It’s pretty much impossible to set foot into a place like Wal-Mart or Toys R Us without being completely overwhelmed by Star Wars merchandise. All it takes is a quick look at the box to see who is making it: Hasbro Toys. While Disney has tried to keep the exact details of the deal a mystery, the truth is that Hasbro has a lot of exclusive rights when it comes to distributing Star Wars figures in North America.
The main toys that Hasbro has been making for fans are their six-inch Star Wars Black Series of toys. While these figures have some good detail and facial likenesses by the standards of North American toys, there’s a big secret that toy collectors have known for years: Japan’s got the good stuff!
Companies such as MAFEX and Figuarts produce epic quality Star Wars figures that put the Hasbro toys to shame. To get these figures, though, there are several hoops: collectibles retailers must import the figures and then sell them at a higher cost to fans. The bottom line? While they are not impossible to obtain, these are figures that Disney and Hasbro have done their best to make sure you never see, much less never buy them.
Fortunately, then, you don’t have to impersonate an Imperial ground crew and steal the plans to these awesome figures. Just check out our galactic guide to the 15 Best Star Wars Figures Disney Doesn’t Want You to Buy!
When it came to the character of Rey, Hasbro ended up creating quite the controversy. When the market was first being flooded with Force Awakens toys, fans noticed a distinct lack of Rey, ranging from fewer available action figures to her complete exclusion from the original run of Force Awakens-inspired Monopoly. Slowly but surely, Hasbro brought more Rey toys to stores, but many of them (such as the Star Wars Black Series six-inch Rey) were disappointing in both their accessories and overall appearance.
Fortunately, the MAFEX Rey is the opposite of the Hasbro toys in every way. She sports an impressive and expressive (if not perfect) recreation of Rey’s face. However, collectors can cover up that pretty mug by either putting her desert mask on or even the adorable X-wing pilot helmet that she plays with in the movie. Fans can also choose to pose her with her staff or with Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. Alternately, she can take after father figure Han Solo and just wield a blaster— we hear that “hokey religions and ancient weapons” are no substitute for it!
14. Finn in Stormtrooper Armor
In terms of Force Awakens characters, Finn may have been the most surprising. Many of the characters in the movie were archetypes that we had seen before: Rey was a hidden desert Jedi like Luke, and Poe was a charming and skilled pilot, not unlike Han Solo. Finn, however, was a reformed Imperial— someone who started out as a faceless Stormtrooper and gained agency, understanding, and heroism as the movie went on.
This is captured nicely with the MAFEX Finn figure. He is rocking his Stormtrooper armor, complete with a bloody helmet that he can easily wear or hold. Finn’s figure has a nice likeness compared to his actor and a super-impressive range of motion, so you can have him look pretty much anywhere… or just find new ways to have him look at Poe Dameron.
His well-articulated hands and fingers let him point, shoot (with one or both of the included blasters), and salute. Combined with the solid leg articulation, you can pose Finn in a number of combat stances or position him to run anywhere in the galaxy (except back to Jakku).
13. Darth Vader (Hologram)
Ever since the advent of Star Wars figures, there have been plastic incarnations of Darth Vader. Because of this, ardent Star Wars collectors may find themselves with a bit of fatigue concerning the Dark Lord of the Sith. Just how many versions of the same figure do you need? Fortunately, MAFEX decided to change things up by presenting Vader in a form we don’t often see: a hologram!
This is the Sith Lord you know and love, but the entire figure has been cast in cool, translucent blue plastic. This holographic Vader is highly posable, meaning that you can put him in a number of intimidating positions as he might appear when dressing down his fellow Imperials. He can point an accusing finger, strike a sassy hands-on-hips pose, or just offer a trademark Vader staredown.
12. Boba Fett
There has arguably never been another character that has inspired so much love and slavish fanboy devotion in comparison to his screen time than Boba Fett. Despite having only four lines of dialogue and getting defeated by a blind guy launching him into a toothy space cave, Boba Fett has a fandom to be feared and reckoned with. Fortunately for those fans, MAFEX has a Boba Fett figure that is worthy of this bounty hunter’s legendary reputation.
First of all, the figure looks appropriately rough, with some drybrushing that gives his armor the appearance of having survived quite a few battles. His head has a solid range of motion and you can pose his rangefinder, which is a very nice touch.
His arms and hands offer a great degree of flexibility, so you can put him in several of his iconic resting and aiming poses. The general flexibility of his torso and knees means you can also put him in dynamic rocket firing poses. The bottom line is that if you can only have one Boba Fett to display on your shelf, then this is one of the best figures on the market!
11. Jedi Luke Skywalker (Return of the Jedi)
While Return of the Jedi sometimes gets criticism for being the weakest entry in the original trilogy, it gets full credit for giving us a badass Luke Skywalker. The white-clad farmboy who wouldn’t shut up about power converters is now a black-clad badass armed with a new lightsaber and a cool new bag of Jedi abilities. This incarnation of Luke Skywalker has been captured nicely by Figuarts in a toy that very rapidly became hard to find!
The figure was a hit as soon as it came out and has since sold out. When it does surface on venues such as eBay, the price has skyrocketed. So, what do fans love so much about this figure? There are a variety of hairstyles and faces for young Skywalker, allowing you to arrange him in several dynamic scenes. He has multiple hands with great posability, and you can even recreate Luke’s pose from the Return of the Jedi poster.
Finally, he comes with the head of Darth Vader without his mask. You are meant to pop that head on the Figuarts Darth Vader figure, but you can also pretend that Return of the Jedi had a much darker ending!
10. Luke Skywalker (A New Hope)
Not content to only release the badass Luke Skywalker from Return of the Jedi, Figuarts also released the farmboy Luke Skywalker from A New Hope. While he has not become a runaway collector’s item on the secondary market like his Jedi figure counterpart, this Luke may just beat out his Return of the Jedi incarnation when it comes to accessories.
Luke, of course, comes with the lightsaber that Obi-Wan gave him, and he can be posed in several dynamic positions. By far the coolest position, though, is reflecting the blasts from the training remote seen in the movie. You can pop Luke’s helmet and blast shield on his face and have him proceed to show off his burgeoning Force powers to your other figures.
While this Luke is sadly lacking his blaster from the movie, his flexible array of included hands let him do everything from surrender to putting up his dukes for a fistfight. Knock ’em out of the box, Luke!
9. Han Solo
Harrison Ford always managed to vex George Lucas and the rest of the Star Wars crew as they filmed the original trilogy. By refusing to sign multi-film contracts, no one could ever be certain if he’d return for the next film. Lucas went so far as to plan for low-budget sequel to Star Wars without the character of Han Solo, and the carbonite freezing in Empire Strikes Back was a way to explain how he died if he didn’t come back for Return of the Jedi. Interestingly enough, Ford has vexed Star Wars collectors for an entirely different reason: his face!
The same face that made the hearts of millions flutter is notoriously difficult to capture in toy form. Figuarts does a pretty solid job with their Han Solo figure, though. This figure recreates his handsome mug all the way down to his Corellian bloodstripes. A collection of hands (some gloved, some not) let Han point his DL44 blaster at foes, or you can holster the gun and put him in his classic “who, me?” pose from Return of the Jedi.
8. Anakin Skywalker
For some Star Wars fans, Anakin Skywalker is most memorable for his passionate soliloquy about how much he hates sand. However, for collectors of Japanese Star Wars figures, the Figuarts Anakin Skywalker has made a different impression entirely: he’s hard to find, confusing to order, and utterly worth the wait!
The confusion came because there are two different Anakins. One was a pre-order figure that had extra bonuses, including a swappable “angry” head and an extra green lightsaber so you can recreate Anakin’s dual-wielding Attack of the Clones exploits. Both figures quickly sold out, leading to skyrocketing prices on the secondary market.
What makes this figure worth it? He boasts one of the best actor likenesses yet, from the hair to the eyes to the weird Padawan ponytail. He has swappable hands, so Anakin can go from gripping a lightsaber to Force-pushing his foes. Combined with the super-posable arms, legs, and head and immaculate attention to clothing detail, this might just be the best Anakin performance yet (sorry, Hayden Christensen).
7. Padme Amidala
Hot on the heels of releasing Anakin Skywalker, Figuarts dropped the new hotness in the form of a Padme Amidala figure. While she didn’t have multiple variations like Anakin did, she certainly followed his lead in selling out quickly. It’s not hard to see why: this figure boasts a cool likeness, dynamic action poses, and even shows a lot of plastic skin (you know, if you’re into Natalie Portman).
This incarnation of Padme conveniently comes from the part of Attack of the Clones where she is baring her midriff. She also has two different heads, each one featuring a solid likeness of her onscreen portrayal. She can be posed in a number of blaster-toting positions, all of which showcase great attention to the clothes— you can see the tears on her clothing as well as the clawmarks on her back, great symbols of the “aggressive negotiations” she has been involved in.
6. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Attack of the Clones)
When all is said and done, Obi-Wan Kenobi might end up with the most figure variations from Figuarts. They already released a Phantom Menace Obi-Wan that can team up against Darth Maul alongside their upcoming Qui-Gon Jinn figure. And rumor has it that they are working on a Kenobi from A New Hope in order to mentor their great farmboy Luke figure. For now, though, the best Obi-Wan Kenobi figure is Figuarts’ Attack of the Clones version.
Like many Figuarts figures, he comes with multiple heads and hands. Similar to pre-order Anakin, you can choose between a more neutral head and an angrier-looking head for Master Kenobi. His hand collection is particularly impressive: Obi-wan can clutch his lightsaber, make a fist, perform a Force Push, or do a mind-trick. Alternately, you can fully extend a different hand to recreate the weird, pre-duel salute he offers to General Grievous.
With all this variation and his innate posability, Obi-Wan can strike any pose you want, from training with Anakin to dueling with droids and Jango Fett! All just prep for his eventual movie, of course.
5. Darth Maul
In his own way, this Figuarts Darth Maul figures was one of the main inspirations for this list. Hasbro had previously released a Darth Maul as part of their six-inch Black Series line, and many fans hold that figure up as one of the greatest Star Wars figures. However, Figuarts proceeded to release their own Maul that blows Hasbro’s toy out of the water.
In keeping with the Figuarts pattern, Maul has a couple of heads: one has a more neutral expression while one has his angry, Jedi-killing expression. Likewise, he has a number of hands for different poses, including open hands (for Force pushes or villain posturing), closed fists, hands to hold his double-bladed lightsaber, and hands to hold that same lightsaber when it is split into two weapons. In terms of flexibility, Maul is impressive even by Figuarts standards, from the dynamic motion of his legs and arms to the sheer amount of evil glares you can get out of the posable heads.
4. Jango Fett
As a character, Jango Fett was a fun standout among the prequel movies. Even though he died quickly enough when Mace Windu killed him Highlander-style, his battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi was pure fanservice fun, with George Lucas clearly trying to give fans the epic Boba Fett-esque fight that has previously existed only in comics and video games.
With this Figuarts Jango Fett figure, you can recreate any badass battle you want to. The sculpt is both slick and sleek, immediately standing out from your other toys. He comes with a wide array of hands and other accessories that let him achieve any number of poses: he can dual wield his blasters, throw his harpoon, point accusingly, or sarcastically pretend he didn’t hear what you just said.
Even among Figuarts figures, he has an impressive array of articulated joints that allow him to sit, lay down, or strike an intimidating flying pose. The helmet even pops out if you want to recreate his happy moments with young Boba (or just give Mace Windu a trophy helmet to hold).
3. Kylo Ren (unmasked)
Previously, Figuarts had already released a Kylo Ren figure and did what they do best: made Hasbro look like chumps. Their figure had an insane degree of articulation, allowing you to create every intimidating pose from Force Awakens while his Hasbro cousin could barely lift a lightsaber. As part of their victory lap, Figuarts went on to release a limited run of Kylo Ren without his mask, and it took everything awesome about their previous figure and dipped it into more awesome sauce.
First, there’s the downright impressive likeness of actor Adam Driver, meaning that you can recreate the strange scene from Force Awakens where he unmasks. If you want to cover up Driver’s pretty mug, you can pop his included mask back on. Speaking of masks, the character comes with his favorite strange accessory: the crispy helmet of Darth Vader.
Along with the usual range of awesome action poses for this well-articulated figure, you can pop a marshmallow on the end of his lightsaber and pretending he’s roasting them over the Vader pyre outside the Ewok village.
2. Scout Trooper and Speeder Bike
Speaking of Ewoks, Figuarts provided a complex and expensive recreation of one of the Ewoks’ natural enemies: the Scout Trooper, complete with speeder bike! If we’re being honest, these guys come off as chumps in the movie— they fly into trees on their own, get killed by Ewok traps that would have been more fitting in Home Alone, and they even fall for Han Solo’s “who’s there?” shoulder tap.
Thanks to Figuarts, though, you can create whatever badass Scout Trooper scenes you want. This web-exclusive figure The fine details of the movie uniform are preserved in exquisite detail, and you can pose the well-articulated figure in a number of poses where he chases the good guys down with his blaster pistol. Alternately, you can pose him on the speeder bike.
The bike itself features a crazy level of detail, preserving every single weird lever and button on the bike that even most superfans have forgotten about. You can articulate things like the handles and flaps, and the whole bike can pose on an included stand. As a nice touch, the stand also lets you provide cool angles and tilting for the speeder bike, so you can run down rebel scum from every position.
1. Mace Windu
While the prequel trilogy had plenty of casting surprises, there was none more surprising than casting Samuel L. Jackson as Jedi Mace Windu. Jackson lived up to his reputation, infusing the character of Mace Windu with both Zen-like inscrutability and badass intensity.
Incidentally, this Figuarts figure features two heads to capture both sides of Mace. In their usual fashion, Mace comes with a “happy” face (offering a slight smile) and an “angry” face (offering furrowed brows and a scowl. Like Obi-Wan, his Jedi clothing is finely detailed, right down to the mysterious array of knick-knacks on his belt. He has the usual Jedi hand array (so he can Force push, ball up a fist, or clutch his awesome purple lightsaber), and his awesome articulation allows you to recreate all his killer scenes (such as threatening Jango or just Force pushing armies of droids back).
Ultimately, Mace rounds out a surprisingly strong prequel trilogy crew of figures from Figuarts, and their collective quality is so high that the most ardent prequel haters may change their tune.
To get an idea of what hot new figures will be coming out next, be sure to check out Star Wars: The Last Jedi when it premieres on December 15th, 2017!
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