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Brian's Toys

Galactic Marine

The Republic is looking for a few good men… so what better way than to grow them? Hasbro’s latest Clone Trooper, and the subject of this week’s review, is none other than the Galactic Marine, one of the most anticipated (and unique) Clones to make it to action figure form in quite a while. Coupled with the Utapau Airborne Trooper, how can you afford to army build? Well I think people will find a way when they see just what a dandy figure Hasbro gave us with this one.

An all-new sculpt, including the Clone head under the helmet, the Marine offers a lot of detail on these briefly glimpsed leathernecks. Does this figure live up to the high standards Hasbro has set for itself though? Well if you like super articulated army builders with removable gear and accuracy galore, you shouldn’t be too disappointed here… but nothing is perfect, ever, and Hasbro had room to improve this figure if they wanted. Read on to see where I’m going with the good and bad of the Galactic Marine. There’s not much ugly for this review though!

PROS

-Sculpt: It’s pretty rare these days that Hasbro lets you down on the overall sculpt of one of their figures. In general, I’d say it’s more likely a single aspect of a sculpt lets you down, such as a wide stance, a band facial likeness (and boy howdy do those happen still), or something along those lines. The Galactic Marine is one of those figures though that, from scalp to toe, is a pretty outstanding and accurate toy. It’s always great having what seems like the best possible detail crammed into one of these little figures after all. To most it’s the most important aspect really.

The Marine’s full of details though despite the character having pretty brief moments on-screen. Hasbro seemingly got the little pouches on the belt just right, and they even almost have a 3-D animated look to them, as these were animated characters in the film. It’s a tough look to describe but it definitely seems like that was an intentional thing they did when sculpting the toy.

I also love the vertical texturing sculpted into the pants… It’s pretty thick looking piping and very noticeable as it takes the paint washes quite well. It makes the pants stand out a bit more in general and gives them some life. Add to that the amazing amount of detail on the boots though, and you’ve got a lot of little things to catch your eye. They sculpted each latch on the boots, the foot armor/guards, the extra thick treads/sole, and just generally put a lot of heart into it.

The armor details are pretty cool too. For instance the right shoulder pad is noticeably bigger and one of those little things you maybe wouldn’t have noticed in the movie at all. It’s bigger and got some odd line details sculpted in it that I don’t think anyone would’ve noticed. Otherwise the armor’s smooth and just as it should be… It’s very similar to the Snowtrooper armor but you’ll notice it’s just a hair different at almost every piece.

The headsculpt is something collectors noticed immediately, and became something of a debate as to whether or not you’re happy with it. For me, I enjoy it, as it’s a unique take on the Clones compared to what we’re used to at this point. Do they all look alike? Well sure they’re Clones and all but their age seems to determine how they look, and close observation of Episode 3 reveals some different looks to the Clones depending how young they are. Hasbro decided to give the Marine then the first “young” looking Clone headsculpt ever. It’s pretty unique to previous Clones with more slicked back hair and youthful features. It’s a nice headsculpt and looks like some of the “young” Clones you see with Cody just prior to Obi-Wan departing the Republic Cruiser for Utapau. If you blink you miss them though so keep your eyes peeled.

In general though this figure’s sculpt is the level of quality you should want with all your figures. It’s very accurate and full of detail, so enjoy.

-Paint Aps/Decoration: Hasbro’s Clone paintjobs range from squeaky clean with only a few little details, to extreme muck and grime, to comical squiggles. You just never know where they’re gonna go from one figure to another really. The Marine is one of the more colorful paintjobs on a Clone though, mostly because the costume’s not like any other Clone, so it makes for a better review when the paintjob gets such a nice variety of paint as this figure, as well as painting techniques it seems.

For example, the armor pieces are of course the maroon/burgundy color for the most part, but Hasbro gave some silver specks to the forearms to show some heavy wear/tear from combat. The grey undersuit is nicely painted and stands out against the dark color of the armor. Also there are some grey and white details painted on the chest armor and the right armband. Little details that are appreciated to help the sculpt details stand out on the base color of the armor.

The pants are a base dark grey color, however Hasbro saw fit to do a darker grey wash over the pants to dirty them up quite a bit and they look really filthy from use. The figure’s boots and kneepads got equally dirty and mucky paintjobs. They’re to be a white or off-white color, however there is the same dark grey wash over them really mucking up the white and giving the impression of a lot of use and warring in this gear.

Other great little details are the buckles on the boots getting painted, the soles of the shoes are a darker shade, and there’s a black wash over the burgundy Kama/Skirt piece to again give a lot of dirt and wear to the figure’s costume/overall look. The headsculpt as well is the correct skin tone with jet-black hair. The figure’s hair is applied very evenly as are his eyes, done in the 3-color layered style Hasbro uses to paint most eyes on Star Wars figures. All the paint aps on my sample are smooth and even, and all the variety of color, detail paint aps, and paint washes makes for a very colorful and detailed paintjob to complement a nice sculpt.

-Accessories: Hasbro can be pretty stingy when it comes to gear you get with your Star Wars figures. Of course, one may come with half an environment/mini playset, while the next may come with a pistol and nothing more. You really just don’t know what you’ll get when Hasbro gives you a toy anymore. That said, the Galactic Marine packs a lot of gear… What Marine would storm the beaches without a ton of gear, right?

First up you get a nice removable pauldron for the trooper’s shoulders. The Marine pauldron is unlike any other in detail. The details are all there on this piece and the little strip of ammo pouches are nicely painted. The one gripe someone could make is that you get a variant that has the ammo strip on the other side. I believe both “looks” were seen in the film, however it’s a minor gripe at best and not really worth noting.

The next piece of gear any Marine would need is his backpack. The pack is a simple single piece that plugs quite snugly into the back of the figure. The pack is a base color of white with a very hefty black/dark grey paint wash over it that really makes the pack look used and worn. At the bottom of the pack are 4 off-white pouches of equipment as well, that help give the accessory a little color and adds to the figure’s color overall.

No Marine jumps out of the landing craft without his brain bucket though, and Hasbro gave the trooper a removable helmet (and who doesn’t love that?). The helmet’s a perfect fit, doesn’t fall off easily and yet doesn’t pull the head off either. The paintjob is outstanding with a white mask with some grey details, black lenses, and added some black burns for “battle damage” on the helmet as well. It’s a great accessory everyone should appreciate more, especially since Hasbro’s practically made removable helmets a standard feature on their figures these days.

Lastly the Marine blasts his way into combat with a rifle. The rifle is made of a cheap plastic and one of the flaws I’ll cite later in the review. It’s based on the thin Evolutions Clone Trooper rifle sculpt. While it’s generally a more accurate sculpt, the plastic used is much cheaper in quality than the original Evolutions Trooper’s sculpt, and is a simple black with no paint detailing. It’s better than the little Blaster Carbine that 99% of Clone figures come with though anymore. And overall you get 4 pieces of gear for this one trooper. That’s pretty cool when some Clones you get only a single gun with them.

-Articulation: You want articulation in 2007? Well so far Hasbro’s not letting us down in that department. Very few figures that have shipped, and few that have been pictured for later in the year, have shown signs of “under-articulation”. Hasbro seems to have heard the cries for poseability, and with it benefiting adult collectors as well as kids who love to pose and play with their toys, I think it’s a win-win situation for Hasbro here, and definitely for us.

The Galactic Marine is really just shy of super poseable, lacking the ball/socket torso articulation. That’s all right though as it really sports the articulation you want on any army builder. Hasbro has done well by us again, and it’s been a long time since I was happy with this many figures in a single wave.

The Galactic Marines features articulation at:
- 2 ball/socket shoulder joints
- 2 ball/socket elbow joints
- 2 standard wrist joints
- 2 standard hip joints
- 2 ball/socket knee joints
- 2 ball/socket ankle joints
- 1 ball/socket neck joint
- 1 standard waist joint

That’s a total of 14 points of articulation, and again just shy of super articulation by Hasbro’s definition. Still you have a hard time complaining about this kind of poseability on Hasbro figures and I cannot wait to see more of this year’s offerings. Things are just as good as they’ve ever been when it comes to poseable toys, and that’s music to this collector’s ears.

I’ve managed to get some cool poses running/lunging forward despite the way the skirt/Kama interrupts the leg articulation slightly. It doesn’t inhibit it completely though, just a little bit. You won’t have Marines sitting on a troop transport anytime soon though without some customizing though.

I have had them running though, firing both in a tight aiming pose as well as from the hip, fighting a droid hand-to-hand, standing at attention, dying… I can get lots of poses out of the Marine figure regardless of the skirt’s obstruction and the figure looks fantastic in all of them. Great work on Hasbro’s part and all the joints are so well hidden you cannot see a one of them too, so even more great work there.

-Features: Removable helmets are a good thing, and one of the “features” Hasbro has incorporated into their figures more and more over the years. Working holsters fall into this growing category, as well as action features (when they work anyway) that collectors can dig. But the removable helmet is something being used more and more by Hasbro and it’s a welcome sight.

The helmet’s snug fit and design add to the positive aspect of it as well. It’s a good accessory but more importantly it was simply included in the toy as a feature we rarely got at one point in the modern line. A sure sign Hasbro’s taken huge strides to improve even if they’re not always consistent. Yay Hasbro!

-Coin Pack-In: So in 2007 Hasbro’s decided to take the pack-in concept a different direction. They’re bringing back an idea we haven’t seen since 1985 as the original Star Wars line was dying down. Now we’ve got pack-in coins to collect with each Star Wars figure in the 30th Anniversary Collection, and I have to admit they’re kind of cool.

The coins are fairly substantial in that they’re weighty, made of real metal (Aluminum I’m guessing), and are nicely sculpted/detailed and shiny. Each coin is unique to the character it’s packaged with. They each feature the figure’s number in the collection, a raised image of the character, and on the reverse (“tails”) side of the coin is a logo or emblem specific to that character’s affiliation (an Imperial Logo for Imperial figure, Rebel Logo for Rebellion characters, etc.).

The coins are collectible themselves, much more so than the “miniature holographic figures” of 2006, which I think many of us have a drawer full of at this point. These actually feel like you’re getting something that’s a separate, interesting collectible apart from the figure itself. And so long as it’s not impacting what we pay at retail, I’m ok with little stuff like this.

If coins are why we pay $7 a figure before tax though… Then I want no coins or anything. I want a less expensive toy instead. But Hasbro says these pack-ins don’t impact the price, so then the coin is pretty cool to me.

CONS

-Knee Joint/Sculpt: The knee articulation is the single point of the figure that could’ve used a little more attention to the design/sculpt. The articulation point works fine, and it’s pretty easy to get him to stand up, however the kneepads extend up onto the thigh a little bit, and slightly obstruct the legs from standing perfectly straight.

This flaw is a little distracting during attempts to pose the figure, and can be a little frustrating when you’re messing with it. The flaw can be fixed if you do a little carving behind the kneepad, but be careful not to cut too much away or it’ll be visible and distracting looking. The flaw is so minor though that I doubt anyone takes much issue with it, much less attempts to “fix” the problem him or herself through a little customizing with an X-Acto knife.

-Gummy Rifle: One really annoying feature on the Marine, and perhaps the only really annoying feature, is the cheap-o plastic Hasbro used on the rifle. Given that we’ve gotten this exact rifle using sturdier plastic, it’s a little disappointing that Hasbro would use such sub-par materials on this accessory.

The rifles in all the Marines I have bought so far have been so wildly warped in the packaging that I had to soften them with hot water so they would retake their shape. Unfortunately the “hot water” technique doesn’t work as well with this weapon due to how naturally flexible it is. It’s sometimes tough to pose the figure without bending the rifle and making it look goofy… It’s just annoying.

Hasbro’s proven they can do better on plastics they use, it seems to be something they just cut a corner with and nothing more, so it’s quite annoying when they do this. It’d be nice to see them be more aware of how poor the product turns out when they use this inferior quality material on accessories or figures. I mean, when was the last time we had a battledroid that didn't droop and fall over after 5 minutes? I think Episode 1’s line was the last DECENT battledroid figure… Maybe POTJ. That’s pretty sad, no? So Hasbro, please, get off this cheap gummy plastic for accessories and figures. It’s really frustrating.

-Clone Head Variety: While the inclusion of the first “young” Clone was a really cool idea by Hasbro, it would’ve been double cool had Hasbro given us two headsculpts. Older and younger Clones make for a cooler mix. It’s a minor complaint, if it’s a complaint at all really. However, I think having all the Marines look one way without their helmets on while all the Airborne look another way without their helmets, is just a little odd looking.

It’d have been nice had Hasbro made neckposts a more “standard” size so you could just swap any head onto any body. This was brought up in a Q&A recently actually, and is a good idea, it just doesn’t seem to be something Hasbro wants to do for us.

-Cloth Kama/Skirt?: The Kama/Skirt Piece of the Marine inhibits the articulation. Not greatly mind you, as you can still get some great poses going, but it does slightly inhibit the articulation. Will Hasbro ever look to do cloth Kamas on Clones? Well the “Vintage” Snowtrooper we’re getting before too long is going to have one, so why not some Clones sometime?

It’s a possible re-release option of any Clone with a Kama we’ve gotten so far actually. Re-release it with cloth and see how it sells. I’d buy, and I bet many others would too. Especially ARC Troopers... Who doesn’t love the poseability? Cloth can be your friend Hasbro!

-Price Hike: 2006 sucked for one major reason. $6.99 was the “standard” for most of the country at retail. You were paying $7 before you even got to tax on a single 3.75” Star Wars figure… This trend is carrying over into 2007, as retail hasn’t seen fit to lower the retail price of Star Wars figures, and actually my first couple figures for 2007 were obtained at K-Mart stores for $7.39 before tax.

This is really starting to add up unfortunately for some of us. The quality in 2006 was dubious at best, with figures having tons of articulation sometimes, and others having a whopping 6 points total. If 2007 quality stays high, I’ll be more accepting of the price, but it stings with any “smaller” character you get like a Jawa or Ewok, and any time corners are cut on any figure like removing knee articulation. Hopefully a $1 price break to $5.99 average is due us soon. In this scale $7+ a figure is really overpriced despite some of the great figures we get sometimes.

OVERALL

Well that wraps up the Republic Galactic Marine, and what a figure this is… what a wave this is! I mean, very few stinkers, if any, are in this wave, and the next looks just as good or better… Can it be? I dunno, but even I’m glowing about Hasbro these days and I’ve never been one to kiss their feet like some enjoy doing.

The Marine is the standout of Wave 1 though. That’s not to say what I haven’t yet reviewed are slouches, I just really enjoyed the Marine the most out of the wave. His helmet fits perfectly unlike the Airborne Trooper, his accessories were plentiful, his poseability is fantastic, his paint and sculpt are incredible. He’s just a great figure fans will want many of.

That brings in the question of availability though… While I’d normally cite that, I managed to find a handful of Marines myself. Still, they’ve since dried up, and 30th Anniversary figures in general aren’t shipping heavily while old Saga Collection figures are somehow crowbarring themselves onto the pegs! It’s a shame I tell ya.

The Marine is a figure you MUST have a couple of. You cannot deal with less than two, I’m telling you. Your Bacara figure demands he have at least that many to flank him, and honestly you should pick up a few more just because I say so. It’s that good folks and maybe the best Clone figure Hasbro’s made so far. It’s outstanding, not perfect, but pretty great and as close as any Clone figure has come so far I think. Good work Hasbro, and please keep it up for all figures in the future. They all deserve this kind of quality.

 

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