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Airborne Trooper

Today’s review kicks off the all new 30th Anniversary Collection, but it also is a nice transition from the old Saga Collection as this figure in particular first saw retail shelves last year in a different flavor. Today’s review is for the popular Airborne Clone Trooper figure, this time with a film accurate paintjob to boot!

Fans went nuts over the initial release of this figure, as it was an all-new clone sculpt put into a Hasbro Battlepack, and exclusive to Target. The original figure from the Mace Windu set was an immediate hit in sculpt, articulation, paint applications… That figure had it all and fans immediately wanted their Utapau version of the same figure to army build. Hasbro delivers in Wave 1 of the new collection of figures, and it’s everything one could want in a Clone Trooper… for the most part. A few flaws plague this test tube grunt, but nothing that will deter rabid army builders from getting a dozen of this guy. Read on for the details on why this figure is fantastic, and why Hasbro needs to get some eye care for their Clone Troopers.

PROS

-Sculpt: The figure’s sculpt was outstanding in 2006 and holds up just as well in 2007. Hasbro have become good about the details of most of their figures, and really don’t drop the ball too often save for the odd human likeness here and there. For Clones though, this is Hasbro’s bread and butter. They can repaint them, re-release them, and fans just keep buying them.

The Airborne Trooper’s details are like other Clones… The armor has a nice new smooth sculpt to it, with no nicks or dings for simulated damage. This is good since paint can simulate damage without making the figure stand out from other Troopers. The Clone’s headsculpt is that of an average trooper, not young, not old… Clean with no scarring, and accurate to the Clone character. Another Clone in this wave, the Marine, seems to attempt a younger looking Clone for some variety, which is kind of cool for Hasbro.

The Kama/belt/suspender piece is all a single piece that is put on the figure prior to it being completely assembled it appears, and none of the assembly is removable. The details on the Kama are great though with light texturing sculpted into it, and the suspender harness is also sculpted with a texture to it and buckles and such.

The Clone’s left shoulder and bicep features some ammo clips and a pouch of some sort. Little details on this particular Clone type that help it stand out, but the ammo packs on the shoulder are slightly obtrusive to the poseability noted later in the review. Overall though, this is a Trooper sculpt that is as sharp as others, and what we’ve come to expect from Hasbro at this point.

-Paint Aps/Decoration: Wear-and-tear are staples in the paintjob of any Clone anymore. Early Troopers came with no grime and markings that they’d been in battle, but Hasbro’s experimented and seemingly found a formula that works for them. Early attempts look like pencil scribbles, but now they’ve got some good black markings that look like large scrapes and gouges. These black markings cover the Airborne Trooper’s armor from his feet to his helmet accessory, and look very nice.

Some fans feel it’s time Hasbro start a variety of these markings so they don’t all look alike, which can be a tad distracting. In general though, the markings are so random looking that you don’t notice it’s the same on every Trooper.

The clone’s orange markings are equally nice though, and very crisp and accurate to the markings seen on these guys in the film. There is also, of course, the usual black paint details showing the body suit under the white armor, and a little bit of grey on the left shoulder ammo packs as well, and on my sample these paint aps all seem very straight and evenly applied.

The only issue with decoration that my figure suffers from is that damnable rampant cross-eyed issue a lot of Clone figures have. I don’t quite understand WHY clones get crossed eyes so often, but my sample sort of has that going on… Not as bad as others though. They just seem “off” to me. Could just be a fluke, but the figure’s helmet is on in the packaging so you won’t be able to pick this flaw out if you are looking them over on the pegs. In general though, I think the paint aps on my Trooper are fantastic and everything I expect of Hasbro.

-Accessories: The Airborne Clone Trooper comes packin’ some serious gear… He is supposedly getting dropped behind enemy lines afterall, at least if he lives up to what Earth Airborne Troops are intended to do, so you should expect him to come with some extra weapons and stuff, right?

The Trooper comes packing an original sculpt Clone Rifle (not the Evolutions styled rifle that his Mace Windu counterpart came with, which I found odd). The rifle’s not sporting any decoration either, it’s simply cast in black, but that’s not a major issue to me.

Along with the rifle though, the Airborne Trooper carries a sachel/shoulder bag/man-bag type accessory (as did the Windu version). The bag is sculpted very well with texturing, a shoulder pad piece, some equipment rolls, a latch… The bag is a pretty substantial accessory, and what’s better is it even hides a tiny blaster in the back of it. A nice little extra to the pack that wasn’t in the film or anything. And of course that means you also get a tiny Clone Commander pistol to hide into that bag. It’s black, it’s a nice sculpt, and it’s really an extra more than anything. I love the “feature” though. It’s cool, and I wish more figures had little hidden stuff like that.

And lastly, this figure’s highly (to some anyway) is a removable helmet accessory. Hasbro did an outstanding job on the helmet’s sculpt and it’s a very sturdy piece as well (doesn’t warp putting it onto the figure’s head at all). The paint aps on the helmet are as impressive as those on the figure itself. There are orange unit markings accurate to the film, black “battle damage” markings, black visor, nasal and other details on the helmet. All the details are smoothly applied, and even on my sample and look outstanding.

All the gear this figure comes with is really nice for a Star Wars figure though, especially at the prices we pay these days. It’s nice seeing something “extra” like the pistol and whatnot though, so to me this is a figure with some substance for the price it seems.

-Articulation: Articulation on the Airborne Trooper is borderline to Hasbro’s bar-setting “Super Articulation” for action figures. Sure they could’ve tacked on a ball/socket torso, if they wanted to, or whatever. For what Hasbro does though, they can still cut those types of joints out and still deliver an amazingly articulated figure like this.

The Airborne Trooper sports the following articulation points:
- 2 ball/socket joints
- 2 ball/socket elbow joints
- 2 standard wrist joints
- 2 standard hip joints
- 2 ball/socket neck 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 an all neutral sculpt, so that’s a pretty poseable Star Wars figure right there. The one flaw one can cite really with the articulation is the left shoulder. It’s sculpted with an ammo pack detail on it, and this detail covers up the pin for the shoulder, and hampers the degree to which the arm can move at the shoulder. It’s a definite design flaw, for this one point of articulation.

Overall though, this figure is pretty darn close to super articulation, and really a blast to pose with your other Troopers. He looks good attacking, dying, helping a comrade, kicking droid ass… Whatever you want him to do. A nice poseable army builder… Just my favorite kind of figure!

-Removable Helmet: As noted in the accessory portion, the Airborne Trooper comes with a removable helmet. Hasbro’s doing this more and more with their figures, and especially their Clone/Storm Trooper type figures. It’s becoming a standard really with them, and that’s a major plus in my book.

The helmet, as noted, is a fantastic sculpt and fits the Trooper’s head quite well, covering all the flesh of the face/neck so it looks right. The feature itself is just something I love though. Removable helmets are on the rise in Hasbro’s line and that’s just a major plus worth noting for me.

-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

-Crossed Eyes: As noted in the paint aps portion of the review, we’ve got a problem with Clones and goofy eyes. I don’t know what it is, but these poor guys don’t get the same love as other human characters seem to. I could just have a bad Clone out of the lot, as lately the eyes haven’t been crossed like in the past, but my sample is still suffering from this so I have to mention it.

This is a flaw, if it’s common again, that really is just a quality issue with Hasbro’s factories that needs corrected. I’m hoping I just got a single factory mistake and that this is isolated to my sample. As it stands half my removable helmet Clone Troopers have these same goofy eyes and it’s distracting when they’re displayed helmet-less.

Good luck with yours though, you can’t look them over to find a good one as they all have their helmets on in the packaging!

-Limited Left Shoulder: The left shoulder, as noted in the articulation portion, is slightly hindered by the sculpt, so the full articulation of the ball/socket joint cannot be used on this figure. The flaw is overall fairly minor though, and there is still a certain range of motion. Enough hat it doesn’t really ruin poseability with this Clone Trooper. It’s just enough to be annoying.

The ammo packs on the figure’s left shoulder are sculpted up over the ball/socket pin, which inhibits how high the figure can raise his arms. Like I said, it’s a minor gripe overall and he retains 80% of his range of motion overall, just a little bit of his arm raising is hurt. Still, it’s a pretty sharp figure for articulation and this little “problem” isn’t worth thinking about twice really.

-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.

-Packaging: Packaging isn’t my main focus for collecting, but for 2006 I really enjoyed the unique backgrounds cut right out of the films for each figure that Hasbro put out there. It really made the cardbacks attractive and I believe carded collectors appreciated the variety and way they displayed. It, to me, was the best looking package Hasbro’s done so far.

2007 marks the beginning of a new collection though, and a new collection means a new card style. Hasbro went with less curves and more sharp angles with the 30th Anniversary Collection packaging. The colors are nice, I don’t really mind the angles, and the bubble seems deeper than the previous Saga Collection, allowing for larger accessories.

What I do miss is the unique backgrounds on the card for each figure. These were really great to me, getting a scene of the Kashyyyk beach behind a 41st Clone, or getting a scene from the Cantina with Hem Dazon. As a loose collector I tend to discard packaging, but I kept the 2006 cards for the most part for my collection. I’ll be tossing these 2007 cards though unfortunately.

OVERALL

So that wraps up the first of 2007, the Utapau Airborne Clone Trooper. The figure was great in the Mace Windu’s Squadron Battlepack from 2006, so I pretty much knew going into this review that I’d have high marks for this figure barring a horrid paintjob or some such.

Some fans might be disappointed at the rifle we got, as many feel the Evolutions sculpt is superior. I didn’t agree with that however, and actually prefer the original Clone rifle sculpt over the Evolutions sculpt, however I do mix/match the styles in my army building. I just don’t have enough of either gun, honestly.

I love the removable helmet, and the poseability. The figure’s sculpt and paint applications just cap off a fine figure, and fans will be happy to build at least a nice little squad of these troopers if they want to. Being in the first wave, I would think the army builders from it are going to be abundant enough for us all to build those little squads too. Or big squads even, whatever your tastes may be.

Hasbro knew they had a home run with this Trooper, and I feel sure we’ll be seeing him again in different decorations for different Clone legions. He’s already being repainted for the 501st Legion, and there’s surely more to follow. The Utapau version will be the one fans love the most though, as it’s from the films, and seen in some abundance during Revenge of the Sith’s exciting Utapau battle. So get out there and pick this one up, he’s well worth having a couple of at least. And welcome to the 30th Anniversary Collection… Looks like it could be a good year.

 

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