#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.

#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.

#2705: Clone Commander Fox

CLONE COMMANDER FOX

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Commander Fox led the Coruscant Guard, an elite clone trooper unit assigned to serve as peace-keepers on the Galactic Republic capital.”

With all of the new Archive releases covered (or substituted for the earlier release, as was the case for Cody), I guess I’ll fill this week out with a couple of older releases that I have on hand.  The photo at the end of yesterday’s review may have cued some readers into the fact that I have Clone Commander Fox, but I have not yet reviewed Clone Commander Fox, so I guess I might as well get on that.  How about this here Commander Fox figure?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Commander Fox was a shared retailed exclusive Black Series release from 2019.  Technically, he was a GameStop/Thinkgeek exclusive, but he was also offered up through Big Bad Toy Store, so he was rather thoroughly distributed.  Fox’s design follows the trend for all of the Clone Commanders’ designs so far, going for his Phase II design.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Fox is built on the standard Clone Trooper body, for better or for worse.  That’s overall a good thing, but it does mean that he’s got some slight issues regarding range of motion on his joints, as well as the lack of a trigger finger on his left hand, for the purposes of dual wielding.  He’s got the adjusted belt with the holsters like we saw on Wolffe and Rex, along with a cloth kama piece to match.  The kama still seems a little short, no doubt due to using the same pattern as the other two.  Fox gets a new helmet piece, which is rather similar to Cody’s but lacks a couple of Cody’s specific details.  The standard portions of the helmet match up in style with Cody’s helmet, indicating that they at least started from a common point.  The visor, which is a separate piece on both, is a notably softer plastic here, which causes it to be slightly warped on my copy of the figure.  It’s not terribly so, but it’s noticeable.  Fox’s paint work is pretty nicely handled.  The base work is pretty clean, and the predominantly red coloring helps him stand out.  There’s a lot of fun detail work going on, with some notable wear and tear on his armor.  It gives him a realistic vibe, which works pretty well.  Fox is armed with a DC-15A long rifle and a pair of DC-17 pistols.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve pretty much thrown in the towel on resisting getting any of the Clone Commanders, so I knew I wanted Fox as soon as he was shown off.  That being said, it being Fox, I wasn’t in a major rush or anything.  I actually wound up picking him up from an All Time trade-in, back before I even got yesterday’s Cody figure.  I just kept putting off reviewing him because, you know, life, and all.  But, I figured, with Cody finally getting reviewed, I might as well clear out all of the Clone reviews on deck.  Fox isn’t the most impressive of the Clones, but he’s got a distinctive look, and now I’ve got a red one, so that’s cool.

#2704: Clone Commander Cody

CLONE COMMANDER CODY

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A natural and practical leader in the clone army, Clone Commander Cody was a good fit for General Kenobi, to whom he was particularly loyal.”

While they’ve stepped it up a little bit in the last few years, when The Black Series launched, the prequel component was pretty light.  In the first three years of the line, there were only seven prequel figures, four of them being Clone variants of some form or another.  Just prior to wrapping up the line’s second incarnation, just before the re-branding for The Force Awakens, they put out their first actually named clone, Commander Cody, who was in an otherwise OT-based assortment.  He was easy to overlook at the time, but as we’ve gotten more and more of the other Clone Commanders, he’s become rather a desired entry in the line.  Thankfully, he just got a re-release as part of the Archive line-up.  Not that I’m reviewing that release here, but I’ll get to that later.  Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Before being re-issued in the third assortment of The Black Series Archive, Commander Cody was originally released in early 2015, as #14 in the Blue Line incarnation of The Black Series, heading off the final assortment of that incarnation (alongside the previously reviewed Leia as Boushh and IG-88).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Cody is built on the the original Clone Trooper body.  He got a new head, upper torso, shoulder pads, and upper right arm in order to replicate Cody’s more personalized armor elements.  The original Clone body does show its age these days, but it was still quite good for the time, and it’s certainly not terrible.  Cody’s new shoulder pads even address the issue with the standard body by giving him a slightly better clearance, and thereby a better range of motion on those particular joints.  The Cody-specific parts are all really nicely sculpted, and have quite a lot of deep detail work.  His armor shows some more wear and tear than the rest of the Clones, which is appropriate for the character.  By far my favorite piece is the head, which manages to be a nicer, sharper recreation of the Phase II helmet than the standard one that later followed, with deeper detailing, and a far better range of motion on the neck joint than the regular helmet as well.  Cody’s paint work is pretty solid; while the pre-TFA stuff had some issues with paintwork, there was a real reversal on this final assortment before the switch-over.  Cody followed that set up, and actually has some decent work.  The orange stripes on his main armor have some nice simulated wear, and the knee pads have some cool accenting to make them look dirty and messed up.  The white sections of the armor could perhaps use some slight accenting to bring out some of the sculpted damage, but accenting on white can be very tricky, so it’s probably for the best that it was just left out.  Cody is packed with both the DC-15 and DC15A blasters, which have become the norm for the Clones.  Interestingly, his helmet isn’t removable like some of the later Clone Commanders, despite Cody rather prominently taking off his helmet in his film appearance.  Ultimately, it’s probably for the best, however, since it means that this figure doesn’t have the older style paint on the head to contend with.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on this guy when he was new because I was far more focussed on the other two figures in the set, and I was still trying to hold to my no prequels rule.  However, once Hasbro really started getting into the other Clone Commanders, I definitely regretting passing on him more and more.  Back over the summer, All Time had this guy come in with a whole Black Series collection, and I was interested, but the Archive was not yet announced, and that meant he was at the peak of his after market value.  That was outside my price range, so I passed, albeit somewhat disappointedly.  Max was evidently having none of that, and decided to be far to nice to me, and got me this guy anyway.  Sure, the Archive release is out now, but that doesn’t make how I got this one any less special, nor does it change the fact that I had him for a good six months before there was another opportunity.  Whichever release you get, this guy is really cool, and I’m glad to have him to round out the set.

#2663: Clone Trooper – Phase I

CLONE TROOPER — PHASE I

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Clone Troopers were so symbolic of the times, the galaxy-wide conflict that saw their debut took its name from their ranks: The Clone Wars.”

Oh, boy!  More Clone Troopers!  My favorite!  Like, actually, genuinely.  I’m not being sarcastic.  I just want to make sure that’s clear, because, very frequently on this site, when I open a review that way, I’m not tending to be terribly genuine with my words.  But I am this time.  For real!  …So, yeah.  Let’s review this Clone Trooper figure that I’m genuinely very happy to have, and I’ll try not to be any more suspicious and weird about it, yeah?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Phase I Clone Trooper is part of the second Phase IV assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  I know, that’s a lot of phases, huh?  He’s the second figure in the Attack of the Clones sub-set, following up on the Walgreens-exclusive Clone Lieutenant.  I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to wind up having a fair number of clones for this particular sub-line.  Despite the fact that he’s a direct follow-up to the Lieutenant, and logic would dictate that the two of them would be identical from a sculpting standpoint, they are, in fact, completely different figures.  While the Lieutenant was a re-use of the original Clone mold (which I reviewed as the Clone Sergeant), this one is built on the all-new Clone Trooper tooling introduced in the first Phase IV assortment with the Kamino Clone.  Why they didn’t just hold off and do the Lieutenant on the new body is anyone’s guess, but I’m just focusing on this guy, not dissecting the insanity that is Hasbro’s production choices.  This figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Apart from a new helmet, he’s the same sculpt as the Kamino Clone, which is fine by me.  I was a big fan of that mold, with its improved range of motion, and its much sharper sculpting.  I look forward to buying as many times as Hasbro sees fit to re-use it, because I’m a sucker for a decent Clone Trooper.  The new helmet is what makes this guy a proper Phase I Clone, and it’s a really nice piece.  I quite like it.  Like the Phase II helmet, it’s been placed atop an unpainted clone head, no doubt future proofing for when they branch into the named clones from Clone Wars.  In terms of paint, this guy’s a touch more basic than the Kamino release, being a standard Shiny.  Those were the ones we saw the most of, especially in AotC, so it makes sense to start here.  It’s a good, clean look, but keeps all of the proper accent work.  He’s packed with the he DC-15A rifle and DC-15S blasters, same as the Kamino release.  I do like that we actually get them both, since the Stormtroopers are down to just one weapon each.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After thoroughly enjoying the Kamino Trooper, I’ve been clamoring to get some more figures on this mold, and was very definitely interested in seeing some Phase I guys.  The Lieutenant through me for a bit of a loop, but then they showed this guy off, and I was back in.  This was probably my most wanted figure out of this assortment, even though there’s not technically a lot new going on.  It’s just a really strong base to start with, and I’m very excited by the prospect of getting all manner of ranks and individualized clones as we move forward.  In the mean time, this guy really tides me over.

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.

#2583: Clone Trooper – Kamino

CLONE TROOPER — KAMINO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Clone Troopers were grown on the planet Kamino from the genetic template of bounty hunter Jango Fett and made into a highly-efficient military force.”

Ah, yes, the Clone Troopers.  My gateway drug into having prequel stuff in my Black Series collection.  Thanks a lot, clones.  Over there bein’ all awesome and stuff.  Why’d you have to be like that?  Awww, you know I can’t stay mad at you, clones.  You’re just too darn cool! Well, guess I better just buy a whole slew of new ones, right?  Cool.  Cool cool cool.  No doubt, no doubt.  Sure is convenient that there’s, like, a slew of new ones on the horizon, isn’t it?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Kamino Clone Trooper is part of the first assortment of the latest relaunch of Star Wars: The Black Series.  As noted in the Rebels Hera review, these new figures ditch the numbering scheme of the prior lines, and each have a little mural, separated by their source material.  The Kamino Trooper is based on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and is at launch the only figure from that set (though there’s the whole currently Walmart-exclusive Siege of Mandalor sub-set, as well as a Cad Bane that will be added for the next assortment).  This clone is a show-exclusive design, seen on the Kamino security officers in the episodes “Conspiracy” and “Fugitive.”  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  The major selling point on this particular clone is that he’s the first to utilize the all-new Clone Trooper base body that Hasbro’s rolling out with this Black Series re-launch.  Honestly, it’s overdue.  The old clone body was great for its time, but The Black Series has improved its articulation schemes leaps and bounds in the past six years since that base’s introduction, and it was really starting to show its age.  We’d already seen an update with Rex, but that was a more commander-oriented body.  This one’s far more all-purpose.  While it’s technically got less joints, the range on those joints is a lot better, allowing this clone to get far deeper poses.  He actually can hold his rifle correctly (something the prior body struggled with), and he can get into a pretty solid crouch on one knee pose, which is something the other figure couldn’t do at all.  Really just a head to toe improvement on posing.  But, it’s not just the range of motion that’s impressive; the cohesiveness of the sculpt is also still preserved, and in fact improved over the original mold.  The armor is cleanly recreated and looks really slick.  The helmet is certainly the best Phase II helmet we’ve seen from the line as well, and there’s actually a full head up under it, although it’s unpainted and the helmet’s glued in place.  Still, they’re clearly doing some future planning with that piece.  The paint work on this guy is pretty strong.  It’s very grey, of course, but that’s accurate.  There’s a lot of markings on this particular design, and the application is all pretty sharp.  I really love the shoulder pads in particular; they’re really clean, and it’s just a cool design.  The Kamino Trooper is packed with both the DC-15A rifle and DC-15S blaster.  Like the clone, they appear to be new molds, but it’s hard to say quite as definitively.  They certainly work well, and it’s nice that he still gets both options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I like clones, and as I’ve gotten more into my collecting of this line, I’ve grown to like the clones even more.  It’s been a bit since we’ve gotten any troopers, and doing a rewatch of the show leading up to the finale certainly made me want to see more of them in the line.  So, this guy was probably my most wanted out of the new line-up.  As luck would have it, he was also the first I was able to get my hands on.  He’s really awesome, and I look forward to getting a whole slew of other clones built on this body.

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.

#2397: AT-RT (w/ ARF Trooper Boil)

AT-RT (w/ ARF TROOPER BOIL)

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Clone trooper Boil pilots an AT-RT during the battle to retake Geonosis. An AT-RT (All Terrain Recon Transport) is a one-man walker armed with a repeating laser cannon. With its height, mobility and speed, the walker allows Boil to support the embattled Republic forces as they fight waves of battle droids and Geonosian warriors.”

Since I reviewed Waxer yesterday, it feels kind of wrong to leave this pair incomplete.  It’s okay, because Hasbro was way ahead of me on that one, and saw fit to, you know, actually release a Boil that matched with yesterday’s Waxer…before they had even released that Waxer, in fact.  That sure was nice of them.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Boil and the AT-RT were released in 2010, as part of the Deluxe Figures sub-line of Hasbro’s Clone Wars tie-in.  Each entry in the line was one standard figure paired off with a smaller-scale vehicle.  There were a lot of main character variants included, but it did serve as a way for us to get a handful of new or slightly more unique character, including quite a number of clone variants.  This was the second ARF Trooper and AT-RT pairing released in the line, and wouldn’t end up being the last.  It was, however, the only one with a named clone.  Boil is pretty much the same figure as the Waxer I reviewed yesterday, being the same core body and all.  I love the core body, and it’s supposed to be the same armor, so that’s hardly a bad thing.  He does change up some things on the paint front a bit.  His colors are ever so slightly different from Waxer’s, likely due to them being produced a year apart from each other.  It’s not really that noticeable, unless you do something stupid like photograph both of them together under heavy contrast lighting.  But who would do something stupid like that?  Other than that, Boil also ports over his markings from his standard armor, with again the exception of some Numa-inspired graffiti, this time on the right side of his visor.  Again, it’s probably my favorite touch on these figures, because it clearly denotes who they’re supposed to be.  Boil doesn’t get the heavy gun like Waxer, but he’s still got the standard blaster and a stand.  Oh, right, and the AT-RT, of course.  First appearing in Revenge of the Sith, the AT-RTs were put to good use in The Clone Wars, and the mold was put to good use here in the toyline.  I’ve actually looked at a good chunk of it before, since it got repurposed for the Assault Walker from the Force Awakens line.  I liked that one well enough, and that was honestly a dumbed down version of this mold.  This one is more clearly designed to work with the included figure, and while it’s still not as articulated as the ones from the show, it’s a pretty nifty little vehicle, and certainly brings value to this set beyond just the Boil figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Boil came from the same collection at All Time that got me the matching Waxer, as well as the *other* Boil and Waxer.  I actually held off on this one a little bit, because there were two in the collection, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy the whole walker just to get a Boil to go with my Waxer.  Ultimately, I decided it was probably worth my time, and I’m glad I did, because it’s a fun little set in its own right.  Sure, Boil is only superficially different from the Waxer figure I already had, but I like having the two of them in yet another style, and now I’ve finally got one of the AT-RTs to go with the handful of ARF Troopers I’ve already got in my collection.  That’s pretty nifty!

As I touched on above,  I got this set from my friends at All Time Toys.  While the Clone Wars stuff moved pretty fast, they’ve got other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2396: ARF Trooper Waxer & Battle Droid

ARF TROOPER WAXER & BATTLE DROID

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Clone troopers fight battle droids to destroy a Separatist weapons factory. ARF trooper Waxer scouts ahead to gather information about the enemy. He runs into a squad of battle droids, and stops these robotic warriors before they reveal his position.”

Star Wars: The Clone Wars leaned pretty heavily on its cast of clones, a fitting choice given the title.  In order to actually keep the show interesting, they made a point of giving the clones personalities, in contrast to the fairly mindless squadrons of them we’d seen in the films.  While some of them were just one offs, others were popular enough to get a few appearances under their belts.  My personal favorite pair were Boil and Waxer, a bickering odd couple that first appeared in “Innocents of Ryloth” and would make a handful of other appearances as the show progressed.  Today, I’m looking at my boy Waxer’s second figure from Hasbro’s main toyline, which faced him off against a Battle Droid!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

ARF Trooper Waxer and the Battle Droid were released as part of Hasbro’s Clone Wars line as a Target-exclusive two-pack in 2011, hitting alongside a Special Ops Clone Trooper and Geonosian Drone set.  Both pairs were based on the Season 2 episode “Landing at Point Rain.”

ARF TROOPER WAXER

For “Landing at Point Rain,” a good chunk of the clones got new, camouflaged armor.  In the case of Waxer, he actually traded up to the ARF trooper armor, which means he’s got not only a new paint scheme, but also a snazzy new helmet with a rather Biker Scout-inspired look.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  Waxer’s just a repaint of the standard ARF Trooper from the main line.  I means he doesn’t get a removable helmet like his last figure (to be fair, he never takes it off in this gear anyway), but it also means he’s using the best Clone body that the line put out.  It’s got all the cool stuff of the usual clone body, but also throws a universal joint on the hips in place of the usual cut joints.  While it’s not a pitch perfect articulation set, it’s certainly a very good one, and means it’s really easy to get some good poses out of him.  The actual sculpt is also quite accurate to the animation models, and the helmet in particular is a real thing of beauty.  Waxer’s paintwork is quite involved, since he has to get the Geonosis-style camo, all throughout, which means he’s got some sort of painted detailing pretty much all over.  He also gets his character-specific markings, which match up with his standard armor, with the exception of one new detail: he’s got a little drawing of Numa, the Twi’lek he helped rescue in “Innocents” on the back of his helmet.  This detail was one of the coolest things added in the show, and It’s really awesome that Hasbro remembered to include it here.  Waxer gets a standard DC-15S blaster, plus a D-6 rotary blaster, a firing missile, and a display stand.

BATTLE DROID

I’ve never been much for the basic Battle Droids, and I felt that one of the best things that Clone Wars did was introduce the likes of the Commando Droids in order to shift the focus a bit.  Because of this, I never got any of the standard Battle Droids.  But, this one was packed with Waxer, so I guess I had to get him.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has…okay hang on, I have to amend the first part first part: he’s 4 inches tall.  He doesn’t do much standing, which is my first big issue with the guy.  He simply can’t stand without something to hold him up.  He’s got 8 points of articulation, which is my next thing.  The arms on this guy are great…and that’s about it when it comes to the articulation.  Despite all those obvious joints being there in the design, they aren’t articulated for the most part.  The legs in particular are bad, because they just get the cut joints at the hips, and nothing more.  That certainly doesn’t help with the issues of standing.  Also not helping is the fact that this guy is just warped all over the place.  His legs, his neck, even his forearms are all warped out of their proper shaping, and he came out of the box that way.  At the very least, the sculpt looks like what it’s supposed to, so he’s got that going for him.  The Battle Droid’s coloring is the darker Geonosis shading, which honestly looks a bit better in general.  He’s got yellow markings, which I believe makes him a Commander.  Good for him, I guess.  He’s packed with an E-5 blaster (which he can’t hold correctly) and a display stand (not the one pictured, that’s a Pro-Tech stand).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Last summer, All Time got in a pretty heft Clone Wars collection, which was the source of the Assault on Ryloth pack that I picked up and reviewed at the time.  I also grabbed quite a few others, which included this pair which, like so many other Clone Wars releases, I missed when they were first released.  It wasn’t a hard sell, since it’s Waxer, who’s my favorite clone, wearing the ARF armor, which is my favorite armor.  He’s awesome, and I’m glad to have him.  The Battle Droid’s not great, and I remember part of why I didn’t pick any of them up in the first place.  Hey, at least I got Waxer.

As I touched on above,  I got these guys from my friends at All Time Toys.  While the Clone Wars stuff moved pretty fast, they’ve got other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2355: Clone Commander Bly

CLONE COMMANDER BLY

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A veteran of many Clone Wars battles, Clone Comander Bly (clone designation CC-5052) served in the 327th Star Corps on such worlds as Quell, Maridun, and Felucia.”

When first introduced during the climax of Attack of the Clones, the Clone Troopers had no names, no personality to speak of, and no hint of individuality.  It wasn’t until Revenge of the Sith that we really got any hint of there being more to the clones than that, with the introduction of a handful of named individual clone commanders.  Amongst that handful of clones commanders was Bly, whom I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Commander Bly is figure 104 in the Black Series line-up.  Amazingly, he’s only our third clone commanding officer in the main line, and only the second under the current numbering system (the two prior figures being Cody under the blue-style packaging, and Rex under the current set-up).  Bly was one of the clones who we saw in both sets of armor over the course of The Clone Wars and the movies, but the figure opts for his Phase II appearance from Revenge of the Sith.  It’s sensible, given that all of our commanders so far have been in their Phase II armor, making for a more cohesive appearance. The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  While the vast majority of the clones use the same pool of standard clone parts, Bly marks the first time we’ve seen a re-use of the upgraded parts used by Rex.  I’ve been waiting to see these parts re-appear since they were introduced with Rex, and I’m very happy to finally see them again.  They’re a noticeable improvement over the other body, especially in terms of the poseability on the arms, making Bly a far more playable figure than most of the other clones.  Bly uses the lower right arm, left arm, pelvis, legs, feet, and the back of the torso from Rex, a slightly modified version of the standard Phase II helmet with a visor, and a new front torso, upper right arm, pauldron, and belt.  It’s actually a fairly large number new parts, and more than I’d been expecting to see here, but they’re really nice parts, and match nicely with the pre-existing parts, as well as the source material.  It all makes for a really sharp looking figure.  The only downside is that he’s still got only one trigger finger, despite having the dual pistols, though at least in Bly’s case the dual pistols aren’t his primary weaponry, unlike Rex and Wolf.  Bly’s paintwork is pretty strong; his distinct markings are replicated, but they have been properly weathered and scarred, showing that Bly’s been on the battlefield for a while.  Bly is packed with his DC-15A blaster rifle and a pair of DC-17 hand blasters, which a fairly standard selection for a clone release, and honestly pretty good for one that uses so many new parts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back in 2005, when the original Bly figure was released, I came across both him and Gree at retail, but was unable to buy them at the time.  While I was able to track down a Gree, I went many years without a single Bly in my collection, and have long viewed him as the one that got away.  I actually managed to get one a few months go…just in time for this guy to be announced.  Oh well, now I’ve got them both!  I really like this guy a lot, and he’s honestly the best clone Hasbro’s put out, and narrowly edges out Zorii Bliss as my favorite figure in this assortment.  Here’s hoping for more like Bly!

Bly was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2119: Assault on Ryloth

WAXER, BOIL, CLONE COMMANDER CODY, & MACE WINDU

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Jedi generals and clone troopers battle the Separatists who have taken control of the planet Ryloth, homeworld of the Twi’leks. Mace Windu coordinates battle plans as he prepares to bring gunships onto the planet. Clone Troopers Waxer and Boil, who are eager for combat, join Clone Commander Cody on a mission to free Twi’lek prisoners being used as shields to protect a deadly proton cannon.”

Fairly early on in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the show runners realized that a show with “Clone” in the title was going to have to lean pretty heavily on clones as characters.  With that taken into consideration, the previous depictions of clones literally just being whole squadrons of the same guy a couple dozen times over wasn’t going to work.  Over the course of the show’s first season, they began introducing the audience to lots of troopers, all with individual names and personalities, many of them even getting their own small arcs.  There were a few clone-centered early on, which included my personal favorite episode, “Innocents of Ryloth,” the middle entry of Season 1’s Ryloth trilogy.  “Innocents” brought in troopers Waxer and Boil, and bickering pair that would crop up a couple more times over the course of the show.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Waxer, Boil, Clone Commander Cody, and Mace Windu make up the “Assualt on Ryloth” Battle Pack, which was available exclusively at Target in 2009.  The set is based primarily on “Innocents,” though Mace’s presence brings in the follow-up, “Liberty on Ryloth.”

WAXER

Technically, Waxer appeared prior to “Innocents,” as part of the tie-in comic “Slaves of the Republic.”  Of course, the timing is close enough that Waxer was likely created for the show first and dropped into the comic later, given production cycles and all.  Whatever the case, Waxer’s appearance in “Innocents” is certainly the better showcase.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  All of the figures in this set were built from pre-existing molds, which really isn’t too surprising for Waxer, what with him being a clone and all.  Nevertheless, there’s a surprising amount of frankenstiening going on here.  Waxer uses the body of Clone Trooper Denal (meaning he’s got a spot for a backpack…not that he includes one, of course), with Commander Thire’s dual holster-sporting belt, and the original Captain Rex head, all topped off with the upgraded removable helmet first seen on Gree.  The holsters on the belt on show accurate, and I’m not entirely sure why they went with the torso with the peghole, but beyond that Waxer’s as good as any figure built from the basic clone parts, which is to say he’s very good.  He poses well, and his helmet sits properly and tightly on the head, and he’s fairly accurate to the animation models.  His paintwork is solid stuff, though it’s worth noting this set was released in a period when Hasbro was going for cleaned up clones.  He still gets his proper 212th markings, as well as his personalized helmet, with tally marks and all.  Waxer is packed with a pair of DC-17 Blaster pistols, as well as a DC-15A rifle.  Technically, he’s carrying the 15C in the episode, but it’s not like I don’t have a bunch of those I can give him, including one of the two in this very set.

BOIL

Though he never seemed to get the same prominence as Waxer, Boil ended up as the more fortunate of the two, since he was one of the few prominent clones still alive at the end of the show’s run…at least as far as we knew.  Boil and Waxer’s designs were very similar, but Boil ended up sticking with the Rex/Basic Trooper hybrid body that was first introduced with Matchstick, with the head of Commander Cody.  No extra holsters or spots for back packs on him.  He does *technically* still have Cody’s molded scars on his forehead, but there’s enough else going on that you really don’t notice them.  Beyond that, he’s another pretty solid clone figure.  His paint does change up things ever so slightly from Waxer.  Obviously the head’s different, what with the mustache and all, as is the helmet, which has Boil’s specific markings and graffiti.  There’s one more rather minor change between the two: Boil has solid colors on the shoulders, while Waxer had stripes.  In the show, they actually both had stripes, but when they they got their ARF armor in their second appearance, Boil had one solid shoulder to further distinguish.  This figure just carries that forward symmetrically.  It’s not technically show accurate, but I really don’t mind the slight change for the sake of a slightly more unique figure.  Boil isn’t quite as heavily armed as Waxer, with only a DC-15C blaster rifle.

CLONE COMMANDER CODY

As the clone in charge of Waxer and Boil’s battalion, Cody’s definitely a sensible choice for inclusion.  He’s essentially just a reissue of his single release figure from the main line.  Cody shared his legs and lower arms with the standard early line clones, but had his own head, torso, pelvis, and upper arms.  The head is the same one I just looked at for Boil, but the scarring now makes sense.  The other parts incorporate Cody’s unique armor elements.  Curiously, his torso, and especially his waist, is really skinny when compared to all of the other Clones released around the same time.  Was Cody just more conscious of his figure?  Whatever the case, Cody’s sculpt is just as strong as the other two clones, making him another really solid figure offering.  For the most part, Cody’s paint is identical to his single release, though the orange on his armor was dulled down a bit to better match Waxer and Boil, and he also loses the painted aspect of his facial scar.  Cody included his removable helmet, as well as a DC-15C blaster rifle.

MACE WINDU

Windu is honestly the weirdest choice in this set, since he only has a small role at the beginning and end of “Innocents,” with the primary Jedi being Obi-Wan.  While Windu wraps up the Ryloth Trilogy in the next episode, it’s without Waxer, Boil, and Cody.  I’d wager that the main reason he was chosen over Kenobi is that he was the rarer figure at the time, and Hasbro wanted collectors to get another shot.  Worked out for me, since I didn’t have a Windu.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  For whatever reason, the initial Jedi for this line weren’t given full articulation, so Mace lacks any sort of knee or ankle movement.  It definitely cuts down on the crazy action poses.  Despite the reduced articulation, his sculpt is actually pretty solid.  It’s a decent translation of the animation model, and fits in well with the rest of the line.  His paintwork is pretty minimal, with just a lot of browns for the most part.  For whatever reason, his eyebrows went from dark brown on the single to an orange here, which looks a little off, but really only if you closely examine him.  It honestly reads as him just not having eyebrows most of the time.  Windu included his lightsaber, plus a helmet, collar, and shoulder pads to give him some clone armor.  He also includes a spring-loaded waist joint, which gives him a sort of a slashing feature when you pull it back.  Yay?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With “Innocents” being my favorite episode of the show, you’d think that this set would have been on my list from day one, right?  I mean, I got the high-end Sideshow set, right?  Yeah, well this pack wasn’t anywhere near as easily gotten as the Sideshow figures, so I actually didn’t have them.  In fact, for the longest time, I just passed off my generic 212th trooper as one of them.  It wasn’t until the set got traded into All Time a couple of weeks ago that I finally had my chance, and while they may have been a little pricey, I kind of counted them as a birthday present to myself.  Expensive as they may be, I really like the Waxer and Boil included here, and I’m happy to have finally gotten them.  It’s just too bad we never got a Numa to go with them.