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Review : Star Wars Black Series Zuckuss, The Empire Strikes Back



Zuckuss, the final member of the Empire Strikes Back Bounty Hunters, was originally panned as a Toys R Us exclusive worldwide, but due to the demise of Toys R Us its release was originally limited across most territories. It was later picked up as a Disney Store exclusive, but only in the US. Collectors in the UK had to wait nearly a full year until official UK stocks hit via the fan distribution channel.

Packaging 4/5


Zuckuss is packed in the standard phase 3 packaging. As he is an exclusive there is no numbering for this release. The artwork on the front is a very impressive rendering of the character, making him look quite sinister. A larger version is found on the back of the box alongside some basic character info text.


"A Gand bounty hunter, Zuckuss heeded the Empire's call for mercenaries to locate the Millennium Falcon and bring her fugitive crew to justice, receiving his orders on the bridge of Darth Vader's Super Star Destroyer"



Paint & Sculpt 5/5


Straight out of the box it is clear this is a very special figure indeed with a wealth of sculptural detail in that insectoid head with the inset multi-segmented eyes and the breathing mask. From this mask snakes a number of appendages that snake down the figures back and to the side to a small breathing tube apparatus of sorts.


The body is essentially completely covered in a soft goods, but unlike some of the more recent soft goods cloaks, this one sits perfectly and has a real leathery feel to it - reminiscent of the original vintage version to some degree. Over the soft goods is the chest apparatus which extends down past the waist with a segmented panel piece. Round the back, and built into this chest strapping is a control panel, painted in gunmetal with another small flexible pipework extending out and into the body suit.


If you are brave enough to remove the soft goods, or at the very least peer up the skirt and arms, you will find a fully sculpted body underneath as well as some neat three finger hands.


The paint work around the head and body is also impressive with some excellent washed shading around the head to bring out the details.



One initial thought when you first get Zuckuss lined up with other figures is that he may be too small. This is potentially a result of the way Zuckuss is positioned during the Bounty Hunter scene and the way we of course remember the Vintage figure. At 5 inches tall this Black Series version is quite a bit shorter than the other Bounty Hunters, but if you refer to his height on Star Wars Fandom.com this 5 inch height converts perfectly at 1/12 scale to the recorded height of 1.5m.

Accessories 5/5


Zuckuss includes one accessory, his GRS-1 Snare Rifle - the weapon he is seen cradling on his sole appearance in Empire on the Star Destroyer Bridge.


This is cast really well with crisps smooth lines down and a good replication of the ridged lower grip. It is cast in black plastic with some brown detailing on the stock.


You immediately go for the right hand when adding this to Zuckuss, and will be met with some frustration. Instead, the figure has been sculpted to hold the gun with his left three fingered hand - as he did in the film. One of the three fingers even slots into the trigger once this is in place. Thanks to some impressive arm articulation under the soft goods, Zuckuss can wield the rifle one or two handed.


Articulation 5*/5


The biggest surprise in this tiny but perfectly formed 5 inch figure is the articulation. You would expect such a small and bulky figure to be pretty static, but Zuckuss has an impressive 18 points of articulation hidden away, two more than your standard Black Series release.


Head : Ball jointed neck with pivot

Arms : Ball jointed shoulder, bicep swivel, double jointed elbows, pivot wrists

Torso : Ball jointed waist

Legs : Ball jointed hips, thigh swivel, double jointed knees, ankle rockers


The addition of a double jointed elbow makes a huge difference for weapon stances and for posing as a whole as you can have Zuckuss adjusting his mask or even putting up his three fingers hands for a bit of hand-to-hand combat.


The legs too are very mobile under those soft goods and you play around with wider stances, with the figure even having the ability to kneel if you can tuck the soft goods out of the way. Articulation is unhindered by any of the tubing or appendages which all move with the body.


And to cap it off he stands perfectly too, no balance issues or loose joints - all very stable in a number of poses.



Summary


For me, this is arguably the finest Star Wars Black Series release of recent years - possibly of all time. It not only nails the sculpt and paint job, but supports that with brilliant articulation and posing options and a screen accurate accessory and even soft goods that works and doesn't detract from the figure overall.




Zuckuss was certainly worth waiting for, and now the Bounty Hunter line up is complete it is clear that Zuckuss (even at 5 inches tall) stands figuratively over the others in terms of finish and quality. I score Zuckuss a perfect 5 out of 5.




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