I could go on and on, recounting all the things that I love about Rogue One! But today, let’s go with Reason #1,256: New Troopers! The film gave us some brand spanking new Imperial Troops, all of which were conspicuously absent from The Original Trilogy, but I’m sure they’ll get digitally inserted in an upcoming Extra Special Edition. And while the Deathtroopers were probably my favorite additions, the Shoretroopers that were introduced on Scarif are a close second! And here comes Hot Toys to prey on my weaknesses by releasing both a Shoretrooper and the Squad Leader as well. The regular trooper isn’t due to ship until early next year, but the Squad Leader arrived on my front stoop a couple of days ago! Time to hit the beach and kick over some Rebel sandcastles!
Here’s the part of the review where I lament the bland and boring packaging we always get with the Star Wars Hot Toys, so let’s just say I did and be done with it. You’ll note that nowhere on the package is it branded as a Rogue One figure, and maybe that’s because these fellows made an appearance in The Mandalorian. That’s also probably why they’re now being called Shoretroopers, instead of Scarif Stormtroopers. Eh, it’s all marketing in the end. But, it’s worth noting that the official copy on Sideshow’s website makes the link to Rogue One, so that’s good enough for me. Not that it matters, because I’m more or less all in on both Rogue One and Mandalorian Hot Toys.
The Squad Leader shares a similar suit to his rank-and-file underlings. The big difference is the lack of the ammo pouch and hip armor, and the addition of the black cloth kama that hangs down to about his knees, and covers his butt. The Leader also features some coloring to his upper armor, with light blue on the tops of his shoulders and a light blue bar running across the top of his chest. He’s also got a white band on his left shoulder, and a red bicep guard on his right arm with three yellow bars. Otherwise, his armor is a sandy tan color with some pretty heavy and convincing weathering effects. The paint on this guy is just great, and it’s backed up by some excellent detail, particularly in the shallow backpack unit.
As for the armor itself, the suit falls somewhere in between the full armor of a regular Stormtrooper and the abbreviated armor of the Scout Troopers. The Shoretrooper enjoys the extra protection of lower leg and forearm armor, but the rest offers more or less the same protection as the Scout has. As usual, the figure is comprised of an undersuit with the plastic armor pieces worn on top and held on either by elastic straps or friction. Above the waist, the body suit is black, but the exposed trousers are brown. About the only thing I don’t much like on this fella is are the boots, which strike me as looking more like brown loafers than combat boots. But, they are still accurate to the design, so it’s hard to fault the figure.
The helmet is also an excellent sculpt and the paint is once again on point. Hell, no matter where you look, the paint just sells this figure so well. You get scoring and abrasions, and just general soiling. It looks like this guy has seen more than his share of action. All it’s really missing is some dried seagull poop! The helmet design is obviously influenced by the Scout Trooper helmet, but the angular plates over the cheeks make it look quite distinctive, as does the reinforced blast shield, which rests above the visor on the forehead. It’s a shame that the blast shield isn’t articulated here, as it would have been cool to be able to drop it down over the visor. But to quote a certain farmboy, then they couldn’t even see… so how are they supposed to fight? I do feel like the neck is a little too long and thin, but that’s mostly only noticeable to me when the figure is viewed from the back.
Rank may have its privileges, but unfortunately it doesn’t mean the Squad Leader gets a lot of extra stuff. Indeed, a lack of extras seems to be a continued sticking point for me and these Imperial Troopers. In this case you get three pairs of hands: Relaxed, Fists, and Gun-toting… plus you get the gun for those hands to tote. Oh, but what a magnificent gun it is! Sure, the E-11 Blaster is iconic as all hell, but this E-22 reciprocating double-barrel blaster rifle is one sexy piece of ordinance. It’s a much beefier and far more intimidating weapon than the ones carried by their vanilla Stormtrooper cousins, and this is an absolutely beautiful sculpt. There are no articulated or removable parts on the weapon, but it does come with a shoulder strap, and features some very nice weathering.
What’s our last stop on every Hot Toys review? You got it! The Stand! In this case it’s the usual rectangle with a silver name plate on the front. You get an illustrated sticker that can be placed onto the base, or you can omit it in favor of what looks more like the deck plate of an Imperial Star Destroyer. There’s also an optional piece to give the base an angled front that is flush with the name plate. As with the packaging, the name plate does not have any Rogue One branding, but rather just says Star Wars and Shoretrooper Squad Leader. The stand consists of your standard adjustable crotch-cradle, which works well with the figure.
I love this figure! He’s a great addition to my Sixth-Scale Imperial Troops, and you bet your beskar that I already have the regular Shoretrooper on pre-order. In addition to the great sculpt, tailoring, and paint, there’s very little in the outfit to hinder his articulation, making him a lot more fun to play with than the more restrictive suited Hot Toys. But I will admit that the price is really catching up with these guys. $230 just seems high for a figure that comes with so little in the way of extras, and doesn’t have an actual portrait. I consider the likeness and portrait to be a huge part of a Hot Toys figure’s budget, and when they’re just doing a helmet, it seems like that should save on the cost a bit. Plus, I think this armor is mostly the same as the Assault Tank Commander, so they’re already getting multiple uses out of it. I seem to recall the last two Hot Toys Stormtroopers I bought were around $200-220, and I think this figure should have shipped around $10 to $15 less than it did. But what the hell, they still got me to buy it, so I guess they know what they’re doing.