It’s been something like two months since I last visited with the Star Wars 6-inch Black Series. I have a lot of the figures from The Last Jedi still waiting to be opened, but my third viewing of that flick really left me cold and not really in a mood to celebrate it with figures. Maybe one day when I’m really hurting for something to review, I’ll revisit those. In the meantime, the trailers have got me really excited to see Solo and I’ve started to pick up some of the Black Series figures that have preceded its coming. Let’s start off with the Range Trooper!
I confess, I tore this guy open in the car, so I had to go with Hasbro’s official packaged shot. And it’s worth noting that the figure in their promo shot is colored a bit differently than the actual figure we got, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Just who are the Range Troopers and what function do they serve in the Empire? Well, after a bit of speculation, we finally got to see a glimpse of these guys in action in the trailer, and it seems like they’ll be guarding an Imperial train on a planet called Vandor! It’s not a whole lot to go on, but it is significant as it explains a bit about the rather distinctive gear these guys are wearing. This is going to be one of those reviews where I’ll be sharing my thoughts on not only the figure itself, but the character design as well. So, let’s get started.
Straightaway, let me say that I really love this design and the figure carries it off brilliantly. I called him distinctive, and he is that, but he’s also a hodge-podge of ideas taken from a number of other Imperial troopers, and I don’t mean that as a bad thing. It’s only natural that Imperial armor should have a certain flavor to it, so it’s nice to see some of that connective tissue on display here. Pretty much all we know about Vandor right now is that it looks to have a rather cold and inhospitable climate, and I suppose we can assume that’s characteristic of the entire planet because… STAR WARS! Whatever the case, the Range Trooper is all bundled up, even more so than the Imperial Snowtroopers.
And this guy definitely has a Snowtrooper vibe about him. The chest armor is very similar to the Snowy, as is his backpack, albeit it’s a lot more recessed. The Range Trooper also has a similar kama, although it appears to be part of a larger and bulkier jacket that’s worn under the chest armor. The sculpting on the jacket is particularly well done and I like the look of the fringe that lines the edges. He also has a pair of rather large pouches flanking either side of his belt buckle. As I mentioned earlier, the promo shots make him look mostly white all over, but in hand the production figure has a couple of different colors going on. The helmet, the chest armor and the backpack are all pretty white, but the jacket has more of a yellow tinge to it and the boots and leg armor are gray. There’s also some pretty nice weathering, which consists of some scrapes and scratches on the armor.
The head sculpt definitely reminds me of some of the new helmet designs we saw in Rogue One, particularly the Scarif Troopers and the Hover Tank Pilot. And I guess that more or less fits the timeline, although Solo takes place a decade or so earlier. Like his chest armor, the helmet shows off some pretty nice weathering and I really dig the gold paint the used for the visor. Another thing I really dig is the furry collar he’s got on. It’s more of a yellowish white to match the coat, which presume it’s supposed to be part of. It looks very distinctive and I think this is some of the better use of softgoods I’ve seen in this line in a while.
And that brings us to the boots, and this guy has quite a pair of clodhoppers. These babies are heavily reinforced with a framework and even what looks like some kind of pressurized control tanks in the back. Having seen the trailer, we now know that one of the purposes these serve are to magnetize to the body of the train their guarding, so the troops can stay attached as it rotates on the track. I would presume these same boots could be used by Space Troopers who need to go out and walk on the hull of a spaceship. Whatever the case, these are some cool boots!
The articulation looks good on paper, but in practice, there’s a lot holding it back, at least from the waist down. The hips are ball jointed and there are what I believe to be rotating hinges in the knees and the ankles. But between the bulky boots, the sculpted plastic kama, and those big pouches, his legs just don’t have a lot of range of motion. He also has a pair of those thigh loops that we often see on the pilot figures. Above the waist he fares better, with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, all of which are relatively unhindered.
The Range Trooper comes with one weapon and it’s basically a variant of the E-11 Blaster. It’s a much sturdier sculpt than we’ve seen in the past and not so prone to warping. On the downside, it doesn’t have any of the silver paint apps. Still, it’s a pretty cool gun. Unfortunately, there’s no holster or anything for him to put it when he’s not shooting.
In the end, the Range Trooper is a damn cool looking figure. I love the design and I think Hasbro did a great job with this figure. Yeah, the articulation is lacking a decent range of movement in some areas, but with how bundled up these fellas are, I don’t know how nimble they would be anyway. You’ve just got to love this time, when you’re getting Star Wars figures from a movie you haven’t seen yet, and it’s still all about speculation. You work up ideas about what the characters are going to be like, and whether they’re going to be major players or just bit parts. From the looks of the trailer, we will most definitely get to see the Range Troopers in action, and I hope they make a good account of themselves, because I want to pick up a few more of these guys.