Thursday, October 19, 2017

Forces of Destiny Rey and Leia by Hasbro

Star Wars is everywhere these days.  The Force Awakens still feels relatively new to me, and yet there's another movie coming out this year (The Last Jedi) and there's still a 2016 movie that I haven't seen yet (Rogue One).  When I was a kid, I had to wait three years between each of the original movies.  Now, granted, three years felt like too long to wait, but this recent deluge of media is overwhelming.  And it's not just the movies, either.  There are trailers, video games (Battlefront 2), and even short YouTube cartoons (Forces of Destiny) to fill the time between films.  While the onslaught of Star Wars media might be too much for me to keep up with, I suspect most fans of the franchise are thrilled...I know members of my family are.

Star Wars merchandise is everywhere, too.  Hot Toys releases new ultra-realistic sixth scale figures regularly, Hasbro has a variety of The Last Jedi action figures out already, and of course there's always a great assortment of Lego sets.  The toys I'm most interested in these days are Hasbro's highly-articulated 10.5-inch dolls from the Forces of Destiny cartoon series.

In this review I'll look at two of these dolls; Rey and BB-8 from The Force Awakens and Leia and Wicket from Return of the Jedi:

Forces of Destiny "Endor Adventure" Leia, $34.99.
Forces of Destiny, for anyone who hasn't seen it, is a series of very short cartoons (2-3 minutes each) that showcase the female characters from the Star Wars chronicles.  The installments jump around in time and tend to expand on a scenario from one of the movies.  I watched the Leia and Rey episodes and was left feeling pretty neutral about the whole concept.  It's nice that some of the characters are voiced by their movie actors (Daisy Ridley is Rey and Felicity Jones is Jyn Erso), but 3 minutes isn't much time to develop a story arc.

The show is geared towards younger kids who probably haven't seen any of the Star Wars movies yet.  This seems ill conceived because the cartoons are so short, they rely on a loyalty to and understanding of the characters that comes from having seen the movies.  Without that background, what's left?  To help answer this question, I watched a Jyn Erso episode (since I don't know anything about her character).  Sure enough, the story seemed very generic and I didn't learn much about Jyn (she likes cats?  She likes kids?  She hates Stormtroopers?).

Anyway, I chose the Leia and Rey dolls because they're the two Star Wars heroines who I know the best.  The dolls come with clothing and accessories that are accurate to their movies, so they can be appreciated without any knowledge or understanding of Forces of Destiny.

Here's my Rey of Jakku & BB-8 set:

Forces of Destiny Rey of Jakku & BB-8, $25.00.

Rey and her droid are packaged in a fairly simple blister pack with a cardboard back.

The Star Wars logo appears at the bottom of the box, along with a small image of cartoon Rey and BB-8:


When I first saw these doll in the store (way back in September) I was put off by Rey's angry-looking face:


I guess I got used to the face a little more each time I saw it, because after about my third sighting, I started to think that maybe Rey looked ok, so I decided to write a review.  

The back of the box is decorated in sunset colors that look really nice.  It features a large image of Rey and a short descriptive paragraph:


Here's a closer look at the picture of Rey:


I really like the graphic style on the box.  

The Forces of Destiny animation has a similar style, but it's not as detailed.  Here's a screenshot of Rey's head from the show:


Her eyes are a little freaky.

Out of curiosity, I'd love to watch the Forces of Destiny Rey episodes with a different voice for Rey.  My hypothesis is that Daisy Ridley's voice adds a huge amount of character and credibility to the animation.

The text doesn't reveal much about Rey--just that she stands up for what she believes in and that she hangs out with BB-8:


A better description of the two cartoons I watched might be: BB-8, an accident-prone droid, finds himself in trouble a lot, but Rey is always on hand to save the day!

The back of the box describes Rey and BB-8's movement features:


BB-8's head spins around and Rey has some sort of lightsaber-swinging action.

The very bottom of the box has small pictures of two other dolls in this first wave--Jyn Erso and Sabine Wren:


Sabine Wren is from the CGI animated series Star Wars Rebels.  Her doll looks really cool but--as with Jyn Erso--I don't know anything about the character.  I need to watch some of these shows!

I pulled off the plastic front of Rey's box.  This gives a better view of the doll while she's still mounted on the backdrop:


She was attached to the backdrop with a series of long plastic ties that were easy to cut.  

The only bad part of the packaging was the two short plastic ties that were placed on either side of Rey's head--below the hairline.  Not only were these ties hard to cut, but the remnants are unsightly:


Here's everything that was in the box:

review

Rey is solid on her feet and can balance easily without a stand:


She's wearing a mix of molded, vinyl, and fabric clothing:


The outfit is not what Rey wears on Jakku in The Force Awakens, but rather her resistance outfit from that movie.  It's the same outfit that Rey wears in all of the Forces of Destiny cartoons.

Rey's hair is tied back into the three-bun style from The Force Awakens, which is cool.  However, the tendrils hanging down over each ear are awkward-looking and difficult to control:

review

Rey's face is meant to capture the intense stare that's typical of this character:

Toy Box Philosopher

I'm glad that Hasbro didn't give Rey a silly grin, that's for sure, but I'm conflicted about this face.  I like the severe, angled eyebrows, but Rey's expression still makes it seem like she's angry at me most of the time.  

Perhaps it's the pouty downward curve of the mouth that throws me off?  Or maybe it's the symmetrical, pock-like freckles that ruin the effect?


The box art version of Rey is much better--with detailed freckles and an undeniably fierce stare:


Even the animated Rey's subtle freckles look better...


...but overall I like the doll's face more than the animated face.

I should mention that I've noticed some mild variation among the individual Rey dolls at the store.  Here's another Rey of Jakku that I saw at Target just yesterday:


First of all, this doll's vest is a different color than my Rey's vest, and her face paint also looks darker overall.  This might be caused in part by the different lighting situations, but not entirely.

More importantly, the in-box doll's upper lip is painted to look more full, and there's the hint of a smile on her face.  I think this reduces the pouty/angry vibe.  Here's a side-by-side comparison:


Sadly, I like the in-store doll more than the one I own.

Despite her angry appearance, my Rey's face is well-painted.  She has blocked eyebrows with darker lined details drawn over them.  Her large eyes glance slightly upwards, with irises that are painted in several shades of brown:


My doll came with a few smudges of dirt on her forehead and chin, and I think these are areas where the styling gel from the hair dripped onto her face and collected dust.  They're pretty easy to wipe away.


The styling gel was necessary to keep Rey's elaborate hairstyle in place.  Her hair is pulled back into three buns that increase in size as they move down her head:


The effect of this hairstyle is good from a distance, but closer inspection reveals that the buns are a little messy, with stray hairs and blunt, chopped ends.  I'm guessing that this hair will not look too good if I take it down.

hair

As I was positioning Rey for photographs, her right arm would often stick out in front of her, like this:

Quick, Emily, put something in my hand!  This feels ridiculous.
Not only does the arm stick out, but it doesn't move smoothly back into place.  The shoulder joint makes a loud ratcheting noise whenever I bend it, so I always feel like I'm going to break something.  I suspect that this is because of the fighting action gimmick.

I got Rey to relax her arm a little bit here:   

Ok, fine.  I guess I'm holding an invisible lightsaber.
She's wearing bands of fabric on both arms.  These have a section of patterned knit at the top and a thicker printed canvas from the elbow down:


In order to remove the arm wraps, the hands have to be popped off:


Here's a closer look at one of the arm bands:


And here's the gripping right hand:



The left hand is gripping with most of its fingers, but has an extended pointer:


Rey's vest is made out of the same canvas fabric that's on the arm bands.


The vest has some printed details on the shoulders and down the back:



The edges of the vest are all finished and the fabric has a plastic-coated interior (much like a tablecloth) so it's quite sturdy and seems unlikely to unravel.


Here's Rey without her fabric clothing:

review

The top of the outfit is molded to Rey's body and has a subtle fabric-like texture.  In fact, the entire torso is made out of off-white plastic, with the exposed neck painted to match the rest of Rey's skin:

holster

Here's a closer look at the painted neck area:


The painted neck matches the rest of the skin fairly well.

While I was inspecting Rey's top, I noticed that both of her arms have stains on them.  Her left arm is marked below the elbow:


And her right arm has a dark spot just below the shoulder:


These markings do not wipe off.

Rey has a complex vinyl holster harness around her waist:


Her blaster comes rubber-banded in the holster:


Rey's right hand can grab the blaster while it's still in the holster:

blaster

Although her right hand does not have a trigger finger, so she can't shoot:


Rey's left hand is much better suited for blaster combat:


The harness loops around Rey's waist and around her right leg.  Both of these areas have peg-and-hole closure so that the straps can be unfastened:


The peg-and-hole site at the waistline is large and easy to open and close, but the leg strap is harder to manipulate.


Here's the harness on its own:


It's all once piece, with a detailed series of straps and some nice molded stitching:


Under the holster, Rey is wearing a vinyl skirt that matches her molded top.  Her skirt sits in a groove just below her waist joint, so at first glance it looks like she has a double-jointed waist:


The skirt has two points of attachment in back--a standard peg-and-hole at the top and a narrow, elongated peg at the bottom: 


I found the lower attachment site impossible to fasten.  It came open, and I have never been able to close it:


The skirt is flexible, and it also has high slits on each side that allow the legs to move more freely:


It has a molded texture that matches the top:


Rey's pants are molded to her body.  They have a lot of detail, including shin pads and numerous wrinkles and creases:


Above the knee, the pants are molded in green plastic.  Below the knee, the legs are molded in skin-colored plastic and the pants are painted.  The match is pretty good between these two areas, but not perfect:


I really like the slits at the sides of Rey's pants.  This is an especially nice detail.

Rey is wearing brown vinyl shoes that are removable:


These have an impressive amount of molded detail--complete with straps, buckles, stitches, flaps and creases--but there are no painted areas.


The longs slits in back make the shoes easy to get on and off:



The shoes even have a fine tread pattern on the bottom:


Rey still balances very well without her shoes...albeit in a fairly awkward stance:


I'll often position dolls in strange ways (leaning forward, arms sticking out) in order to get them to balance.  In Rey's case, her awkward pose is not due to balance issues, but just to the fact that her legs tend to splay apart and her right arm tends to stick up--again, all because of the fighting action feature.

Rey has twelve points of articulation (neck, waist, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees).  

Her head can spin around, and her chin tips upwards as it moves to either side: 


She can also look up and down--up more than down:


Rey's shoulders have hinged rotation, although the movement here is very stiff.  The stiffness is not just in the right arm, either, but in both joints.  Thankfully, only the right arm makes the alarming clicking sound when it moves forward and backward.


Notice that Rey's right arm hinges up slightly farther than her left arm.

Rey also has hinged rotation in her elbows and wrists...and both joints can flex to ninety degrees:


On a few occasions, Rey's right hand has popped off while I was trying to bend her wrist.  I'm not sure if this will become a big problem over time or not.  The wrist pegs do look pretty small.


Rey can easily rest her hand on her hip or touch her forehead...it's just that her gripping hands aren't suited to a huge variety of poses.


The fighting action feature in Rey's articulation involves moving her legs together to make her torso twist and her right arm swing downward.  

So, if she starts in the position on the left, below, with her legs far apart, when her legs are squeezed together she'll turn at the waist and lower her arm as shown on the right:


Here's a low-quality video of this action in real time:


When Rey is fully dressed, this action is harder to initiate.  The vinyl skirt and holster prevent the torso from moving too much.  Sometimes I can't get her to move at all.

Because of this fighting action, Rey's lower body does not have as much flexibility as her upper body.
Her torso joint is linked to the fighting movement, so she can't turn at the waist without moving her legs and arm.  In contrast, the right arm can be moved on its own--just not very gracefully.

Rey can move her legs from side to side a little bit, but this is also coupled to the fighting action, so the movement is minor.  Here are her legs as far apart (left) and as close together (right) as they will go:


Basically, she can't do side-to-side splits at all...and she can't pose with her legs very close together, either.

She can't do complete front-to-back splits, but her legs move much more in this direction than they do from side to side:


Rey has hinged movement in her knees, with flexion that stops just short of ninety degrees.


Rey's knees do not bend enough for her to kneel:


She also has rotation in her knees, which is really nice:


This movement allows Rey to balance in several active positions that she woundn't be capable of with simple knee joints:

articulation

articulation

Rey's hips allow her to sit on the floor, but she leans back quite a bit...and her lower legs stick up off the ground:


It's pretty easy to re-dress Rey, with the exception of that vinyl skirt that refuses to fasten.  It's also a bit of a pain to remove her hands every single time her arm bands need to be taken on or off.

Here she is back in her full outfit...with that right arm sticking out again:

This must be my invisible staff.  Goody.
I'm not completely sure that I got the arm bands back on the correct sides.  They have little cut-out areas just above the wrist, and I think these are supposed to go on top of the hand slightly towards the inside.

If only these nunchucks were real...
I like posing Rey with her blaster because it gives her something to hold:


About time, Emily.
Her arms and hair tendrils can definitely look awkward, but she has some cool poses, too:

Look!  An invisible Stormtrooper!
Toy Box Philosopher

Rey's two extra accessories are a lightsaber and a model of BB-8.  

Let's look at the lightsaber first:


It's made out of slightly bendable vinyl, so it doesn't look completely straight.

The handle is made out of silver vinyl and the blade is translucent blue vinyl.  The handle has some black painted areas, and these are a little sloppy.


The handle is also really big for Rey's hand.  She can barely get her gripped fingers around it!



The overall effect of the lightsaber is good, though, and Rey looks awesome holding it:

Now THIS is what I'm talking about!
lightsaber

This is the grip that worked best for me:


The BB-8 figure is made out of fairly lightweight hollow plastic.  His head can spin around...


...but that's it.  He tips over and rolls around on the table a lot.

The head has a few painted electronic details that look pretty good:


And each of the four panels on the droid's spherical body is painted differently.  Here are two examples:



BB-8 is a bit too small to go perfectly with Rey (he should be taller and wider...) but the overall effect is good, and this is a fun accessory for a $20 doll.

BB-8

Before I move on to talk about Leia, I should show you what happened after my curiosity got the best of me and I took Rey's hair down and washed it:

Laugh it up, fuzzball.
The hair is not as bad as I thought it would be, but my expectations were pretty low.  

The ends are very dry and rough and the texture is super frizzy (even before the hair is fully dry).


But the length of the hair is definitely more even than what I'd imagined:


I tried to tame the frizziness a little:


I think Rey will look fine in a simple, slicked-back ponytail with those funny tendrils gone.  Still, I wouldn't recommend taking the hair down.  The factory style is nice, and it was held together really well.  It took me quite a while to pry all of the rubber bands out.

Overall, Rey is a neat doll.  She feels very sturdy and substantial in my hands, and she's a fun souvenir of both the Forces of Destiny cartoon and The Force Awakens movie.  Unlike smaller action figures from the Star Wars franchise, this doll would be manageable and durable for a younger group of kids.  She has great upper body articulation and reasonable lower body articulation.  Her outfit is a funny mix of fabric, vinyl and molded clothing, but the overall look is authentic.  Rey's face and body are well-painted with only a few very tiny defects.  The factory hairstyle is accurate to the character, looks good, and is securely bound with numerous camouflaged rubber bands.  I don't really like the tendrils on either side of Rey's face, but those have become such a signature feature of this character, I can see why Hasbro felt the need to include them.

Of course I also have a few criticisms of this particular doll.  First, I think her facial expression is a bit too angry.  I don't think of Rey's character as being angry at all--just serious.  There's some variation between dolls here, though, so it might be worth picking your Rey in person if you can.  In addition, while this doll's articulation is good overall, the fighting gimmick affects the movement of her right arm (it makes funny noises when it moves and tends to stick out) and limits the potential of the torso and hip joints.  I don't find the fighting action very compelling (and it's hard to activate when Rey is fully-clothed), so to me the articulation is compromised for no good reason.  Last, the clothing is fine, but I always prefer dolls that can be re-dressed--they're so much more versatile.  That said, I'll admit that the molded clothing on Rey is highly-detailed and suitable for an action figure.  The blaster holster and harness look cool, but tend to ride up on Rey's waist and the straps are a bit hard to fasten.  The vinyl skirt is the only piece of clothing that I don't like; it interferes with the doll's movement and cannot be properly closed in back.

Rey's extra accessories, BB-8 and a lightsaber, are fine.  BB-8 is made out of lightweight hollow plastic and is a little too small.  The lightsaber is made out of bendable vinyl, so it's not completely straight...but it isn't likely to break.  Rey has a bit of trouble holding the weapon, but her hands can be made to stretch around the wide handle.

As I was making my final assessment of Rey, I was reminded of the last $20 Hasbro Rey doll that I reviewed (she made a cameo in the Hot Toys Jakku Rey post):

Hasbro's Rey from The Force Awakens.
When I reference this horrible doll as a comparison (even if I ignore the moldy face encounter...) the new Rey seems excellent.

Now, let's take a look at Leia and Wicket!  This pair is a bit more expensive, at around $35.00:

Forces of Destiny Endor Adventure, $35.00.
This box is larger than Rey's box, and it has cardboard edges that frame the plastic window:


Once again, the box art is very appealing:


I especially like the partly-silhouetted picture of Wicket on the side of the box:


The back of the box has a completely different picture of Leia and Wicket, and a short description:


Here's Leia up-close:


And Wicket:


The text isn't very exciting, but here's a closer look at that, too:


The bottom of the box advertises the Rey of Jakku set that I just showed you and also the version of Leia that comes with R2-D2:


Leia and her accessories are attached to an orange backdrop that slides easily out of the main box:


Here's everything that was in the box:

review

Not only does Leia come with Wicket, but Wicket has his own accessories and Leia has an entire extra outfit!

I'll start by looking at Leia in her Rebel camouflage:

review



The outfit looks great and captures the essence of the movie costume really well.  I especially like the vinyl helmet:


This helmet has nicely-painted details (including some scuff marks around the top) and a chin strap that unfastens:


It's a great reproduction of the movie helmet:


Leia herself has a fairly neutral expression with the tiniest hint of a smile:

rebel

I think she resembles Carrie Fisher in some ways, but my son disagrees.  She has calm brown eyes and dark, distinct eyebrows with a single hair mark on the inner edge:

review

That single eyebrow hair makes Leia's expression a little intense from some angles (irritated, maybe?), but she's nowhere near as angry as Rey.

The screening is vibrant and clear, with no obvious defects.


My Leia has a small scuff on the tip of her nose, but this is hard to see in real life.

Leia's hair comes in an up-do style that has a huge braided bun in back:


The bun is way out of scale and does not accurately represent the hairstyle from the movie.

hair

Here's a screenshot from Return of the Jedi that shows the back of Leia's hair:


The thing is, in order for the bun to be less prominent, Hasbro would have had to dramatically reduce the volume of Leia's hair.  In the end, I think the bun looks fine: 


The real problem is that the bun prevents Leia from wearing her helmet:

helmet

I was trying to be really gentle so as to not ruin the hairstyle completely, but that bun definitely pushes the helmet forward over Leia's face:


I got slightly more aggressive in my second attempt, pushing the helmet back into the base of the bun, but this was still the best I could do:

helmet

The hood of Leia's outfit also doesn't work well with the large hairstyle.  There's a hole at the back of the hood that I assumed was for the bun:


But when the bun is pushed through this opening, the hood falls down over Leia's eyes:

That's not right.
If the bun is not pushed through the hole, the hood simply doesn't fit:

That looks like a space suit.
I guess it's a decorative hood.

The shape of Leia's camouflaged poncho seemed complicated to me at first.  On closer inspection, it's basically just a large rectangle of fabric that's draped over Leia's shoulders, but there's a hole cut in either side near the waist to accommodate the weapon belt:


Also, the left edge of fabric is tacked down near the hem of the poncho:


I think this attachment site is intentional and meant to stay put, but I almost snipped those little green stitches when I was de-boxing Leia!


The right side of the poncho is open--held together only by the belt:


I took the belt off so that I could get a closer look at it:


The belt has a holster on one side that houses a removable blaster:


I like the molded features on the belt--there are some nice (unpainted) pouch and buckle details, and the belt and holster have a realistic leather texture.


Leia's trigger finger is on her right hand, so she can hold the blaster really well:


Here's how the poncho looks with the belt removed:


Because the right side is open, the whole thing easily pulls off over Leia's head:


Under the poncho, Leia is wearing blue trousers with gold stripes down either side:


The trousers have a simple shape and open in back with a small square of velcro:


As you can see, the boots are slit most of the way up the back, so they come off very easily:


I love the molded wrinkles in the ankles of these boots!


Leia's clothing is completely removable, so she has a normal doll body.  She's missing a torso joint, but has eleven other points of articulation:


She balances very well on her own, even without the boots.

I like the proportions of Leia's body mold.  She has a slender, athletic-looking frame:


Her underwear is skin-colored with some faint molded texture:


The strapless bra even has small molded wrinkles along the sides!


Her back bears a 2016 Hasbro copyright:


Leia's upper body movement is almost exactly like Rey's, except for the fact that Leia's right arm moves normally and doesn't make any strange ratcheting noises.


Leia's head can look up, down, and from side to side.  Her shoulders, elbows and wrists all have hinged rotation.


She has excellent arm mobility and can almost touch her face:


Leia is quite different from Rey in that her legs have good mobility, too.  She can do nearly full side-to-side splits:


And her front-to-back splits are respectable:


She can also sit on the ground with her legs fairly close together and her upper body straight:


The rotation in Leia's knees allows her to balance in an assortment of poses:



My only problem with Leia's body is that her knee joints are loose (one of her legs is always swiveling around on its own) and she doesn't sit in a chair very well (as you'll see a little later on--I forgot to get a picture here).

Here is Leia with Rey:

Forces of Destiny Princess Leia (left) and Rey of Jakku (right).
Rey's molded clothes look good and would be wonderfully low-maintenance for a younger child, but I like Leia's body more.  I'm so relieved that she was not given the fighting action feature so that her lower body articulation could match the quality of her upper body articulation.

I also like Leia's face more than Rey's.  Not only is Leia's expression more versatile, but I think she bears a stronger resemblance to the movie character:

Forces of Destiny Rey of Jakku (left) and Princess Leia (right).
For a quick size reference, here's Leia with my Battle Ready Wonder Woman and a Made to Move Barbie:

From left: Battle Ready Wonder Woman, Forces of Destiny Leia, Made to Move Barbie.
At 10.5 inches, Leia is noticeably shorter than standard 12-inch dolls.

I redressed Leia in her extra outfit.  This was not so easy.  The sleeves of the dress are elasticized...and very tight.  I found it impossible to put the dress on Leia while she was wearing her hands:


With the hands removed, the dress was easier to put on, but the fit is extremely tight through the chest.  This is hard to show in pictures, but notice the strained seams here:


The shoes are cute little braided sandals:


There are even molded indentations for Leia's toes!


But the shoes are hard to get on, too.  The straps have to be stretched over the backs of Leia's heels:


Here's how the whole outfit looks together:


The dress is made out of a lightweight brown microsuede-type fabric.  The sleeves are a shiny white knit:


The dress has painted laces and stitching in front and a simple knotted belt:


Under the belt, the skirt has a big wedge cut out of it and a partially-slit seam running up the right side:


I think the slit looks a little sloppy.

The shoes match the outfit well, but the fit is loose:


There are big gaps in between the braided straps and Leia's foot:


The extra outfit is ok, but the quality is not as good as the camouflage outfit.

Leia's best accessory is Wicket the Ewok.  He comes with two of his own weapons:

review

Wicket is heavy--not hollow like BB-8.  He is also fully flocked and has articulated limbs.  He comes wearing a vinyl hood:

Yubnub!


The hood frames Wicket's cute face rally well:

face
Cute!
The hood also has some great little molded details--like the elaborate knots and stitches along the top:


The hood is molded in all one piece, and it slides over Wicket's head pretty easily:


Here's a look at Wicket's face without the hood:

Not quite as cute.
There's a small, un-flocked plastic insert that has Wicket's painted eyes, nose and mouth on it.  I love that little overbite!

Wicket's body has a molded hair pattern and four simple points of articulation (arms, legs):

body


He can sit on the ground and lift his arms into the air...


...but while it looks like Wicket has a fifth joint in his neck, this area does not move.


Ok, maybe it moves a millimeter in either direction, but that's it.  Wicket's chin prevents any noticeable rotation.

Here's Wicket back in his hood, holding a spear:

review

And running into action!

Toy Box Philosopher
Ee chee wa ma!
The spear looks great and fits nicely into either of Wicket's hands.

The bow and arrow also fit into Wicket's hands:

bow and arrow


But Wicket's limbs do not have enough flexibility for him to try and use the bow.


In fact, not even Leia can pose very effectively with this bow and arrow:


Oh, well.  It's a nice idea.

Of the two companion accessories I've looked at (Wicket and BB-8), Wicket is by far the nicer toy.  He's heavy, fuzzy, adorable, articulated, and has multiple accessories.  In contrast, BB-8 might look good, but he (she?) feels like a cheap plastic prop.

Forces of Destiny Wicket and BB-8.
I wanted to get Leia redressed in her camouflage outfit for a few last pictures.  I discovered that her dress is not any easier to get off with the hands in place than it is to get on!  The hands popped right out when I pulled on the dress' sleeves:


The Rebel outfit is much easier to use--and it looks great:

camouflage

rebel outfit

Now, granted, Leia's funny hood and flexible limbs can catch her in some ridiculous-looking poses...


...but most of the time she looks awesome.

rebel outfit

Toy Box Philosopher

The last thing I decided to do was take my chances and let Leia's hair down to see what secrets it might be hiding.

The bun was assembled from two twisted ponytails:



I left the twist at the top of Leia's head in place, and brushed out the rest of the hair.  It did not look great at first, to say the least:

Forces of Destiny Princess Leia with hair down.

The rooting isn't very dense at the back of the head, either:

This is what Rey's rooting looks like, too, for those who are curious.
But now the helmet fits!



I washed Leia's spazzy hair and then redressed her in the Rebel outfit:

hair down

When the hair is gathered into a single long braid, it actually fits through that hole in the back of the hood!


Now the hood can be pulled up and over Leia's head in a normal way:


Although it still doesn't look great.  That thick seam in front ruins the effect:


The helmet fits really well over the single long braid, though:


hair down

Now Leia can wear her entire outfit in style!

Toy Box Philosopher

An added benefit to letting Leia's hair down is that Carrie Fisher actually lets her hair down at the end of Return of the Jedi--when she's wearing the Ewok dress.


I remember thinking how gorgeous she was in this scene.  I wanted to be her when I was little.


Oh, man.  Now I want to watch Jedi again.  Great movie.

Anyway, here's the Leia doll with her hair down, wearing the Ewok dress:


Endor dress

The hair has a lot of volume, but it looks nice.  Like Rey's hair, the fibers are coarse and dry at the ends, and smoother on top.


I had a great time posing Leia with her hair down:


hair down


She and Wicket wanted to pose together for the last couple of shots:


These two can't sit very gracefully in a chair...


...but overall they make a wonderful pair!


Bottom line?  As I summarized earlier in the review, despite a few flaws here and there, Rey is a good doll.  She's sturdy, appealing, accurate to the character, and fun to play with.  

Leia is a better doll.  She has all the virtues of the Rey doll, but is lacking many of the shortcomings.  First and foremost, she has a regular doll body with high-functioning lower limb articulation.  Not only can she move better than Rey can, but she can change outfits to act out different scenes from any of the Star Wars movies or cartoons.  I would always rather buy an extra outfit than have to buy a whole extra doll just to get an outfit.  Also, Leia has a more neutral, versatile facial expression than Rey does.  She can look convincingly like she's in the middle of a battle, but can also relax and hang out in Ewok village with her friends.  Last, Leia's companion, Wicket, is a far superior accessory than the lightweight, undersized version of BB-8 that comes with Rey.  In fact, I suspect some collectors will purchase this set just to get their hands on such a cute Ewok figure.

Leia has a few flaws of her own, but I find most of them pretty easy to dismiss.  The most notable irritation is that Leia's hood and helmet don't fit over her huge factory hairstyle.  Happily, when Leia's hair is taken down, all of the clothing fits well and the hair doesn't look half bad.  There are also some fit issues with the secondary outfit; the dress is super-tight through the chest and both the dress and shoes are hard to put on and take off.

This is definitely a line of dolls that I will watch over time.  I already have the new Chewbacca figure pre-ordered, and am eyeing Kylo Ren.  I hope that more male figures will be produced in the future (Han Solo, please!), even though I recognize that this franchise is meant to focus on female heroism.  I also hope that more of the dolls will be produced with Leia's body style.  

For now, Leia's construction and presentation are unique among the Forces of Destiny dolls, and so I can safely say that if you want to purchase only one of these new sets for that Star Wars fan in your life, Leia and Wicket get my unequivocal recommendation.

Toy Box Philosopher

17 comments:

  1. Other than the weird way she sits in a chair, I'm completely in love with that Leia doll! I was really disappointed that the "basic" line of the Forces of Destiny dolls seem to be stuck in that weird purgatory between "gimmicky action figure" and "actual doll", though. Hopefully future releases won't lean so heavily on the gimmicks.

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  2. Leia is going to be getting another deluxe doll of her in her iconic Senate outfit, giving R2 the Death Star plans. That's going to be the one to get.

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  3. i just got my hoth Leia today and love it

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  4. Thanks for the review, Emily. I not only prefer Leia but also agree that she resembles Carrie Fisher. Rey is cute as an action figure but molded on clothing is a deal breaker for me.

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  5. Thank you for the review! I was considering Rey or Sabine, but I think, even with her multitude of molded clothing, that I'll wait for Padme. Only because that's my favorite SW character and she gets ignored 90% of the time.

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  6. I've already bought the Leia with R2D2, but your review is making me think I should pick this one up too. If just for her body. She's kind of like an articulated petite body. What's the height difference between them?

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  7. the endor speeder outfit was always my fave Leia outfit, so I desperately want this doll but she's £40 here in the UK! wth!?? It's absolutely ridiculous. We haven't even gotten Sabine yet.

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  8. I had been leaning toward Hoth Leia, but your comments on the articulation are making me rethink whether it's worth paying the extra for Endor Leia. Thanks for the review!

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  9. When this line was first announced, I was prepared to go all in. I really liked the overall aesthetic of them and even liked the concept of blending action figures and dolls with purposeful molded parts.

    Then when I found them in stores I saw those dreaded images advertising the "action feature." Not wanting to be too negative, I decided to at least try one and picked Sabine Wren. As I feared, the "feature" was awful and made almost half the articulation useless. It's not even a good "feature" either, and almost the entire lines has it. Such a shame...

    Luckily there was Endor Leia, which I also got. Two outfits, fully-articulated body, and a great pack in with Wicket. He's so good, I'd be willing to collect a line of Ewoks just like him!

    I really, really hope they drop the "action feature" with newer releases. I'd love to continue collecting this line and think it would do really well as is. All of Rey's sculpted details do look really good, but unless they go on a big discount I just can't justify getting any more right now. Merging action figures and dolls is great, but someone forgot to tell Hasbro that "action features" died off in the 80s.

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  10. GREAT review and it's nice to see Leai's body shape. I think these dolls have great potential. As this set is so expensive in the UK, but I adore Leai's dress, I asked a US friend to buy me the Ewok dress on its own from Evilbay. I wanted to say it's a GREAT fit on my Project MC2 doll!! So, now my Emebr can pretend to be Leia! NikkiinWales

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  11. This Leia doll is literally the only doll that I like from this line, for the sole purpose of her body actually being a body and not painted on with clothes like the others. That being said I am not a fan of Leia herself lol! I much prefer Rey or Jyn,but they have painted, molded clothes etc. I really wish they had done all the dolls like this Leia, obviously it could have been easily done because they did it with Leia and she's still able to hold her gun, and stand! I dont see myself buying these anytime soon, but I'll watch the like to see if they do Rey and Jyn like this Leia. I'm really curious to see how chewy will look in person, his promo pics look pretty good

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  12. YAY!! You did it!!

    This reinforces my plans to put Sabine on a MTM body. Molded clothes are the enemy.

    A bit more information about Sabine- she’s Mandalorian, a year older than Leia and Luke, and an artist, as well as a total badass- she actually designed the Rebellion/Resistance’s iconic starbird motif! I highly recommend SW:R, it gives some good insight into how the Rebellion formed.

    Also, I wish they’d make Poe and Finn before Kyle Ron! (misspelling intentional, I like to make fun of him since he’s basically an overgrown goth teenager.) Finn is the male protagonist of the sequel trilogy, as well as having the better relationship with Rey. Here’s hoping we get a Rose Tico doll!

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  13. Great review! You should review the star trek made to move barbies!

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  14. Thank you for another wonderful review. I particularly appreciate the comparison photos you always include with other dolls for size and body proportion. I just bought the Leia and Ewok Set based on this review.

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  15. "BB-8, an accident-prone droid, finds himself..."

    BB-8 has been confirmed as a female!

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  16. I've been making myself wait on the Leia set until it got your seal of approval. Now I know what to use my ToysRUs coupon on!

    Also, love the Calvin and Hobbes reference! Your posts always make me smile.

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  17. Can Leia share clothes with other dolls? How does her body compare to a Descendants doll?

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I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.