STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
“Within the Death Star, a group of Imperial stormtroopers are in hot pursuit of Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca, as they attempt to return to the impounded Millennium Falcon. But the heroic escapees blast away before the shock troops have a chance to return fire.”
Throughout the entirety of the vintage Star Wars line, we got exactly one basic Stormtrooper. Just one take on a design that was present across all three of the original films (in the line’s defense, the same can be said of Darth Vader and Chewbacca; if the design didn’t drastically change, Kenner didn’t do a new figure. Only R2 and 3PO got by, largely do to new gimmicks introduced in the later films). For Power of the Force II, the same was almost true. We got the standard Stormtrooper in ’95, and that steroid abusing fiend was it for four years. But, just as the line was winding down, we managed to get an honest to god update, which I’m taking a look at today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Stormtrooper was released in 1999 as part of the Power of the Force II Commlink assortment which was at stores alongside the Phantom Menace product. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation. Yes, you read that articulation count correctly; this guy’s probably the most articulated standard release figure that the PotF2 line ever put out. Not only does this guy get actual, proper knees, he also gets cut joints at the elbows, and even a universal joint on his neck. He can look up! It’s a long way from the vintage Stormtroopers and their complete lack of neck articulation, I’ll tell you that much. This sculpt would end up re-used more than a few times going forward, including for the Marvel Comics-styled trooper I looked at a little while back. While I was a little down on that figure (due largely to it being released 7 years after this one), in the context of the line that spawned it, it’s actually quite a nice sculpt, and it’s understandable why Hasbro clung to it for so long. The paintwork for the figure is pretty solid, and like the sculpt is generally an improvement over the Stormtrooper that preceded it. It’s also an early example of Hasbro experimenting with thermodynamic paint, allowing the figure to take some damage to his armor when dipped in cold water. The Stormtrooper is packed with a long blaster (which, like the Marvel-styled figure, he can’t quite hold right) and a weapons rack to store it on as well.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The last assortment of PotF2 figures wasn’t one I recall seeing much of (although I did get the Han figure as a kid), so this guy isn’t one I had growing up. He was added to my collection during one of my big buying sprees of PotF2 figures in late 2018. He’s sort of an odd figure for the line, because he’s objectively one of the best, but on the flip side, it means that when later versions replaced him, he didn’t have that same nostalgic bend to fall back on. That being said, he’s still a cool figure.