Star Wars at New York Toy Fair 2019

Star Wars at New York Toy Fair 2019 | Green Card Back

Mid-February marks every toy nerds favourite industry event – New York Toy Fair. It’s the premiere opportunity for the biggest names in plastic merchandising to show off their wares for the upcoming year.

Hasbro is no exception, and from Transformers to Overwatch, the Pawtucket toy company made a splash this year. But it was the company’s Star Wars reveals that I was waiting for.

And reveal they most certainly did.

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Jaina Solo (Black Series) Review

Jaina Solo (Black Series) Figure Review | Green Card Back

Black Series, 2017

Accessories: Lighsaber, Blaster, Helmet, Flight Vest
Appears in: Expanded Universe

Card Back: Daughter of Leia Organa and Han Solo, Jaina Solo is a Jedi student of Luke Skywalker. Like her father, she is also a crack pilot and skilled mechanic. Like her mother, she is a born leader.

Jaina Solo’s appearance in the Star Wars Black Series line is something of an outlier under Disney’s stewardship of the franchise. Jaina was the winner of a Hasbro fans poll that ended up causing acrimony amongst some collectors due to the way that Expanded Universe fans organised themselves for a unified vote. Given that the nomination of Jaina was a reaction to Rey in The Force Awakens it’s surprising that Disney let the result stand. The mouse wasn’t as lenient for the next fan vote, when several valid selections were thrown from the ballot.

Given the way that the Sequel Trilogy has unfolded it’s difficult not to feel a bit of positive bias towards Jaina Solo, even if I’m not hugely familiar with the Expanded Universe stories she takes part in. But, this is a review of the toy rather than a commentary on Star Wars overall (because there’s not enough of that on this blog already) – so let’s see how Black Series Jaina Solo figure holds up in its own right…

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Inferno Squad Agent (Black Series) Review

Black Series Battlefront 2 Inferno Squad Agent Review | Green Card Back

Black Series, 2017

Accessories: BlasTech E-11 Blaster
Appears in: Battlefront 2

Card Back: In the wake of the Death Star’s destruction, the Empire created the Inferno Squad to ensure that Imperial secrets would remain safe. Their fierce loyalty to the Empire and exceptional skills in both aerial and ground combat set this squad apart from the rank and file troopers.

Dice recognised the inherent cool factor of the TIE Pilot design when developing Battlefront 2. The developer made Inferno Squad – the Empire’s crack commando unit and playable campaign characters – a group of special forces TIE Pilots with extra red markings to set them apart; proving, alongside Sith lightsabers, that red still means danger even in a galaxy far, far away…

Released exclusively in the US at Gamestop and in the UK at Game (and also available from online retailers such as In Demand Toys), the Black Series Inferno Squad Agent saw release in late 2017, making it to these shores at the start of the year.

That means if you want it, the chances are you already have it. But if you’re on the fence – maybe I can help you!

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C-3PO (The Last Jedi Budget Line) Review

The Last Jedi (Budget Line) C-3PO Figure Review | Gr

The Last Jedi (Budget Line), 2017

Accessories: N/A
Appears in: Revenge of the Sith, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi

Card Back: C-3PO is a droid programmed for etiquette and protocol, built by the heroic Jedi Anakin Skywalker, and a constant companion to astromech R2-D2.

One of the nicer yet more inconsequential surprises of Star Wars collecting in recent years has been the line of cheaper, limited articulation action figures on sale in budget stores. These affordable figures have spanned the saga with sometimes as little as 3POA, but the price makes them almost worth it for certain shelf-filler characters.

I say almost worth it, because there’s a key issue with the line – size. Way too big for the 3.75″ line and that little bit too short for 6″, after getting the undersized Darth Vader from 2016’s Rogue One line I had consigned these figures to their own odd little subsection marked ‘no need to buy’.

That all changed when C-3PO saw release in this year’s The Last Jedi wave. So is he a game changer? Click through to find out!

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C-3PO (POTF2) Review

C-3PO Figure Review (POTF2, 1995) | Green Card Back

Power of the Force, 1995

Accessories: N/A

Appears in: A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi

Card Back: Designed as a protocol droid, C-3PO’s main programming function is to interact with human society. He is an interpreter fluent in over six million galactic languages, specializing in the areas of etiquette and translation – especially important during diplomatic missions. To aid in these tasks, he is equipped with microwave and olfactory sensors, photoreceptors, vocabulator speech units, energy transducers and broad-band antenna receivers. He was programmed with an elegant, human sounding voice, but more often than not C-3PO is heard whining and bickering with his companion, the astromech droid R2-D2.

C-3PO was once a simple interpreter aboard the transport ship Tantine IV, but a twist of fate made him one of the most wanted droids in the galaxy and a reluctant but loyal hero in the Rebel Alliance’s struggle against the Empire. When her transport was attacked by Darth Vader, Princess Leia Organa hid secret technical readouts for the Empire’s new Death Star in the memory banks of C-3PO’s companion R2-D2. The two droids then jettisoned from the ship in an escape pod, setting about the chain of events that brought Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi into the Rebel Alliance and ultimately led to the destruction of the Empire’s ultimate Battle Station.

I thoroughly enjoy the Prequels, but also firmly believe that the execution of the rather brilliant story could have been better. And so, if I could change three things about The Phantom Menace, they would be thus:

My first priority would be making Anakin Skywalker older. Imagine Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi encountering Anakin at 15, a veteran pod racer and Mos Espa slave on the verge of being sold off – how much more believable would his anger be, or his relationship with Padme? Secondly, I would make his accidental destruction of the Trade Federation control ship a deliberate action, the culmination of the Queen’s plan that only he had the skills to pull off. Show him as truly the greatest starfighter pilot in the galaxy.

My final change would be simple: the ‘Darth Vader built C-3PO’ connection would have to go.

Even though the concept gave us a rather excellent comic tale, that’s not enough to make up for the unnecessary and somewhat belittling connection between two characters that should never have had that level of relationship.

Such an idea was so out of the left-field that it would have been laughed out of town in 1995 – which is exactly when we’re going back to for the POTF2 C-3PO review…

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