#2638: Bistan & Shoretrooper Captain

BISTAN & SHORETROOPER CAPTAIN

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE (HASBRO)

“Relishing the thrill of action, Bistan fights to ensure the freedom of fellow Iakaru, taking on enemies like Imperial stormtroopers. Specialist stormtroopers stationed at the top secret Imperial military headquarters on Scarif, Shoretroopers patrol the beaches and bunkers of the planetary facility.”

Alright, let’s get ready to jump back in time!  I mean, not a lot, to be honest.  And in fact, it’s not even as much as I frequently jump back, given that over the weekend I jumped back 15 and 35 years respectively.  This time, it’s just a little three year jump, back to the day’s of Rogue One, before Star Wars officially ended for the, what was it, fourth time?  Man, that thing keeps meeting its end, huh?  I actually looked at a fairly large portion of the Rogue One line while it was coming out, but there were a few pieces that I missed.  One in particular was today’s offering, covering one of the Rebel aliens and another variant of one of my favorite Trooper variants, the Shoretroopers.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bistan and the Shoretrooper Captain were originally slated for release in the third wave of Battle Packs for the Rogue One line, which was to hit retail in early 2017.  Unfortunately, retail support for the line fell-out on the back end, and this pack wound up without a home for its release.  Fortunately, Entertainment Earth picked it up as an exclusive at the end of 2017, alongside the similarly orphaned Fenn Rau.

BISTAN

Bistan is one of the more minor Rebels from Rogue One, only showing up during the run on Scarif at the climax of the film, and not even getting a name or any on-screen dialogue.  He’s most memorable as being seen hanging out of one the U-Wings that arrives with the reinforcements, manning a rather large gun.  He was one of the aliens shown off somewhat prominently in the marketing despite his smaller role, so his inclusion as a toy made a lot of sense.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Obviously, we’re going back into the basic line here, so the articulation’s pretty limited by design, but this guy actually does manage to be impressive within that context.  The neck joint has a really nice range on it, and makes for some expressive posing, to some degree at least.  The detailing on the sculpt is pretty top-notch.  There’s a lot going on here, and he replicates the design of the creature from the movie quite nicely, as well as having some impressive detailing on his jumpsuit and gear.  The paint work on Bistan is on the drab side, fitting with the rest of the movie’s cast, really, but the application’s all pretty clean, and he again looks the part of the character from the film.  Bistan is packed with a big ol’ missile launcher thing to mount on his shoulder, with two missiles to shoot as well, and a smaller, more film accurate blaster.  I don’t know that I really missed those launchers, but I had certainly forgotten how prominent they were.

SHORETROOPER CAPTAIN

The Shoretroopers or Scarif Troopers, or whatever the official branding is going with today, were one of my very favorite parts of Rogue One.  The film sports three notable rankings of them, and we got both the standard trooper and the squad commander in both the basic line and Black Series, but the Captain, the rank above those two, got substantially less toy love.  This one here marked its only domestic release.  It’s extra sad for me, because it was honestly my favorite of the three variants.  This figure is a little over 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the exact same figure as the basic Shoretrooper, which is sensible, since the two are wearing the same armor.  It was also just a pretty solid sculpt, so a re-use is really an alright thing by me.  The big change-up occurs with the paint, as the Captains have a slightly more involved color scheme than the rank and file guys.  There’s a whole lot more blue on this guy, with far more detailing on the chest and left arm.  It’s a good, eye-catching look, and one that translates well.  Additionally, the application on this figure seems a little sharper than other Rogue One troopers, which I certainly was happy to see.  The Captain is packed with the same E-22 heavy blaster rifle as the other two Shoretroopers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was pretty closely following the Rogue One line when it was hitting stores, and I was definitely excited for this set, but after it got shelved and then moved, I honestly just lost track of it.  It’s one of those items I kept meaning to track down for myself, but I just never got around to it.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to!  This pair was another gift from Cheyenne and her parents, who decided to be far too kind to me this year and give me a nice little handful of gifts.  I’ve wanted this set for a while, and maybe it’s not the most showy or technically impressive pairing, but they’re certainly fun, and I’m just glad to finally have them.

#2626: Imperial Stormtrooper

IMPERIAL STORMTROOPER — THE MANDALORIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Stormtroopers are elite shock troops fanatically loyal to the Empire and impossible to sway from the Imperial cause.”

Given their prominence in the original trilogy, it’s no surprise that we got figure coverage of the Imperial Stormtroopers fairly early into Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  However, there’s really no denying that the quality of the figures has improved leaps and bounds over the last few years.  Many of the central characters have gotten some more recent figures in alternate looks to help update them a bit, but a character such as the Stormtrooper, who has the same basic look in all three of the original movies, doesn’t exactly make a variant release very easy t justify.  Fortunately, their reappearance in The Mandalorian gave Hasbro a pretty good excuse to give them the re-do treatment, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Stormtrooper is, much like yesterday’s Mando, part of the first wave of the relaunched Black Series.  He too is from The Mandalorian sub-set of figures, where he’s figure #02.  He’s officially based on the trooper design from the show (and Rogue One, since they use the same armor), but he works as a pretty basic OT-era Stormtrooper just in general.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The original Stormtrooper was the most posable figure in the line at the time of his release, but that was at the sacrifice of appearance, as a good number of those joints really jumped out off of the figure.  This one takes a page out of the recent Clone Trooper page and does a total overhaul on the movement scheme.  The joints are granted a much larger range of motion, while also being a bit more cleverly hidden, though use of actual armor plates that are separate pieces, rather than just sculpting them right onto the body.  This results in there being much more depth to the sculpt, which helps the give it a more realistic quality.  The helmet gets a re-work, so that now, instead of being a solid piece, it’s an actual helmet sitting on a head.  The head’s the same as the Clone Trooper, but at least this way we know there’s some consistency in sizing and design, and we won’t be faced with the same issues the original body had when the repurposed it for Luke and Han.  The helmet also seems to be just a touch more screen accurate than the original.  In general, the armor on this guy is a little closer to the movies and a little bit sharper in terms of detailing.  It’s just an overall slicker appearance.  The Stormtrooper’s paint work is pretty decent.  Fairly minimal, since the separate construction of the body and the armor allows for them to each be molded in the proper colors, but the accents look nice and sharp.  The Stormtrooper is packed with a single blaster rifle.  It’s a new piece, and certainly a nice one, though it’s kind of a shame that we’re down to just one accessory on these guys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I quite liked the original Black Series Stormtrooper when he was released, but after a few years of the line improving, I was definitely eager to see what Hasbro could do with an improved one.  I was on board for this guy as soon as he was shown off.  As with the rest of this first wave, he’s been pretty scarce, even more so given he’s an army builder, but I was able to at least get my hands on one, and I do really quite like him.  I look forward to seeing what other trooper variants they build on this body.

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

 

#2573: Mountain Trooper

MOUNTAIN TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Like all First Order Stormtroopers, specialized units of Batuu Mountain Troopers are trained from birth, growing up with unit designations instead of names and fed a steady diet of First Order propaganda to ensure absolute loyalty.”

There were no shortage of new Trooper variants introduced into Star Wars with the latest trilogy of films, and as such there’s also been no shortage of Trooper variant toys.  I’ve looked at a fair number of them here on the site, be they prominent in the films, or exceedingly minor.  What makes today’s particular Trooper different?  Near as anyone can tell, today’s focus the Mountain Trooper exists nowhere but in the toys, and only in a very exclusive set of them at that.  That’s actually pretty out there for a Star Wars concept, if you can believe it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Mountain Trooper was originally added to the Black Series line in the Disney Parks-exclusive “The First Order” boxed set with Kylo Ren, Commander Pyre, and a Mouse Droid.  Like DJ R3X, he was given an outside of the parks release this year courtesy of Target’s exclusive “Trading Outpost” sub-line.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  From a design stand point, there’s a lot of similar lineage here as we saw on the Scarif Troopers, as well as a little bit of Biker Scout thrown in, albeit with all of the elements somewhat updated to the slightly tweaked First Order aesthetic.  Ultimately, he ends up feeling like the First Order answer to the Biker Scouts, and I am totally on board with that.  Structurally, the figure uses the legs and hands of the Scarif-based troopers as a starting point.  Everything else is new, but it definitely all has a similar feel about it as the other Scarif figures in terms of how the construction is set-up.  The articulation scheme in particular sticks out as being pretty much the same.  This ultimately makes the figure a touch more restricted than some more recent troopers, especially when it comes to the elbow movement.  It’s really the only flaw with the figure.  Beyond that, the sculpt is a pretty impressive one, with a lot impressive and clean detail work.  The figure’s paint work is pretty solid.  The base colors are nice and strong, and the application is clean.  The figure also takes advantage of the printing technique to give the Trooper some pretty solid looking weathering.  The Mountain Trooper is packed with a single accessory: an all-new blaster rifle, which also sports some impressive weathering.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My love of the Biker Scout and Scarif Trooper designs is no secret, so it’s probably not a terrible surprise that this guy intrigued me as soon as he was shown off. I hadn’t had the opportunity to procure the three pack, for obvious reasons, so when the Trading Outpost figures were announced, I was hopeful to find him.  Life’s been pretty jam-packed and hectic for me recently, so a few weeks ago Christian and Cheyenne forced me to take some time for myself and took me to Target to pick up a few things just for me.  I just so happened to walk back to the toy aisle right as the Outpost figures were going out, and boom, there this guy was.  He’s not anything amazingly special or anything like that, but he’s pretty fun, and I’m glad I was able to get a hold of him.

#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.