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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#StarWarsSmugglersBounty Review: January 2016

The Star Wars/Funko Smuggler's Bounty sub box sparks familiar (and disappointing) themes.

Review by Matt Cummings

As we've chronicled for you over the past year, geek subscription boxes have been mired in a whipsaw that see quality and timing take a consistent beating. One month it's the extraordinary, the next we're wondering why we bothered. Few have consistently presented their best face, with Marvel Collector Corps and Star Wars rising to the top. But as we saw with this month's Smuggler's Bounty, some contents are starting to repeat themselves.

Before diving in, let's review the details:
  • The cost for a Month to Month is $25 (plus S/H), or $150 (plus S/H) for a one-year subscription.
  • You get one box every other month, with SB promising $50 in value and no fluff.
  • If you choose the Smuggler membership (yearly), you are promised an additional gift on your anniversary. Guess which one we chose.

  • Sporting a theme of THE RESISTANCE, this box highlights some of the good guys from the mammoth The Force Awakens. BB-8 and Poe Dameron stand front and center with other veterans like C3PO. But you'll soon see, one item in particular borrows heavily from a recent MCC box. And we're not happy. We'll meet you on the back end to share some thoughts:

    Obviously, so much in here screams gobs of quality. Now that we know how MCC and SB are partnering with Funko, we like the Chewie exclusive. It's frankly gorgeous. We also totally dig the pin/patch collection. These are always top shelf, even if the theme was brought over from MCC. It's the kind of copying we don't mind because the quality is so terrific. Speaking of that, we think the shirt is one of the best we've ever gotten. So. Damn. Cool.

    The obvious hack job here is the inclusion of a Funko C3PO mug. If you'll remember, the most recent MCC box contained a Starlord mug, and the boxes are nearly identical in size. We're not big on coffee, so I suppose it's a case of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, but to us it's a waste. Overall, the entire box offers nothing new - it's the same items but for different franchises. Sure, we love consistency with our subs - which is why Loot is gone and Fuel is on its last legs - but we also have faith in Funko to pop out new things. We frankly have enough pint glasses and mugs to fill a cabinet (much to the dismay of our spouses), so it's time for Funko to try something new.

    A Solid (But Unimpressive) Effort
    The second outing for Smuggler's Bounty delivers a solid but unimpressive effort, copying many elements from other boxes and only doing some of them well. With fewer items comes greater expectations that those items will deliver. So when we get a C3PO mug that's an obvious rip off from another box, it's hard to consider the whole to be a win.

    Still, we'll take it, with several excellent items including a great shirt and exclusive Chewie. But it's clear that the no-fluff promise isn't holding up, which means Funko had better come out with something nasty for March. We still think these ever-other-month boxes are the way to go, but let's see if we feel that way after the next set arrives. In terms of quality and timing, we're still on the side of The Resistance, although The First Order dealt a mighty early blow.

    Want to read our other sub box reviews? We've got them all listed below:
    August October December



    Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.


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