Enso Rings Star Wars Collection

Power of the Dark Side Silicone Wide Ring.

“I can feel your anger.”

Enso Rings has released a number of silicone rings in their Star Wars Collection. I believe that the initial release was earlier last year. Since then, there have been character rings, lightsaber rings, and more with the most recent collection based upon the Disney+ Series Obi-Wan Kenobi. Another recent collection that Enso released is the Star Wars Wide Collection featuring three rings that focus on three important scenes from the original Star Wars Trilogy.

L To R: Power of the Dark Side, Suns of Tatooine, and Trench Run.

I was fortunate enough to get the Power of the Dark Side ring to review for a third party group. I’ve worn and reviewed plenty of generic silicone rings over the years, but this particular ring is special. Not only is it wide and true to size, it’s also very durable, features vented slots to reduce sweating, and has an amazing battle scene emblazoned upon it featuring Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader battling one another as Emperor Palpatine conjures Force Lighting.

The box that my ring arrived in whenever I received it.

I really love this ring. It is definitely a conversation starter and I know that it would be a great gift for any Star Wars fan. I’m very tempted to pick up the Hello There ring from the Obi-Wan Collection. All of these rings are beautiful and I can see collecting them becoming a habit for me.

The Star Wars Classic Silicone Ring Collection.

I’ve already worn my ring a few times and have had a number of people ask me about it. Most of them are just curious strangers but a few of them were big Star Wars fans. Enso has a ring and/or ring collection for you no matter who your favorite Star Wars character, film, or series happens to be and you’ll really appreciate the love and care that they put into each one of these rings.

My ring in the box.

Thanks for checking out these Enso Rings with me. Please note that I did not receive this ring from Enso nor did they have any input into my review of the ring. I was just given a unique opportunity and figured that my blog readers would enjoy a closeup look at these beautiful rings.

The Palpatine side of my ring.

Star Wars: Galaxy Of Adventures

“The Force is strong with this one.”

Star Wars has been a cash cow ever since the first film hit screens back in 1977. There have been countless books, TV shows, comics, and more that have been available for over four decades. Toys have always been a massive part of the brand and make up a huge chunk of profits for it, Disney, and George Lucas. The toys have sold well to children (and adult children like myself) from the beginning, so it puzzled me a bit whenever Disney, Star Wars, and Hasbro announced that a new line of toys and video shorts would be released that specifically targeted at younger audiences. This line, dubbed Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures, began in 2018.

The series features short animated episodes with stylized animation that is blended with live action moments from the films. Each episode lasts between one and two minutes and includes narration that gives a brief summary of key characters and moments in the Star Wars saga. The first season was used to build up to The Rise Of Skywalker film. A second season, focusing on the sequel trilogy, was also released. The final episode, released on October 28, 2020 in the United States, was Obi-Wan Kenobi. It was the fifty-fourth episode in the series. No word has been given on a potential third season. Disney officially lists the series as “pending” according to a number of sources but nothing else has been mentioned about the series.

Part of the reason that the series is in limbo might be due to the lukewarm reception of the show itself and the coinciding toy line. While both were very popular, they weren’t “Star Wars” popular. The toys have moved slowly off of store shelves and many of the first figures in the line can still be found hanging on pegs at Walmart (which had exclusive rights to the initial toy line). Around Christmas last year, tons of the figures were found in stocking stuffer bargain bins for five bucks each. Seeing this reminded me of the time when Hasbro repacked underselling The Clone Wars toys in “Bonus Value” eight packs at Walmart at Christmas time. If I remember correctly, those packs started out at $19.99 and, at least in my area, they warmed the shelves until well after Christmas where I managed to pick many of them up for under ten bucks apiece.

I’ve seen the Galaxy Of Adventures figures in stores recently selling for $3.99. Just after Christmas they were going for $2.50 on clearance. Their initial price point was around nine dollars. I’ve picked up a few of them over the last couple of months and I have to admit that I rather like them. Each figure is surprisingly well articulated and comes with an action feature that differs from figure to figure. For example, the Han Solo figure features a “Sling and Blast” attack feature where Solo’s right arm flicks the blaster into a shooting position. Darth Maul comes with a “Dual Sith Strike” feature that has him twist his lightsaber which can be split into two pieces. Each figure comes with at least one accessory as well. Some, such as Kylo Ren, come with two accessories (removable cloak and lightsaber). All of the figures have highly stylized features that look similar to the characters on the animated series.

I don’t know if Hasbro will continue making these figures nor do I know if the series will ever have a third season. The series is pretty good but older fans may not care to watch as it’s simply a condensed version of stories from the films. The figures are definitely cool and deserve to get into the hands of little kids and adult collectors, but I believe that the original price point made a lot of parents and collectors shy away from the figures. Five dollars seems to be a more reasonable asking price for this line of five inch figures. Some of these figures have arrived on eBay at the standard bloated prices that scabbers sell them for in the hopes to cash in on desperate fans. I wouldn’t pay more than five to ten dollars for these figures, and I’d only pay ten bucks for a figure that I really want to own.

I do recommend snagging a few of these figures for your collection. As I’ve already mentioned, they stand roughly five inches tall but they are scaled somewhat as you can see the in the Han and Chewie photo above. Darth Maul is especially short, but he’s to scale compared with the other figures in the line. Keep an eye out on clearance shelves for these guys. You might just walk out of the store with a Boba Fett for under five dollars.

Thanks for checking out my review. Some of these figures look amazing and I definitely plan on grabbing a few more of them.

Throwback Thursday: 1983 Kenner Star Wars Speeder Bike

“Go for help! Go!”

Everyone already knows that some of the coolest toys to ever grace a peg or a store shelf were the 3 3/4 Kenner Star Wars action figures and all of the playsets, vehicles, and blasters that came with them. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent playing with those action figures. Each film brought new characters (which meant new figures) and vehicles so I was always hoping to get my hands on at least a few of them.

Not my old Speeder Bike and Biker Scout.

I never had a lot of the vehicles or playsets. I mainly received figures. Of the few vehicles and playsets that I did receive, almost all of them were exclusively from Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi. One of my absolute favorites was the Speeder Bike that was featured prominently in the film on the planet Endor. Much cooler than the pod race on Tatooine and better than most of the battles in space in my opinion, the Speeder Bike chase had me dreaming of blitzing through dense forests with massive trees (and Ewoks). When I received the toy for Christmas circa 1983 or so, I was captivated.

The Speeder Bike came in three pieces: 1) the long extended front piece, 2) the control panel with handlebars, and 3) the rear piece with the legs and engine flaps. You simply snapped those three pieces together and took off on an adventure! When you lifted the bike off of any surface, the engine flaps would swing open. They would close whenever you “landed” your vehicle. The handlebars moved and the turret gun on the underside of the bike swiveled. When it was time to blow up the bike, you simply pushed a button on the rear piece (disguised as a pack) and the three pieces would fly apart. Snap them back together again and your ready for more action!

I still have my Biker Scout action figure (and his blaster) but have no idea what happened to my Speeder Bike. I wish that I still had one in my possession as I loved that toy. There have been model kits, a Power of the Force version, and even a Black Series version of the vehicle released over the years but I’ve never broken down and purchased one. Who knows? Maybe I’ll snag one someday and it will be 1980-something all over again.

Thanks for taking a stroll down memory lane with me today. See you again soon!

Those Basic Figures….

When you need to be rescued in the checkout lane….

Hasbro, Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney know just how to market toys to children and their parents. Some parents plunk down ten to twenty bucks for a hunk of plastic that won’t receive more than ten minutes of attention from a kid. More frugal parents will hold out on their kid until they get to the checkout lane at the store where Hasbro has some cheaper figures with bright colors and limited articulation. You know what figures I am talking about. You’ve probably picked up a few of them over the years for yourself or for your children. Most of them have three points of articulation: a swivel neck and two swivel shoulders. A couple of them swivel at the waist. A few of them come with an accessory. For the most part, these figures are just for decoration but they do have their merits.

One of the best things about these figures is their price point. For about five dollars you can own Captain America, Thor, Din Djarin, Luke Skywalker, or even Thanos or Darth Vader. Almost all of the figures are the same height. With the exception of Grogu (Baby Yoda), all of the figures that I’ve seen are six inches tall. Grogu is scaled to match Din Djarin (The Mandalorian) but the Hulk, Thanos, and the Hulkbuster Armor Iron Man are all the same scale as figures like Spider-Man and Black Panther.

Another excellent thing about these figures is that despite their limited articulation, younger kids can get quite a bit of playtime out of them, especially on a road trip. With almost no accessories to worry about losing, parents can toss a few of these figures into the back seat with the kids and let them go on a mini adventure. If one of them happens to get broken, it’s not a big deal since you’re only out five bucks.

My personal favorite thing about these figures is how amazing many of them look. Din Djarin and Thanos are two of my favorite figures. They look great. The paint apps are wonderful and the overall design of the figure is extremely appealing. Sure, there are a few paint apps on some of these figures that are atrocious (I’m looking at you, Luke Skywalker and Iron Man), but for the most part they are wonderful to put on display.

These figures probably won’t be worth much as the years go by due to the fact that you can find them in almost every major department store. Plus, they use the same molds over and over and only change the design on the boxes. They just recently released an entire line of Star Wars figures and almost all of them are the same molds and paint apps on the same old figures that have been released multiple times over the years. The newest figures in the line appear to be Grogu and Din Djarin, which makes sense due to the fact that they are two of the newest Star Wars characters.

I enjoy collecting these figures. I know exactly what I’m getting and haven’t been disappointed yet. If I’m ever down in the dumps, getting one of these figures lifts my spirits. I don’t know what it is about them that I love so much. They are just fun to have around and display. I know a lot of “collectors” scoff at these cheap figures, but they have an appeal that cannot be denied. Plus, they are an excellent option for families on a budget or for stressed out parents in the checkout lane.

Thanks for reading my post. See you again real soon!

Star Wars The Black Series: Bo-Katan Kryze

“…Mandalorians are stronger together.”

I really like Hasbro’s The Black Series line of Star Wars figures. I’ve purchased quite a few over the years but always try to limit myself to characters that I love and/or figures that look wonderful. Recently, Hasbro has unleashed a number of new figures on collectors, many of which come from Disney’s wildly successful The Mandalorian series. To be quite honest, there aren’t many of the figures from this series that I want to purchase, but one figure, Bo-Katan Kryze, caught my eye.

Why did I choose to pick up a Bo-Katan figure? For the simple fact that I really enjoyed the character on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and was glad to see her return in a live action series. Katee Sackhoff’s portrayal of the character on the animated Clone Wars was flawless, and her live action delivery very good as well. I’d love to meet her one day and get a photo and autograph.

As far as the figure goes, it’s excellent. Sackhoff’s likeness is captured extremely well and her armor looks wonderful. The figure comes with Bo-Katan’s iconic Nite Owl helmet, complete with Mandalorian markings and movable rangefinder, and her armor is scored by scratches, burns, and other battle damage marks.

The helmet is removable and I have had a long debate as to whether or not I should display the figure with or without her helmet. Her included blasters can be holstered or held in her hands. Her jetpack looks great as well.

The figure features the standard multi points of articulation that allow her to be posed in a number of ways. Unlike many other armored figures in the line over the years, Bo-Katan’s articulation isn’t hindered too much by shoulder pads, shin guards, or anything else.

I don’t plan on getting any of the other figures from The Mandalorian at the moment. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t have the shelf space or funds to justify buying tons of figures that I really don’t want. Bo-Katan is a must-have for fans of the character, though. It’s a great figure in a very long line of excellent figures released by Hasbro.

Thanks for reading my post. I have to apologize for the somewhat blurry photos. I recently received a new ring light and this was my first attempt at using it. I hope to have a new phone in the next few months and hopefully that will remedy my blurry photos. Oh, and if you’re a photographer, I’d love to hear some tips on using a phone camera for pictures. I know that it’s not ideal, but it’s all that I have at the moment.

Star Wars Escape From Death Star Game

A long time ago, in 1977….

Today I’m taking a look at a classic game that I completely forgot about until my sister purchased the re-released version of it for myself and my son. I have fond memories of playing the original 1977 version of the Star Wars: Escape From Death Star board game. I was very young whenever the first Star Wars film was released, but when I was old enough to understand the rules, I played this game frequently. With a new edition of the game in hand, my son has quickly fallen in love with it as well.

The new edition of the game was released in 2018 and it plays exactly like the original game. The premise is simple: Move Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and Luke from the trash compactor in the Death Star to the Millennium Falcon and then make the jump to Hyperspace to make it to the Rebel Base. That sounds easy enough, but just like in the film, you have to complete a couple of tasks before you can escape.

You begin in the Trash Compactor and have to navigate both of your tokens over the board by spinning the R2-D2 spinner. You can move forward, backward, or sideways (when moving sideways is possible) and have to collect the Death Star Blueprints and disable the Tractor Beam. Along the way you will encounter blue Force Card circles where you have to draw a card that determines what happens next. Sometimes the Force is with you and other times you can be penalized. Pick the right cards and you can quickly move across the board. Choose a negative card and you just might end up in the Detention Block!

After you successfully disable the Tractor Beam and have the blueprints for the Death Star in hand, you have to make your way to the Millennium Falcon. Once you arrive there, you spin on each turn and try to get to the Rebel Base. You have two options to choose from when it comes to reaching the base. You can take the easy route and move across blank spaces or choose spaces that have TIE Fighters on them. If you choose to face off against the TIE Fighters, you have to spin to see if you win or lose the dogfight. If you win each time, you can successfully reach the Rebel Base in one turn. Lose and you might give your opponent to catch up with you.

The gameplay can be swift or slow depending upon which Force Cards are drawn and how well players can maneuver across the board. You can also easily lose a big lead or catch up from way behind, so no clear winner can be determined early in the game. This makes strategy and luck two key components to succeeding at this game.

You can actually purchase the original vintage version of this game on the web for an average of around twenty bucks. The major selling point for the new version is the addition of a Retro Collection Grand Moff Tarkin action figure. The figure looks cool and I love the “worn” look of the cardback.

I do recommend checking out this game, especially if you have kids in your house. Not only is this game fun, it’s unpredictable nature levels the playing field for all ages. If you grew up with the original game like I did, it’s fun to introduce a new generation to this classic game.

Thanks for reading my post. Another one will be coming soon!

The Mandalorian Chapter 16

The Rescue

Merry Christmas! Since most of you will probably be unwrapping presents tomorrow morning, I decided to post my review of the season finale of The Mandalorian a day early! Please be aware that there are a few MAJOR SPOILERS for this episode in this post following my general review. Don’t worry, though, as I’ll give you a warning before I hit any spoilers. Also, if you haven’t seen the last couple of episodes, there will be spoilers from those episodes mentioned as well. Those spoilers will be found in my general review.

Din Djarin is intent on finding Grogu and putting an end to Moff Gideon in Chapter 16, The Rescue. The episode finds the Mandalorian and his group of allies, Cara Dune, Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, Koska Reeves, and Bo-Katan, in hot pursuit of Moff Gideon. Capturing an Imperial Shuttle and taking Dr. Pershing as a prisoner, the group comes up with a daring plan to gain entry into Gideon’s cruiser and save Grogu. Do they make it? Watch The Rescue to find out!

The episode is light on plot and heavy on action. To be honest, though, there’s no real need for a lot of plot since it is essentially a desperate rescue mission. The action is well choreographed, especially the battle between Din and a key character and one of the surprise arrivals on the cruiser versus a ton of enemies. Many people claim that this episode reminded them of classic Star Wars and that it was the best episode of the season. In my opinion, Chapter 12, The Siege, was the episode that reminded me most of classic Star Wars and it was also my favorite episode of this season. I think a lot of people got caught up in the emotional ending and the surprises that showed up at the end of the episode. While I loved those surprises, they didn’t blow me away as much as they apparently blew away other folks.

In all, this was a very good episode with a nice surprise ending and mid-credits scene. That’s the end of my general review, get ready for SPOILERS BELOW!!!

Spoilers Below!!! Major Spoilers!!!

This episode was loaded with not one, not two, but three surprise appearances. It also featured a ton of CGI Dark Troopers. The CGI was fairly good, but the Dark Troopers moved choppily and were reminiscent of the lacking CGI Centurion Cylons in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. I was really impressed with the battle between Din and Moff Gideon. I also enjoyed the massive battle featuring a character that I’ll mention in just a little bit.

The Dark Troopers prove to be a formidable opponent for Din and become the final great threat to the Mandalorian and his allies. Luckily help arrives in the form of a lone X-Wing fighter (and, no, it isn’t Carson Teva). Of course, the X-Wing is a dead giveaway to the first surprise appearance but I kept telling myself that it couldn’t be THAT character. Then we see the ignition of a green lightsaber by a character in a very Return of the Jedi looking costume and it’s pretty obvious that Luke Skywalker has arrived on The Mandalorian. Luke tears through the Dark Troopers with ease, appearing to relish the destruction of each of the troopers. It’s a scene that is very reminiscent of Darth Vader’s glorious arrival at the end of Star Wars: Rogue One. After a tearjerking moment between Luke, Din, and Grogu, it doesn’t seem like the little guy will leave the Mando’s side….until the second surprise cameo happens: R2-D2!

The episode ends with Grogu agreeing to go with Luke and R2 to continue his Jedi training. It’s a heartfelt moment that really got to me. The credits roll and halfway through we are given the third, albeit brief, appearance by another classic character. Mirroring Luke’s arrival at Jabba’s palace in ROTJ, Boba Fett and Fennec Shand storm into the palace where we see Bib Fortuna, Jabba’s former aide, sitting atop a throne. He’s quickly dispatched by Boba Fett and Boba takes his place on the throne. We are then teased with The Book of Boba Fett, which will be a new series next year. There were also a few other familiar faces in Jabba’s old palace including some Gamorrean guards, Weequays, Rodians, and other alien races already seen in previous Star Wars films and stories.

The episode was one of the better ones of the second season. It does a fine job of tying the series into the fabric of the Star Wars films and other properties. It was nice to see Bib Fortuna, R2, and Luke in the episode as well. It will be interesting to see where season three goes now that Grogu is gone. We’ve got a year to figure out what’s going to happen!

Thanks for reading my post and I hope that all of you have a merry Christmas! I’ve got a few other reviews up my sleeve and I’ve already received a few books that I plan on covering in later posts. See you again real soon!

The Mandalorian Chapter 15

The Believer

Last week’s episode of The Mandalorian brought back one of my favorite characters, the mouthy sharpshooter named Mayfield. The character was teased in Chapter 14 and returned in all of his sharp tongued glory. In the episode, Din needs the coordinates to Moff Gideon’s ship where Grogu is being held captive. In order to get those coordinates, he needs access to an Imperial terminal. To get to the terminal, he needs Imperial credentials. That’s where Mayfield comes into the picture. As a former Imperial sniper, Mayfield can acquire the information that Din needs. Cara Dune, now a New Republic Marshall, gains the release of Mayfield from the Karthon Chop Fields where he is serving his sentence. Along with Fennec Shand and Boba Fett, the group go to a rhydonium refinery on Morak in order to access an Imperial terminal. A train caper follows when Mayfield and Din commandeer a rhydonium transport in order to get into the refinery but end up biting off more than they can chew. Do they survive? Will Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, and Cara Dune be able to help them? You’ll have to watch the episode in order to find out.

This was an excellent episode. The train caper was fun and reminded me of every old fashioned train fight that you see in classic western films. There are also hints of Speed (1994) in the scene as the transport can’t go too fast or it will trigger the rhydonium and destroy Mayfield, Din, and anybody else in the vicinity. The episode also shows how terrible things were under the New Republic. Sure, things were improving, but the world after the fall of the Empire was still in the early recovery stages and it was ripe for picking by Imperial sympathizers and hangers on. Bill Burr’s Mayfield gives an excellent explanation of how things aren’t necessarily better under the New Republic and an old acquaintance that he runs into later in the episode reveals just how easily the Empire can return to its glory.

Director Rick Famuyiwa, who has directed two other episodes in the series so far, kept things interesting while still expanding the story as a whole. Both Mayfield and Din are given more depth, especially Mayfield, and Famuyiwa uses the camera perfectly while shooting the interactions between the main characters and others. This was a solid episode and definitely worth watching.

Spoilers Below!!!!!

Bill Burr was amazing in this episode. He went from a likeable jerk to a true hero in a matter of minutes and by the end of the episode, Mayfield became possibly more respectable than even Din or Cara Dune (Gina Carano). Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), and Cara Dune didn’t factor heavily into this episode and stayed in the background while Pedro Pascal and Burr gave two of the best acting performances in the series so far.

The pirate sequence featuring the transport hijacked by Mayfield and the Mandalorian could have easily become boring, but it managed to stay interesting, surprisingly fresh, and oddly familiar all at the same time. Once the duo entered the refinery, Burr delivered a tour de force performance as he went from cool head to nervous wreck and then lethal killer. Richard Brake did a superb job as Valin Hess, Mayfield’s former commanding officer. He triggers Mayfield’s rage and suffers the consequences. I also loved the interaction between Din and Mayfield whenever the Mando removes his helmet. Mayfield’s show of respect by turning slightly away from Din spoke volumes!

It was also pretty cool to see Slave I firing a seismic charge. It brought back memories from the space battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jango Fett with a young Boba (Daniel Logan) in tow in Attack of the Clones. I also enjoyed the blunt threat that Din delivered to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) at the end of the episode. It promises a huge battle between those two and I can’t wait to see it.

Thanks for checking out my review. I’ll have another for the next episode on the next Friday! Let me know in the comments how you felt about this episode and what you hope to see in future installments of the show!

Jeremy Bulloch, The Original Boba Fett, Has Passed Away

Rest in peace, Boba Fett

I am sad to report the passing of Jeremy Bulloch, who portrayed Boba Fett in the original Star Wars Trilogy. Here is an article that verifies the sad news. We lost David Prowse, the actor who portrayed Darth Vader in the original trilogy (voiced by James Earle Jones), last month.

I met Mr. Bulloch at Comicpalooza a few years ago in Houston, TX. Both he and his wife were extremely kind to me and all of the excited fans that were lined up to meet their favorite bounty hunter.

I’ll be watching The Empire Strikes Back this weekend. You should watch it as well. If you are a Doctor Who fan, look up the classic First Doctor story, The Space Museum, and the Third Doctor story, The Time Warrior. Bulloch appeared in both of those stories. He also appeared briefly in other roles in the Star Wars films, including one appearance in the prequels as Bail Organa’s pilot, Colton.

Bulloch was seventy-five years old. He will be sorely missed by the Star Wars fan community.

Thank you for reading this post. I will be posting my review of last week’s episode of The Mandalorian tomorrow morning.

Star Wars The Black Series: Phase I Clone Trooper

From Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Despite being my least favorite Star Wars film of all, Attack of the Clones has a few things going for it. There’s the introduction of Jango Fett and a young Boba Fett, the brief appearance of Zam Wesell, and some of the best Obi-Wan Kenobi moments in all of the trilogies as a whole. It’s also the film that gives us our first good look at the Republic’s clone army. Fully CGI, the clones still managed to look cool and were fleshed out with perfection in the animated Clone Wars film and animated series.

Hasbro recently released a ton of new The Black Series figures, and one of them quickly caught my eye: The Phase I Clone Trooper. Sure, there have been other clone figures released in this line, but this one was different. Seeing various reviews of the figure, I decided to take the plunge and grab one of these figures. I’m glad that I did.

The figure comes with excellent articulation for the most part. As is almost always the case with clones and Stormtroopers, though, the armor does hinder the figure’s movement in a few places, most notably at the hip. The shoulder pieces, knee guards, and elbow guards are all soft plastic, though, and don’t get in the way of movement. The head is hindered somewhat when trying to tilt the head up due to the helmet, but overall, I can’t complain at all about the articulation of this figure.

The details on the figure are excellent as well. The paint application is done nicely with the exception of around the back of the knees on my figure. The hands hold the included weapons (DC-15A Blaster Rifle and DC-15S Blaster Carbine) securely and thanks to the awesome articulation, the figure can be posed in a number of cool ways.

I hope that you enjoyed this brief look at the newly released Phase I Clone Trooper from The Black Series by Hasbro. Let me know in the comments if you have this figure and what you think of it. Also, I have quite a few older Black Series figures, and if you’d like me to review any of them, just let me know!

Thanks for reading my post. See you again real soon!