Hasbro and George Lucas killed my love for Star Wars over the last 15 years. Lucas made three awful/disrespectful movies while simultaneously completely selling out, but it's really been Hasbro's continually less impressive handling of the brand over the last ~seven years that has driven me into a total state of brand fatigue. But... along comes Kathleen Kennedy and everything starts to change and each successive step she's taken with Star Wars has brought me closer and closer back to the fold and while I may not agree with some of the apparent and implied choices with Episode 7: The Force Awakens there is absolutely no doubt that is has re-kindled the FUN of being a Star Wars fan and having something to honestly look forward to. As a result, nostalgia for the the Prequel craze has started to sink in and with the announcement of a new round of "Midnight Madness" - ahem - I mean, "Force Friday" all of my youthful anticipation has kicked into high gear and thus I found myself in a long line waiting for a Toys R Us to open at midnight so that I could buy a whole bevy of new toys!
I've had a mad passion of mini ships for as long as I can remember and it's likely stemmed in Galoob's old Micro Machines for Star Wars. Cars do nothing for me, but tiny X-Wings, Klingon Warbirds and so on? Now you're talking my language. So I was ecstatic when it came out that Hasbro was relaunching MicroMachines but between them looking disappointing in person and the general bummed-out-ness of not scoring any figures at the first Toys R Us I went to I passed on the non-Episode 7 stuff - same for Hot Wheels and Titanium too - but ultimately all that stuff turned out so cool I'm now actively hunting complete sets of it all.
Hasbro - Star Wars Micro Machines: Desert Invasion
This is probably the coolest of the Episode VII three-packs because it's visually diverse and includes an animal! The Resistance X-Wing sculpted with the S-Foils closed and despite the gray just being the color of the plastic the blue striping and black/sliver canopy are pretty tight and clean. Invariably this will be repainted as the black X-Wing. Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle suffers the same issue as all versions of it in this initial line... the wings are permanently upright and the landing-gear permanently down, plus this version weirdly has the wings fully extended. Still though, it's a neat looking ship and looks nice parked on the playsets. Finally we get a Luggabeast apparently and equally very exciting and very disappointing. I love that there is a beast in this line, but the paint is so... weird. One fun thing about this? The thing on its head looks an awful lot like a backwards AT-DP head, which is a pretty fun idea - that Jakku-ians scavenge armor out of all the debris.
Hasbro - Star Wars Micro Machines: The First Order Attacks
Poe's X-Wing Fighter is a very nice sculpt but this plastic is SOOOO soft both the S-Foils and the cannons are warped. The First Order Star Destroyer is pretty neat but the scoring on the front is confusing and off, but it does have a gap between the top and bottom part of the forward triangle which suggests a pretty cool sort of "open cityscape" to my imagination, and that could be pretty cool. The fact the bulk of the ship is just semi-translucent gray plastic just makes it look cheap as hell. The First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter is certainly proving to be the signature vehicle of the movie in this first wave of merch. The MicroMachine captures it well with nice sculpting and paint, but again the crappy quality of plastic in use can't help but warp. Still though, three ships for $5 is a pretty good deal!
Hasbro - Star Wars Micro Machines: Speeder Chase
Rey's Speeder (Jakku) remains my favorite ship of Episode VII that we've seen yet and I really dig this little version. For the tiny size it's painted pretty well and I love that it includes Rey just like how all the old Micro Machines included riders. The First Order Transporter is a design I just... I'm struggling to like it. I really dig the idea of the ship but it's just atypically function-over-form for the Empire/Star Wars and the presumably coffin-esque cockpit is pretty weird. This Jakku Landspeeder is pretty interesting because its canopy is conspicuously different that the one in the 3¾" line, so I'm guessing there are multiple Landspeeders and we'll see "version 2"s of both of these with the alternate canopy. Given how warp-y many of the ships' plastic is this guy is remarkably sturdy.
Hasbro - Star Wars Micro Machines: First Order TIE Fighter Attack
This is a bit of a surprising set because the inclusion of two versions of the same ship seems redundant and all three vehicles are close variations of classic OT ships so it sort lacks that sense of new-ness as well. The First Order TIE Fighter is the first I've seen that really shows there are at least two classes of TIE fighters in the new movie with this version being very, very close to the classic TIE. It's effectively the same, even down to an identical back-of-the-cockpit. The crashed First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter seems like a weird choice if not given its prominence in that behind-the-scenes reel from SDCC. The sculpt is nice and is even sculpted with with an open hatch and tiny chair within. The Millennium Falcon is nice, but, much like the other familiar looking ships, feels about 10% smaller than the original Micro Machines, which is a bummer but that could also be that I'm just 15 years older now and don't have any of the old ones handy to compare. Like many of the ships, and indeed the entire line, the Falcon suffers most from unpainted plastic. The semi-translucent unpainted tan plastic just looks very, very cheap. Hasbro really sabotaged this line by skimping on paint cause these are actually way fun in hand, and I recommend them heartily.
Hasbro - Star Wars Micro Machines: First Order Star Destroyer (Transforming Playset)
I really want to love all of the new Micro Machines but this playset just isn't that great. I imagine/hope it'll be more novel and fun once we see the movie, but there's nothing that exceptional to it other than how fluid the "transforming" feature is - just pull up on the command bridge and everything swings open. A sad result of this, though, is all the sections are pretty loose and tend to flip open when handling the Destroyer. Worse yet, there's a hundred tiny little stickers you have to apply which just reminds me how damn much I hate stickers! The center section does have a ramp with grooves to hold three TIE Fighters in succession just like the big 6" scale diorama at SDCC. The engine exhaust panel in the back also swings open to be... I don't know, maybe the command bridge? The set comes with a black X-Wing (the wings seem more closed than the one in the 3-pack but that might be warped plastic), a Special Forces TIE plus two micro-figures: Finn and Kylo. The micro-figures are nice but the vehicles, while inherently/apparently appropriate to the playset, are so un-unique there's really no reason to get them. I really want Micro Machines to succeed but this (biggest ticket item in the line...) is a total dud.
Hasbro - Star Wars Micro Machines: First Order Stormtrooper (Transforming Playset)
THIS blew my mind! One of my absolute favorite thing from Micro Machines were the transforming head playsets and never, ever, ever did I imagine something so esoteric would come back. The concept is the same - it's a head that opens up to reveal a playset! The old ones just had the front fold down abut now they fold down in the back, which is kind of neat. The set comes with a micro-figure of "civies" Poe and a First Order Transporter, now with a light dusting of sandy yellow on the front of it. The middle of the playset has a kind of neat play-feature; an arm with a peg that fits the Micro Machines peghole in all the ships. It's ringed in a slightly contoured "dune" and there is a wheel below spins the arm and ship around, at varied heights based on contoured ring - it's actually pretty novel and fun for playing (ships strafing the ground). However, and this could really just be a result of being three months away from seeing the movie, but there is nothing very unique or iconic about this set... it's just sand and a couple buildings. There's no recognizability. This bigger issue, though, is that there is only one mico-figure... it just doesn't make any sense... Leading scientists agree that two is the bare minimum number of figures needed to make a playset fun; and a guy versus a differently scaled ship just doesn't cut it. But, I'm hoping that eventually I'll accrue enough micro-figs to fill this in and make it more interesting/fun. Either way, though, you get a nice First Order Stormtrooper bust for about $20.
Hasbro - Star Wars MicroMachines: Millennium Falcon (Transforming Playset)
Well... it's not as bad at the Star Destroyer but basically take my thoughts on the Stormtrooper playset and double it. We get one ship and only one micro-figure!? In this case its a sandy re-deco of the Falcon (which is pretty redundant given that's what the playset is) and a First Order Flametrooper micro-figure. Like the Star Destroyer, the Falcon's transforming feature is impressively smooth and functional in terms of easily opening and closing, but the panels all sit loosely once closed so it's not much of a toy in that configuration. As a playset... basically it's not very impressively laid-out, particularly the panels that stick-up in the background - why aren't those sculpted to look like or have giant stickers of the crashed Imperial Star Destroyer from the trailer? Again, give me something iconic or memorable that I can relate to when you're launching, effectively, a new product line and you know this is hitting months before anyone sees the movie. The back panel is apparently supposed to be the interior of the Falcon but it's not terribly convincing, and again could really use a micro-figure relevant to it - unless Flametroopers use it as a nightclub... Again, I really, really want to love and support and convince people to buy Micro Machines but this set just isn't good enough. And, truly, a second micro-figure would really help a lot.
Hasbro - Star Wars MicroMachines: R2-D2 (Transforming Playset)
Hey, underwhelmed by the "just sand" look of the Stormtrooper Playset? Well can I interest you in an even more bland ice planet that doesn't have a name yet? And it's inside R2-D2 which is neither new nor exciting for Episode VII. I THINK the front/left half of the playset is meant to be the interior of a base but the paint and sculpting is so minimal that I really can't tell. This is the set that really made me think back to the old Micro Machines stuff and how each playset included one or more iconic moments from the movies, while these new ones... don't. Really they should have held of on playsets until closer to the movie when such things won't be as guarded. Generic playsets just aren't exciting. We get a micro-figure of Chewie here, which is nice but also not terribly exciting (and a sore reminder of the lack of old Han figures) and in a cool touch we get the First Order Snowspeeder, which isn't available in any other sets yet. Plus its riders are roughly in micro-figure scale which sort makes this more play-with-able with just a single micro-figure.
Hasbro - Star Wars Titanium Series: 01. Millennium Falcon
I don't have my Titanium ships handy at the moment but odds are this is that same Falcon mold but with the new, rectangular satellite "dish." It's a nice sculpt and is well painted (I dig the exhaust streaks behind the gray vents/solar panels/whatever on the rear. Unlike Micro Machines these do come with stands though they are a far cry from the previous Titanium stands. These single-piece, cloudy-clear, soft plastic stands feel as cheap as they look and actually kind of hurt the aesthetic of the ship. Plus I wouldn't be surprised if they sag over time. I do hope they change the plastic to black or something to class these up a bit, but I definitely prefer getting these stands to no stands at all.
Hasbro - Star Wars Titanium Series: 02, Resistance X-Wing
This a nice sculpt with good paint and a surprising amount of play value given how cost-conscious the whole brand seems to be with this first wave of product. We get a translucent, hinged canopy for the cockpit, a fold-out landing gear in the nose and back two bottom engines, and the S-Foils open and close! They don't close very flush, and the body of the ship rocks side-to-side on the wings but it's the though that counts and far more welcome that releasing two different versions of the ship (looking at you Hot Wheels). This is a really fun little ship and worth the $5 pricetag!
Hasbro - Star Wars Titanium Series: 03, Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle
Oh man would I love to know whats going on here! Is this a spoiler or did Hasbro somehow screw-up majorly and no one caught it!? It's definitely the design of Kylo's ship - complete with permanently upright wings with retractable extensions and sculpted-out/down landing gear - but whoa are the colors different! White body and black windows rather than black and red (respectively)? And it's clearly deliberate because there are panels on the wings painted gray which aren't accented on the other versions of the ship. At least we know there is a re-paint coming and at the most we know some kind of "spoiler" for Episode VII. For how locked-down and consistent all the toys are in this first series it's really, really strange that this is colored differently.
Hasbro - Star Wars Titanium Series: 05, Rey's Speeder (Jakku)
Oh Rey's Speeder, how I increasingly love you! The sculpt is great, the paint is great - given the size of this both, especially the paint, are really impressive - and I love that it even has a little Rey aboard. Even the tiny windshield is a separate piece of clear plastic! This is certainly the most iconic ship design to come out of Episode VII and I'm really happy it's being treated so well by all the different toy companies. I really hope we get a 6" version for the Black Series figures!
Mattel - Star Wars Hot Wheels: First Order TIE Fighter & Millennium Falcon
This was the only Episode VII Hot Wheels product Toys R Us (still?) had when I got to the aisle, and I'm pretty sure it's all they've revealed. The Falcon is identical to the classic version save for the new satellite dish. The TIE is really weird, though... the body/"eye" is definitely the Special Forces version but the wings are definitely from a standard TIE - they lack the thick rings on the inside where the body connects to them. Did I just get a faulty product or did Mattel get super lazy, kitbash a ship and bribe their Lucasfilm handler to look the other way since everything else has been so consistent with the licensing? We may never know. It's a nice set but for an incorrect new ship and a slightly different old ship it's not a terribly exciting two-pack.