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Review : Star Wars Black Series Yoda, The Archive Series, The Empire Strikes Back


Yoda was released in the Archive Series of the Black Series in 2019 as part of the 2nd wave alongside Anakin Skywalker, Darth Maul and the Scout Trooper. The Archive Series is a revisit of older, fan favourite, figures from the Black Series - often with the newer face print technology applied. Yoda was given this upgrade, improving on the decor of the original Phase 2 blue line release from 2014.

Packaging 3/5


Rather than a boxed release, the Archive figures are presented on a blister card with a shaped cardback with V cut out and two tone design - black round the top and left side, with grey as the figure backing and right hand strip. It carries the Star Wars Black Series logo at the top with the ARCHIVE logo just under this and orientated down the side of the blister.


The character name is on the left hand side, also orientated to run up the side of the blister and in a grey text to match the ARCHIVE label. An insert is placed into the blister itself in a triangle shape and carries a Gregory Titus artwork of Yoda. This is not the original artwork that features in the small round panel on the blue line packaging, but a new illustration.


The back of the card pays homage to the original 2014 release with a larger version of the Titus artwork alongside an image of the original 2014 packaging and under this the original year of release, picked out in the blue to match the blue line releases. Sitting under this is a short piece of background text

"Yoda is a legendary Jedi master and stronger than most in his connection with the Force"


Unlike the boxed Black Series, these blister cards are essentially destroyed once opened.



Paint & Sculpt 3/5


Yoda is a re-use fully of the original 2014 figure but is now treated with the Face Print technology and it makes a big difference to the overall look of the figure. The likeness is much improved to the original Yoda puppet seen on screen - most notably the eyes, which were very crude on the original release. There is also a more subtle treatment for Yoda's hair (or what's left of it), which is much more palatable.


The rest of the body is covered in a sand coloured robe, now in a much lighter textured fabric than the first release. It is tied at the waist with a plastic tie fashioned a a belt. There is a fully articulated body under the robes - but the robes won't come off easily without cutting the belt piece. The soft goods hang fine on such a small frame, but they are a little open at the back of the neck and this causes them to slip down the shoulders. It is as though they are missing a tuck and stitch around the back.



Yoda has his blissl (flute) around his neck. This has a habit of getting in the way of poses and sticking out at odd angles. You may be better tucking it into his robes as it can't be removed as the strap is too short to go round his ears and over his head and off. He also comes with his snake. This was always an homage to the original Kenner release, making its inclusion on the Vintage card more poignant. Hands and feet are painted well enough, with the nails picked out in a bone colour.


Scale wise, Yoda is too big when compared to the other 6 inch figures. He comes up to Luke's waist almost when he should really only reach his mid-thigh area.



Accessories 4/5


The snake accessory is removable. It is cast in a soft plastic and in one shape that is designed solely to hang around Yoda's neck. The stripes are well painted, and up close you can even see the snake skin texture which is really impressive at the scale. The cream and pink are a touch lighter than the original release.



Yoda has his Gimer walking stick, cast in brown plastic with some level of wood effect built in to the cast. This detail may have been more defined with a darker brown wash over the top. It looks and feels slimmer and less substantial than the original version. It can be hooked over or through either hand to create the walking stick pose.



Yoda comes with his lightsaber, something that is not contemporary to Empire. While I appreciate the addition of any accessory - this seems an odd choice for this release.


The saber is a re-use of the 2014 version with black hilt that is then painted silver. The paint on this is less than perfect with scratches and splashes. The blade is translucent green and clicks into the hilt for an ignited lightsaber effect.


Yoda can hold the saber in either hand, but it does look odd when used with this figure and with the hand poses which are more sculpted to hold the walking stick or for lifting up X-Wings.



Articulation 3/5


As a smaller body, Yoda has a lower articulation count of 14 points. This is just about all he needs for the level of posing you would want. As I said lightsaber and fight poses look and feel odd. The joints are sufficient for having Yoda lean on his stick or gesticulate with his hands at Luke.


Head : ball joint neck

Body : ball joint waist

Arms : ball joint shoulder, double joint elbow, wrist pivot

Legs : ball joint hips, single joint knee, ankle rocker


The arms do suffer a little bit from the lack of a bicep swivel to offset the inability of the elbows to twist. In fact Yoda may have been better served with a single elbow joint that rotated. Without this rotation there is no way Yoda can get anywhere close to two handed poses of either his saber or his stick.



Summary


The inclusion of Yoda on the Archive wave was an odd one if Hasbro had always intended his re-release of the identical figure less than 12-months later on the Vintage Card 40th Anniversary wave for The Empire Strikes Back. However, both versions do give a much needed update to the figure in terms of face print likeness which was quite basic on the 2014 Yoda with the line in its infancy. The Archive version offers a different card back option for MIB collectors, and provides another avenue for openers to update their Yoda figure.


In terms of the figure and its contents, there remains issues with articulation and the lack of any rotation at the bicep or elbow, and that means posing can be a little stiff and is definitely restricted. I also don't want to knock the inclusion of any accessory, but the light saber is odd both in the blister for carded collectors and for loose collectors where it will probably go straight into the spares box.


Hasbro certainly have not perfected a figure of our favourite Jedi Master, and I score this Archive release a 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, archive hasbro, yoda,

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