REVIEW: STAR WARS CLONE WARS CLONE TROOPER HEVY IN TRAINING ARMOR
I always have my eye out for new and interesting Clone Troopers to add to my Star Wars Clone Wars collection. Some tend to be a bit more distinctive than others. Take this new one named "Hevy". He's a completely unique figure, because he's outfitted in what's described as "Training Armor", even though over the course of the series, certainly based on his backstory as presented on the excellent and informative Web Site Wookieepedia, he certainly got beyond training.
Now, I have no real idea what "training" amounted to for the Clone Troopers. I suspect the Clone Wars series has given us a better look at this than the prequel movies have, but unfortunately, I have not been a reliable viewer (sort of saving up for DVD seasonal sets, you know?). But I think it would be safe to assume that whatever sort of training the Clones are given, it amounts to more than sitting around computer consoles like a thousand little Daniel Logans as we saw in Episode II at one point. That might make one fit to play endless combat video games, but it's going to be of limited use when you're face to face with a phalanx of Battle Droids.
So, first of all, who is the Clone Trooper named Hevy? Let's have a look at the history of this character, shall we?
Hevy's official designation was CT-782. He warned the nickname Hevy due to being a heavy weapons expert, even though it is not spelled the same.
CT-782 was a Clone Trooper who served in the Grand Army of the Republic's Domino Squad, a unit of clone cadets, during the Clone Wars. During his tenure in Domino Squad, the other Domino Squad cadets, given the nicknames Cutup, Echo, Fives, and Droidbait (and given that last one, who cares about spelling!?) became acquainted with Hevy, and were the ones responsible for his nickname. Within Kamino's Tipoca City complex, Hecy and the other Domino Squad members trained under Siniteen Sergeant Bric. Bric oversaw the clone cadets practice is combat simulations, which placed them head-to-head with battle droids. While the battle droids' weapons, as well as their own weapons, were not lethal, and as such no clone could be injured during one of their simulations, all clone cadet squad members had to work as a team to successfully pass the simulation. For Domino Squad, however, the team rarely got along with each other. During one of their last simulations, Hevy and Domino Squad were engaging droids when Hevy broke away from the group.
Watching the group, Bric, Arcona El-Les, and Jedi Master Shaak Ti, took concern of Domino Squad's recklessness. Bric expressed the group's inability to with as a team, and wanted to send them to the city's maintenance crew, where rejected clones went. As the combat simulation progressed, Hevy kept disobeying orders and assumed the squad's leadership on his own. However, the droid forces began to overwhelm the clones. With the simulation a failure, Domino Squad left the Combat room. The group would be given one last chance, in one final combat simulation.
A few Advanced Recon Commando troopers, led by Clone Commander Colt, were to watch the clone cadets final combat simulator test. If one passed the test, the clones within that squad would officially become Clone Troopers. Colt took interest in Bravo Squad, a unit of cadets that passed certain tests in "ARC Trooper time". Following Bravo Squad to the combat simulator room, Hevy and Domino Squad would enter the test once Bravo Squad was finished. Not long after, a cadet from Bravo Squad lifted a pole on top of a citadel, which completed the simulation. Entering the combat room, Domino Squad passed the cadets from Bravo Squad, who said, "Time to watch the Dominoes fall."
However, once the simulator began, Domino Squad passed certain parts of the simulation faster than their usual rate. As the other clones were taking cover, Hevy, who was destroying droids with a Z-6 rotary blaster cannon, was clearing a path for them. When Droidbait broke awat from the others, a droid shot him in the back. Echo noticed this and yelled for help, though Hevy told him to leave Droidbait and head for the room's citadel to finish the test. Bric, Colt, and El-les noticed them leaving Droidbait, which forced them to stop the simulation. They failed the test, with Colt telling them they should never leave a man behind.
That night, a clone named 99, who had been rejected due to cloning problems, approached the frustrated Hevy. He told Hevy that, despite the clone cadets' differences, he should work together with his team. He had a chance that 99 never did, and if they failed, they would not become Clone Troopers. Hevy took 99's advice and, the following day, showed it during Domino Squad's final chance. Shaak Ti allowed the squad to retake the test, since she and El-les believed in them. Seeing Hevy and Domino Squad participate in the simulation test for the last time. Bric joined Shaak Ti, El-les, and Colt. This time, the cadets got further into the test.
When the group reached the bottom of the citadel, they noticed that their ascension cables in their belts were missing. Before the test, Bric had taken the cables to cause the clones to fail the test. Yet the clones improvised and decided to climb to the blaster turrets that acended up toward the citadel roof. Hevy successfully climbed the turrets and lifted the pole atop the citadel. Due to their success and teamwork, they were allowed to become Clone Troopers.
After his training on Kamino, Hevy was given his first offworld assignment. Along with Echo and Cutup, he was stationed at a listening post on a moon of the planet Rishi, under the command of Sgt. O'Niner, and would soon be joined by Fives, Droidbait, and another Clone Trooper named Nub. As part of their assignment, they maintained the listening post to warn the Republic of any impending Separatist attacks on Kamino. While Hevy and the rookie troopers were on duty in the control room, Sgt. O'Niner entered and alerted the Clone Troopers of an upcoming inspection. Unknown to all, however, General Grievous had sent Droid Commandos to attack the listening post.
Grievous, along with Asajj Ventress and the droids, intended to invade Kamino to end the production of Clone Troopers. Disguised as a meteor shower, the droid commandos' boarding ships crashed to the surface of the Rishi moon, and the droids left their transports and began their attack. In the command center, O'Niner ordered Hevy to activate the listening post's alarm, but he found that the droids had already deactivated the beacon.
After three commando droids killed O'Niner, the remaining Clone Troopers evacuated the command center by way of a ventilation shaft. Once outside, the four troopers, already demoralized without their commanding sergeant, were further disheartened when a Rishi eel attacked and devoured Cutup.
The remaining Clone Trooper eventually noticed the shuttle flown by Clone Commander Cody and Captain Rex, who had arrived for the inspection of the listening post, but were unaware of the droid attack. The clones explained what was happening, but as they did so, a Rishi eel appeared and began to attack them. Captain Rex killed the creature with one shot to the eye. Rex, despite calling the group "shinies", a derogatory term for new Clone Troopers who hadn't seen enough battle to incur much armor wear, found the group unique and took interest in Hevy's confidence. Both Rex and Cody gave the Clone Troopers DC-15S blaster carbines, and Rex suggested a plan to retake the listening post, which they successfully did.
The victory was cut short, however, when the Clone Troopers noticed that General Grievous' fleet had arrived above the Rishi moon. Soon, a droid landing craft descended through the atmosphere and landed near the listening post. Red ordered the complete destruction of the base, to the surprise of the rookie troops. However, the "all clear" signal that the base constantly broadcast needed to be deactivated, and the droids had wired it that it was impossible to simply turn it off. Rex ordered them to find anything explosive.
Echo offered the use of highly explosive liquid tibanna, which was stored in plunk droids. While Rex and Echo retrieved the specific droids, Cody, Hevy, and Fives grabbed weaponry from the listening post's supply room. With their new supply of weaponry, they opened fire on the invading battle droids, buying time for Rex to wire together three plunk droids.
Unexpectedly, the remote activator to detonate the tibanna inside the punk droids did not function properly. Hevy offered to stay behind and correct the problem, enabling the others to exit the listening post. Once outside, Cody, Rex, Echo, and Fives noticed that Hevy was still within the listening post. Rex contacted Hevy, but Hevy told the Clone Captain that he had to detonate the explosives manually.
Rex and the Clones tried to rescue Hevy, but inside the command center of the listening post, Hevy's blaster ran out of energy, and Hevy was injured in the leg by one of the droids. When a battle droid questioned whether to take Hevy prisoner, Hevy replied that he didn't take prisoners, and set off the explosives, killing himself and destroying the listening post along with the droids. The remaining clones were outside, and witnessed the destruction of the listening post. They were soon rescued by a Republic Gunship. Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker awarded Echo and Fives a medal for their service, and honored Hevy's bravery and sacrifice.
Hevy was regarded in Domino Squad as sarcastic and cynical, and constantly tried to show off his strengths and abilities around other Clone Troopers. He preferred to be called by his designation number - CT-782 - rather than his nickname. Despite his attitude, Hevy showed significant bravery on the Rishi Moon station. He was considered a highly aggressive trooper, more than once angered by what he perceived as Domino Squad's lack of competence.
So, how's the figure? Very nicely done, and quite different from the average Clone Trooper, as he is dressed in the Training armor. There are similarities, but they are hardly exact.
Hevy has a removable helmet. As one might expect, the head underneath is the usual Jango Fett/Clone head. The Wookieepedia information indicates that Hevy had tattoos on either side of his face, from the back of his neck to the cheeks. However, the figure does not have these. I suspect he either got them after he completed training or, given the construction of the figure, with the head articulation point, it would just have been too hard to try to imprint the tattoos.
The helmet is similar to that of standard Clone Troopers, but simpler in design -- which is a fair statement about most of the training armor. It's more or less a simple white, flared dome, with a T-shaped visor not too dissimilar from that of Clone Troopers, but distinctly wider. It's also transparent yellow, and this has been reflected in the figure. One can see a fair portion of Hevy's face through the visor. Cleverly, the entire helmet was molded in transparent yellow as a single piece, with the white and black details painted on, and very neatly. There is black around the visor, which wraps around to the back of the helmet, and a small black shape on the forehead of the helmet.
The training armor is structurally similar to that of Clone Troopers, especially with regard to the torso and legs, although some of the specific details are a little different. The torso is not quite as detailed, the legs are actually somewhat more detailed. The shoulder armor is much larger than that of a standard Clone Trooper, and there is no distinct upper arm armor. The armor on the lower arms has a series of ridges on one side, and the backs of the gloves have armored protection on them.
Hevy has some distinctive markings on his armor. The left shoulder armor is dark green, as are the elbow pads, and the ridged areas on the lower arms. The backs of the gloves are also dark green.
The backs of the legs are a sort of ivory color, as if the white armor has been strapped over the ivory somehow. And yet, the ivory sections must afford some protection, because Hevy is still wearing the standard black "undersuit" that all Clones have as part of their uniforms.
Most interestingly, Hevy has a large numeral "1" stamped on the upper right side of his chest armor. This same number appears on his left shoulder plate, and even larger on his back. Additionally, there is a stylized number "782" running down an ivory panel on the front of his left leg. This, of course, is his individual designation number.
So, what's so unusual about this? Well, simply stated, the Star Wars universe has its own established alphabet, called "Aurebesh", and has for some time. It's an alien-looking alphabet, but perhaps not as radical-looking as some within the Star Trek universe, such as Klingon or Ferengi. It has a transliteration into English, and I even have it as a font on my computer.
This alphabet has seen widespread use in a number of areas. I've seen it at the Star Tours attraction in Walt Disney World, it's been used in a Star Wars version of the Monopoly game, and it's also appeared officially within Star Wars, as well. It can be seen, at the very least, in Star Wars Episode II, when Anakin's flyer is coming in for a less than impressive landing while he is pursuing the bounty hunter Zam Wesell.
Lucasfilm even went to the trouble of incorporating it into one of the updated versions of the Classic Trilogy. Remember the scene where Obi-Wan Kenobi slips past the Stormtroopers on the Death Star to deactivate the tractor beam that is keeping the Millennium Falcon from leaving? In the movie, we see the panels displaying the power levels of the tractor beam, as the power levels decrease once Kenobi shuts them off. Originally, those panels had English readouts, with the English alphabet. They have since been replaced by Aurebesh.
So, what's the problem? Aurebesh has its own numbers, and they don't match traditional numbers any more than the letters of Aurebesh match traditional letters. Now, I have noticed that there are exceptions. The Star Wars Monopoly money uses English numbers, but this is as much a convenience to the player as anything. And in the first Star Wars movie, if you look at the outside entrance to "Docking Bay 94", where Han Solo tells Luke and Obi-Wan to meet him, you'll notice a very ornate but legible "94" carved into the better part of the wall next to the entrance. So clearly, English-style numbers are not unknown in the Star Wars universe.
Even so, Aurebesh is clearly the custom in most environments where beings from multiple planets are likely to gather. Doubtless it's some sort of universally-understood lettering style for the frequent space traveler. I highly doubt that every planet developed the same alphabet just out of coincidence, so it's entirely likely that there are thousands of different alphabets in the Star Wars universe. This is just the "common-use" one.
I still think we're left wondering just a little bit why Hevy and the other trainee clones don't have Aurebesh numbers. It's certainly not a toy-related problem. I have a small Star Wars Clone Wars vehicle here with Aurebesh letters on it. And I doubt it was a glitch on the animators' part, since that's something that somebody would've caught, I would think. I suspect that either the Kaminoan numerical system just happens to mirror our own or, more likely, for some reason, they just chose to use this numerical style, which is not unknown to the Star Wars universe, for their clones' training armor. That would be my "in-universe" explanation, anyway.
Even so, speaking as a graphic artist who appreciates the effort that goes in to creating these unusual alphabets, it's just a little jarring to see these huge "1"'s on Hevy.
The figure is very neatly painted, and seems to avoid the unfortunate occasion of hand-painted detail which sometimes turns up on other, more standard-based Clone Troopers. This is clearly an entirely new figure, especially given the 2010 copyright date sculpted on one leg. The helmet is a good fit, and doesn't make the head look overly large. The Clone Wars line has done an excellent job of avoiding this problem, far better than the movie-based Legacy Collection, or whatever it's called these days.
Hevy is very well articulated, and is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows (including a swivel), wrists, waist, legs, and knees (including a swivel). The ankles are not articulated, which is a slight disappointment, but he still stands well. And his articulation is not especially "ratcheted", the way one set of Clone Trooper molds -- that also lacks ankle articulation -- is. That's a set of molds I'd just as soon see the end of. Hevy's molds work well, though.
As for accessories, Hevy comes with a standard blaster gun, but also includes a far larger weapon, which I believe to be the Z-6 rotary cannon blaster, at least if the character description on the back of the package card is anything to go by. This is one big gun, and it also actually has a spring-loaded missile in it. The trigger is rather expertly hidden as a small button on the top of the blaster just behind the main barrel.
Hevy also comes with a display stand, a plastic die, and a personal game card for the Galactic Battle Game that is currently running in all Star Wars figures. Interestingly enough, a particular character from Hevy's history, Sergeant Bric, is available as a mail order figure, and is supposed to include a game mat. I'll review him as soon as he arrives, of course.
So, what's my final word? This is a cool figure, rendering in figure format for the first time a stage of Clone Trooper development that we haven't see as such -- a Clone in training. It might not be the most appropriate thing to place him in with a company of "active" Clone Troopers, but he's still an impressive addition to anyone building their own "Grand Army of the Republic", or for anyone who's enjoying collecting the Star Wars Clone Wars collection, based on the superb CGI animated series from Cartoon Network. And based on that history, Hevy has certainly had some time in the spotlight. He's certainly earned his accolades, and his action figure.
The STAR WARS CLONE WARS figure of CLONE TROOPER HEVY IN TRAINING ARMOR definitely has my most enthusiastic recommendation!