Bib Fortuna is a fantastic looking, but a fairly static and neutral piece that relies more or less exclusively on the arm positions to articulate. Thankfully he does that well enough, either holding one of his many cups (?) or simply gesturing.

He is another excellent Original Trilogy release who looks the part alongside Jabba the Hutt or any of the other released denizens of Jabba's Palace such as the Gammorean Guard or the various Bounty Hunters. There are things Hasbro may have done differently and am not saying that would have been better, but using strategic soft goods may have helped articulation without losing the looks - and could we not have got that staff as a nod to the Kenner days?

Wave 6 is out as of Spring 2022 and I would imagine out of the 8 figures released in the wave that Bib Fortuna, along with Fennec Shand and Boba Fett, would be the ones that are likely to sell out first.

For those who are interested:- Our Jabba the Hutt sits on a scratch built throne that utilised the gargoyle heads from the Kenner version as well as the pipe and bowl from the original SDCC Jabba set. The chain is a real jewelers chain replacing the plastic chain on Leia and also used to keep a leash on Bubo which is a custom cast piece made from a blown-up mold of the 3.75-inch version. Our C-3PO translator is one of the basic 5 POA figures and may well (at some stage) be dirtied up and covered in Jabba's goop from his frog snacks.

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About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...




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