Review: Star Wars Black Series Kylo Ren

After a long hiatus due to another semester of selling my soul going to college, I have returned! You know what else is returning? Star Wars. (To theaters, anyway; it hasn’t really “left” in decades.) The Force Awakens, the first of the Disney-produced Sequel Trilogy, is closing in faster than the exhaust port on the Death Star trench run, and the beginning of September marked the release of a whole bunch of merchandise. Force Friday has come and gone, and though I’m a bit late, I figure I should cover a bit of what I got on that momentous occasion (or, well, the weeks after). Starting off with my most anticipated figure who is not named Captain Phasma, the mysterious apparently-not-Sith bad guy who totally stole Revan’s look: Kylo Ren!

IMG_2682

Appearance

Like anyone who hasn’t read any of the undoubtedly many spoilers floating around, I haven’t the slightest clue of who this Kylo Ren guy is. All I know is that he’s a bad guy, part of both the First Order and some dark side fanclub called the Knights of Ren, and he built his own lightsaber from scratch. I’m part of the camp who predicts that he’ll be the canon version of Darth Caedus, but honestly he could be Boba Fett for all I know. What I do know is that he looks friggin’ cool, and this toy is probably the best Black Series figure that’s been released.

IMG_2694

I’ll start out with what could have been this toy’s biggest problem but is instead its biggest success: the soft goods for his skirt and hood. The Black Series has been notorious for some rather awful uses of soft goods fabric for capes and hoods, specifically Darth Vader and Palpatine. When I saw Kylo would be done in soft goods as well, I was very concerned… until I got the figure. The skirt and hood are done so well that I’m shocked this is the same toyline. The skirt fabric is heavy and thick enough to hang naturally, but doesn’t poof out at all. The hood is cut in a very particular way so that it looks like an actual hood hanging over his head, plus it actually turns with his neck joint. Admittedly, the exact look of the hood’s folds seems to vary from figure to figure, but overall this is a very impressive effort and a huge step forward for Hasbro’s soft goods. 

IMG_2693

Other than that, Kylo Ren looks pretty sweet. His design is very simple and minimalist, basically looking like a low-budget Revan cosplayer. The weird rag-cape is plastic and not the same fabric as the skirt/hood, and it’s better off for it. His helmet looks like a very faithful rendition of the real thing, with a lovely sculpt and sharp paint apps. I’d pull the hood back to get a better look at the whole headsculpt, but I’m honestly too afraid of messing up the fabric. From what I can see, there’s not a whole lot going on back there, anyway.

IMG_2697

Articulation

With a few exceptions, the 6″ Black Series has been fairly consistent with its points of articulation, with only sculpting limitations varying from figure to figure. Thankfully, Kylo comes out as more of a Darth Maul than a Boba Fett, with much of his articulation unhindered. He has universal shoulders, elbows, wrists (swivel w/ vertical hinge), and ankles, with ball-jointed hips, torso, and head (though he can’t look up or down), double-jointed knees, and swivel hips and waist. I didn’t expect to be able to get too many good poses out of him, but Kylo actually poses very well and makes good use of his articulation. The plastic cape bit does limit his right shoulder a bit, but it’s not too bothersome.

IMG_2692

Accessories

Kylo gets one accessory, his homemade crossguard lightsaber that was a huge point of controversy when the first trailer came out, but by now everyone seems to really dig it. I know I do! The sculpt and paintwork on the hilt is surprisingly impressive, looking very scorched and metallic. The blade part is a bit odd, as it’s representing three separate blades as one solid piece connected by what I assume are meant to be energy sparks or something. I think this totally works, since what we’ve seen of Kylo’s saber shows that the blades are very unstable (which is reflected by the sculpt of the blade). My only real nitpick is that the blade seems a little too opaque and candy-like, but whatever. He can pose really well with it, and that’s all I can ask for.

IMG_2699

Overall

Kylo Ren is without a doubt the strongest figure in the debut Black Series wave for The Force Awakens, and possibly the best figure in the entire line. The impressively effective use of soft goods fabric makes him a huge step up from previous releases, and his articulation and sculpt are up to par with the best of the line. Even if we don’t know much about the character yet, his badass design and well-done figure make him the must-have toy of the opening Black Series selection.

Where to Buy

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: