The Hunt Is On - The Vintage Collection 3 3/4" Wave 10 Figures Found

I was lucky enough to find a small assortment of the Triple Force Friday wave of Vintage Collection figures at my local EB Games. Sadly - and somewhat predictably - the next wave (Wave 10) proved much harder to find. There were three figures from this wave on my hunt list: VC150 Princess Leia Organa (Yavin), VC162 Sith Trooper, and VC163 Shadow Trooper. While I finally managed to find the Sith Trooper at retail, I had to resort to the online secondary market to secure the other two.

As usual with The Vintage Collection, this wave provides us with another excellent trio of Vfigures. Leia is an upgraded of version of the (previously Walmart exclusive) Black Series figure from 2015 - now with improved articulation and that wonderful Photo Real face treatment. The Sith Trooper, on the other hand, is an entirely new figure and represents (only) the sixth 3 3/4" figure we've received from The Rise of Skywalker. Featuring phenomenal articulation and a unique pair of weapons, he'll make a great addition to my First order forces.

Rounding out the wave is the Shadow Trooper. While technically a new figure, he is in fact a clever repaint of the Rogue One stormtrooper with the addition of a pauldron. He comes as something of a surprise - being sourced from Legends gaming material - but a welcome one, to be sure. In fact, if Hasbro needs to pad waves with repacks of old sculpts to keep production costs down, then this is exactly how it should be done.

Now I've got this wave in hand, my 3 3/4" collecting is apparently going to quieten down for a while. Other than a trio of new Mandalorian figures coming in April and a handful of Photo Real upgrades towards the end of year, nothing else has yet been announced by Hasbro. It could be that they're waiting to show off a slew of new products at next month's New York Toy Fair. Ordinarily, however, such announcements are preceded by all kinds of leaks and rumours through the usual channels. But this time around, there's nothing. It's no secret that Hasbro's current Star Wars license expires this year - so I suppose we'll just have to hold our breaths to see if their twenty-year affiliation with the brand is set to continue.

Lego 75267 Mandalorian Battle Pack

Let's be honest - everyone loves The Mandalorian. Despite this (or, perhaps, for this very reason) Mandalorian merchandise has been hard to come by. The 6" Black Series Mandalorian and the Hot Wheels Razor Crest are nowhere to be found, and we won't be seeing any 3 3/4" Mandalorian figures until at least April. For that reason, I pounced on the one (also very sought-after) piece of Mandalorian merchandise I've come across - the Lego 75267 Mandalorian Battle Pack.

Retailing at $22.99AU ($23.97NZ), this set comes with four uniquely decorated Mandalorians (two male and two female) from the enclave on Nevarro. The detailing on each is phenomenal, with three of the four even featuring printed leg pieces. Also included are four fabric capes, four rangefinders, and four visors; allowing you to customise each figure according to your own preferences.

These battle packs usually come with a slightly contrived vehicle build - like the drastically undersized First Order snowspeeder in the Sith Troopers battle pack. In this pack, however, we get a perfectly scaled screen-accurate vehicle in the form of the Balutar-class swoop from the Clone Wars animated series. Previously released in a 2011 Mandalorian battle pack, this updated version of the swoop now comes with a rundown, mismatched colour scheme - no doubt the result of three decades of wear and neglect. As an added bonus, there's also a small fortification build that provides a mount for one of the four included studshooters.

In fact, the studshooters might be my only gripe with this set. While I understand that they provide some additional play value for kids, they do look a little cumbersome on the figures. While one or two 'heavy weapons troopers' might be able to brandish these, it would have been great to receive a wider variety of armaments for the other figures to wield. Fortunately I've got an abundance of new blasters from my Lego Star Wars advent calendar for these Mandos to pillage!

Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker Premiere (December 2019)

It feels like The Rise of Skywalker (TRoS) has been a long time coming. But in other ways, it seems like only yesterday that the sequel trilogy began with The Force Awakens. However you do the math, the end of the Skywalker Saga is an historic event: the final chapter in a nine-film saga spanning over forty-two years of film-making. Fortunately, our local cinema went all-out to mark this auspicious occasion - celebrating the midnight premiere with Star Wars-themed cocktails, a costume competition, and a "cantina band" playing all of the tunes we know and love.

Of course, given the enormity of the task faced by TRoS, there was no way this film was ever going to be all things for all people. Fortunately for my wife and I... it was. Sure, it packs an enormous amount into its 2 hour 22 minute runtime - whisking us from one exotic locale to the next at almost breakneck speed. But, for me, it never feels rushed. In fact, my very first comment to my wife upon leaving the cinema was just how satisfying the pacing was. While The Last Jedi is one of my favourite films of the saga, there's no denying that there were moments when the film seemed to drag. Such is never the case in TRoS, and I was astonished at how quickly the near two-and-a-half hour film flew by.

Fast pacing seems to be par for the course in trilogy-concluding Star Wars films. TRoS, however, is burdened with the task of concluding an entire trilogy of trilogies. But boy does it do this in the most satisfying ways. TRoS not only pays homage and respect to the two preceding sequel films, but also to everything else that has come before - including the prequels, the original trilogy, and even the Expanded Universe of visual media. The film is bursting at the seams with references, head-nods, and - yes - enormous fan service. But honestly, that's the very thing I wanted out of this film. If The Force Awakens was a safe and stable liftoff and The Last Jedi was an acrobatic joyride, then The Rise of Skywalker is the smoothest, most comforting landing you could ever wish for.

That being said, this film doesn't pull any punches. While I'm still uncertain where TRoS will fall in my ranking of Star Wars films, I found it more emotionally resonant than any saga film before. TRoS is - like all of Star Wars - a story of hope and redemption. But at a deeper level, it's about growing beyond your past; be it that which you were born into, or that which you freely chose. It's a theme to which many will easily relate - particularly those in their adult years.

Visually, the film is the prettiest yet, taking us to fantastical locales the likes of which we've only ever really seen in non-filmic Star Wars media. John Williams score - while not as memorable as some of his previous entries - also provides a robust backing to this final chapter with many wonderful callbacks to previous themes. Of course, the best part about this film is that the band is finally together. After two films of disparate storylines occasionally crossing paths, our new heroes have finally come together in force (pun entirely intended). Their chemistry is electric, and brings plenty of warmth and humour to offset the moments of tragedy that this final chapter of the Star Wars saga was always bound to contain.

So what did you think of The Last Jedi? Did you attend a premiere? If so, how did it go? Be sure to let us know via Facebook or Twitter, or by sending an email to!

Lego 75136 Droid Escape Pod

Today's post comes on behalf of my wife. A few years back, she missed out on the Lego 75136 Droid Escape Pod set and has been searching for it ever since. After a little hunting, I managed to track one down and surprise her on Christmas Day. She just completed the build, so I thought I'd take the chance to grab a few photos and share our thoughts.

All up, this is one of the nicest Star Wars builds I've seen in a long time. Lego does all it can to keep the prices of these mid-size sets down, but often this means they come out feeling a little light on parts - lacking density and seeming a little fragile as a result. Not so here, however. The construction is tightly packed and sturdy as hell. It feels like this pod really could survive a crash landing.

The main sculpt is based around four large curved panels that carry most of the graphic detailing. Sadly these pieces are stickered, not printed - but again, this is about Lego doing its best to maximise the affordability of its sets. The necessity of the stickers also becomes apparent once you realise that several of the panels are decorated both inside and out - with the internal walls featuring a display screen and an adorable window with a view of the underside of the Devastator. Utilising these four large panels to fill out most of the build also allows for the remaining piece count to be used in providing an insane level of detail elsewhere. The exterior of the pod features eight separately gimbaled thrusters, a printed cockpit window, and even two tiny manoeuvring jets on the nose. The fantastic detailing continues on the interior, where a novel building technique changes the orientation of the studs. C-3PO and R2-D2 each receive their own mount, with handlebars for the pilot. A (stickered) control panel can also be removed to reveal the (printed) stolen Death Star plans.

This set should make a great companion to the just-released Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder and Obi-Wan's Hut sets - both of which my wife and I already have our eyes on!