Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Road to The Last Jedi: Elite Praetorian Guard from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase III by Hasbro

 Earlier this month I reviewed the Elite Praetorian Guard with the double bladed weapon that is part of the GameStop and Barnes & Noble exclusive Guardians of Evil 4-pack. My guess, however, is that most collectors will encounter this single packed version of the Elite Praetorian Guard first. Seemingly an evolution of the Emperor's Royal Guards, the Praetorian Elite Guards are Supreme Leader Snoke's red armored masters of disaster. Apparently there are eight of them, although some of them may share helmet styles and weapons. This single packed guard is distinct from the version in the Guardians of Evil 4-pack and utilizes a different weapon while also sporting a different helmet. Let's check him out after the break...

 The Facts:

Height: 6 1/4 inches tall

Articulation: Swivel/hinge ankles, double hinged knees, swivel thighs, ball jointed hips, ball jointed abdomen, swivel/ hinge shoulders, balljointed shoulder pauldrons, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a hinged neck, and a ball jointed head.

Accessories: Bladed staff, shoulder pads.

Non-Scalper Price: $20 dollars

The Positives:

* I love the design of these guys. You can definitely see how they were inspired by the Emperor's Royal Guards but they seem so much more "hands on." Their armor has some fine details and, like with the Stormtroopers, you can see the difference between the Plastoid heavy armor and a bodysuit underneath. There are also two separate paint schemes to represent the textures of the differing outfit materials. The Plastoid armor is very shiny and looks great.

*  The helmet is very unusual but it looks accurate and it rather unique. I really do get a 1970s or early 1980s sci-fi/ fantasy feel from this design. If this had shown up in something like Flash Gordon, The Black Hole, or Starcrash, I wouldn't be surprised. I mean that as a compliment, though. It seems unique but somehow familiar, too.
*  The Elite Praetorian Guard's articulation is pretty solid. The elbows are a bit limited but overall you should be pretty pleased with these dudes. I really like the balljointed shoulder pads which offer a heightened range of movement for the shoulders. This guy features a plastic robe rather than the soft goods robe of the figure included with the Guardians of Evil 4-pack, but it still is pretty functional.

* This Elite Praetorian Guard includes a large Guan Do styled halberd that seems to have a bit more functionality than a regular blade. Perhaps it is a vibro-blade of some sort? This is a very solid accessory with some nice paint applications on it. 

* The Elite Praetorian Guard's arms are covered by overlapping armor pieces. In order to preserve some articulation while still giving the figure an accurate appearance Hasbro has placed one of the armor collars over the swivel/hinge elbow, thus the joint can still move while the appearance of the armor pattern is not affected.
The Negatives:

*Despite the engineering above, the elbows still have some limited motion. This hurts this figure worse because he carries what is clearly intended to be a two-handed weapon. He can hold the weapon with two hands, but it's difficult and somewhat forced.
The Elite Praetorian Guards definitely have an interesting look to them and I'm really curious to see them in the film. As action figures, they're definitely interesting although not as impressive as I would have hoped. Throwing in double jointed elbows really would have improved things with these guys. This is a Good and a 1/2 figure but definitely lacking compared to some of the other releases currently in the Black Series. Still, you'll need to have these guys chill out around your Snoke, right?

I've reviewed the double blade wielding Elite Praetorian Guard in the Guardians of Evil 4-pack, so check that out!

If you're looking for more Star Wars: The Black Series figures, check out the following:

442nd Siege Battalion Clone Trooper, 212th Attack Battalion Utapau Trooper, Coruscant Guard ---(Phase II), and 501st Legion Clone Trooper 4 pack
Admiral Ackbar and First Order Officer
Ahsoka Tano 
AT-AT Pilot 
Baze Malbus
Captain Cassian Andor (Eadu) 
Captain Poe Dameron
C-3PO (Resistance Base)
Captain Phasma
Chirrut Imwe 
Clone Captain Rex (HasCon Exclusive)
Clone Commander Gree
Constable Zuvio
Darth Revan 
Darth Vader (Emperor's Wrath)
Director Krennic
Finn (First Order Disguise)
Finn (FN-2187)
Finn (Jakku)
First Order Flametrooper
First Order General Hux
First Order Snowtrooper
First Order Snowtrooper Officer
First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter
First Order Stormtrooper
First Order Stormtrooper Executioner 
First Order TIE Fighter Pilot
General Leia Organa
Grand Admiral Thrawn (SDCC Exclusive)
Guardians of Evil 4-Pack
Guavian Enforcer
Han Solo 
Hera Syndulla
Imperial AT-ACT Driver
Imperial Death Trooper
Imperial Death Trooper, Captain Cassian Andor, and Sergeant Jyn Erso (Jedha) 3 pack
Imperial Hovertank Pilot 
Imperial Shock Trooper 
Imperial Royal Guard
Jango Fett
Kanan Jarrus
Kylo Ren 
Kylo Ren (SDCC 2016)
Kylo Ren (The Last Jedi) 
Kylo Ren (Starkiller Base)
Lando Calrissian
Luke Skywalker 
Luke Skywalker (Jedi Master) 
Maz Kanata
Obi-Wan Kenobi (SDCC 2016)
Phase 1 Clone Trooper Commander, Phase II Clone Trooper, Imperial Stormtrooper, and First Order ---Stormtrooper Officer four pack
Poe Dameron
Poe Dameron and First Order Riot Control Stormtrooper
Princess Leia Organa 
Qui-Gon Jinn
R2-A3, R5-K6, and R2-F2
Resistance Trooper
Rey (Jakku) & BB-8 
Rey (Jedi Training)
Rey (Starkiller Base) 
Rey's Speeder (Jakku)
Sabine Wren
Sandtrooper Sergeant, Crimson Stormtrooper, Lieutenant OXIXO, and R2-Q5
Scarif Stormtrooper
Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader 
Sergeant Jyn Erso (Eadu)
Sergeant Jyn Erso (Jedha)
Tusken Raider 
X-34 Landspeeder & Luke Skywalker (SDCC Exclusive) 
X-Wing Pilot Asty 

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