Medicom Star Wars
501st Clone Trooper

I know I complain about how damn short they are, but that doesn't mean I haven't been sucked into the financial vortex that is the Medicom Star Wars line.  I've avoided the ugly early Luke, but the armored characters have been more than I could resist.

The latest release in the Real Action Heroes is the 501st Clone Trooper, complete with blue piping on his uniform.  This guy is limited to 1,000 released officially through Sideshow, the U.S. distributor for Medicom on this line, and they'll charge you $150 for him.  I have some other suggestions at the end of the review though that might save you a few bucks.

The 501st is a fairly unique situation in the world of geekdom.  The designation started as the name for the fan based group that dresses up in Stormtrooper (and eventually other) costumes, and attend various conventions and shows.  Founded in the late 90's, the group has become an officially recognized group by Lucas, and the inclusion of the 501st name as the elite unit of troopers was a very special nod to these uber fans.


Packaging - ***1/2
The big plus here is the collector friendly aspect.  They've done a fine job of keeping everything safe, and yet you can completely remove the figure and put it back with any damage to the packaging.

Unfortunately, it lacks much else.  The very basic black and gray has very little added in the way of text or graphics.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The majority of the sculpting here involves the armor, of course.  There's no sculpted head under the helmet, so there's no issue with likeness.

The majority of the armor looks great from a sculpting perspective, but if you bought the original white Clone Trooper, you'll know what you're getting.  The key here is the new paint job, which we'll discuss in a minute.

If you don't have the original Medicom Clone Trooper, then be prepared for a less poseable trooper than the Stormtroopers.  The armor is more restrictive due to the design, but it still has a very realistic appearance.

The only negative for me is the weird feet.  The design of the body makes the ankles very skinny, and this guy has some very big, flat feet.

Of course, I'm going to take this opportunity to mention the scale.  However, the Clone Troopers actually have a bit of size on the Stormtroopers and other Medicom Star Wars figures.  These guys have about a half inch on them - running about 12 1/2" tall - and actually fit in much better with the Sideshow scale figures.  They aren't quite perfect, but it's close enough for most folks to be happy.

Paint - ****
After getting this guy, I realize I have no need to keep my original Medicom Clone Trooper. The white version is just too dull, but this guy looks amazing due to the terrific paint job.

This guy has seen his share of battle, and there's wear damage to both the blue coloration and the white sections.  I'm usually not a huge fan of 'battle damage', not because I don't appreciate the concept but because the concept usually fails when it comes time for execution.

Medicom proves here that you can do damage in this scale and make it look extremely realistic.  You might be able to say that they overdid it in a few places, but none of it is silly or in a place that doesn't make perfect sense.

All the cut lines are perfect as well, and there's no sign of any slop.  Areas that should not have damage don't, and the black paint work on the visor, breathers, etc. is perfectly clean and neat.

Articulation - ***
This guy has the same articulation issues as the all white version, due to the more restrictive armor.  He can't take the type of deep poses that the normal Stormtrooper can, but he can still hold some basic poses that are very human-like.

I did have one big issue here that I normally don't have with Medicom figures.  His right arm doesn't come in as close to his body as it should.  I know it's capable of coming in closer, because the left arm does.

This is a bicep problem, and it feels like it's because the shoulder is in some sort of weird position under the tight body suit.  I played around with the thing for about an hour and couldn't get it arranged in a way that allowed it to work any better though, so I'm stumped.  Hopefully I just got a wonky version, and yours will be fine.

Fortunately, he can hold a pose with the gun across his chest quite well, and that's the pose I'll be using most of the time on the shelf.

Accessories - ***
As we discuss accessories, let's keep in mind that this guy costs around $150.

He comes with one set of swappable hands, both of which are in a gripping sculpt.  The right hand is actually designed to hold the blaster, but with the one finger extended (so it rests outside the trigger guard, not inside when holding the gun), it can also function as a gesturing hand.

I've mentioned before how much I like the Medicom wrist posts when it comes to swapping hands, and this time is no exception.  Sturdy and easy to swap, they're my favorite.

He has a blaster as well, which has a terrific sculpt.  However, unlike the recent Sideshow blaster with Leia, this one does not appear to have an unfolding stock.  The stock is there, folded up against the underside of the barrel, but I couldn't get mine to pop free, and it felt as though breakage was a sure thing if I kept trying.  It really looks like it was intended to fold out, so perhaps you'll have better luck than I.

Finally, there's the clear display stand.  If you have to have a display stand, clear is better than black.  You won't have to use it with this guy though unless you're going for some sort of flying pose, or you live on a fault line.

Outfit - ***1/2
I've pretty much covered the good and bad of the armor in the Sculpt and Paint sections, but it's worth talking about again.

I haven't mentioned the well designed, tailored and stitched body suit under the armor.  It looks great, and doesn't restrict the movement of the arms and legs at all...or not enough to be noticeable with the armor on.

Fun Factor - ***
These aren't designed to be played with of course, but they could be if you were Donald Trump.  The armor is actually quite sturdy, as is the figure.  The gun is a bit easy to break, but for kids who love the show and are old enough to take care of their more prized possessions, this could be an amazing gift.

Value - **
Unfortunately, as companies like Sideshow and Hot Toys produce better quality at a much lower price, Medicom is going to be forced to re-evaluate their pricing strategy.  This guy would be perfect at $100 - at $150 he's too much for what you're getting, especially considering that he's a repaint.

Things to Watch Out For - 
You might want to try to unfold the gun stock...but be careful if you do.  While it looks like it should work, I can't guarantee it won't break (or isn't supposed to at all!).

Overall - ***1/2
If you waited to buy your Medicom version of a Clone Trooper, then pat yourself on the back.  This one is a huge improvement in appearance over the plain white version, and will add a lot more visual interest to your shelf then that one does.  If you're only going to have one Clone Trooper, this is the one to get.

And if you've avoided most Medicom Star Wars figures because of the smaller size, you can rest assured that this one looks quite a bit better with the standard Sideshow figure.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value -  **
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
The official distributor is Sideshow, where you can pick him up for $150.  Other online retailers carry him as well, at slightly cheaper prices:

- CornerStoreComics has him at $135.

- Alter Ego Comics also his him at $135.

- Likewise, Amazing Toyz has him in stock at $135.

- or you can search Ebay using MyAuctionLinks.

- Related Links -
With all the Medicom and Sideshow releases, I have plenty of reviews for sixth scale Star Wars items:

Iif you'd like to check out some of the 12" Star Wars offerings from Medicom, hit these links:

- my review of Jango Fett, the Sandtrooper and  Boba Fett.

- guest reviews of the VCD Yoda and Boba Fett.

- guest reviews of the ROTS Vader, Jedi Luke, and this very Trooper.

- and my review of their first release Darth Vader, the regular Stormtrooper, and Clonetrooper and Blackhole Trooper.

If you'd like to see some of Sideshow's offerings, check these reviews:

- the last was the exceptional ANH Obi-Wan.

- in the sixth scale line, I've also reviewed Leia and Bespin Luke, the Holo-chess set, Sideshow's Asajj, a terrific figure, Yavin Luke, the Endor Troops, Jabba the Hutt and his throne, Bib Fortuna, Jedi Luke, Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, Bespin Han Solo, regular Anakin Skywalker and Kit Fisto.

- I also have guest reviews of the SDCC Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn.

- in the premium format line, I've reviewed Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Han Solo

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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