REVIEW: STAR WARS LEGACY COLLECTION CLONE COMMANDER DEVISS
It's more than fair to say that the vast majority of Clone Troopers and such that turn up in any given Star Wars action figure line these days are, not inappropriately, part of the Clone Wars line based on the CGI animated series airing on Cartoon Network.
Fine and well, and entirely understandable, but occasionally frustrating for those of us who prefer to focus our attention on the Legacy Collection of figures that is based on the movies and the "Expanded Universe" of characters that appear in comics, novels, and other media formats that are tied more closely to the movies than to the CGI series.
Nothing wrong with the Clone Wars toys, but stylistically speaking, being based on the animated designs, they're not entirely compatible with the look of the movie-based figures.
So when a new Clone Trooper or Clone Commander happens to turn up in the movie-based Legacy Collection, I am especially pleased, and will gladly add it to my collection. Such was the case recently with a new figure known as Clone Commander Deviss.
I looked up his character profile on the Star Wars Wiki-type Web Site, known as "Wookieepedia", and there was quite a bit of information on the character.
He started out as a clone on Kamino, of course, with the designation of "CT-65/91-6210". Not the catchiest name in the world. The Wookieepedia entry doesn't specify how he came to have the name Deviss, but whoever within the Star Wars universe named him, we should be thankful. "CT-65/91-6210" is just a bit of a mouthful to get out, especially in the midst of a battle.
According to Wookieepedia, Deviss was a Clone Trooper Commander, formerly a clone trooper captain who led K Company out of Commander Bly's 327th Star Corps in the Grand Army of the Republic.
Like all of the first generation clones, Deviss' life started on Kamino. He was apparently originally created as a standard Clone Trooper, hence not receiving the specialized training that was reserved for ARC Troopers and Clone Commanders. Part of the first group of clones, Deviss saw action right from the very beginning of the war.
During the Battle of Geonosis, Deviss' battalion, Major Twelve's Hawkbat Battalion, was decimated by fire from an advancing column of deadly OG-9 homing spider droids. Deviss risked certain death when he stayed behind to tend to the wounded as the rest of his division retreated. For three hours, Deviss single-handedly defended his wounded soldiers out of a shallow artillery crater. Only then did the casevac team arrive, and with them came a medal of valor and a new command for the Clone Army's newest hero.
During the Battle of Altyr V, Devis'' Jedi General was killed by enemy fire, leaving Deviss to pick up the pieces of the assault. Not only did Deviss manage, he passed with flying colors. He rallied the remaining troopers to victory by demolishing the enemy's ion cannon.
Recognizing initiative and bravery when he saw it, Clone Commander Bly had Deviss promoted and put him in charge of one of his legions. Deviss was also permitted to don the command pauldrons and kamas previously only available to the Advanced Recon Commandos and their commander counterparts.
At the onset of the Outer Rim Sieges, Deviss fought at Cato Neimoidia, and was assigned to Jedi General Nem Bees and sent to dig the Separatists from Orto. Only weeks into the campaign, however, Deviss received Order 66 via an encrypted channel from the Supreme Chancellor himself. Order 66 branded Bees as a traitor to the Republic, and Deviss personally gunned him down as he readied his troops to cross the battlefield's no-man's land.
You know, I've said it before, and I realize that it's not an especially popular observation, but really -- if the all-powerful Jedi Order couldn't see what was happening around them, then they had it coming to them.
Anyway, Deviss' brief profile on his toy package pretty well corroborates what the Wookieepedia entry had to say. It reads: Clone Commander Deviss first sees action first on Geonosis as part of the Hawkbat Battalion. He is one of the few in his battalion to survive the brutal fighting. His heroic actions earn him a medal, a new command, and the right to wear the elite ARC Trooper armor.
Well, "armor" might be a stretch. With rare exception and unit markings notwithstanding, one set of Clone Trooper armor tends to look pretty much like another one, unless they have some unusual helmet design or some such. What the package is referring to is the "pauldron", or the special shoulder piece that is reminiscent of the Sandtrooper armor, and the kama, which is the Star Wars "in-universe" name for the skirt-like tunic worn around the waist by ARC Troopers, select Commanders, and apparently lucky, talented troopers like Deviss who manage to rise through the ranks as a result of their own actions and initiative.
So, how's the figure? Very nicely done, I must say. Although certainly the figure is clearly derived from a standard Clone Trooper, there's enough differences to make for a decently distinctive figure.
The helmet, although using the standard Episode III-era Clone Trooper helmet, is distinctive in one respect -- it has an additional visor -- I'm assuming binocular scopes or some sort of scanner -- that lowers into place over the standard helmet visor. This has turned up on Clone Troopers before, but not at all frequently. It's attached to the helmet by two pegs on the side, and raises and lowers, and has a slight sliding aspect to it so that it can close in on the helmet visor, and raise over the top of the head easily. This second visor has a narrow slit running across the front. Its precise function isn't mentioned, and for all I know, it could have an assortment of functions.
Deviss' helmet has a dark red stripe running down the front, vertically. It goes over the ridge on the top of the helmet, which remains white, and ends at the top of the back of the helmet. This dark red color, distinctly different from the brighter red of, say, the Shock Troopers that Palpatine kept close by, has been seen on occasion in the line, on other Clone Troopers, but not in this precise armor pattern.
Deviss' helmet is not removable. This is fine with me. I've never entirely understood why any of the Clone Trooper figures bothered with removable helmets. They all look the same underneath it, and the demands of the plastic figure generally result in a helmet that looks a little too big relative to the rest of the body, as opposed to the helmet just being the figure's head.
Deviss' Clone Trooper armor is fairly straight forward in and of itself. His distinctive dark red markings continue on the armor, and include a vertical stripe on his mid-torso, broad stripes all the way down his arms, a broad stripe on each of his knee pads, and red stripes across the tops of his shoes. There is also red detailing on the pads of his pauldron, and on his belt buckle.
The figure is superbly well-articulated. I especially appreciate this. Most Clone Troopers are well articulated. A few, however, over the years, have not been. Interestingly, some of these are being remade into the line, with better articulated bodies. Fine by me. When you've got Clone Trooper molds that allow a figure to have a full range of motion, there's really no excuse in my opinion for using anything less.
Deviss is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, legs, knees, and ankles. This includes not only back and forth movement, but also swivels in the elbows and knees.
One thing about Clone Troopers, even though I doubt it was in the back of the mind of George Lucas when he came up with them. They make excellent action figures. Now, I'm not normally all that picky about visible articulation joints, unless a given figure has been given so much really blatant articulation that he looks like he came out of an erector set.
However, the design of the Clone Trooper armor seems to lend itself especially well to being made into a well-articulated action figure where most of the articulation points are not all that apparently, largely because those points, such as the elbows and knees, are part of the ridged black "undersuit" of the figure's design, and the articulation points can be rather effectively hidden in these areas. The end result is a nicely poseable action figure with relatively invisible articulation points.
One thing a little curious about Deviss. Most Clone Troopers that I've bought, regardless of how well they're articulated, tend to be poseable either at the mid-torso or the waist, depending on which set of molds is used for that particular figure. Deviss has neither. It's not at all a big deal to me. He's still very poseable and I'm not complaining in the least. But I don't recall seeing a torso before that wasn't poseable at one or the other point.
As stated before, Deviss has the additional accouterments of the pauldron and kama. The pauldron, the additional shoulder armor, is a separate piece held in place very tightly by the figure's head. It's mostly black, although the section over the left shoulder is painted off-white with dark red sections. A small black strap with a couple of small white pouches hangs down to the right.
The kama is the skirt-like tunic that hangs from the waist. This is attached to the figure's belt, which is also a separate piece, and is buckled on pretty much like a real belt would be. There is an indentation in the figure's torso so that the belt does not seem to be a poor or exaggerated fit. The belt is painted white, as are a few attachments on the belt.
The kama itself is a light greyish-tan, and is meant to look like draped fabric hanging from the waist to about knee level. There have been a number of Clone Troopers of various specialized types to have these. Their kamas have varying looks to them, from colors and markings, to even looking rather worn out from battle. A few have even been "pre-posed" to look like they're flapping in the breeze or something.
I like Deviss'. It's not especially worn-looking at all, and it is displayed neatly. One might expect that Deviss takes good care of it, since under normal circumstances, he was not created as a Clone Trooper that would have been in line to earn one.
There are two white holsters attached to the kama, each of which has a small black blaster pistol in it. These are removable, but as small as they are, I recommend leaving them in the holsters. They stay put quite well.
Overall paint work on Commander Deviss is excellent. Hasbro is still unfortunately in the habit of having the black undersuit portions of a number of their Clone Trooper figures painted by hand, rather than through a paint stencil. However, perhaps those in the factories are getting a little better with practice. This particular Deviss, at least, isn't all that bad. While this is never a practice that I will approve of, since it tends toward a sort of inevitable sloppiness just through sheer volume and repetition, this particular figure is a far cry from a Hasbro figure from another line I acquired some years ago, who had such a great glob of paint slapped on his boot that it not only obscured the sculpted detail, but I had to sand it down just so the figure could stand up.
The paintwork on the kama is above average. Generally speaking, this tends to get messed up more as a result of hand-painting than the figure, but on Deviss, I'm honestly not sure if the belt and holsters were hand-painted or not.
Some details have to be painted through a proper painting stencil. All of them SHOULD be, but some have to be. This includes the detailing on the helmet, and most of the dark red markings on the armor, perhaps all of them in this case. The helmet is very neatly painted, with a good visor, that doesn't merge with the black line that encircles the Clone Trooper helmet neat the top, and the details near the base of the helmet are extremely well done in black and silver.
One other note -- Deviss is a very CLEAN Clone. I've noticed this as something of a trend lately, and while they are exceptions, for the most part, it seems that most of the Clone Troopers being released -- in both the Legacy Collection and the Clone Wars line, for that matter -- are devoid of the sorts of markings, wipes, and weatherings that makes them look "battle-worn". While I am pleased to have all of the Clone Troopers in my collection that I have, and while Star Wars can perhaps get away with this particular practice better than some action figure lines, I am not sorry to see it apparently diminishing.
If I'm going to buy a brand new action figure on card, unless there's a very good reason for him to look battle-work -- i.e. he never appeared otherwise -- then I expect my figures to look new.
Accessorywise, Commander Deviss comes with some interesting hardware. The one thing he DOESN'T have is the typical short blaster rifle that usually comes with the average Clone Trooper. Hasbro's probably turned out enough of those things to qualify as a munitions company by now.
Rather, Deviss comes with a HUGE rifle, easily over 2-1/4" in length, which by 3-3/4" standards, is darn big. He's also pictured with this in his Wookieepedia entry. I'm not sure what it's proper name is, but I wouldn't want to be on the wrong end of it.
Deviss' other accessories are a mystery. Pardon me for not keeping up on every aspect of Star Wars weaponry and hardware. Deviss comes with something that looks like a control joystick to -- something. I haven't the slightest idea what this is. Then there's the other item, which looks like two large, black, robotic claws, with a length of black cord between them. It's actual string, too. I have no idea what this might be. Looks like it could be jumper cables for a Star Destroyer. The claws are not small, relative to the figure.
The other item that Commander Deviss comes with is neither a weapon nor even part of Deviss. It's part of the "Droid Factory" concept. Buy Star Wars figures and you get a part to a droid. A lot of them are the R2-style astromech droids, which I find particularly frustrating, since I happen to like those droids, and finding the parts needed to complete one of these is NOT easy. If you want any proof that Star Wars in general remains a highly popular line, especially with regard to new assortments, just try to complete one of these Droid Factory droids in one shot.
Deviss comes with the left leg to R3-A3, a, orange trimmed droid. If anybody has the rest of him and is willing to part with him -- let me know. (That'll be one down and about five others I have assorted parts for around here...)
So, what's my final word? This is a cool figure. As I stated at the top of this review, finding new Clones in the Legacy Collection is a relatively rare occurrence. They're all hanging around in the Clone Wars Collection these days. So Commander Deviss was a pleasant surprise.
He's a distinctive Clone Commander in several respects. Along with his dark red markings, he has the unusual second visor on his helmet, as well as the pauldron and kama, not to mention the really big gun, plus whatever else those other accessories are supposed to be. For accessory hounds -- and I know there are some out there -- here's a chance to get some unusual hardware.
But really, you should want this for Commander Deviss. He's a cool figure, and certainly a worthy and interesting addition to the Legacy Collection, and to anyone's movie-based Clone Trooper collection, or should I say Grand Army of the Republic!
The STAR WARS LEGACY COLLECTION figure of CLONE COMMANDER DEVISS definitely has my highest recommendation!