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Captain Phasma

SWVII: The Force Awakens
by Monkey Boy

Unpopular opinion time: It's not Phasma's fault. Now that everyone in the world has seen Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force: Awakens several times over, we can all talk about what a disappointment Phasma was. It's true. But the blame lies squarely at the hype machine that decided she would be the new Boba Fett: an imposing and mysterious figure in armor. What's more, it was a woman! In non-sexualized armor! When has that ever happened?

And we all know how it turned out. Captain Phasma is barely in the film, she doesn't do much, and what she does do doesn't make her look particularly skillful or bad-ass. In fact, she's not even the only female stormtrooper in the film! There's another random regular stormtrooper whose voice is clearly a woman, showing that while the First Order may be lots of things, it welcomes women into its ranks, which is more than can be said for its predecessor.

Anyway, back to Phasma. She was played by Gwendoline Christie, everyone's favorite giantess, and was featured heavily in promotional materials and merchandising. One of those pieces of merchandise was a six inch figure in Hasbro's Black Series line, and it has proven to be one of the most sought-after and difficult to find figures in the entire line. It's like the anti-Constable Zuvio. But is it flying off shelves because it's a good figure? Or because of the hype machine? Well that's what I'm here to find out.

Clad in distinctive metallic armor, Captain Phasma commands the First Order's legions of troopers.

Phasma is clad in modified chrome stormtrooper armor, with a cape draped over her shoulders. The Visual Dictionary for TFA mentions that the shiny covering was pillaged from one of Emperor Palpatine's Naboo space yachts, which is kinda neat, and thank god it wasn't from Padme's yacht, since that'd be a little too serendipitous for my tastes. The figure itself is quite imposing; it's very tall and beefy, dwarfing many other Black Series figures. She stands just under 6⅝" tall, which puts her just about at Darth Vader level.

Her sculpt is simplistic, but quite nice, and doesn't appear to share any parts with the First Order Stormtrooper figure (although jury is still out on the knees). Her helmet, while similar in the spirit of its design, features a sharper edge on the bottom of the bucket, and lines running from front to back along the top dome. It's also missing the little indentations and bumps that the trooper's helmet features that surely serve some in-universe purpose, opting instead for a cleaner, simpler look. There's nice detail in the "mouth" area, with a grid pattern that's difficult to notice unless you're right up close.

The overall armor is very similar to the FO trooper, but since Phasma's bigger, it's all been beefed up. It looks very nice, with the appropriate amount of detail, and even has the little slot on the right thigh for a blaster to attach. Her cape is solid plastic, which might ruffle some feathers, but it doesn't get in the way of articulation too much.

To recreate Phasma's chromed armor, Hasbro had a few options. They could have gone for the vac-metallized look, and thank god they didn't. They instead went for a sort of brushed silver paint, and while it serves the purpose, it doesn't really look like the armor as it appears on film. That armor was scuffed and pitted and used-looking. Hasbro achieved the look much better with the Titanium Series (Black Series) [Ugh Stupid Naming Conventions Series] Helmet collection, so it's a shame they didn't spent a bit more time and effort on the figure.

Everything else is black, and is done well, with no noticeable slop or bleed. Her black cape has a red edging, which is a nice little dash of color on the otherwise monotone palette. Her blaster is a slightly different silver tone than her armor, with a more greenish tint, which seems accurate to the movie, even if it is missing a few paint apps.

Phasma is articulated like most Black Series 6 Inch figures, with a balljointed and hinged neck, peg-and-hinge shoulders, elbows and wrists, a balljointed chest joint, balljointed hips, double hinged knees, and peg-and-hinge ankles. All the joints work well, and her elbows are actually much more mobile than the standard First Order trooper, able to reach a pretty solid 90° bend. The hips are somewhat limited by her belt pouches, but you can still get some pretty wide poses. And of course, the cape blocks the left shoulder slightly (no surprise there).

The Captain's only accessory is her blaster. It's the standard First Order blaster, painted silver with an additional stock. The stock seems weird to me, since the stormtrooper blaster already has a folding stock (it's what that little "chin" on the bottom of the barrel is) but it looks neat. It has a tab on the side that allows it to attach to her right leg for storage, which is always a cool thing.

Phasma is a good figure, and unfortunately one that never arrived in stores in solid numbers. And when she did show up, she was immediately scalper bait. Secondary market prices have gone down slightly, but as of this writing it's still pretty impossible to find her at anything near retail price, which is a damn shame. Considering there were often many eBay auctions flaunting dozens of Phasma figures, you have to wonder how much of that "limited" supply was artificially created by resellers. Hopefully, Hasbro has the sense to refresh her at a later date, or perhaps we'll get a new Phasma figure when she redeems herself and (hopefully) lives up to the hype in Episode VIII.

-- 03/02/16

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