Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens 1:6 "Jakku Rey" by Hot Toys

I was nervous about watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as I imagine many children of the 80s were.  The original Star Wars trilogy was such an important part of my childhood, I needed this continuation of the story to be good.  And it was good, I thought.  A bit predictable, certainly, but an awful lot of fun.  I laughed and cheered and even gasped a few times.  The thing on my mind as I was walking out of the theater had little to do with the plot or the well-loved older characters, though.  I was focused primarily on Rey, the new female protagonist.  She is awesome.  I think Daisy Ridley's  spunky and intelligent interpretation of this mysterious girl from Jakku transformed Force Awakens into much more than the simple nostalgia-ridden adventure than it might easily have been.  Because of Rey, I'm impatiently eager to find out what happens next in this new saga.

My reaction to the Rey character might be exaggerated, but it compelled me to immediately start scouring the internet for Rey paraphernalia.  I bought several of the less-expensive action figures (a few of which I'll show at the end of the post), but found their resemblance to Ms. Ridley disappointing.  When I saw the promotional pictures of Hot Toys' Rey online at Sideshow Collectibles, I wasn't convinced that she was the perfect tribute to the character, either.  However, after a few days' reflection, I decided that she was easily the best option out there, and so I placed my pre-order.  I ordered Rey in January--a few weeks after I saw the movie--and she arrived in mid September.

Let's dig in and see if she was worth the wait...and the price:

1:6 scale Star Wars: The Force Awakens "Jakku Rey" from Hot Toys, $224.
Hot Toys currently offers three versions of Rey: Jakku Rey with BB-8 ($290), Jakku Rey without BB-8 ($225), and a newer Resistance Outfit version of the character ($220).  I ordered Jakku Rey without the droid to try and keep the cost down.  She was still breathtakingly expensive--even with the burden spread over nine months and five payments.

Rey comes packaged in a big, heavy black box that's decorated with a photograph of the doll:

The back of the box has some small text (mostly warnings and copyrights):

The top of the box lifts off to reveal a cardboard insert that's concealing the doll and all of her accessories.  The cardboard has several more photographs of Rey:

I think it would have been better to feature snapshots from the actual movie here, but the presentation is still really nice.

Underneath the cardboard, Rey and her many accessories are contained behind a molded plastic lid: 

There's a little sticker advising me to read all of the instructions before I do anything with the doll.  I'll try to remember that.

I removed the plastic lid and tipped the box up to take another which point everything fell out of the box:

I'm not sure why I thought that wouldn't happen.

With little pieces of Rey's set rolling all over my floor, I figured I'd better secure the instruction sheet and hang onto it.  It's a simple black and white pamphlet:

It might come in handy later.

Rey comes with a lot of accessories--a lot of spare hands, in particular.  I wanted to get a good look at Rey herself first, though, before inspecting all of the extras.  She comes with a nice doll stand that I'm really hoping she won't need:

The stand is packaged in two pieces--the heavy base and the doll support:

The base of the stand is packaged with a thin protective film of plastic that's easy to remove.  The double-wire support fits nicely into the stand.  The whole thing takes seconds to set up:

The stand's base is decorated with an Alliance Starbird symbol and has Rey's name on the front:

As a person obsessed with names, can I just interject here with some enthusiasm for the name Rey?  I love the way it looks and sounds, and it's unusual enough to be believable for someone who lives on another world.  A few of the other new character names are not as successful in my opinion.  X-Wing pilot Poe, for example, just makes me think of irritating Zelda enemies.  Finn, the ex-Stormtrooper,  has a great name, but it's not quite as unusual as Rey.  It could have been slightly more other-worldly, like maybe Fen or Fenn?  That would have been a logical alternative to FN-2187.  Incidentally, I really wanted to buy the Hot Toys Finn figure to go with Rey (he's incredibly realistic), but I had to pick just one.

Rey's extremities and head came covered in plastic, so it was hard to see what she looked like right away:

A little mysterious.
Here she is!


She looks great from a distance, but up close she looks very intense...and a little startled:

The first thing I did was turn the stand slowly around, inspecting Rey's detailed appearance from every angle.  Here's a peek at that overview:

I think Rey looks quite different depending on the angle from which she's viewed.  This is a little bit because of asymmetries in her outfit, but mostly because of her facial features.  Let's take a closer look at her head mold:


In terms of basic shape, this head is narrower and more elongated than Daisy Ridley's face--particularly in the eye and cheekbone regions.

The figure has intense, dark eyes that are glancing upwards.  The position of the irises leaves a band of white at the bottom of the eyes.  This is what gives Rey a startled expression.

I think one problem here is that Rey's irises are so dark, it's difficult to see her pupils--and therefore hard to determine the direction of her gaze.  From certain angles, it appears that she's looking straight ahead...but with the whites of her eyes showing more than would be expected:

Close examination of her eyes reveals that she is, in fact, looking upwards:

But put her expression aside for a second and look at the incredible detail of those eyes.  They're stunning.  I mean, this is a Barbie-sized doll with eyes that are not exaggerated.  There's not a lot of room to work with, but the eyes still have lashes, detailed eyebrows, iris patterns and even little capillaries in the corneas!  It's amazing.  The coloring of the skin is also remarkable, with a freckled/sun-tanned mottling that looks incredibly realistic at any magnification.  Here's an even closer look:

Rey's mouth is slightly open and has visible teeth.  Again, the detail here is mind-blowing, but the overall effect can be frustrating.

The lips are perfect, with a natural color, a subtle sheen, and lined detailing.  

The teeth are hard to photograph, but they have small demarkations to distinguish the position of each individual tooth:

The teeth look great from some angles--particularly when I'm looking down on the doll from above or looking straight at her when her face is in profile: 

The problem is that the more her head tips upwards, or the lower the perspective of the camera, the more it looks like she has a bad underbite:

...and this just gets worse and worse the lower the camera is placed:

I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what the problem is here.  The face sculpting and painting on this figure are so close to perfection, little glitches really stand out.

If you look at the top of the teeth, you'll notice a dark band.  At first I thought this was a shadow:

It's actually a band of dark paint, though.  You can see it better when I zoom in super-close:

This band looks like a very natural shadow on the upper teeth from some angles, but it can also make the teeth look like they come from the bottom jaw and end just below the upper lip: 

We don't normally see only the lower teeth when a person's mouth is slightly open.  That would imply a pretty serious underbite.  

A pretty serious underbite.
Here are Daisy Ridley's actual teeth when her mouth is slightly open, just in case the bulldog didn't convince you:

I might get up the nerve to paint over that dark band some day and see if it improves Rey's expression.  I'm reluctant to tamper with a $200 action figure, though.

I was slightly disappointed when I read that Rey's hair is molded instead of rooted.  I usually prefer female dolls with rooted hair.  However, after seeing the figure in person, I think this was probably a wise choice.  Rey's hairstyle in the movie is pulled tightly back from her face, but has lots of very thin, loose tendrils.  While the figure fails to capture the unkempt drama of the movie hairstyle, I suspect that a rooted version would have struggled even more to balance the severe up-do with the signature flyaways.

The molded hair has a lot of detail, including hanging tendrils at either side of Rey's face:

These tendrils of hair are a little too thick and straight to perfectly match the movie, but they're about as delicate as they can reasonably be for a molded figure this size.

The hair fibers are molded to be slightly thick, too, but I like how the hair isn't all following straight lines.  There are a few areas of wave and overlap.

All of the hair is gathered into a triple bun at the back of Rey's head:

If I wore this hairstyle, I would look completely ridiculous.  Rey makes it look amazing.  It's kind-of like Princess Leia's buns in the original Star Wars.  Has anyone else ever pulled off that look with such authority?

Along Rey's hairline, tiny brush strokes are used to paint the finest hairs: 

These little hairs are especially realistic along Rey's forehead:

I figured out a few things about Rey's head sculpt throughout this review.  First, she looks better in profile than she does front-on...

But her right profile has something subtly different in the chin area which can exacerbate the strangeness of her teeth:

Second, she looks best to me with a slight left profile:

The biggest thing is something I've already mentioned: Rey should probably never be photographed from a vantage point that's too low:

For risk of the bulldog jaw exposing itself.

Now, let's turn our attention to Rey's outfit.  This multi-piece ensemble is highly detailed and incredibly accurate to the movie:

She's wearing a thin-knit cotton tee shirt and linen pants overlain with a fine-pleated wrap that's belted at her waist.  All of the fabrics are very delicate and scale-appropriate.  The pleated shoulder wrap is especially nice and drapes amazingly well.

Those arm wraps worried me at first, though, because I wondered how in the world I would ever be able to re-wrap them if they came undone?

Fortunately, the little layers are all sewn together in one single piece:

Rey's fanny pack captured my attention right away.  This little canvas bag has all kinds of interesting features:

Look at the little buckle!
There's a black hook, several gold D-rings, and a strap with a buckle that looks like it will come un-fastened.

It's clear that the bag has a working flap and can be opened, but I could not get the metal tab on the end of the strap to fit through the buckle:

This didn't bother me too much since I have no real need to open the bag.  For me, it's enough that it could open if I really wanted it to.

It was at this point that I tried to remove the pack and realized that Rey's vinyl belt does not unfasten. It's one solid piece:

This gave me huge pause.  I always remove a doll's clothes to look at the body design and articulation.  Besides, how did they even manufacture that belt to be permanently on the doll?  I don't get it.  There's not even an obvious seam.  I swear, though, I looked and looked and found no way to get the belt off.

Also, the belt was not the only impediment to me removing the outfit.  Rey's pleated linen wrap is sewn to her tee shirt:

And also, her tee shirt is sewn to her pants on each side:

The outfit is clearly not meant to come off.

I actually started photographing Rey back on September 18th, but the whole review came to a screeching halt when I faced this dilemma: do I cut the belt and undress Rey, compromising a $200 doll?  Do I review her without showing her (highly-articulated) body??  Ahhh!  This felt like an impossible decision.

Fortunately, the wonders of eBay saved me!  I was able to order a body double for Rey (the stripped-down body from this same doll).  The only slight problem was that the body shipped from China, so I had to wait a little while for it to arrive.  No big deal.  This gave me time to write about Cat Noir and Ladybug.

Before I set Rey aside to wait for her body, I looked at a few more details.  She has a vinyl wrist band on her left arm:

In order to remove the wrist band, her left hand had to come off:

Here's the wrist band on its own:

Rey's hands attach to her body with a hinged plastic peg:

Rey's hands have the same amazing paint technique as her face, with lots of incredibly fine freckles and sun spots:

The fact that the freckles continue onto the palm of the hand (and even on the fingernails) is a little odd...

 ...but I'd never have noticed this without the zoom on my camera.

The plastic pegs offered good evidence that Rey's hands would be able to bend nicely at the wrist, although the vinyl wrist band prevents this movement:

Here is Rey's impressive collection of hands:

She comes with six bare hands (two of which she's wearing in the box) and six gloved hands.  The hands come with two extra hinged pegs:

The short end of the peg inserts into the hand and then the longer end of the peg inserts into Rey's wrist:

This design is a little frustrating at times because the peg will either stay in Rey's wrist when I pull the hand off (which is what I prefer) or it will stay in the hand.  This option is a drag because I have to pull the peg out with my teeth so that I can use it on a different hand.

One peg in and one peg out.
Here are the six gloved hands:

The gloves have a lot of texture and detail:

I'll look at the hands again when I'm using Rey's accessories.  She certainly has a hand for every occasion...or every weapon.

Rey is wearing boots that snap onto the bottoms of her legs.  She does not have bare feet.

Once again, the boots have a lot of detail and look great:

The fun thing about the boots in the movie is that they're an actual item of clothing in the real world--not just a costume creation.  They're called Po-Zu's Piper V boots and for £125 you can get them here.

The plastic boots don't look soft and fuzzy like the real boots, but otherwise they're a great replica.

This is what Rey's legs look like without her boots:

I wish she had a barefoot option to give her more versatility.

At this point I felt like it would be logical to show the body and articulation next, so I waited.  Fortunately, my shipment from China did not take very long to arrive--just under 10 days.  If you've visited this blog before, an undressed doll body will not come as a surprise.  However, this particular doll is realistic enough that she warrants a quick warning:

Warning: this doll is very realistic.  Some of the photographs of her undressed body might not be appealing or appropriate for every situation or every person.  The photos are certainly not work-safe.

Rey's body has at least 24 points of articulation.  It's a strange body, too--unlike anything I've seen.  It's a hybrid of plastic (the arms and legs) and soft vinyl (the torso, chest and neck).  Furthermore, some of the body is painted with the amazing freckle pattern (the chest, arms and lower legs) while other parts are undecorated (the belly and upper legs).  Have a look:

The torso and chest are soft and compressible--almost like a Phicen body--while the limbs are hard plastic.

The doll kind-of looks like she's wearing a vinyl bathing suit over a plastic body.  

Another thing to notice right off the bat is that the body is (with the help of the boots) standing on its own with no trouble whatsoever.  Yay!  In addition to using the dressed Rey's boots for this body, I borrowed two of her extra bare hands.  The body did not come with its own hands or feet.

The neck has a peg that attaches to the head.  This attachment point allows the head to look from side to side, but the joint only permits a tiny range of up-and-down movement.  The majority of the up-down movement of the head comes from a second joint lower down in the neck:

Bending this joint with the head in place translates to this kind of posture:

This joint allows the neck to move in any direction.  I suspect it's a ball joint.

Rey can bend her neck to either side or straight back...

...which I think looks slightly more realistic when her face is turned to the side:

Rey's arms are attached to her body with ball joints.  This connection point is concealed within the vinyl chest but can be seen if the arms are moved forwards or backwards:

Here's a better look:

The ball joints allow the arms to move forwards and backwards at the shoulder, and also to lift up and down at the shoulder--or shrug:

Upper arm rotation is also achieved through this ball joint.

In addition to the ball joint, the shoulders each have a separate (non-rotating) hinge joint outside the body:

Extreme movement at the shoulders can cause the soft vinyl at this joint to fold and crease:

Rey has a rotating joint just above her elbow, and then a double-jointed hinge at the elbow itself:

The double hinge allows incredible flexion at the elbow:

Rey can even reach up and grasp her own neck peg... of course she has no trouble touching her face when her head's attached:

(I just realized that these last two pictures compliment one another...)

Anyway, the arms have a wonderful range of motion, but I was somehow unable to bend the wrist joints at first.  I could only get the hands to spin around.

The hands can actually bend at the wrist, it just takes a bit of manipulation.  I didn't figure this out until I was taking the hands on and off a lot.

The only funny thing about the arm articulation is that the elbows can bend a small amount in the wrong direction, like this:

But overall, the movement is excellent...and those arm wraps control the elbow joints beautifully when Rey is dressed.

Rey has a joint in her chest and in her torso.  The upper joint falls along the seam between her freckled chest and her plain belly.  It allows the chest to tip forward like this:

Although this movement leaves a gap at the back of the joint:

The chest can also tip backwards...

Although this movement can snag and trap the thin edges of the vinyl chest:

Look at how realistic the skin is, though.  It's incredible: 

The chest joint can also twist from side to side:

The upper body can tip from side to side, too, but this movement is achieved mostly through the lower torso joint, which is an internal joint at about the level of Rey's belly button:

This lower torso joint can also move backwards and forwards.  It's probably another ball joint.

When Rey leans forward, the vinyl of her belly folds up in some strange ways:

This happens when she's sitting on the ground, too:

Her belly folds in some even stranger ways when the torso twists to the side:

With both the chest and the torso joints twisted to one side, Rey can turn almost all of the way around:

Rey has ball-jointed hips that allow her to do full side-to-side splits:

Here's a close-up of the joint mechanism:

She is not quite able to do full front-to-back splits, though:

Despite having a great high kick:

When Rey bends at the hip, the "skin" of her torso folds into the joint:

Rey has bulky double hinges in her knees, but does not have any rotation in these joints:

The lines that are just above Rey's knees look like points of rotation, but they're just seams:

Like the elbows, these knees have a fantastic range of hinged motion:

Like a Liv doll!

Rey can sit with her legs tucked under her...

She can kneel on one knee...

Or on two knees:


With some effort, she can sit with her legs off to one side:

Although forcing that position caused this to happen:

I really wish she had rotating knees.

This mishap allows us to get an even better look at the hip joint, though:

The torso has the ball side of the joint, and the leg has a double socket:

The double socket allows the leg to lift up and down, but also to rotate a little inwards and outwards:

Inwards...and outwards.

The ankles also have rotational movement, so the feet can be pointed inwards and outwards by using this joint, too:

The body can strike some fun poses, and can even balance pretty well in some of them.

The biggest problem with this body is that the soft vinyl gets trapped in the joints.  Like this:

Or like this:

The nice thing about Rey's clothing being permanent, though, is that none of those little creases and wrinkles will ever be visible!

Here's my dressed Rey, back and ready for action:

Rey is also ready to try out some of her cool accessories, but to do that she needs specific hands.

Just for a quick reference here are her six bare hands, starting with the left hands:

Loose grasp.
Tight grasp.
Left hook.
And the right hands:

Pointing grasp.
Tight grasp.
The left and right tight grasp hands are very similar in shape.  All of the other shapes are distinct.

These hands are all quite flexible and the fingers can easily be bent to accommodate the weapons.

Now, here are the gloved hands with the right hands first:

Tight grasp.
Pointing grasp.
And now the left hands:

Pointing grasp.
Left hook.
Tight grasp.
In this case, both the finger-pointing grasp and the tight grasp shape are used on each side.  These hands are less flexible than the bare hands.

The first accessory I wanted to look at was--of course--the lightsaber:

The removable blue light beam is plain translucent plastic, but the handle has a lot of detail:

There's even a little hook on the end so Rey can attach the weapon to her fanny pack if she wants:

Rey can wield the lightsaber with any of her grasping hands.

I'm no expert on lightsaber function, but if that little red button is the power switch, Rey's thumb is in exactly the right position:

Even the pointing grasp hand works:

And the gloved hands, too:

Rey also comes with the NN-14 blaster that Han Solo gave to her:

This piece does not have any moving parts, but it's very realistic.  To me, it looks exactly like the weapon in the movie.  I can't even tell in the photographs that it's 1:6 scale.

The barrel even has a hole in it:

Rey holds this weapon best with her pointing grasp right hand:

The pointing finger is actually a trigger finger:

The pointing grasp gloved hand is not as good with this blaster:

The finger is too straight to fit onto the trigger:

Rey can grasp the blaster with her regular grasping hands--she just can't fire it:

This was the point at which I realized that Rey's wrists can bend:

Took me long enough.
The difficulty is that the hinge on that wrist peg has to be aligned with the hand--and it isn't always.  Because the hands spin independent of the peg, the orientation of the hinge has nothing to do with the orientation of the hand.

Once I figured out what was going on, it was easy to get the wrists to bend.

Rey also comes with her staff:

The staff has an adjustable nylon carrying strap that's attached with the tiniest little spring hook I've ever seen:

The ends of the staff are made to look like metal while the middle section is painted to look like it's wrapped with leather and cloth for a more comfortable grip:

One end.
The middle section.
The other end.
Once again, all of the grasping hands work to hold this weapon:

Even the pointy-finger hands work...although they look a bit too disco for Rey:

Stayin' Alive!
When Rey is holding this weapon, her slightly crazy eyes make a lot of sense.  She looks battle-ready and fierce:

She can also utilize that left profile angle to appear a bit more relaxed--and sling her staff casually over her shoulder:

Rey's other major accessory is this imitation leather backpack:

The bag has adjustable shoulder straps and is covered with fascinating little objects.

On one side, a baton and a knife (?) are slid into imitation leather sleeves:

Both items can be removed for closer inspection:

Thing 1.
Thing 2.
The other side of the bag has a flask-like object strapped to it:

I think this is what Rey drinks out of after her scavenging trip.  It's made out of plastic but painted to look metal.  It's the only gadget on this backpack that I recognize from the movie.

The strap does not come undone, though, so I left this piece in place:

The flap of the bag has two little cylinders that are stored under nylon straps.  These are easy to remove:

They look like silver Lego pieces.
I had trouble opening this pack--for basically the same reason I had trouble opening the fanny pack.  The strap looks like it should come undone.  It has a real working buckle.  But I was not able to maneuver the strap out of the tight grasp of the buckle.  I got this far and then gave up:

Remember, that strap is really small, so it's difficult to get a good grip on it.

The front of the bag has two more little do-hickeys:

The gold-colored one almost looks like a thermos-type container that could open (it doesn't) and the other looks like a large bullet.  

I suspect these are both meant to be some type of ammunition.

The bottom of the bag has a big canister strapped to it.  This looks like an oxygen tank or something:

The strap holding this item in place has a working buckle, but I did not try to unfasten it.  

The detail here is really incredible.  I mean, look at the minuscule stitching along the side:  

One of the backpack's shoulder straps has yet another gadget attached to it.  This is a small canister with a chain:

The chain loops through a leather holder, keeping this canister in place:

Rey can wear the backpack:

And her superior arm movement makes it possible for her to explore all of the little items on the pack.

I don't know what this is, either.
The pack looks a bit deflated and empty, though.  If I'd been able to get it open, I would have stuffed it with tissue paper or something--just to add some bulk and mystery.

I this point, I was going through Rey's box feeling like she'd come with a never-ending supply of tiny accessories.

She has this shoulder pad:

It's made out of vinyl and has two elastic straps on the back:

It fits over Rey's left shoulder and (I guess) protects her bare arm from attacks?

It looks ok, but it's nowhere near as realistic as Rey's outfit or weapons, so I doubt I'll use it.

The shoulder protector is also really hard to get off.  It got stuck on the arm wrap and threatened to mess up all of those delicate little layers:

But the trouble I had with the shoulder piece was just because I didn't read the directions like I was told.  Had I read carefully, I would have seen this:

Take the arm wrap off before you add or remove the shoulder pad.  Yeah.  I can picture the designers sitting around a table and chatting about the necessity of this particular diagram.  Some of them shaking their heads and arguing that it's completely unnecessary and obvious, others sighing and saying, yes, but you know there's always that one person.  
I would be that person.

So, for the last group of accessories--the ones that give Rey her scavenger look--I stuck faithfully to the directions.  Here's the pile of scavenger gear:

First step?  Put the shoulder wrap around the body (starting with the right side) and button it in back.

Or snap it in the back, as the case may be:

This is definitely the smallest snap I have ever seen.  So cute.

I draped the wrap over Rey's left shoulder and snapped it in back.  

The fabric on her shoulder looked pretty messy at first:

After I straightened the pleats out, though, it looked great:

Second step: put the waist band around Rey's waist:

The waistband is a twisted section of linen:

With another adorable snap:

Aw, snap.
The waistband covers the top of Rey's vinyl belt:

I guess it helps hold the shoulder wrap in place?

It's starting to look a little bulky back there.

The third step was to remove Rey's head (!) and put on the head wrap:

I read these steps several times before proceeding.

I popped Rey's head off (it comes off easily--no sore fingers):

Creepy look inside of Rey's head.
Then I put the head wrap on and replaced the head and pulled the scarf down, etc.  Just like I was told.

The fabric has some stretch in it and there's also a section of elastic at the back to accommodate the hair buns.

This head wrap looks really good, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why I had to remove Rey's head to get it on.  It's equally easy to position the wrap with the head attached to the body.  I think those designers were just messing with me.

The final step is to put the goggles on top of everything:

Here are the goggles:

They're made out of vinyl and have an elastic strap in the back:

The lenses are green and are inserted into the back of the vinyl:

The goggles really help complete this look.  Rey is totally ready for scavenging on Jakku now:

I didn't quite master this configuration right away, though:

If I cover Rey's nose and mouth with the fabric and then pull the goggles down, there's a patch of exposed skin at the top of Rey's head:

Also, her nose and mouth stretch the fabric of the wrap, which looks really uncomfortable.

There's no skin showing in the instructions, and the fabric is more relaxed around Rey's mouth and nose:

To imitate that picture, I had to cover Rey's entire face with the fabric and then put the goggles on.  I don't know how she can see anything like this...but at least it's more comfortable.

It's really fun to play around with the folds of this head wrap.  It's a great accessory.

That's it!  Now I've shown you all of the little extras that came with Rey.  I would say that the staff, the lightsaber and the scavenger head wrap (and goggles) are the essential pieces here.  And some of the hands are necessary, too.  I don't feel like I need the backpack, the shoulder pad, the blaster or the extra scavenger wraps.  There are also probably more hands than I'll ever use.  I get impatient having to change the hands on a doll.  Still, I don't think that the absence of those few accessories would have changed Rey's price significantly, so I'll just enjoy the fun of having such incredibly detailed little extras.

Here are a few action shots that I took of Rey, testing out some of the different ways she can move and interact with her best accessories:


Here, I was imagining that this is the moment when Rey first sees Luke's lightsaber...

..and this is the first time she tests the lightsaber out...

...quickly revealing her unusual, innate skill:

I love this doll.  She's an amazingly detailed replica of an awesome new Star Wars character.  I knew she didn't bear a perfect resemblance to Daisy Ridley when I pre-ordered her--the teeth, eyes and hair are a little off.  These little things bother me less and less the more I interact with the figure.  Also, I find it important to keep in mind that this version of Rey is by far the best option on the market at the moment.  

To put the Hot Toys Rey in some perspective, let's take a quick look at a few of the other action figure interpretations of this character.

First, here's Hasbro's 6-inch "Starkiller Base Rey."  She's in the Black Series and costs about $25:

She comes with a lightsaber and some snowy rocks--one of which she can stand on.

She doesn't look much like Rey, if you ask me:

She looks kind-of hulky and awkward, too--not lithe and fast like Rey.

She is highly-articulated, though, with fourteen points of articulation.

Her clothes are all molded and painted onto her body, with the exception of the bottom part of her shirt and shoulder wrap.  These are made of bendable vinyl and hang free.

Her face is grouchy and has a lot of paint defects:

There are areas of chipped paint, smudged paint, and thin paint.  A lot of these flaws are not obvious because of her small size, but six inches tall is large enough that I can see most of the chips and smudges.

The "tendrils" of hair at the side of Rey's face are very heavy and beard-like:

She looks best from a distance, and is surprisingly fun to pose:

Another option is this 3.5-inch Hasbro "Jakku Rey."  Also in the Black Series, this little one costs about $20 right now.  I'm not certain, but I think she might be closer to $10 if you can find her in stores.

This Rey comes with a staff, a backpack and a scavenger head.  Her accessories are a little fiddly to manage, but they're accurate to the movie.

Here are the two black boxes together so that you can see the size difference:

This figure does not look exactly like Rey, either, but she's so tiny that the resemblance come across as more believable than it is on the 6-inch figure.

She is incredibly well-articulated for a 3.5 inch doll.  She also has fourteen joints.  In fact, these joints have even better movement than the joints on the 6-inch doll.

This doll also has some sections of bendable vinyl clothing.

One problem with the vinyl clothing (on this doll and on the 6-inch version) is that it prevents certain kinds of movement.  For example, Rey can sit really well if I push down on her head with my finger:

But the moment I release my finger, she pops up:

As I zoom in on this doll's face, keep in mind that she's recognizable as Rey from a distance.  These ultra-close shots aren't necessarily a fair representation since no one can see this well.

Up close, the dots in her red cheeks become visible and there are paint imperfections around her eyes:

Again, at regular magnification I think this face looks pretty good.  None of the little defects are visible.

The thickness of this doll's hair tendrils is ridiculous, though:

I wish I could cut those off.  Why not just give her a clean bun?  Would nobody recognize her as Rey without the flyaway tendrils?  I find that hard to believe.

This Rey also has a small head...or large arms and hands.  I can't tell which.

Unlike the 6-inch version, she's wearing green gloves:

Rey's staff has a strap that's molded into one position, so she has to carry it over her shoulder exactly like this:

Despite a few problems, this is a great little doll.  She's recognizable as Rey, has a non-grouchy expression and is fun to pose.  She reminds me of the little Star Wars Princess Leia that I had when I was a kid.

The last figure I own is this 12-inch Hasbro "Jakku Rey."  I got her on Amazon for $20:

The first version of this doll that I ordered came looking like this:

Yes, that's white and green mold all over her face.  I took one look at this horror, shoved the doll back into the shipping box, and returned it straight to Amazon.  No, thank you.  I also posted a quick negative review as a warning.

Then, I felt a little bad.  I mean, this was clearly a freak occurrence (although, what on earth is in that face paint to make it mold and erode??).  So, I ordered another doll to see what the mold-free version was like.

She comes with her staff:

This Rey has only four clunky points of articulation.  Her arms and legs move back and forth a bit, but have no hinged movement.  Her head doesn't move at all.

This is possibly the worst "action figure" articulation that I have ever seen or ever care to see.

She also has these strange pink fists that don't match the rest of her body and also look like they're missing a thumb:

Good grief.
There is a thumb tucked in there, though:

She's painted exactly the same way as the smaller figures, and this does not work well for a 12-inch doll.

She has chipped paint, rubbed-off paint on the tip of her nose, and paint smudges...and they're all visible.

The bleeding paint on her left eyebrow also makes her look kinda mean.

The two things that are ok about this doll are that her hair tendrils don't look completely absurd and her profile is nice.  I can see a bit of Rey's character from this angle:

Unlike the smaller figures, none of this doll's clothing is vinyl.  It's all hard, lightweight, inflexible plastic.  She's worthless at posing and can't even sit nicely on the ground with her legs straight out.

Overall, she feels hollow, stiff...and really cheap.  She's not worth anything close to $20.  I don't feel bad about my Amazon review anymore.  My original reasons might have been obscure, but my final assessment is the same: one star--even without the disgusting mold.

Here's a lineup with all of my Reys:

From left: Hot Toys Jakku Rey, Hasbro 12-inch Jakku Rey, Hasbro 6-inch Starkiller Base Rey, Hasbro 3.5 inch Jakku Rey.
Hot Toys Rey has every reason to look scared while standing next to that cheap imitation.

Hot Toys Rey might look uncomfortable--even frightened--in these pictures, but also notice how real she looks.  It's amazing: 

Hot Toys Jakku Rey, Hasbro Jakku Rey.
The difference in skin tone is especially striking.  Hot Toys' Rey has the most realistic doll skin I have ever seen, and Hasbro's Rey is...well, she has the paint job of a 3.5 inch doll blown up to four times its appropriate size.

The bottom line of this little exploration is that yes, indeed, the Hot Toys Rey is by far the most movie-accurate (and most articulated) option among the figures I've seen.  I also think that the little 3.5 inch Hasbro Rey is a charming and affordable alternative.  Even the 6-inch Hasbro doll is fun with all of her joints and her mini lightsaber.  For their respective prices, I'm pleased with all of these versions of Rey...all, that is, except for the 12-inch Hasbro abomination.

These two are my favorites: 

Hot Toys Jakku Rey holding Hasbro's 3.5 inch Jakku Rey.
This post is already incredibly long, but I have to share one last little thing with you--something I discovered while shopping for action figures on Amazon.  Look at this:

It's a sticker for a kid's room--nothing unusual there--but look at the title.  They call the character Rey Skywalker.  That's either a really big assumption or a really big spoiler.  Personally, I thought Rey must be Han Solo's daughter (Kylo's sister) but my kids tell me I'm crazy.  And perhaps that would be too cliché.  Anyway, I didn't think anyone was supposed to know who Rey's parents are at this point.

The last thing I did with Hot Toys Rey was photograph her at the beach--the closest thing we have around here to the desert planet Jakku.  Fortunately, we've had a few 80 degree days in Maine over the last two weeks, so a beach outing felt natural.  The neat thing about the particular beach I chose to visit (Popham Beach in Phippsburg) is that in October, dogs and horses are allowed to roam around.  Or I guess they're allowed--they were everywhere.  I must have seen seven or eight horses being ridden up and down the vast low-tide shoreline.  It was so cool.  I was more than a little jealous of the riders.  I snuck a lot of pictures of these horses.  Here's my favorite shot:

After oggling all of the horses and befriending a few dogs, I got down to business.

First, I photographed Rey in her scavenger garb, which was appropriate for the scenery:

Rey's fanny pack slides forward onto her belly really easily because of the slippery vinyl belt.  Sadly, I didn't notice this during the beach photo session.  To be accurate to the movie, the pack should sit more towards Rey's back.

I also got a few shots of Rey without her head gear:

Here, I was imagining the scene in the movie when Rey takes her hard-won rations off to eat alone under the shelter of an abandoned AT-AT...or in this case an abandoned tree:

Ever-vigilant, Rey felt the need to climb up higher to find the best vantage-point: 

Large rocks are plentiful in this area, although they're not particularly appropriate as scenery for Rey.  Still, I enjoyed using them as a dramatic backdrop for this adventurous character:

Of course in The Force Awakens, Rey is mostly using her lightsaber in the snowy woods of Starkiller Base.  We don't have any snowy woods around here (yet), but I did want to get at least one picture of Rey against a forest backdrop:

The rocky coast of Maine is a great setting for the final scene in Force Awakens, though.  I love this part of the movie: Rey is seen climbing up a rocky island trail, music swelling in the background, and then she reaches the top and hands over her lightsaber to a shrouded figure...well, I think everyone knows this by now, right?  She hands it back to Luke Skywalker.  It's epic.

Bottom line: well, if you've made it this far in the review, you're almost as intrepid and determined as Rey herself.  I'll try to keep my summary brief.  I think the most important features of this figure can be broken down into three main categories:

Accessories and clothing: Rey's outfit is amazing.  It looks just like the movie outfit...although it's a bit cleaner.  All of the fabric (most noticeably the delicate linen wraps) are very finely woven and feel in scale with the doll.  The outfit cannot easily be removed, though, because of the tight, unfasten-able vinyl belt.  The accessories are all very realistic and highly detailed.  My favorite pieces are the lightsaber (with its removable beam), the staff (with its nylon carrying strap and tiny hooks) and the scavenger head wrap with goggles.  These items really add to the fun of the doll.  I also appreciate the detail and accuracy of the blaster, the backpack, the extra hands and (to a lesser extent) the shoulder pad, but I won't use these accessories as much.

Body and articulation:  Rey's body is very highly-articulated, with at least 24 joints.  All of the joints are good, some are amazing.  For example, the extra ball joints in Rey's shoulders allow her move her arms in a way that most dolls cannot.  I also really love her double-jointed elbows and knees.  I did find a few of the joints frustrating, though.  The chest and hip joints can move well, but the bendable vinyl in those areas of the body often get stuck inside the joint.  This is particularly bad at the back of the chest.  The only other issue I had was with the knees.  The double-jointing here is great, but the lack of rotation prohibited several of the poses that I wanted to try.  The body looks incredible.  All of the visible areas of skin are painted with a fine mottling.  This effect makes the skin appear stunningly real--even when my camera is zoomed in as close as it can get.

Head sculpt: I had occasional difficultly photographing Rey because her eyes can make her look like she's startled and her teeth can make her look like she has a bad underbite.  The hair tendrils are also a little strange and do not capture the windswept look of Rey's character...but at least the hair isn't overly thick and stuck to the side of Rey's face.  Other than that, the head is incredible.  The intricacies of the paint job (especially the super-fine brush strokes of the eyebrows and hairline) are mind-blowing.  Rey even has faint capillaries in the whites of her eyes.  How is that level of detail even possible?  The fine mottling effect that is present on all of Rey's visible skin is especially realistic on her face.  It feels like she might start breathing and moving around at any moment.  The only problem with Hot Toys achieving this level of realism is that it makes me want Rey to be perfect--to look exactly like Daisy Ridley in the movie.  That sounds like an unreasonable wish, I know, but I've seen what Hot Toys can do.  Many of their Star Wars figures bear an uncanny resemblance to the relevant actor.  This new standard of action figure simply amazes me.  There was nothing like this back when I was a kid.  

I want to end by getting back to my question from the very beginning of the post: is this Rey worth her $200 price?  Well, value is almost always relative, so I'll say this: there are several fun Rey action figures to choose from right now, and this Hot Toys version is a whopping ten times more expensive than most of them.  It can be difficult to make comparisons across such a wide price divide, but it isn't hard in this case.  To me, Hot Toys' Rey is, without question, far more than ten times superior to any of the alternatives.


  1. I love Rey's character. Unfortunately, it's been very hard for me to find any figurines of her in stores. The only figure that I've been able to find is a LEGO Rey, which was cool, but I prefer lots of articulation and realistic accessories, which I didn't see much in that product.

  2. I'm surprised at how specific they made the facial expression, especially for such an expensive toy.

    Awesome review, as always. Please consider starting a Patreon. I'd love to give you, say, $1/review or $5/month. I know how much time and effort (and money!) reviews like yours take. Thank you.

    1. Yes, I agree! Your reviews are so in-depth and helpful, it would be a nice way to say thank you and encourage you to keep reviewing more of these expensive dolls! :)

    2. Seconding this! A Patreon would be such a marvellous way of supporting Emily in her dollventures.

  3. I agree, this is a wonderful action figure. Hot Toys does a great job. Thanks for the detailed review. Love all the action photos!

  4. Wow, just wow! I loved the review! Being a huge Star Wars fan, I stumbled onto these Hot Toys figures last spring and I am hooked. Like you, I have done the payment plan (such a nice option) for Luke and Leia already and Han is on the way. I'm really excited to add this Rey to my collection soon after having seen your review. I can't get over her freckled skin! Despite the slightly unnerving eyes and under bite, she's just amazing. I would also be so tempted to add a tiny bit more paint and gloss to extend her iris down to the base of her lower lid, but I probably would never get the courage to do it, lol. I love that you gave us a look at her body as I have seen other reviews of her, but have always been curious about the bodies underneath as well. I just love her and your photos of her at the beach are stunning! I also hope to add Chewbacca to my SW Hot Toys gang as I feel like he would be a lot of fun to photograph in random places. :)
    The other one I'm really curious about is the new Wonder Woman figure. I'm currently doing the payment plan with her and she'll probably be here by December, but she has that newer Phicen-like body without the visible joints. Darn all of these wonderful, expensive dolls! :)

  5. Those outdoor photos are fabulous!

    I'm always on the fence about Hot Toys figures - I love all the details of the clothing and the realism of the faces, but I'm constantly having issues with hands popping off on the two that I have (which to be fair are older). When I got a promotional email about the new Luke figure I was tempted but figured I didn't need it. But seeing this review makes them seem more tempting again! ;)

  6. I thought some of your outdoor photos were cosplay at first, not a doll - that's amazing.

  7. Ahhhh I am so happy to see another 1/6 figure/doll on this blog! I fell in love with Rey in the film and preordered this figure after seeing her promo pictures! I'm super happy to own her and I'm glad to see you're loving her, too! The realism of these figures really is amazing, it's like having a tiny person just sitting there on the shelf.

  8. I'm not into Star Wars but I LOVE this figure, she's incredible with her really natural looking skin tone and amazing face sculpt. I love the photos of her at the end, they are just incredible, so realistic. Thanks so much for this brilliant review.

  9. I was so excited when I saw this review in my feed! Rey is one of my favorite characters and I'm actually going to be her for Halloween, so this was very well-timed. Great job, as always!


  10. Wow, Emily, this review covered everything about Rey dolls.You did an incredible job.
    I don't collect Star Wars dolls or action figures but I can see that, for a collector, the Hot Toys doll would be money well spent. (Could Thing 1 be a shank or ice pick?)
    She already looked very realistic indoors but when you took her outside it was impossible to tell this was a doll rather than stills from the movie.Her articulation is very realistic.
    The other dolls were all right I suppose, they are meant to be played with so children will see what they want to see.
    Thanks for another great review. I agree with the Patreon suggestion from some commenters. Of course, regular visitors want to help alleviate the cost of buying dolls to review but I imagine that people thinking of buying this doll would appreciate a chance to Thank you for helping them decide. This isn't an inexpensive figure and a review as excellent as yours will make the decision easier for them, I'm sure.

  11. Thanks for another wonderful review. Rey is so realistic! I thought her box photos actually were movie stills until your said otherwise. The articulation is also amazing. I'm almost tempted to look for a body double from China for myself. Are you familiar with the anime Durarara? There is a headless character who is an Irish dullehan that this would be perfect for.

  12. Omg yes! I've always wanted to see the actual body and articulation of a hot toys figure, thank you for putting that part in Emily! Did you have to shell out a lot for just the body alone? Anyway, Now you basically have a hot toys body that you could customize anyway you wanted!

  13. Thanks Emily, great review!

    The figure is awesome.

    Probably you know that Rey means "king" in Spanish (and is a last name in Spain), so is a funny name for a girl. But I like the Rey character, and I think her name is fine too.

    Have a nice day!

  14. Ahhhh i love star wars so much and discovered hot toys a year ago and drool over their figures! I am super fussy about face sculpt and articulation, I don't buy figures from the stores except for droids and troopers because I can't stand it when the doll doesn't look like the character >.< I really really really want a hot toys and think I mat have to start saving my pennies! Thank you so much for this review and do you think you'll get more in the future? :)
    Lydia's Dolls @

  15. As always, a very in depth review. Your Rey figure is beautiful! I kind of wonder why HT would do the bottom teeth and not the top. This does give her the look of having a severe under bite. I have not yet seen the movie, but I did buy the Blue Ray so will watch it soon. Rey's naked body that you purchased separately looks a lot like the Kumik, Very Cool and Play Toy female bodies which are all marketed to use with Hot Toy heads. I wonder if any of their feet would work with your Rey body?

    Thanks again for the very thorough review. You do such an awesome job with your reviews!

  16. Based on your review I did buy myself a Rey, and I'm very happy with her. Her startled expression and underbite are not so evident without magnification - my eyes are getting old - ha! I was also very gratified to see on your blog that she has a freckled skin tone. I had bought other figures from hot toys - Wilma Deering and Robyn Hood, but their skin tone was so dead looking that it gave me the creeps and I sent them on their way. And of course your photographs are excellent!! Many thanks.

  17. I have the Disney Store die cast version, in addition to the Black Series one (the one with BB8, which is confirmed to be a SHE), and those actually look great. The photos of the die cast look terrible online, but mine looks wonderful in person.

    This review makes me wish I had bought this doll in January. As far as pricing, it's really worth more. The other dolls are either machine-screened or hand-painted by people in a rush to get them pushed down the line, whereas Hot Toys hires people who are actual artists who will sit there for a good length if time until the details are right. I've seen photos of the artists at work, with magnifying glasses on their heads and everything. The certainly aren't rushed.

    I think the freckles are in the plastic itself, which would explain the freckles on the fingernails and palms. The blushing could be added by hand much easier than all those freckles.

    This doll is now my birthday wish. My daughter would probably want it too. She adores Rey.

  18. Also the mold on that one doll could have come from the conditions under which it had been stored. If it was kept somewhere with high humidity that seeped into the box, and then somewhere warm, you've got mold.

  19. So I sort of hate this review. But in a nice way! I've been eyeing a few Hot Toys figures, but now I'm convinced. The attention to details are mind blowing. Sorry wallet!

  20. ten post dostarczył mi więcej emocji niż sam film :DDD
    sesja genialna - fotografie pomysłowe, pełne charakteru,
    humoru i pasji - dziękuję!!!

    co do porównania 4 figurek - najmniejsza w tym zestawieniu
    bardziej mi Michaela Jaksona przypomina, niźli Wojowniczkę :)

  21. What phicen body would you recommend for Rey? Tan or sun tan?