When the Star Wars Black series was announced (and by Star Wars Black I mean the six inch line; the small line is just something else to me even if it shares the same name) I had to take a look over my extensive 3 3/4″ figure collection and decide if I wanted to get in on this. After seeing the pictures online I came to the conclusion that I would probably not collect these figures, and there were a few determining factors that played into this. First was that I probably have three or four versions of every figure in the first series in a smaller scale. The other factor is the price. Since I already have a lot of Transformers, NECA, and Masters of the Universe figures on my shopping list it seemed like a daunting task to add some more $20+ figures to that list.
But … they broke me. Seeing them on an actual shelf is a different animal entirely. I was entranced by the Siren’s song. Seeing large (six inch) scale Star Wars figures in person was impossible to resist, it was my destiny.
However, I was not about to just dive into this line head first. I needed to set some guidelines and boundaries for my six inch Star Wars collection. I decided to stick with the movies that are nearest and dearest to my heart, the prequel trilogy. While some would argue that the original trilogy contained the best films, I do not believe they show the true genius of an unrestrained George Lucas. The original films were made when Mr. Lucas was hungry and needed to make something to get cash for the next project. This also showed in his work as there was a lot of fan service in the original trilogy. Don’t believe me? Take off those rose tinted glasses and have a look again. The movie was practically begging you to come back and see it again.
On the other hand the prequel trilogy was made when George Lucas had more money than God and could literally do whatever he wanted. He didn’t need to make these movies, he wanted to. This is why the prequel trilogy is the most accurate look into George’s true vision for the franchise. This is also why I appreciate them the most, and this is why I will only collect Star Wars Black prequel action figures. I will avoid anything from the original trilogy as well as the J.J. Abrams “get people in the theater” trilogy.
Darth Maul is a cool character not only because he almost shares my last name, but because he’s an awesome villain. He spends most of the first film mugging around stalking Obi Wan and Qui Gon. Then appears dramatically, fights for a while, kills Qui Gon, and gets cut in half calling it a day. He then went on to be the darling child of creepy Star Wars fan fiction. His story may have ended after Episode One, but the fan fiction gave him a whole race of people that look like him and eventually spider-like legs.
There is no denying the action figure (sorry just getting the the toy about 500 words in) is very well made. Hasbro brought it for their first series of Star Wars Black. It certainly was an improvement over their last debut six inch line, Marvel Legends. Although having five or six years with Marvel Legends has probably taught them a few things about what fans are looking for in a figure at this scale. Hasbro nailed just about every detail I was looking for in a six inch Darth Maul.
Darth doesn’t really need a lot of paint, but he requires it to be neat and detailed where it is applied. For the most part the Darth Maul body is entirely black plastic and the only part that needs paint is the face, but Hasbro did apply some black glossy paint on the gloves and boots. Did the they do a good job on the face? If you can see the pictures I have taken I would say they did a superb job. All the details are present on both heads.
Your package will come with the figure hooded in his sith garbs, an extra head, splittable lightsaber with both blades, and binoculars. I really liked the way they chose to do the hooded version of Maul. Instead of trying to slip a large plastic cloak over his head they elected to have his head permanently attached to it. If you are a fan of detail you can even see that they sculpted his head horns into the hood of his tunic. So, in order to switch him between “fight mode” and “stalker mode” you just switch out the heads. I’m a fan of the functionality of the lightsaber, but not the plastic it is made of. The accessory is far too soft and it is nearly impossible to get into a two handed pose without bending the thing. The soft plastic is really the only problem because you can still split the thing in two, and the light blades can be inserted or removed as needed.
I think the biggest deterrent I have with this new Star Wars line is the price. I know this sounds a but hypocritical when I subscribe to the $25 each Masters of the Universe Classics club, but buying expensive toys online seems easier to wrap my mind around. When I see something on a retail shelf I mentally expect it to be a little cheaper. It also looks like the second series has already had a two dollar increase which can be seen on the preorders over at Amazon. Once I got past the price it was really hard to say no to these when I saw them on the shelf. They are well made iconic figures with a great collection of accessories. I hope Hasbro continues with the quality they put into this first series since they set the bar pretty high.