STORMTROOPER COMMANDO & ASSAULT WALKER
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Behold! The Star Wars stuff! Here it is! Do you see it? There’s a ton of it! Go, look! I’ll wait. Did you see it? Isn’t there a lot of Star Wars stuff? Man, I gotta be honest, it’s a relief to see it all. The last few months, stores have been almost completely devoid of all things Star Wars toys, and it was getting just a little bit depressing. But now, the Episode 7 stuff has finally hit, and now all the die-hard fans are up for another round of “buy all these figures before seeing the movie they’re from and just really hope they’re worth it to you after the fact.” It’s a long name for a thing. So, what was my first Force Awakens purchase? Well, I played it safe and went for a Stormtrooper. Of course, I couldn’t find just a basic Stormtrooper, so I had to settle for this one included with a vehicle.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The included figure is the Stormtrooper Commando, a variation on the all-new First Order Stormtrooper design. Essentially, it’s just the basic Stormtrooper with a shoulder pauldron. The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. It’s still kind of sad to see Hasbro cut articulation so drastically, but I’ve gotten enough of the reduced articulation figures that it’s begun to bother me less. The sculpt is pretty decently handled. The First Order Stormtrooper is an interesting re-design of the basic Stormtrooper we’ve all come to know and love, with a heavy emphasis on making them look as sleek as possible. The armor is a lot more smooth and rounded then what we’ve seen before. It’s definitely an interesting look. The sculpt does a nice job translating the new design to the small scale. While it’s not the most intricate design ever, there are some finer details, which are handled with nice precision, making the armor look appropriately clean. The right leg has a raised up section, with a small slot, meant for holding the figure’s weapon, which is a nice improvement over previous troopers. The pauldron, which is the main unique piece here, is a rather straightforward add-on piece. It slips over the neck joint and can easily be removed by popping off the head. As far as paint goes, the Stormtrooper Commando is pretty basic. He’s molded in white plastic, and has black paint for detailing. That’s it. Now, to be fair, that looks to be accurate to the film, so it’s not like Hasbro’s skimped out on any additional colors or anything. The actual application of the paint is decent but nothing fantastic. None of the paint is drastically out of place, but the black is all pretty fuzzy around the edges, and a few of the smaller areas are missing their black detailing all together. None of it is quite as obvious as the missing shoulder paint from the Rebels Stormtrooper, but it’s still a minor annoyance. The pauldron is molded in straight black. I have no idea if that’s accurate to the movie, but it looks decent enough. The Stormtrooper includes a blaster, which looks to be their standard blaster for the film. It’s pretty well sculpted and nicely painted. I dig the two-toned thing. It sits a little odd in his hand, but it plugs into the side of his leg pretty securely.
THE VEHICLE ITSELF
The main selling point of this set is the vehicle here, dubbed the Assault Walker. It appears to be a variant of the AT-ST “Chicken Walker” from Return of the Jedi, though, at this size, I guess it’s more patterned after the smaller walkers we saw in Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith. It stands roughly 7 inches tall and has articulation at the tops of the legs, the ankles, the mounted gun on the front, and the handle bars. That’s not a whole lot of movement, and it would have at the very least been nice to get joints at all the sculpted joints on the legs, but what’s there is serviceable. The sculpt on the walker is pretty impressively handled. Sure, it’s not Hot Toys level of detail or anything, but it’s got a nice, geometric build, with a fair amount of seam lines and visible mechanics to keep it interesting visually. There’s a lot of hollow areas to keep the vehicle low weight, so it looks better from some angles than it does others. That’s not ideal, but it’s also not terrible, and it’s not like it’s out of line from previous Star Wars vehicles. Paintwork on the walker is relatively minimal, with most of the color work being handled through molded colors. That said, there are a few areas that have some painted details, all of which are handled relatively cleanly. The best work is definitely on the front shield piece, which has a nicely executed camo pattern. The Assault Walker doesn’t have any accessories, though, if you really want to get technical, the Stormtrooper Commando is an accessory.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
After missing out on the midnight releases of all the Star Wars prequel toys, I decided to go to this year’s “Force Friday” event. I went to Toys R Us, mostly due to none of my local Targets or Walmarts participating in the 12:01 openings. I got there about 45 minutes before midnight and got a fairly decent spot in line. Then I went in. “Underwhelming” is the word I’d say best describes he experience. TRU’s distribution completely misidentified the target audience, resulting in far too few action figures to satisfy demand. I had been wanting to grab a few of the Black Series figures, but only one case was sent to the store, and every figure in it was grabbed by the first person in line. In my search for the Black Series stuff, I walked past the 3 ¾ inch-ers, and by the time I got back to them, they were all but gone. I picked up this set to look at it, and next thing I knew, every other set around it was gone. So, I clung tight to this set, as well as the lone Pop! figure I had managed to grab and called that a small victory. This is actually a pretty fun little set. The Walker is a neat vehicle that doesn’t take up too much space, and the Stormtrooper Commando is a good enough stand-in for a basic Stormtrooper to make me happy. So, I guess the trip wasn’t a total loss.