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Holiday Edition Mandalorian Warrior

Star Wars
by yo go re

Okay, they can't all be winners...

Celebrate the season with specially designed Star Wars figures from The Black Series!

For the 2020 Black Series "Holiday Edition" figures, the only one I ever saw in person was the Best Buy-exclusive Sith Trooper, and even that doesn't count because the only reason it hadn't sold out yet was because it was before the street date. This year I saw both the Walmart and now the Target figures in the wild! Granted, it was a one-time thing, and they were both fully sold out the next time I went, but at least I can confirm there was at least a 10-minute span where these toys were on shelves in physical stores and available to purchase.

I already knew I was going to get the Walmart Scout Trooper, because Grogu. I'd even preordered it when it popped up online, then cancelled after getting the toy in-store. But call me Shania Twain, because Target's offering didn't impress me much. I saw it listed on their site, but didn't bother ordering. But show something to me in person, and I'm much more likely to get it.

This figure is the Mandalorian Warrior, a festive repaint of the 2020 "Mandalorian Loyalist" exclusive from Walmart (in the same little subline as the Mandalorian Super Commando and Ahsoka), The bio on that figure said: When Darth Maul betrayed and defeated Pre Vizsla, Death Watch splintered into two groups. Those who wanted to embrace Mandalore's warrior heritage remained loyal to Maul. Okay, sure. It was the plain blue Mando, so it didn't seem worth getting, but now it's in maroon and green, with a sweater pattern printed on the front of his armor: Boba Fett's... well, that's not a batha skull any more, is it? Now they say it's a mythosaur. Anyway, we get the skull, plus a few Mandalorian helmets below that, and though it's hard to see, a pair of Din Djarin's mudhorn skulls coming out of his armpits. Nice of them to represent both Mandalorians anyone cares about.

The paint is less impressive on the back. We just get big chunks of solid color, even on his jetpack, which is molded in solid green and not given any paint apps at all. That's disappointing. Since his stripey elf socks are just the armor on his shins, we don't even get to see those from behind! More could have been done. More should have been done. I know we've said this before, but paint the backpack like it's a big, wrapped present; that would have been fun!

Since this body has been around since Jango Fett, the artisulation is a little old: swivel/hinge ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, balljointed torso, swivel/hinge wrists and elbows, swivel forearms and biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, a hinged neck and a balljointed head. The joints in the forearms are so you can aim the weapons sculpted on his gauntlets (flamethrower, rocket launcher, whatever else), while the ones in the biceps are there because hoses run from the gauntlets to the upper arm, and if they didn't move somehow, they'd keep the arms from going as far as they should and that would be bad.

His only weapon is Din's Amban phase-pulse rifle, painted white and orange. Since this mold never had a hole in its back to accommodate the rifle, he'll have to forever hold it in his hands. It's super annoying that while the legs are molded with holsters, he doesn't get the pistols designed to fit in there. Okay, maybe those were never turned into Nerf guns like the rifle was, but why should that limit you? Just mold them in white and paint some orange on the tips, who's to ever know?

The 2022 Black Series Holiday Edition figures all come with a pack-in, just like they did in 2020. The Merry Mando's is a bit obscure: while everybody else is getting porgs or whatnot, this set includes a bogling. No, not one of those rubber monster puppets from the '80s, that's a Boglin; this is a bogling. Native to the planet Bogano, boglings were introduced in 2019's Jedi: Fallen Order.

This is the second time there's been a Holiday Edition Bogling this year. This one has more wintery colors: white fur and large black eyes, like a baby seal or something. For whatever reason, they've opted to make its bird-like feet a light blue - possibly to just have some flash of color on there, since taking a cue from penguins or polar bears and making the feet black would have been a bit dull? The bogling is unarticulated, and posed standing upright with its little arms held cutely in front of it, and its fluffy tail acting as a tripod to keep the toy standing.

While the 2022 Halloween Edition figures got to use the new style of packaging, the "Holiday Edition" releases stick with the old style, so the 2022 collection can blend in with the 2020 collection. Obviously we wouldn't have cared either way, but it's nice for the fans who have an opinion on that. For my money, just keeping the colorscheme - gray with a red stripe and white snowflakes formed from the figure's helmet - would have been enough, but surely someone out there would have been disappointed if the Mandalorian Warrior looked different on the shelf than the Snowtrooper. If that's you, congratulations on your pending uniformity.

As said, I wasn't planning to get this release before seeing it in person; I mostly enjoy these Holiday Edition figures because they're molds I don't already have, but this mold I basically do. Several times. Even had his pack-in buddy! And his sweater design isn't as cool as the Scout Trooper's. Maybe if they'd used the Death Watch Mandalorian mold instead of this one, it would have turned out better. If nothing else, it wouldn't be a mold we've been seeing for six years now.

-- 12/24/22


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