Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Echo


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Release Date:
April 2022
RRP: $24.99/£23.99

It just goes to show that having a currently-airing show really helps when it comes to toy releases, as it only took Hasbro just over a year to release the main cast of Star Wars: The Bad Batch in the Black Series. Black Series Echo is the last of the (fully grown) clones who make up Clone Force 99 to be released, which is rather fitting given that the former Arc Trooper is also its latest member. Having been captured by Separatist Forces during the Clone Wars, Echo was turned into a cyborg and used against his brothers - feeding strategies to the droid army. After being freed by Anakin Skywalker, Captain Rex and the Bad Batch, Echo joined the latter and was able to escape the effects of Order 66.

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"Echo was a soldier in the Grand Army of the Republic, known for his strict adherence to orders and rules – hence, his nickname, which was sarcastically gifted by his clone brothers."

Echo is the 11th release in the Black Series' Bad Batch range, which is denoted by its unique red colouring to compliment the line's standard black packaging. Much like his brothers Echo is packaged with his helmet off, however the backpack piece is pre-attached to the body. The sloped side of the box sports some great artwork of Echo which connects with the other releases to make a bigger Bad Batch mural, with the same artwork repeated on the back alongside a short bio about Echo. Rather curiously, this only makes general reference to what Echo was like during the Clone Wars and doesn't mention his kidnap and cybernetic enhancements at all. It's a bit of a shame really, because it's not like this figure was rushed out and so feasibly couldn't include any information about Echo's new life with Clone Force 99. Regardless, inside the box both the figure and accessories are neatly laid out on their moulded plastic tray.

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Although the Bad Batch are (mostly) colour co-ordinated when it comes to their armour, each one sports a slightly different design, with Echo's sporting a skirt piece much like the one his original Arc Trooper armour had. Though a $20 toy naturally has to tone down the battle damage a bit there's still some great sculpting on this release, giving it a battle-worn look that also fits in with the Black Series' "animated turned live-action" aesthetic. Hasbro have pulled off another great head sculpt with this release too, managing to capture a hint of Temuera Morrison even with Echo's pale white skin and cybernetic augmentation. The backpack piece is removable, while the included helmet can also fit over the head to complete the battle ready-look. Interestingly the helmet is a little different to the rest of the teams, sporting a big gap at the back (in order to fit Echo's Lobot-esque headgear) as well a clasp just underneath to make fitting a little easier. How much easier it makes things is another question entirely though, since fitting it over the head is still pretty awkward and then when it is attached closing the clasp isn't particularly easy. Luckily though it's completely invisible from the front (and pretty invisible from the back too with the backpack in the way), so Echo will look great regardless.

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Sharing roughly the same base body as his brothers, the articulation on Echo is the same as the rest of the Bad Batch save for a few little differences. Altogether he features; 
- Ball jointed head, neck, torso and hips 
- Swivel hinge shoulders, elbows, left wrist, knees and ankles 
- Butterfly joint shoulders 
- Thigh swivels
Of course the main difference here is the lack of a right hand, but other than that Echo's cybernetic arm functions just the same as his humanoid one. Build-wise the pros and cons of the clone body remain largely the same, with the butterfly joint movement extremely minimal and the swivel hinge knees a little unsightly despite providing a good range of movement. The bigger problem here however is the inane decision to do Echo's skirt piece in soft plastic, which massively reduces hip movement (and in turn, the ability for good action poses). It's bizarre because Hasbro have done soft good skirt pieces in the past (Rex, Wolffe and a number of other clone commanders for example), and doing so here would have made a huge difference. Yes it may be a little more costly production-wise, but for a major character like this it seems like a no-brainer. Ironically this is also the same issue the Arc Trooper version of Echo has as well, so clearly he just can't catch a break.

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In addition to the helmet and backpack Echo also comes packaged with a standard DC-17 blaster as well as a large claw attachment which can slot over his cybernetic arm. The claw is a bit of a curiosity since (to the best of my recollection) didn't actually appear in the series, but also looks to be packaged with the forthcoming Hot Toys figure. Prior to the series some fans assumed that Echo would have multiple arm attachments based on this, but while that sadly hasn't proven to be the case it's still a pretty neat accessory. It's far beefier than his standard right arm, and the moulding/metallic paintjob on it looks fantastic. In comparison the blaster is much less notable – not only because it's the same that's previously been included with multiple Clone Troopers but also because it naturally can only be held in his left hand. Which isn't necessarily problem in and of itself, but the lack of a moulded trigger finger on the clones' left hands makes the grip a bit more awkward.

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Much like the rest of the Bad Batch Black Series Echo is another fantastic toy slightly let down by one or two bad production decisions. The sculpting is superb and the articulation would be enough to do it justice if not if not for the bizarre choice to have a plastic skirt piece. Other issues, like the fiddly nature of the helmet, are far more minor in comparison but ultimately still present. Still, it's great that Hasbro were able to get out the whole Bad Batch crew out in such a relatively short amount of time and with two considerably different (but equally important) figures on the market both Clone Wars and Bad Batch fans are catered for when it comes to this significant trooper.

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