Thursday, January 10, 2019

Star Wars: Black Series Battle Damaged Captain Phasma (The Last Jedi)

 When Toys R Us closed, the status of multiple store exclusive figures was tossed into chaos. Almost all of them would be picked up by other venues, and some of them just ended up at online sources. Black Series Toys R Us exclusives were rescued by the Disney Store, and so were not missed. The second of three, this battle damaged Captain Phasma depicts neo-Boba Fett as she appears in her final scene in The Last Jedi, where she again is imperiled and for the time being presumed dead, because unless a filler comic miniseries is coming from Marvel to smooth over this one, it’s hard to see how she’s going to escape an exploding Star Destroyer and return for Episode IX.

But we all know that she will.

Anyway, this does seem to be a different Phasma figure from the one released in 2015, just generally appearing a little bit more slender than the Force Awakens version. There are some big differences in the form of deco, obviously, with the helmet being broken open and the large scorch mark on the chest, but there is also, to my personal satisfaction, a cloth cape in the place of the old soft plastic one. We all know that I appreciate the soft goods on figures.

The helmet is split open by the left eye, where Finn nails her with the baton, the kind made famous by Episode VII superstar TR-8R, and Phasma’s eye is clearly visible. Viewed from underneath, it looks like there may be an actual head under the helmet, though the helmet is firmly in place, and not (at least easily or immediately) removeable. This seems like a calculation, as though a helmetless Phasma is in the cards for Episode IX, which would make this version an intermediary figure between that one and the original. At this point, who can say, but we’ll find out in a few months, I’m sure. Even though it’s just an eye, you can see that the sculpt is good and crisp. Surrounding the break in the helmet is a lot of detail and paint to indicate scorching and damage. It’s a really well executed bit of damage, even though it is the only real selling point for the figure. Honestly, it’s this cracked open helmet that made me want the figure in the first place, over the summer when someone had in-hand images of it but we were not certain where it would be carried. Too niche and small time for wide retail sales, excellent for two cases per store location. But what location?

Accessory wise, there are some parts. The cloth cape, previously mentioned, does not impede movement or posing, always a step up from the soft plastic version of such an accoutrement. The cloth is thin, but still, my personal preference is always for the cloth. Phasma comes with her blaster, which seems to be the same mold as the original release, only in slightly more bendable plastic. Also included are two versions of the same piece, that being that pike Phasma produces in the aforementioned duel with Finn, in both its nascent, contracted form and its extended, fightin’ version. The blaster will plug in to a small slit on the leg; the contracted pike has no place to be stored. The extended version is literally a plastic stick, fairly bendable, most likely for safety reasons. Phasma is not the most poseable of Black Series figures, owing mostly to the oddly cut forearm armor that prohibits 45 degree or more bends, but she can hold this pike in both hands in front of her, as she can also hold her blaster. Provided that this is a new Phasma body, it’s a letdown that poseability was not addressed in any meaningful way.

After all of that, there’s not a lot left to say about this figure. We can talk about all of the usual things, how “this is a great example of a good store exclusive,” or how “your enjoyment of/ need for this figure may vary,” or any of the rest of those stand-by statements. What is worth mentioning, regardless, is that what this is is a store exclusive figure from a store that has gone out of business, and yet it is still available, not lost to time and lack of retail outlet, and that, whether you’re interested in the figure or not, is a good thing. The closing of Toys R Us left a real fear in the collecting community over this exact kind of thing, and for the time being at very least, it seems that the issue has been addressed.

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