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The Black Series [Phase II]

Starkiller (Galen Marek) - TBS [P2] - Basic (#05)

Name: Starkiller (Galen Marek)
Collection: The Black Series [Phase II]
Number: #05
Scale: 3¾"
Source: The Force Unleashed
Availability: October 2014
License: Hasbro

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"Starkiller" is the code name of the Force-sensitive Galen Marek, who becomes an apprentice to Darth Vader during the dark era of the Galactic Empire.

Friends, we feel the days of glorious paint operations have come to an end, especially/at least when it comes to properly decorating head sculpts in the collector line anymore. Once again, Hasbro can’t seem to catch a break, or maybe is it their own fault that the line is in the current state that it’s in at the moment? The addition of one of the most sought after basic figures in recent history should have been something to make us all happy, but we’re not so sure anymore. Those who missed out on the stunning Starkiller (Vader’s Apprentice) (VC100) action figure in the collector focused The Vintage Collection line may feel salt in the would once again, because we just don’t think that this figure’s release in The Black Series [Phase II] line is going to console them. Or maybe it will. Who knows at this point. Updated not only with a new name, the former Starkiller (Vader’s Apprentice) (VC100) now hailed as Starkiller (Galen Marek) (#05), the action figure receives new paint operations most notably on the portrait which makes him look like a completely different character. It is our opinion that 2012’s TVC Starkiller (Vader’s Apprentice) (VC100) is one of the finest accomplishments of Hasbro’s career, so perhaps reissuing it two years after the fact in an environment where quality is taking a back seat has everything working against it. It couldn’t possibly not pale in comparison. You’ll be able to tell the two releases apart from one another, even outside of the packaging, easily. But let’s look at the specifics and hopefully you can make your own judgment call here.

Firstly, let’s acknowledge what Hasbro did successfully accomplish here. In a world where every “extra” costs Hasbro too much money, we have to congratulate them on capturing all ten (10) separate accessories without a blemish. (Frankly, it’s quite a miracle that an action figure with that many accessories wasn’t automatically disqualified for The Black Series line just for cost analysis alone.) And from the neck down, Starkiller (Galen Marek) looks almost/nearly identical to the figure in The Vintage Collection line, save for a few shades of color differences here and there, but nothing big at all. Where the figure will stop you dead in your tracks however is the “new” portrait. It looks so strikingly different from the TVC figure that we’re almost inclined to believe that it’s an all-new head sculpt. (And we’re still not 100% sure it isn’t new in one aspect or another – 99.99% sure it isn’t, but still not 100%.) Obviously there are similarities between to the two head sculpts, but if you look at our side by side comparison in the photo gallery, you’ll see that the news figure’s ears don’t protrude out from the head at much. (And we’re not even talking about the paint variances yet.) It’s no secret that Starkiller (Galen Marek) has received quicker and less involved paint operations. The eyebrows are ridiculous, the eyes just have dots for pupils and irises and his new harsh hairline looks a lot more like he is a member of a gang than a videogame figure. He even has less texture in his hair and there is a faint black “mohawk” line running down the top center of his head. We also don’t think they matched the flesh color of the neck joint well with the color of the plastic used for his head.

In our opinion, The Vintage Collection version nailed his features. The Black Series version is quite the disappointment by comparison. And this assessment is simply based on the head sculpt alone. That’s the power of having a great portrait in the basic figure line. For us it makes all of the difference. There is more. That’s not all that bothers us about the figure. For reasons unknown, our sample of Starkiller (Galen Marek) is unable to rest his arms completely at his sides like the TVC figure can. We also noticed a slightly more rubbery feel to the plastic used to mold him which may be part of the problem. Thankfully, the figure can attain all of the poses and stances that our TVC sample can so perhaps this isn’t that big of a deal. But you are certainly left with the impression that this figure just isn’t up to par with The Vintage Collection quality. In retrospect, maybe this is the true reason Hasbro halted the production of The Vintage Collection. Maybe they knew that had to reduce the quality of the figures they make to save costs and they didn’t want that leaking into a line that is so heavily focused on collectors that demanded the best. That’s a leap and our opinion, but it certainly gives us pause to think this. So what is our final assessment of Starkiller (Galen Marek)? It will definitely be nice to see him available again. He will sell through quickly because he barely scratched the surface of meeting demand when he was part of The Vintage Collection. We know that samples change dramatically from one to the next in this era of collecting, so it’s likely many will be able to find nicer paint jobs on this figure, but keep in mind that no matter how nice, it will never look like the VC100 figure. It just won’t even come close.

Collector Notes

Starkiller (Galen Marek)

Status: Starkiller (Galen Marek) is a repaint of 2012's TVC Starkiller (Vader's Apprentice) (VC100) figure. The figure has sadly received an inferior paint job on the portrait this time around. It's also worth noting that the figure's portrait looks so different from the original that it almost looks like an all-new head sculpt.

Articulation Count: 22 points (14 areas of articulation)

Articulation Details: ball-socket head (1), ball-jointed left shoulder (2), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), ball-jointed left elbow (2), ball-jointed right elbow (2), swivel left wrist (1), swivel right wrist (1), swivel waist (1), swivel left hip (1), swivel right hip (1), ball-jointed left knee (2), ball-jointed right knee (2), ball-jointed left ankle (2), ball-jointed right ankle (2)

Accessory Count: 10

Accessory Details: removable chest armor, removable belt/loincloth combination, removable belt, removable back armor, 2 removable gauntlets, 2 lightsabers, 2 lightsaber hilts

Date Stamp: 2011

Assortment Number: A9108/A5077

UPC: 630509246687

Retail: $10.99 USD

Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on Click here to check the market value on eBay! listings.

Starkiller (Galen Marek)


The Black Series [Phase II] 3¾" Wave 1 (Wave 6)

R5-G19 (#01)

Luke Skywalker (#02)

Darth Vader (#03)

Darth Malgus (#04)

Starkiller (Galen Marek) (#05)

Yoda (#06)

Added: September 23, 2014
Category: Black Series [Phase II], The
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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