#3276: Plo Koon

PLO KOON

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“A member of the Jedi Council and an intrepid warrior descended from a long line of Jedi Knights, Plo Koon has fought in many battles in the Clone Wars. An imposing figure, he wears special protective goggles and an antiox mask on oxygen-rich worlds.”

Clone Wars placed a lot of effort into building up and fleshing out the clones, but it also did the same for a lot of the Prequel Trilogy’s Jedi Knights.  By and large, they’d just been background fillers with cool looks, but the show really ran with some of them, making them fully crafted characters in their own right.  A particular favorite of the show was Plo Koon, who got quite a fair bit of focus throughout the show’s run, pretty much right from the get-go.  Unsurprisingly, he was added to the tie-in toyline quite quickly after the show’s launch, as the line’s first non-core Jedi release.  Not bad for ol’ Plo!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Plo Koon was figure 14 in Hasbro’s Clone Wars tie-in line.  He was the second figure in the line’s third assortment, the fourth Jedi, and the first proper alien in the line’s run.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He predates the line giving the Jedi improved articulation to match the clones, so he’s unfortunately lacking much mobility below the waist.  They did at least try to offset things by making his pose just a little more dynamic than Obi-Wan and Anakin’s had been, so he wasn’t quite as static looking.  The arms also retained a lot of movement, so there was still plenty that could be done with him.  Plo’s sculpt was an all-new one, and it was a very nice one at that.  After the first few assortments being just a little bit off in terms of animation accuracy, this one actually looked a lot more on point.  The head in particularly really captures his show design, and the whole thing is very clean and sharp.  There’s also a nice, dynamic flair to the lower portion of his robes, which really aids in making him look a little more action-oriented, as well as making it a bit easier to pose the legs at the hips.  Plo’s paint work is pretty solid.  There’s a lot of rather basic work on the main body, but the head and hands get a nice bit of accenting to bring out some of the textures, and he’s also got some pretty cool small detail work on his gauntlets.  Plo was packed with two different versions of his hood (up or down), two different lightsabers, and a lightsaber gauntlet.  The hood adds some nice variety (or would if I wasn’t missing the one that’s up), and the gauntlet re-uses an old RotS concept in a new and fun way.  You could even plug his standard sabers into the back for a four saber set-up!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Plo’s early focus episodes were some of my favorites when the show first launched, and I’d always been interested by the character in the Prequels, so I was anxious to see him get added to this line back in the day.  I recall actively looking for this one, and being very excited to add him to my collection.  Though he’s more restricted on the articulation front, he’s otherwise still a really cool figure, and probably my favorite Jedi from the line, even after all this time.

#3271: Clone Pilot Odd Ball

CLONE PILOT ODD BALL

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Clone Pilot Odd Ball, who received his nickname during advanced training, has participated in many significant missions in the Clone Wars. Odd Ball is a starfighter pilot trained in flying V-19 Torrent starfighters, ARC-170 fighters and other standard Republic fighters.”

When they first appeared in Attack of the Clones, the Clone Troopers were completely interchangeable and devoid of any distinct traits or personalities.  Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars expanded on them a little bit, but only a little.  Revenge of the Sith went further by giving a few of them names, but it was really just commanders, and, again, any personality or the like was largely absent.  When the second Clone Wars launched, its creators much more quickly went to work making the clones into actual characters.  In many cases, they were working with all-new characters, but they also went back and filled in a little more with the small handful of named clones we’d gotten in Sith as well.  Today’s focus, Clone Pilot Odd Ball began as little more than a cameo in RotS’s opening dogfight.  He didn’t get a *ton* to do in Clone Wars, but it was certainly more than he’d had previously.  And he also got a figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Pilot Odd Ball was figure 11 in Hasbro’s Clone Wars tie-in line.  He was one of the four new figures in the line’s second assortment.  While he sports the name “Odd Ball”, his design is also just a fairly basic Clone Pilot, which allowed Hasbro the opportunity to do one of those, while still providing another named character for the line.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Odd Ball was largely a re-use of the standard Clone Trooper body.  It makes sense, since they would have the same build and armor, and Odd Ball has minimal unique pieces on the armor.  It’s still a really good base as well, so it’s hard to really go wrong with a figure on this set-up.  His head is a modified version of the standard helmet sculpt, now with the extra pilot gear.  It wasn’t quite as show accurate as later helmet sculpts, but I think it still made for a nice translation.  In contrast to the prior standard clone, Odd Ball’s armor is without the heavy wash, making it look far cleaner.  It makes a good degree of sense, since you wouldn’t imagine that the guy in the ship would get nearly as dirty as the trooper on the ground.  The rest of the paint is basic, but covers all the bases, and he looks pretty sharp.  Odd Ball was packed with the smaller blaster rifle, as well as a rocket launcher and missile.  They were the same ones from the standard Clone, but without the silver detailing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t remember anything special about Odd Ball’s acquisition.  I remember seeing him a few times before actually getting him, and finally breaking when there were a few other Clones to go along.  He’s never really been one of my favorites from the line or anything, but he’s a solid by the numbers release, and he had a lot of appeal being a pretty basic pilot and all.

#3269: Ahsoka Tano

AHSOKA TANO

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Anakin’s padawan Ahsoka both amuses and exasperates her master with her plucky attitude and impertinent comments. She is tasked with keeping Jabba’s son safe as she and Anakin try to escape their attackers. She affectionately nicknames the child “stinky” because of his odor, the characteristic stench given off by the Hutt species.”

Before she was the glue that holds the non-film Star Wars canon together, Ahsoka Tano was the obnoxious tag-along kid sidekick added to The Clone Wars purely for kid appeal.  Also, she was the worst thing ever to happen to the franchise.  Worse than Jar Jar.  Worse than the Ewoks.  Worse than Bea Arthur.  But, it’s okay, because she’s had like 30 other things replace her as the “worst thing in the franchise.”  Also, her writing improved by leaps and bounds very quickly, and by the end of Clone Wars, she and the other all-new central character for the show, Captain Rex, had firmly become the heart of the series.  Today, I’m jumping back to her very first figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ahsoka Tano was figure 9 in the 2008 Clone Wars line-up.  She headed up the second assortment of the line, which hit a little bit after the movie and series had dropped, and added not only Ahsoka, but also the previously reviewed Commander Cody, Clone Pilot Oddball, and the Super Battle Droid, as well as mixing in the cleaned up variants of Rex and the standard Clone Trooper.  She was based on Ahsoka’s initial look on the show, since that was all they had to go by at this point.  The figure stands 3 1/4 inches tall and she has 18 points of articulation.  While Ahsoka looses out on the elbow joints that the other Jedi got early in the line (largely due to her arms simply not being large enough to sustain the joint construction), she gets a quite literal leg up on the other early Jedi by gettin full knee and ankle movement, which made her surprisingly posable for this point in the line.  Her sculpt was an all-new one, as expected.  It wound up getting re-used a few times for boxed sets and deluxe releases while this was still her main look on the show.  It’s a pretty solid offering, and does a respectable job of capturing her younger animation model.  As with all of the early line releases, she’s a little more rounded and “real world” in her proportions, but the general feel of the character is still very much there.  This marked the line’s first venture into mixed media, as she gets a cloth skirt in order to maximize posability on the hips.  Ahsoka’s paint work is pretty decently handled.  I especially like how the markings on the face look.  There was a variant to the paint as well on this figure.  Early versions were without the eyelashes, while the later releases added them.  Mine is the later one, and it’s for the better; the eyes are just framed much better.  Ahsoka is packed with her lightsaber, Jabba’s son Rotta, and a backpack for carrying Rotta around.  The Rotta figure is pretty fun; he’s got posable arms, and he sits really nicely in the pack.  It’s a very inventive accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I will admit, I wasn’t sold on Ahsoka early in the show’s run, but she grew on me fairly quickly, and I liked her well enough to want a figure of her by the end of the first season’s run.  Of course, her figure was pretty scarce at the beginning, so it was probably until about the end of 2009 or so that I finally was able to get her.  Towards the end of my senior of high school, I used most of my spare cash for Clone Wars figures, and she was one of those figures.  She’s pretty solid for an early offering for the line, and I think she still holds up really well.

#3259: Antoc Merrick

ANTOC MERRICK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Antoc Merrick commands Yavin 4’s starfighters before the Battle of the Death Star, flying as Blue Leader”

Originally, during A New Hope‘s climactic trench run on the Death Star, the color-coded squadron of pilots joined by Luke was not supposed to be red, as seen in the final film, but blue.  However, when the production realized that the blue-screen effects they were using for the space sequences would result in all of the blue markings on the ships being replaced by the background, the squadron was switched to red, with the intended back-up squadron going from red to gold, and Blue Squadron winding up shelved.  With the advancement of special effects over the years, Blue Squadron has shown back up in other forms, including in Rogue One, where Blue Squadron is more or less wiped out during the final battle on Scarif, thus explaining their absence from A New Hope.  The squadron is lead in the film by Antoc Merrick, who’s a cool dude who got far too little action figure coverage when the original Rogue One product hit.  Have no fear, the second round of product is here!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Antoc Merrick is one of two Target-exclusive Star Wars The Black Series figures released for the Rogue One sub-set from earlier this year.  He is figure 8 in the overall Rogue One line-up, making him the second numerically of the two exclusives.  The figure stands a little bit under 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  For the most part, this figure is re-using parts from the original Pilot Luke body (which I reviewed when it was used for Wedge), but he actually swaps out the arms for the ones from the Snowspeeder Pilot Luke, so as to give Antoc his proper gloves.  The Luke body’s technically a touch short for Merrick, whose actor Ben Daniels is closer to 6 feet tall, but given that he’s a much more minor player, I suppose expecting a totally new pilot body just for him is probably a bit much.  It’s at least a decent sculpt, and the alternate arms mix things up a little bit from Luke and Wedge.  He doesn’t get the proper collar piece from the movie, but it’s otherwise fairly accurate, and the collar’s honestly quite minor.  Antoc gets an all-new head sculpt, which sports a respectable enough likeness of Daniels in the role, although it does seem a little too large for the body.  Antoc’s color work is a nice change of pace for the pilots, since it’s predominantly blue.  The paint work is generally pretty basic, but it’s got some solid application, and the face printing works well.  Antoc is packed with his helmet and a blaster pistol, which have become the standard pilot offerings.  The pistol looks to be the same one included with Luke, while the helmet is, curiously enough, the Snowspeeder version of the mold, which is a bit smaller than the X-Wing version.  It makes getting the piece onto Antoc’s head rather tricky, since the sizing doesn’t work quite right.  It’s at least a very nicely painted piece, and it makes for a decent thing for him to hold.  Given he’s not likely to get an X-Wing to pilot at this scale, having him hold the helmet seems more appropriate anyway, but it’s still odd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve honestly been hoping for an Antoc Merrick in some form or another since Rogue One hit theatres.  He’s a minor character, but a cool enough one that he caught my attention.  I was always a little bummed that the basic line never got to him.  I wasn’t super thrilled by him being an exclusive, as I’m not really going out of my way to track any of them down these days, but I happened to find him in store right as Target was doing that crazy markdown on all of their figures, so I got him at $12, which is a price that I really couldn’t say no to.  He’s not a game changer or anything, but he’s nifty, and I do like actually having him.  Hey, another pilot for the shelf!

#3257: Axe Woves

AXE WOVES

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A skilled warrior, Axe Woves is loyal to Bo-Katan and is a member of a band of Clan Kryze Mandalorians striking back at the Imperial remnant”

When Bo-Katan Kryze made her first appearance in live action during The Mandalorian‘s second season, she was accompanied by two other Mandalorians: Koska Reeves and another guy.  Today, we delve into the other guy.  Okay, the other guy actually does have a name: it’s Axe Woves.  That’s a name that’s really just peak Star Wars naming, honestly.  And it really should be, since Axe was actually named by none other than George Lucas himself, who named Bo-Katan’s then un-named Lieutenant during a set visit whilst Season 2 was in production.  Unlike Koska, who re-appeared alongside Bo-Katan for Season’s finale, Axe has thus far only appeared in the one episode, but is rumored for a Season 3 return.  Perfect time for some action figure coverage.  Let’s take a look at that, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Axe Woves is part of the first main assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series‘s 2023 line-up.  Clearly, he’s a little early.  It’s okay, so’s pretty much everything else.  He’s part of the Mandalorian sub-set of the line, of course, and he’s figure 25 in that numbering scheme.  The figure stands roughly 6 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  In terms of construction, Axe is largely built on the bank of parts first seen on the Death Watch Mandalorian from earlier this year.  He keeps the same articulation scheme from that release, which is to say that he poses pretty well, and certainly on-par with a modern Black Series figure.  Axe gets two new pieces thrown into the mix, a new un-helmeted head and a new belt/lower abdomen add-on.  It’s otherwise just the Death Watch Mando, which is fair, since there are a number of shared armor pieces between the two.  The new head sculpt bears a passable resemblance to actor Simon Kassianides (who, it should be noted, has an oddly close resemblance to the Saga-era Jango Fett head sculpts), though it’s not as spot-on as other sculpts in the line.  Axe’s paint work pretty decent for the most part; it’s on par with other recent offerings, and there’s some rather nice weathering to the armor.  The only slight misstep is the face paint, which, at least on my copy, has the eyes set ever so slightly higher than they should be.  It’s not crazy, but it’s definitely off.  Thankfully, amongst his accessories is his distinctive Mando helmet, which is a re-use of newer Boba Fett mold.  It doesn’t sit quite as well on this figure’s head, but it overall works.  He’s also packed with his jet pack and a small blaster pistol, both of which are re-used molds.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Once we had both Bo-Katan and Koska, it was just a waiting game for Axe, since it’s not like they’re gonna leave one Mando undone, right?  Axe is exactly the sort of background character that would fascinate me in older Star Wars entries, and that came through on the newer stuff too.  I dig his look, I dig his name, and I dig the background behind it all.  He’s not a perfect figure, but he’s a pretty fun one, and a good by-the-numbers offering.

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.

#3255: Protocol Droid – Holiday Edition

PROTOCOL DROID — HOLIDAY EDITION

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Protocol droids like C-3PO are vital in smoothing differences encountered by the many farflung cultures interacting on a regular basis throughout the galaxy. Most are humanoid, like the company they keep.”

‘Twas two nights before Christmas and all through the house, Ethan was reviewing something festive two days before the actual holiday because both Christmas Eve and Day fall on the weekend this year, and he’s not doing reviews those days anymore.  Okay, maybe that version’s not quite as catchy as Clement Clarke Moore’s.  But I still think it’s got potential.  Look, the point of it all is that I’m gonna do this whole holiday cheer thing.  I’m cheerful, dang it.  So, please look at this overly commercialized cash grab product review as proof.  For the cheer.  And the jolly.  Perhaps even some whimsy.  Since 1978’s “The Star Wars Holiday Special,” the Star Wars franchise has been cashing in on the holiday cheer, though on the toy side of things it’s a more recent development.  Hasbro had a solid run of one-off holiday offerings in the early ’00s, but took a bit of a breather, before returning to it in 2020 with a whole mess of themed figures under their Black Series branding.  They were each exclusive to a different retailer, and were generally a bit of a pain to track down, so I avoided most of them.  This year’s follow-ups, however, included a Fan Channel offering, and so I’m taking a look at a delightfully festive Protocol Droid today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Holiday Edition Protocol Droid is one of the five 2022 Holiday Edition offerings for Black Series.  He’s a Fan Channel exclusive, and started shipping out in early November of this year.  He’s apparently got no official name, which, if I’m honest, feels like a missed opportunity.  Why no fun little in-joke with the naming?  For shame.  Oh well.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  In contrast to the most recent Protocol Droids we’ve gotten from The Black Series, the Holiday Protocol is built on the first iteration of the C-3PO mold.  It’s generally not a bad mold, but this older version means that this release lacks the added elbow articulation that all figures post 4-LOM have gotten.  It’s a little bit of a bummer.  Not the end of the world, but a bummer to be sure after getting the improved arms on so many figures.  In order to mix things up and go just a tad more festive with the mold, the Holiday Protocol gets a scarf piece, courtesy of Lando. Beyond that, the change-ups are all paint.  This guy’s been done up in a variety of red, white, and green, which all feels appropriately festive.  On one hand, I’m a little sad we didn’t get any of the ugly sweater patterning that the troopers have been getting, but on the other, I can appreciate this one going with a different angle.  I do really like the striped “socks,” and this printing on the scarf is certainly a lot of fun.  Each of the Holiday Edition figures is packed with a smaller companion, and in the case of the Protocol Droid, it’s a re-decoed BD-1, who’s been done up to match the Protocol Droid.  He’s the same mold as the Fallen Order releases, which is honestly a pretty great mold, and he’s probably my favorite thing about this set.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve passed on the other Holiday figures up to now, since, as I touched on in the intro, I didn’t really feel like hunting them down.  This year was pretty much the same deal, but since this one was going through Fan Channels, I had the opportunity to get one through work.  I don’t know that he’s really my preferred of this year’s offerings, but he was easy to get, and that’s really what matters, right?  The main droid’s okay.  He’s kitschy and goofy, but that’s what I expected.  BD-1 kind of steals the show here, but that’s just kind of the history of that mold, now isn’t it?  And that’s all I got until after the holiday.  Have a good one everybody!

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.

 

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0019: Han Solo

HAN SOLO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)

Check this out!  Doing three whole Flashback Friday Figure Addendums in one year!  I haven’t actually done that since I launched them in 2017.  Weird.  It’s once again a Black Series figure that’s getting the treatment, thanks to Hasbro going back and redoing a lot of the pre-face-printing figures with the appropriate upgrades.  The last few I’ve looked at have been from the main line, but today I’m switching over to their Archive line, with my first Archive figure that I actually got the first time around.  So, let’s look at The Force Awakens Han Solo, whose original release I looked at back in March of 2016.

A lot of (very much deserved) praise has been heaped on the new cast members introduced in the Force Awakens, but one of the coolest things about the movie was the return of some of the “old guard” from the Original Trilogy. The most prominent returning hero by far was everyone’s favorite scuffy-lookin’ nerf-herder, Han Solo. For a number of reasons, Han, along with most of the other returning characters, was absent from the first few waves of Force Awakens product, but the merch based on him is starting to hit in full storm. Today, I’ll be looking at his much anticipated Black Series figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han was released in the fifth series of the latest iteration of Star Wars: The Black Series. He’s marked as number 18 in the line, which makes him the last figure in this particular series numerically. The figure stands just over 6 inches tall (which is the same as his A New Hope figure) and has 27 points of articulation. Some of the movement, most notably his hips, is a little restricted, but he can certainly pull off just about any pose that the real Harrison Ford can. Han’s sculpt is totally new, and it’s an amazing piece of work. The proportions look great, certainly better than the last Han, and the detail work on the clothing is just fantastic. The jacket in particular has some amazing texture work, which adds a lot of character to the figure. The shirt and underlying belt are a little on the soft side, and I’m not sure I’m a fan of the pose on his left hand, but those are my only real complaints. The real draw of this sculpt is the likeness. Harrison Ford has a notoriously hard to capture likeness, but this is perhaps the best one we’ve ever seen. There are a few angles where it looks a bit off, but the overall appearance is very close. Now, you may be thinking that, based on the pictures, he really doesn’t look as close as I’m saying. Well, here’s where the paint comes in. For the most part, the paint’s great. The clothing (particularly the coat) has some really great work, which really sells this as a real person. My first nit is the eyes; they aren’t terrible, but they’re a little sloppier than I’d like. However, the major issue here is the hair. The application of the paint is alright, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s simply the wrong color. Instead of being mostly grey with maybe a few streaks of light brown, it’s light brown with just a few streaks of grey, resulting in him looking a fair bit younger than he should. It’s really annoying, because it seriously throws off an otherwise really great figure.* Han only includes one accessory: his signature blaster, which is a totally different mold than the one included with the Series 2 Han.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I found out this figure was hitting stores, I was anticipating him being a chore to find. So, I was pleasantly surprised to walk into my local Target and find him hanging on the pegs, hiding behind a pair of Jango Fetts. I’m not sure I can adequately describe just how much I like this figure. He’s hands down the best Han Solo figure I own, and possibly one of the best Black Series figures to date, and certainly the best of the Force Awakens figures. Yes, the hair thing is annoying, but this figure outshines all those issues, and is just a ton of fun to mess around with.

I think, perhaps, the most dated part of the whole above review is how Jango was the figure I was pushing aside to find this guy.  Believe it or not, when this series hit, the Prequel resurgence hadn’t quite hit in full force yet, and, with the general hype machine that was still going behind The Force Awakens, Han was actually the more desirable figure.  How times have changed on that one.  Beyond that little diatribe, my review of this figure is pretty spot-on, I think.  This was definitely Hasbro’s best Han Solo sculpt for the line at the time, and even now is still a pretty high contender.  I think he gets edged out by Bespin Han, but that’s really it.  I was critical of the original figure’s paint, and clearly that’s the one thing Hasbro wanted to fix, so I must have been onto something there.  And fix it Hasbro did.  The new paint is absolutely night and day.  There was apparently some sort of contractual thing preventing the hair on any Han Solo merch from being a proper grey when it all hit in 2016, but it would appear that’s been lifted, and this figure’s all the better for it.  The new face paint is also perhaps the best upgrade from the entire line, and they’ve even improved on the already high quality paint on the body.  He’s really just an all-around win.

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.

#3248: Dark Trooper

DARK TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Hulking Imperial combat droids with gleaming black armor and powerful jet boots, the Dark Troopers are a powerful design.”

When last I reviewed a Dark Trooper figure, back in February of 2021, the concept had finally made it live action, courtesy of The Mandalorian‘s second season, which saw them serve as the muscle to Moff Gideon going into the show’s season finale.  It’s been almost two years, but I’m finally following up that review of the Expanded Universe version with a look at a proper show version.  That’s just crazy, isn’t it?  Well, at least we’re finally here.  So, without any further waiting, here’s another Dark Trooper figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Dark Trooper is the 28th figure in the Mandalorian sub-line of Star Wars: The Black Series‘s Phase IV incarnation.  This figure is another deluxe-sized release, the sixth within this particular sub-set.  As with all prior deluxes, he’s shipped on his own, which is honestly pretty solid for the purposes of army building and the like.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The Dark Trooper sports his own unique articulation scheme, removed a bit from other Black Series figures, barring really only K-2.  It’s generally a pretty good set-up, though I did find the butterfly shoulders a little spongey on my copy, and his knees can’t get a full 90 degree bend.  Other than that, though, there’s a good movement set-up.  The Dark Trooper’s sculpt is an all-new offering, and it’s mostly really good.  The overall appearance is a good recreation of the design as seen on the show, and it works well with the articulation scheme, making it all look really slick and sleek.  The only thing I’m not crazy about is the torso; rather than a solid sculpt, he’s got a sleeve over the torso for his upper armor.  While I don’t totally hate the concept, since it allows for a little more depth, the fact that it’s a softer plastic and it’s also a free-floating piece makes the figure as a whole feel a little less solid than he should.  It does at least look the part, though, and I’m not worried that it’s going to fall apart or anything.  The figure’s color work is on one hand very basic, but on the other exactly what it needs to be.  He’s predominately molded black plastic, albeit with that super shiny finish that all the Dark Troopers sported in the show.  There are a few little spots of accenting, which give him just a little bit more pop, and the application is generally pretty cleanly handled.  The Dark Trooper is packed with two sets of hands (gripping and fists), a rifle, and two blast effects pieces.  The blast effects without any sort of flight stand do seem a bit superfluous, but they’re better than getting nothing at all, and do at least help to disarm the sting of the higher price-point on this guy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Dark Troopers are a fun concept that combines Stormtroopers and droids, so it’s one I’ve always been able to get behind.  I was excited when the show first hinted at them, and even more so when they actually showed up in the show proper.  I knew the figures were a lock, so it was just the waiting game at that point.  Now the wait’s finally over, and the final figure’s not perfect, but he’s still really, really cool.  It’s a great starter version of the figure, but I’d love to see maybe some damaged variants or even one with the charging station at some point in the future.

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.

#3236: Captain Rex

CAPTAIN REX

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Captain Rex accompanies Anakin Skywalker to the planet Teth to rescue Jabba’s kidnapped son. Like all clone troopers, Captain Rex believes that the mission always comes first. When he and his fellow troopers are surrounded by battle droids, outnumbered and outgunned, he never wavers in his commitment to the mission, even if it means this battle could be his last.”

The Clone Wars begins with a focus on characters we’ve seen before in the main movie, but to allow for a little bit of visible growth, given its status as an inter-quel, there were a few new characters as well.  Over the course of the series, two of these new characters, Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano and Clone Trooper Captain Rex, become the central focus of the series, as their unique views on the titular conflict allow for quite a journey for both characters.  Today, I’m looking at the first figure of one half of that pair, Captain Rex, today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Rex was figure 4 in the first series of Hasbro’s Clone Wars tie-in line, and was released with the main product launch before the pilot movie hit theaters.  Just before this figure’s main release, there was a special mail-away “Sneak Preview” version, which is more or less the same figure, albeit with an ever so slightly different paint scheme, and slightly different accessories.  The one seen here is the initial release, however.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  The Clones always had the best articulation in the line, and, apart from t-hips instead of universals, it really didn’t get any better than this.  Rex shares a number of parts with the standard Clone Trooper, namely the arms and legs.  The head, torso, and pelvis were unique when the figure first dropped, but pretty much everything on the figure would eventually be re-used elsewhere.  It was generally a pretty strong sculpt.  It’s not perfect, and it certainly doesn’t have the polish of the later Jet Pack Rex, but it was a good effort for the start.  The articulation on the hips is a bit stiff, but he’s otherwise quite posable, and it’s generally a good mix of function and aesthetics.  The helmet on this figure is removable, and it’s probably the weakest aspect of the figure.  Later removable helmets were more consistent with the non-removable ones, but this one’s oddly shaped to accommodate the design set-up.  The underlying head is a passable sculpt, but it suffers from the recurring issue of the early clones, where their faces made them look much older than they should have looked.  Rex’s paint work is fairly involved, and very much on par with the rest of the figures from the same time.  The base work is a little bit on the dark side, especially on the blues, so some of the contrast is lost a bit in some spots.  As a first release, he’s also got a lot of that black wash to add the grimy look to him.  It’s a little heavy handed in some spots, but he’s at least unique when compared to later clones.  Rex is packed with his long blaster rifle, two small blaster pistols, a grapple attachment for the front of the rifle, and two different missiles for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when the line launched, this was one of the first four figures I grabbed from Target, prior to seeing the movie or the show.  Obviously, I didn’t know who Rex was yet, but I had liked Fordo in the 2D series, as well as his corresponding figure, so I saw this one as at the very least an update to that.  Rex would wind up becoming one of my favorite Star Wars characters, so it was a figure purchase that certainly worked out for me in the end.

#3231: Clone Trooper

CLONE TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

Clone troopers put up an unrelenting defense against the hordes of battle droids that are pouring into the B’omarr monk monastery. The intrepid troopers are keeping the enemy at bay so that Anakin and Ahsoka can rescue Jabba’s kidnapped son. The clone troopers use their blasters and thermal detonators with skill, focusing exclusively on ensuring that the mission is a success.”

You can’t really do a toyline based on something called “Clone Wars” without a decent focus on the actual clones, can you?  No, that would just be silly.  Thankfully, Hasbro agreed, so their Clone Wars tie-in line was just chock full of Clone Troopers.  They had plenty of focus on named clones as the line continued, but at the beginning, their primary focus was just on building the numbers as quickly as possible.  The best way to facilitate that was kicking things off with a standard, all-white Clone, which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Clone Trooper was figure 5 in the first series of Clone Wars, as one of the 8 figures that dropped at launch for the line.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  This figure debuted the standard Clone Trooper body, which this line made a ton of use of….well, mostly.  As with all of the early Clones, he’s one of the best articulated figures in the line, making him awesome for all sorts of great poses.  The body holds up as a respectably offering.  It’s not as accurate as the later clone bodies would, but it’s also better on the articulation set-up, which feels like an okay trade-off.  This figure and a small handful of other Clones close to launch had a different head sculpt than those that followed.  It’s less accurate to the animation model, and not as conducive to matching up with the removable helmets, which is why they changed it pretty quickly.  That being said, I’ve always liked it a little bit more than the later helmet.  Just one of those things that got lost in translation, I suppose.  The paint work on this guy starts out rather basic, since he’s got no markings on his armor, and then gets the heavy wash that all of the early figures got.  The Clone Trooper is packed with a mid-sized blaster rifle, a larger rocket launcher, and a missile.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Clone Trooper was one of the first four figures I picked up from this line, back before the show and movie had hit.  While there was a degree of taking a chance on some of the others, I was already a sucker for a good clone, and even removed from the source material, that’s what this one was.  He was my favorite of the first batch I picked up, and set the standard for my love of all the clones in this line.