Star Wars Black Series : Wave 1
It was a bold move to move the well established Star Wars characters from 3.75" to a new 6" scale, but in 2013 that is exactly what Hasbro did as they launched The Black Series, highly articulated and detailed collectors figures. The Black Series included the traditional 3.75" figures, but a brand new 6" scale which brought Star Wars in line with Hasbro's Marvel output.
Wave 1 was released in 2013. The interesting element of wave 1 was a choice of characters that didn't include Darth Vader or a traditional Storm Trooper. Instead Hasbro went a little left field and delivered what, even today, are some of the jewels of the line.
The honor of #01 went to Luke Skywalker, which is predictable, however they released him in his X-Wing outfit from a New Hope. An odd choice you may think, but unlike a lot of Luke's costumer this figure allowed Hasbro to show what they could do with the Black Series. Luke comes with a removable X-Wing helmet, blaster and lightsaber. With a wealth or articulation you can pose him to your hears content and represent a number of looks - my favorite of which at present is the "Top Gun" pose holding his helmet under his arm.
#02 is a Darth, but was Maul rather than Vader. Maul comes packed so he can represent both his cloaked Tatooine gear and uncloaked Naboo Duel. The cloak effect is sculpted which to me works for this figure as opposed to the soft good route. His head is sculpted into the cloak and to un-robe him you swap the head with the alternative version provided. Maul comes with his dual lightsaber, which comes apart into two separate sabers and can also be used without blades (unlit). His final accessory is a pair of binoculars. Maul does suffer a little with articulation compared to Luke, particularly when in his cloak.
#03 is a Sandtrooper, Orange Pauldron. It really showed us early on what a Stormtrooper sculpt could look like in the Black Series, but by making this the Sandtrooper they got to include more accessories - which included the back pack (which does sit a little high vs what we saw on the film) and 3 separate guns/rifles. Sandie also includes some specific "sandtrooper" elements in the sculpt vs a standard Stormtrooper including a knee pad, and paint variants on his helmet.
#04 is a companion piece to Luke, and is everyone's favourite droid R2-D2. R2 obviously lacks a lot of the articulation due to the nature of his design. But this is overcome with a box full of accessories and arms that allow you to have an Artoo for any situation including the leg boosters from Revenge of the Sith to the Lightsaber launcher from Jabba's sail barge. Artoo also comes with the 3rd leg which can we wound up or down by turning the head. He is a little small scale wise if you look at him on-screen, and whether this becomes a bigger problem will depend on when C3P0 is released and how the two look together.
Wave 1 set the benchmark for Black Series. It contained 4 interesting figures with great articulation and each with a real good depth of accessories. Although it would be Wave 2 and the arrival of Boba that lit the match for Black Series, Hasbro would not match what they did in wave 1 in any future waves with accessories and options being significantly scaled back.
Wave 1 remain, at the time of writing, the rarest figures of the range to date. None of them have had a re-release, and with many collectors jumping on board at later waves, making these four launch figures highly sought after.