So far, The Mandalorian has been the only Disney+ series that I think has been worthy of my time. Book of Boba Fett went nowhere fast, Obi-Wan was ludicrous and boring, and while I desperately want it to be good, I’m not holding out hope for Andor. So, it sure is nice to look back on that amazing ending to Mando Season 2 and know that if they try really hard, Disney is capable of producing some cool shit. Oh yeah… and we got to see some Dark Troopers!
Now, it’s only fair to say that I was not all that smitten with these guys on the screen. They looked a bit too much like rip-offs of the mechanical Cylons from the Battlestar Galactica reboot and the way they took to flight reminded me a little too much of either Iron Man or the Cybermen in Doctor Who‘s Series 8 finale. They just looked kind of cheesy flying around, and while that works for Doctor Who, it doesn’t so much in Star Wars. For some reason, I also LOL’d when they started punching the bulkhead repeatedly. Now, with all that having been said, these guys have grown on me a bit, and I suspected from the beginning that they were going to succeed for me a lot more as action figures, so let’s see if that’s true!
Well, I don’t know where to begin. First of all, the glossy black finish on this figure is absolutely gorgeous. It’s like a beautiful new car sheen, which probably doesn’t come across as well as it should in my pictures on account of how prone to fingerprints these are. And it’s good that the black finish is so impressive, because there isn’t a lot else here in terms of coloring. You get some silver paint on the joints and servos, and a subtle amount of dry-brushing on the feet to denote wear, but clearly these guys are meant to look fresh out of the factory and spoiling for a fight!
The next thing that I really love about this guy is the way the upper body armor is layered onto the figure. It makes for a more complex feel and appearance than if it were all just sculpted as one piece. The articulation here is every bit as good as your average Stormtrooper, so don’t let that bulky armor and those Protocol Droid-style disk-joints fool you into thinking this guy isn’t agile. It’s kind of a shame that the hydraulics in his abdomen don’t actually articulate with the figure, but they are in fact static, and the torso articulation is confined to a ball joint below the chest. Still, they look great! You get two sets of hands with this fella, one pair of fists, and a pair to interact with his gun. Oddly enough, his fists look really small and puny.
The helmet sculpt is great. It’s a nice homage to the original Dark Trooper design, but updated to work with the modern series. The red eye lenses are surprisingly vibrant amidst that sea of black, but man, it would have been cool if we could have had some light piping up in there!
The blaster design is OK, but the trusty old E-11 Blaster doesn’t have to worry about this design becoming my favorite. I like my Star Wars guns to have a firm and obvious design nod to real world vintage weapons, and this one just doesn’t do it. But it sure ain’t bad. There’s nowhere for the Trooper to store the weapon that I can see, but his gun-hands work well to carry it, with the left hand sculpted to cradle the weapon’s foregrip. It might have been interesting to see these Troopers designed with an integral blaster, like the Super Battle Droids, but maybe they can save that for an upgraded design.
In addition to the Blaster, you get a couple of jet effect parts to stick into his feet. These look fine, but I think I would have rather these guys had jetpacks, than just jet boots. Again, it’s a little too Iron Man-y on the screen, but it looks a lot more credible and fun as an action figure.
At $32, The Dark Trooper is priced a bit higher than your average Black Series figure, but he is a bit more complex than what we usually get. I will say that I expected him to be a bit bigger, as he isn’t really any bigger than the Death Troopers, which I included in a comparison shot. Still, I’m not complaining, because he’s a damn fine addition to my Imperial forces. I originally pre-ordered a pair of them, but I may wind up hunting down one more.