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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of First Order Flametrooper - Star Wars
The Force Awakens sixth scale action figure

Hot Toys
Date Published: 2016-06-22
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

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Star Wars Force Awakens Flametrooper action figure by Hot Toys

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Introduction

Star Wars The Force Awakens may be behind us, but much more Star Wars goodness lies in front, and Hot Toys has no intention of letting up on the throttle when it comes to cranking out the sixth scale figures. Every film in the franchise has its set of interesting troopers, and TFA was no exception.  These troopers are a goldmine for a company like Hot Toys.

While they didn't get a ton of screen time, the Flametroopers made quite an impression with the little time they had. They are also the latest Star Wars release from Hot Toys, and have started shipping world wide. Expect to pay around $235 for the figure, and there are no exclusives, two packs, or special versions at this point.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Star Wars Force Awakens Flametrooper action figure by Hot Toys

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Packaging - ***
The standard shoe box style package is in effect, with an attractive inner cardboard slip cover over a single plastic tray.  Everything is collector friendly, everything is well packed, but it's also fairly bland.

Star Wars Force Awakens Flametrooper action figure by Hot Toys

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Sculpting - ***1/2
This is largely a new figure, with redesigned armor specific to the character.  The overall look is fantastic, with the bright white armor catching the light and your eye in equal parts.

The sculpt is sharp and well defined, with small details sculpted in place. This version makes good use of the sculpted black lines to add some detail at various points, and the curved, smooth surfaces have a futuristic, modern appearance. Those that complain about the iTrooper feel of the designs won't see anything here to dissuade them, but I like the overall style.

I do think the helmet is just a smidge small with this release.  He photographs pretty well, but in hand the helmet appears about 10 - 15% undersized to me. It's quite possible that this will end up being just me, and your mileage may vary.

Like most Hot Toys figures, he comes in at just slightly over 12" tall, and will fit in just fine scale-wise with the rest of the series.

Star Wars Force Awakens Flametrooper action figure by Hot Toys

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Paint - ****
You have to look very, very closely in macro photos before you'll find any slips or blips in the black highlights on this costume.  The white is bright, sharp, and clean, with nary a mark to be seen.  And while there aren't too many small paint details on a costume like this, the tiny valve on the top of the tanks in back does a nice job showing that Hot Toys still has that special something.

While these suits aren't battle worn, dirty, or damaged, the uber clean look is certainly attractive. It also matches the screen appearance pretty well, where most of the troopers looked spick and span. This actually makes quite a bit of sense, since in a military complex like the one in the current Star Wars universe, this consistent, clean look is part of the intimidation factor.  The impression is that these troopers won't just beat you, they'll do it without getting a smudge.

Star Wars Force Awakens Flametrooper action figure by Hot Toys

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Articulation - ***
The First Order armor doesn't allow for a lot of mobility, although it can vary quite a bit. Stormtroopers, pretty much restricted...Snowtroopers, much better movement in all the joints.

This guy falls somewhere in between. While he isn't as free to move as the Snowtrooper, the greater amount of armor isn't as restrictive as we saw with the regular FO Stormtroopers. I was able to get deeper stances, and the knees, hips and ankles worked quite well.  The ankles even have decent rocker movement! A lot of the increased leg mobility is also due to the bodysuit, which feels a bit more stretchy and loose this time around.

The arms are still difficult to work with, and there's really no tilt or turn movement in the torso. However, I was able to get poses and stances I was quite happy with, and he should have no trouble maintaining them long term.

It's worth noting here that the large hose that runs from the wand to the tanks has a thick wire running through the middle, allowing you to pose it appropriate based on the stance you've chosen.

Star Wars Force Awakens Flametrooper action figure by Hot Toys

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Accessories - ***1/2
The main extra here is the pack/tanks and wand. These are removable, and come in three separate pieces.

The large tanks fit neatly on his back, and the design is genius.  The pack drops down onto a rod that runs across the lower back, with clips that hold the pack in place. The upper part of the tank snaps tightly to the back thanks to a VERY strong magnet. With normal handling, the pack will stay in place with no trouble, yet it's easy to put on and take off.

The hoses are a separate piece, although they come attached in the package. The large feeder hose attaches to the bottom via a solid hard plastic connector.  A smaller rubber hose slides through a hole in the pack frame and into a small hole in one tank. The small hose is very pliable, but the larger hose is posed thanks to a thick wire running through the middle. This wire attaches to the bottom of the grip on the wand, which is the third and final piece.

Not only is the design genius, but the overall construction and detail work on the pack and wands is fantastic.  Even the smallest detail is accounted for, and an excellent example is the small real metal chain at the bottom of the tanks. It appears that this is some sort of pressure release valve, or perhaps a way to drain and refill the tanks.  It has a small chain attached so it wouldn't get lost in real life. While the valve doesn't open, making it a moot point, they still included the small chain for accuracy. 

While the majority of the figure lacks small detail paint work, the tiny value at the top of the tanks shows off their ability to produce realistic small details such as this. I'm a little worried for the guy though, since it appears his tanks are empty.

To go with the tanks and wand, he has 7 hands in total. There is a right and left to grip the wand handle, a big plus since it allows him to swap from left to right in the display, as well as a pair of relaxed palms that can support the wand 'barrel'. There's a left fist, a left designed to work in supporting the wand in a slightly more specific way, and a gesturing left as well.

They've thrown in a couple more wrist pegs too, but you shouldn't need them. The hands swapped pretty easily, and in fact had a tendency to pop off when working with the wand.

They have also included a fire effect, which attaches to the end of the wand. The small tip pops out of the wand, and this well constructed blast snaps in place. It's a very solid attachment, and the trooper is capable of holding the flame high without drooping.

Finally, there's the basic Force Awakens display stand, provided for consistency with the rest of the series. You won't need it, but it's nice to have just in case.

Star Wars Force Awakens Flametrooper action figure by Hot Toys

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Outfit - ****
I've already regaled you with tales of the terrific armor, so I won't go into a bunch of detail here. Suffice to say from the sculpt to the bright white color and black piping, the protective costume looks fantastic.

There's a bit more here than just the armor, however.  There's also the belt, which includes a couple soft pouches. These pouches can be adjusted (as well as tilted, as you can see in some of the photos - doh!) and have foam inside to fill them out.

There's also a small removable/adjustable strap around the right thigh. This strap holds three small, black cartridges, which I assume have something to do with the flamethrower. Whatever the purpose, it's a nice visual addition to the basic costume.

I mentioned it earlier, but the underlying bodysuit seems a bit more stretchy this time. It might just be my imagination, but I was certainly able to get better leg poses with this release, and yet it remains quite form fitting.

Star Wars Force Awakens Flametrooper action figure by Hot Toys

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Fun Factor - ***
Thanks to slightly greater mobility, this figure has plenty of posing and re-posing potential. While holding the flamethrower in some aggressive stance is going to be the go to look, you can swap between left and right hands and create a nice number of stances.

This is countered by some of the more frustrating aspects of posing him.  I was forever putting one end of the hose or the other back in place, reattaching hands, reattaching the smaller rubber hose, putting the pack back on (pushing up is how you reattach the hoses, and of course, that pops the pack off the back as well), and getting a tad frustrated. I was able to get a rhythm after awhile, adjusting in a particular order to create less chaos, but it does mean I'll be doing less re-posing over time.

Value - **
This guy is running around $235 at most retailers, and that's fairly harsh. We got the Snowtroopers for less than $200 each in the two pack, making the initial sticker shock pretty severe here.

But if you consider that this is almost an all new outfit, not merely the same exact FO trooper armor with some different colors and a new pack, things get slightly less painful.  The terrific magnet feature, the small metal chain on the release valve, the strong wire for the hose...the small details add up both in your enjoyment and in the cost.  I'm still not leaping for joy over the price point, and I feel something in the $220 range would have been more appropriate, but that extra $15 is only pulling them down a half star off average here.  And if you pick it up some where with the price below $225 - as is the case with one of my sponsors - you can add another half star to this category.

Star Wars Force Awakens Flametrooper action figure by Hot Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
Look carefully and you'll notice that in the last couple photos, I'm missing the small end piece on the blaster. Obviously, it fell off after I replaced it, and I have no idea if I can find it or not. I'm assuming it hasn't gone anywhere too far, but I'll be spending some time the minute I finish writing this review searching for it. Don't be like me - keep an extra eye on that small cap.

Overall - ***1/2
While there's been plenty of troopers over the years that are nothing more than a pauldron swap, this guy is a terrific example of a very different design that will enhance your trooper armory. I wish he was cheaper - don't we all? - but the quality is certainly there. Since he's so specialized, you can also feel right about having just one backing up your other troops, reducing the need to cough up more money for a firefight partner.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2

Star Wars Force Awakens Flametrooper action figure by Hot Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has an excellent price at $224.

- has him for $235.

- Sideshow has him in stock at $235 as well.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered the FO Snowtroopers and the First Order Stormtrooper. Other Hot Toys Star Wars figures include the recent Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, C-3PO, Tatooine Luke Skywalker, Luke in his Stormtrooper Disguise, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Han and Chewbacca from ANH. If you'd like a bit more of a regular Stormtrooper, they've done him as well, along with a Blackhole version. Sidseshow has helped out this year with the Original Trilogy, with their Hoth Han, Hoth Luke, Tauntaun, Speederbike, and Scout Trooper.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Star Wars Force Awakens Flametrooper action figure by Hot Toys

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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