The new wave of Hasbro’s 6-inch Star Wars Black has arrived, but those of you expecting all new characters will be disappointed. This new case only adds two new figures to the mix: The Phase I Clone Trooper and Anakin Skywalker with the other two slots in this case occupied by re-releases of the Stormtrooper and Boba Fett. Normally this is where I would get all up in Hasbro’s grill, but reissues of the hard to find Boba Fett and the hotly demanded Stormy were actually a cool move on Hasbro’s part to help get these figures into the hands of collectors. I know I was happy to get another Stormtrooper, even if it meant having to suck down an extra Boba Fett. He’s a great figure and I don’t mind having an extra one boxed. Anyway, today we’re going to check out the Clone Trooper, another army builder that should be in rather high demand.
Hasbro has revealed a redesign for the Black packaging, but it won’t come until the next wave so what we get here is the same old stuff. It’s a very simple window box that shows off the figure pretty well and offers very little else. I’ve complained about the lack of artistic flair in much of Hasbro’s current package design, but the 6-inch Black series is the one line that I think suits it pretty well. I’ve gone on record saying that I was going to be very choosey about what prequel figures I buy, but this figure was a no brainer. I like the clones and the Phase I helmet is my favorite of the designs. It was also a no-brainer on Hasbro’s part as they’re now free to unleash an unending tide of repaints onto us.
So before I get to the actual figure, let me say that there are some aspects of the QC here that is pretty disappointing. My Clone has black marks scattered on his left leg and some on his left shoulder. The shoulder marks eventually rubbed off, but the marks on his leg haven’t. I’ve yet to try a Magic Eraser, but these are $20 collector figures Hasbro, I shouldn’t have to be trying to clean them up when I take them new out of the package. I’ll also note here that the hinges on this guy feel pretty mushy and even the finish on the overall plastic feels like I could easily scar it with my thumbnail. Sigh… it looks like Hasbro has been dipping into the economy plastic again.
I think the sculpting here looks pretty good. While most of the armor is sculpted as part of the buck, the black paint in the joints gives some credibility that it is indeed a suit of armor. The effect may not be as good as we saw with the Stormtrooper, but it’s passable. Overall the black paint is pretty clean, although the pins for the lower pins for the elbow hinges are right in the middle of the black undersuit and they are left white, which is obviously not optimal, especially for a figure in this larger scale. The paint apps on the helmet are not as crisp and straight as I would prefer and it sure would have been nice if they could have gone with a glossy black for the visor.
The articulation is satisfying, at least on paper. The arms feature swivel hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels at the biceps. The legs have ball joints with swivels in the hips, double hinges in the knees, and hinges in the ankles along with lateral rockers. There’s a pretty generous ball joint in the lower torso and the neck is ball jointed.
For the most part the jointing works fairly well with the armor. The big exception to that is the shoulder armor, which severely restricts the lateral movement of the arms. There’s absolutely no clearance so once the tops of these plates butt up against the torso armor, that’s as far as they’ll go. So granted, the Stormtrooper had a similar problem and I gave him a pass. But, the first time I tested the range of movement on the Clone Trooper, his left shoulder piece popped off with very little pressure and almost no warning. And no, it’s not meant to do that, so I had to glue it back on. Hasbro has done a much better job getting shoulder plates to work with articulation on some of their recent Marvel Legends. It’s a shame they didn’t do it here as well.
The Clone Trooper comes with two accessories, both guns. You get a blaster pistol and a rifle. Both are decent sculpts and while the pistol is a tad soft and rubbery, the rifle is surprisingly firm and stiff. Both of his hands are designed to hold weapons, so you can get some nice action poses with him and his little arsenal. It may be a valid complaint that Hasbro didn’t pack a Phase II head into the mix, but I’ll not take issue with it here.
One point that I will always come back to when looking at these 6-inch Black figures is whether the new scale is justified. Sure, Hasbro’s goal here is to squeeze more money from collectors by introducing a new format. But from the collectors’ point of view, the larger scale should only be justified because it can produce more detailed sculpts, better articulation, better accessories, and better paint. In short, the figures should be better than the 3 ¾” figures, otherwise why bother? In this case, the Phase I Clone Trooper has been done at least as well, and probably better in the smaller format and with the smaller version, you don’t have to sacrifice his interactivity with ships and vehicles.
Obviously, I’m not blown away or even impressed by this figure. Keep in mind, I’ve got about a dozen figures in this series that I’ve opened so by now I’ve set my expectations on what this line will offer and this Clone just falls short. The black marks on his leg armor are annoying, but not devastating. I may still be able to get them off and even if I can’t, well… Clones get dirty in action. I was, however, hoping for firmer joints and that I wouldn’t be reaching for the glue right after opening him. Is he terrible? No. But, in the end, he’s a decidedly average figure and doesn’t match the quality on display in either of my 6-inch Black Stormtroopers or my Sandtrooper. It’s possible I got a lemon, and yes, given the opportunity I will take a chance on a second one, but all in all I was hoping for better.