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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Imperial Stormtrooper
Star Wars Sixth Scale Action Figure

Sideshow Collectibles
Date Published: 2009-03-09
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

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Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Introduction

When Sideshow Collectibles first announced that they had taken over the license to produce sixth scale action figures based on Star Wars, collectors went nuts.  Debates raged as to whether Sideshow could do them justice - I remember people pointing to poor Pamela Voorhees, who was not one of Sideshow's best moments, as an example of how they'd mess it up - but time has proven that it's worked out pretty much like every other line. Sometimes they are great, sometimes not so much.

Even after years of working on the license and releasing a ton of figures, Sideshow had still not tackled the numero uno day one anticipation of the fans - armored figures. Right from the first hint that Sideshow would do Star Wars, fans speculated on Vader, Jango and Boba Fett, Clone Troopers, and of course - Stormtroopers.

We finally got a little taste of it last fall with the release of Obi-wan in Clone Trooper armor, perhaps my favorite of the entire run to this point. The loose joints of the new armored body caused some folks issues, but mine worked great, and I love it. With the pre-orders in for Vader and the first Troopers, the release of the Obi-wan just made me more anxious to see the rest.

The Stormtroopers are now shipping (and Vader shouldn't be too far off). Like usual, there is a normal verison (edition size of 6000) and an exclusive version to Sideshow's site (limited edition of 1500). I'll be reviewing the exclusive version, but the only difference is one additional accessory. Both of these figures ran $90 at Sideshow's site, but are now on Wait List there. I have some suggestions at the end of the review for picking them up, however.

Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Packaging - ****
Regular readers know I love the Sideshow Star Wars packaging. Here it works great, and there isn't even a single piece of tape! Lots of great text on the interior of the cool wrap around front panel, and it utilizes the nifty magnetic closures.

That's not t say I can't find at least one complaint, however. Hey, it's a sickness. The large blaster is fitted into the plastic tray in such a way that it is VERY difficult to pop out without damaging either the blaster or the plastic. Yes, you want to keep it safe, but this was a bit extreme.

Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Sculpting - ***1/2
In this section, I'm largely discussion the sculpt of the armor - in the Outfit section, I'll discuss the fit, materials used, and quality.

Is this a *perfect* match to the Imperial troopers in the original trilogy. No, of course not. There's a number of minor differences, but most of these are only noticeable if a) you do a side by side detailed comparison with a photo of the original character, or b) you're a text book anal Star Wars geek.

I noticed differences in the lower section of the mask, as well as the contours no the chest plate. But these don't bother me in the least. The differences are minor, and don't effect my appreciation of the figure.

There is one issue that does bug me, and did pull the score down a half star. It's the cod piece. This poor guy is clearly not packing much, as his cod piece is about half the size of the original film costumes. It's a big enough difference to jump out at me, and trust me, I'm not one to generally notice guy's crotches.

Other than that, I think this armor looks fantastic. While it covers the body well, it also has enough play in it to allow for some great poses.

One of the sculpt features that impressed me was the 'teeth' in the mask. These are actually sculpted with holes between them, not just painted black. Very cool!

Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Paint - ***
The armor itself appears to actually be painted white, rather than cast in the color. They've done an excellent job getting the color consistent and clean, and this also reduced the chance that the figure will yellow with time. It doesn't completely remove it (white paint can yellow too) but it does greatly reduce the risk.

However, the finish on the armor is not as glossy as I'd like. It's not quite matte either, but I don't want to call it semi-gloss. For me, I'd prefer a high gloss finish on the armor, something closer to what we see with the Medicom versions.

There are also quite a few small details painted on the helmet, and these are generally good. There's some sloppy cut lines (notice the top edge of the black 'head band') which brings the score down slightly, but there's nothing atrocious.

They did dirty up the shoes a bit, but did not add any sort of dirt or damage to any other aspect of this outfit. That's fine by me for this first release, as I expect that sort of damage more on something like the upcoming Sandtrooper.

For those that are extremely picky when it comes to Star Wars accuracy, you'll find some issues here as well. There's no green tint to the eyes, like the stunt helmets. The 'U' shaped indents on the sides of the boots aren't as grayish as they should be. Etc, etc, etc.

Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Articulation - ***1/2

I'm a fan of the new armored body from Sideshow, even more than their new Prometheus body. While the Prometheus has some aesthetic issues, like the narrow shoulders, the armor body looks terrific in just the situation it's supposed to - wearing armor.

Both bodies have suffered from loose joints in their early releases, but it does appear that Sideshow is working to correct the issue. The trooper is tighter than the Obi-wan in Clone armor was, and the only joint that was a little frustrating for me was his right shoulder, which wanted to droop at times under the weight of the blaster.

That's not to say that the body is tight enough - it's not. The legs are still a little looser than what you'll get with a RAH or TrueType, and before Sideshow can get that extra half star, they're going to have to completely correct the issue, and do it consistently.

But this body hangs very naturally, holds deep stances, does not require a stand of you don't want to use it, and looks great i either a battle pose or simply relaxed.

Of course, the armor can be a little restrictive, but this wasn't a major issue for me. The neck joint also works particularly well, even with the helmet and shoulder pads, and you'll be able to give it a very realistic tilt for more natural poses.

The hands are designed to swap, and these work pretty well. The feet also pop off in a similar way, but I found that they tend to pop off too easily, especially when the calf armor put pressure on them in some stances. The pegs for both the hands and feet are very sturdy, and breakage is probably unlikely if you pay attention to what you're doing.

One of my favorite aspects of this body is the great ball jointed ankles. No matter what the leg pose, or how deep the stance, you can position the feet to be flat on the floor. This might seem minor, but it really adds to not just the stability of the figure, but the subtle realism of a pose.

Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Accessories - ***1/2
This is the exclusive version, so he has an extra accessory, improving this score over the regular release.

Both the regular and exclusive come with the large blaster. Sideshow has really upped the ante on their weapons, and this thing looks amazing. The folding stock works pretty well too, although it's very thin so you'll want to take care when folding it out and back in.

Both versions also have the usual display base, which you can use if you prefer. He won't require it for most poses, but if you're doing something extreme it's nice to have.

Both versions also have the removable detonator that attaches to the back of his belt. This hooks on with metal clips, making it a much sturdier attachment than some we've seen before.

Finally, both versions come with an extra set of hands. All four hands are gripping hands, but two are better designed for holding the blasters, while the other two are more generic.

The exclusive has the additional small blaster pistol. It fits in his hand easily, and can also be placed in the holster on his belt.  The holster is really sized for the larger weapon, so it looks a little lost in there, but it does work.

Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Outfit - ***1/2
In the sculpting section, I discussed the sculpt of the armor. Here, I'll talk about the quality and fit.

I really only have one issue with the fit of the armor. It's not about accuracy, but more about this specific implementation of the suit. The front and back torso armor fits over the shoulders, but does not strap or attach to itself anywhere around the waist. That means that although it's cut in such a way that it *can* fit tightly, it often doesn't, sticking out from his torso and leaving a noticeable gap. You can futz around with it, and get it looking better, but it does tend to gap at times. A couple velcro straps would have gone a long way to improving the situation.

I think the rest of the suit fits great. It's also pretty easy to remove, if you should feel the need, and you can pop off the helmet and add a head if you'd like. Yea, we'll see plenty of Luke and Han in trooper gear customs.

This armor, like the Clone Armor Obi-Wan, is made from a very hard plastic, not the rubbery stuff on the Medicom versions. I prefer this hard plastic, as it has a much more realistic feel and look.

I mentioned earlier that the holster can hold either gun, and it has a well designed magnetic closure. 

The belt attaches in back with a velcro strap, which can be easily covered by the thermal detonator. The small white rectangles of plastic that hang down on either hip are attached to the belt by an elastic strap, which allows them to get out of the way of any posing.

Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Fun Factor - ***
These figures are designed for collectors, and unlike some of the recent collector sixth scale figures, they really aren't great kid's toys. There's plenty you can damage here, especially on the guns, but the loose feet and very hard armor don't make them the prefered choice for an eight year old...even a rich one.

Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Value - ***
You aren't going to see me give too many $90 figures an above average value score, but this one manages to pull it off. One of the of the reasons for this is the competition - Medicom troopers run another $40- $60 more. Considering the overall quality of this figure, the ninety buck price tag is not that tough to swallow.

Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Things to Watch Out For -
I had trouble with the stock of the larger blaster. It's very cool, but it's also very easy to break, so take some care.

Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Overall - ***1/2
There's a couple issues with the figure hat hold it back from a top score, including the lack of a glossier finish on the armor, the still slightly loose body, and the undersized cod piece. If you're pickier than I am about the extreme accuracy of your Star Wars troopers, you may not be as happy, but I suspect most people will love this guy.

Is he better or worse than the Medicom version? That's an easy one for me. I like the helmet far better (I prefer the shorter, wider appearance), I prefer the hard plastic armor to the more toy-ish soft armor, I prefer the taller body that fits in much better with the rest of my sixth scale collection, and I really prefer the price tag, $40 less than what I paid for my Medicom Trooper over two years ago.

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

Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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Where to Buy 
Sideshow has both the exclusive and regular on wait list. Other online options include these great sponsors:

- has the regular troopers for $81.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Sideshow has done quite a few non-armored Star Wars characters so far:

- I really like the Captain Antilles - he grows on me more the longer I have him.

- I wasn't as thrilled with Ki-Adi-Mundi, but as I mentioned earlier, Obi-Wan in Clone Armor is easily their best to date.

- then there's Aayla Secura, Tatooine Luke and Han Solo.

- Sideshow has had a strong year in 2008 with Commander Praji, the exceptional Palpatine/Sidous and ANH Obi-Wan, and the not quite so exceptional Ilum Padme.

- also in the sixth scale line, I've 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.

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

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper 1/6th action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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