REVIEW / Smuggler’s Bounty (January 2016)

 

Star Wars hype has finally started to die down a little bit, but the merchandise keeps on coming. After all, this is Star Wars we’re talking about. If you missed November’s review, Smuggler’s Bounty is a bimonthly subscription box put out by Funko that features only exclusive Star Wars items. Generally these items are connected with Funko’s various lines of figures, especially the always popular Pop! figures. The premier box was dedicated to the villains of The Force Awakens, the First Order. January’s box, meanwhile, was focused on their opposition: the heroic Resistance. As with Funko’s Marvel-themed subscription box, we can expect pretty much the same things every time, so there won’t be any surprises here. With that said, let’s see what we got this time around.


 Flocked Chewbacca Pop! Figure

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Our exclusive Pop! figure this time around is a flocked version of Chewbacca, based on his appearance in The Force Awakens. This seems like an odd choice to me, as I don’t think Chewbacca was ever officially part of the Resistance in the movie. But I digress. This is a pretty cool variant, and a sensible one to make, but I do kind of wish the exclusive Pop! figure this time was another exclusive mold, like the First Order TIE Fighter pilot last time. A flocked variant still looks pretty similar to the normal one. As characters go, though, I’m not unhappy about getting Chewbacca. The original version of Chewie was actually my very first Pop! figure, and it’s still my favorite because of how cute it is. This older wookie is not so cute, but he looks like he’s ready to blast some Stormtroopers. He also goes well with the Han Solo figure I got from Loot Crate in December, so that’s a nice bonus too. If you consider flocking to be a major variation (I’m on the fence myself), this is a very nice inclusion. I do still wish it was a bit more exciting, though.

 

C-3PO Pop! Mug

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I didn’t realize this was a thing that existed, but apparently Funko makes mugs in the shape of a Pop! figure’s head. What we have here is an exclusive C-3PO Pop! mug, with the red handle representing his unexplained red arm in The Force Awakens. It’s a bit of a weird shape for a mug, but because it’s well made and well painted I can forgive it for that. What I can’t forgive so easily is that they chose C-3PO, the character with arguably the most boring head in the entire Star Wars Pop! collection. Though they do include the various gears and everything, I’m not sure I’d know this was supposed to be C-3PO if I didn’t know where it came from. It’s basically just a yellow head. I do appreciate them mixing it up with the inclusion of a mug (even though I probably would have preferred another figure), but I just can’t understand their choice of character for this. Notably, Funko is releasing one based on the classic Chewbacca figure; I’d have preferred that one.

 

The Force Awakens T-Shirt

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As always, we’ve got a shirt in the box, and this one also features Pop!-style images of characters from the newest Star Wars movie. Specifically, it features all of the film’s major protagonists, with the strange exception of Leia. It also features the film’s logo, and the characters are posed like a movie poster. This is quite a nice shirt, and I do like the use of the Pop! designs, but I will say that the design works better for masked or helmeted characters than it does for human faces. Still, the only real issue I have with the shirt design is that the artwork has a blue tint to it. I would have just used normal coloring, but I suppose they wanted it to look cohesive. I’m not sure how well it works, but I still do like the shirt. Speaking of color, while there’s only one shirt design this time around, it comes in one of four fabric colors. I think the black one works best, but they’re all pretty good.

 

Pin and Patch

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Somewhat disappointingly, the pin and the patch are basically the same designs we got last time, just featuring different characters and appropriate faction logos. The good news is that these are still very good designs, so they at least stand up on their own. The patch is excellent, as it features my new favorite Star Wars character, the adorable astromech droid BB-8. The pin features Poe Dameron and doesn’t work as well as the Kylo Ren pin we got last time; Poe is just not that distinctive in appearance, so it just looks like a pin of some guy. Still, these are better than the self-promotional pins and such that you get from most other subscription boxes, even if Loot Crate’s new pins provide some stiff competition. For more general thoughts on the pins and patches, check out my review of November’s box.


And that’s it. We don’t even get something cheap like the lanyard this time. I don’t think this was as good a showing as the last box; the exclusive Pop! figure is pretty cool, but it’s not a significantly different design from the retail version. The mug still seems like a strange inclusion to me, and while it is a nice mug, I don’t know why they chose to base it on C-3PO. The shirt’s design doesn’t work as well as the designs from the last box, but it’s still a good look and I still wear it. Overall, I wouldn’t consider this box to be disappointing per se, but it definitely feels like a step down from last time. I guess they wanted to go all out for the debut.

The next Smuggler’s Bounty box will be coming in March, and this time the theme is Cantina. Funko has been tight lipped on what exactly will be in this box, but we can assume there will be at least one Pop! figure and a t-shirt. The box features Greedo, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be involved. If you want to subscribe for yourself, click here. Smuggler’s Bounty costs $25 for every two months, and claims to have a $50 value. You can check out what we’ve received so far and decide how much you believe that; for me, the jury is still out on this subscription box. If you do want to give it a try, you can subscribe here.

 

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