Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Action Figure Review: Stormtrooper from Star Wars Black by Hasbro

     Is there any nameless, faceless troop that comes to mind more quickly when army building is mentioned than the Stormtroopers? While it always seemed like a cool idea to have more Foot Soldiers, Putty Patrollers, or Cobra Vipers, the only figure I recall having multiples of as a kid were the Stormtroopers from the Power of the Force II line. There's just something about these guys that makes them look even cooler en masse. Interestingly, while Stormtroopers were part of the first series of figures in the original vintage toyline in 1978 and the first series of figures in the Power of the Force II relaunch in 1995, Hasbro started the 6 inch Black series off with the Sandtrooper. Finally, though, we're getting the Stormtrooper. Of course, being both an army builder and the best figure in series 3, the Stormtrooper is the hardest figure to find. While Hasbro cut each series of figures down to only three figures from four, they didn't choose to repack the fourth slot in a case with another figure from the newest series (because adding an extra Stormtrooper in would make too much sense). Instead, they've added an extra Han Solo into the series three cases.Yup, the Stormtrooper is not an easy guy to get. Interested in knowing if he is worth tracking down and adding to your collection? Then read on and find out after the break...     

     The Stormtrooper stands about 6 1/8th inches tall which makes him a good bit taller than Luke Skywalker or most other characters. That seems about right, though, as the Stormtroopers were usually depicted as being pretty tall. And of course, we all know that Luke is a little short for a Stormtrooper. The Stormtrooper reuses many parts of the Sandtrooper, which I believe makes it the first figure to reuse body parts in Star Wars Black line. This makes complete sense, though, as Stormtrooper and Sandtrooper armor share a number of pieces. While the human likenesses have been all over the place, the armored, alien, and droid characters have been exceptional. While their style still fits in with the human characters, these guys wouldn't look out of place with any other true 6 inch scale line. Stormtroopers always add some fun and liven up a party!

      Since he shares a lot of parts with the Sandtrooper, he has most of the same articulation: hinge/peg ankles, double hinged knees, swivel thighs, ball jointed hips, a ball jointed abdomen, hinge/peg shoulders, swivel biceps, double hinged elbows, hinge/ peg wrists, a hinged neck, and a ball jointed head. I liked this articulation on the Sandtrooper and I like it here, too. While I love the double hinged knees and elbows, as they give you so much more flexibility for holding rifles and such, I'm still a little bit annoyed by how soft they make the knee and elbow pieces. Once again, I'm not concerned that they're going to tear, but they're just a little too wiggly. Everything else works great, however; I can't believe how well all of the armored points of articulation like the mid torso joint, the hinged neck and ball jointed head, and the hips work. The shoulders are limited because of the shoulder pads, but I guess that ultimately makes sense for the character.

     I've seen lots of people complaining (particularly on Amazon reviews) that this is just a cleaned up Sandtrooper without a shoulder pad. Fortunately, those raving maniacs are wrong. Yes, the Sandtrooper and Stormtrooper share a good bit of armor but there are some major differences as well. First, the Stormtrooper has a new left knee and shin which is noticeably different from the Sandtrooper's more diamond shaped kneepad. Second, the Stormtrooper abdomen armor is completely different. It has little boxes on it that have little tiny dots while the Sandtrooper's is quite a bit more sparse.

     Third, the Stormtrooper has the unique utility belt that has the armored panels on the hips, a holster for his E-11 blaster rifle, and the Baradium-core code key thermal detonator that sits on their lower back. Everything else is the same as the Sandtrooper, but that's film accurate so why would Hasbro change it? I really think this guy is one of the best looking figures in the line as each piece of the eighteen panels of armor is captured here. I've seen some complaints that the Stormtrooper's head/helmet sets too high, which is a valid issue (remember, the Sandtrooper had the giant shoulder pauldron so this wasn't noticeable). I don't think it looks bad at all (I actually didn't notice it until someone mentioned it) but I figures I should point it out. It does allow for better neck articulation, though.

     The paint is simple (basically just white and black) but it's done right. The figure is mainly molded in white plastic and fortunately it's a wonderful, glossy white that matches the Stormtrooper's armor. There are some little specks of black showing on the armor in a few places, but you have to look pretty closely. The only painted details worth mentioning below the neck are the painted boot soles, the small knobs on the abdomen armor, and some gray lines on the thermal detonator. The helmet, though, has some great details. The small lined panels look very neat and clean and definitely make this helmet look extremely screen accurate.

     While it's still not as nice of an assortment of accessories as some of the previous figures, the Stormtrooper does come with two pretty cool weapons. Of course the Stromtrooper comes with the BlasTech E-11 blaster rifle, as that's the main gun you see these guys with. It's the same as the version that came with the Sandtrooper and it fits nicely in the Stormtrooper's holster. The second weapon is the BlasTech DLT-20A, a longer rifle that I always associate with IG-88. I don't think the weapon appeared in A New Hope and I couldn't find any evidence of a Stormtrooper ever carrying it in the films. Can anyone prove me wrong? It's a great looking weapon, though, with a nice silver wash to give it a slightly weathered look. Since this guy comes with two cool accessories, I'm not going to complain too much (although the Sandtrooper came with three guns).

     I mentioned above that the Sandtrooper is the standout figure of Star Wars Black series three because, even without a plethora of accessories, he manages to be a really well done figure that can stand alongside the best work that other companies are doing in this scale. I still think it's insane that Hasbro is packing these guys only one to a case, but that doesn't mean that this isn't a killer toy. I love the new details that really help differentiate this guy from the Sandtrooper. I do wish he'd been a bit more interactive or had an extra accessory or two (a removable thermal detonator or com-link would have been nice) but both of his weapons are functional and he looks great in multiple poses while wielding them. It really is impressive how much better the troops, aliens, and droids look in this line than most of the human figures, but I guess non-human faces and helmets are just easier to capture. Overall, I'm giving the Stormtrooper a Great and a 1/2 rating. Another accessory or two and this guy would easily have been another Epic, but as he stands he's merely Great and a 1/2. Nothing wrong with that. Besides, what would he do with extra guns, anyways? Shoot something? Everyone knows that Imperial Stormtroopers aren't at all precise.

1 comment:

  1. I think this guy is going to be the first figure I'm really going to try and troop build with. A bunch of stormtroopers in parade formation would be EPIC!


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