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Review : Star Wars Black Series Lando Calrissian, 40th Anniversary, The Empire Strikes Back


Lando Calrissian, in his Cloud City garb and cape, was released in the Spring of 2020 on special Kenner inspired vintage cardbacks to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. This sub-line of the 6 inch Star Wars Black Series started in 2017 with the 40th Anniversary of A New Hope, and the 2020 line continues the design with a number of new characters and figures on these gorgeous vintage cards. Lando Calrissian is part of Wave 2 which also includes the Tie Fighter Pilot, Luke Skywalker Snowspeeder Pilot, Hoth Rebel Trooper and R2-D2 Dagobah.

Packaging 4/5


The packaging for Lando is a scaled up, but pretty faithful, recreation of the original 1980 figure. It comes with the Empire Strikes Back logo and the tramline border. The card uses the same concerned looking Lando image as the 1980 original, which really builds on the nostalgia for those of us who can remember this figure from 40 years ago. To the top left of the card is a new addition of the foil 40th Anniversary logo for The Empire Strikes Back. The card even uses the Kenner logo bottom right, with no mention of Hasbro or Disney until the back of the card.


The card back is also a replication of the 1980's versions, with the other figures from the wave displayed in varying character specific colour boxes. Beneath this is the 40th Anniversary text which is generic to all card backs. There is no character unique text.


"Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with figures from The Black Series, featuring classic design and packaging"


The only downside of a card of this nature is damage, particularly if these are bought from physical stores rather than specialist retailers. Even fresh out of the cast there is a slight bend on the card.



Paint & Sculpt 3/5


This Lando figure, in his Cloud City outfit, was first released in the main Black Series line in 2017. This is essentially the exact same figure, only this time round the face decor has been done using face print technology. The result is a much more natural looking Lando and a much better likeness to Billy Dee Williams.


The big difference is in the eyes, and there is then better definition to the face sculpt with the subtle shading of the lines of the face. The moustache is better finished, looking natural with hair texture visible rather than being a painted line. The face even looks "cocky" and "smug", just right for Lando.


There is an issue with the hair line which is not painted at the back on the reverse side, which I know is tricky. It leaves an ugly exposed skin coloured piece when the head is turned. I also ended up with a black smudge on the ear where the hair paint had dripped.



The costume remains as was, with a blue shirt tucked into a wider belt and darker blue trousers. These are cast in base colours with no other paint apps aside a trim to the shirt collar and cuff.


The cape is removable, and is a relatively hard plastic piece that holds its shape to be draped over Lando's shoulder. The benefit of this over soft goods is control of the look, the disadvantage is the impact it has over posing - trapping some movement of Lando's arms behind the cape when it is being worn.

The cape is cast in blue plastic, which has some give to it. The inner lining has texture built into the sculpt to reflect the pattern, and this is then painted a vibrant gold that extends to the trim. The collar is painted a mat black. There are paint issues here too, with the black not covering the whole collar and gold smudging and bleeding onto the blue at the front.


Without the cape the figure looks a little out of proportion. Comparing the figure to the few shots in Empire where the cape is not worn it may be because the shirt is not baggy and flowing enough and the belt is sitting too high. I suspect few people will display Lando without his cape.



Accessories 4/5


Lando is armed with the DH-17 blaster, identical to the original release. It is cast in black with a very good level of detail despite its size - including a defined scope and trigger. The barrel is then painted in silver.


As usual it fits into the right hand where a trigger finger can slot into place. When not in use it will have to go in a spares box or similar as Lando has no holster. The blaster can be secreted under the cape in his hand for posing.



Lando also comes with his communicator. This is a tiny piece and while it can go in both hands it is more secure in the right - although that grip remains quite loose, more so than the original release.


The piece itself is also detailed for its size and is coloured in silver, gold and black which is impressive. The gold is lighter on this release s the 2017 version.



Articulation 3/5


Lando has a total of 16 points of articulation, the same as the original 2017 release which is obvious considering the body is the same. The neck does have the pivot joint in the neck, but unlike other figures with this joint it sits high enough on Lando so not to be visible. This does then restrict the head a little so it only really rotates and can't look up and down by any useable degree.


Head : ball joint neck with pivot

Body : ball joint waist

Arms : ball joint shoulder, single rotating elbow, wrist pivot

Legs : ball joint hips, thigh swivel, double joint knees, ankle rockers


Without the cape, these all work and articulate very well with no obvious obstructions. Each joint is tight and secure. Lando stands perfectly well on his own accord.


Replace the cape and this will now restrict movement. Arms can be moved outside the cape, but it does push it to the side and this can start to look less natural in the way it hangs.



Summary


Lando was certainly in need of an update to face print technology, particularly with the other main Bespin players having had the same. He is also a good fit for 40th Anniversary celebration line, a fitting tribute to the original 1980's figure.


There are a few issues, mainly dating back to the original sculpt with the body shape seemingly off with the very high beltline - and the cape which may or may not have been better as a soft goods option.


That all being said, the face print update makes this a much more attractive figure that can hold its own with the newer releases - demonstrating how good the original sculpt was. Accessories are fairly standard, and in keeping with the character and the articulation does its job.


I score the 40th Anniversary Lando Calrissian an above average 3 out of 5.




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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...

action figures, reviews, review, articulation, star wars, black series, empire strikes back, dagobah, 40th anniversary, hasbro, bespin, lando calrissian

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