STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
“Five years after the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance has driven the evil Empire into a distant corner of the galaxy. But a new danger has arisen: the last of the Emperor’s warlords has devised a battle plan that could destroy the New Republic. The ability of spacetroopers to operate exclusively in space made them a valuable asset to the warlord, Grand Admiral Thrawn. These heavily armed stormtroopers wear full-body armor and have equipment that enables them to function as personal space-capable assault vehicles.”
In the history of Stormtrooper variants, today’s focus, the Spacetrooper, is actually one of the very earliest. They first appear in A New Hope, one of them being seen when the Falcon gets pulled into the Death Star. Admittedly pretty easy to miss, being a) rather small and b) not actually very removed from the regular Stormtrooper design. He was also portrayed by concept designer and future director Joe Johnson, which is a nifty little bit of trivia. The idea has stuck around since, gaining some slight changes over the years. When it came time to adapt Heir to Empire into comic form, they were granted a unique armored appearance, which served as the inspiration for their very first action figure!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Spacetrooper was part of Kenner’s Expanded Universe sub-line for Power of the Force. He was one of two figures that shipped a little bit later than the rest, and were subsequently even harder to find at retail at the time. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has a whopping 8 points of articulation. He’s notable for being the first use of a universal joint on the shoulders, in contrast to prior figures’ simple cut joints. Why this particular figure was granted these is kind of a random guess, but I’d hazard it’s due to how the shoulders are designed. It’s a little rudimentary in its implementation, but still quite cool, and certainly useful for a wider range of posing. The sculpt was an all-new affair, reasonable given the all-new design. He’s got the basic elements of a Stormtrooper, but a little more armored up, and a little more streamlined. There are a few other movable elements worked in as well, with an adjustable jetpack, and a fold out blaster built into the left arm (but only the left, because two blasters is too many). As with the articulation, it gives the figure a bit more variety for posing, and just gives him a better general feeling of value compared to some of the more basic troopers. In terms of paint, the Spacetrooper is a little lax; mostly, he just relies on the molded white plastic. It’s slightly pearlescent, which makes a touch hard to properly photograph when coupled with the lack of accenting. Still, it’s not terribly far removed from the rest of the PotF stuff at the time, and it does hit all of the major elements. The Spacetrooper doesn’t get any proper accessories, thanks to everything being built in. He does still get the fold out back drop, though, which is still pretty darn cool.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When the full set of EU figures came through All Time Toys back in 2019, we didn’t actually know it was a full set at first. Max had pulled out his Imperial Sentry, and told me I was welcome to the only other one we knew was in the lot, which was this guy. Honestly, I was pretty happy just to get him, because I’ve always thought he looked pretty nifty, and I’d not gotten the chance to pick him up at that point. Compared to some of the others, he fades into the background a little bit, but he does a lot of cool, innovative stuff for the time, and honestly holds up pretty well.