#2754: Elite Squad Trooper

ELITE SQUAD TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“After the formation of the Galactic Empire, a small group of highly skilled enlisted recruits is tasked with neutralizing anti-Imperial insurgents throughout the galaxy.”

I see a Trooper and I want to paint it black! No colors anymore, I want them to turn black!

It’s a pretty well-established thing that you can make anything in Star Wars better by, as The Who said, painting it black.  Well, it mostly applies to troopers, I guess, but there’s a lot of those, so that’s a high percentage of Star Wars things.  While mostly an excuse to sell some more toys, the concept of painting a trooper black has also found its way into the Star Wars ‘verse proper, with all sorts of different rationales behind it.  In the case of the Clone Troopers, the latest excuse for them being all dark and monochromatic comes in the form of the Elite Squad Troopers, who will be playing some sort of role in the upcoming Bad Batch show, though specifically what, we don’t know quite yet.  It does mean we’ve got the toy, though, which is good an excuse as any to trot out the Clone Trooper molds in swanky all-black.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Elite Squad Trooper is figure 03 in the Bad Batch sub-set of Black Series, and is the third and final of the three Bad Batch-related figure in the most recent assortment of the line.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  This guy is completely built out of re-used parts, though, in contrast to how things may look at first glance, they’re not all from the new Kamino Trooper mold.  He uses that figure’s upper half, combined with the legs of the previous Clone Trooper body.  It’s…different?  I’m admittedly not sure why exactly they’ve made the change here.  The range of motion was certainly better on the newer legs; the old ones are rather restricted in the ankles and hips.  The only thing I can think of is that there were concerns of long-term durability with the construction of the new knee pads.  I suppose there’s also potentially some aesthetic benefits to the older legs, but I’m not entirely sure it’s worth the trade-off, if I’m honest.  I mean, it’s still generally better than just using the whole older Clone Trooper body; at least this one can more properly hold his weapons.  In another instance of looks being deceiving, the paint work isn’t just a straight all-black set-up.  In addition to the green visor, it’s also worth noting that the armor proper isn’t straight black, but rather more of a slate color, while the body suit is a straight black.  It’s a subtle, but well done contrast, which also keeps him from being too visually bland.  This guy’s packed with one single accessory, the DC-15A blaster.  It’s a shame he just gets the one, since prior clones have gotten both the 15A and 15S versions.  I’m guessing this might be a show-accuracy sort of thing, but it still makes the figure feel a little light, especially since he’s all repaint.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

An all-black repaint of any new trooper mold is effectively a given, so I was sort of expecting this one to crop up at some point, though I wasn’t expecting it quite this quickly.  The mixed mold is a little weird, especially this soon after establishing the new body, and I wish they weren’t cutting accessories, but I will admit this figure is really slick looking.  Sometimes, I’m just very easy to please, and this is one of those times.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2753: Crosshair

CROSSHAIR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Bad Batch, technically known as Clone Force 99, is the result of Kaminoan experiments to create specialist clone commandos. Crosshair is the team sniper who displays superior accuracy.”

The Bad Batch is, admittedly, a team primarily built out of action movie team archetypes.  Hunter’s the team’s leader guy, specializing in…uhh…leading?  So, he’s got that role covered.  But where would the team be without some sort of of dark loner guy who keeps to himself and snipes from afar?  Fear not, they’ve got Crosshair for this role.  He’s dark!  He’s a loner!  He snipes!  What more could you want?  Hopefully it’s action figures, because that’s what we’ve got here.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Crosshair is the second figure in the Bad Batch-sub-line of Star Wars: The Black Series‘s Phase IV run.  He’s another figure in the fourth assortment of the line, and the second of the three Bad Batch figures included therein.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Crosshair’s articulation scheme is the same as Hunter’s, largely because he’s built from a bunch of the same parts.  It’s sensible, since they do have a lot of the same elements in the show, and, unsurprisingly, have the same build.  He does get a new head, helmet, shoulder pads, upper torso, and bandolier/belt overlay pieces in order to set him apart, as well as ditching Hunter’s more character-specific under-arm knife (though there’s still a hole in his forearm where the sheath plugged in on Hunter).  Hunter’s sculpt was pretty decent, but I like Crosshair’s even more; I think it’s partially just that his design translates to toy form a little bit better, but it also feels like they had just a little more fun putting him together.  His new upper torso gets its own slightly tweaked wear and tear, and his un-helmeted head has that slightly Clint Eastwood-ian look that goes well with the character.  His hair’s been slightly changed up in the transition to a more real-world set up, presumably because his animation style hair just looked a bit too silly on a real face.  The helmet again sits nicely atop the head, but unlike with Hunter, I do find myself actively preferring the helmeted appearance on this one.  His helmet’s even got a moving range-finder, which is definitely cool.  Crosshair’s paint work is pretty much on par with Hunter’s.  It’s not bad from a basic stand point (although he’s missing his little painted crosshair over his helmet’s visor, which is a shame), but it does lack in the way of weathering or any major accenting.  It would definitely help these sculpts to stand out a little bit more.  As it stands, he still looks okay, but it’s not much to write home about.  Crosshair’s accessory selection is pretty solid, as he gets his own back pack, his sniper rifle, and a small blaster pistol.  Unlike Hunter, he’s actually got storage for all of his weaponry, with the rifle breaking into two pieces for stowage on his back, and the blaster fitting into the holster on his belt.  Definitely a nice set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hunter’s kind of the blandest member of the Batch, so while he was pretty cool, he lacks a lot of that flair that the others have.  Crosshair is our first real taste of that more individualized set-up, and I think it does the figure a lot of favors.  From a purely technical standpoint, both figures are well executed, but Crosshair’s definitely a little more fun, and certainly my favorite of the two.  I look forward to seeing the show, and I certainly look forward to getting the rest of the Batch.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2752: Hunter

HUNTER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Bad Batch, technically known as Clone Force 99, is the result of Kaminoan experiments to create specialist clone commandos. Hunter, their leader, is a strong and stoic soldier.”

The Bad Batch, an elite squat of slightly defective clones, made their first appearance in what was originally one of a handful of unfinished episodes of The Clone Wars following its <second> cancellation.  When Disney+ renewed the show for one last season, the Batch’s introductory episode was expanded into the full planned arc, and the characters were well received enough to gain a further follow-up, this time in the form of their own dedicated series, which will be premiering next week for May 4th.  In an effort to tie-in, Hasbro’s doing the whole squad in Black Series form.  I’m starting things off, appropriately, with the team’s leader, Dutch Hunter!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hunter is the first figure in the Bad Batch-based sub-set of Black Series Phase IV, and is part of the fourth Black Series assortment since the re-work.  He’s the first of the three Bad Batch figures in this particular round.  The figure stands just over 6 inches all and he has 27 points of articulation.  Hunter’s articulation scheme is very much the same as that of the recently re-vamped Clone Trooper figure, which is rather fitting, and also a solid basis for articulation, since that figure moved pretty well.  His sculpt is largely a new piece (though a fair bit of it is shared with his assortment-mate Crosshair), but he does share his feet with the standard Clone trooper.  Otherwise, it’s new, and it’s pretty strong.  I did notice that his armor design does stay a little closer to the animation styling that other Clone Wars clones, but with no real-word-equivalent armor design for him, I guess that’s kind of a little more expected.  There are at least some extra smaller details added throughout the armor, in order to make it a little more lived-in, so he’s got some scratches and such worked in.  The design is a little stubborn in figure form in a few spots, especially on the shoulders, I found.  That said, I do think it’s generally a nice piece, and I was impressed by how the removable helmet worked out in particular.  Given Hunter’s longer hair, I was expecting it to be a much tighter fit, and for the helmet to end up making him look a lot more bobble-headed than it does.  I think I do still slightly prefer him un-helmeted, but both ways work out alright.  Hunter’s paint work isn’t bad, but it’s a bit of a mix, really.  The underlying face has the printing technique, which looks good, and the customized look on his helmet is impressive, but it does feel like he’d be a little more impressive with some additional accenting to bring out the sculpted details.  As it is, it still looks okay, but it could be better.  Hunter is packed with his customized larger blaster, as well as one of the standard smaller blasters, a knife, and a back pack.  It’s a shame that there’s no storage for either blaster, but it’s a minor complaint.  Getting extras is always cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Bad Batch are a cool enough concept, and certainly one that seemed to be begging for toys.  I’m glad they finally got something, and Hunter’s a good starting point for the line.  He pretty much gives a slight taste of all of the elements we’ll see with the others from the squad.  The paint detailing could maybe stepped up a notch, but otherwise he’s a pretty solid offering, and on par with the new Troopers they’ve been putting out recently.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.