Sideshow Star Wars Military Line
Endor Rebel Troopers

For those of us that still prefer the first three Star Wars films to the latter three (and obviously, I'm talking chronological release here, not Star Wars timeline order), the Battle of Endor was a climactic moment. Our poor heroes, the Rebel Alliance, were suckered into a trap through the use of basic disinformation by the Emperor. The rebels believed that the battle would lead to their victory over the Empire, but that's what the Emperor wanted them to believe. As our buddy Ackbar said, "It's a trap!".

Ah, but the Emperor learned the meaning of the phrase "the best laid plans of mice and men" as the Rebels, with the help of the annoying little furballs, the Ewoks, did manage to pull the big upset and take him down. See what happens when you get a bit too over confident? You get your ass thrown over a railing and plunge to your death.

The Rebel Troops that fought on Endor wore very particular costumes, suited to the environment. This time they went with a sporty camouflage military style uniform, that offered light protection and blended in with the surroundings quite well.

Sideshow has just released the first ever sixth scale versions of the Endor Rebel Troops. They've done three versions - a fairly generic looking Infantry figure (wide release, edition size of 4500), a specific character seen on film (Nic Sant as a 'Pathfinder', exclusive edition size of 3200), and an in house sculpt of a Rebel Sergeant (based on a Sideshow employee, Brant Bridges, and also an exclusive edition size of 3200). 

You could buy them individually from Sideshow for $60 each, or as a pack for $180. They are currently sold out through Sideshow, but there are some other online options at the end of the review.

Packaging - ****
Once again, Sideshow does it up right. The Star Wars packaging is the very best in the industry today. Oh, there are a couple other companies doing packages that are just as collector friendly, where you can easily remove the figure and put it back. And there's a couple doing packages that have just as pretty of graphics. But no one comes close to the amount of worthwhile, interesting background text that Sideshow adds with these boxes. That level of detail shows that Sideshow really loves this license, not just for the profit but because they're huge fans. That level of interest and involvement in the characters from the company creates an even tighter bond between them and their customers.

They also included the solid foam top and bottom inserts with these boxes. What that means is that the pretty box has a foam top and bottom attached, and then this is inserted into a larger exterior shipping box. In the past, they were fitted into snug exterior boxes, and the result was if the outer box was damaged, the inner was as well. Now with the sturdy foam top and bottom, the interior box is extremely well protected, making the overall presentation even MORE collector friendly!

Another addition this time around is little plastic bags on the hands. These are designed to further protect the paint, much like the plastic ring around the face. Oh, and I love those damn magnetic closures too.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Each of the three figures - Infantry, Pathfinder and Sergeant - have extremely unique head sculpts. These figures are intended as army builders of course, background characters that should look alike, but not so much alike that you don't need or want all three. They've succeeded extremely well with this set, and that starts with the head sculpts.

The standard release figure, most widely available and with the highest edition size, is the Infantry. If I didn't know better, I'd swear I saw this head sculpt on one of Dragons WWII figures a few years ago. And yes, that's a good thing, because folks that collect Dragon military figures know that they do some of the nicest generic head sculpts out there.

First, it's a realistic sculpt. The scale of the various facial features is within normal limits, and the proportions are appropriate without becoming too pretty boy. They aren't trying to do Brad Pitt here, but rather a regular looking normal guy, and they succeeded. His expression is serious but not excessive or outlandish, and the hair detail and hair line look great.

Next up is the Pathfinder, or Nik Sant. Nik is an actual character from the movies, a rebel trooper extra that can be seen a couple times in the films. His white beard made him stand out in the crowd of punk ass kids, so he was a wise choice for Sideshow to copy.

And they've done a pretty good job, based on the few screen caps that he's in that I could fine. Oh, the beard seems a little less full, but that's a pretty minor quibble. He adds a little seniority to the display shelf too, reminding us that you don't have to be in diapers to kick a Stormtrooper's ass.

The third sculpt is the Sergeant. You know the saying that it's good to be king? Well, it's also clearly good to be Production Manager. You see, the Production Manager at Sideshow Collectibles is a fun lovin' guy named Brant Bridges. And if there's any resemblance between the Sergeant and Brant, it's completely on purpose.

Of course, that means that of the three sculpts, the Sergeant is the one that people can be most picky about when it comes to matching a likeness, because it really is supposed to be somebody. And somebody many of us actually know. It's a tad freaky having some guy you know personally in sixth scale form. I bet it really creeps out Brant's family, sort of like that episode of Seinfield where Susan had the doll that looked just like George's mother...

The Sergeant looks quite a bit like Brant of course, right down to the freaky hair line. Again, he's been given a stern expression, sort of like someone just asked him why the production figures don't look as good as the prototypes. Thankfully they didn't go with some sort of screaming, constipated, over the top expression. However, if you'd like to see Brant like that, go up to him at the next convention and complain about the plastic Fett.

None of the figures have too much of a zombie look, at least not one that's due to the sculpt itself. We'll get to any paint issues in the next category. All three have the same set of gloved hands, and these work extremely well with the accessories. They are a soft enough rubber to allow you to put the gun in their hands without damage, but they are hard enough to hold things tightly. I also had no issues with the hands popping off as I was posing them, which is a big plus. And all three heads are nicely scaled to the bodies, both with and without the helmets.

Paint - Infantry, Sargent ***1/2; Pathfinder ***
As you'd expect, there's not a ton of paint work here outside of the head and hands, but what is here is all well done, some of it much better than average.

The face tone is good on all three, and the eyes are pretty straight and even. The hair is also clean on all three, and the beard and hair on the Pathfinder has just the right amount of wash to make it realistic...except around the mouth, where things start to get sloppy. Actually, the lips on all three are a tad weird, and the Infantry trooper has a bit of the lipstick issue. But the Pathfinder is the only one to really exhibit any true slop.

He also has some eye liner on, and I'm not quite sure why. It's extremely noticable in flash photos, but when you're handling him in normal lighting it isn't quite as major of an issue.

There are a few other minor issues with the paint work on the heads (for example, Brant has a couple glossy spots in his hair), they work is generally above average. When you move to areas like the damaged plastic helmets, and the boots, the work is well above average. There's no slop on these items, and the detail work is extremely realistic.

I'm not thrilled with the heavy wash they used on the gloves, but it's okay. I am thankful that they included the extra protection for the hands and head in the package, because that resulted in no rubs or after manufacture damage on any of the paint.

Articulation - ***1/2
All three guys are on the standard Sideshow body, at the standard height. The scale is good to fit in with the rest of the Sideshow Star Wars figures, or any other normally sized sixth scale product.

It's impossible to know for sure without stripping them completely down and comparing these bodies with past bodies, but I suspect that Sideshow is making minor adjustments to the articulation, because all three of these figures took more relaxed and realistic poses than some previous releases. They don't have more articulation, just better, and I'm hopeful that this is because of real changes, and not just a fluke.

These guys all have the ball jointed neck too, and while it doesn't have a huge range of movement, it's enough to allow for basic side to side and forward/backward tilting. That's a huge plus for me, especially since the head not only moves in that direction, but can hold the pose for extended periods.

The rest of the body has all the standard uber-articulation we've come to know and love in a 12" figure, with the relatively unique Sideshow wrists and ankles. The only issue I had with proportion was the arms, which did seem to be a bit long for the torsos, but part of that may be due to the short coats and high riding pants, making them look longer on the bodies than they actually are.

As I said, I was able to get some very relaxed, realistic poses in both the legs and arms, and I'm very happy to see that. You may still want to pad the pelvis a bit with some toilet paper to get the pants to fit a bit better, but in general the body worked extremely well with these three guys. Let's hope it continues.

Accessories - Sergeant ***1/2; Pathfinder, Infantry ***
I've already said it, but I'll say it again - it's good to be king. The Sergeant figure further proves this, since he gets a larger number of accessories than his cousins, the Pathfinder or the Infantry Trooper.

Let's start with what they all have. Of course, each comes with the standard Sideshow display stand, complete with the Star Wars logo imprinted on the base. I'm quite happy that these bases are not necessary at all, unless you want to display them in a pose that requires exceptional balance. Personally, I don't like displays that use the stands - the company went through all this trouble to capture reality in the clothing, sculpt, accessories and paint, and then you put it on the shelf with an obvious stand? It breaks the mood for me. So if I'm forced to use a stand just to keep the figure upright, you can see where I might be a tad annoyed. Thankfully, that's not the case here, but you do have the option of using an included stand if you're going for a pose that's simply not possible with both feet on the ground.

They also all have three identical pouches on their belts. One is a soft cloth with a working clasp in front. It's filled with puffy batting, which you might want to cut back a bit to give it less of a pillow look. The clasp is quite nice, and I was surprised at the overall quality. The other two pouches are sculpted plastic, and can easily be added or removed from the belt. In fact, the smaller one is held in place with a clear rubber band (I removed it in some shots, kept it in others so you could see it), and this one does tend to fall off pretty easily without the rubber band. The larger plastic pouch also has a couple elastic loops on the sides, so other pouches or accessories could be attached.

The Sergeant deviates from the group here by having a fourth plastic pouch. It's about half way in between the other two plastic pouches in size, and can also be easily removed or repositioned on the belt.

All three figures also come with a rifle. The Pathfinder and Infantry trooper come with the A-295 blaster rifle, while the Sergeant has the A-280. And yes, you guessed it, the Sergeant's rifle is a smidge cooler looking. It's just a smidge though. I've included a photo that shows both rifles, with the 280 on the left and the 295 on the right. Both rifles sport excellent sculpts, similar to the quality we've seen with long time military sixth scale manufacturers like Dragon or bbi. The paint ops aren't quite as good though, with a very basic black with no small detail work and no real weathering or highlighting. The shoulder strap is leather and adjustable, and works great for all three figures.

Each of the figures also comes with a backpack, two of them soft (all material with batting inside) and one hard (a plastic sculpted shell). The Sergeant and the Pathfinder have the soft packs, which don't have adjustable straps, but do fit perfectly. The main pouch and both small pouches on the front of the pack open, and they use lanyard style closures. There's also a very thin string closure on the interior of the main pouch that's difficult to work with, but looks terrific. Like the large plastic pouch on the belt, there's some additional elastic loops on the straps of these soft packs to allow for other accessories or pouches to be attached. Finally, there's also a hard plastic hose that runs from inside the pack to the bottom. Hey, it's for looks.

The hard plastic pack only comes with the Infantry trooper. The pack is hollow, which is good, since it's large enough that had it been solid, it would have tipped the poor guy over. The sculpt and paint ops are quite nice, and the straps here are adjustable with buckles. It's appearance seems to match the film pretty well, although it's tough to be sure with the few screen caps out there. I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they had better source material to work from than we have floating just around the net.

The each have an identical bandolier as well. I'm counting this as an accessory, rather than as part of the outfit. Why? Because. It has a nice velcro closure that's very thin and well hidden, and has a few goodies stashed inside the loops. These don't appear to be removable (I didn't push it), but they lend a well outfitted look to the characters.

That wraps up what they all have, and the variations within those goodies. I'm betting it's no surprise though that the Sargeant got himself one more accessory that no one else has: a wrist band communicator. It comes on his left wrist (although you can put it on his right if you'd like), and is a small box-like device attached to a wide strip of elastic. It looks fine, although I don't actually remember it from the film. 

Outfit - ***1/2
Like the accessories, all three outfits are very similar, but with worthwhile differences. Let's review them the same way, by looking at the ones they all have first (with differences), and finishing up with the unique items.

All three figures sport nifty helmets. These look very much like they did in the film, and they have a hard plastic upper 'shell', with a softer cloth/leather/plastic hat. They fit a little wonky on the heads, but this is largely due to the glue inside. The fabric has been glued to the hard shell, as well as various pieces of the fabric being glued to each other, and these 'piles' of glue tend to create high spots on the fabric that interfere with how it sets on the head. You can actually rub or break off some of these spots, cleaning up the inside a bit and getting a better fit, but be careful since you can also end up with a helmet in several pieces. The one real negative to the helmet is that the leather chin strap (complete with a plastic knob that looks like it should attach) is not functional.

All three figures also have soft gray undershirts, made from a thin material and having a turtle neck of sorts. They look good, and make for a nice base to the costume.

Of course, they all wear pants, and the pants are all the same style of camouflage. The pants tend to ride up pretty high on their waist, but it's only a minor annoyance on figures like these. While the pants might appear identical at first glance, they are not. The pair worn by the Infantry and Sergeant are the same, with pockets (that are REAL pockets!) high on the outside of the thighs. The pair worn by Nik Sant has working pockets too, but they are very low on the legs, below the knees.

The pants are held up with an excellent belt. Nothing flimsy here! The belt is made from a tightly woven nylon like material, similar to the bandoliers. This is very sturdy stuff, and they have a great, working plastic belt buckle. Again, for those that collect Dragon or bbi figures, this style of buckle will be quite familiar.

The boot sculpt is identical on the three figures, but it's a great sculpt with wonderful paint work. The boots only come up just past the ankles, but wrapped around the outside of the legs are a pair of gaiters, similar to the ones worn by the U.S. military in WWI and II. You can position these gaiters any way you like, and they give the legs a much nicer appearance than having the pants stuffed into tight boots. The metal eyelets are a nice touch as well.

Now let's talk about the pieces of the uniform that have more variance. First, there's the vests. Two of the three figures (the Infantry trooper and the Pathfinder) come wearing vests. Or that's what Sideshow calls them. They have short sleeves, so I think they're more of a light weight short jacket, but whatever floats your boat. These look good, but have no form of closure in front. Their insignia is on the shoulder and left breast.

The Infantry trooper has another piece of clothing under this vest but over his undershirt - a camouflage anorak. For those of you less acquainted with the terms of the fashion world, it's a hoodie. It's made from the same material as the pants, with a thin hood in back. I'd recommend leaving the hood folded down, since it looks a bit dorky actually on his head. However, you might try putting it up and then putting the helmet over it as another option.

Finally, there's the Sergeant again. He doesn't have the vest or the anorak, but instead is wearing a long trench coat. It's made from the same camo material as the pants and anorak, and looks excellent. The material is very thin, so that the coat doesn't end up looking out of scale or poorly tailored. As with other pieces of the outfit, the pockets are really pockets, and can hold quite a bit of extra stuff.

The great thing about the variation in what comes with each figure outfit is that it gives you a tremendous amount of display opportunities. Even if the Infantry and Pathfinder are both wearing the vests, they look quite different, but pull the vest off the Infantry and you have three very distinct figures.

Fun Factor - ***
While not the entire outfit and accessories are really designed to handle actual play, these figures still remember what it was like to have a kid toss you around. Folks that fondly remember the sixth scale toys of years gone by will see many similarities with these figures, especially with the military aspects and styling. I wouldn't be buying them for the sand box, but it's nice to see they haven't forgotten their roots.

Value - **
Sixty bucks might seem like a lot of green, but if you consider that most Dragon figures (which are unlicensed military figures) run this much or more, it doesn't seem quite as bad. 

Oh, Dragon figures tend to make up their value in tons of cool accessories, and these figures can't quite compete in that area. But considering that these are licensed, and just what the license is, I'm less inclined to complain too much about the price. In reality, $45 - $50 is about the perfect price point for them, and I'm betting you'll be able to snag the regular Infantry figure in that price range with a little patience.

Things to Watch Out For - 
There really isn't too much to worry about here, but there are a couple minor breakage issues you should keep aware of. The small plastic 'clips' that attach the shoulder straps to the guns are quite thin and easy to break. All three guns have one in front, with the back hook being a metal loop. Oddly,, the Sergeant's gun has both a metal loop AND the plastic clip in front.

Also, the glue inside the hats is largely what makes the fit sort of odd, but be careful cleaning it up. It's easy to detach the material from the plastic if you don't take some care.

Overall - ***1/2
When I ordered these, I was lukewarm about the whole thing. Yes, I want military figures from Sideshow - most notably Clonetroopers and Stormtroopers of course - but starting with Endor Rebels? They simply weren't the most exciting choices I could think of, especially for $180. But I'm a completist on the Sideshow Star Wars line, and as anyone with this particularly OCD can tell you, it was a done deal the moment they were announced.

Now that I have them, I can say that I'm extremely happy with the choice. Oh, I still want Clonetroopers and Stormtroopers, but now even more than before I think that Sideshow will do an amazing job with them. These three guys managed to pull off enough reuse to make them appear appropriate together, and yet have enough unique aspects to make them visually differentiated on the shelf. The quality of the outfits and accessories is top notch, and while I'm not in any hurry to get any Ewoks to go with these guys, I think they'll look great with some Sideshow Stormtroopers - some day.

I will warn you though, because part of my enthusiasm is probably due to how much these remind me of my old G.I. Joes.  Part Star Wars, part military action can you go wrong?

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt -  ***1/2
Paint - Infantry, Sargent ***1/2; Pathfinder ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Sargent ***1/2; Pathfinder, Infantry ***
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
The Pathfinder and Sergeant figures were intended as Sideshow site exclusives, so finding them at other dealers is a little tricky at this point. You can always get on the wait list at Sideshow though () (). Options for the regular release include:

- Andrew's Toyz doesn't carry the Sideshow stuff, but they do stock a huge amount of other Star Wars products, including the smaller figures and many of the Japanese imports.

- you can get the infantry guy at CornerStoreComics for $51.

- Amazing Toyz has him listed at $51 as well.

- as does Alter Ego Comics.

- he's also available at Dark Shadow Collectibles for $52.

- Dark Figures has him at $55.

- for folks in the U.K., you can actually order any of the three (including both Sideshow exclusives) from Forbidden Planet for 35 pounds each.

Related Links -
Other Sideshow Star Wars products include:

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

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


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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