Medicom Sandtrooper

One thing that there has never been any shortage of is Stormtrooper (or Clonetrooper) variations. Slap on a different color shoulder pad, add a little pin striping, or just a white skirt and you've got yourself a whole new figure/bust/statue to buy. A person has to respect that kind of merchandising genius.

Medicom has already produced a regular Stormtrooper, and a Clonetrooper and Blackhole Stormtrooper in their high end and very expensive line of 12" action figures. For Celebration IV, Sideshow brought along the limited Sandtrooper as an exclusive to the show.

The 'exclusive' part of this deal is that these were not distributed in the U.S. through any other authorized route. Medicom gave Sideshow 1000 of them to sell as Celebration exclusives, but outside the U.S. you could get this figure as well.

The price tag on this bad boy was $150. Yea, ouch. But price points between $100 and $200 is the norm for Medicom sixth scale figures.

Packaging - ***1/2
Medicom does the collector friendly gig up right. You can pop the figure and accessories out of the tray easy enough, and it all goes back in later if you'd like, with no damage necessary. They always get big points for that feature in my book.

Unfortunately, they also use the truly dull and uninteresting black/gray 30th Anniversary packaging design that I was just whining about recently with the Gentle Giant Zuckuss bust. Sometimes simple is elegant. And sometimes it's just boring.

Sculpting - ****
Once again, a fantastic job on the Stormtrooper armor. Of course, we've already seen this armor a couple times now, so that should be no surprise. The hands and feet are still too tiny for my tastes, but the issue is fairly minor.

The new pieces here include the backpack, belt pouches and shoulder pad, and the work here was so good that I bumped the Sculpt score up over the standard trooper. The lightweight materials and hollow nature of the backpack also means that it doesn't interfere with posing or standing in any significant way.

I've been less than a fan of many of Medicom's human likenesses, but their work on these troopers really is outstanding. Some folks have reported that this trooper is taller than previous ones, more in line with the Clonetrooper, but I'm not seeing it. He's still about a half inch too short to really look right with most sixth scale action figures, which is a pretty big disappointment for me, especially since Sideshow has yet to announce an armored figure of any kind. But I've resigned myself to the fact that this is the special regiment of troopers that were shorter than everyone else.

Paint - ***1/2
This is the one category where this trooper really differs from the previous - he's got some serious sand in his shorts. Paint has been used to simulate the kind of dirt and damage that would result from hanging out on a desert planet. For the most part, this works well, particularly above the waist. The hands could use a little more weathering, but it's a minor issue. On the flipside, the codpiece could probably use a little less weathering, but maybe it's like the Sandtrooper version of stuffing a sock down his pants. Hey, you plaster that much sand on your crotch, and everyone is going to be staring at it.

The only place where I thought the effect looked unrealistic was on the shoes. This is the only area that really does look just like someone smeared some paint on the armor, rather than it being naturally occurring dirt.

The rest of the normal paint ops look terrific, as with past Troopers. All the small details are clean and neat, and the colors that cover larger areas are consistent in finish and coverage.

Articulation - ***1/2
While this slightly smaller RAH body will annoy some folks because of it's scale in relation to other 12" figures, you can't deny that the design is superb.

This is one of the best articulated bodies on the market, not because of the number of joints (although they are all there) but because of how those joints are engineered. This is a body that hangs naturally, holding realistic poses in the limbs, head and torso. In fact, it doesn't just hold them, but WANTS to hold them, falling into a natural look with almost no effort on the part of the person doing the posing.

Other companies are coming along, and Hot Toys and Takara are getting there fast. But Medicom still rules in this category.

So why not a perfect score? Well, in this particular use of the body, you won't get quite as much poseability out of it because of the armor. It is a bit restrictive, although not as restrictive as the Clonetrooper armor. Still, you won't have any trouble setting this guy up in a way that looks absolutely amazing on your shelf.

Accessories - ***
The troopers don't come with a lot of goodies, although the addition of the pack on this guy helps make up for that a bit.

He does have the usual extra set of hands (pistol grip and thumbs up), and the hands swap quite easily and cleanly. While the wrist articulation isn't quite as good as some other companies, like Sideshow, the design of the joint does make it one of the cleanest for swapping hands.

He also has his blaster rifle, which is nicely scaled. He can hold it in a number of poses, some of which wouldn't actually be easy to pull off if this were real life. It's weathered in a realistic manner, and has a fairly detailed sculpt, but I would have liked it even better had the front support flipped down for ground poses.

His last accessory is the clear display stand. I like the clear versions better than the black stands we've been getting with many other figures, but I'd recommend setting this guy up with no stand at all. He doesn't need it, and he'll look so much better on the shelf.

Outfit - ****
I've already said how terrific the sculpt is, and how amazing the paint is. The armor on these figures is outstanding, designed to look better than what it did in the films. Those poor extra wish they had outfits that fit this well, with this kind of tailoring and quality materials.

The armor is attached to a black body suit that stretches and moves much better than you might expect. Medicom hasn't always pulled this off (I wasn't happy with the Batman Begins attempt at armor/body suit) but it works extremely well with most of the troopers. But be forewarned if you think you're going to take this outfit off easily - you aren't. It's not designed to be removed.

Fun Factor - ***
I don't care how rich you are, if you give a $150 action figure to an 8 year old to play with, you need a good beating. Doing stuff like that is how you end up with Paris Hilton, and I can tell you Richard Howard Hilton knows that now.

Value - *1/2
The regular trooper was around $125 or so. At $25 more, you're getting the shoulder pad and backpack added in. I'm not feeling the worth there though, especially since this armor has been reused multiple times now. You're paying a huge price for the 'exclusive' nature and the import. If this guy were around $100, I'd say he was a great deal. He truly is an amazing figure, and no one is going to be disappointed with the way he looks or poses. But $150 is a lot of green, and I can't say that the last $50 is truly justified.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much. I did notice that when putting the hands on, you could drag the clothing into the socket. Make sure the edges of the material are free and clear before you push them in. Also, while the back of the rifle lifts up and it might APPEAR that the front stand lifts down, I couldn't get that to work. I think it's a solid piece, and not intended to be opened. Too bad too, since it would look pretty cool that way.

Overall - ***1/2
Yep, this guy is over priced. Let's get that right out of the way, and at 25 - 30% more than I think he should cost, there's no way he's going to pull that elusive four stars. For those that aren't effected by the price or feel it's fully justified, this is going to be a four star figure.

Combined on the shelf with the other figures, including Vader, these troopers look amazing. Any company that brings out a sixth scale trooper at this point (and I'm looking at you, Sideshow) is going to have HUGE shoes to fill. The comparisons to these figures will be automatic, and just being in scale with other 12" figures ain't going to be good enough. People are going to expect the same level of quality, and they are going to expect it for half the money. I don't envy the person tasked with that job.

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

Where to Buy -
You can get on the waitlist for the non-attendee version at Sideshow (), but I wouldn't hold out much hope at this point. Ebay or a local dealer might be your only chance, but you could also try checking the Sideshow Freaks boards, where there's a Buy/Sell/Trade forum

Related Links -
Other Medicom Star Wars reviews include:

- 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.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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