by Troy Brownfield

I was there, man. What I mean is that I have a full, bright and shiny memory of Star Wars the first time around. My dad took me see it upon its theatrical release, and I was a full-fledged nut for The Force. I got, and still have, the vaunted Early Bird Set. I remember clearly the arrival of the rest of the Original Twelve, including the fact that the local stores were put a limit of 3 figures at a time on purchases (the first day that we were able to get them, I got Han Solo, C-3PO and a Stormtrooper; Mom went back later and got me Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and one of the “Sand People”). And I REALLY remember the weeks long hunt for those damn Jawas (for the two people that care, the Death Squad Commander and another pair of Stormtroopers was obtained in the middle somewhere. When Mom finally found the Jawas, she bought two because they were such a pain in the ass to find).

I could go on, but it’s all a variation of the same story for all of us. There’s an extra level for those of us that are parents. I have two boys (one about to turn 11 in a few days, the other just turned 9), and my wife and I’ve had the opportunity to introduce them to the Star Wars Universe over time via films, other media, and, of course, the toys. Frankly, I worked extremely hard to keep the Big Empire Twist from the boys before they saw it the first time. I succeeded, and they were utterly gobsmacked when Vader dropped the truth bomb on Luke. But considering their ages, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was their first opportunity to see a brand-new Star Wars film in the theatre. And, as you might expect, they bought into the excitement completely. It’s only appropriate then that as they enter a new level of immersion that there is a metric ton of new Star Wars toys in the world. Hasbro was kind enough to send some things over for review, and the boys were more than happy to help out. Here’s where we starting Catching Up on Star Wars.

Let’s reach back to the beginning, and hit the 3.75 inch figures first. Each figure comes with build-a-figure pieces for items of various function, but as I’ve yet to acquire them in the right combination for the designated directions, I’ll skip that element.

First Order Snowtrooper/F.O.S. Officer: I’ll admit it; I’m a Stormtrooper guy. I’ve always liked the original design, and I’ve always bought multiples (waaaay before I heard the term “Army Builder”). From the first trailer, I dug the new appearance. And that carries over into the Snowtrooper figures. All of the new figures feature the attention for detail that really began to sink into the line upon its ‘90s revival, and you can tell that here. One of the great things about the film is how the costumes, vehicles and weapons have plausibly evolved. The “mouthless” sloped face echoes the original Snowtroopers, and I like how the orange shoulder panel on the Officer evokes the original Sandtrooper. [Note: The Officer comes with the First Order Snowspeeder]. Stormtroopers have to be a cornerstone of the line, and these look great.

Guavian: Proof that Hasbro doesn’t skimp on the details just because a character is of lesser import. The masked Guavians get literally seconds of screentime, and yet, this is a fine sculpt. You can even see wrinkles in the fabric. If you knew nothing about the film or the character, you could see this piece and think, “Man, that’s just a cool design”.

The Inquisitor: This sharply-designed villain from the first season of “Star Wars: Rebels” is also extremely well done. The really interesting thing about the Rebels figures is that they have a slightly elongated exaggeration in the pose, as if adapting the animation rather than the other figures that are adapting live-action. It doesn’t mean that they don’t fit with the rest of the line; they do. It’s just a really neat way to tweak the figures a bit while making them feel including in the wider range of figures.

Boba Fett: Everyone’s favorite bounty hunter turns up here in the Armor Up expression, a branch of figures that contains armor pieces that slip over the top of the figure to give them a fighting upgrade. Honestly, Boba Fett’s already covered in armor. He doesn’t need more armor! But I have to admit that the deco of the extra piece is appropriately done, and my kids dug it, so there you go. They’re clearly the primary audience for this one. The base Fett figure is as good as any of the other 3.75-inch versions of the character, though I think that Fett’s blaster is very well executed.

First Order Snowspeeder: Though the vehicle was only briefly glimpsed in the film (rumor has it that it had more screentime at one point), this is still a fine addition to the ranks of Star Wars transportation. Nice-looking an easily assembled, the Snowspeeder is a nice piece, particularly when you have two Snowtroopers to ride in it. The main action feature of the vehicle is a projectile-launching cannon; note, the red rock does go a fair distance.

All right, kids; that wraps up Part 1. We’ll be back in the very, VERY near future to cover more of the Force, including new sabers and one excellent Nerf blaster.

Troy Brownfield writes comics (including the webcomic Sparkshooter), but he writes about collectibles for FreakSugar.