There is no limit to the monster that is Star Wars merchandising. George Lucas knew how to make money out of his baby, and nobody knows marketing and merch sales like Walt Disney. So when The Force Awakens made its long-awaited debut, store shelves around the world were filled with all manner of items bearing the logo, characters and anything else you could think of. Specifically, toys were a major selling focus; the flagship franchises such as LEGO and Funko predictably brought in millions, as did the action figure market. A who’s who of toy manufacturers rushed to stake their claim to the money-spinning franchise and put out every type of figure you can think of.
Manufacturer: JAKKS Pacific
One such company that had already smartly jumped on the Star Wars wagon was JAKKS Pacific, specifically with their Big Figs collection. An attraction for young kid and older collectors alike, they already have a catalogue that, as well as Star Wars, includes the not-insignificant DC Comics licence, and their Big-Figs and Big-Figs Massive ranges have proven very popular. The addition of the Big-Figs Colossal options only increasing interest.
So with the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story rapidly approaching, and the predictable wave of merchandise flying onto – and just as quickly off – shelves following Force Friday on September 30, JAKKS have unveiled their corner of the Star Wars market. Standing in front of me today is just one of the new Big-Figs range; the Death Trooper.
Standing in at 20” tall, it has to be said straight off the bat that it looks magnificent. Constructed from a rigid black plastic, yet impossibly and permanently shiny, it is incredibly detailed and one of the better-looking toys/collectible items I have seen in some time. JAKKS have done an amazing job with this, and taking a look at the rest of the Rogue One range, this is not the exception. Coming complete with two firearms, this figure is full of immaculate detail from head-to-toe, it is decked in the familiar Stormtrooper armor, though in sleek black as opposed to the more-recognisable white. Due to officially be introduced into the Star Wars universe in Rogue One, the Death Troopers are basically the best of the best when it comes to Stormtroopers; these guys don’t miss, they are the elite. And based on early images we have seen from the movie, the appearance here is spot-on and totally true to what we’re going to see on the big screen come December.
The figure has seven points of articulation; head, arms, hands and legs, all of which allow for good poseable action and, more importantly for the child’s viewpoint, playability. I was fortunate to have the benefit of being able to look at this from the perspective of a collector, and having an eight-year-old in the house who could offer the views of a child. In both cases, it is nothing but a success. Any collection is boosted with this, the detail is stunning and, let’s face it, who doesn’t love not just a Stormtrooper, but one in a shiny black shade. From the mind of the child, meanwhile, I literally had this in my hands for no more than five seconds before I found it being taken from me and quickly transported to another room, or thanks to a child’s imagination, a new war in a galaxy far, far away.
Imagination and immediate attraction for something so visually appealing aside, there are some downsides to look at; for the smaller child, its weight may prove an obstacle. The recommended age is three and upwards, something I would have to disagree with. For me, the potential for damage to the item and, more importantly, the child seems higher for a three-year-old. Given the restrictions imposed by the fig’s dimensions, this would seem more suitable for someone at least the age of five. My eight-year-old test subject – with all due respect to the child of the household, had no issue handling the figure, which came up to approximately her waist. What all children will immediately find impressive is the stature of the fig, quickly followed by what they can do with it.
However, while the poseable actions do offer good play value, they will only entertain for so long. Any parent will tell you that the attention span of a child will only go so far, and there is only so many times they will find ways to amuse themselves by making the Death Trooper sit down or stand on one leg. Before long, the figure has been discarded and I was able to put it back in its now-permanent home as part of my movie merchandise collection. And therein I realised the issue here; despite its features, this is designed to be put on display and not in a child’s toybox. While a collector wouldn’t have an issue with laying down £20 on a new piece, a parent is not likely going to be keen on spending out that money on something that will dominate attention and focus once it’s out of the box, and then left collecting dust alongside other sufferers of short attention spans. There are other action figures available, that come smaller in both dimension and price tag, and they are likely going to be the preferred option in the event of being discarded somewhere down the line.
It may seem that more time was spent on this review highlighting likely shortcomings with this figure, however it cannot be expressed enough just how many highlights there are here also. Even if it isn’t for the longest time, kids will love this and the ability to position it how they want in their imaginative intergalactic battles. And if the kids aren’t interested anymore? Then grown-ups, don’t feel bad about picking up that Death Trooper and giving him a well-deserved place in your collection. All I will say is that if it is solely being purchased for the little ‘en, you may want to look at other options before spending out £20 on something that may not survive past the initial ‘wow’ period.
However, if this one is solely for the big kids who want to keep it boxed and show it off proudly, you should have no hesitation cranking open that wallet and handing over that £20.
This set was provided for review purposes. However, all reviews reflect the authors own personal views and are not influenced in any way.