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Review of Anakin Skywalker & Clonetrooper
Star Wars Black action figures

Hasbro
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

Star Wars Black Clonetrooper & Anakin Skywalker action figures by Hasbro

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Introduction

The latest wave of Star Wars Black 6" figures is hitting local shelves, and includes Anakin Skywalker, along with a very cool Clonetrooper. These are figures #12 and #14 in the series, and this wave also includes re-issues of the #6 Boba Fett and #9 Stormtrooper, in case you missed them the first time around.

Originally, figure #13 was Chewbacca, but plans changed. He was postponed until the next wave, leaving the one spot empty and prompting the re-release of one of the past figures. Since it appears that Hasbro is doing this weird thing where they are starting over with the numbering on the next wave (Phase II), Chewbacca will become figure #04, and the Phase I #13 slot will be forever empty.

These are popping up at retailers right now for the usual $20 each.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Star Wars Black Clonetrooper & Anakin Skywalker action figures by Hasbro

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Packaging - ****
We are seeing this same box style package on a number of lines, and I like it. Hasbro is doing it in the most collector friendly way possible, with no ties or bands holding the figure in. The plastic tray is designed to keep the figure in place, and it works great. The box is easy to store, and even displays nicely for the MIBers.

Star Wars Black Clonetrooper & Anakin Skywalker action figures by Hasbro

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Sculpting - Anakin **1/2; Clonetrooper ***1/2
Hasbro does a nice job with their Troopers, and the style, scale and articulation of the 6" Black series lets them show it off.

You can argue that it should be pretty simple to create a good looking Clonetrooper, but simple can sometimes be quite challenging. There's still issues of internal scale and mobility, both of which they've handled beautifully here.

The armor looks terrific, with sharp, clean lines and a smooth surface. The various pieces do not overtly restrict the well designed articulation, allowing him to shine in another category as well.

If I had one nit it's that the helmet looks a smidge small sitting on top of the shoulders, but it's a very, very tiny nit.

Sadly, Anakin has far more - and much nastier - nits. From the neck down, he's decent. There's some good detail work on the clothing, and I really like the use of cloth for the bottom half of the vestments. They've used a cloth for the inner layer and a pleather for the outer layer, and the transition from the plastic above the belt to the soft goods below is visually clean.

But those heads. I say 'heads' because Anakin comes with two - one that seems slightly younger and certainly less pissed off, and a second angry head with curlier hair. 

Neither of these head sculpts are particularly good Hayden likenesses. While the hair detail on both is good, the face is quite weak. There's no doubt that a lot of this is due to the paint - more on that in the next category - but it's clear that the underlying sculpt falls short as well.

Another issue is that neither head sits down on the neck far enough. The head he comes wearing is better in this regard, but the additional head rides much too high on the ball joint.

This is supposed to be a 'collectors' line, and the scale is large enough to allow for some pretty accurate sculpting. If you compare this to something like the recent work we've seen from NECA for their Predator line up on Dutch, you'll realize that it falls short of expectations. 

The hand sculpts on the Trooper work great with the included accessories. The Anakin hands are both sculpted to hold the blaster, perfect for one handed and two handed postures, and they have a slight bend in the trigger finger, allowing you to swap in a blaster if you'd like.

I don't know if the plastic they are using is actually sturdier at this point, or I'm just getting accustomed to it. But it seems as though the limbs and joints are more durable than the first or second wave releases.

Star Wars Black Clonetrooper & Anakin Skywalker action figures by Hasbro

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Paint - Anakin **; Clonetrooper ***1/2
Another win for the Trooper - another loss for poor Anakin.

The Trooper has the most important feature done right - the white armor is bright, clean, and very consistent, both in color and in finish. There are some smaller details around the black that could be cleaner and there's a couple rub marks on the knee pads, but overall the work is above average for the scale.

Anakin has several key issues. The body has decent cut lines and small details, but I'm not a huge fan of the gloss finish on all the parts of the costume.

The heads are where the real problems like, however. The skin tone is much too light, and doesn't match the neck. This color is carried over on to the lips, which is clearly a cost cutting move (one less paint operation). There's a few stray marks as well, and even a bit of the googly eyes.

Good paint work supports the sculpt, letting it shine. Great paint elevates a sculpt to the next level. And bad paint like this can drag down any sculpt to unrecognizable, no matter how good it might be underneath the mess.

Star Wars Black Clonetrooper & Anakin Skywalker action figures by Hasbro

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Articulation - Anakin ***1/2; Clonetrooper ****
One of the hallmarks of the 6" Black series is the excellent articulation. Both of these figures make good use of the joint designs.

They have ball jointed necks, with a pin/disc joint a bit lower that allows the head to move forward and backward even more. The joint works really well, but as I mentioned earlier, neither of the Anakin heads sit as far down as they should.

The rest of the body sports ball joints where ever possible of one kind or another, which means the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles all have an extremely good range of movement. The ball ankles are particularly useful, allowing for much deeper poses, and a more fluid line in even shallow stances.

There's some variation between characters - for example with this pair, the Trooper has double pin knees and elbows - but the overall effect and quality is very similar.

Star Wars Black Clonetrooper & Anakin Skywalker action figures by Hasbro

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Accessories - ***1/2
Some of the Black figures have lacked in this category, but both of these guys do just fine.

There are two blasters that come with the Trooper, and while you'll always get some re-use across the Clones and Stormtroopers, at least you're getting enough weapons to properly outfit them all.

Anakin comes with his light saber of course, and the blade is detachable. The hilt can fit on his belt as well, via a small hole in the front.

Anakin also has the second head sculpt, and I've already gone into the pros and cons of the sculpt and paint.  While I had my issues with the head itself, its inclusion certainly bumps the score here considerably.

The only real complaint for this category is that all the accessories, including the saber hilt, are made from a very soft plastic, almost rubbery. It does make them easy to get in and out of the hands, but wilting and damage over time are more likely.

Star Wars Black Clonetrooper & Anakin Skywalker action figures by Hasbro

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Fun Factor - ****
I've complained that there just aren't enough truly fun action figures on the pegs for kids these days, and it seems that most of the great ones are reserved for collectors - MOTUC, DCUC and now the Black series.  

At least with the 6" Black series, you can easily find them at your local retailer, and if you have a child in your life that loves Star Wars, do them a favor and pick a couple up. While individual figures may have their warts, the concept and overall execution has been solid, and they are a lot of fun for kids young and old.

Value - **1/2
Twenty bucks a pop is still pushing if for these figures, but at least with some reasonable accessories and great articulation, you can see where some of the money is going.

Star Wars Black Clonetrooper & Anakin Skywalker action figures by Hasbro

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Overall - Anakin **1/2; Clonetrooper ***1/2
Here's another great Trooper to add to the shelf, and I'm betting we'll see these parts and pieces re-used plenty of times in upcoming waves.

The biggest problem overall for the series remains the human likenesses. So far, they haven't produced an outstanding human head sculpt (although Han and Bespin Luke were both superior to this Anakin), and the paint quality hasn't done them any favors.

I do like their choice to use mixed media on the costumes, and hope we continue to see more of that. It certainly sets the line apart from others in this scale, and adds a bit more realism to the final look. And from what we've seen, aliens and armored characters will continue to rock, so the upcoming Darth Vader is at the top of my most anticipated list!

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

Star Wars Black Clonetrooper & Anakin Skywalker action figures by Hasbro

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has just this pair in a deal for $48, which makes sense since these two are the ones most collectors will need.

- has the deal for this pair for $48. They also have the singles for $25.

- has the set of four for $100, if you need the Fett and Stormtrooper.

- Entertainment Earth has the singles for $20 or the set of 4 for $80.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered all the regular release figures so far, including Bespin Luke, the Stormtrooper and Obi-Wan, Slave Leia and Boba FettHan Solo and Greedo, and Darth Maul and the Sandtrooper, as well as X-Wing Pilot Luke and R2-D2.

Discussion:
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Star Wars Black Clonetrooper & Anakin Skywalker action figures by Hasbro

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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