The Star Wars Command line is, at its core, green army men for Star Wars. This means we get many things that are not green, of an army, or men. The 9-packs of figures at $5-$7 each are pure joy - cheap, good, high-quality figures that are basically 40 years past their prime... but for those who appreciate toys for the sake of toys, they're unfiltered joy.
Bigger sets like Star Wars Rebels Command Millennium Falcon bring more to the table - this one has 33 "pieces", so says the box. What you really get are 6 clear vehicle stands, 6 small vehicles, 2 "sleds" to motorize the vehicles, a pull-back fully-painted Millennium Falcon, and about two dozen monocolor "army men" figures, most of which are from The Empire Strikes Back.
Read on for more! Or don't. Spend your morning working instead, when you could just be looking busy and having a good time. See if I care.
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The quality of the set isn't bad - some items are way better than others. Hasbro dumps most of the items in a big bag inside the box, with AT-ATs in a blister tray that keep the legs straight. Sadly the Snowspeeders are bent up pretty good, so you may need to even those out using boiling water, patience, or luck.
While you are getting a lot of pieces in the box, you're getting a lot of extras - there are only 3 unique vehicles, 4 unique Imperials, and 7 unique Rebels in this set. If you look at the other sets, you're effectively subsidizing the line by buying 2-4 of every trooper. The plain, standing Stormtrooper is in at least 5 of the regular, non-exclusive sets so far.
If you like this kind of toy, I strongly suggest snagging the Tim Mee Toys Battle Mountain Playset (see image, above left). I reviewed it at 16bit.com a while ago, and it's basically made precisely for this kind of "army man" figure. Tim Mee has a pretty decent suite of this kind of thing, and given their prices - close to $0.10 - $0.40 per figure - you can build up a pretty impressive collection quickly, and they're durable and don't take up a lot of room.
The amazing thing about the vehicles is how similarly they are sized to existing toys. If you've collected Titanium Series vehicles, or perhaps their ancestors the Galoob MicroMachines Die-Cast Metal vehicles or X-Ray Fleet, they're the exact same size - the sculpts are also quite similar, to the point where I have to assume they were the reference for the Command toys. With that in mind, other than the lack of moving parts or deco, these are an exceptional deal. You get 3 of each Hoth vehicle, with the Snowspeeders clocking in at 2 1/4-inches long and the AT-ATs standing proudly at a hair over 2 1/2-inches high. For those of you with paint, I think you're going to love these - also if you love classic army men who sometimes had little tanks or planes, the gag is carried here nicely. Hasbro takes the madness one step beyond by plussing them up with clear stands - this keep the AT-AT's legs straight and the Snowspeeder "flying," but it also interacts with another pair of accessories.
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Hasbro wasn't content to market these as army men for modern kids. Instead, they decided it was important to bring back the play pattern from Fighter Pods, which is "knock 'em down!" To the untrained toy buyer they may appear like a game, but the reality is that the set includes two sleds - one grey for Rebels, and one black with a Mandalorian skull on it - which you can use to "launch" the vehicles into crowds of other Command toys to knock them over. My hand can also do this, so to me this is a pretty dull feature but at least I get to spend the rest of this sentence gently teasing Hasbro for making the Empire one with the wrong faction symbol. At least the vehicles themselves are well-designed and a good size for the asking price.
The centerpiece of the set is the Millennium Falcon, a fully-painted 6-inch long vehicle with a pull-back motor. Pull back the vehicle, and push a button near the center, top cannon to set it in motion to knock over stuff. It's not really scaled to the other vehicles in the set, but for those of you old enough to know your toy history here's a fun bit of trivia. The Falcon is the same size as the one Kenner sold as a die-cast metal vehicle in the late 1970s - put them side-by-side, and it's uncanny. The sculpts are quite different, but the dimensions are there. Han's signature ship also has some smoke damage on it this time, so once again this is a nice vehicle for the set
The set is loaded with "army men," which are the real draw of this collection. You get 4 AT-AT Drivers, 4 Rebel Pilots, 4 standing Snowtroopers, 3 running Snowtroopers, 2 crouching Hoth Rebel Soldiers, 2 walking Hoth Rebel Soldiers, R2-D2, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker in Hoth Gear, and Darth Vader. Han is the only one obviously not from The Empire Strikes Back as he was sculpted in his trademark vest and too-short long sleeve shirt.
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The sculpts are largely good, with Hasbro nailing the AT-AT Driver and Snowtrooper. The Hoth Rebels are quite good, with holstered guns and macrobinoculars giving them a fair amount of personality. Chewbacca looks and feels unfinished, and the detail on Han Solo is a little on the dull side too - the Rebel Pilot is good, but I think I'd be crazier about him if he was a specific character like Luke. Ah well! It's still pretty nice.
Hasbro made the Leader figures a little differently - Luke and Vader are gold and silver, respectively, with black molded bases. Their poses are great, and the sculpts are good, but the paint on the lightsabers is a little sloppy. I'd rather they be one-colored figures to match the rest of the line, but such is life. Darth Vader's pose is particularly great - he has his left foot raised as if he were striding into a Rebel stronghold, calmly marching with his Lightsaber ignited. Luke is more tense, with an arm reaching out while his other hand has the Lightsaber switched on, ready for action. These are called out as the set's centerpieces on the packaging, which I think is unfortunate - the set fails to focus on the cheap army-building aspects of the contents, instead focusing on the exclusive Leaders or the action features. The set achieves greatness in its simplicity - those unpainted vehicles and figures are wonderful, and at a low price these things are winners.
As each figure requires a stand to stay upright, it's notable that Hasbro gave each faction a unique shape. The Rebel bases are rounded, sized similar to the "pill" behind the names of Vintage figure cardbacks. The Empire have six-sided bases, angular and menacing.
Since getting my first packs I've started really doing more in-depth looks at the current state of this kind of toy. Imperial Toy makes tubes of army men, cave men, ninjas, pirates, and zombies to the tune of 90 pieces for $5, or about 5 cents a piece. 99 cent stores also have sacks of them, priced similarly - but the quality is on the lower side. Tim Mee's seem to be high quality, but I can't find them outside of Amazon. Hasbro's seem to be the highest quality of all I've seen in person, but Tim Mee's look similar in quality based on the photos. Also fun and cheap are Thinkway's Wall-E Bag o' Bots, 15 figures for $4-$7. Hasbro's last figure like these were the Marvel Handful of Heroes, which were randomly packed out to the tune of 7 figures for $7 - neat, but very expensive.
When I first was shown this line I was not impressed - the thought of Hasbro doing a cheap, micro line seemed like a surefire way to alienate modern kids as well as collectors, particularly as the micro fad seems to always be on borrowed time. However, I'm a toy guy - I like toys, and these are durable little things that look like they will age well. I don't expect them to topple over in my displays, and they should remain in shape over time even if I store them in a shoebox. This is a good thing. However, I don't expect big things from this series over time. If it survives the first sequel movie I'll be shocked, but I suspect it will be another fun footnote in this astonishingly long-lived line. Heck, if it stays small maybe it will be fondly beloved by a group of fans rather than one of those things we all sort of agree to not bring up again. It's certainly novel, and if it does continue I would love to see the cheaper packs last forever. The $30 sets don't pack the same punch - the big vehicle is nice, sure, but it takes away from the reality of what these truly are - the finest cheap toys money can buy. Other than maybe Hot Wheels.