TOY REVIEW ARCHIVE    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE >


Medicom Stormtrooper


Jeff Parker, fan of high end sixth scale figures, is here tonight with a terrific review of the new Medicom Stormtrooper - and now I want one!  Take it away, Jeff...

As Always a big thanks to Michael for giving a limey a platform to preach his love of all things measuring 12". Well after what seems like another eternal wait, here is the much anticipated Stormtrooper from those masters of 1/6 Medicom, the question is this time can he take the crown, and perhaps even more importantly keep it, as it's not a figure that hasn't been done extremely well before. Anyone out there fortunate enough to own any of the Marmit figures from a few years back will know what I mean. And although the Fett figure will always have a special place in my collection it's the Sand and Stormtroopers that just take the cigar! Now we all have our favourite Star Wars characters, usually someone not behind a helmet, mines always been Solo, ever since as a ten year old kid my Mum took me to Leicester (pronounced Lester for the uninitiated) Square, London to see it back in that hot, halcyon summer of 1977. 













But although we all have our favourite characters, it was the ships, planets, creatures and suits that grabbed the attention of all us hugely impressionable young boys at the time. And for me, Yeah, Vader was great and all, but I just loved those Stormtrooper outfits. And so it was with some excitement when I saw that Medicoms next release after the oh, so impressive Vader (see Michaels great review) was to be those white armoured drones of the Empire...I was a happy bunny. Now Medicom have something else to be aware of, as in the next few months (I hope it gets a release in 06) we will also have the Sideshow Stormtrooper . None of us have seen any pictures yet!...well unless you work for the company . But Brock Otterbacker (surely with that name he's a Star Wars character himself) and Jared Chapman over at Sideshow (check out the whole interview here courtesy of our friends at Rebalscum.com :- ) seem to be telling us it's gonna be a goodie. And another thread I read over at OneSixthWarriors that  says it's gonna blow the Marmit figure out of the water....brave words...please let them deliver!

As an aside, anyone in the UK who's after the first Sideshow Star Wars release can check out Forbidden Planets Website, if you missed the boat 'like me' over at Sideshow to pre-order your Jedi Luke. They have him priced up wrongly @ 22.99 +2.50 shipping, making him cheaper than Sideshow direct. And when I ordered mine last week they said they'd honor the price, and when I just checked this morning it was still priced the same, get em' while they're hot! 

Packaging - ***1/2
Well if you've been paying attention you'll know what to expect. Very much continuing the line as the Luke and Vader boxes did. Plain matte black embossed logo and flap front. Don't think these will ever be any bodies favourite bits of packaging but they do look kind of classy on the shelf and certainly protect the figure. It seems pretty obvious to me they didn't want to pay for the use of any licensed stills or artwork and went for a minimalist approach!...I personally like it.....But that said, I kind of can't wait to see what Sideshow deliver...all guns blazing...loads of colour....stills.....one sheet posters....I think so! But now I wanna get him out, just how restrictive is that armour?

Sculpting ***1/2
Well as I wrote earlier, Tomy/Marmit set an incredibly high bench mark with their release. But it has to be said that if two top end companies....no make that three!, were asked to produce perfect 1/6 replicas of Stormtrooper armour. All three companies have access to archives, blueprints, and full size armour. Then surely these companies in principal should deliver 'virtually' an identical product. But in the real world, of course that just ain't the case. These are two different beasts released so far, and who knows what Sideshow will deliver? I think it's cool that we'll have three top end figure to display together, all slightly different heights, as back in the original trilogy, lets face it , Stormtroopers were all shapes and sizes. I suppose Lucas can get away with it by saying they were clones at different stages of maturity...or, if you are an expanded universe fan, claim that although the premier shock troops are clones. Ever since the rise of the Empire recruits are trained and used alongside their clone comrades????

Your guess is as good as mine, and lets face it all the best stories leave at least a few blanks for your own interpretation. If you analyse anything too much you're almost bound to end up disappointed. That said I've been looking preeeety closely at this figure and I'm certainly not disappointed. Looking at him next to the reference shots I have (the best being the original 'Star Wars chronicles' book) he looks spot on. If I had to have a minor quibble it would be that the hand sculpts (though perfect, and I love the way they've attached the glove shields) could be ever so slightly bigger in my opinion, and if I continue to quibble the fact this guy does have a head under the helmet (just a blank white generic face) means the helmet might seem a touch on the big side, but it is sooo slight I feel mean mentioning it...but hey, it's my job! But on the up side the detailing on the helmet is finer than Marmits, the black band above the eyes having that ripple missing on the Marmit version, but they've gone for the 'no gap between the lenses and black bar' look. If you've looked at lots of stormtrooper pictures and hey....we all have, you'll know this gap or lack of it varies greatly, especially with the ANH versions, marmit picked up on this and varied the size of gap, we'll have to wait and see if a future Sandtrooper is released and if they do likewise. If you have this figure or the Marmit one and need some good comp pics you wont find much better than these.

Paint - ***1/2
There really should be very little paint that needs be applied to this guy, but Medicom seem to have painted all the armour white on a white base, this does give it a nice depth when viewed up close. And where any detail is applied, i.e. mostly the helmet, with a few flashes on the hands, belt and boots, it's done tightly and well, the only detail I will pick up on is that on mine the painting of the black chin grill could have been taken a little higher.

Articulation - ***1/2
I've said before that I love the new Medicom 'RAH' body, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement... ask any engineer, there's always room for improvement. So until the day someone gives us a perfectly realised strong alloy armature with a silicone flesh and skin like coating that can get into any pose that Spiderman can, lets not cut em' any slack. Unrealistic...trust me it'll happen some day. So until that day this guy gets almost top marks from me. Yeah the armour restricts movement, the Marmit armour restricted movement, I'm sure the Sideshow armour 'will' restrict movement, and anyone who's tried Stormtrooper armour on for real will tell you 'quel surprise' it restricts your movement...not as much as it restricts your vision or ability to take a leak though. So it don't take Einstein to realise a scale copy of a Stormtrooper will have restricted movement, but better that than an in-accurate redesign to give more movement where there shouldn't be any. The articulation is however better than Marmits, everything just seems tighter, and the welcome introduction of ankle movement opens up a whole lot more poseability. About two years ago Medicom released a figure called 'White Crusher', it was a promotional item based on a character used by a Japanese tecno/punk band called 'Mad Capsule Market' to members of the Medicom collectors club and I think only 200 to 500 were made, I was lucky to pick one up at the time, and when I got it, thought to myself, they're after the Star Wars license, this guy was so obviously based on a stormtooper, and it seemed to be a calling card saying. hey, look, we could make a great stormtrooper given the chance.....and two years later they have.

Accessories - ***
This guys certainly not up there with Vader or Luke, just two spare hands and the signature blaster rifle. You could argue that's all he needs, and in a way you'd be right. But another rifle, binders, or say a mouse droid would have been nice. But to be fair, they say on da box ya gets a Stormtrooper, and in da box, ya gets a Stormtrooper , so fair dues. Oh, one thing I almost forgot, you get the usual Medicom clear plastic stand, but as you'll see from the photos he can hold most poses without it.

Outfit - ***3/4
Sure he has a body glove and it fits as well as it should, and unlike the Marmit version, instead of a cloth suit it's made of a kind of neopreneish/rubberised material, and the addition of a solid sculpted, ribbed collar makes the neck much more authentic. But this is all about the armour, and that's about as good as it gets. I suppose there is a potential for the glued rubber straps holding the shoulder armour and energy wells hanging from the belt to weaken, but only time will tell. The holster is also superior to the Marmit one, and is made of soft leatherette, fitting his blaster perfectly. The small stud holding the strap doesn't open, but the stock slips under it just fine.

Fun factor - ****
It's a G.I.Joe sized perfect scale replica of a Stormtrooper, what kid couldn't have fun with it. And his hands stay on better than Vaders, and the Marmit version so top marks.

Value - ***3/4
Always a sticky wicket with imports, especially limited imports but he's coming through cheaper than Vader or Luke, as I suppose he should. As I'm informed through various sources that both Luke and Vader had edition sizes of 1000, where as there will be 2005 of these (500 of which were released at the Tokyo Toy Fair). So you can expect to pay between $110.00 to $199.00, big swing I know, but those are the eBay prices I'm seeing, and don't forget the shipping. So I'd say at $110 pretty good value as it's less than I paid for the Marmit version, but at $199, not such great value...but there are quite a few out on eBay at the moment so shop around and don't be afraid to ask a trader for a keener price....they can only say no! I can recommend who I bought from, Charles on ebay ( you can find him under the trader names KIDULTGARDEN and CHARLESAY, or visit his web site.

Things to watch out for!
Don't handle this guy with grubby hands, he is seriously white and shiny, so if you want to keep him that way scrub up first. But of course ignore me if you want to give him that weathered look. But as Medicom are revisiting Vader with an Ep 3 version I wouldn't be at all surprised if we don't see a weathered Sandtrooper in the not too distant. 

Overall - ****
Hey, I love Stormtroopers, I find it hard to see which is my fave out of this and the Marmit version. They both excel in different areas. But at the end of the day if you want a seriously good poseable Stormtrooper and you can't find the Marmit one you will be just as, or maybe a little happier with this.

Where to buy
I got mine from an old supplier of mine Charles over on eBay, always reasonable and reliable, you can find him at kidultgarden.com or on ebay under 'kidultgarden' and 'charlesay'. I have seen some U.S company's with it on line, but all seem more expensive than buying from the Far East, even when you take shipping into account, so as always shop around.

For your general Star Wars needs, check out Andrew's Toyz, where you can find just about anything and everything Star Wars related.

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR LOTS MORE PHOTOS!



Figure from the collection of Gonzo.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour Hosting.com