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Rey (Jakku) & BB-8

SWVII: The Force Awakens
by yo go re

Not since Orko has an accessory done so much to sell the figure it came with.

Rey is a resilient survivor, a scavenger toughened by a lifetime of dealing with the cutthroats of the harsh desert world of Jakku. BB-8 is the spherical, loyal Astromech Droid of the Resistance pilot Poe Dameron.

Oh, Jakku is a planet? So that isn't Tattooine we've been seeing in all the trailers, but rather a different all-desert planet? I'm not sure whether that's needlessly complicated (because, again, Star Wars already has a desert planet, and we've only ever seen two cities on it), or terribly smart (it's unlikely that every important thing to ever happen in the galaxy would occur on one podunk planet). Next they'll be telling us that all those snowy toys don't happen on Hoth!

Rey is played by Daisy Ridley, but you'd never know it from this figure. The likeness is just... in no way flattering. The real actress has a passing resemblance to Keira Knightley (who, you'll recall, played one of Natalie Portman's identical doubles in Episode 1, hint-hint), but Funko has released ReAction figures with better likenesses than this.

Judging by the toys, Rey wears her brown hair in a complex, ornate series of twists and braids - I wonder where they ever got that idea? Apparently Hasbro has paying attention to that part of the design meeting, because the hair is better-detailed than the face. At least in the back. On the sides, they tried to sculpt the wispy little strands that have fallen out of her ponytails - but you can't sculpt something that thin and ephemeral, so the toy ends up with peyot that even the most Hasidic of rabbis could be proud of.

Rey, the unassuming kid from the dirtball planet, is wearing baggy white and tan clothes. This girl either has the most blatant lineage ever, or the movie is trying to set up the ultimate surprise by giving us some heavy, heavy misdirection. She has brown boots that tie behind her ankles, baggy shorts, tan arm wraps, a white shirt, and a big wrap dress that goes over everything. There's a leather cuff on her left wrist, and a double belt with a pouch hanging on her right hip. The details here are slightly more crisp than on her face, but the paint is so bad it doesn't really matter.

The solid, chunky colors are more like what you'd expect to see on one of the 3¾" figures, not the 6" Black Series. If they're going to glop the paint on this way, then the sculpts need to be more exaggerated to start with. The paint on her belt is super sloppy, with uneven edges everywhere the brown meets another color, and her lips (which shouldn't even be bright red in the first place - not a lot of easy access to lipstick in the desert, you know) just get a small dot of color in the center, not a full lining.

Rey only has one accessory, her... stick. Honestly, we have no idea what it is yet, if it's anything other than a stick. The ends definitely look like lightsaber parts, but that could just be an effect of having been built in the universe where such things exist - iPod docks and toasters look similar, too, but that doesn't mean one works like the other. The stick has a dangling strap, but it's sculpted, so it doesn't actually work as a strap. The figure has all the normal articulation, but the sculpted "dress" keeps the legs from moving very far.

Rey isn't a great toy, but nobody's buying this for her - we're buying it because all of humanity fell immediately in love with BB-8 the first time we saw her. And unless you're going to drop $160 on a remote-controlled version, this is the only way to get a toy. (Full disclosure: I would totally get that Sphero BB-8, if I had the money. Or a smartphone.)

BB is a physical prop, which totally matters to the people who weirdly fetishize such things. While the real one uses magnets (or something) to hold the head on while allowing a full range of rolling motion, this toy has to find a different solution: a "barbell" joint, the kind with balljoints at both ends. One is embedded deep inside the body, while the other pokes up into the head. There's a hole in the surface of the ball, allowing you to reposition the head - it's large enough to give you a decent range of motion, but small enough to always be hidden under the head. Obviously the toy's range isn't as infinite as the real droid, but it's still a decent solution.

The sculpt of the body is nice, matching the individually cast, UV-stabilized, hard wearing polyurethane rubber "tiles" and aluminum-fitted polyurethane resin inserts that make up the movie prop. The bottom of the ball is weighted, so BB-8 acts like a Weeble: she wobbles, but she don't fall down. We can't tell you exactly how much of the ball is weighted, because the plastic is thick enough that not even holding it up to the sun revealed anything, but you'll be able to feel how heavy the droid is as soon as you've got it in hand.

Again, the paint is a problem. While the head has a nice wash on it to capture all the cool details, the body is clean. Now, which part of the robot comes in contact with the ground, and would thus get dirty? Hint: it's not the head. One of our readers threw a quick wash on the body, and the difference is astounding.

There will almost certainly be a better figure of Rey in the future (her fully bundled-up look, for instance), and there may even be better BB-8s, but for right now, these are the best there is.

-- 09/19/15

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