Captain Phasma – Stormtrooper Commander of the First Order
In November 2015, Rhode Island-based Hasbro, Inc. released the first Star Wars The Black Series 6-inch scale action figures based on characters from the then-upcoming Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens feature film. Among the figures in this first wave was the sixth in the series, Captain Phasma.
In the film, Captain Phasma was played by Gwendolyn Christie (Game of Thrones) and is described as the fearsome and treacherous commander of the First Order’s stormtrooper legions, a position she was appointed to by General Armitage Hux’s father Brendol, an ex-Imperial officer who fled into the Unknown Regions of the galaxy in the aftermath of the Galactic Civil War and was one of the founders of the First Order. In that role, she leads her troops into combat and is in charge of the training and indoctrination of new “recruits.”
Clad in distinctive armor made of chronium salvaged from Emperor Palpatine’s Royal Imperial yacht, Phasma is ambitious, ruthless, yet still insecure about her origins on the untamed world known as Parnassos. Phasma is trained not just in the ways of the fallen Galactic Empire’s stormtrooper force, but also in brutal hand-to-hand combat and martial arts.
Captain Phasma (#06)
Clad in distinctive armor, Captain Phasma commands the First Order’s legions of troopers. – Packaging blurb, Star Wars The Black Series Captain Phasma (#06)
Hasbro’s six-inch scale replica of the fully-armored and caped Captain Phasma is a faithful reproduction of the villainous Phasma as she appears in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She is depicted as wearing her silver-with-black detailing customized stormtrooper armor and helmet, along with Phasma’s black-with-red armorweave cape that identifies as captain of the guard in the First Order’s armed forces.
Every detail of Phasma’s impersonal and menacing armored suit and helmet have been sculpted and painted to give the figure a close resemblance to the character seen in Lucasfilm’s first chapter in its Star Wars Sequel Trilogy. From the top of her newly-polished chronium helmet to the tips of the segmented sabatons Phasma wears on her feet, Hasbro leaves out none of the details of costume designer Michael Kaplan’s concepts for the costume, which was based on an abandoned design for Kylo Ren’s outfit for The Force Awakens.
The Captain Phasma figure consists of:
- The full armor-and-helmet outfit, including the expressionless helmet with black polarizing lenss for the Multi-Frequency Targeting Acquisition System (MFTAS), vocoder and breath filters, precision-crafted crush gauntlets, mid-torso ammunition and survival gear canisters, a First Order command cape, and segmented sabatons.
- Phasma’s blaster rifle, which features a golden metal finish and evil-looking black detailing, a macro-scope sight, and a recurved trigger guard for two-handed firing grips
Captain Phasma is also fully posable, with plenty of articulation points to place the figure in life-like poses, whether it is for pretend-play adventures against the pesky Resistance or for a collector’s shelf displays. It doesn’t look like the helmet is removable, which is fine because the character is never seen onscreen without it in either of the two films in which Phasma appears (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Unlike the early-generation Kenner Star Wars 3.75-inch scale action figures from the 1970s and early 1980s, the current Star Wars The Black Series figures – especially those in the 6-inch scale collection – have more than the “basic five” points of articulation. The Kenner mini-action figures (as the company christened them when they were introduced early in 1978) only had an average of five points of articulation: a swivel point at the head, and socket joints at the shoulders and hips. Some figures had a built-in natural “bend” at the elbow to make blaster-wielding poses a bit more lifelike, but in general, figures of the Kenner era simply could not easily be posed in realistic positions.
Since its merger with Kenner in the “merger-mania” of the 1990s, Hasbro has striven to make its Star Wars figures and assorted vehicles a bit more “realistic,” partly because it knows collectors like their figures to look cool and more like the movies’ characters, but mostly because toy making methods have evolved and new technologies – including computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing – give Hasbro tools that Kenner’s designers and sculptors did not have back in the day.
When Captain Phasma first hit brick-and-mortar stores and online emporiums such as Entertainment Earth and Amazon in November of 2015, I did not buy her or any other action figure. My mother had died less than four months earlier, so between coping with her death, trying to repair and renovate the townhouse I found myself owning, and dealing with financial and legal challenges that are the inevitable side effects of a death in the family, I was in no mood to buy figures.
I already had a sizable collection of Kenner and Hasbro Star Wars collectibles, although by 2015 it was significantly diminished. Some of my figures had been stolen by houseguests who pilfered stuff from the townhouse; other figures and vehicles – including the Imperial Shuttle that was my pride and joy in 1984 when I bought it – were whisked away from the attic when Hurricane Wilma tore off part of our roof in 2005. I didn’t think it was a good idea to buy any more of the newer collectibles at the time, and since I had basically stopped collecting figures circa 2009. I thought I’d never buy any figures from the Sequel Trilogy.
I’ve written elsewhere about how and why I resumed collecting Star Wars figures – especially the 6-inch ones from The Black Series – so I won’t repeat the story here. Suffice it to say that even though this time around I’m not trying to be a completist-type of collector, I do treat myself to an occasional new addition to my collection every so often.
I bought Captain Phasma from a third-party seller at Amazon not too long ago because I realized that I had a Supreme Leader Snoke and a couple of variants of Kylo Ren, but no figures based on Phasma. (I do have a Disney Parks figurine set from The Force Awakens that I got as a present back in 2017, and Phasma is one of the “villains” included with it. But that’s a static figurine, not a posable “action figure.” I like her character’s mean-and-deadly look, so I decided to add her to my modest array of First Order figures.
Presently, CaptaIn Phasma is still in her original black-and-red Star Wars The Black Series packaging; I can still display the figure without opening the box because the front has a “window” through which you can look at the figure and check out its details without worrying about the cape getting dusty or the blaster rifle falling out of the figure’s grasp and dropping to the floor or – inadvertently – into my office waste basket.
I think Hasbro did a good job at capturing the look of the enigmatic and little-used secondary villain from the first two Sequel Trilogy films. Captain Phasma is not as entertaining as the slimy and competitive General Hux, nor as compelling to watch as Kylo Ren, the dark side user who was born as Ben Solo. The figure is excellently designed, sculpted, and painted, and it looks a lot like the character from the Star Wars films.
Well, Constant Reader, that wraps up another review in the Star Wars collectibles category. I have quite a few others to write about, so if you enjoyed this write-up, you may look forward to future reviews during these strange COVID-19 times.
Until then, my friends, stay safe, stay healthy, and May the Force Be with You…always.