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Hello, EveryWookiee! It’s DrunkWooky here, back with another action figure review. Today, I’m taking a look at the Best Buy exclusive Black Series Heavy Infantry Mandalorian we got to glimpse in episode 3 of the Mandalorian on Disney+!
I am loving the Mandalorian on Disney+. The first three episodes were a solid arc full of thick substance and canon tid-bits. While episodes 4, 5, and 6 were more the sort of “adventure of the week” type of episodes, they were still good romps, if not devoid of pot points moving the overarching story forward.
While the Heavy Infantry Mandalorian can be picked up on the aftermarket on Amazon and Ebay, you’re not really going to find a better deal than direct from the Best Buy source. He’s currently selling for $29.99 direct from Best Buy :
Current after-market prices on Amazon and Ebay are ranging from about $39.99 to $54.99. Do I think he’s worth $50.00? Probably not. The closer you can get the retail with this figure, I think the happier you will be because he has his limitations.
This is classic Black Series packaging. It is about twice as wide as a normal Black Series figure block to accomodate Heavy Mando’s big gun, but it was either that or making the box probably 1 1/2 to 2 times as deep.
I will say that Best Buy are not a mint collector’s packaging and shipping dream. The box it came in was very closely fitted to it’s height and width dimensions and an air packet was packet on the back side and tightly squeezed down by the box’s top flaps and tape. The result is that heavy dent on the back of the package. I’m not a mint on card collector or anything like that. The pauldrons I just super glued back onto my Mafex Boba Fett is evidence of that. But, this is a heads up for those that are mint on card collectors.
Heavy Infanty Mandalorian is just that- heavy. The real name credited to this Mandalorian from episode 3 of the Disney+ series is Paz Vizla. Paz Vizla has the voice acting of Jon Favreau behind him and the 6’3″ frame of Tait Fletcher physically playing the character in-costume.
This is all to say that the figure is tall, bulky, and heavier than your average Black Series figure even without the backpack, mounted heavy artillery gun and jetpack. Each piece of armor resembles are poured and set slab of concrete and he’s laden with pouches, straps, gear, mechanisms, armament and a butt cape.
This doesn’t detract from the sculpted detail put into the figure, however. If anything, the large frame just provides more area to show off details. There are dents and dings that show that this armor is not fresh out of the armory. The undersuit sculpting that we can see in the arms and legs have varied textures and nice bunching to sell the weight and feel of the fabric (even if it is molded plastic).
I don’t think those details included can make up for some of the glaring errors in accuracy that were made, though. I’m no accuracy nerd and I don’t get bent out of shape when my $20-$30 figure doesn’t exactly match the on screen model that was designed by costuming masters with huge budgets. I also know that many times toy companies are working from less than stellar reference material. These errors miss the mark by a fair distance, though.
First of all, the lower portion of Paz’s chest armor isn’t concave as much as it just slopes off.
Second, the bottom of his mask has more of a ledge to it than what the figure provides. Third, the two upside down triangles on the right-hand side of his chest armor are way closer to the center of the chest. There’s an entire ribbed area of the stomach armor that isn’t present. And, finally, the pauldron featuring the Mythosaur skull symbol is supposed to be a raised main portion with a lower piece set below it around the edge closest to the chest.
Honestly, I normally don’t notice this stuff, but these elements seemed off even before I checked the referenced photos.
As a general impression, the sculpt is effective. It gives the impression of Paz Vizla and gives the impression of a battle-worn mercenary. You have the normal glaring joint holes that you get from a Black Series figure, but comparing apples to apples, nothing really to complain about in that area. If anything, the front and back of the knee and elbow joints are actually really well incorporated into the fabric molds of the undersuit.
Another positive, I’ll point out, the pauldrons are made out of a softer plastic that pushes away from the torso when the shoulder joint is pushed up to its limit. This ends up helping out in the limited articulation discussed below.
Oof. It gets worse before it gets better in this review. This figure is a mixed bag with examples of really good paint application and then just absolute oversights from quality control. There are some areas of shading and wear that make a lot of sense. Check out the (intentional) paint chipping towards the bottom of the chest plate where the blue finish of the armor gives way to silver. Then there are accurately applied buttons and dials on the belt pouches and gauntlets. Head on over to the pauldron and there’s a crisp and clear Mythosaur skull, applied dead center. Beautiful. But then, you’ve got the two inverted triangles on the chest armor, how far off-center could that silver paint have been while still staying on the sculpted triangles!? Geez. There also doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason about which dents and nicks get silver paint applied and which don’t. Take the two painted dings and the one unpainted ding on the pauldron below for example. This might be intentional, but it doesn’t come off that way. The silver spills over and around the two painted dings and I’m unsure if that was intentional either because of the chest armor snafu.
His heavy cannon does have a nice gradient from dark grey, to silver, to a sort of metallic blue along the muzzle.
Paz’s head is on a ball joint with another ball joint at the base of the neck. The rotation is 360 degrees and he gets a decent amount of downward tilt, with significantly less upward tilt, limited by the bottom of the back of his helmet.
Paz’s shoulders are a Black Series standard ball and swivel joint topped off with that soft set of pauldrons I mentioned earlier to allow for as much movement as possible. Having said that, you won’t get much above level with his neck line. The elbow is just a single swivel, whereas most Black Series get a double. Both gauntlets rotate, but this isn’t too useful as his flamethrower has a hose that plugs into the back. The wrist is a ball and swivel.
The ab separation in the body armor provides the smallest amount of swivel from side to side, but I couldn’t get more than a few degrees. There is definitely no “crunch” to be seen at all. Attaching Paz’s backpack into the peg in his armor also compounds his torso articulation woes. Push it too far and that backpack is popping off, to be re-positioned again.
Paz has ball and swivel hips, a bisected thigh, a double swivel jointed knee, and a ball and swivel ankle on each leg. Strangely, his legs are probably the most limber part of the figure. I was able to pull of different leans, kicks, kneels, and other gunner stances.
That leaves his backpack with attached gun. The gun actually has a number of articulated points, including the top handle, the hose attachment at the rear, and the other end of the hose where it attaches to the backpack. The gun stows away nicely on the side of the backpack with a well-fitted peg.
You’re not going to be pulling off any acrobatic poses with this figure, but the question really is whether you want to. It’s clear that this character is a big, lumbering, bruiser of a fella, who favors firepower over finesse. Stacked up next to Mando, he looks pretty towering and menacing indeed. Paz pulls off the poses you want, but he won’t be your go-to for really creative poses. He’s basically going to do various versions of standing.
Given the sheer amount of plastic involved in this figure, the $29.99 retail price set by Best Buy is probably appropriate. I don’t think that price necessarily has anything to do with the posing possibilities or the heightened degree of workmanship required on this figure. I think it just comes down to raw volume of materials. Accordingly, you’ll be happiest if you find this figure at retail. He won’t blow you away with what he’s capable of. He’ll satisfactorily round out your Mandalorian cast on your shelf.