Toy Review: Star Wars Black Series Anakin Skywalker

Star Wars Black Series Anakin Skywalker

Hasbro’s 6-inch Black Series showed a lot of promise when it was revealed in January 2013. The change was a bit of a shock for 3-3/4-inch diehards, but the intricate detail visible at the larger scale won a lot of people over. I’m a huge fan of the 6-inch Star Wars concept, but the execution has been frustrating and that couldn’t be evident than in the Black Series Anakin Skywalker figure.

Hasbro’s Star Wars Black Series Anakin Skywalker comes in the orange Death Star light panel packaging that launched the line, although a new blue-colored packaging has replaced the orange since then. The figure includes two head sculpts; good Anakin and evil Anakin with crazy Sith eyes. I noticed the Sith head sits a little high on the neck post revealing more of the hinge joint on the neck, which looks a little strange. The likenesses aren’t bad, though I would love to see the smooth plasticy skin replaced by the intrinsic plastic used by NECA, which offers a more skin-like texture. I’ve asked around and have been told that intrinsic plastic actually cuts production costs so it’s a potential win-win. Besides the two portraits, Anakin includes his lightsaber which comes in two (hilt and blade) pieces. To enhance the display of the figure with a disengaged blade, Anakin’s lightsaber hilt plugs into a port on his “belt.”

The Anakin figure has a good sculpt and great detail. I especially like the mixed use of soft goods and plastic on the lower half of the tunic, where the plastic parts give the illusion of being leather. I also give the design team kudos for hiding the knee articulation. The bulky pants could have made things messy, but the solution to hide the knees behind the boots was genius. Unfortunately, here’s where things take a turn for the worse.

When I removed Anakin from the package, the first thing I noticed was his feet. The rocker ankles appeared to have been offset due to the plastic hugging the figure in place so I corrected them. Oddly, I couldn’t help but think they were assembled incorrectly. Thinking they were reversed I flipped the figure over and realized they were actually on correctly, based on the treads of the boots. From the top down it appears that the instep is on the outside of the foot, but from the bottom up, things look right. Why fret over the feet? Mainly because standing the figure up was more of a challenge with this figure than any other I own in the Star Wars Black Series 6-inch line. It made photographing the figure frustrating.

My frustration with this figure was compounded once I started to incorporate the Black Series Obi Wan Kenobi Episode III figure in the mix. Getting Anakin to cooperate in dynamic poses was not fun. I normally enjoy spending time with figures and posing them in positions to recreate iconic scenes, but with Anakin I was ready to wrap the photo shoot up about 15 minutes and half a dozen pose dives in. The figure didn’t want to stand.

As I soldiered through the posing process, I began to realize the Star Wars Black Series Anakin and Star Wars Black Series figures in general have a fatal flaw–their articulation is hindered by the sculpt and the range of motion is severely limited as a result. Attempting two-hand lightsaber poses or dynamic attacks with either Anakin or Obi-Wan was futile. The shoulders, elbow and wrists impeded natural movement. Maybe I’m spoiled by the likes of Tamashii’s S.H. Figuarts, Good Smile’s Figma, Medicom’s MAFEX and Kaiyodo’s Revoltech, but I think Hasbro needs to consider range of motion as part of the articulation equation because without it, the articulation points are pretty useless. In reality there are a few poses you can get Anakin in, but none of them are the iconic battle-type of poses I’d like to be able to achieve with a figure in this scale.

Finally, like Obi-Wan before him, Anakin does not include his Jedi robe. What gives? I had to purchase eBay seller rickhor409’s dark cocoa colored robe for my Anakin figure (I purchased the sienna color for my Obi-Wan). The robe makes all the difference and really should have been included and it makes a meh kind-of-figure a figure worth buying. Despite my frustration with the Black Series Anakin figure its release signifies the Star Wars Black Series 6-inch line is doing well and that makes me happy, especially because I’m looking forward to the figures from Hoth. If you’re a fan of Revenge of the Sith, this figure is worth picking up, but be warned you may not be able to display it in a pose worthy of its aesthetic.

Buy the Black Series Anakin Skywalker Figure Buy a Jedi Robe for the Anakin Skywalker Figure

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