#3183: Imperial Clone Shock Trooper

IMPERIAL CLONE SHOCK TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Originally founded during the Clone Wars as security police and bodyguards, the group of clones known as Shock Troopers now operate as elite forces of the Empire.”

The Shock Troopers first showed up very near the end of Revenge of the Sith, as re-decoed Clones whose red coloring served as sort of a precursor to the Imperial Guards.  The similarities were taken a bit further when they were further used in Clone Wars, which established as the Coruscant-based police force, far more directly loyal to Palpatine and his cronies.  Their loyalty gave them more to do during Clone Wars’ direct follow-up, The Bad Batch.  Though effectively replaced within the show by the Elite Squad, they’re still present as the Empire’s initial enforcers.  We got a Shock Trooper on the old style Clone body, but now we’re also getting one on the new body.  Whooooo!  New body!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Clone Shock Trooper is figure 7 in the Bad Batch sub-line of The Black Series Phase IV.  He started as a Walmart-exclusive, but he’s set to get a slightly wider release later in the year.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  This Shock Trooper is, as noted in the intro, built on the newest of the Clone base bodies.  Like, actually the whole thing.  No weird combo of parts, or anything.  So, I guess there’s that.  It’s a good sculpt, it poses well, and it just makes for a good figure.  This guy in particular is based on one of the officers, meaning he’s got the shoulder pauldron.  It’s a nice piece with a lot of great texture work.  It’s fixed in place on the shoulders which, if I’m honest, seems a bit short-sited, since it means he can’t just be the standard Shock Trooper.  But, I suppose they might have done that on purpose, since this was an exclusive release, and it’s possible they might be saving the standard trooper as a main line release.  Whatever the case, it’s at least not loose and flopping about as such pieces tend to do in these figures.  The paint work on this guy is pretty straight forward, but it does what it needs to and the application is all pretty clean.  It’s a striking color set-up.  The Shock Trooper is packed with both long and short versions of the standard clone rifle, which makes for a decent selection of options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much as I like a good Clone variant, I wasn’t exactly looking to rush out to Walmart for specifically this figure.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to, since we got a small stack of them traded into All Time.  Boom, easy way to get one.  He’s fun.  Not breaking ground or anything, but fun.  And sometimes, that’s all you need.

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

#3182: Jet Trooper

JET TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Star Wars: Battlefront II lets players call in reinforcements from the most skilled soldiers and units in the galaxy, including the aerial specialist Jet troopers.”

First appearing in a very bit appearance in the background of one shot of the fifth season Clone Wars episode “Sabotage,” the 501st Jet Trooper’s rather unique design was set to get a mass release figure as part of Hasbro’s main Clone Wars line in 2013, as part of the wider Star Wars line re-launch that was to go along with the 3D re-release of Attack of the Clones.  When Phantom Menace’s 3D re-release went over worse than Phantom Menace‘s original release, the AotC re-release was scrapped, and the domestic release of the toys to accompany was cancelled.  The nine Clone Wars figures included wound up with only an international release, which was kind of a shame.  The design wound up brushed off for a few other projects, including Battlefront II, which finally got the Jet Trooper another chance at a figure…albeit an exclusive one.  Eh, you win some, you lose some.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jet Trooper is a Gamestop-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series release, as part of their larger “Gaming Greats” sub-line.  He’s #6 in the sub-line.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  In what is just a confusing sequence of parts creation and selection at this point, the Jet Trooper is largely *not* built from the updated Clone body we got at the start of Phase IV.  He gets the new head/helmet, but that’s it.  Below the neck, he’s using a variation on the Captain Rex tooling.  It’s not a bad selection of parts, and now it’s been almost completely reverse engineered into a standard Clone body.  The question just remains: why?  Why, after introducing the new body, are we still getting a combination of parts from three distinctly different Clone base bodies, interwoven with each other?  Like, maybe just pick one and stick with it?  Ultimately, it doesn’t impact this guy too badly, since, as I said, the Rex tooling is still pretty solid.  The leg movement is kind of stiff, but otherwise it works okay.  The torso’s been modified to add a port for the jetpack, so that works out well.  The Jet Trooper’s paint scheme is fun, bright, and fairly unique, and the application is nice and clean.  It’s definitely the best thing about the figure, and it really works out well.  The Jet Trooper is packed with his jetpack (borrowed from Jango Fett), and a small blaster pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I quite like this design.  I quite like Clones in general, and this one just really works.  It’s a cool, nifty look, begging for good toy treatment.  It’s a shame that there are so many barriers to entry on the first figure, and I wasn’t thrilled about the Gamestop-exclusiveness on this one.  Fortunately for me, I was able to get one via a convenient trade-in at All Time.  That sure was easy.  He’s a really fun figure of a really fun design, and I’m glad to have added him to the collection.

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

#3176: Clone Trooper Hardcase

CLONE TROOPER HARDCASE

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

 

“Clone Troopers train for combat on the planet Kamino. Kamino is not only the place where the clone troopers are engineered, it is also where they are trained in battle tactics, fighting techniques and explosives. Seasoned clone troopers push the cadets hard to turn them into the toughest and most skilled soldiers in the galaxy.”

The success of Star Wars: The Clone Wars comes from how well they humanized the clone forces of the Republic.  Previous, just a sea of identical cannon fodder, the show went out of its way to name them and give them each a unique personality.  It also gave them plenty of stock for all sorts of Clone Trooper figure variants of all those cool named Clones.  Today, I’m looking at one of those clones, who specifically has a penchant for blasting.  Without further ado, let’s look at Hardcase!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Trooper Hardcase was part of the 2012 “Republic Troopers” Movie Heroes boxed set, under the overall Star Wars: The Clone Wars banner.  The other two clones in the set, were Cutup and the Bomb Squad Trooper.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Hardcase made use of the second major Clone Trooper base body for the line.  This one placed priority on capturing the animation style, rather than full articulation like the earlier base body.  Both bases have the pluses and minuses.  I do quite like how this one looks, but it’s certainly not going to be pulling off the same level of posing as the earlier mold.  Still, there’s plenty of posing to be had with it, more than the early non-Clone figures, even, and it definitely captures the look of the clones in the show very nicely.  Hardcase’s main change-up is the paint scheme.  He’s largely white, but he’s got some nifty blue detailing, matching up with his design in the show.  The application is nicely handled, and there’s even a little bit of simulated weathering to really make it look worn-in.  Hardase is packed with a large blaster rifle, which itself was on its second main sculpt by this time in the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the time this set was released, I was pretty much out of Clone Wars figures in their first run.  But, over the years, I’ve been keeping my eye out for cool Clones as I’ve been able to get ahold of them.  Hardcase wound up getting traded into All Time loose shortly after I started working their full-time, and he wound up being one of my earliest grabs as I was processing the collection.  He’s just the basic clone with some new painted details, but you know what, it’s a good formula, and it made for a lot of really cool figures.

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

#3116: Echo

ECHO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“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”

After a lengthy period of virtually no Black Series stuff to review at all, I’m suddenly finding myself with a bit of a surplus of them, which is certainly far from the worst thing.  So, how about a whole week of them?  I’m picking back up with yet another addition to the titular team of last year’s The Bad Batch.  While all four of the initial members were covered last year, over the course of their Clone Wars arc and their own show, they picked up a few auxiliary members as well.  The Batch’s first mission concerns locating Echo, a member of the Domino Squad who was presumed dead during the events of “The Citadel.”  The Clone Wars Season 7 revealed that Echo had survived, but in a heavily wounded state, which left him with extensive cybernetic replacements, and more than a little bit of trauma.  After being rescued, Echo joined up with Clone Force 99, and served as a full-fledged member for their own show.  He got a pretty kick-ass new design in the process, and that’s always fun for toys.  Let’s check out how that went.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Echo is figure 11 in the Bad Batch sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation.  He’s one of two Bad Batch figures in this specific assortment, and the whole bunch of them are technically the second assortment of the year, and are just starting to trickle out to retail now.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  His articulation is largely the same as the other Batch members, minus the wrist joint on the right arm for obvious reasons.  Additionally, the hip joints are a bit more restricted here, due to the rubber kama, though I did find them a bit more mobile than I’d expected at first glance.  As far as construction goes, Echo has a bit of re-use, with the legs being the same as the updated clone body, albeit with a new set of knee pads.  Beyond that, Echo is an all-new sculpt.  He’s closer to Tech in terms of how he adapts the show design, removing it a little bit more from the animation design, in order to keep it closer the the main line’s more realistic style.  He still retains all of the major design elements, just a little more realistic, which works out pretty well.  I really dig all of the texturing and small detail work, as well as the fact that they’ve actually kept him a little more svelte than the rest of the team, as he was always depicted post-rescue.  Like the rest of the team, Echo gets a removable helmet, though it’s a bit more of an accomplishment this time than the other team members.  On the show, Echo’s built-in headgear actually interfaces with his helmet, in a way that’s such a cheat that they never actually show him taking off the helmet on screen from any angle other than straight ahead (i.e. the angle that doesn’t actually show how the parts interface).  I was honestly expecting either just an alternate head, or some sort of a tweaked design for either the helmet or the head.  Hasbro actually did a pretty solid job of making it work, in almost exactly the way it should work, as seen on screen.  Echo’s paint work is pretty much on par with the rest of the team.  The paint on the face is convincingly lifelike, and there’s some respectable wear and tear on the upper armor.  Echo is packed with his helmet, back pack, a blaster pistol, and a grapple attachment for his right arm.  The pistol can be stowed on his left side, which is appropriate, but he’s unfortunately still without a trigger finger on the left hand, so he can’t quite hold it right.  The grapple is a fun piece overall, but there’s no actual line connecting the two pieces.  It still works as a cool power arm looking thing, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With the core Batch completed earlier this year, I was definitely very excited to get to the add-ons.  Echo is a character I liked from his first appearance way back in Clone Wars, and I loved seeing his character arc evolve through Bad Batch.  His updated design is one of my favorites from the team, and I think it made the jump to toy really, really well.

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

#3046: 501st Legion Clone Trooper

501st LEGION CLONE TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)

“An elite unit of Clone Troopers, the 501st Legion patrolled the grounds after their siege of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant”

Clone Troopers.  They’re, like, one of the back bones of Star Wars.  Yes, it has multiple back bones.  It’s one of those aliens with multiple backs.  And Clone Troopers are one of them.  When in doubt, do some Clone Troopers.  It’s a good motto, especially when it comes to toys.  And one that Hasbro takes pretty well to heart.  Sometimes, they even do those Clone Troopers multiple times.  Also not a bad call, really.  Despite seeming like the perfect avenue for constantly re-releasing clones, their main line of re-releases, the Archive, hasn’t yet had any actual Clone Troopers, just one commander.  But that’s okay, because now we’ve got one.  Yay for new old Clone Trooper!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The 501st Legion Clone Trooper is part of the fifth assortment of the Star Wars: The Black Series Archive line, alongside Episode III Obi-Wan, Darth Revan, and A New Hope Leia.  He’s a re-release of a figure previously only available as part of the Entertainment Earth-exclusive “Clone Troopers of Order 66” boxed set from 2016.  Apart from some minor paint adjustments on the weathering of the armor, the releases are effectively the same, since there’s no face to update with face printing or anything like that.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Since he’s a straight re-release, we’re back on the old Clone body, rather than either of the updated versions.  That means a slight downgrade in terms of how the articulation works, but it’s still certainly passable, so I’ll hardly complain.  The 501st Trooper’s sculpt is shared with all of the other standard Phase II clones.  It’s the Phase I body, with the new helmet piece.  While it’s not quite as accurate as newer releases, it’s still a pretty strong sculpt, even seven years removed from its original release.  It’s not as good as the newer update, but it will fit in just fine with them.  As with any standard rank and file clone, the thing that makes this guy “unique” is the paint work.  It’s quite involved, with detailing not just for the 501st Legion’s distinctive blue markings, but also the wear and tear on the surface of the armor.  The first release of this figure used straight paint for these details, which was a little inconsistent in application, but for this release it’s updated to the printed technique, which gives it some more consistency from piece to piece, and looks just a touch sharper.  The Trooper is packed with his standard smaller blaster, which is accurate to what they carry in the film, as the long rifles are gone by that point.  It does still feel kind of light, but it is what it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was still on my “no prequels” rule for the most part when the set that contained this guy dropped, so I held off at the time.  I grew to rather regret that moving forward, so when he was confirmed for a single-packed re-issue, I was definitely on board.  He’s pretty straight forward.  Nothing new, and perhaps slightly outdated at this point, but it’s exactly what you expect, and by that metric, he does what he needs to exactly on the mark.

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

#3028: Tech

TECH

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Tech is the computer and weapons specialist, the most talkative of the group.  His genetically enhanced brain can puzzle through technical issues at speeds even faster than some droids.”

Remember all the way back in April, when I took a look at the first two members of the titular team of clones from The Bad Batch?  Well, hey, like 10 months later, I finally have another one of them to talk about!  Shway!  In my review of the team’s second member, Crosshair, I discussed how the team members all really fall back on classic action movie team archetypes.  Hunter is the fearless leader, Crosshair is the cold marksman, and today’s focus, Tech, is the resident smart guy.  Go smart guy, go!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tech is figure 04 in the Bad Batch sub-line of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series‘s Phase IV incarnation.  He’s the third member of the actual team in this set, and the second to last of the initial line-up for the crew.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  While the other two members of the team shared a good number of parts with each other, Tech’s more removed, more Scout Trooper-inspired design means that he actually gets an entirely new sculpt.  Thus far, it’s my favorite of the three team sculpts I’ve looked at.  While Hunter and Crosshair stuck a little closer to the actual animation design, Tech does a better job of sort of hybridizing things, meaning he retains all of his distinctive elements from the show, while still really fitting right in with the rest of the standard-release figures.  The only part I’m not crazy about is how they’ve worked the knee joints into the sculpt; I feel like they’re too low on the leg when he’s posed.  Beyond that, it’s all really strong.  There’s a ton of detail work going into his costume elements, and whole bunch of depth to the sculpt.  A number of the armored pieces are separate overlays, adding to this depth quite nicely.  As with the others, Tech features a removable helmet.  It follows the show design quite well, and even includes a posable visor, which is fun.  Under the helmet, there’s a head that looks remarkably like Phil Collins, if I’m honest.  He’s not sporting his signature glasses from the show, but that’s honestly one of those in-show cheats, since he wouldn’t be able to have them under the helmet anyway.  Tech’s paint work is a pretty decent set-up, improving on the other two a bit.  There’s just a lot more going on with the layout of the color work here, and it gives him a lot more to work with.  The underlying head gets the printed technique, which looks good on the sculpt.  Tech is packed with a small blaster, three different tools, and a back pack.  The blaster’s standard issue, and doesn’t actually have a spot for storage, but I’d rather have it than not.  The tools can all be stashed on his belt, where they stay nice and secure.  The back pack is a little loose when plugged into the back, but otherwise it’s a cool piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of the core Bad Batch team, Tech was definitely the one I was looking forward to the most.  I just really like his design, and I was looking forward to seeing it in toy form.  It was a long wait to get him, but I’m really happy with the end result.  Definitely my favorite of the team so far, and just generally one of the best Black Series figures of the more recent offerings.

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

#2844: ARC Trooper Echo

ARC TROOPER ECHO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

First introduced in the first season episode “Rookies,” Domino Squad is a group that The Clone Wars uses to really showcase the general progression of the clones throughout the wars, as well as also hitting home just how bad war can be, seeing as the Squad has a tendency to fall like, well, dominos.  Central to the squad’s early stories are Fives and Echo, the two that have the most advancement of any clones in the show, starting off as mere cadets, and eventually becoming full-fledged ARC Troopers.  Echo himself has gone even further, becoming one of the few Regs to continue his story post-Order 66 as part of Clone Force 99, aka the titular team from The Bad Batch.  This kid’s got some range, let me tell you.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ARC Trooper Echo is another of the four figures in the Target-exclusive Clone Wars-retro assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s the first figure of Echo in the line, though it would be an incredible shock if he were the last, given the incredible prominence of Echo’s updated Bad Batch gear.  As the name signifies, this figure is based on Echo’s ARC Trooper look, which he sported in the “Citadel” arc of the show, which is notably the story that “killed” him, before the final season brought him back.  It’s the look that had the most appearances within the show (prior to The Bad Batch, of course), and it’s his coolest look as a Reg.  Plus, they haven’t done any actual ARC troopers in this scale, so he’s a good reason to introduce the tooling.  It does mean that he doesn’t actually go with any other figures in the line, of course, since he doesn’t match up with the Batch, and he also doesn’t match up with Rex, since Rex was in his Phase I armor still when Echo died, but there are worse things to have to deal with.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Remember how I mentioned the weird mix-up of Hawk retooling Rex’s body into a more basic clone body, rather than using the newly introduced basic clone?  So, you might assume that Echo, with his ARC Trooper gear, would naturally be using the Rex body as well, right?  Nope.  Echo’s on the new basic clone body, with a bunch of stuff tacked onto it.  I know.  It’s weird.  I mean, it’s still a nice body, so I’m not complaining.  I’m just confused, that’s all.  In order to update that standard clone armor into a full ARC Trooper set-up, Echo gets a new set of forearms and lower legs, as well as new add-on pieces for his additional torso gear, as well as his belt, kama, and holsters.  He’s also got a brand new head and helmet to complete the whole set-up.  It’s interesting that he’s got a rubber kama, as opposed to the cloth we’ve gotten for the commanders thus far, but I don’t hate the look, and it doesn’t hold back the articulation too badly.  The unmasked head continues the trend of the unmasked clones not looking all that much like Temuera Morrison, though this one does at least seem to be heading a bit more in the right direction, I suppose.  The helmet sits well on the head, though, which is a definite plus, as some of the others have had a little bit of trouble with that fit.  The rest of the new parts mesh well with the old, and the end result is a quite nicely put together ARC Trooper set-up.  The paint work on Echo is generally pretty decent.  There’s a good deal of variety to it, but the application is generally pretty cleanly handled.  There are some fuzzier edges on a few of the blue lines, but it can be written off to a little bit of wear, to be honest.  He’s got the face printing on the unmasked head, which definitely helps with the likeness, at least a little bit.  And, just to make him properly Echo, he’s got the hand print graffiti, which is always a fun touch.  Echo is pretty well accessorized, getting a long blaster rifle, a short blaster rifle, and two blaster pistols.  He still can’t properly hold both pistols at once, of course, since only the right hand has a trigger finger, but at least you have some options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“Rookies” was the first episode of Clone Wars that really spoke to me, and I’ve long since had a soft spot for Domino Squad, and Echo in particular.  I always liked his story, and I was sad when he was killed off in the “Citadel” arc.  I was very glad to see him brought back in Season 7, and he’s thus far been one of my favorite parts of The Bad Batch.  I hope to get a Batch version of him soon, but I’m also glad to have gotten him in his peak form here.  Sure, he doesn’t match up with anyone at the moment, but hopefully we can at the very least get a Fives to go with him.  Once again, thanks to Max for setting me up with this one.  I wasn’t expecting him to be quite as easily acquired, but I’m happy he was.

#2843: Clone Pilot Hawk

CLONE PILOT HAWK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Store exclusives have been the bane of pretty much every collector’s existence for the last year, because not only has the number of things that are exclusive jumped, but so has the number of people trying to scalp them in order to make a quick buck.  Not helping matters is the general lack of quality distribution when it comes to actually getting them out there, making for an all around just unpleasant experience.  So, there’s definitely a little twinge of anxiety that hits every time a new item is announced, and then also confirmed as an exclusive.  In the case of Star Wars: The Black Series, there’s a whole sub-set of throwback Clone Wars figures, which seemed poised to be the worst thing ever to get, but which now seem to be significantly less so, which I suppose is a good thing.  For me personally, I was most invested in getting the clones, which I have.  I’m starting things off today, with a look at Clone Pilot Hawk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Pilot Hawk is one of the four figures in Target’s exclusive assortment of Clone Wars-retro carded Black Series figures.  He’s the most obscure character in the bunch, to be sure, notably being the only one included who has never had a figure, even in the days of Hasbro’s far more expansive Clone Wars toy line.  Not only did we not get Hawk, we never even got one of the pilots with this specific helmet design, which does feel kind of baffling when you get right down to it.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Now, the fact that Hasbro very recently introduced an all-new basic clone body into the line might lead you to believe that Hawk might, you know, be built on it, what with being kind of a basic clone and all.  However, you’d in fact be a fool to think that, because he’s absolutely not built on that body.  Neither is he built on the old clone body, though, so don’t think that either.  Instead, he’s actually built on the Captain Rex body, for some reason.  I mean, I’m not knocking it.  It’s a good body in its own right, and certainly an improvement on the old clone body, meaning his movement isn’t really restricted like it would have been on that older body.  In fact, his movement’s pretty darn great, so that’s cool.  He gets an all-new head for his unique helmet, as well as a connected breathing device, to signify his pilot nature.  Also, in a far more minor touch, he also gets a new belt, sans the kama and the holsters.  The new parts are nicely crafted, with the helmet in particular being the real star piece here.  It does a quite respectable job of walking the line between animated faithfulness and merging with the realistic style of the line.  I definitely like it a lot.  Hawk’s paintwork is generally pretty nicely handled.  There’s a little bit of slop on the hands on my figure, but he otherwise turned out pretty nicely.  I like the extra markings on the armor, as well as how they’ve weathered them a bit to show that his armor’s been in use.  Hawk is packed with a standard small Clone Trooper blaster.  It’s a little light, but it’s also fairly standard set-up for a pilot figure in this line, so it’s hard to say it’s a surprise.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawk was my only “must have” figure in this set, largely because I’ve just always liked this particular pilot design and it’s literally never gotten a figure before.  I was happy he got a figure, but not so happy that it wound up as an exclusive.  Fortunately, Max was able to help me out with this one, as it wound up being literally the first of the four he saw at retail.  He turned out really nicely, and I’m curious to see if we might actually get some of the other Clone Pilots in the main line now.  Time will tell.

There’s also a bit of a post-Jess segment to this one as well.  This figure is the last figure added to my collection before Jess died.  Max brought him to me during her last week in the hospital, and I had him with me those last few days.  He’s the last new figure I got to show her, and the last figure she got to be excited about me adding to my collection.  I didn’t know that when I got him, but those are the sorts of things you never do know, I guess.  I do know that showing off my new figures to her was one of my very favorite things about collecting in the last eight years, and the items I gotten since all feel a little different, since something’s very definitely missing.  He gets to be my last contact to that feeling, and the last true part of that collection.  My collection post-Jess will be a different one, and I’ll have to figure out how as I move forward.  But this guy’s not going anywhere, I can tell you that much.

#2766: Clone Trooper Lieutenant

CLONE TROOPER LIEUTENANT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Throughout the Clone Wars, Clone Troopers fought the Battle Droids of the Separatists across the galaxy. They were loyal to their Jedi generals and the Supreme Chancellor.”

When introduced in Attack of the Clones, the Clone Troopers originally made use of varying colored stripes in order to differentiate ranks amongst the many identical guys running around during the big battle on Geonosis.  Red were captains, yellow were commanders, green were sergeants, and blue were lieutenants.  Of course, then the final film came along, and pretty much everything of note was done by the all-white regular clones….but it was the thought that counted, right?  When The Black Series‘ first Clone Trooper body was introduced, Hasbro got to work doing the various ranks.  The basic, captain, and sergeant got main-line releases, and the commander was part of a boxed set…and then?  Nothing.  There was a break, and the line eventually got a new clone body.  But before entirely retiring the original body, Hasbro decided to throw some of the longer-term collectors a bone, and actually finish out the original set, with one last release, adding the lieutenant to the ranks after all these years.  That was awfully nice of them, wasn’t it?  And I bet it was super easy to get, too.  Right?  Yeah….

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Clone Trooper Lieutenant is officially the first figure in the Attack of the Clones sub-set of Phase IV of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He was released exclusively through Walgreens, and hit retail at the tail end of last year.  I mean, in theory, at least.  He wasn’t really super widespread or anything.  Granted, he also wasn’t quite as in demand as other Black Series exclusives at the same time, so it was a little hard to track.  It probably could have been worse.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He’s built on that original Clone body, which I reviewed first when I looked at the Sergeant.  It’s got some troubles with the articulation layout, especially on the elbows and shoulders, but it’s far from the worst thing that Hasbro put out.  On top of that, it’s still a pretty nice looking sculpt, so it’s certainly got that going for it.  I very much liked it when it was new, and I still do like it quite a bit, even now, when there’s technically a better option out there.  The main thing that differentiates this guy from the other clones on this body is, of course, the paint.  The lieutenants were blue, which is a very nice, and also very familiar look for clones.  The actual shade of blue here’s not really right; the lieutenants were a lighter shade of blue, in contrast to the darker shade of blue that became more common with the 501st troopers.  So, this one’s technically not quite right.  Of course, the Lieutenants are largely theoretical in the films anyway, so it’s not really the end of the world there, I suppose.  Just sort of odd.  I do like that they changed him up ever so slightly from the others in terms of how the paint was applied, giving him a little bit more wear on his paint.  He looks like he’s actually made it through a battle or two, which is cool.  Like all versions of this mold, he’s packed with the two different blaster rifles.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this figure was unveiled, I was excited, then not.  Partially, it was the reveal that he was an exclusive, and partially it was that he was on the old body.  I opted not to really go hunting for him, since I’m expecting he’ll probably get updated to the new body at some point.  However, when one of them came into All Time via a trade, I did find it a lot harder to say no, and ultimately didn’t.  That’s how I’m reviewing him, and all.  He’s not breaking molds, or doing anything new, and honestly, he’s actually a bit inaccurate, but he’s still a clone, and clones are just usually a lot of fun.  This one’s really not different, there.  He’s fun.  And he’s blue.  And that’s pretty cool.

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.

#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.