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Review : Star Wars Black Series Val (Vandor-1), Solo : A Star Wars Story

Updated: Jan 6, 2019



Welcome to our review of the 6 inch Star Wars Black Series Val in her Vandor-1 outfit from Solo : A Star Wars Story. Val is part of Wave 19 of the Black Series, released in late 2018. She is number 71 in the phase 3 red packaging.

Packaging 5/5


The phase 3 box for Val follows the usual trend, but with a more detailed than usual Gregory Titus illustration of Val in the bottom right corner. Unusually for the Black Series she is specifically named as Val with the bracketed subtitle (Vandor-1). This places this release specifically on Vandor-1. And yet the other Solo figures like Beckett and Chewbacca are simply listed with their character name only.


The side panels remains standard wit the bold red on one side with the bold black number 71. Then the black side with the slight window panel wrap around. Here the character name is shown in small red text, and a blown up version over the top.


The rear of the box includes a repeat of the Val illustration, over which is a short piece of background text taken directly from the StarWars.com database.


"A no-nonsense and occasionally prickly woman who is a crack shot with a blaster rifle, Val may be the most even-headed and capable member of Tobias Beckett's ragtag crew of scoundrels."


Val slides out through either the top or bottom box flap sitting in the red inner cardboard tray. The figure is then slotted into the clear plastic tray within. There are no twisty ties or bands in use.

Paint & Sculpt 5*/5


I have been saying for a while that the execution of female characters in the Marvel Legends line using the new face print technology is exemplary. Figures like Gamora and Scarlet Witch are absolutely nailed on with the actor likeness, at a time when the male versions can be hit and miss. Hasbro are now bringing this female likeness expertise over to Star Wars, first with the recent Leia figures and then with this Val figure.


The likeness to Thandie Newton is spectacular with such subtle skin tones of light and shadow as well as hyper realistic eyes. There is a slightly glossy lip tone on lips sculpted in a slight smile, and even a touch of blusher on the cheeks.


The outfit is a work of art too with a basic black ensemble. On closer inspection you can see the various textures and shades of this outfit. And then there are the more visual details like the goggles hanging around her neck, the fur trim to her jacket and the variety of pipes and ropes that represent her climbing gear on Vandor-1. If you want to talk about attention to detail on a figure, then look at Val's gloves and those tiny metal components on two of her fingers.


Painting is spot on with no obvious errors or bleeding. There are also numerous colours in play from the red of the ropes to the brown of the strapping and the silver of the buckles and clips. Round the back is a section of flexible brown rubbery plastic as a skirt section. This concludes the outfit, but as we will see doesn't impede articulation.

Articulation 5/5


Val has the usual 16 points of articulation. And while you may worry the piping and ropework would impede movement, it has all been really well thought out.


The head and neck is a ball joint with pivot, and that allows you to both turn, tilt and even cock Val's head to the sides adding more character to that wonderful head sculpt and decor.


Arms sit with ball jointed shoulders, single rotating elbows and a pivot wrist. Both arms move fully with the red piping being flexible enough to move with the arms as they are raised or bent.

There is a torso joint build into the chest, hidden behind the fur scarf which hangs over the top. This too is fully mobile for rotating the upper torso or leaning the figure in and out of poses.

Legs are ball jointed at the hips, and the skirt section and climbing ropes are flexible and positioned well enough to allow the legs more or less full motion. Under the hips are thigh swivels, double jointed knees and ankle rockers.


All of Val's joints are tight and robust and she stands perfectly well in a number of poses.

Accessories 3/5


Val has one accessory, a blaster. This is not quite the blaster we see Val use in the movie as there is no grappling accessory or rear sights. This might mean it is based on a pre-production blaster. It is a shame as this takes the shine off what so far has been a wonderful figure.


Said unspecified blaster is cast in grey plastic and has some pretty decent cast detail up close like ridging along the barrell and panels above the trigger. The only paint application is a light bron that covers the grip and a further section between trigger and barrel.


It is designed to slot into Val's right hand, and while it does go it looks a little oversized with the trigger finger not quite getting into the trigger fully. Thanks to the articulation, two handed poses look much better with Val cradling that lower segment of the blaster with her left hand.

Summary


Val is probably the best Black Series figure from the Solo movie in terms, and possibly the best of 2018. She looks brilliant with the best face print likeness we've seen to date in the Black Series line.


Her outfit is really well designed and articulation is sufficient and not at all impeded by those pipes and climbing gear - she is really well thought out.


The blaster takes just an edge off the shine as it's not quite screen accurate and a little dull for such a brilliant looking figure. Had Hasbro replicated the grappling gun and maybe given her one of her bombs, we'd be adding Val to our very exclusive 5* club. Instead I am going to rate the Val (Vandor-1) Black Series release a 5 out of 5.




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