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Review : Star Wars Black Series Chewbacca (Vandor), Solo

Welcome to our review of the 2018 Star Wars Black Series Chewbacca figure from Solo, A Star Wars Story. The figure was an exclusive release sold by Target in the US.

Pros : new head-sculpt is an improvement on previous releases. The new bandoleer is well done. The goggles work really well.

Cons : remains poorly painted with at least a wash away from bringing together the various coloured fur pieces. Articulation is limited.

While main characters Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Qi'Ra and Tobias Beckett got general releases of their figures from Solo, A Star Wars Story, Chewbacca was selected to be an exclusive release and was sold by Target in the US. Chewie is packed in the standard Phase 3 box with the Gregory Titus artwork and window box to display the figure.

The figure is titled simply as Chewbacca, following the usual trend of not naming movie's on Black Series releases. This means we now have three boxed figures for Chewbacca. Round the side of the box this character name is repeated - against the bold red of one spine and in red against the black of the left spine.

Round the back we get a larger Titus illustration and a short bio that talks about Chewie as "A mighty Wookiee nearly two centuries old". Our figure was purchased via a Far East seller and carries the white Far East distribution over sticker.

There are a large amount of these Chewie figures that were sadly packed with a part missing from the gun. We sadly received one of these and after failing to obtain a correct replacement I ended up going ahead with the review. If you are in the market for this figure then you'd be well to check the packaging upfront to see which version you are getting.

Chewie opens like any Black Series figure by the top or bottom flap and slides out in the inner tray that itself sits in the red cardboard backing tray. There are a set of goggles to one side of Chewie's head, and his blaster rifle at the other side.

This Solo Chewbacca figure see's a new headsculpt and for me this is the best to date and would easily fit as an Original Trilogy Chewbacca. Like all releases to date there is a good depth of sculpt in the fur around the head and beneath this sit very neatly painted eyes, a black nose and a slightly open mouth with teeth exposed and behind them a pink painted tongue.

The fur is variated in shading working out to a lighter brown as it moves to the ruff around his neck. For me, and like the previous two Chewbacca's, the fur is still short a dark brown wash to really enhance that sculpt.

From the head the fur sculpt continues down into the body, with each segmented sculpted to hang over the adjoining part so the joints underneath are still manoeuvrable. Each section seems to have a slightly different shade, and there is no blending with quite stark changes between say the upper arms and lower arms. Again I would argue a dark brown wash would bring all of this together. The extremities finish with very simply painted toes and fingers. These are a dull grey in colour.

The bandoleer is a brand new piece replicating the double shouldered version Chewie uses during the Vandor raid and beyond in the movie. This is cast as an individual piece and cast in a rubbery brown plastic. The various canisters are then painted with black and silver detailing. The trademark satchel bag sits tucked round the back and is shaped against Chewie's butt.

Everything below the head is a re-use of the previous Chewie figures. The head, as you can see from this image, does make this newest Chewbacca look smaller than his two predecessors. This shorter head for me is more accurate and also scales Chewbacca better against the Han Solo figure. The earlier Chewbacca's were always criticised for being too tall.

There is also a significant variation in fur colouring that is more visible when placed side by side. While none of the paint jobs to date have done Chewie justice, I think this is the closest colouring to what we see on screen.

Chewbacca has 16 points of articulation, but the overall posing and movement is hindered by those overlapping fur sections. We start at the head where you can certainly feel a ball joint in play. The movement is very restricted side to side by that fur collar but there is some forward and backward movement. A similar joint is employed mid torso and this is much more varied in its movement and the lower piece is a rubbery section which does flex as you twist and bend Chewbacca.

The hip joints can't be seen because of more fur and this also holds them back a little so the ball joints can only really lend themselves to wider stances. Under the hip is a thigh cut and then you move down to a single knee joint which once more is held back by the surrounding fur. It does still bend to 90 degrees - just no more. And weirdly as a result of being a single joint it also rotates - although when you do this it makes Chewbacca look like he's had a nasty accident. The legs end with ankle rockers, once more restricted, but they do support a fair few stances - and thanks to Chewie's bulk and large flat feet you won't have much of an issue standing Chewbacca up.

The arms are also ball jointed at the shoulder and here the fur from the adjacent torso is not restrictive so both arms raise out fully to side and then rotate around the head. The elbows are a rotating single joint and with a bit of pressure can get to within a few degrees of a right angle bed. This does mean that Chewie can't hold his weapon in a two handed firing pose - the same issue we had with the earlier releases and the bowcaster. The hands are jointed at the wrist and here there is also a pivot so both hands can be pivoted as well as rotated.

The first accessory packed with Chewbacca are the goggles he wore on Vandor during the heist. These are a sculpted front piece with translucent plastic lens that when worn still allow you to see the eyes beneath. The strap is then an elasticated piece - similar to a hair bobble.

While the strap is a little messy where it attaches to the goggles, it works surprisingly well and the glasses sit neat on Chewbacca's head and don't look oversized or as though they are floating. Because the strap is elasticated you can also raise them up so they are on Chewie's forehead or have them round his neck.

I would be tentative with the durability of the strap and the fastenings so be mindful if you are adjusting this regularly.

And then we have the offending Blaster Rifle. If you look at the images above, the missing part is a sliding stock that sits on the barrell. Having it missing doesn't mean there is an unfinished part or an obvious gap - but it does mean it is no longer screen accurate, and once you know about it I find it frustrating that I don't have a complete piece (that might just be me).

The weapon is cast in a grey plastic with same brown shading on the handle and on a side section. There is a touch of silver around the barrels.

Chewbacca's hands have not been updated or adjusted from the original release which were designed to hold the Bowcaster. I needn't have worried though as these still work perfectly well for the blaster rifle. The trigger finger even slots in place.

As we said earlier, without expansive arm movement the ability to hold the rifle in two hands is missing and you end up with the same posing w did for the Bowcaster where we kind of move the left arm across and leave it hovering as near to the gun as we can.

As a key member of the heist team in Solo, I am pleased we got this Chewie pretty quick to display alongside the rest of the team. I do not understand why it is an exclusive as it pretty much a re-use of prior parts and doesn't immediately scream of anything complex in terms of paint job like we saw with Gree or Wolffe.

The key to getting Chewie is to shop around and look for options to buy direct from the Far East. Sadly the figure is coming out excessively overpriced through the UK distribution channels and I have seen him as high as £40, nearly twice the price of a standard release.

When it comes to scoring there are some significant factors to consider on price and on quality control with the missing parts. On the assumption you get this for sub £30 and it has the correct parts for the gun, the I score Chewbacca a 3 out of 5 - consistent with the Original release and one better than the Force Awakens version.

While I like the new headsculpt and the way the goggles have been realised, my issue remains the lack of paint job to bring the various shading together and the posing issues which are disappointing for such an action orientated character from the movie.


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