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Straight Outta Endor, Star Wars Black’s Speeder Bike & Scout

SW-Black-Speeder-Bike-featA welcome addition to an already stellar line, the Speeder Bike/Scout Trooper deluxe box is one of the latest, and arguably one of the best pieces in the Star Wars Black (6-inch) series to hit shelves.

Full disclosure, I have a nostalgic soft spot for the Trooper/Speeder Bike combo.  The original “exploding” Kenner set from the early eighties was my very first Star Wars toy and, even though it was crudely designed by today’s standards and the figure sat awkwardly with its legs outstretched, I still remember what a great time I had playing with it.  Partially, this was due to what a lasting impression the outstanding “bike chase” scene in Return of the Jedi left on me the first time I saw it as a child, and partially because the uniform design for the Scout Trooper was simply one of the most badass things I had ever seen.

Fast forward thirty years and here I am, overly excited about an update of a figure that gave me tons of fond memories.  Housed in familiar Black Series packaging, the display sports a clean, minimalist design.  From the subtle gray silhouette artwork on the rear to the splash of blue lines and dots adorning the monolithic box, I love the aesthetic this series is presented in.

SW Black Speeder Bike 024So first, let’s take a look at the Speeder Bike itself which, for the most part, is great.  It sports an awesome re-creation of the console controls – something that simply couldn’t be executed well in the smaller scale – with accurate knobs, levers, and buttons on a nicely detailed, riveted-down panel.  There’s a nicely sculpted seat, a canvas-looking bag slumped behind it, and the exhaust panels in the rear can be shifted up and down.   Sadly, the best-looking part of the bike is the undercarriage, which you will likely see the least of once it’s displayed.  The array of hoses and mechanical components look fantastic, as do the pedals, which both have pegs to lock the driver’s feet in place.  There is a laser cannon mounted underneath as well – it rotates but sadly, the cord connected to it is not anchored to the craft and simply moves with the gun itself.

I do have a couple minor gripes though.  Namely, the paint app on mine could be a bit better.  The body of the bike itself is painted brown with the handles and other components in black.  There was an effort made to give the vehicle a slightly weathered or banged up appearance by adding a bit of silver paint to a handful of areas, but the application is very spotty and heavy-handed, making them look more like actual paint smudges than a scraped exterior.  A more subtle dry-brush application would have made a world of difference here.  In addition, these silver areas are extremely uniform with each side of the craft being a mirror image of the other in regards to the spots that paint was added.  It’s just a bit off-putting when you really study the piece.  My other issue is only that the handlebars are fixed in place, which limits the poses you can put the rider in.

Minor problems aside, it’s a tremendously cool piece, largely because of the awesome base that comes with it.  The base is made of a clear, flexible plastic and shaped in a way that it itself conveys a sense of movement.  Connecting to the underside of the bike with a ball-joint, the vehicle can be positioned in any manner of angles without fear of it toppling over.  It works perfectly and looks amazing on display.

SW Black Speeder Bike 032As far as the Scout Trooper, I couldn’t be happier with Hasbro’s execution.  The sculpt looks incredible and they really took advantage of the additional detail inherent in their uniform when compared to the more straightforward Sandtrooper and Stormtrooper models.  The codpiece has a more cloth-like appearance and the addition of front-mounted packs look wonderful.  I really appreciated the fine texture they gave to all the black, under-armor areas as well and the backpack looks great with that one stark line of red emanating from the top.  My favorite part may be the heavy-duty boots that were given a muddy brown wash.

Like the other figures in the series, the articulation is what really puts it over the top.  We’re talking double-jointed knees and elbows, ball-joint shoulders and hips, bicep and thigh swivel, hinge-swivel in the wrists and ankles, torso rotation, a slight ab crunch, and a good amount of neck movement to boot.  The only thing that keeps the figure from a full range of movement is the shoulders being inhibited by the armor plates, preventing them from extending too far back.  It’s a shame too, because that would have allowed the torso to lean further in as if really pushing the bike for speed.  As it is though, you can get a decent range of poses on the bike and the articulation options ensure you can always get hands on the handlebars and feet planted on the pedals.  The figure itself is fairly light on accessories, only including a small blaster pistol, which I almost missed entirely as it comes tucked unto the Scout’s right boot holster with a clear elastic band securing it in place.  I’m extremely happy that this was included though, as it makes for some dramatic poses with the figure aiming over his shoulder with one hand firmly gripping the handlebar.

I have very few complaints overall and have had a blast playing around with the set.  This line has had one excellent release after another and has gotten me back into collecting Star Wars figures all over again.  For under forty bucks, the bike/scout combo is a great value and I’m even considering picking up a second one.  Fingers crossed that we get a Luke and Leia in Endor gear at some point that we can throw on the Speeder Bikes as well.

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