Commander Bacara and Clone Pilot


We have a new guest reviewer tonight - J. Himebaugh!  He's here with a great review of two more 3 3/4" Star Wars figures - take it away, J!

First off, I’d like to give a big “Thank You” to Michael for allowing me this opportunity. Before I begin, allow me to give you a little background about myself. I’m a 21 year-old college student and have been collecting toys since I was a child. Though, I didn’t consider myself a collector until a few years ago. My collection centers on superheroes, and Star Wars. I also have an extensive Lord of the Rings collection, though that line is all but extinct. I have recently been trying to come to grips that I am in fact, a “Cloneophile”. This evidenced by the fact that my Clone army is about three times the size of my Droid army. I am also an amateur customizer, my specialty being; you guessed it; Clones. You can view my stuff on the customizing website under the moniker Darth Tirius.
Before we continue I’ll apologize upfront for my verbosity. My friends constantly complain about and point out my penchant for using esoteric and erudite lexicon (fancy college words for fancy college words).

Being a cloneophile it makes sense that my first guest review would be of clone troopers. Both these Troopers were released previously under the Revenge of the Sith banner. Though, both of these figures were extremely popular and hard to find. Hasbro has re-released several figures under the banner “Episode III Heroes & Villains Collection,” the latest incarnation of a Greatest Hits Line. There are twelve figures in this first wave, with two succeeding waves to be released later this summer and fall. Check out for more details as to which figures will be in each of these other waves.

So, without further adieu, let’s see if these figures have aged like a fine wine, or turned to vinegar.

Packaging - ***
This is pretty much the standard packaging you’ve gotten used to. I like the ‘Retro-yet-Modern’ feel to the design. The figure is easy to see, as is the holo figure on the back. They are a little difficult to store and for the MOCers finding one in prime condition is a little tough, as almost all have some normal bit of shelf-wear. This doesn’t bother me much though, since I open almost all of my figures anyway.

The Episode III Heroes and Villains Collection features an orange logo in place of the gray Saga Collection logo, so this should help them stand out on the pegs. (I’ve included a comparison shot with a SAGA General Grievous.) I really like the large photos on the front insert, and the brief character overviews on the back. Even though on the Clone Pilot the gray pilot you’re used to is pictured both on the front and back, the pilots being released are all black. No word yet if there will be a “backwards-chase” variant with the gray pilot.

Interesting Side-Note: The upper left hand corner of all the figures features the Episode number, and movie title in which the particular character appeared. These are color-coded making it easier to tell which character is from which movie. The color-coding is as follows. Red for Phantom Menace (I think, as there are none released in the Saga collection yet I have only promotional photos to go on.) Yellow for Attack of the Clones. Orange for Revenge of the Sith. Blue for A New Hope. Purple for The Empire Strikes Back. Green for Return of the Jedi. And finally Light Blue for Expanded Universe Figures. This is especially helpful in quickly sifting through the pegs, as most of the waves have been centered on particular movies, i.e. Battle of Hoth, Battle of Coruscant.

Sculpting - Bacara **1/2, Shadow Pilot ***
Since both of these figures are repacks we’ve seen these sculpts before. On Bacara there are some areas of wonderful sculpting and attention to detail. Though we’ve seen better sculpts on other Clone Troopers so we know Hasbro is capable of doing an excellent job. Details on his belt and kama (combat skirt) are excellent, but other areas like the pauldron and helmet leave a bit to be desired. I’m also not crazy about the wide-open grip they gave him on his left hand. Though to Hasbro’s credit Bacara is a unique sculpt, as opposed to several of the other Clone Commanders (named and unnamed) we’ve gotten. Hasbro did use the Commander Bacara sculpt for the Blue Commander that came with the “Clone Attack on Coruscant Battle Pack” released a while back.

The Shadow Pilot’s sculpt is identical to the gray/white Clone Pilot released in the ROTS figure wave. The details on the fabric are well done, appropriately bunching up at the waist and knees. Intricate details, like small pockets, and flaps on the outfit have also been addressed. The helmet and rebreather are truly the stars of this sculpt, with many intricate details being addressed. They look superb, although they do interfere somewhat with the articulation, addressed in the next section.

Paint - ***
Both these figures have relatively simple paint apps, with the majority of the figure being cast in the appropriate color plastic. Bacara’s paint is fairly boring, but consistent. I would have liked to see more of a weathering effect like he appears with in the movie. This is not to far-fetched a request, as we’ve seen some very successful weathering on a number of other troopers. Though, Hasbro is know for going overboard, so I guess we should be thankful they didn’t here, because that would have hurt this figure tremendously.

The majority of the Pilot’s paint apps are on the helmet and rebreather but they are all done nicely, with only the usual minimal amount of slop and bleed. Hasbro also did a nice job on the Imperial insignias on this figure. There is also a nice use of different gloss and matte finishes to differentiate different materials, a nice touch not seen on the original Gray Pilots. While never seen on screen, this color scheme more closely resembles the Pilots seen in A New Hope, and could be considered transitional pilots. It has also been proposed that you could consider them Utapau Shadow Pilots, similar to the Target Exclusive Shadow Trooper released in 2005. It should be noted that this particular paint scheme was released as a variant in the ROTS line, but is the standard in the Heroes and Villains line.

Articulation - Bacara **1/2, Clone Pilot ***
Bacara sports eleven points of articulation by my count, though some are more useful than others. He sports the all-important ball-jointed neck. His right arm has a ball jointed shoulder and elbow. His left features a cut shoulder and elbow to accommodate his action feature. Most noticeably lacking is waist and knee articulation. The waist is to accommodate the action feature again, but come on, no knees?

The Pilot has one extra point of articulation at twelve, though all of his are much more useful. He has the ball-jointed neck, though because of the helmet design this is fairly restricted. Also, the heads on many pilot figures are so tight that they hardly move at all. The arms are all cut joints and remind me of the articulation on the previous Saga collections Tie Fighter Pilot, and Imperial officer. He has ball-jointed knees, and most importantly can take seated positions. This is especially helpful, as his primary function will be piloting your myriad of Republic vehicles. More importantly he fits into all of the Episode Three Vehicles, many of which are being re-released under the Saga Collection banner.

Both figures have a sweet spot, and will stand just fine on their own, a real plus for Troopers.

Accessories - ***
Both figures have a decent number of accessories, though these are identical to their previous releases, with the addition of one randomly inserted mini hologram figure.
Bacara comes with the standard DC-15 Blaster and Rifle. With a little work, the pauldron is removable, for those customizes out there, though I’m considering it part of the sculpt since I will not be removing it. While this is a little light on accessories it is consistent with other clone releases.
The Pilot comes with a DC-15 blaster, a dish turret and handle. The dish turret is the same as the other pilot figures, and seeing as, I, like many people, have a lot of Pilots to pilot my many vehicles (You need three for the ARC-170, and two for the Gunship alone) I am quickly growing tired of the reuse. While one or two is nice for battle scenes, like the Battle of Hoth, they quickly get old. Since this is being called a “Shadow Pilot” why not make a “Shadow Turret” cast in a darker color for some variety.

Both figures are also packed with additional holo figures, making them fit in with the Saga Collection. Though I like the idea of mini holo figures it is IMO poorly executed. Both of the characters are being considered villains, so they come with “villain” holograms. Strangely enough, this gives the clones and the Separatists the same set of hologram possibilities. Though it seems like there are many more villain figures out there, to my count there have been Twenty-Five heroes, and Twenty-Nine villains. The decision to make the Clones villains was to make it more even, though they over-compensated. 

Ironically, if both the Anakins released so far were considered heroes rather than villains it would make the numbers equal. But because of army building, the fact that the majority of heroes we have many versions of so far (Obi-Wan, Yoda, R2-D2, Chewbacca) and most of the new heroes being almost impossible to find, most people are ending up with far more villains than heroes. I have currently Seventeen Villain holograms, and Three Heroes. Also the holograms are strangely sculpted, with most being in some sort of action pose. All the Jedi and Sith have light sabers drawn. Holograms were used primarily for communication, so it would have been nice for the figures to reflect this.

Because of this, Amidala is by far my favorite hologram. Boba Fett is the best villain hologram, being in the most neutral pose. Though, actually Vader is my favorite villain hologram.

Action Feature - Commander Bacara *1/2, Pilot N/A
Commander Bacara comes with a quick draw action feature that requires squeezing his legs together. At least I think he is supposed to anyway. It absolutely dose not work on my figure. I believe it is still supposed to be there, since both his arms still rise together. I know how this feature is supposed to work, since it actually works on the Blue Coruscant Commander.

I am one of those people who believe that no action feature is the best kind. So that the Black Pilot doesn’t have one is just fine with me. The Dish Turret, included in the accessories score, dose have a push missile firing action.

Fun Factor - ****
I went ahead and gave both these figures a perfect score in this category, since troopers are always fun. It’s nice to get some more Pilots for our vehicles. The pilots are also nice for filling out Imperial ranks, just like their cousin the white clone troopers. If you simply place some TIE Pilots or Stormtroopers in front with clones behind, they will fool the causal glance for displays.

Value - **1/2
These are running between $6 and $7 a piece at most brick and mortar stores right now. The inclusion of the mini holograms explains the price increase, and most of the time these are mixed in with the regular Saga Collection figures. I would also have liked to see the inclusion of display bases like all the new figures are coming with. For re-released figures this seems a tad bit high, seeing as the only new accessory is the hologram. If you don’t already have these figures go ahead and add another half star.

Things to Watch Out For - 
If you can, look for the best paint apps. Also you might want to try and find a specific hologram figure. Though, this might be difficult as these are flying off the shelves almost as fast as their predecessors. One thing to watch out for with the entire wave is improperly packaged hologram figures. There have been numerous reports of Hero figures packaged with Villain holograms, and vice-versa. These mistakes, as you might expect, are worth more than their regular counterparts.

Overall - Commander Bacara ***, Clone Shadow Pilot ***1/2
Though I was a little hard on Commander Bacara, he is still a nice figure, and works well with your clone army. Three and a half stars might seem high for simply a pilot figure, his overall appearance is very visually striking, and I already have plans for several custom figures based on this figure.

If you already have both of these figures, you may remove a half star from each if you wish.

Score Recap
Packaging: ***
Sculpting: Bacara **1/2, Shadow Pilot ***
Paint: ***
Articulation: Bacara **1/2, Clone Pilot ***
Accessories: ***
Action Feature: Commander Bacara *1/2, Pilot N/A
Fun Factor - ****
Value: **1/2
Overall: Commander Bacara ***, Clone Shadow Pilot ***1/2

Where to Buy - 
These are currently in most brick and mortar stores. Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys ‘R’ Us are probably your best bets. For online options, check out the sponsors. And though I hate this option, as I feel it encourages scalping, there is always eBay.

Figure from the collection of J. Himebaugh.

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