#2426: Snowtrooper

SNOWTROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“The ice planet Hoth was the site of the terrible conflict between Rebel and Imperial forces called the Battle of Hoth. Though the alliance resisted the Imperial assault for a short period, they were eventually forced to abandon the Echo Base headquarters as it became overrun with fearsome snowtroopers, the Empire’s elite frozen-weather corps.”

Since its very first entry, the Star Wars universe has dabbled in environment-specific variants of its various troopers.  When Empire Strikes Back brought our heroes and villains to the icy planet of Hoth, it brought with it a whole set of cold-weather gear variants.  That included today’s figure, the Snowtrooper!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Snowtrooper was added to the Power of the Force line in 1997.  This was the Snowtrooper’s second time as an action figure, following his original vintage release.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The Snowtrooper is a far more restricted figure than others in the line in terms of articulation.  The nature of the design means that he doesn’t have a neck joint, and the skirt piece means that the hip joints have reduced mobility as well.  The sculpt itself is a reasonable effort.  By this point, pre-posing and wonky proportions were mostly worked out of the line, and the Snowtrooper is reflective of that.  That said, the actual detailing on the sculpt is a little more on the soft side, so a lot of the details get a little lost.  The line was a bit up and down with the sharpness, so it’s too bad that the Snowtrooper falls more into the down, especially given the quality of the vintage sculpt.  The paintwork on the Snowtrooper is actually more complex than you might expect at first glance, with a good deal of weathering mixed in, in order to prevent it from just being an all-white design with nothing to break it up.  It honestly looks pretty good.  The Snowtrooper included a standard Stormtrooper blaster rifle and his supply pack, making for a pretty nice, fairly film-accurate package.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Snowtrooper was added to my collection during one of my PotF buying sprees, in the fall of 2018.  He was actually added to my collection by Max, so it’s technically his fault, I suppose.  The Snowtrooper isn’t one of the line’s most technically impressive figures by any means, but he’s respectable enough in his own right, I suppose.

#2408: Crowd Control Stormtrooper

CROWD CONTROL STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Feared throughout the galaxy, Stormtroopers are elite shock troops deployed in support of both ground forces and the Imperial fleet. They are responsible for policing Imperial outposts and territories, accountable for sustaining Imperial control in even the most dangerous sectors. This can be a challenging and often deadly assignment for the most reliable shock troop squadrons. Tough port cities such as Mos Eisley have high populations of outlaws, criminals, smugglers and other anti-Imperial types who create a typically chaotic atmosphere.”

Before making use of the sub-line to get out some larger figures and accessories seen in the film, Kenner’s first approach to the “Deluxe” offshoot of Power of the Force was…well, it was certainly more at home in a ’90s toyline.  The first three offerings (as well as one of the two offerings that followed) in the line were all slight re-workings of previously released heavy hitters, but this time with some big gimmicky gizmo included.  On the positive side, it did give collectors a second chance at a little bit of army building in the form of today’s figure, the Crowd Control Stormtrooper.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Crowd Control Stormtrooper was released in 1996, alongside Han Solo w/ Smuggler Flight Pack and Luke Skywalker w/ Desert Sport Skiff.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  The core figure to this set is effectively the same sculpt as the standard Imperial Stormtrooper figure.  Certainly, that’s hardly Kenner’s finest attempt at a Stormtrooper sculpt, but it was the standard one of the time, being only a year old.  It’s still got all the goofy quirks of that particular release, meaning he’s rather muscle bound and also lacks both a neck and the ability to stand for long periods of time unassisted.  The one change this release makes to the sculpt is adding a port to his back so that he can make use of his big gimmicky gizmo.  The other change is a paint change, rather than a sculpt change.  This guy has the same basic paint elements as the regular release, but with a bunch of flecks of dirt all over the body now.  I guess this guy’s been a little worn-in.  Or maybe he’s a really early preview of a Remnant Trooper!  That’d be something!  Whatever the case, he kind of reminds me of cookies and cream ice cream.  The supposed main selling point of this set is not the figure, of course, but rather the Crowd Control pack he includes.  It’s big, and it plugs into is back, and it has some moving parts.  I’m not entirely sure how this monstrosity is meant to aid in crowd control, but this is the Empire we’re talking about here; they tend to go for the crazier, mad-genius-style solutions to things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Growing up, these deluxe figures always baffled me a little bit.  I wasn’t really alone on that front, I suppose.  Now that I’m an adult, though, and I’ve really gotten into appreciating PotF2 for what it was, they’re kind of key to that appreciation, because what else sells the true ’90s-ness of the early line better than these guys?  This guy also benefits from really being the only one in the first set that makes any sort of internal sense; a Stormtrooper with an extra gimmick really isn’t that far out there.

This guy came from my friends at All Time Toys. They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2239: Stormtrooper

STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Within the Death Star, a group of Imperial stormtroopers are in hot pursuit of Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca, as they attempt to return to the impounded Millennium Falcon. But the heroic escapees blast away before the shock troops have a chance to return fire.”

Throughout the entirety of the vintage Star Wars line, we got exactly one basic Stormtrooper.  Just one take on a design that was present across all three of the original films (in the line’s defense, the same can be said of Darth Vader and Chewbacca; if the design didn’t drastically change, Kenner didn’t do a new figure.  Only R2 and 3PO got by, largely do to new gimmicks introduced in the later films).  For Power of the Force II, the same was almost true.  We got the standard Stormtrooper in ’95, and that steroid abusing fiend was it for four years.  But, just as the line was winding down, we managed to get an honest to god update, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Stormtrooper was released in 1999 as part of the Power of the Force II Commlink assortment which was at stores alongside the Phantom Menace product.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  Yes, you read that articulation count correctly; this guy’s probably the most articulated standard release figure that the PotF2 line ever put out.  Not only does this guy get actual, proper knees, he also gets cut joints at the elbows, and even a universal joint on his neck.  He can look up!  It’s a long way from the vintage Stormtroopers and their complete lack of neck articulation, I’ll tell you that much.  This sculpt would end up re-used more than a few times going forward, including for the Marvel Comics-styled trooper I looked at a little while back.  While I was a little down on that figure (due largely to it being released 7 years after this one), in the context of the line that spawned it, it’s actually quite a nice sculpt, and it’s understandable why Hasbro clung to it for so long.  The paintwork for the figure is pretty solid, and like the sculpt is generally an improvement over the Stormtrooper that preceded it.  It’s also an early example of Hasbro experimenting with thermodynamic paint, allowing the figure to take some damage to his armor when dipped in cold water.  The Stormtrooper is packed with a long blaster (which, like the Marvel-styled figure, he can’t quite hold right) and a weapons rack to store it on as well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The last assortment of PotF2 figures wasn’t one I recall seeing much of (although I did get the Han figure as a kid), so this guy isn’t one I had growing up.  He was added to my collection during one of my big buying sprees of PotF2 figures in late 2018.  He’s sort of an odd figure for the line, because he’s objectively one of the best, but on the flip side, it means that when later versions replaced him, he didn’t have that same nostalgic bend to fall back on.  That being said, he’s still a cool figure.

#2299: First Order Jet Trooper

JET TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Specialized Stormtroopers of the First Order, Jet Troopers soar into battle equipped with agile rocket packs”

Alright, let’s keep this Black Series ball rolling.  Heck, let’s trek down that Rise of Skywalker path again while we’re at it.  Rise added the usual bank of new troopers, as each film tends to do.  While the Sith Troopers got a lot of the marketing focus, the coolest new additions for me were the Jet Trooper.  A Jet-equipped Stormtrooper isn’t a new concept by any means, but it’s a cool one nevertheless, and I was quite a fan of the new design they were sporting.  Lucky for me, that design is one of the earlier Rise of Skywalker designs to get covered by The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jet Trooper is figure 99 in the Black Series line-up, the second of the two Rise figures in this second post-Triple Force Friday assortment.  He was also one of the figures to receive a “Carbonized” variant on the Force Friday launch, which is the same mold, but with a different finish.  Also, a little fun fact: aside from Rey, the Jet Trooper is the only design to be available across the three styles Hasbro is producing.  Not even Kylo gets that honor.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  The Jet Trooper is probably the most impressed I’ve been with a Trooper’s articulation at this scale, with a respectable range of elbow motion right out of the gate, hips that aren’t terribly restricted, and an amazingly improved range of motion on the neck joints, especially when compared to the Sith Trooper from the last assortment.  He’s not quite as stable on his feet as his GoA counterpart, but he’s better than the Vintage Collection version, and I only had one fall during photos.  Like both of his smaller-scale counterparts, the details on his armor are nice and crisp, and his design means that the sculpt is largely unimpeded by the articulation.  Unlike both smaller Jet Troopers, he’s got a little bit of extra posability on the jet pack itself, which adds movement to the two thrusters.  It’s a nice little touch to be sure.  And, though real-world inspired, this figure maintains a lot of that same sleekness that I enjoyed so much in the GoA figure.  Perhaps the only moderately baffling element to this figure’s sculpt for me is the presence of a holster spot on his right thigh, despite the fact that his included gun doesn’t include a matching tab.  I can only guess this was in order to facilitate a straight re-use of the mold for the upcoming Sith Jet Trooper, who will presumably be including the same armaments as the standard Sith Trooper.  The paint work on this figure more or less matches the GoA figure.  It’s basic, but that’s what you expect from one of these troopers.  He does get a few more black spots, but curiously loses the outlining of his faceplate from the prior figure, despite that outline being present on other versions of the design.  There’s still a sculpted element to it, so it’s not totally gone, but it’s much easier to miss.  The Jet Trooper is on the lighter side for accessories, including only his unique blaster rifle.  The regular troopers don’t have anything else in the movie, but it’s still a little light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I liked the Jet Trooper design as soon as I saw it, but I was admittedly unsure I’d need him in every style, and wasn’t sure what role, if any, he’d play in the final film.  After seeing the movie, and finding the Jet Trooper to actually be the best utilized of the new troopers, I was very happy to have picked him up across the board.  In a similar fashion to Jannah, I opened him up after the movie, already with heightened expectations, only to discover that he was even better than I’d been anticipating.  I’d go so far as to say that the Jet Trooper is the best designed and implemented trooper of the sequel trilogy Black Series offerings, if not possibly the best Black Series trooper as a whole.

The Jet Trooper was picked up from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2253: First Order Stormtrooper

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

The backbone of the First Order and Imperial forces, and really the Star Wars universe as a whole, the Stormtroopers are a prominent fixture of the toys from the galaxy far, far away.  That being said, given their general unchanging appearance within each trilogy, keeping them fresh can be a little difficult.  We got our first standard First Order Stormtrooper in The Black Series back with the Force Awakens product launch, with a few exclusive derivations since then.  The Trooper is returning to the main line for the trilogy’s conclusion Rise of Skywalker.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The First Order Stormtrooper is figure 97 in the Black Series line-up, the final of the Force Friday launch figures numerically.  Given the grouping of the other three Rise tie-in figures, plus his general level of repeat, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that he was a late addition to the line-up to fill out the case.  The figure is a little over 6 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  The majority of this figure’s sculpt is re-used.  He shares all but the had and arms with the initial First Order Trooper from 2015.  The parts that are kept are actually the best parts of that release, being not only accurate to the source material, but also quite nicely articulated, especially at the mid-torso and the ankles.  The head was first introduced on the two Last Jedi troopers, representing the slightly more angular trooper helmet that was used in the second film.  It’s different from the original helmet, but I can’t really say that one of them is better than the other.  The arms are the new parts for this figure, and they’re notable for fixing the one major flaw of the original release: the poor range of motion on the elbows.  For the first time, a FO Trooper can get more than 90 degrees of motion, meaning he’s also the first Trooper that can properly hold a blaster rifle.  That’s gonna be fun to talk about in a moment.  The paint work on this figure follows the trend of all of the FO troopers I’ve grabbed, in that he’s okay, but not without a few noticeable flaws.  My figure has some slop on the helmet, but just in general the change overs from black to white are kind of fuzzy.  This release of the FO Trooper is packed with the riot trooper gear, meaning he’s got the shield, the improved TLJ version of the baton, and a small blaster pistol.  What’s not listed there?  That’s right, a blaster rifle.  Yep, the first FO Trooper that can properly hold a rifle doesn’t have one.  Irony of ironies.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the standard and riot troopers during the TFA run, so I haven’t really felt the need to pick up any of the subsequent figures.  I didn’t think much of this figure, but I’d already decided to pick up the whole assortment when he was announced, so he was along for the ride.  After Kylo, he’s a pleasant surprise.  Sure, it’s frustrating and almost baffling that there’s no rifle included, but the core figure is a solid improvement on the prior releases, making this the best version of the design out there.

#2226: First Order Driver & Treadspeeder

FIRST ORDER DRIVER & TREADSPEEDER

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

Oh, you probably thought I was done with Galaxy of Adventures, didn’t you?  What with the “please buy the line” urging at the end, plus that whole shot of all the figures, and it seeming like I was done.  Well…I kinda thought I was done, too.  But I forgot there was actually one more item in the launch, which is the thing I’m gonna be looking at today.  See, one of the things that was surprisingly absent on Triple Force Friday was vehicles.  With no basic 3 3/4 inch line, we only really had the Vintage Collection to go on, and that was just the two X-Wings.  Galaxy of Adventures did give us one more little reprieve of vehicle coverage, however, with an update on the speeder bike concept, the Treadspeeder!

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

The First Order Driver and Treadspeeder set is the highest price-point item in the Galaxy of Adventures line, following the classic 5 POA-style vehicle packing of “figure and vehicle”.  It’s sold in one of those open style boxes, which is always a little frightening to me, but ultimately mine was in okay condition, so no worries.

FIRST ORDER DRIVER

While the Jet Trooper is the only single-packed army builder at launch, we do get one more trooper, the First Order Driver.  Not a terribly imposing name, but it’s fairly descriptive.  The Driver merges the basic First Order Stormtrooper with a little bit of Scout Trooper.  I’m always okay with mixing in a little bit of Scout Trooper.  It’s worth noting that this particular look stays a little more on-brand than the old Scout Trooper did, making him feel more like a later-era take on the Imperial Patrol Trooper.  Ultimately, it’s a design that’s is distinctly different enough from a standard Stormtrooper to warrant them both getting a release in the line, while close enough that the lack of a basic Stormtrooper at launch doesn’t hit quite as hard.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is very similar to the Jet Trooper figure, although it’s worth noting that as similar as parts of them may look, there are no shared parts between the two figures.  I do, however, expect for this guy to have some of his parts re-used for the inevitable standard Stormtrooper.  Whatever the case, the articulation on this figure is essentially a match for the Jet Trooper, meaning that the Driver is quite mobile, which does seem pretty important for a guy who needs to be able to properly sit on a vehicle.  By this point in the reviews, the stylization of this line is pretty cut and dry.  As a masked character, the Driver is slightly less impacted by it, though it’s a little more obvious on him than it was on the Jet Trooper.  Again, there’s a real Clone Wars-vibe on him, especially with the proportions on the body, and the general layout of the articulation.  His paintwork is fairly standard, though I appreciate that he actually has a few little details on his chest piece to differentiate him from the basic Troopers.  The white/black is a clean combo, and while there’s a little bit of white bleed through on the black sections, it’s generally pretty good.  The Driver is packed with a small blaster pistol, and like the Jet Trooper, features a quick draw action.

TREADSPEEDER

The Treadspeeder is an all-new vehicle for Rise of Skywalker (though we’ve gotten a taste of it in a few of the comics ahead of the movie), but it’s not like it’s all that new a concept, and in many ways is following the sequel trilogy of similar story beats for each corresponding movie compared to the original trilogy.  But I won’t complain if you don’t.  Compared to the much smaller, much more nimble speeder bike of old, the Treadspeeder is a big boi, more of a utilitarian tank than its predecessor.  It’s an interesting design element, because other sequel trilogy elements have tended to go sleeker and more futuristic, while this seems more primitive.  Perhaps Kylo’s influence on the First Order is slowing progress a bit?  Whatever the case, it’s a cool design, and a slightly different take on things, which is never a problem.  The actual toy is definitely designed with gimmicks in mind.  The most basic and simple is definitely the rolling wheels on the bottom, which make it a bit more practical than other speeders in that regard.  Of course, since it’s a speeder, the main gimmick is a pop-apart function.  It’s been that way since ’83, and it’s not going to change now.  Pushing the button on the back pops the front plate in two separate directions and launches the driver out of his seat.  It’s a little bit temperamental, and the armor plate has trouble staying in place when you’re not using the feature, which can be a little annoying.  The speeder also has a missile launched built into one side, as well as storage for the driver’s gun on the left side of the vehicle.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so this would be the one thing I didn’t get at the same time as all of the others, mostly because it appears that Walmart isn’t carrying it.  I had looked at it at the same time that I picked up the Jet Trooper, but was ultimately unsure about dropping $25 to try out the line.  After being confident that I liked the line, I tracked it down again, courtesy of Target, who happened to be having a sale on it, which really pushed me over the edge on picking it up.  The vehicle’s not bad.  Not the best vehicle I’ve ever picked up, but not the worst thing either.  The Driver’s another solid figure, though, and I’m certainly glad to have him with my set.

#2035: Imperial Jumptrooper

IMPERIAL JUMPTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An elite squadron within the Imperial ranks, jump troopers (also known as rocket troopers) were outfitted with jetpacks and utilized in tight spaces.  They were trained to act in unison, often swarming and overwhelming their targets.”

Since the standard Imperial Stormtroopers first graced the screen back in 1977, we’ve been getting a steady stream of variants on the concept, be they Sandtroopers, Snowtroopers, Scout Troopers, etc.  There have been a few recurring concepts among the non-movie variants.  A popular one is the Jumptrooper, which has found its way into comics, video games, and, most recently, Star Wars: Rebels.  And now, it’s gotten a new figure, courtesy of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jumptrooper is a GameStop-exclusive offering from the Black Series line, released in the last couple of months.  The Jumptrooper is based on his Rebels appearance, specifically the commanding officer of the squad, as denoted by the colored shoulderpad.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The Jumptrooper re-uses a lot of parts from the standard Stormtrooper figure, which is pretty sensible, given that the designs are pretty similar.  It’s also a pretty solid sculpt in its own right, and certainly a nice starting point.  He has a new helmet, backpack, and shoulder pads, which match well with the pre-existing parts, and also match up well with his design from the show (albeit modified for a more real-world appearance).  Most importantly, though, they set him nicely apart from the standard trooper.  I really dig the changes they’ve made, because he’s just a super sleek looking figure.  The colorwork on the Jumptrooper is subtle, but pretty impressive.  The glossier finish of the armor looks nicer than the matte finish of the original, as do the additional accenting details that the original lacked on the belt and boots.  Throw in a little extra splash of color, and you’ve got a figure that pops nicely on the shelf.  The Jumptrooper is packed with a standard E-11 Stormtrooper blaster and a brand-new style of display stand.  The stand’s not quite as conventional as I’d hoped for, but it can make for some decent running poses once you get it properly seated.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As soon as the Jumptrooper was unveiled, I knew I wanted one.  Something about the design just immediately jumped out at me (heh), so when I found out he was a GameStop exclusive, it was Super Awesome Fiancee to the rescue!  She was kind enough to pre-order this guy through her work for me, thereby making his acquisition fairly painless.  I’m very happy with the final figure.  He’s definitely one of my favorite troopers.

#1909: Imperial Patrol Trooper

IMPERIAL PATROL TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“As the Empire reinforces its hold on worlds across the galaxy, local defense forces are being supplemented – and eventually completely replaced – with Imperial Stormtroopers. To cover distances across sprawling settlements and cities, Patrol Stormtroopers police the streets and alleys aboard swift interceptor speeder bikes.”

Hands down my favorite Trooper design in all of Star Wars is Return of the Jedi’s Scout Trooper.  I’m not alone in this, and the designers behind the various movies and cartoons and the like have made a pretty steady go at calling back to that particular design as we’ve trekked on through the franchise.  Oh, wait, wrong “Star” franchise.  As we’ve warred on through the franchise.  There, that’s better.  Anyway, the latest call back to the Scout Trooper is Solo’s Imperial Patrol Trooper, who is essentially the galaxy far, far away’s equivalent of a motorcycle patrol cop.  The design found its way into the Titan Heroes line pretty quickly, but there’s been more of a wait for the two more conventional styles.  I snagged the big trooper boxed set from the smaller line a few months back, and now I’ve got the Black Series release!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Patrol Trooper is figure 72 in the Black Series line-up, placing him right after Val from yesterday.  He is, unsurprisingly, from the same assortment, and started showing up at retail in the last month or so.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The articulation on this guy is some of the best we’ve seen in the line, and I’d certainly say it’s the best we’ve seen on any of the troopers.  What’s most impressive about the articulation and its mobility is just how little compromising they’ve done with the integrity of the sculpt.  At first glance, I was really expecting this figure’s posabilty to be another First Order Trooper situation, where he looked quite nice, but struggled with anything but basic poses.  I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.  Like his basic line counterpart, the Patrol Trooper’s sculpt is a very strong offering.  It’s clean, the details are sharply defined, and it matches up very well with the movie design.  The figure really emphasizes how slick this design really looks, just as a whole.  If there’s one slight down tick on this figure, it’s the paintwork.  There are some fuzzy edges on the transitions from white to black, which were giving me some flashbacks to the First Order Trooper.  That being said, those issues are rather minor in the grand scheme of the figure, and it’s hardly the worst we’ve seen in this line.  Just not quite as good as recent offerings.  There are still plenty of touches that really help the figure, such as the very dark, metallic green for the visor.  Like his smaller counterpart, the Patrol Trooper includes a small Biker Scout-esque blaster pistol, as well as a removable police baton on his belt.  Both pieces can be easily held by the figure or safely stowed on his belt, by which I was very impressed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of all the upcoming Black Series figures, this one was very near the top of my want list.  I’ve loved this design since the moment I saw it, and I’ve been patiently awaiting his release.  I actually saw him at retail twice before getting him as a Christmas gift (Super Awesome Fiancee played the fact that she was getting him for me very close to the vest), but I managed to hold out.  Yay for me.  While there are some quite minor flaws, I am very, very happy with this figure.  Of course, now I kinda want a Patrol Bike to go with him.  Damn you Hasbro!

#1890: Imperial Assault Tank Driver

IMPERIAL ASSAULT TANK DRIVER

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

The re-launch of The Vintage Collection after its six year hiatus was rather soft, with its first assortment being almost entirely re-releases from the Walmart-exclusive Black Series releases.  Only Snoke was new, but, honestly, who really cared that much.  Fortunately, the second assortment has flipped the script, with three new figures and only one re-issue.  I’ll be looking at one of new releases, and perhaps the most popular figure in the assortment today.  Without further ado, here’s the Imperial Assault Tank Driver!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Assault Tank Driver is one of the four figures in the second series of the re-launched Vintage Collection line, and is officially numbered VC126.  He’s based on the driver seen during the Jedha sequence of Rogue One.  It was one of the earliest figures we knew was coming from this line, as it was showcased alongside the line’s first vehicle, the Assault Tank.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  From a sculpting standpoint, the Driver has a lot in common with the Walmart-exclusive Scarif Stormtrooper from the 2016 Rogue One assortment.  Given the similarities of the two designs, as well as the fact that the larger-scale figures did the same thing, it’s neither surprising, nor is it a bad choice.  The sculpt was a pretty strong one the first time around, and it remains so now (in general, those Rogue One sculpts were the best to come out of that iteration of The Black Series).  In order differentiate him a bit from his shore-dwelling brethren, the Tank Drive gets a new headsculpt and belt piece, patterned after his unique armor set.  The helmet is particularly sharp, and ends up being a notable improvement over the somewhat softer Scarif Trooper helmet.  We kind of saw this same thing occur with the main 3 3/4″ line’s versions of these two, so my guess is that the Driver’s helmet just better lends itself to a small-scale sculpt.  The Tank Driver’s paintwork is some of the best we’ve seen from Hasbro, especially at this scale.  They’ve used their printing technique to handle the weathering on the figure’s armor, which gives him a nice, worn appearance, matching the somewhat rundown nature of Jedha as we see it in the film.  It’s similar to, but distinctly different from, how things were handled with the Scarif Trooper, and it really gives the figure a lifelike quality.  The Tank Driver is packed with a standard Stormtrooper blaster. It’s molded in a solid grey, which was the slightest bit of a letdown when compared to the more detailed blaster we got with the Scarif Trooper.  But, if they’re gonna cut paint apps, I’d prefer they cut slightly less essential ones like these.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

He’s been somewhat hard to find, but I actually didn’t have any real trouble with this guy.  He was amongst the first case of them I found, about two months ago.  The Tank Driver is a strong design, and I’ve loved him the two prior times I’ve bought him in figure form.  This guy continues that trend, being another very solid offering in the more articulated Star Wars range.  I hope that going forward, this figure represents the trend of figures to come.

#1841: Solo Set

HAN SOLO — MIMIBAN, STORMTROOPER — MIMIBAN, STORMTROOPER SQUAD LEADER, MUDTROOPER, IMPERIAL PATROL TROOPER, & TIE FIGHTER PILOT

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

Solo may not have been quite the box-office-smash that Disney was hoping for, but it’s maintained a nice little following of fans, and by extension has managed to support a nice little selection of continuing merchandise.  While its toy presence hasn’t been quite as pervasive as the three films that preceded it, there are still some fun pieces trickling out.  Target’s picked up a healthy helping of exclusives, including today’s set, a selection of the film’s various Imperial forces, all in one convenient package!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set is a Target-exclusive boxed set, part of Hasbro’s continuing Solo line.  It started hitting retail shelves about two weeks ago, and if other such sets are anything to go by, it’ll be staying on them for at least a little while.

HAN SOLO

It would be a little bit strange to have a Solo set that didn’t include the title character, and as luck would have it, he does spend at least some of his screen time in an Imperial uniform, so he still fits the overall theme of the set.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation (get used to those numbers; they stand true for most of this set).  The sculpt is “unique” in the sense that it’s new to this set, but not totally unique to just this figure.  It’s a solid sculpt, nicely detailing Han’s environment specific armor from Mimiban.  The goggles and rebreather are separate from the main head sculpt, allowing for a fully revealed or fully covered look, which means he can operate both as a Han variant or a troop builder, depending on your fancy.  Also of note, the pre-posed arms, allowing for a proper handling of his weapon.  It’s a nice change of pace after a couple of years of purely straight-armed set-ups.  Han’s paintwork is solid, and pretty straight forward.  Application is mostly pretty clean, and all of the important details are there.  It gets the job done.  Han is packed with a blaster rifle, of a different style than we usually see.

STORMTROOPER

Perhaps the most difficult figure to find in the single-packed assortment was the Mimiban Stormtrooper.  He was a new trooper and he was packed at one per case.  Maybe not the best break-down, but at least Hasbro was nice enough to offer up a straight re-issue here.  The figure’s sculpt has a lot in common with the Rogue One Stormtrooper; no actual shared parts, but a very similar styling.  This new sculpt is pre-posed like the above Han, allowing for a proper rifle-holding pose.  His helmet has been slightly tweaked to add his blast shield, and he also gets an additional cape piece.  His paintwork is suitably muddy for the much more worn-in Mimiban armor, covering him in all sorts of much and grossness.  The Mimiban Stormtrooper is packed with a larger marksman rifle, as well as one of the standard E-11 blasters.

SQUAD LEADER

Hey, remember that awesome Rogue One Stormtrooper?  And then remember the Mimiban Stormtrooper?  Great.  Smash those two together and throw in a shoulder pauldron, and boom, you’ve got this guy.  Not really anything new, but it makes for the best Trooper variant available in the modern line, so I’m definitely counting this one as a win.

MUDTROOPER

Hey, remember the Han figure from up above?  Great.  This is the same figure.  Okay, not exactly.  The helmet and goggles are all one piece, and his rebreather is glued in place.  Throw on a slightly different application of paint on his right arm, and a slightly different blaster rifle and boom, new figure.

PATROL TROOPER

Easily one of my favorite designs from Solo was the Patrol Trooper.  It’s not a huge surprise, given that its really just a take on the Biker Scout, my favorite Trooper design of all time.  The absence of the Patrol Trooper from earlier assortments was definitely my biggest complaint about the line-up.  This figure gets an all-new sculpt, and boy is it a nice one.  The details are really sharply defined, and very accurate to the film.  It’s a slick design, and it certainly translated well into toy form.  The paint work maintains the slickness, with clean application and a lot of smaller details that you might not expect to see on a lower end figures.  There’s a lot of detail work going on there, and it makes the figure all the better.  Since a full patrol speeder seems like a bit much to ask for in this sort of set, the Patrol Trooper instead has to settle for a Biker Scout-esque blaster pistol.  Worse things have happened.

TIE FIGHTER PILOT

Though they don’t figure prominently into the film at any real point, there certainly have to be some TIE Pilots in Solo, somewhere, right?  More importantly, Hasbro had this great TIE Pilot mold sitting around, and had only released it a single time, so I guess they wanted everyone to have another shot at it.  This figure is sculpturally identical to the Rogue One version packed in with the TIE Striker.  Like the Rogue One Stormtrooper, it’s one of the most screen accurate sculpts Hasbro has produced, making it a fantastic offering even in spite of its lessened articulation.  The paintwork is ever so slightly tweaked from the last release, with a small bit of extra detailing on his helmet denoting that this figure is a higher ranking pilot than the last.  That’s a cool touch.  The TIE Pilot is packed with a mid-sized blaster, same as the prior release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Care to guess where I got this Target-exclusive set?  Did you guess “Target”?  Good for you!  You get the FiQ-No-Prize!  I didn’t quite know when or even where this set was hitting, but I knew as soon as I saw that Patrol Trooper that I was getting one.  So…I kinda bought this big set for one figure.  I know, bad Ethan.  In my defense, the Patrol Trooper is really, really good, and I found myself happy with all of the figures included, so I don’t at all feel like the money I spent was wasted.