Review : Rey, Starkiller Base
Star Wars 6-Inch Hero Series
Wave/Series : Aldi Exclusive (UK) / Walgreens in US
Released : December 2017
Price : £6.99
Pro's : Good sculpt. Decent likeness to Daisy Ridley. Nicely coloured lightsaber blade
Con's : Very limited articulation. Hollow and lightweight.
As well as producing the successful 6" Black Series range of Star Wars figures, Hasbro do produce and distribute a budget series of 6" figures. These limited articulation figures share similar qualities to the 12" Hero series. They were predominantly made for the Far East market as well as discount stores in the US and of course the UK, where Aldi stores have become the retailer of choice.
These first hit UK stores in 2015 in line with The Force Awakens release. The first set of figures included Stormtroopers, Snowtroopers, Finn, Kylo Ren and a Darth Vader. A second set was released in December 2016 as part of the Rogue One merchandising, but didn't contain any Rogue One figures - instead we got figures of Rey (Force Awakens), Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker, Darth Maul, Han Solo and Kanan Jarrus. The only Rogue One figure we are aware of is a Deathtrooper which has only been circulated in Canada.
In 2017 we have a new set, this time just the four figures, and these went on sale in Aldi on the 10th of December for the £6.99 price tag which is unchanged since 2015. In the US these have been on sale in Walgreens since September. The 2017 set includes re-releases of Rey and the Stormtrooper. We then get two new figures - Captain Phasma and C-3PO.
Like the previous two years, the figures are packed in a small window box. It uses the white backdrop and red highlighting as is used for all The Last Jedi product - but there is no direct reference to The Last Jedi. All four characters are due to appear in the movie.
The box front includes a half window, through which we see the top half of Rey against a red card backdrop. Under this sits a large red Star Wars logo and then a black section wraps the bottom of the packaging. This carries the character name as well as the age rating and the Disney and Hasbro logo's. This release is specified as Rey with the subtitle Starkiller Base, putting this as a Force Awakens appearance figure.
The left hand spine of the box carries a further red Star Wars logo and a nice illustration of Rey from The Force Awakens. While a nice picture, it is not as dynamic or eye catching as the illustrations that were included on the 2016 releases.
The other spine is made up with various notifications and safety markings. This is the same on the bottom half of the box back. Above this is a red section which contains some basic text about Rey. The text is taken directly from the Black Series 2015 released packaging.
The box top has a hanging tab attached. This appears to be factory installed rather than at the retailer - particularly as Aldi and Walgreens both merchandise these on shelves or in baskets and not on pegs.
The figure is accessed by the top flap which is taped down at either side. The figure slides out attached to a three sided backing card. The ties round the figure are elasticated rather than being twisty ties. There is a printed safety notice which sits behind the figure.
In hand you can feel these figures are a lightweight and hollow hard plastic. While Rey initially may feel cheap, once you start to inspect the sculpt you will see that the figure carries a wealth of nice detail including a pretty good likeness to Daisy Ridley. The hair is cast in the intricate style Rey wears in The Force Awakens. The robes are creased and sculpted to hang naturally around the body. Her satchel is sculpted into the body rather than be a separate piece.
The skin tone is perhaps a touch too bright, but it is consistent - something the 2016 release had issues with. The eyes and features are painted neatly and with some degree of care. The costume is a nice base off white colour, but lacking any weathering or depth of any kind.
Rey is a re-release having been part of the budget releases in 2016 that were part of the Rogue One merchandise launch. As we mentioned, this 2017 version does rectify the issue with differing skin tones that the 2016 version carried. Sadly in doing so it has lost some of the realism from the face which looks a touch more "cartoonish" against last years effort.
Articulation is the same as 2016 and consistent with the rest of the figures with four points of articulation. The head rotates, with the lower pieces of the hair having enough flex to move over the shoulder as the head is turned. The arms are a simple peg at the shoulder allowing a single movement of the arms upwards and downwards. A final joint sits in the waist allowing the torso to be twisted. The legs themselves are a fixed piece - but are cast so they stand flat and keep the figure upright.
Rey comes with a lightsaber that surprisingly can be split so that the blade comes away from the hilt. It is a separate item and not cast into the hand as some of the other figures have had. While the hilt is not as detailed as a Black Series release saber, it does carry some features that are visible in the soft cast grey plastic.
The blade is a nice electric blue translucent strip and this has been lightened significantly from the very dark version we got in the 2016 release of Rey. Another improvement for the figure. The blade slots into the hilt neatly with a small click.
Rey can hold the saber in either hand, and the grip allows for some tilting and posing of the saber so the blade can be down or out without engaging those arms too much and making Rey look like a 1978 Kenner figure (not that there is anything wrong with that).
Last year I made a bold statement that if you ignore articulation, this Hero series Rey as actually nicer looking than the Black Series counterpart. While the Black Series has made some changes in paint apps, I stand by this statement today. The budget Rey stands taller than the Black Series version and is more accurate in height to Daisy Ridley's stature. The head sculpt is also for me a better likeness and if a half decent painter gave those robes the once over you would be hard pressed to say which was the more expensive figure.
Of course the Black Series has come a hell of a long way in 2 years and while this Hero figure may beat the 2015 Force Awakens Rey - it would be annihilate in every aspect by the 2017 Last Jedi Rey figure.
This budget Rey figure falls into the camp of being in scale with, and not looking overly out of place within a Black Series collection. The sculpt is probably comparable with the Black Series as was 2-years ago and it is nice to see improvements have been made for the re-release such as the matched skin tones and the lighter saber blade.
Last year I scored this figure a 4 out of 5, this year I will downgrade this slightly to 3 out of 5 - purely on the basis that in the overall scheme of 6" Star Wars figures the other lines have got much better and while this is a cheap and cheerful sub £7 figure, it is clearly well behind the pace of others in most aspects and the gap will only get bigger.