The promo pictures of the Black Series #14 6" Clone Trooper (Phase I) got the better of me and persuaded me to order a pair from an Asian eBay seller. Overpriced, but still cheaper for me than buying them from our own Dutch (r)etailers. I received them in pristine condition and within a week after payment.
Sculpt: at first glance the trooper looks a bit bulky. But after eyeing him more closely, the sculpt is really decent. The black body suit has a few folds, all in the right place. It also features a subtle texture. The body armour is pretty close to the mark, as far as I can tell. The belt is very well detailed (and on my troopers positioned correctly :p ). Details on the helmet and on the panel on the back are crisp and clean.
Paint: safe for the body suit, the standard Phase I grunt is white, of course. However, Hasbro applied subtle paint apps on various details, such as the back straps of the knee pads, the soles of the boots and of course the helmet. But they didn't apply it in a very tidy manner. On each of my two figures, I could spot numerous areas where the paint just missed the edges of the details. It's like decals applied just off centre. This has fast become a trend in Hasbro's figures, from 3 3/4" to 6" scale. Hopefully, this will be addressed soon. The 6" figures still are action figures and we can't really expect Sideshow, Hot Toys or Gentle Giant quality paint apps on a $20 figure, but a little bit more effort isn't too much to ask, I think. Lastly, I think it's strange that the body suit has a semi gloss finish, while the visor is flat black.
Articulation: the Clone Trooper has 14 points of articulation: ball jointed head, shoulders, wrists, waist and hips, double jointed elbows and knees and rocker ankles. This allows for the trooper to be placed in many positions, but I have found serious limitations as well, due to the way certain areas were sculpted.
In the next picture I have marked the areas which limit articulation. My biggest gripe is that the head can look down perfectly, but hardly up. Not at all, as a matter of fact. This is caused by the back armour. Another area of concern are the elbows. Again, the armour makes it hard to get some really cool blaster handling or signaling positions of the arms. The same goes for the thighs, making kneeling positions a bit awkward, although I did manage.
The shoulder armour is a real pain. Look at this picture: this is the maximum lift of the arm. Ephialtes, hello?!
It's a matter of sculpt accuracy versus posability, I guess. As a customizer, I have already thought about taking care of some of these areas. Shouldn't be too hard and yes, sculpt accuracy will be lost somewhat, but I'm willing to accept that.
Accessories: the Clone Trooper comes with a whopping two accessories, namely his trusted DC-15S blaster and the larger DC-15A blaster rifle. Both are finely detailed, but lack any kind of detailed painting. On top of that, the blasters are made of the softer type of plastic. The blasters are straight, don't get me wrong, but I prefer weapons to be molded in hard, unbendable plastic.
It might come across as if I don't like this figure at all and I must admit, when I had just unpacked them, I was a tad disappointed. But having handled them extensively for the photoshoot, trying to pose them in various positions, the Clone Trooper has already grown on me. A lot. In that I need more. With some careful modifications, these can go from nice looking troopers, to pretty darn good ones. If you have the space, it's definitely an army builder and being all white, an excellent template for making your own Clone officers. Except for the sarge, because Hasbro has him already lined up in a future wave.