#1589: Cassian Andor, Imperial Deathtrooper Specialist, & Jyn Erso

CASSIAN ANDOR, IMPERIAL DEATHTROOPER SPECIALIST, & JYN ERSO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

 

There was one major piece of Rogue One merchandise I haven’t yet gotten around to reviewing.  It was sitting there in the store, staring at me, waiting, watching, and….uh, waiting.  Sorry, didn’t have a third “w” word, there.  Anyway, I finally have said piece of merchandise, so, without further ado, here’s this set with Cassian, Jyn, and a Deathtrooper!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This three pack was a Target-exclusive, and started hitting shelves about a month after the main Rogue One product launch.  Of the three figures included, only Cassian is a truly unique figure.  The Deathtrooper has some minor tweaks as well, but Jyn is exactly the same as both her standard and SDCC-exclusive releases.

CASSIAN ANDOR

“An accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer with combat field experience, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his Rebel troops with his ability to keep a cool head under fire and complete his missions with minimal resources.”

Despite his placement in a big exclusive set, the Cassian seen here is the standard version of the character, seen most frequently throughout the movie.  It was oddly scarce in the initial product launch, but by the end of all the Rogue One product, it did end up fairly well represented.  It’s definitely the selling point of this release.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  His head is shared with the Eadu version, which admittedly wasn’t the best Cassian sculpt we got, but it looks a little bit better here than it did on that figure.  The rest of the figure is a unique sculpt, and it’s a definite improvement over the Eadu look.  The details are generally a lot sharper, especially on the jacket, and the overall aesthetics just seem to flow a bit better.  He’s still a little bulky for Luna, but not as bad as the Eadu figure.  The movement is a lot better as well, thanks to the slightly less restrictive design.  Just like the sculpt, the paint on this Cassian is a marked improvement on the last figure.  The face is still a bit off, especially the beard, but it’s definitely a step up.  The eyebrows are less caterpillar-like, and the scruff is a little more reserved, so that’s a plus.  The rest of the body is pretty solid overall.  There’s a little bit of fuzz in a few spots (like the tops of his boots), but generally it’s pretty sharp.  Like his oh-so-awesome small-scale counterpart, this Cassian is packed with his modular blaster rifle, which maintains the oh-so-awesome-ness.

IMPERIAL DEATHTROOPER SPECIALIST

“The elite soldiers of Imperial Intelligence, Death Troopers are encased in specialized stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam.  These soldiers serve as bodyguards and enforcers for Director Krennic, a highly placed officer within the Advanced Weapons Research division of the Empire.”

For the most part, this is a figure I’ve looked at before, back when it was just the standard Deathtrooper.  But, apparently, as a “Specialist,” this guy is entitled to a whole web gear load out, with a shoulder pauldron, some ammo pouches, and a bunch of grenades.  It’s a cool piece, and totally removable, should you just want the standard Deathtrooper.  Beyond that, his sculpt, paint, and accessories load out is the same as the basic variant.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on this set when it was new, because paying the cost of three figures and only getting one I actually wanted seemed a bit much.  Just after the new year, however, Target got around to marking the set down, to about the cost of a standard Black Series figure. That brought into a reasonable range for me, so I finally got it.  I’m glad I finally got this Cassian; he’s definitely my go-to figure of the character.  I’m also not unhappy about the Deathtrooper variant, though I can’t say it’s the sort of figure I would have paid full retail for.  Ultimately, I think bundling Cassian into this three-pack was a mistake, and I think the fact that the set ended up on such deep clearance speaks to that.  I get Hasbro’s desire to get as many Jyns as possible out there, but this exclusive really would have worked much better as a two-pack with Cassian and the Trooper.  Three times was just one time too many for the standard Jyn to get a straight re-release.

The Blaster In Question #0022: Imperial Death Trooper Blaster

IMPERIAL DEATH TROOPER BLASTER

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Alright guys, this is your warning: the Star Wars reviews are coming.  Lots of them.  You might be aware that recently, the “Force Friday” promotional event took place.  Well, I went to the midnight opening of the local TRU to help Ethan snag at least some of the new arrivals and boy did he snag.  Now that that’s out of the way, I figured today would be an appropriate time to take a look at one of Nerf’s offerings from the previous Force Friday.  So let’s take a look at the signature weapon of one of the most over-hyped class of trooper from Rogue One, the Imperial Death Trooper Blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Death Trooper Blaster was released in 2016 as a promotion for the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  The blaster uses a 3-barrel smart AR with a pump action prime.  The shell of the blaster is completely original tooling and does a good job conveying the look of the E-11D blaster rifle seen in the film.  This particular series of Star Wars tie-in blasters were the first to incorporate the “Glowstrike” feature which would activate lights inside the blaster to shine on special Glowstrike darts with glow in the dark bodies.  The end result of this was having the darts themselves glow as they were fired, producing a laser blast kind of effect.  In the case of the DTB, the lights are activated when the priming slide is pulled back, and deactivated following the trigger pull.  We’ve seen similar gimmicks implemented before going all the way back to the N-Strike Firefly REV-8 but this version seems to be the best iteration we’ve had so far.  Also, new to the Star Wars branded products, starting with this line, was the added lights and sounds when the trigger is pulled, adding further to the feeling of firing a laser blaster.  Pulling the trigger of the DTB plays the sound clip of a laser blast and causes a couple red LEDs along the top of the barrel to flash in succession.  It’s nothing terribly special and I was extremely skeptical when I found out it was a feature that couldn’t be turned off, but having played with it thoroughly enough, it does add a bit of enjoyment having a blaster that makes its own sound effects instead of making them myself.  I do still make them myself from time to time, though.  The lights and sounds as well as the Glowstrike feature require 3 AAA batteries to work, which, conveniently, come installed in the blaster.  Actually firing the blaster can be done entirely without batteries, but at that point it just becomes like any other Nerf blaster.  The DTB has an attachment rail on the top of the blaster and a stock attachment in the rear.  It should be noted that mine is the standard red version, but the TRU exclusive comes with a bright green color scheme as well as matching scope and stock accessories.  As just the blaster, it has a nice compact feel, almost like it could pass as an oversized pistol.  Everything feels comfortable and solid in the hand.  Admittedly, it is still a rather large blaster for only 3 shots, and like with many tie-in products, performance is a hair below par for more core Nerf lines.  This is definitely an indoor blaster, and while it doesn’t shoot quite as far or hard as blasters from the Elite series, the flashing lights and laser sound effects leave quite an impression when bursting into your sibling’s room to dispense Imperial justice.  The red version of the Imperial Death Trooper Blaster comes with 3 Glowstrike Star Wars branded darts and 3 AAA batteries installed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I think this particular release of Star Wars Nerf is the best example of how my opinion of something in theory can be completely different from my opinion of it in practice.  Like I said, I was expecting to hate the blasters given that they all made pew pew noises and there was no off switch for it.  Having had them for a year at this point, I can say they are some of the easiest and most fun to just pick up and pew pew around my house with.

#1343: Imperial Death Trooper

IMPERIAL DEATH TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The elite soldiers of Imperial Intelligence, Death Troopers are encased in specialized stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam and serve as bodyguards and enforcers for Director Krennic.”

Man, for being so elite, these guys didn’t exactly amount to much, did they?  Well, it’a not really their fault, I guess.  At their core, they’re still just Imperial Stormtroopers, aren’t they?  And these guys do manage to hit at least a few of their targets.  Good for them.  Like any good faceless Star Wars troop, they also make for really great toy fodder, so hey, here’s another Imperial Death Trooper figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Death Trooper is part of the small, four figure assortment of Rogue One-themed small scale Star Wars: The Black Series figures, which were released exclusively at Walmart back at the end of last year.  This is one of the two troop builders in the assortment, which makes it slightly more difficult to find (though not as difficult as the Shoretrooper, let me tell you).  The figure stands just over 4 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  As with all of the figures in this assortment, the articulation is a marked improvement over the Force Awakens figures from the prior year, especially on the legs.  That being said, I did find the Death Trooper to be the most difficult to pose of the three I’ve got.  It’s possible that’s due to the character design, though.  The sculpt is all-new to this particular figure, and it’s a pretty great rendition of the unique Death Trooper armor from the movie.  The lankiness of the character is a little more down-played here, which I think is for the best.  There’s an add-on with a pauldron and web gear, denoting that this guy’s a slightly different variation of the Death Trooper than I’ve looked at before.  I believe this makes him a squad leader.  Anyway, the extra gear is pretty cool, and adds something new to this guy.  It’s also easily removable, should you just want a basic Death Trooper, which makes him really great for army building.  The paint on this guy is pretty straight forward; for the most part, he’s just molded in black, but there’s some slight detailing here and there to help break things up a bit.  The application is all pretty clean, and he looks like he does in the movie.  The Death Trooper includes his standard larger blaster, as well as the smaller blaster pistol we saw with the larger Black Series figure as well.  Both are pretty well sculpted pieces, though he does have a little trouble holding the rifle (though it’s nowhere near as bad as the First Order Stormtrooper from Series 2).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my reviews of Jyn and Cassian, when I didn’t find any of these guys back in December/January, I had resigned myself to never getting them.  When I found the other two, I still resigned myself to never getting either of the troopers, since the army builders would have no doubt cleaned out all of the supplies long ago.  But, while in Seattle with Super Awesome Girlfriend and her family, I found this guy at one of the nearby Walmarts.  He’s pretty cool, and like the other two, I think he’s the best version of the character out there.  Now, if I could just find the Shoretrooper….

#1091: Imperial Death Trooper

IMPERIAL DEATH TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

deathtrooper1

Picking up from yesterday’s intro, today marks the second of the two character designs to be featured in both the larger and smaller scale Rogue One lines from Hasbro.  To be fair to the Death Trooper, though, this is currently his only single-release figure, which certainly has some added appeal, doesn’t it?  Yeah, I’m sorry guys, I don’t have a lot of stuff I can say here, not having seen the movie and all.  Let’s just take a look at the figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

deathtrooper2The Imperial Death Trooper is part of the first set of Rogue One-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures, and he’s figure #25, making him the fourth figure in the set.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  While he doesn’t quite have the range of K-2, the posablity on this guy is a marked improvement over the First Order Troopers we got last year, and he doesn’t feel like he compromises his look for movement either, like the original trooper did.  Right off the bat, this Death Trooper doesn’t feel quite as insanely skinny as his small-scale counterpart.  He’s still more svelte than the average figure, but in a more realistic and believable way, which I think makes his whole design just look a tad better.  The detailing on the armor is nice and sharp, and there are plenty of extra details not seen on the smaller figure.  Getting a closer look at the armor, the Death Trooper really does feel like it belongs somewhere between the clones and the Stormtroopers chronologically.  Now, whether it’s actually supposed to be in-between is another matter entirely, but I like the shared elements.  It makes him fit in very well.  I also like the Darth Vader-style belt, which, as small as it is, still really sells the time period these guys come from.  I’m still not 100% sold on these guys fitting into the Original Trilogy timeline, but we’ll see how the movie handles it.  The paint on the Death Trooper is actually pretty impressive, especially when compared to the rather low level of detailing on the smaller figure.  There’s a ton of great little accent work on the armor (including a very slight green tint to the lenses on the helmet), and there’s even  noticeable difference between the finish on the armor and the underlying bodysuit.  The Death Trooper includes a large, shotgun-style gun (same as the smaller figure), as well as a smaller blaster, which is actually one of the available pistols in the latest Battlefront game.  Both guns are pretty cool, though, like Cassian’s blaster, I do wish they had a little bit of paint on them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed the Death Trooper at the TRU midnight opening.  I made it a point to grab Jyn, Cassian, and K-2, but I moved onto the 3 3/4 inch figures before securing this guy, and by the time I got back, there were none of him left.  Fortunately, Target saved the day the following morning, placing him right at the front of the big display near the store’s entrance.  I wasn’t sure about the Death Trooper’s design at first, but the figure is definitely amongst the strongest in the initial assortment of products.

#1087: Rebel Commando Pao & Imperial Death Trooper

REBEL COMMANDO PAO & IMPERIAL DEATH TROOPER

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE

paudeathtrooper1

Today I’ll be wrapping up the 3 3/4 inch half of my Rogue Friday reviews.  On my plate today, I’ve got another weird new alien and another new Imperial Trooper.  Commando Pao doesn’t look like he’s going to be big part of the movie, but judging by the marketing, I think it’s safe to say the Imperial Death Troopers will be.  These guys have been on everything, including the top of all the small-scale figure packaging.  Which makes it a bit surprising that the only way to get them in the smaller line so far is via the two-pack I’m reviewing today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Pau and the Death Trooper are the last set in the first series of battle-packs from Hasbro’s smaller Star Wars: Rogue One line.

REBEL COMMANDO PAO

paudeathtrooper2As with a lot of the characters from this movie, not a whole lot is known about Pao.  According to his bio, he’s “an amphibious Drababta,” whatever that is.  Pao is one of the shorter figures in the line, standing about 3 1/2 inches tall.  He’s got the usual joints at the shoulders and hips, but in place of the usual neck joint, Pao gets a set of two joints that allow his mouth to open and close.  It’s actually pretty well designed, and it allows him to look up and down just a little bit too.  Pao’s sculpt is very nicely rendered, with lots of really great detail work, especially in the wrinkles on his jacket.  It’s also nice that they were able to work the mouth movement in without really messing up his face sculpt too bad. He looks to be pretty accurate to what we’ve seen of Pao so far.  Pao’s paintwork is quite nicely handled.  His color scheme is rather muted, and fits well with the other Rebels we’ve seen, as well as those from the original trilogy.  The application is pretty good for the scale, and the eyes are actually far better looking than most of Hasbro’s humans from this same line.  There’s some slight slop here and there, but nothing beyond what you’d expect in a mass produced toy at this scale.  Pao includes a backpack (which is very similar in design to the ones we see the Rebels wearing on Hoth in the second film), as well as a blaster rifle.

IMPERIAL DEATH TROOPER

paudeathtrooper3The Death Trooper is sort of a concept that’s been popping up since very early in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, going back to the Black Hole Troopers in the 1978 Star Wars newspaper strip, and has shown up as recently as Star Wars: Battlefront with the Shadow Troopers.  Simply put, it’s an elite subset of Stormtroopers denoted by their black armor.  The Death Trooper marks the first time this concept has been used in the “official” cannon, however, so that’s cool.  The Death Trooper stands a little over 4 inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation (though the right hip joint on my figure is stuck).  This is one of the taller figures in the line (with only K-2 and Moroff outpacing him), but he’s also one of the skinniest, which has been a point of contention for a lot of the fanbase.  Director Gareth Edwards has commented that he purposefully cast very tall, skinny actors for the parts of the Death Troopers, in order to give them a more menacing look.  That being said, this figure seems even skinnier than the images we’ve seen so far of the Death Troopers in the film, which makes him look a little comical.  He’s not awful or anything.  In fact, the detail work on the figure is rather impressive, especially on the helmet and the underlying bodysuit.  He just looks like he skipped a few lunches.  Or like he has the same metabolism as me.  The Death Trooper’s paint is fairly lax, with only s little bit of silver here and there and the two spots of green at the very front of his helmet.  It’s a good look, though, and everything has been applied pretty cleanly.  The Death Trooper includes his unique new blaster rifle, as well as another big missile launcher thing, which is particularly comical here, since he can’t really stand up with it on.  The clear green missiles are cool, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so I didn’t get these guys at the TRU midnight opening, or even at Target the next morning.  I saw the set both times and just left it there.  Not sure why really.  I ended up coming across it again while running some errands at the end of the weekend, and I guess the third time was the charm.  I actually quite like this set, though, like the Moroff/Scarif Squad Leader set, it’s not for the reasons I though I’d like it initially.  I bought this for the Death Trooper, and he’s cool, but I think Pao is the real star here.  A lot of really strong work has been put into him, and he’s just a really fun figure.

rogueonew1