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Star Wars Rebels
by yo go re

At last, the crew is complete!

Meet the muscle of the Ghost team. Garazeb "Zeb" Orrelios was a cunning Lasat Honor Guard who adopted the cause of rebellion against the Empire.

Originally Zeb was supposed to be a member of a new species, albeit one based on Ralph McQuarrie's original concept art for the character who eventually became Chewbacca (an idea which, like a lot in Rebels, would have felt much fresher if it weren't coming out after Dark Horse Comics' The Star Wars, which adapted George's original screenplay using the original McQuarrie designs). Anyway, it turned out the proto-Wookie design had already been used in a roleplaying supplement in 1988, so Zeb's species was now pre-existing. Then Disney bought Lucasfilm and all the old continuity went out, so the RPG book didn't count any more, but Rebels did, so it turned out they could have named him anything they wanted anyway.

Zeb is voiced by Steve Blum, so you already know what kind of character he'll be: gruff but caring, tough and wild. I don't know who approved this "Paul Sorvino as Lips Manlis in Dick Tracy" Edward G. Robinson caricature as the facial sculpt, but it's awful. Oh, the actual sculpting work is great, but it doesn't suit the character. Is he often grumpy? Yes. Does he roll his eyes (which is what the paint apps here make it look like he's doing)? Yes. But more often he's either shown growling or smirking at an enemy. This toy may have the big, pointy ears and the odd facial hair, but that doesn't mean it looks like Zeb.

Thankfully, one thing they did get right is the costume. Like all the Rebels characters, Zeb got a redesign for Season 3, but this figure matches all the rest of his friends by using the earlier look. Yes, that may seem like a no-brainer, but would you really put it past a manufacturer to make us wait ages for a figure that completes a team, only to do it wearing the wrong costume? Not here! Zeb's wearing a green-and-yellow jumpsuit that has a bit of armor on the knees and across the shoulders, but leaves his thick arms and his weird splayed-toe feet exposed. He's got a wide belt, angled bracers, bands across the back of his hands, and around his shins.

Zeb's skin is lavender with purple stripes. I think technically that's supposed to be fur, but it's certainly sculpted like skin. His armor is various shades of green, for contrast, and there's some scary creature painted on his left shoulder - presumably Sabine's work. Despite him being one of the tallest characters around, the art department has chosen to paint Zeb's eyes looking up, not down. Not a great choice. It's why we said he looks like he's rolling his eyes. The toy's articulated, but you can't really tip his head down because of his beard, so he's permanently looking at the sky, not at any of his friends.

The head is on that new, inferior balljoint The Black Series has been using lately, though between the size of the figure and his deep collar, it really isn't too bad in this case. The shoulders, elbows, wrists, toes, and ankles are all swivel/hinge joints, the hips and waist are balljoints, the thighs swivel, and the knees are double-hinged. The figure stands more than 7" tall - despite that being smaller than several figures who have previously been in The Black Series, Zeb is sold in larger packaging. Probably to excuse the larger pricetag.

But this isn't a case like the Gamorrean Guard, where Hasbro tossed in a bunch of weapons to help justify the price. Zeb's only accessory is his bo-rifle, a traditional Lasat weapon - so basically, he's Ka D'Argo and this is his Qualta blade. The weapon has two modes: an extended electrostaff and a compact blaster rifle, and the toy can do both. For the electrostaff mode, the set includes two translucent magenta energy effects that plug onto the tips.

To convert to rifle mode, twist it around in the center, push the ends together, and fold down the bar by the trigger to be the handle. The two versions look entirely different from one another, and in its fully collapsed form, the weapon has two little pegs that can plug into the figure's back.

Rebels started airing in 2014, a year after The Black Series started. The first figure from the show came out in 2016, and finally Hasbro has completed the main lineup. The face isn't great, but the rest of him is fine and the accessory is a ton of fun. It's been a long wait, but Hasbro didn't leave us hanging.

-- 08/23/20

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