After a long wait, Hot Toys has released its sixth-scale rendition of Director Orson Krennic from Rogue One. I still have a soft spot for this film, which felt more like Star Wars than any other since Return of the Jedi, although I have gradually come to realize how many plot holes, inconsistencies, and improbabilities it contains. Krennic, played by Ben Mendelsohn, served as a relatively interesting and relatively well-developed disposable antagonist, and I'm happy to see that he has made it among that select list of characters from the film that has received the Hot Toys treatment (apart from Chirrut Imwe and the three versions of Jyn Erso, he is the only one with an actual face, all the others being masked and a robot). As far as I know, this is the first higher-end sixth-scale rendition of Krennic, the closest thing to it being the Disney version which I reviewed HERE. Although it would be an unfair comparison, in every respect except price, unsurprisingly the Hot Toys product is superior.
Packaging - 3 / 4 stars
All Star Wars sixth-scale collectibles from Hot Toys come in identical packaging, which has its advantages, but also means that there is even less cause for excitement than usual. Perhaps it is unfair to expect more, and I personally don't put a lot of store on this. The packaging is perfectly collector-friendly and safe, and accomplishes its purpose beautifully. Krennic comes in a standard shoe-box type container with a removable lid, a printed color "title card," and a transparent plastic trey with its plastic lid holding the figure and its accessories; a small transparent plastic trey and lid combo holds the rain poncho, and is taped on the underside of the main trey. Like other Rogue One sets by Hot Toys, the box lid features a "cigar band" affixed near its bottom, with the character's name and stylized depictions.
Sculpting - 4 / 4 stars
I don't know whether they quite nailed Ben Mendelsohn's features perfectly -- from certain angles the likeness is striking, from others less so. However, they did achieve a lifelike and realistic portrait, complete with countless wrinkles and hair strands. And that is just the head. The sculpting on the other molded pieces (rank badge, code cylinders, belt buckle, gun, ammo clips) seems to be flawless and sharp. The cap is molded plastic in fine and fitting detail, giving it the appearance of real cloth. Hot Toys resolved the usual dilemma of making such removable headgear look realistic and properly sized by giving Krennic a magnetic removable hairpiece that could be swapped with the magnetic removable cap. The cap looks flawless when in place, and the hairpiece is quite undetectable. The stature of the body, 11.75 in (about 30 cm) is approximately correct to Ben Mendelsohn's height of 5'11". This is worth noting, because in the film Krennic appeared shorter than Tarkin, but the action figures are about the same height. We should not forget that Peter Cushing's Tarkin was digitally recreated for Rogue One, and Hot Toys' Tarkin is actually scaled correctly to Cushing's height of 6'.
Paint - 3.5 / 4 stars
Hot Toys is known for both the excellence of its sculpting and the almost equal excellence of its paint application. It is done extremely well, with various dull and glossy surfaces as appropriate. However, it is not quite perfect. I noticed a little bit of inaccuracy here and there on the blaster pistol, and the overall treatment of the face is perhaps a little less nuanced than what we saw in the promotional materials (which is not necessarily surprising). When dealing with light-colored hair, Hot Toys has a tendency to use a metallic paint or finish, and this is what it did here. It looks good and allows us to appreciate the incredible detail of the finely molded strands, but it does not necessarily convey the salt-and-pepper hair of Ben Mendelsohn in the film with complete realism. That said, I'm not sure anyone could have done a better job of it with molded, painted hair. The entire color palette appears to be slightly warmer than what we see on screen.
Articulation - 3 / 4 stars
I am tired of writing that the Hot Toys body has the usual excellent articulation, but the clothing gets in the way. Unfortunately, this is true here, as so many other times in the past (Bespin Leia was mercifully spared this issue, but that seems to be an exception these days). The problem appears to be Hot Toys' insistence on using padded undergarments; these are intended to fill out the clothes better than the plastic body itself, but the difference in appearance is minuscule, while the degree to which articulation is made more difficult or outright restricted is consistently annoying. In the case of the Krennic figure, this is especially true for the shoulders and to a degree for the hips and abs -- although with some effort you can make Krennic sit down passably. The wrists work well, the knees and ankles very well, and the tall boots do not impede the ankle articulation. This helps the figure balance well in various poses, and you can even achieve some mid-stride poses at times. I understand why they went with a head sculpted with an integral molded neck (with all sorts of creases on it), but the resulting head articulation is very limited in terms of tilting.
Accessories - 3 / 4 stars
Krennic comes with a blaster pistol that fits on the holster suspended from the belt, three ammo clips that fit into special openings on the belt, two code cylinders to fit in the slots on both sides of the chest on the tunic (or together in the one slot on the right side of the poncho), a molded plastic hat that can be swapped for the hairpiece making up the top part of the hair, and several interchangeable hand sculpts, including a right fist, a left pistol grip hand (which works ok, but not great), and five more hands that are difficult to describe, but I try anyway: a right closed hand, a right almost closed grasping hand, a left open grasping hand, a left more closed thumbs up hand, and a left more open thumbs up hand. Each of these was presumably useful for some scene, but as I was looking at Krennic's scenes I found that many of the hands that would be necessary to replicate them were not provided with this set. Add to the partial repetitiveness and idiosyncrasy of the hand sculpts the absence of any real pairs (i.e., there's only one fist, there's only one gun grip, there are no relaxed hands, etc), and this makes for an odd and limiting choice of hand sculpts. In terms of spare parts, there are two extra wrist pegs and an extra belt button. There is a now fairly standard stand with a neat extra piece to fit under and around the detachable name plate that makes it look like the end piece of futuristic ramp. However, the top of the base, instead of the usual Death Star floor texture (or the like), has a printed image of Krennic's head (alongside a Death Trooper's) glued on. The image is slick enough and colorful enough, and there is a faint textured inscription of the character's name ("Orson Krennic") in the fictional Star Wars alphabet on top of it (it is not apparent in my photo). But unlike so many previous stands, you are not given the option of using a standard floor-textured surface instead. And that is disappointing. The limitations of the base and of the hand sculpts and the fact that virtually every "accessory" is actually part of the character's outfit detract from this category, especially at this price point.
Outfit - 3.5 / 4 stars
Krennic's outfit ought to be considered one of the best things in this set, yet here too there are some flaws. The basic outfit is the cream (not white) officer's tunic paired with black pants and black leather-like jackboots, as well as a black leather-like belt with a silver buckle and button. Over this, Krennic wears his cape in a matching color, held fast with magnets at the shoulders. Everything is beautifully tailored and looks and works great; the cape has some wires along the bottom edge that allow for some posing, if not much. But if you look closely, you would see that the cape's collar rides too high -- perhaps it is too wide, or perhaps the cape's magnets do not hold it far enough down -- in stills from the film the cape's collar does not reach as high as the tunic's collar, leaving its top edge exposed; with the figure it is the opposite. Moreover, when Krennic bends his arms at the elbows, the sleeves ride short at the cuff. Neither of these flaws is particularly horrid, but they are notable. Then there is (almost) a whole alternative outfit, and this is what gives this category a higher score. You can remove the cape (and the rank badge which plugs into the tunic) and swap them for the rain poncho, once again in matching colors, and pair that with the molded plastic officer's cap (replacing the hairpiece). The light material used for the rain poncho seems like a good idea, except that it really does not drape well enough, and there are no weights or wires to help it. Moreover, unlike the rank badge on the tunic, the rank badge on the rain poncho is not designed to be removed; but it should have been, as in different scenes in the film Krennic wears different rank badges with the poncho -- the one-row all-red rank badge at the beginning, and (presumably after promotion) the two-row red over blue rank badge (here used for the tunic) at the middle. I suppose one could make modifications, but this appears to be a detail Hot Toys overlooked. Speaking of rank badges, the film continues the tradition of inconsistency and confusion that has plagued the Star Wars saga since just after A New Hope (apparently). The six red squares in a single row badge gives Krennic a rank equivalent to general (like Tagge in the Death Star conference room in A New Hope), while the six red squares over six blue squares badge gives him a rank equivalent to fleet admiral (like the unfortunate Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back) -- although the number of code cylinders might make a difference. Of course, the confusion of Gareth Edwards' team is not Hot Toys' fault, but once again, both badges should have been removable/swappable. As noted above, everything in the set seems to have a slightly warmer palette than what is seen onscreen in the film. This is a good thing where the outfit is concerned, as the creamy tunic allows one to kitbash imperial security bureau officers (like Yularen from the Death Star conference room in A New Hope) far more effectively than if the tunic was in a lighter, colder white. Note that the great cap will be problematic for kitbashing, because it is inside is adapted for use with a magnet and would require substantial modification before you could place it believably on another head.
Fun Factor - 4 / 4 stars
Whatever the limitations of the set, there is no denying that Hot Toys has delivered a recognizable Krennic who can be paired with all but one of the more frequent characters he interacted with in the film (the notable omission is Galen Erso). We have a Vader from Rogue One (not to mention two from A New Hope), a Tarkin (from A New Hope), three Jyn Ersos, as well as Death Troopers, Shore Troopers, and Stormtroopers (all from Rogue One). Even without the natural kitbashing potential for imperial security bureau personnel, this gives Hot Toys' Krennic a great potential for posing and/or interaction with other figures and in a variety of real or digital environments. I had fun attempting to recreate various frames from the film, or to pair Krennic with others -- so much so that I took more photos than I'm including in this already more than usually illustrated review. So, yes, this set is fun, and I'm glad I went for it. For additional images, see Post 9 below.
Value - 2 / 4 stars
Retailing at about $235+ (USD), this is not a low-cost product, and being mid-range (and increasingly low-range) for Hot Toys these days is not particularly comforting, given their notorious inflation of prices. On the other hand, even if it lacks some of the "fancy" electronics or more elaborate bases and backdrops found in some of Hot Toys' deluxe sets, it does come with enough extra clothing and accessories to allow for a whole second look. So this category gets a middling rating.
Things to watch out for
Really nothing much -- except perhaps to watch that you don't lose those smaller pieces, like the code cylinders and ammo clips. The figure is reasonably sturdy and capable of balancing on its legs, in part due to the good ankle articulation. The hands are easier to swap than usual (softer plastic?), which is a great thing, although Hot Toys included a spare pair of wrist pegs just in case.
Overall - 3.25 / 4 stars
This rating may not convey my pretty thorough enjoyment of the set, but it does reflect the several limitations and imperfections, compounded with Hot Toys' increasingly hefty prices. Judging by the fact that most of my usual go-to sellers have already sold out this brand new set, it must be popular enough (and perhaps produced in small enough quantities). There is plenty you can do with it or with its parts, which is not always the case.
Where to buy
Among my usual go-to stores, Alter Ego Comics, Big Bad Toy Store, and Timewalker Toys have sold out of this set, so you can try your luck on our online retailers list (HERE) or on eBay.
I hope this has been useful. What do you think?
One more for the road...
For additional images, see Post 9 below.
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