REVIEW: Takodana Encounter

May 31, 2016 – Hasbro has produced a winning combination in its Takodana Encounter boxed set of four action figures ($19.99) from The Force Awakens.

Throw in some floor moss and a forest matte background, and your "The Force Awakens" figures will be ready for action (Photo Credit: Entertainment Weekly)

Throw in some floor moss and a forest matte background, and your “The Force Awakens” figures will be ready for action (Photo Credit: Entertainment Weekly)

Yes, Hasbro has received a fair amount of criticism the last several years (and deservedly so) for its spotty distribution system, inconsistent paint applications, and botched roll outs.

Remember the “Where’s Rey” controversy when, for many weeks after The Force Awakens had already premiered, there was nary a Rey action figure to be found (but lots of male action figures, including minor secondary characters)? And remember the “Where are all the Star Wars Rebels figures” protest when, following the launch of the Star Wars Rebels animated series, store aisle pegs sat empty? And good luck finding Chopper. Another huge missed opportunity.

But today we sing the praises of Hasbro for its beautifully executed and reasonably priced Takodana Encounter. And here’s why:

The Artwork

The packaging of Takodana is very appealing and, some might even call it, a work of art. The surprisingly compact box is only 7.5 inches wide, 9.5 inches high, and 2 inches deep (19cm x 24cm x 5cm), yet it packs a colorful punch just looking at it.

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The left-side panel shows Rey, Finn, Maz and BB-8 in various action poses. The right-side panel blends into a soft blue showing Maz Kanata’s castle in the background. The box front depicts our four characters on the lower right corner, perfectly framing the action figures and their accessories within. And the back provides a description of the characters plus the usual choking-hazard warning (“Eat this and you will die”, or some such) in four languages.

Call it hyperbole, but this is one boxed set we would be more than happy just to hang on a wall, not open it, and call it framed art. Even if you open the box (which you will), be sure to save the box.

Maz Kanata

The star of the show is, of course, Maz Kanata – the mysterious barkeeper and 1,000-year-old dispenser of sage advice. Other than a Lego figure of her, this is the only Maz Kanata action figure of which we are aware. And because Maz’s figure has never been issued separately, you have to purchase Takodana Encounter in order to add her to your collection.
TakodanaEncounter-1 Maz stands only 2.5 inches (5cm) tall, but judge her by her size, we do not. Her figure is finely sculpted and well-painted, down to her jewelry and blue eyes. (Question: Were her eyes blue in the movie? Don’t remember, but our version shows a hint of blue.)

The Maz figure does have two drawbacks: First, she is 5-POA. Her five points of articulation are limited to her head (swivels left-right), shoulders (up-down) and leg-to-hip sockets (up-down). Second, even though her goggles have some sort of transparent see-through quality for the lens, they do not swivel up or down. Instead, the soft rubbery quality allows you to slightly move the goggles away from her eyes, but then the goggles bend back into position over or near her eyes. Other than those two flaws, Maz would have been perfect.
TakodanaEncounter-2 At 2.5 inches (5cm), Maz is roughly proportionate in height to the other three characters in this boxed set: Finn stands a hair over 3.75 inches (9.5cm); Rey is slightly taller than 3.5 inches (8.9cm); and BB-8 is the runt of the pack at 1.75 inches (4.4cm).

BB-8, Rey and Finn

Finn, Rey and BB-8 are re-issues from previous releases. If you already have these figures, this may be a point of frustration if all you really want to acquire is Maz Kanata. But at an MSRP of $19.99, this four-pack set with accessories is a great deal, especially if you do not have any of the 3.75-inch figures. Hasbro is selling Takodana Encounter on its Ebay site (listed HERE) for $19.99 with free shipping.

BB-8’s head swivels a bit on an axis and it also rotates 360 degrees. The paint application is not movie-accurate in that the two antennae are erroneously painted grey. (Compare the larger BB-8 from the six-inch Rey TBS combo – that larger BB-8 has a white short antenna and a black-and-grey rear tall antenna.) The BB-8 is also too white and clean and should have been drywashed to make her look a bit dirtier. This version of the droid is so small, however, that many people might not notice the difference.

This smaller BB-8 is easier to pose in that it has a flat base (imperceptible when you look at it head-on) as well as a single peghole (supposedly for the Millenium Falcon). By contrast, the six-inch version of BB-8 is completely roly poly and harder to pose how you want.

Finn and Rey complete the set. Like Maz, they are also 5-POA and they come with the accessories described below.
TakodanaEncounter-Box5

The Accessories

● Chest with presculpted lightsaber hilt and tools inside (they don’t come out): The hard-plastic chest has a thin rubbery lid that bends to a close, and it stays closed with a rubbery latch. There are no true hinges, so over time, the thin rubbery attachment (where a hinge would be) may wear out if played with too much.
● Lightsaber hilt (fits inside the chest or in a figure’s hand)
● Lightsaber with blue plasma blade
● Finn’s blaster
● Maz’s blaster (don’t recall seeing this in the movie)
● Rey’s staff
● Rey’s backpack with long adjustable straps

Summary

Takodana Encounter was announced in February, 2016, with a release date of April-to-May. Not everyone will be enamored, and that’s fine. But at $19.99 US, this boxed set is reasonably priced and worth considering: Four action figures! Maz Kanata! The chest and accessories! Let the play begin.

The red cardboard insert shows an outline of busted stonework from Maz Kanata's castle.  It makes a decent background if you don't have moss, twigs and pebbles available.

The red cardboard insert shows an outline of busted stonework from Maz Kanata’s castle. It makes a decent background if you don’t have moss, twigs and pebbles available.

What Others Are Saying


A Somewhat Negative Review:

A More Positive Review:

Framed Maz Kanata for Sale at Etsy:

This white-framed Maz Kanata ensemble (9x9 inches/23x23cm) is available for sale at Etsy ($38 US).

This white-framed Maz Kanata ensemble (9×9 inches/23x23cm) is available for sale at Etsy ($38 US).

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