The Star Wars Black Series Gaming Greats sub-line is a range of figures from the Star Wars video game universe, and is exclusive to Gamestop in the US - while sold via the Fan Channel elsewhere in the World. In 2020 the line moved to Knights of the Old Republic and a six inch figure release of Darth Nihilus.
The Gaming Greats line is still utilising the Phase 3 box design and dimensions, albeit with a cut in hexagonal towards the top of the window which uses a foil design logo for Gaming Greats. Video Game releases - going back beyond Gaming Greats to the original Battlefront figures - also get a logo at the bottom right of each box - something that has not been done with any other releases in the Black Series. The logo used is for Knights of the Old Republic II which is the game in which Nihilus appeared - unfortunately the black logo on black background does render the "II" a little lost.
Each release is given an accent colour, with the Nihilus box using a deep red - making it look very similar to most Phase 3 releases. The red is used on the character name and also as an accent colour on the Gregory Titus artwork on the front - and as repeated on the back.
The red is also used for the side spine with another hexagonal gaming greats logo at the top of this panel with the character name printed again underneath. Round to the back we have the repeated image, another Knights of the Old Republic logo - now with the 2 symbol clear against the red background - and a short piece of background text that perhaps does not go far enough into teasing the history of Nihilus to encourage new fans to go and seek out more info.
"Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II features Darth Nihilus, a Sith Lord so lost to the dark side that he became an endlessly hungry void"
The figure is accessed as usual via the top or bottom flap and slides out in the red cardboard tray and nestled in a clear plastic tray.
I have not played KOTOR2 and therefore I have spent some time looking over screenshots and video walkthroughs of the game to try and give an opinion on the sculpt for Nihilus. The figure is specifically modelled after the 2004 game apparently, and not any of the other appearances of Nihilus in Legends format.
The mask, which has caused some contention, looks OK to me. It is well proportioned and painted well enough with the central line and the black around the eyes with the red slashes upward. The top of the hood also looks OK with the two peaks and the draping down around the mask. The issues though for me start here as you can see in the game that the hood flows much further down draping over the shoulders and chest where as the figure stops someway short.
The head is a new piece, but it connects to the body of Darth Maul who was first released in 2013 when the Black Series launched. The chest piece use is identical as are the legs. The skirt piece has been adjusted to look ragged and Nihilus gets new arms. The differences do not go far enough sadly and the look of Nihilus is too short, stocky and lacking the layers of robes he uses in the game - particularly a skirt piece down to the ground. His cape is realised in soft goods and tucked into space between the hood and torso. It hangs ok, but it is too flat and cut short so it fails to envelop him and flow around him in the way we see on Darth Vader. It also has a tendency to bunch up as the head turns.
While I am not against figure re-use where it makes sense, the use of Maul is not a good choice for Nihilus, especially when the original Kylo Ren figure appears to offer a much better opportunity as seen on several custom figures already since Nihilus was released.
Nihilus is presented with a single lightsaber, and this is a new cast piece to represent the saber he uses in the game. it features a more organic curved design with what is meant to be a spiral pattern down the midsection. It is cast in black plastic and meant to be painted silver - leaving the emitter black.
What I got was a half painted saber, with the entire back section left in black. This is a factory error and not consistent with all releases - but it is a shame that the quality control on a figure that is costing fans nearly £5 more than normal and that reuses parts has issues like this.
Like all Black Series sabers, the blade disconnects at the hilt by means of a plug. The saber blade is a red plastic, but not as translucent as other Sith figures leaving it looking quite flat and almost painted rather than a coloured clear plastic. The saber fits into either hand, but as these are Maul's hands (re-used) they were designed for the thicker shaft of his saber and the Nihilus saber can sit a little loose.
As Nihilus uses the body of Maul, it comes with the same 16 points of articulation as first seen in 2013 and also the exact same issues. On the plus side the arms move well enough being new pieces for the set. They allow for two handed saber poses and have a full range of motion - limited only by the grip on the hands as mentioned above when you are trying to get the saber into position.
Head : ball joint neck
Body : ball joint waist
Arms : ball joint shoulders, single joint elbows, wrist pivot
Legs : ball joint hips, thigh swivel, double knee joints, ankle rockers
The head rotates on its joint, but is held on a single axis by the hood shape. Turning the head also can cause the soft goods cape to ride up at the side. The waist too moves ok at the cut of the belt allowing some flex forward and backward for the torso.
The legs are the biggest issue, bringing with them a bunch of issues that we first saw on Maul but were perhaps not so much of an issue thanks to his very different posture and stance. The width of the thighs prevent the legs hitting a neutral position, so every pose has a starting point of legs someway apart - this was OK for Maul, but Nihilus carries himself in a more upright pose and that can't be achieved. Couple this with the fact the left leg on the figure seems to be longer than the left, then all posing in the legs is skewed from the get-go.
The knees give a lot of movement, but all of it restricted by the rubery skirt which thanks to its redesign for Nihilus sits a lot lower than Maul's did. And then we have the most awkward ankle rockers that never seem to want to line up with the floor and with everything else, just lead to a deep level of frustration when you want to pose Nihilus. From the waist up he looks fine, from the waist down he looks awkward, and there is not enough robes or skirts to hide that.
Many years ago I was a huge follower and reader of the Expanded Universe (as it was then) and characters like Revan and Nihilus were really exciting for me in terms of how they fit into the history of the Sith and the Star Wars Universe as a whole. While the release of Revan some years ago ticked a lot of boxes, this release of Nihilus feels lazy and unsatisfying in most areas.
We have a figure that has used an existing body that is not a good match to either the look, height or stature of Darth Nihilus in the game on which the figure is based, nor on many of the other illustrations of Nihilus from Star Wars Legends.
While I am not adverse to reuse, the issue here is that a much better body was already available and ignored (Kylo Ren - see below) leaving many fans to take matters into their own hands. Other flaws include mis-sizing in the legs, a lightsaber that was only part painted on the figure I purchased and that then doesn't fit in the hands properly, and a soft goods cape that is too short and lacks any shape.
The box design is probably the strongest aspect of this release, and that too is now out of line with the more striking Galaxy Collection releases. This choice is of course to allow consistency in the Gaming Greats line for at least the duration of 2020.
Having been initially excited for such an iconic Expanded Universe / Legends character, I find myself very flat having received and unpacked him and considering his circa £25 price point across the UK specialist stores the value for money against a brand new figure like Cad Bane or The Armorer is called into question. I score the Gaming Greats Darth Nihilus a disappointing 2.0
Darth Nihilus Figure Hack
with Kylo Ren body
For those who want to experiment with a different body for Darth Nihilus, then look no further than any of the Force Awakens Kylo Ren figures. The head for Ren pops off, as does Nihilus (complete with hood) and the neck pegs are identical.
Before you attach the Nihilus head I would lift off the shoulder sculpted wrap from the Kylo Ren body and then tuck the soft goods hood down on the back and put the shoulder piece back in place to hold it down - this removes the hood from play. Others have also suggested to rotate the belt so you do not see the silver buckle.
Once assembled your revised Darth Nihilus you will now have a figure that in my opinion looks much closer to the way I'd expect Nihilus to look - both in outfit, but also in stature as he stands taller and straighter and more imposing. The Kylo Ren hands also hold Nihilus' saber perfectly well and the articulation is comparable to the arms and is superior in the legs to the Gaming Greats figure. The only thing to watch for is the Force Awakens Kylo figures do have quite loose ankles.
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...
action figures, reviews, review, articulation, star wars, black series, hasbro, gaming greats, knights of the old republic, darth nihilus