The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary

As has become tradition, the week following the release of a new Star Wars film means one thing: poring over the details contained of a brand new Visual Dictionary. I managed to pick up my copy of this essential Rise of Skywalker companion via MightyApe for just $25.00AU (NZ).

Those of you familiar with these wonderful tomes will already know what to expect: endless details, trivia, and minutiae from the film - all accompanied by author Pablo Hidalgo's acerbic wit. This entry is no different. Countless threads are drawn between TRoS and what has come before - including more references to the Legends Expanded Universe than ever before.

My only real disappointment is that this volume wasn't released side-by-side with the usual Incredible Cross-Sections accompaniment (as was the case with The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi). Instead, the Visual Dictionary has assumed the role of both books by including a limited selection of six cross-sections. This is the same approach that was taken with the guides to both Rogue One and Solo. It was understandable in those cases, however - since the non-saga nature of the films meant that accompanying media releases were minimal. This time around, the decision is a puzzling one. It certainly wasn't for lack of source material, as there are all kinds of vehicles from the final saga film just screaming for the cross-section treatment. I can't help but be slightly frustrated by the fact that my bookshop will contain an Incredible Cross-Sections volume for every episode in the saga except the final film.

Nevertheless, this gripe is entirely unrelated to the quality of the Visual Dictionary itself - which is, as always, superb. As something of a bonus (and, perhaps, a consolation) this Visual dictionary follows in the footsteps of the Rogue One and Solo visual guides by also providing a behind-the-scenes section - something that was entirely absent in previous saga volumes.

Hot Wheels Commemorative Series Wave 1 Vehicles

My completionist nature means I'm loath to start collecting entirely new lines of Star Wars collectibles. That's why - despite my obsession with miniature Star Wars vehicles - I've largely avoided delving into the new Hot Wheels starship line. My wife knows my strange collecting idiosyncrasies better than anyone, however, so surprised me this Christmas with the first wave of the Hot Wheels Commemorative Series - a limited line that's very satisfyingly capped at only nine vehicles.

The Commemorative Series features one iconic vehicle from each of the films in the Skywalker Saga. This first wave covers episodes I through V, and includes a Naboo Starfighter from The Phantom Menace, a Republic Attack Gunship from Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan Kenobi's ETA-2 Jedi Starfighter from Revenge of the Sith, Darth Vader's TIE Fighter from A New Hope, and Boba Fett's Slave I from The Empire Strikes Back. Each vehicle is painted in a gorgeous uniform silver, and comes atop a sturdy transparent display stand that bears the symbol of the ship's main affiliation.

While I loved the metallic finish, I couldn't help but think that a quick wash (a la Micro Machine's Collectors Edition line from the 90s) would really help the details pop. With that in mind, I went ahead and hit each vehicle with some Citadel Nuln Oil. You can compare the before and after below:

To unify the series, each vehicles also comes with a single piece of the Death Star that - when combined with the rest of the vehicles in this line - allows you to build a surprisingly hefty model of this technological terror. With the first wave in hand, my battle station is now 5/9ths of the way complete.

The inclusion of this bonus Death Star provides additional impetus to collect the full line of these vehicles - and that's what I'll be trying to do over the coming weeks (and months). Wave 1 was really only available via limited online retailers here in Australia, and Wave 2 (covering episodes VI through IX) is proving even scarcer. I do love the challenge of the hunt however, so stay tuned for updates!

Lego 75245 2019 Advent Calendar

After making excuses for many years, I finally decided to splurge on a Lego Star Wars advent calendar this holiday season. Having just finished my 24th day of tiny builds, I'm now left with only one question: Why didn't I do this a long time ago?

In short, these calendars are a phenomenal amount of fun. I mean, who doesn't want to wake up each morning to a mystery Lego build? They also provide amazing bang for your buck. While prices varied by retailer, I was able to nab mine from Kmart for only $34.00AU ($36.19NZ). This year's calendar contained seven minifigures (ten, if you count the mynock, gonk droid, and porg). That's the kind of minifigure count you usually only see on sets north of $150. On top of this, you get nine miniature vehicles, three micro-scale pieces of terrain, and a couple of buildable accessories for your minifigures. These builds come from throughout the filmic saga, and provide a nice representation of both heroes and villains (as shown above).

Granted, there isn't an enormous amount of thematic linkage between the different builds - but the point here is to give you a wide variety of builds from across the enormous breadth of the franchise. Ultimately, it's been a great way to inject some variety into my Lego collection, and I'm sure I'll be picking up each future calendar from here on out!

Hallmark Keepsake Lego C-3PO Christmas Tree Ornament

It's become something of a tradition to receive a new Star Wars Hallmark Keepsake Christmas tree ornament from my parents each birthday. This year, it was a Lego C-3PO - released to mark the 20th anniversary of Lego's Star Wars line (has it really been that long?!)

Threepio is the latest in a line of Lego Star Wars characters that have been immortalised as ornaments (including the Lego Darth Vader I received from my parents some years ago). He's sculpted with Hallmark's usual stunning attention to detail, and will make a great addition to my growing collection of Keepsake ornaments!

Solo Dice Prop Replica

I'm an absolute sucker for any sort of in-universe Star Wars item. Sadly, Lucasfilm doesn't license a whole lot of these items (weapon and helmet replicas being the one exception). It should come as no surprise, then, that I've been pining for a pair of golden sabacc dice ever since seeing Solo. Unfortunately they never showed up in my neck of the woods, and an attempt to buy a pair online earlier this year fell through.

Enter my awesome wife - who managed to track down a pair for my birthday last week. They're a fantastic little trinket made from a sturdy metal that carries a surprising heft. They've also been hit with a wash that gives them that signature "used universe" Star Wars feel. For now they're adorning our Christmas tree, but I suppose that - come the New Year - I'll have to get started on finding a suitable starship cockpit from which to hang them...

More Loose Legacy Collection and Vintage Collection 3 3/4" Figures

It's been rather quiet on the collecting front since Triple Force Friday. During the lull, I've turned my attention back towards filling gaps in my collection of super-articulated 3 3/4" Original Trilogy figures. Last week I was finally able to remedy two glaring omissions: The Legacy Collection BD34 Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi and The Vintage Collection VC27 Wicket.

Released in 2008 and 2010 respectively, these figures still represent the definitive version of each of these characters. As such, they now tend to go for a pretty penny on the secondary market. Fortunately, I happened to chance across both at close to their original RRP - a great deal for a great pair of figures!

The Rise of Skywalker Theatrical Trailer Released

After weeks of rumours about its impending release, the full (and final) theatrical trailer for The Rise of Skywalker premiered today during Monday Night Football. You can check it out below:

The internet is already rife with endless analyses of this two-and-a-half minutes of footage, but I think its best to let a trailer this good speak for itself. One thing's for certain, though - it absolutely nails the poignancy of this movie not only being the last film in the sequel trilogy, but also the final chapter of the decade-spanning Skywalker Saga. I'm not ashamed to admit it had both my wife and I shedding a few tears.

What are your thoughts on the theatrical trailer for The Rise of Skywalker? Be sure to let us know via Facebook or Twitter, or by sending an email to!

The Hunt Is On - The Vintage Collection 3 3/4" Exclusive Luke Skywalker and Yoda Figures Found

Along with a smattering of new Vintage Collection Rise of Skywalker figures on Triple Force Friday, Hasbro has continued churning out updated versions of several older Vintage Collection figures. Among these are a new Yavin Ceremony Luke Skywalker exclusive to Walmart and a Dagobah Luke and Yoda exclusive to Target. It's unclear when - if ever - these figures will turn up on Australian shores, so I was rapt to be able to nab the trio on the secondary market for less than RRP.

The Walmart exclusive VC151 Luke Skywalker (Yavin) is a repaint and Photo Real update of the Black Series #5 Luke Skywalker I picked up in Houston back in 2013. The Dagobah Luke and Yoda are similar updates to the Black Series #21 Luke Skywalker #22 Yoda from 2014. Luke has again been given the Photo Real treatment, while Yoda has received additional articulation and a new (more accurate) head sculpt. These two figures come in a Target exclusive "Cave of Evil" three pack - though I have no interest in the third (Vader with Luke's face), so I was incredibly happy to be able to pick up the Luke and Yoda on their own.

While some might grumble about the arms on the Dagobah Luke, this really doesn't bother me. They make perfect sense once you pair him with Yoda and his backpack.

As far as I'm concerned, all three figures are excellent improvements on a trio of already great sculpts - giving us definitive versions of Yoda and of Luke in these two iconic outfits.

The Hunt Is On - The Vintage Collection 3 3/4" Tatooine Skiff Found

I usually tend to focus on smaller-scale releases from the Micro Machines and Action Fleet lines when adding vehicles to my collection. That being said, I do occasionally pick up some of the more exciting 3 3/4" vehicles - particularly where they provide interesting ways to enhance the display of my figures. The brand new Vintage Collection Tatooine Skiff ticked those boxes and more.

Given the spartan distribution of previous Vintage Collection vehicles in this part of the world, I wasn't entirely sure if we'd even see the Tatooine Skiff in my neck of the woods. Fortunately, EB Games put the Skiff up for preorder back in August, and stock arrived just in time for Triple Force Friday.

Retailing for $80.00AU ($85.58NZ), the Tatooine Skiff gives you an enormous amount of bang for your buck. Replete with features, and treated to a gorgeous weathered paint job, this vehicle is a worthy successor to the previous - and only - sculpt of the skiff that debuted all the way back in 1985.

So where do we start? All of the necessary elements are there, including ball-jointed steering vanes, swivel control handles, and a retractable boarding 'plank'. But the skiff goes further than this, including a number of features not seen on-screen. There are eight weapon clips for assorted electrostaffs and vibro-axes, along with an opening weapons storage compartment in the centre of the vehicle. Additional storage can be found under the removable forward deckplate, along with some exquisite engine detailing under similar deckplates in the rear.

Hasbro's smartest addition, however - and the very thing that lifts this from a simple toy to a premium display piece - is the inclusion of a stand. Two transparent pillars mounted on a piece of sculpted sand dune hold the skiff aloft. But it gets better. The mounting points on the skiff hinge, allowing the vehicle to tip precariously just as when Lando fell overboard. Swap out the standard railing for the included 'battle-damaged' railing, and you can perfectly recreate this exact scene from Return of the Jedi.

Vehicle releases from the Vintage Collection line rarely fail to disappoint, and the Tatooine Skiff is no exception. There's really nothing more we could have asked for from a 3 3/4" version of this iconic vehicle!

The Hunt Is On - The Vintage Collection 3 3/4" Wave 9 Figures Found

With The Rise of Skywalker receiving no dedicated 3 3/4" line, the Vintage Collection is now our exclusive source of action figures in the classic scale. Fortunately, Wave 9 of this rebooted line hit (some) stores on Triple Force Friday, giving us a phenomenal quintet of characters from the final film in the Skywalker saga.

While quantity may be lacking (the number of 3/4" figures hitting stores for a new Star Wars product launch will usually be well in to the double digits), the quality certainly isn't. With continually improving super-articulation and the advent of Photo Real faces, each wave of Vintage Collection figures seems to be surpassing the quality of its predecessors. The same trend continues with this wave.

First up is the Knight of Ren, a character (or, rather, one of six similarly named characters) that most of us have been dying to add to our collection ever since 2015's The Force Awakens. After such a long wait, it's satisfying to see that this figure has been given the love and care it truly deserves - from the muddy weathering to the finely picked out detailing on its armour and included (vibro-?) ax. Most pleasingly, Hasbro opted to sculpt the soft goods in rubber, a decision which allows this Knight of Ren to maintain its dynamic silhouette. While fabric detailing can be nice, it's still largely hit-and-miss - often looking stiff and unwieldy at this scale (see, for example, Darth Malgus).

Next is Rey. Coming with a comprehensive collection of accessories (a satchel, her blaster pistol, her staff, and both ignited and unignited versions of her lightsaber) and featuring a phenomenally accurate Photo Real face treatment, this Rey is easily the most perfect rendition of this character at this scale.

More mysterious is Zorii Bliss; a character about whom we still know very little. Still, one thing is clear: her look is both iconic and straight-up Star Wars. Zorri comes with two beautifully detailed - almost flintlock-like - blaster pistols and a pair of working holsters.

The Sith Jet Trooper is another figure whose role in the saga is yet to be revealed. Nevertheless, he makes a fantastic addition to the collection of any trooper completionist like myself. His bulked-up weaponry and integrated jetpack make him stand out from previous designs, while still drawing strongly from a heritage that includes the First Order Stormtrooper, Praetorian Guard, and even the Imperial Assault Tank Driver. He comes with two different blasters, and the same holster 'clip' that we've seen on other First Order troopers.

Poe is the sole repack within this wave - though labelling him as such doesn't really do him justice. He first debuted in the Walmart-exclusive Black Series line back in 2015, meaning that for many people (especially those outside the US) this rerelease represents the first attainable version of a super-articulated Poe. He's also had quite the makeover since 2015 - with a brand new paint app and a Photo Real face treatment that much better matches the appearance of Oscar Isaac. Poe comes packed with a removable helmet, his standard-issue sidearm, and a working holster.

All up, this is a great first dabble in 3 3/4" The Rise of Skywalker characters. But a Star Wars saga film - let alone the final film in the series - needs more coverage than this. Let's just hope that there are far more characters on their way!

Triple Force Friday (October 2019)

I went into this year's Star Wars toy launch - dubbed Triple Force Friday - with no small sense of foreboding. Between the lacklustre launch of Solo's line of Star Wars toys and the systemic distribution problems ever since, there were a lot of reasons to think that things wouldn't go all that well. Calls to my local brick-and-mortar toy retailers (which here in Sydney comprise Kidstuff, EB Games, Kmart, Target, and Myer) didn't do much to alleviate the sense of impending doom. My inquiries were met with a variety of different - though universally discouraging - replies, from complete ignorance about the new releases (Kidstuff), to uncertainty about the release date (shipping delays mean Kmart's stock may be up to two weeks late), to somehow thinking I was a merchandiser who "worked for Star Wars" and would be bringing new stock myself (thanks for that particularly bewildering conversation, Target). Nevertheless, I did my best to stay positive - helped largely by my relentlessly optimistic wife and collecting-partner-in-crime. Fortunately, it paid off.

While every other retailer was bereft of new stock outside of the Star Wars Lego line, EB Games came through with a smattering of Hasbro's wares - including a single unopened case of the latest wave of The Vintage Collection. As an exclusively 3 3/4" collector, that was all I was after. In a a few short seconds I was able to get my hands on all five new Rise of Skywalker figures. And with that, my Triple Force Friday was over.

Well, with that and a cheeky Tatooine Skiff I'd preordered from EB Games a couple of months prior.

Sadly, this may very well be my last big foray into brick-and-mortar toy hunting. While I hope to see future waves of The Vintage Collection on shelves, it'll all depend on how well this current wave sells. If past sales and distribution problems continue, this is likely to be the last restock we'll see for some time. Given this, I'll be turning back to the online secondary market as a way of securing the latest releases. But it'll always be a poor substitute. There's obviously a lot of joy to be had in getting your hands on a figure, but there's nothing quite like that satisfaction of tracking it down in person. If action figure collecting is going to become an exclusively online affair, then I'm really going to miss the hunt...

Tonight, we're finishing up Triple Force Friday with some blue milk and a rewatch of The Last Jedi Stay tuned over the next few days, however, as I'll be posting some deeper dives into the items I picked up today!

How did your Triple Force Friday hunt go? Be sure to let us know via Facebook or Twitter, or by sending an email to!

The Hunt Is On - The Vintage Collection Figures (Triple Force Friday Edition)

First they came for Action Fleet. Then they came for Micro Machines. Then they brought Micro Machines back... only to take them again. Now, The Rise of Skywalker is set to be the first Star Wars film without its own dedicated line of 3 3/4" figures. Instead, this scale will be served exclusively by the ongoing Vintage Collection. All of this means that my once broad collecting focus has now narrowed down to one single line of products. At the very least, it's going to make this upcoming Triple Force Friday a lot less painful on my wallet.

There's both good and bad in having the Vintage Collection as the sole 3 3/4" line for TROS. The upside is that we'll be getting the best possible versions of these figures - including comprehensive accessories, super articulation, and gorgeous Photo Real face treatments. The downside is that we'll be paying more per figure, and will likely see a far more limited range of characters available (at least to begin with). There's also the issue of distribution. Stores here in Sydney are still clogged with pegwarmers from April 2018's first wave of the rebooted Vintage Collection, with no sign of the subsequent seven waves released since then. If it wasn't for the secondary market, my Star Wars action figure collecting would have ground to a halt well over a year ago.

Hopefully the full product reset on Triple Force Friday will see stores at least stock the first TROS wave of figures. With that in mind, I've now assembled an updated list of the Vintage Collection figures I'll be attempting to hunt down.