Rey and BB-8 Aren’t Just Best Friends, They’re the Best Hot Toys Star Wars Figures Yet [Review]
After years of holding a number of licenses for various pop culture icons, it seems almost unbelievable that until 2015, Hot Toys didn't have a deal for Star Wars toys. It took the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the Hong Kong company to finally step into the crowded licensing world of Lucasfilm's flagship franchise. In a way, it's a good thing it took such a long time. The license arrived right in that sweet spot of Hot Toys' expertise finally reaching its apex, rather than a decade earlier when the products weren't quite as impressive.
No product better serves that idea than the newly released Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey and BB-8 set. As thrilling as it has been to see a number of iconic characters like Leia Organa, Han Solo and the numerous Stormtroopers captured with Hot Toys' impeccable eye for detail, the Rey figure is just a marvelous achievement in an action figure from head to toe. Would that all Hot Toys figures could be so great.
When this figure was first announced last December, I was optimistic about its final product, though I wasn't completely in love with the prototype imagery. Though I thought the overall Rey figure was a spectacular sixth-scale replication of Daisy Ridley's character, the portrait seemed just off enough to be a distraction. The good news is the final head sculpt is a much closer facsimile. The fine-tuning done in the cheekbones and eyes, as well as some other slight variances, has taken a slightly above-average sculpt and made it into a clear front-runner for one of Hot Toys best. Though I'm perpetually tired of the plain-faced sculpts most figures get under the Hot Toys brand, it's hard to argue with the work done to create such a great portrait.
I'll admit, I was a bit concerned about the dangling sculpted hair pieces by Rey's ears. Hot Toys figures often have some fragility problems, and with such small pieces of plastic sticking out, the odds were against Rey's hair from the start. Fortunately, the pieces are flexible enough to withstand some light movement, such as when you're putting her headscarf over her head. That doesn't mean you can go moving them around in any way you see fit, but you won't have to stress out about snapping one off as long as you're careful with adjusting Rey's head. That said, the curly one on the right side of her face did jut out of the fabric from the additional garb, though the fabric is stretchable enough that no noticeable hole was left it its wake.
The additional costume elements do fit well though, and actually manage to stay in place whether or not you leave the cover up over her nose or position it beneath her chin so you're still able to see her face. The goggles have an elastic strap to help hold them on, either up or down, and all together, the piece looks just like she stepped out of the exhaust port of the Inflictor and onto your shelf. Minus all that dust of course.
If there's one place the Rey figure is just a tiny bit lacking, it's in the dirty details. Many of Hot Toys' figures come with paint apps that more accurately reflect the on-screen incarnation all the way down to the stains on their pants and shirts, or the scuffs on their shoes and helmets. The Hot Toys Indiana Jones sixth-scale figure is a great example, as his leather jacket is worn, his khaki's reflect his exploring forgotten tombs, and his boots look like they've seen better days. The same can be said of the Jumptrooper I just reviewed. Rey's costume looks as if it came straight from the cleaners, rather than her living a life of sandy solitude in the foot of an AT-AT.
Now that might seem like a nitty pick to make, but when Hot Toys prides itself on that kind of nuanced accuracy, you expect to see it reflected in every area of the figure. I'm not saying Rey needed to come out of the package with sand stuck in every point of articulation, but some wear and tear on her outfit would have gone a long way in giving that much more realism to the toy.
Beyond that though, her costuming is just fantastic. The arm sleeves are breathable material, and they don't inhibit her elbows in the least. Her loose-fitting top is expertly tailored, and still gives you more than enough room to pose the figure as you see fit. Her gear being mostly soft cloth and not some kind of form-fitting lycra or leather also lends to the poseability, but every wrinkle, seam and thread seems to be accounted for at this scale. I often fawn over how incredible it is that a toy company get get doll clothes so accurate to the real thing, but there are so many small elements here that could have gone wrong that didn't that Hot Toys' work is that much more remarkable.
Those costuming elements translated to the rest of her accoutrements (the big staff, the blaster pistol, and yes, Anakin's/Luke's lightsaber) as well, but especially her scavenger's bag. Though not quite practical --- it doesn't open --- the bag Rey has in the opening moments of the movie is represented here from the water bottle down to the random junk parts slotted into various pouches. Getting such small elements like these right more than makes up for the lack of dirt on her pants and the 98% accurate (give or take) head sculpt. You could pour over amount of detail in this figure for hours and still find new things to be amazed with. That's just impressive no matter how you slice it.
Would this set have only included Rey --- who is available in a standalone package --- it would have been more than enough. The inclusion of BB-8 --- available only in this set so far --- takes it yet another notch higher in the Hot Toys' figure hierarchy. Not only is this toy version of the droid intricately detailed, but it's also got a magnet and a counter-balance inside so that BB-8's head stays on top even if you move him around. The head also lights up, but there's only one setting. Unlike some of Sideshow's droids, this BB-8 is either on or off, and that's it. That's fine since he's part of a package deal, but if this was a standalone figure, that lack of extra functionality would be a major disappointment.
BB-8 does come with his own accessories though. Two of the panels on the body pop off to reveal slots where you can insert his electric prod or the drawer where the key to the Luke Skywalker map was kept. There is no key though, which is probably for the best. It would have been so small as to be indistinguishable, and could easily have gotten lost. The only thing worse than breaking a piece of a ~$300 toy is losing one.
If you were worried about how BB-8 would display, he gets a diorama attachment for Rey's traditional stand that looks like the sands of Jakku. There's a small indent where you can place him so he doesn't roll all over the place... or off your shelf and into a zillion pieces. Curiously enough, BB-8 does get a paint app that better reflects the wear and tear of a battle-tested droid rolling along in the desert. That makes the lack of "living" presented on Rey even stranger, though it doesn't take anything more away from that figure.
For nine months I waited for what I had hoped would be the ultimate Rey figure from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and I was not disappointed. This kind of collectible is the reason Hot Toys deserves its recognition, and showcases every single aspect of the company's skills in one place. Not every figure Hot Toys makes will be as successful as this one, but not every character is as incredible as Rey either.
The Hot Toys Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey and BB-8 set is available from Sideshow Collectibles for $289.99. This figure was purchased for review.