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Endor Rebel Soldier
Gunner and Commando Variants

The Saga Collection set of reviews is winding down for me for the most part… Reviewing 22 repainted figures is fairly pointless since it’s covering old territory with a twist. The Final 22 dish out some pretty cool figures though, especially the astromechs, Clones and such, so by now most of you should’ve found those figures for your collections.

The last of the famed End-Boo wave of figures are the most interesting to me though. In particular, this week’s review is going to look at the “new” Endor Rebel Soldier. I use quotes because the Rebels are really only 50% new, though it’s a decent 50% resculpting Hasbro did. The figure is based on 2002’s Endor Rebel Soldier sculpt, but features new legs, belt, and headsculpts. Plus, like the 2002 figure Hasbro saw fit to do a running change/variation to the figure. Army builders rejoice, right? Well… Sometimes a figure needs a resculpt from the floor up, not just a new set of legs.

The full review is going to go over what works with the Endor Rebel figures, and what doesn’t work. Hasbro’s got a ways to go though till army builders have a GOOD Rebel of some kind to build a fighting force with. So far they’re all under articulated, but Hasbro’s inching closer it seems. Read on to check out the scoop on this double-figure-review. Some of these guys weren’t easy to find in some areas, so maybe the Endor Rebels are still missing in your collection?

PROS

-Sculpt: Starting off the review it’s easy to look at the details in this figure’s sculpt and be impressed. Hasbro’s sculptors in 2002 got a lot of costume details right on the Endor Rebel figures, and in 2006 this figure’s additions look equally nice and match up well. Various parts of the costume feature lots of wrinkles and folds, texturing details, electronic gears, and various insignia. It’s full of detail.

The figure’s new legs feature large bulky pockets, trademarks of Rebel uniforms in the films. They’re sculpted so it looks like some gear is inside and weighting it down at the bottom of the pocket. The pants also have little hand pockets at the top sculpted in there, and they are a nice touch. The pants end with the leggings and boots, and both are very nicely detailed. The leggings cover the ankle articulation perfectly and feature strap and clasp details sculpted into them while the boots have laces and stitching details in them. All very nice visuals on new, less “dynamic”, legs for this trooper.

The figure’s upper body then is almost entirely old hat from the 2002 Trooper. There’s a bandoleer of grenades sculpted onto the plain looking shirt of the character. The vest over the shirt is nice and very realistic looking with all the folds and stitching details of the fairly ornate looking costume sculpted in. The vest though does inhibit the arm articulation unnecessarily, which is more than a little frustrating.

Other new details in the figure’s sculpt are his nifty new belt, and of course 2 brand new headsculpts, which go together in a way. First, the belt is sharp, sculpted with lots of pouches, pockets, and a working holster, however the holster is not sculpted properly to hold the blaster included with the figure (it’s fixable though). The one pouch on the belt’s front is sculpted to attach to a headset wire on one of the variation headsculpts as well.

Of the two new heads then, one is white, and one is black. Their decorations variations correspond to their ethnicity’s as well, as one is a Commando on Endor while the other is a Millennium Falcon Turret Gunner (from cut scenes in Return of the Jedi).

The gunner’s headsculpt is white with a headset sculpted onto it. The set has a wire sculpted to it that extends down and connects to the box on the trooper’s belt. Pretty cool little feature there. The black trooper’s headsculpt has a mustache making him a little distinctive looking, and both feature lots of detail, and resemble real characters seen on Endor and from the cut footage of Return of the Jedi.

In general though, both figures match up with the modern line in terms of sculpt details… Unfortunately what holds back the figures in terms of sculpt are some pre-posing decisions made by Hasbro in 2002 as well as 2007, and those will be noted later for sure, as they do harm this figure’s quality overall.

-Paint Aps/Decoration: Both Endor Troopers feature unique paint applications, making the variants pretty easy to spot at retail. You’re clearly not buying the same figure, just similar ones, and that makes them appealing to youngsters to have the pair instead of just one or the other. It’s also, of course, great for adult collectors and army builders as well.

The Black Trooper’s pants are camouflaged as seen on the troops accompanying Han on Endor, and his shirt is a darker shade of grey. The White Trooper’s pants and shirt match and are a cream color.

Both Troopers feature the same paint details on their vests, bandoleers, gloves, and boots. The bandoleer has a leathery brown color for the strap itself, black detailing for the grenades, and brass details on the grenades and the bandoleer’s clasp. The vest is a base tan-brown color with a darker brown wash, and some grey paint detail on the left chest insignia.

On the figure’s boots is a little bit of a wash to dirty them up slightly, though they’re still a little glossy for my tastes. The belt features uniquely colored pouches in both brown and green, with silver buttons and a silver buckle on the belt as well. And lastly the gloves are brown with a little darker wash to give them a leathery worn appearance.

Both headsculpts feature unique decorations for the different ethnicity. The White Trooper’s hair got a little extra attention as the headset is sculpted into the hair and painted to stand out with grey and silver highlights. The White Trooper’s hair is grey with a light grey wash in it as well to help it stand out some also. Both head’s have nice eye paint aps with the 3-layered format Hasbro uses on most human characters they do (pupil, iris, eyeball). Neither figure leaves you feeling you got a shoddy paintjob from Hasbro due to a lot of colors and detail work hidden in both.

-Accessories: The Endor Rebels come packing a lot of gear, as they should (being half re-used molds), and it’s nice seeing Hasbro try to give a Rebel Soldier a working holster for once… even if it didn’t work right. The vest I don’t count as it’s not intended to come off the figure, but there’s still a lot of gear for your commandos!

They both come with a blaster pistol (proper scale Rebel Pistol), a removable helmet (got to love that), and a backpack that was included with the 2002 figure. The helmets are also a throwback to the 2002 figure, and both the helmet and pack feature lots of details true to the character’s in the film. The helmet’s cloth bits are sculpted with just a little bit of a “wavy” look to them, as is the chinstrap. The metal portions sit rigidly on the helmet and look great. There’s slight paint details on the helmet and some silver “weathering” would’ve been nice, but overall they look fantastic.

The Trooper’s backpack has silver tabs and buckles painted onto it with a black cord running from the bottom to the top. There’s lots of texturing details subtly sculpted into the pack and a weighty look like it’s filled with gear, much like the bulky pockets on the pants. They’re both great accessories you don’t mind seeing again and again.

Lastly the Trooper is packing a blaster pistol, but no rifle. It’s a little disappointing on the rifle, but the pistol is the proper scale blaster that was first given to the 2003 Captain Antilles figure. It’s painted with a silver tip and always nice to get more of it. Short of a rifle, maybe a bomb, this figure’s armed with what he needs and should have.

Other pack-ins then are the usual suspects that have come with figures in 2006. There is an embossed stand featuring the film the character appeared in raised on its surface and a silver name of the character painted on the one edge. There is also a randomly packaged holographic miniature figure snuck into the packaging as well. While the stand and miniature are nice, both required molds and effort to be produced and it’s my opinion that the money put into these “gimmick” accessory pack-ins would be better put into the figure itself. I prefer quality toys to gimmicks.

-Packaging: The Saga Collection packaging for each figure is an interesting mix of styles. You can definitely see some elements of the ROTS line mixed with elements of the OTC line, and that makes for a unique package on the shelves. I really enjoy the black cardback with silver lettering, and I hope it’s something Hasbro is willing to stick with for a long time to come.

I also highly enjoy the unique backgrounds for each figure. Pulling an element from the OTC line, the new Saga Collection packaging uses a film shot that pertains to each unique character, and really individualizes the figures. This is drool-worthy for the carded collector and it makes even the die-hard openers want a figure here and there to keep carded just because of how special the backgrounds are.

The bubble is a little closer to the ROTS line in its overall size and shape, but should lend itself more to staying mint for the carded guys. There’s also an insert depicting the specific character and the character’s name, packaged into the bottom of the package just as the Revenge of the Sith figures had. The insert features the bold blocky silver lettering of the Saga, and lets fans know that this is the universal collection of figures encompassing the entire Star Wars universe.

There’s a lot to like with this packaging so I hope it stays as the standard for a while. I would say that The Saga Collection and Original Trilogy Collection will go down as some of the most liked packaging by collectors for quite some time if Hasbro gives it a while, and this is coming from a guy that rips almost everything off its card at some point or another.

CONS

-Posed Sculpt Details: So while the figure’s finer sculpt points look amazing, and they do, some small issues crop up with the figure’s “pre-posed” nature. And these range from the 2002 portions of the figure to the 2006 portions.

The figure’s torso from 2002 is sculpted with a bit of a “lean” to the right side. The original figure was posed lunging and firing a weapon, so this torso lean was appropriate, but on a more poseable figure it’s much more distracting, and tough to get the Trooper to just stand straight up and down in a normal pose. How much it annoys you will depend on your opinion of such matters. For me it’s a bit distracting, but for others they don’t even notice it. More than a couple figures have this issue though and it’s something I’d like Hasbro to abandon in the future hopefully.

The other pre-posed issue is the new set of legs. For some reason, Hasbro sculptors put the figure’s stance fairly wide apart, and really took away a lot of the benefit of the super articulation put into the legs. This is frustrating, but can be fixed through a customizing technique called the “Boil & Freeze” where you boil the figure’s legs, put them in a more straight pose, and then dunk it quickly into ice water so the plastic takes the new neutral pose’s shape. Check our customizing forums for more help on this if you want to try it out.

Either way though, the two pre-posed issues with this figure’s sculpt are both detracting factors, and hurt the desire many collectors had to army build him.

-Articulation: Super articulation is great when you get it, but when you see figures sporting articulation from a past era, it’s really disappointing and can drag any modern figure down. Unfortunately the Endor Rebel Trooper has 50% articulation from 2002, and 50% modern. It makes for a figure you just wish was resculpted instead of kit-bashed with an only partially new sculpt.

The Endor Rebel’s actually look great on paper with the number of joints they have. What holds up the poseability is the old arm sculpt, and the vest which impedes the shoulder articulation completely. The legs are super articulated with ball/socket joints, and unfortunately that’s all there is.

The Endor Rebel sports articulation at:
- 2 standard shoulder joints (hindered by the vest)
- 2 bicep cut 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, which should really be outstanding and make one super poseable army builder. The cut biceps limit the range of motion of the arms below the vest sleeves though, and the shoulder joints are under the vest’s sleeves making them virtually useless for posing. The only good joints are in the legs, which they are outstanding with super articulation.

As such, this figure is a bit frustrating to put into a variety of battle poses or neutral poses. The arms bow outward awkwardly, they don’t just “rest” at the figure’s sides, they are tough to get into a pose holding a weapon properly. It’s a figure that needed really an all-new sculpt I’m afraid, rather than half the effort.

In general, the articulation (and to a lesser extent the pre-posed sculpt issues) is the key reason I didn’t do much army building of the Endor Troopers. They’re ok to have a couple of, but they just don’t look great in bulk.

-Small Holster: A small issue I had with the new belt on the Endor figures is that the holster is sculpted too small to hold the blaster we got with them. It’s a little disappointing and such a minor flaw that quality control should’ve picked up on long before the figure got out. The holster is simply too small.

But there is some hope as well. Again if you’re into customizing figures at all, a simple fix of this is having a tiny drill bit set, and a steady hand, and drilling out a hole down into the holster that is the diameter of the pistol barrel. I’ve done this with all the Troopers I have so far, and they all now can hide their blaster pistols in their holsters, very simple.

-Innaccurate Variation Sculpt: Nitpicky? Maybe, but it’s still a flaw either way you slice it. The White Trooper variation for the Millennium Falcon Gun Turret is technically in the wrong costume. Still images of the trooper exist, and the guys helping crew the Falcon are actually in what appears to be a simple Technician’s jumpsuit, as opposed to the big bulky pants of the Endor Rebel Trooper, just in a light grey-ish color.

Again, this is obviously a small flaw, but one I felt was worth pointing out. Hasbro saw it as a cheap, fast way to get us an obscure rebel character though, so it’s different, but it’s not accurate.

-Price Hike: Star Wars figures have taken a jump in price at most all retailers in 2006, and while we paid $5 - $6 for most of our Revenge of the Sith figures throughout most of 2005, figures are up to $7 after tax at most retailers, even the usually stalwart for cheap prices, Wal-Mart. Hopefully Hasbro and Retail will see the light that price increases in this day and age means that people may become tighter with their spending.

I know a price hike will affect my buying habits, and I’ll buy fewer extras of any figure I maybe wanted extras of. I’ll cut back on army building, custom fodder buying, and other areas that I otherwise maybe would have spent more freely. That $1 or $2 starts to add up over 60 or so figures though. With no retailer seemingly wanting to budge on their standard price, things aren’t looking good for a decrease anytime soon. So keep your eyes peeled for sales because when they happen I’ve noticed that figures that were sitting suddenly fly off the pegs.

The price hike sucks, and what really is tough to accept is that in 2006 we’ve seen fewer figures with “great” articulation like we saw in last year’s line for ROTS. This decrease in overall quality coupled with the price increase just hasn’t sat well with me about this year’s line-up. Though those nicely articulated gems like the AT-AT Driver or whatnot do sneak in there.

OVERALL

So that’s it on the Endor Trooper(s). I applaud Hasbro’s desire to give us a Millennium Falcon Turret Gunner from cut footage of ROTJ. That’s a nice sentiment really, and overpowers the inaccuracies of that figure. Unfortunately though, a variety of issues impeded this figure’s rise to greatness. It won’t reach that till it’s completely resculpted I’m afraid.

The leg’s being awkwardly wide apart, the leaning, the horrible arm articulation… These are my key gripes. I was even able to fix the legs myself, but cannot fix the arms at all, and they drag the figure down. I won’t be army building Endor Rebel figures till we get some brand new sculpts with super articulation, as army builders should be at that standard by now.

Hasbro has some cool ideas with this figure, but hopefully we’ll see a new guy in the future. On a side note, if you take the vest off the figure, and slap an Endor Han Solo trench coat onto him, there is an instant Endor Rebel Sergeant for you (as seen in the 12” Side Show figure due out soon). It’s not quite the right color coat, and the trooper seen in Return of the Jedi was white, so you might have to do some head swapping, but the idea is still there, and there is a trooper in a trench coat seen running around if you watch closely.

But if you were looking to bolster your Endor Army, I wouldn’t count on it with this figure. Better to wait and see what Hasbro has in store for the future I’m afraid. This figure is good to have one of each variant and just call it a day I think. And with that, the Saga Collection is done!

JJ

 

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