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Tuesday, October 13 2015 09:10

Hasbro's STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Collection - Hands-on with a Light Side Assortment...

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It was just over a month ago that a cryptic package was delivered to Rock Father HQ via a Resistance Shuttle. Inside, a message - along with a choice. Had it not been for my girls and their relentless quest to turn me from The Dark Side of The Force, I would've most certainly decided to #ChooseDarkSide and align myself with Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma and The First Order. Instead, I would #ChooseLightSide and find myself cruising the imaginary sands of Jakku alongside Finn, Rey and a little droid called BB-8. A member of The Resistance, I had become. In appreciation of my decision, our Rebel allies from Hasbro jettisoned an Escape Pod that landed here - an assortment of Light Side toys to go hands-on with in the weeks leading up to the release of J.J. Abrams' STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Watch: THE ROCK DAUGHTERS' Live STAR WARS Unboxing captured via Periscope:

Here's the breakdown of what was in the box and our experiences with each thus far...

STAR WARS BLACK SERIES 6IN ReySTAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES 6-inch Rey & BB-8 - This is actually the first 6" figure from The Black Series that we own. Despite the fact that these are beautifully-sculpted, highly articulated figures, they're more collector-focused, and not really geared toward kids. Plus, I'm a purist. I've been raised on the 3 ¾" figures that Kenner pioneered in the 1970's - the same scale that Hasbro continues to produce. For me, that's the perfect scale, and aside from maybe a one-off here and there, I don't have a desire to collect a different size. Still Rey and BB-8 quickly disappeared, commandeered by my own little Finn, who stashed them in her bedroom. These are cool.

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES TITANIUM SERIES Millennium Falcon - For the first time ever, there's competing lines of diecast STAR WARS vehicles on the market. We have a ton of them, and this new version of the 'Falcon (complete with THE FORCE AWAKENS' new "rectangular" radar dish) was immediately welcomed into the fleet.

Addie - STAR WARS Bladebuilders

STAR WARS BLADEBUILDERS Jedi Master Lightsaber - When my wife and I first saw these on Force Friday, we were both kinda uninterested... but here's the thing - BLADEBUILDERS are a HUGE hit with the kids. While the concept of interchangeable mix-and-match sabers doesn't seem practical for an adult that's grown up on STAR WARS, this is exactly the type of creative "maker" play that kids want and need. There's "light daggers" (short, stubby sabers), connecting pieces, and the ability to absolutely go nuts. We actually have a pretty solid arsenal of role-play materials here at HQ, and adding these into our mix of existing Lightsabers and Blasters was a great thing. You should've seen the epic, four-person battle in our backyard this weekend. Addie is BAD-ASS with a Lightsaber... and she's only six!

Addie - Backyard Battle

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Extendable Lightsaber (Luke Skywalker) - Perhaps this a SPOILER, or perhaps it's expected, but this extendable lightsaber is the same green blade model that Luke Skywalker was first seen wielding on Tatooine  when RETURN OF THE JEDI hit theaters back in 1983. It's compatible with the Blade Builders collection (see above), and quickly found itself in heavy action.

Addie vs. Finn

Finley - WookieeCHEWBACCA Electronic Mask - I first caught a glimpse of this some months back when actor Peter Mayhew showed it off on his social networks. Now, we have a Chewie mask here, and the girls love it - particularly Finn. It's made just like the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Rocket Raccoon mask we have, and similar to some of our MARVEL Spider-man masks as well. Hard plastic with an adjustable strap, the hinged chin piece activates Wookiee sounds as the kids open and close their mouths.

STAR WARS NERF Chewbacca Bowcaster - What a perfect way to complete a Chewbacca role play set! With true pullback crossbow action, this Nerf dart-firing Bowcaster is the perfect weapon for a Wookiee. The only downside is that the small clip that holds your four extra darts doesn't stay attached to the blaster very well.

Bottom Line: As of this writing, we're just two months away from the release of THE FORCE AWAKENS, and come December, kids are gonna want STAR WARS for the Holidays. Some of these items are already commanding high secondary market prices, so if you want them - get them now. In our house, the big hits were no doubt the role-play items.  Lightsabers and Blasters and Masks - kids can put themselves into the STAR WARS universe like never before, and there's no better time to be a STAR WARS fan that now.

See the full collection at Hasbro.com/StarWars

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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