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Sunday, January 29, 2017

#StarWarsSmugglersBounty Review: January 2017

January's Star Wars/Funko Smuggler's Bounty sub box strikes a win with this month's THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK!

Review by Matt Cummings

As 2016 ended on the Star Wars/Funko alliance known as Smuggler's Bounty, it was clear the sub box line had learned some big lessons, mixing heavy disappointments with stellar submissions. Even with an awesome November, we were curious to see if January would make it 2-for-2, or whether the line was in for a turbulent 2017. I can happily report that January's THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK theme is filled with a very good wearable, a nice plushie, and one of the best Pop! figures we've ever seen.

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.

  • Again, this month's theme is THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, which Mark Hamill once described as a "gut punch" of a story, revealing a deeply-held secret between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, while Han Solo faces an uncertain future as a prisoner of Boba Fett and Jabba the Hut. In the meantime, check out our unboxing below and we'll meet you on the back end to share some thoughts:

    Winners
    We had seen the preview of the Tauntaun in November's box, but we weren't sure just how big the box would be. This one is clearly the largest box ever for a Funko/Pop! sub, which immediately filled us with hope. Our enthusiasm was tempered by a distinct rolling sound inside the box, which luckily revealed no damage. Once again, SB provides us with awesome-to-good quality, although the theme is 36 years too late. No matter: we start with the pin/patch set, which includes Lando Calrissian and Yoda. To be honest, this is the weakest part of the box and one of the weakest P/P sets we've seen. The problem here is likeness, with Yoda looking like a hippie and only Lando looking anything like the actor played by Billy Dee Williams. And while there's no shirt here, the socks are wicked cool. I will be immediately adding these to my wardrobe. The Stormtroopers look great, and the black background means that the dye will hopefully last for awhile. Whether they stay up is another matter entirely.

    Once the theme and image of the Tauntaun was revealed, it was clear that we would not be receiving a shirt, unless the socks and plushie were nixed. In some ways I wish that would have happened, but with the arrival of this figure I can certainly forgive them. Quite simply, it's the best figure we've ever gotten from these oft-monthly lines, a stunning reveal that shows just how in command Funko is in bringing these icon figures to life. Although the pictures don't do it justice, the Tauntaun has sculpted fur and sits on a platform to keep it stable. That would have been enough has we not gotten the Han Solo with it. He's just as beautifully sculpted, showing off detail in his utility belt as well as in his fur-lined coat. I can't speak enough about how incredible this figure is, and I doubt anyone will say otherwise.

    Losers
    The Wampa plushie is nice but entirely throw-away. I'll be adding this to my resale pile, not because it's of poor quality but because it's rather pedestrian and therefore not worthy of my time. Maybe my cats would like it...Not a win, but more of a PUSH.

    A Terrific Introduction to the Movie
    Delivering on its promise of TIMING and QUALITY, Smuggler's Bounty ushers in 2017 with a very good EMPIRE STRIKES BACK box, featuring one of the best Pops! we've ever received. Add DEATH STAR and ROGUE ONE to the mix and you see the trend line moving up. And with REBELS on the horizon for the next box, we couldn't be more excited about its prospects.

    Want to read our other sub box reviews? We've got them all listed below:
    MARVEL COLLECTOR CORPS
    May
    June
    August
    October
    December
    February
    April
    June
    August
    October
    December

    DC LEGION REVIEWS
    May
    July
    September
    November


    SMUGGLER'S BOUNTY
    January
    March
    May
    July
    September
    November January

    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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