Many a lapsed Star Wars fan learned to love again—and spend again—when The Mandalorian debuted on Disney Plus in 2019. And boy oh boy, is there plenty of Mandalorian merchandise for fans to buy; a hasty Google search yields the following items emblazoned with the likeness of Grogu (who will likely remain “Baby Yoda” in the hearts and minds of the populace; to me he will always be simply The Child): blind-box enamel pins, plush dolls of various shapes, sizes, and styles, onesies, coffee cups, swim trunks, keychains, jewelry, clogs, playing cards, and even makeup brush containers.
And toys, of course. Lots and lots of toys. Mandalorian enthusiasts can buy six-inch Star Wars Black action figures from Hasbro (as well as Hasbro’s confusingly named “Vintage Collection” figures in the 1:18 scale), mini-figures and vehicles from LEGO, Mandalorian Funko Pops, and animatronic Baby Yoda dolls, among other treasures.
Of course, for fans who are particularly passionate, discerning, and reckless with their finances, nothing will do but the Mandalorian Sixth Scale Collectible Figure from Hot Toys, purveyors of transcendent novelty plastic and destroyers of wallets.
I just spent two days photographing this action figure (outdoors, which even the company would probably suggest is not wise), and I can confirm that it is an astonishingly beautiful and well-crafted representation of Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin. Whether the figure’s quality justifies its price is something one must decide for oneself. Put another way: this Hot Toys Mandalorian figure features cloth goods and stunningly realistic paint apps, but Hasbro’s Star Wars Black series figure is a pretty swell alternative that retails for only 20 bucks. While the Hot Toys figure is much, much more realistic looking and imposing than Hasbro’s figure, you could buy 12 Star Wars Black figures for the price of one Hot Toys Mandalorian.
I have only ever owned a few Hot Toys figures during my 15-year tenure as a toy photographer, for the simple reason that it is always difficult to talk myself into spending hundreds of dollars on a toy. The Mandalorian was in a way the toughest sell of all, because the greatest feature of most Hot Toys figures is the eerily lifelike painting and uncanny likenesses on the head sculpts; to spend Hot Toys prices on a figure that doesn’t even have a face feels especially absurd.
However, the two days I spent photographing this toy were profoundly happy ones, and if nothing else, Hot Toys Mandalorian is certainly photogenic.
Things to consider: Mando’s detonator accessory is tiny and easily misplaced; I lost it—and somehow miraculously recovered it—amongst a towering series of boulders in a state park. Also, his cloth outfit looks amazing, but it does restrict his articulation somewhat. Finally, for a toy that costs as much as a car payment, a few aspects feel discouragingly cheap; the fingers on the gloved hands look like something we might have seen from Sideshow Toys a decade ago, and their off-yellow paint rubbed off on the stock of Mando’s blaster rifle when I placed it in his hand.
Even so, I find myself studying the preorder page for the second Hot Toys Mandalorian, which features his full Beskar armor and a scale figurine of The Child. Why am I fantasizing about spending hundreds of dollars on another unnecessary toy purchase when I have nitpicks about the figure I already spent hundreds of dollars on?
Because I am a Star Wars fan, and This is the Way.
(And by “this” I mean “crass consumerism”.)
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