Review of Star Wars Shadow Trooper
1/6 scale action figure
A review of the Shadow Trooper sixth scale action figure from Star Wars by Hot Toys:
It was with much excitement that fans met the announcement of Hot Toys getting the Star Wars license last year. While they
had worked with Sideshow on Star Wars releases in the past, this was their chance to
control the entire process. Personally, I couldn't wait...and what was the first figure in this brave new world to make it
into my hands? The Shadow Trooper. Yea, I felt exactly the same way.
Maybe because both Medicom
and Sideshow have already done their own versions of the Blackhole Stormtrooper, Hot Toys went with the alternate label
"Shadow Trooper". I'm not a big EU guy, but I believe Blackhole Troopers were simply Shadow Troopers that worked for Agent
Blackhole, making the names interchangeable in this particular context.
Comparisons between these figures are inevitable, although it's been a number of years since either was released. I have
both, but only had access to the Sideshow version when shooting the photos, and I've included him him in a couple shots.
I'll be mentioning where the pros and cons are with this figure versus the other two.
You can get this guy for around $220, depending on the retailer.
Packaging - ***1/2
It's a standard shoe box style, with the usual inner plastic trays and cardboard insert cover. Nothing super special or
surprising there, but it does keep everything safe and sound, and it's all quite collector friendly.
There are several pieces of plastic inserted between various parts of the armor, most likely to avoid scratching or rubbing
during shipment. Considering the high gloss finish, that was probably a smart idea.
Star Wars packaging tends to be dull thanks to Lucas Film, who dictate the parameters within which the licensor must work.
I gotta give Hot Toys credit for getting around it a bit and including a very cool reverse 'shadow' of the character on the
front of the package.
Sculpting - ***1/2
In hand, this is most certainly the nicest Blackhole/Shadow Trooper we've gotten. The quality of the sculpt is not just due
to proper scale and proportion with the majority of the outfit, but the level of fine detail in much of the work.
A great example of this is the grills in the front of the mask. These are extremely well done considering the scale, and
the helmet can easily be mistaken for a full sized replica in a photo.
Of course this dude stands about 12" tall - he's sixth scale, after all. That makes him fit in nicely with any of the many
Sideshow figures, and you can see in the photos the he's almost exactly the same height as their Blackhole trooper.
Internal proportions are a little off here or there, but it's very minor. The helmet might appear a bit large to some
people, but I think the size is on par to the real deal, where a helmet on a human head can always look slightly large.
They've done this on purpose, as there's no head underneath to create an issue.
The armor looks and feels fantastic. In hand, it's definitely an improvement over the old Sideshow version, although I
can't say that it's that big of a difference between the quality here and what we've seen on their more recent trooper
releases. If Sideshow did this version today, I'd expect something very similar with the overall armor.
One of the key improvements is the chest piece, which wraps around the body here. On the old Sideshow version (as well as
some others, like Boba Fett), the chest armor was too flat and splayed out. That simple change makes a massive difference in
appearance, particularly in hand.
I did have one minor nit. I think the feet are a tad small, although the feet on most Sideshow troopers are clearly too
large. Here, the small feet are juxtaposed against the large helmet, making both seem more extreme.
Paint - ****
Unlike the previous iterations, this version comes with a very high gloss black finish. They've added in wear and tear,
which looks great and seems to be at the appropriate spots where rubbing and damage would most likely occur.
This same type of wear is included on the back of the hands, giving the overall figure some consistency. There is no wear
on the pauldron though, making it stand out a bit when in place.
Small detail work is great, but I'm not completely sold on the gloss look. It's a nice change of pace from the earlier
matte finishes, but something about the aesthetic doesn't quite sit right with me. I'm not deducting for it, because the
more I worked with it the more I liked it, but as I said - I'm still not quite completely sold.
Articulation - ***1/2
As you might expect, while the underlying TrueType body has all the same amazing articulation, the armor can be a bit
The helmet pops onto a very complex ball jointed neck that has a ton of potential. The helmet sits pretty close to
the armor though, so just how much tilt and lean you can get out of this joint will be limited.
There's actually a soft rubber ring around the shaft of the neck post. This keeps the head from sitting down too far,
particularly when the pauldron is in place. If you remove the pauldron, you can also remove the rubber ring, and the helmet
will rest closer to the shoulders. Or, you can leave it in place - I thought it looked good sitting up a bit higher too, and
it allows for a greater range of movement.
The hands swap easily, and there's a couple extra posts just in case. I really do wish they'd get to the point where every
hand is supplied with it's own post.
The body is nice and tight, and I had no trouble getting decent poses and keeping them over time. He stands great on his
own, and can compete in the local Stormtrooper Dance Off.
Accessories - ***
Here's where this figure seems pretty light, particularly considering the price point.
He does come with three sets of hands, plus one extra. He comes wearing a pair of relaxed hands, and there's a pair of
fists and gripping gun poses in the box. They added in one additional left, in an open sculpt, useful for all sorts of
He also has his blaster, complete with fold out stock. While I feel that the Sideshow blasters have been great, I have to
give the edge to this one. It just looks a little sharper and cleaner at the edges, and the stock feels stronger and more
durable. Scale is great of course, and it fits nicely in either hand as well as the leather holster.
He has the small cannister-like pack that fits on the back of the belt as well. This attaches with two metal hangers, and
This guy comes with a pauldron and two ammo packs, which was a very, very smart move on Hot Toys part. Why? Because the
previous two versions that were released by other companies do not have these features. This allows you to buy this version
even if you have the other two, and make it stand out quite clearly on the shelf.
The pauldron is cloth, not plastic, and the packs are formed leather. The cloth looks much better than any sort of sculpted
version. They all attach tightly and easily, but are equally easy to remove. I prefer how he looks with them in place, but
either way he'll be great on the shelf.
The only additional accessory is his stand, with a base designed with a grated floor and a crotch support. It looks fine,
but isn't critical since he does stand fine on his own. It's all about consistency in your display, and while I don't
normally use the stands, I would be very displeased if they weren't included.
Outfit - ****
There's something about the detailed sculpting, mentioned earlier, that really makes this armor pop. Previous releases were
good - this one is great.
Let's start with the underlying body suit. It's a nice tight fit, and is consistent and clean. Not much you can say about a
The armor fits over top nicely, although you will find yourself forever readjusting it constantly. The one area where
I found it the most annoying was the ankles. The calf armor tends to ride up, and the fit over the ankle joint is tight. If
you don't remember to readjust it, you'll have a weird exposed ankle post.
There's also larger gaps in some areas, like the shoulders. The downside is seeing the underlying body suit - the upside is
a greater range of movement for the effected joints.
I'm also counting the belt as part of his outfit, and it's quite nicely done. There's Velcro in back that allows you to
easily remove it and replace it, but the holster is a permanent riveted piece. The holster is leather, with a magnet holding
the strap in place over the gun. It's all very high quality, and I had no fear of damage when inserting or removing the
Fun Factor - ****
Troopers are always fun, even when you know they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn if their life depended on it. The
articulation, combined with the terrific sculpt and paint, make this guy great for posing and displaying, and you'll find
yourself re-arranging him routinely. Just don't call it 'playing'.
Value - *1/2
While I like this figure very, very much - I suspect that the normal Stormtroopers will be the best produced to this point -
I have to say that this guy is NOT a good value. Even the regular white versions are twenty bucks cheaper, so you're paying
a premium just because this one is a different color.
Even at $200, I'd be having some issues. There aren't a ton of extras here, and the majority of them (the hands, the
blaster, the packs, the canister) will be used over and over again, spreading out their fixed cost over many more units than
usual. The same is true of the uniform, including the belt and armor.
Let's not forget that these are also army builders - you want us, as collectors and fans, to buy a whole bunch. That's
going to be much more likely at a more sensible price point, say $160, $180 tops, than a price that's just as high as most
other one-and-done figures.
Things to Watch Out For -
Not much. It is easy to work with the hands if you can manage to keep the wrist posts inside the forearms, since the black
body suit wraps around them. It's not impossible to get it back inside, but it's easier if you don't have to.
When swapping the hands, I recommend laying the figure down, bending the elbow, and then attaching the hand. If you simply
try to hold the arm while pressing the hand on, you'll have trouble with the armor slipping around, and could even tear the
shoulder armor loose.
Finally, the canister that attaches to the belt in back does so with two metal hangers. I'm very happy to see them
use metal, and they work really well, but you'll want to take care not to scratch the plastic armor underneath.
Overall - ***1/2
This is the best Stormtrooper produced in this scale to date. Yes, I said that. But part of the reason that's true is
because it's been years since Sideshow produced an actual Stormtrooper - we've had this seemingly unending parade of
Clonetrooper variations the last couple years. If you compare this armor to the current Sideshow Clonetrooper armor, there
isn't that big of a difference. I don't expect the white versions to be any different, so if you were on the fence about
them, consider this a recommendation.
What that also says is that this Shadow Trooper fits in better, style and quality wise, with the more modern Sideshow
releases than their own version. That's particularly good news if you missed out on the previous Blackhole trooper.
Holding both figures at one time, it was easy to see and feel the greater quality and detail in this Hot Toys version. They
were smart adding in that pauldron and the ammo packs, giving people who are on the fence about picking this one up that
I'm not thrilled with the price point, since I want to be able to pick up every trooper version and at $220 a pop, that
wouldn't be possible. I'm hoping that as they move forward, they give us some relief.
Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - *1/2
Overall - ***1/2
Where to Buy
Online options include these site sponsors:
has him for $220.
- or you can search
ebay for a bargain.
Related Links -
While this is the first official Hot Toys Trooper (that I've received anyway - the regular Stormtroopers are shipping
internationally as well), other companies have produced their fair share in this scale. I just reviewed the Captain
Rex from Sideshow, and they've also done the 501st, Veteran, and
'shiny, the Sandtrooper with the Dewback, the Sargent
Clonetrooper, the Shocktrooper, the Utapau
Trooper, the Imperial Stormtrooper, and even Obi-Wan
in his trooper armor. And one of my favorites - the Snowtrooper.
And if you'd like some other troops, remember there's also the Droids,
the STAP, and the Rebels!
Medicom has done plenty as well, including this Clone Trooper Captain, 501st,
Sandtrooper, their own Blackhole
Trooper, Shocktrooper and regular Stormtrooper.
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where I'll be discussing
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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.