Micro Machines Blind Bags Wampa, Jabba the Hutt, and Grumgarr

The release of later waves of the Micro Machines blind bags has been somewhat sporadic here in New Zealand, but fortunately my buddy Daniel helped me nab a couple of the miniatures from Wave 4 - Jabba the Hutt, and Grumgarr - that he'd procured from overseas. I also finally managed to find the wampa from Wave 2 that I'd spent a long while trying to hunt down.

While my Micro Machines focus is usually on vehicles, these characters were far too interesting to pass up. While we've seen various Micro Machines versions of both the wampa and Jabba before, these are brand new (and, arguably, far more screen-accurate) sculpts of both. The same is true of Grumgarr, who hasn't yet seen a release in any other set. All three are sculpted and painted to the same high quality that we've come to expect from the Micro Machines line, and the Jabba is even loaded with a nice bonus feature of a rotating torso.

Micro Machines Battle for Jakku and Space Pursuit Deluxe Packs

New Star Wars Micro Machines have been a little thin on the ground lately, but now we've finally seen two new deluxe packs hitting stores here in New Zealand - "Battle for Jakku" and "Space Pursuit". The two packs are in plentiful supply at most Warehouse stores for $22.99 each.

Both of these sets are heavy on repacks, but fortunately a number of these (including the FO Special Force TIE Fighter, FO Transport, and T-70 X-Wing) work well as army-builders. The big attraction of these new sets is the handful of new vehicles, however - the battle-damaged Star Destroyer (the Inflictor) in the "Battle for Jakku" pack, and the Resistance Troop Transport and Quadjumper in the "Space Pursuit" pack. The minifigures (Kylo Ren and FN-2187 in the former pack, and Han Solo and the First Order Stormtrooper in the latter) are all debuts too.

May 2016 KZone Magazine with Lego Star Wars 30278 Poe's X-Wing

As well as containing some brief Force Awakens coverage and a 12-page Star Wars Rebels comic, the May 2016 issue of KZone magazine also comes with a Lego Star Wars 30278 Poe's X-Wing model. The magazine is priced at $6.90, and has been spotted at most magazine retailers throughout New Zealand.

I've always had a weak spot for the Lego Star Wars mini sets, and Poe's X-Wing is an excellent addition to the range. The silhouette is spot-on, and the black and orange colour scheme makes for a striking build. The final product has the wings oriented differently than in the film (with the lower wing facing backwards, instead of forwards), but this is easily swapped if you're after a more screen-accurate appearance.

Lego sets - especially Star Wars Lego sets - don't come cheap, so this is a great little freebie to get your hands on!

Micro Machines First Order Star Destroyer Playset

Along with the First Order Stormtrooper set, Whitcoulls recently also reduced their Micro Machines First Order Star Destroyer playset from $89.99 to a very reasonable $40.00. This is another set I'd had my eye on for some time, but had been put off by the price. I'm happy to finally have one in my collection now, though!

This set comes with twice as many vehicles as the smaller character playsets, and includes Finn, Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron's X-Wing, and a First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter. The set opens up to reveal a miniaturised version of the Star Destroyer's hangar, including a flight wand, rotating cannons, and a spring-loaded missile launcher. Perhaps coolest of all, however, is the central rack that can store up to three TIE Fighters ready for flight.

As with the Stormtrooper set - if you've been tempted by one of these in the past, now is the time to scoop one up!

Micro Machines First Order Stormtrooper Playset

It's now almost eight months since merchandise for The Force Awakens first hit stores, and we're now starting to see some great discounts on remaining stock. There were a couple of Micro Machines playsets that caught my eye back in September, but their high price kept them off my hunt list. One of these was the First Order Stormtrooper Playset. Originally retailing for up to $49.99, Whitcoulls recently put these on clearance for only $15.00.

The set opens up to reveal a miniaturised version of the Jakku village that features in the opening scenes of The Force Awakens. Also included are a Poe Dameron minifigure and an exclusive 'dirty' First Order troop transport. It's a fantastic set - but it's a little hard to justify the original price tag of almost $50.00. Compared to the similar Micro Machines Star Wars playsets of the late '90s, this one is definitely found wanting. Whereas older sets would come with a handful of action features, this one only comes with one: a spinning 'flight wand'. The inclusion of only a single figure (compared to the usual five or six of older sets) is also a little disappointing.

That being said, it's excellent value for the clearance price of $15.00. If you've been tempted by one of these in past, I strongly recommend dropping by your nearest Whitcoulls and nabbing one while they last!