Rogue Friday (September 2016)

Last year's 'Force Friday' arrived with great fanfare, and heralded our first opportunity to buy merchandise from the highly anticipated The Force Awakens. Advertising was rife for weeks in advance, and many retailers opted to hold 'midnight madness' events. Today's Rogue Friday was much more low-key - there were no late-night openings, and announcements regarding the new line of stock were minimal.

Despite the lack of promotion, my hometown's Warehouse, Farmers, and Toyworld stores all managed to have a comprehensive range of the new Rogue One merchandise out in time for store-opening. Of these, it was Farmers that made the best effort - with a dedicated Rogue One endcap and a full-size Imperial Death Trooper out front (both pictured above). Farmers further sweetened the deal by having all 3 3/4" figures (which usually retail for $17.99) down to 2 for $25. The Warehouse also had a buy-one-get-one-half-price deal on all Star Wars products.

Despite the discounts, there were no eager throngs at opening time. While stock did deplete during the morning, I didn't come across any other collectors enthusiastically rifling through the new products. It's unclear whether this apathy is indicative of a more general decline in excitement for new Star Wars merchandise, or simply due to the fact that Rogue One is the first film to fall outside of the central saga. I guess we'll have to wait until Force Friday 2017 to find out!

The Hunt Is On - Rogue One Hasbro Products

(New items from the Rogue One line will be added to this list as they are announced.)

Tomorrow marks this year's 'Force Friday' - the day on which merchandise for Rogue One begins to hit stores. Excitement has been somewhat subdued this time around, with no New Zealand retailers holding a midnight opening like they did for last year's release of Force Awakens products. Nevertheless, I'll still be out first thing in the morning to get my hands on some of these newest items.

As usual, my main focus will be on Hasbro's 3 3/4" action figure and Micro Machines lines. A short while ago posted scans of Hasbro's official Rogue One product guide, and after some careful consideration I've whittled my wishlist down to the following items:

  1. Rogue One 3 3/4" Admiral Raddus
  2. Rogue One 3 3/4" Bodhi Rook
  3. Rogue One 3 3/4" Captain Cassian Andor (Eadu)
  4. Rogue One 3 3/4" Chirrut Îmwe
  5. Rogue One 3 3/4" Director Krennic
  6. Rogue One 3 3/4" Galen Erso
  7. Rogue One 3 3/4" Imperial Death Trooper
  8. Rogue One 3 3/4" Imperial Ground Crew
  9. Rogue One 3 3/4" Imperial Stormtrooper
  10. Rogue One 3 3/4" K-2SO
  11. Rogue One 3 3/4" Lieutenant Sefla
  12. Rogue One 3 3/4" Sergeant Jyn Erso (Eadu)
  13. Rogue One 3 3/4" Sergeant Jyn Erso (Imperial Infiltrator)
  14. Rogue One 3 3/4" Sergeant Jyn Erso (Jedha)
  15. Rogue One 3 3/4" Shoretrooper
  16. Rogue One 3 3/4" 2-Pack: Baze Malbus and Imperial Stormtrooper
  17. Rogue One 3 3/4" 2-Pack: Captain Cassian Andor and Imperial Stormtrooper
  18. Rogue One 3 3/4" 2-Pack: Imperial Death Trooper and Rebel Commando Pao
  19. Rogue One 3 3/4" 2-Pack: Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader and Moroff
  20. Rogue One 3 3/4" 2-Pack: Shoretrooper Captain and Bistan
  21. Rogue One 3 3/4" "Jedha Revolt" Pack
  22. Micro Machines Deluxe Pack: Assault on Scarif
  23. Micro Machines Deluxe Pack: Fight the Imperial Might
  24. Micro Machines Deluxe Pack: Mandalorian Melee
  25. Micro Machines 3-Pack: High Speed Rebel Raid

While it seems we'll be getting the full first wave of 3 3/4" figures on Force Friday, it's unclear whether or not the new Micro Machines will be appearing at the same time. I guess we'll find out tomorrow!

September 2016 Empire Magazine

The September 2016 issue of Empire magazine is now in stores, and this month it's all about building anticipation for the impending release of Rogue One. The magazine's coverage features some stunning new on-set photographs, as well as an illuminating interview with Gareth Edwards. If there were any lingering doubts about whether Edwards knows what he's doing, this feature will undoubtedly put them to rest.

Of course, the real coup with this issue of Empire is the inclusion of four giant Rogue One posters (spread over two double-sided sheets). The first poster features the enigmatic new 'Death Troopers', the second shows Baze Malbus huddled next to a downed X-Wing, the third is a spread of the core cast of the film, while the fourth features the gorgeous official poster for the film. Not bad for $10.95!

Star Wars T-Shirt Haul

To this day, the US still far outdoes New Zealand in its range and availability of Star Wars-themed t-shirts (at least, for males). For this reason, I took the chance to bolster my wardrobe a little while over in the US, adding three new Star Wars designs to my collection.

The first of these came from Target's standard $12.00US ($17.71NZ) range and features a stressed print of the Rebel Alliance symbol (perfect for a Rogue One premiere, maybe?) The second - simply featuring the Star Wars logo on a starscape - came from Walmart for $7.99US ($10.86NZ), while the third - adorned by four adorable Star Wars pixel characters - was a surprise find at a dollar store for only $3.99US ($5.73NZ).

Thermos R2-D2 Drink Bottle

While I'm first-and-foremost a toy collector, I'm always after ways to inject a little more 'Wars into my day, That's why I couldn't say 'no' to this Thermos R2-D2 drink bottle I found on clearance at Toys'R'Us!

The bottle features a miniature handle and a spring-loaded lid that seals the bottle air-tight when closed. Since this is a Thermos, the insulation is also particularly impressive - keeping the contents cool for a ridiculously long time!

[UPDATE 01/10/2016: About a week after purchasing this drink bottle, I found that the R2-D2 details began coming off with the lightest of touches - almost as if something had gone wrong with the lamination. I'm curious to know if this is a systemic fault or if I simply chose a defective bottle, so if you happen to own one of these, please, let me know your experience via Facebook or Twitter, or by sending an email to]

First Order Stormtrooper and Kylo Ren Pez Dispensers

For many years, Star Wars-themed pez dispensers were rather hard to come by here in New Zealand. It's probably this scarcity that made them so attractive once they were more readily available in stores. Over the past few years I've been slowly building up my collection, and recently, I came cross two new Force Awakens additions to the line - a First Order Stormtrooper and Kylo Ren.

I found these two at Toys'R'Us for $2.29US ($3.13NZ) each. So far, they appear to be the only two characters from the new film to make it into Pez form. Hopefully they won't be the last, however. I mean, who wouldn't want a BB-8 that dispenses candy?

Lego 30275 TIE Advanced Prototype Mini Building Set

With Star Wars Lego increasing dramatically on price over the last few years, my collecting focus has tended to favour the smaller (and far more affordable) miniature vehicle line. While new releases tend to be sporadic, Target almost always has at least one bagged vehicle hanging by the checkout. Recently, I managed to nab the 30275 TIE Advanced Prototype for just $3.49US ($4.77NZ).

As is usually the case with these sets, it's a whole lot of Lego for a very small price. The model nicely emulates the design made famous in Star Wars Rebels, and even manages to squeeze in four folding wings to further enhance the accuracy. My only complaint (and it's a small one) is that Lego didn't stretch to one of the printed cockpit bubbles like we saw in the 9676 TIE Interceptor & Death Star set. That would have been a great finishing touch on an otherwise fantastic little set.

The Black Series 3 3/4" Walmart Exclusive Han Solo and Luke Skywalker

For the most part, the release of Hasbro's The Force Awakens line of merchandise saw the end of the super-articulated 3 3/4" figure. The one exception to this has been the limited run of Black Series 3 3/4" Walmart exclusives. Only thirteen have been released so far - eight of which are from The Force Awakens. The remaining five are repacks and repaints of earlier figures, which might explain why they're proving hard to move in many US stores. For me, however, they presented the perfect chance to pick up a couple of characters I'd previously missed out on - Han Solo in his Endor trenchcoat, and Luke Skywalker in his Jedi garb.

Both figures feature the whopping fifteen points of articulation we used to take for granted in the 3 3/4" line. There's no corner cutting on the accessories, either - both figures coming with weapons, a soft goods cloak or jacket, and a removable belt. Han is armed with his trusty DL-44 blaster (mounted in a working holster), while Luke comes with both an ignited an unignited lightsaber hilt, as well as the lightsaber construction tool seen in the blu-ray deleted scenes for Return of the Jedi.

While there might be some minor gripes (Han's 'floating' belt is prone to fall to his ankles if not handled carefully, and Luke hasn't been packed with his correct armless Jedi cloak), the two figures look exceptionally good once posed. At only $10.80US ($14.80NZ) each, these figures come in at less than what the standard five-point-of-articulation figures sell for here in New Zealand - giving us a bittersweet reminder of just how good we had it only a short while ago...

Micro Machines Kylo Ren Playcase

For me, the best part of Star Wars collecting over the past year has been the resurrection of the old Micro Machines line of vehicles and characters. But with so many new miniatures being released, its been difficult to work out where to store them all. Fortunately, Hasbro has us covered with their new Kylo Ren playcase.

The case usually retails for $54.99 in most stores, but is regularly reduced to significantly less than this (at the time of writing, Mighty Ape has it on discount for $41.00). It comes with two Star Wars Micro Machines vehicles - a First Order Star Destroyer (which features a clean deco, unlike its earlier release in the "First Order Attacks" pack) and a 'Gold Series' repaint of the First Order Troop Transport. Also included is a removable cannon that fires a single spring-loaded missile. The case itself features dividers that separate the tray into 23 compartments of varying sizes - each of which is capable of storing several Micro Machine vehicles and characters. These dividers can then be removed and attached to the lid as display stands.

For its size, the case can fit a surprising number of miniatures. I currently have all of the vehicles and characters from the new line stored in there, with room left to spare. It's a sturdy construction, and the versatility of the removable dividers gives a number of different options for play and storage. If you're avidly collecting this line like I am, then I definitely recommend picking one of these up!

Micro Machines Clone Clash and Resistance Base Packs

While the distribution of the resurrected Star Wars Micro Machines line has been good so far, it's looking more and more likely that later releases may not make their way down here to New Zealand. For that reason, I was lucky to have my buddy Daniel source the latest "Clone Clash" and "Resistance Base" packs from the US for me.

Both packs feature entirely new sculpts for the line - the AT-TE and Hailfire Droid in the "Clone Clash" pack, and the Resistance Landspeeder in the "Resistance Base" pack. While the Resistance Troop Transport is technically a repack (being contained in the earlier "Space Pursuit" Deluxe Pack), this is its first appearance in a fully polychromatic (not gold) paint scheme. Likewise, while the Republic Gunship and Poe's X-Wing Fighter are both repacks (appearing in the "Clone Army Raid" and "First Order Attacks" packs respectively), they now appear in the new 'Gold Series' deco.

Like all of the miniatures in this line so far, the sculpting and paintwork continues to be of an exceedingly high quality. While a little warping can occur, this is easily remedied with the old hot water / cold water trick. There have been a glut of earlier packs on store shelves, however - so I only hope that the line is patronised enough to convince Hasbro to keep up production as we head into the future.

The Hunt Is On - The Force Awakens 3 3/4" Build-a-Weapon Figures Waves 4, 5, and 6 Found

Back in January I posted my wantlist for the final four waves of The Force Awakens 3 3/4" figures. It's taken a little while for each of those waves to see release here in New Zealand, but over recent weeks I've managed to finally tick off almost all of those figures I was after.


Finn (FN-2187) turned up first on his lonesome at my local Farmers store. He was soon followed by Han Solo and Rey (Resistance Outfit) - both of which I managed to nab after a tip-off from my buddy Daniel about new stock arriving at The Warehouse. Unkar Plutt then arrived at Toyworld a few months later. The final three - First Order Stormtrooper Squad Leader, Kylo Ren (Unmasked), and Nien Nunb - are yet to turn up in any local brick-and-mortar stores. Fortunately, Mighty Ape came through a few weeks ago with limited stock of each.

Despite the ever-present reduced articulation putting some collectors off this line, these figures are still great pieces. The inclusion of a few extra accessories and features (like's Finn's removable helmet and Han and Rey's working holsters) are very nice touches, and the likenesses - for the most part - are spot-on. The one exception to this is probably Han, who looks a little... off. The paint schemes on aliens like Unkar and Nien are also second-to-none, providing a really nice approximation of their on-screen prosthetic counterparts. The unmasked Kylo is a marked departure from other figures in this line, being set in a far more dynamic pose than the rest. Fortunately, the pose works nicely.

Sadly, Admiral Ackbar and the rest of Wave 7 are yet to turn up anywhere in my vicinity. I'm hoping we'll see this wave finally trickle out before the upcoming Rogue One stock reset on 30th September.

The Hunt Is On - The Force Awakens 3 3/4" "Takodana Encounter" Pack Found

One Force Awakens character that's been noticably absent from the line of 3 3/4" figures is Han's old mentor, Maz Kanata. Instead of releasing Maz as a stand-alone figure. Hasbro has instead opted to release her first as part of a "Takodana Encounter" pack. Whether or not this pack would hit New Zealand shores was a little hit-and-miss, but a short while ago these began to show up at a number of stores, including The Warehouse for $45.00.

Unfortunately, the other three figures that come with this set are repacks of earlier releases. Both Finn and Rey are identical to their cardback versions, with the notable addition of Luke's lightsaber as an accessory for Finn. BB-8 is a little different to his earlier two-pack release - his body now heavier, and a small figure peg located on the underside of his spherical body. These couple of minor changes make him a worthwhile upgrade to his earlier incarnation however.

Of course the real highlight of this pack is Maz - and she doesn't fail to disappoint. Hasbro's offering for The Force Awakens infamously saw a huge simplification in the 3 3/4" figure line. But Maz is one of those figures where this is hardly noticeable. Her smaller build lends itself to the reduced articulation, and no detail has been spared in the paint application. Her goggles are even separately molded with transparent lenses (something we all wish would have been done with Poe Dameron back in the first wave of figures). Maz also comes with the wooden chest used to store Luke's lightsaber. I'm always a sucker for accessories that enhance the displayability of figures, so this particular inclusion was one of the highlights of the pack for me!