Review : Unmasked Kylo Ren
Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro)
Wave/Series : Rogue One Wave 1 (Wave 7)*
Released : September 2016
Price : £21.99
* An expanded pack containing more accessories was sold as an Exclusive to Star Wars Celebration / SDCC 2016*
An unmasked Kylo Ren always felt like an inevitable addition to the Star Wars Black Series line. He was announced a couple of weeks before Star Wars Celebration 2016 in London as an exclusive figure, and would later go on to be available at SDCC 2016. Restricted to 3000 pieces at Star Wars Celebration, the figure sold out across all three days. The basic figure, #26, was released as part of the 1st wave of Rogue One figures in September 2016.
This wave 7 release is part of the phase 3 packaging and arrives in a standard single figure box with the black gloss design, accentuated with the bright red spine and figure backdrop. The grey scale art work to the bottom right is a new illustration of a very solemn looking unmasked Kylo Ren rather than the more angry action orientated illustration that was applied to the Celebration exclusive.
The reverse of the box carries the same illustration blown up and over which is printed the four language blurb. This text is identical to the one used on the original 2015 release of Kylo. The spine and name plates go with the text Kylo Ren, with the word unmasked in smaller font under the main text.
The inner tray slides out at either the top or bottom. To the right of the head as you look is packed the unlit lightsaber hilt. To the left, as you look, of his hand is the lit version. There are no other accessories.
Out of the box and the likeness to Adam Driver is passable but not particularly well painted. This is sadly consistent with most human Black Series figures now. The figure comes with his hood folded back, and then around this is the sculpted plastic cloak. From this piece comes the soft goods robe that covers the chest and then flows down into an outer skirt, These soft goods are nicely tailored, with a decent texture and do hang really well considering the scale. They are held in place with a plastic belt. The arms are sculpted plastic with a ribbed design, and the same ribbed design is repeated in a soft rubber inner skirt. Under this final skirt are a pair of sculpted legs with quite a lot of detail considering they are hidden. The figure ends with strapped gloss boots. Aside from the head paint wise there is nothing other than a touch of silver on the belt, but each black element of the costume does carry a different shade and texture.
This is the revised version of Kylo and he differs from the original 2015 version with an updated outer cloak around the neck, a crisper belt, and shorter robes that stop at his feet and do not splay out across the ground. This revised Kylo figure is also a touch taller than the original wave 1 release.
Unlike the SWCE exclusive, this version is not packed with the optional masked head. However, the same mechanism is employed as the SWCE so you can swap the head with the original Kylo, the SWCE Kylo or the Starkiller exclusive Kylo. Doing this final swap would render that particular confrontation more screen accurate.
The original exclusive saw Kylo packed with a lit and unlit lightsaber. And both of these are carried forward into the single release. The lit version is a big improvement on the 2015 release being crisper in the sculpt and paint and that it fits neatly into either hand. This version is the same as the one sold with the Starkiller version of Kylo and not the original release where the beams were connected across the hilt. If you were hoping for the melted Darth Vader helmet or the 1st Order Banner, then these remain exclusive to the Celebration 2016 version of this figure.
Articulation on the figure is identical to all the other Ren's and consistent with the POA the Black Series are now using. The head is a ball joint and either head can move up and down and rotate fully on the ball joint. The shoulders are ball jointed and can extend out and upwards, although you will find the right arm stops a little lower than the left due to being blocked by the over cloak. The elbows are single jointed but also rotate and there is a pinned wrist which allows the hands to rotate and bend.
Hidden under the cloak is a waist joint which gives the torso some sideways movement to the legs, this will aid more action orientated poses. The hips are ball jointed like the shoulder and have a swivel just under them at the thigh. With double jointed knees and ankle rockers the legs are really maneuverable and are not even blocked completely by the inner plastic skirt thanks to some cleverly added splits in the skirt. It is quite easy for example to get Kylo to kneel with his cloak spreading out to either side.
The unmasked Kylo is a little bit lazy in some areas for Hasbro, but then again had they revealed what Kylo looked like under the mask before last years Force Awakens release then fans would have been in uproar.
This release also goes some way to balancing out that tricky situation of giving convention goers an exclusive, without frustrating the scores of other fans who can't go and are forced to pay excessive prices on the secondary market. Yes this vanilla release is missing a couple of accessories, but they aren't invaluable in the same way the Jabba The Hutt rail and hookah was. I gave the Celebration/SDCC Kylo Ren a score of a 4 out of 5. Considering this one comes in nearly £10 cheaper, albeit without some accessories, then there is no reason to amend this score.