The Black Series 3 3/4" #23 Toryn Farr and #01 R5-G19

Aside from the SDCC Exclusive Doctor Aphra set, it's been a dry few months for 3 3/4" collectors. I've been doing my best to make use of that downtime - going back through my collection, and seeing what gaps need to be filled. I've been paying particular attention to super-articulated Original Trilogy characters, and recently scored a couple of bargains off Amazon: The Black Series 3 3/4" #23 Toryn Farr (from Phase I of the line), and #01 R5-G19 (from Phase II of the line).

While I'd long ago added Echo Base versions of Han and Luke to my collection, the release of the Vintage Collection Hoth Rebel Trooper and the  phenomenal new Imperial Probe Droid and Wampa sculpts over the last year has seen me start to amass a really nice set of Hoth-themed figures. It's for this reason that I opted to pick up Toryn. Despite her only receiving a few seconds of screen time in the Empire Strikes Back, she's an interesting and unique enough sculpt to have caught my attention. Featuring twelve points of articulation, a blaster pistol, and a pair of headphones, she'll make an excellent diorama-filler.

The same is true of R5-G19. A blink-and-you'll-miss-him droid from the Death Star briefing scene in Return of the Jedi, R5 will nevertheless look great alongside a cadre of Rebel Pilots and the Black Series Ackbar I picked up last year.

But the real attraction of this figure is in his construction. In an unusual move, Hasbro opted to construct an entirely new figure using pack-in parts from their highly popular Legacy Collection Build-a-Droid line. What this means is that R5 isn't only a new figure, but a source of five additional droid parts that can be mixed-and-matched with the other pack-in parts from the Build-a-Droid line (like the leg that came with the EVO Trooper I acquired a couple of months ago).

I'm rapt with both of these figures, and can't wait to get them set up with their Rebel allies!

Funko Pop! #256 Vulptex (Crystal Fox) Bobblehead

While I've mostly resisted the temptation to begin collecting Star Wars figures from Funko's Pop! line, my fiancĂ©e has been developing a carefully curated collection of Pop! characters from her favourite franchises. Recently, she included her first Star Wars addition - a Vulptex (Crystal Fox) from Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

Unlike standard Funkos, this figure is sculpted in an opalescent plastic - doing excellent justice to the strange semi-transparent nature of its on-screen counterpart. Further, while 'adorable' is the general mandate for Pop! figures, the vulptex takes this to a whole other level. His (or her?) large black eyes and diminutive body work even better than usual to make this one of the cutest Funkos yet. 

The Hunt Is On - The Vintage Collection 3 3/4" Doctor Aphra Special Action Figure Set Found

As predicted, HasbroToyShop's allotment of Vintage Collection 3 3/4" Doctor Aphra Special Action Figure Sets arrived to a storm of tab refreshing, website crashing, and fans desperate to get their hands on this highly desirable exclusive. The set was slated to be made available online at some point on August 13th, so I spent that morning watching the Hasbro website like a hawk. At around 11.00am CST, she was available - right when I had to leave for work. Fortunately, my one-in-a-million fiancĂ©e took over the reins: trying on no less than three different devices to push an order through the severely overtaxed Hasbro servers. Despite her best efforts - and even, at one point, receiving an order number and having the funds (momentarily) removed from our bank account - luck was not with us. Ours was among countless orders that were confirmed in error and never honoured. It was a huge disappointment to us both, and we quietly resigned ourselves to the fact that we wouldn't be adding this particular set to our collection.

It therefore came as a huge surprise when HasbroToyShop - with no fanfare whatsoever - made a new batch of Aphras available in their online store last week. I secured my order within minutes, and was overjoyed to have her arrive just a few days ago.

Before even opening this set, I was already floored by the exquisite packaging. Not only does it come in the retro 'vintage' multi-pack design, but the artwork and labelling is all rendered with beautiful metallic foil. As any regular reader of this blog will know, I'm an unabashed opener; but this was one of the hardest items I've ever had to pull from its packaging. Fortunately, the design is such that - with the adroit use of a sharp blade - the figures can be removed with no visible damage to the packaging. (In fact, the above in-package photo was taken after the figures had already been removed and replaced once.)

The figures themselves are damn-near perfect. Aphra is wonderfully nimble, featuring a total of sixteen points of articulation. The joints are much better than on many other figures too, affording her a wider range of motion. Her hips - for one - are ball-jointed, and her elbow is nimble enough to allow her to actually holster and unholster her included pistol. Triple Zero is a straight-up repaint of the Vintage Collection C-3PO figure: but given that this is my favourite protocol droid sculpt so far, I'm more than happy to see it reused. Specifically, this sculpt comes with four pieces of removable plating (face, chest, back, and right thigh) that open up all kinds of battle damage and display options. BeeTee is a little more novel. While we've seen his trunk and legs countless times before (most notably in the pack-in Build-A-Droid line), his head is all-new. He can be left in his understated astromech mode, or two pop-off side panels on his head can be removed to provide mounting points for a cannon and missile launcher - thus allowing him to be displayed in "all guns blazing" mode. It's a small thing, but I particularly love the way the removed panels are made to reattach to the weapons themselves, leaving no parts spare.

All up, I'm rapt with this set. Doctor Aphra has been a must-have for me ever since her announcement, and what would the intrepid archaeologist be without her (slightly psychopathic) droid companions?