REVIEW: STAR WARS CLONE WARS - COMMANDER GREE
I have found myself increasingly impressed with the many and varied Clone Trooper figures in the action figure line based on the Star Wars Clone Wars animated series. Although these figures are not entirely compatible with their movie-based counterparts from the Legacy Collection and before -- they're generally somewhat taller and leaner of build -- they have their own distinctive characteristics and charm, not the least of which is, as a rule, they're often cleaner than the occasionally battle-damaged specimens from the other line. There also seems to be, understandably, a growing variety of both trooper divisions and individuals to choose from.
One acquisition I made was that of COMMANDER GREE. There's a name readily recognized by anyone who saw Star Wars Episode III. Gree was the Clone Commander who accompanied Yoda to Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld. Gree's very distinctive Clone Trooper uniform was predominantly green, including a bright green visor rather than the traditional black, and the Clone Troopers he commanded were outfitted like camouflage-patterned Biker Scouts, a popular division of Imperial Troops first seen in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
However, the events of the Clone Wars animated series take place before Episode III, set between Episodes II and III, and at the moment, closer to II than III, so Gree doesn't quite look like he did in the movie, which isn't to say there aren't hints of things to come in his color design.
Gree has apparently been a rather busy Clone Commander during the Clone Wars. I found a fairly considerable entry for him on the Web Site "Wookieepedia", which in part reads as follows:
CC-1004 was a senior clone commander in the Grand Army of the Republic. Possessed of a keen interest in alien species and cultures, 1004 was singled out to participate in a special training program by ARC trooper Alpha-17 that encouraged individuality. As a token of his independence, 1004 was rewarded with a name and chose to be known as "Gree," a reference to an obscure alien species.
CC-1004 was cloned from the Mandalorian bounty hunter Jango Fett on the world of Kamino, raised to be part of a Grand Army to serve the Galactic Republic in the rank of senior commander. The standard clone education provided basic information on the species of the Republic, but as 1004's sense of individuality developed, he decided to become an expert on esoteric alien cultures. 1004 set about seeking information with such fervor that even the Kaminoan clone masters took notice; but whereas this would normally be treated as an aberration and be removed, a new program was beginning that took advantage of individuality. The Advanced Recon Commando Alpha-17 began a training program for clone commanders, with an eye towards cultivating independence and individual-mindedness. Part of this involved, as a reward, recognizing the commanders with individual names. 1004 picked the name "Gree," after an obscure alien species; he figured that if anyone recognized the source of the name, he would know they shared his interest in alien culture.
Gree, under Jedi General Luminara Unduli, was put in command of the 41st Elite Corps, part of the 9th Assault Corps. The 41st specialized in long-term deployments on alien worlds, where they conducted "hearts and minds" operations in trying conditions to gain the allegiance of the native populations. Gree learned further of alien species and customs, becoming an expert in the subject, and his unit soon gained a reputation as specialists in hostile conditions, alien recruitment, and counterinsurgency operations. They pioneered the use of All Terrain Recon Transports, BARC speeder bikes and Juggernaut tanks for reconnaissance missions. Throughout the war, Gree occasionally took personal command of the smaller units Sarlacc Battalion A and B as well. At some point in the war, Gree participated in the Battle of Tibrin, and later took on the double stripe hairstyle to honor his clone comrades that had perished during the battle.
During the Clone Wars, Gree led the 41st Elite Corps, a division out of the 9th Assault Corps, along with Jedi General Luminara Unduli. He became an expert on alien cultures, giving his unit a specialization in hostile conditions, counterinsurgency, and long-term deployment on alien worlds in "hearts and minds" operations. He saw action on Uba IV, Dinlo, Rodia, and Alzoc III, amongst other worlds. In the first year of the war, Gree was assigned to escort the captured Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray to trial on Coruscant, but they were waylaid by Separatist saboteurs and a defector from the Republic, and Gunray escaped.
In the course of investigating the Separatist leader Count Dooku's alliance with the Nightsisters of Dathomir and their assistance in completing his war vessel Devastation, Senator Padmé Amidala was shot down over the planet Christophsis. Gree accompanied a pair of Jedi in their search for her. Their LAAT/i was shot down as well, and Gree ordered the Jedi to leave him and his clones behind and continue the mission. As they left, the LAAT/i dislodged from the cliff where it was perched and plummeted into Christophsis's depths. Gree was able to recover the vessel, however, and arrived in time to assist the Jedi in their fight against the Nightsisters.
Gree accompanied Jedi Generals Luminara Unduli and Aayla Secura, and Clone Commander CC-5052 to investigate the planet Alzoc III, where Separatist activity had been reported by the Hutt crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure. The Republic squad took several All Terrain Tactical Enforcers which, after scaling a cliff face, were able to reach the coordinates of the location provided by Jabba. Upon arriving, both the Jedi and the clone troopers witnessed a crash site of a large capital ship and were stunned by the view of huge masses of ice and numerous starship parts floating freely in the air. Deciding to investigate the unusual phenomena, Gree and several clone troopers used their jetpacks to reach what remained of the ship's hangar, while the Jedi followed them by using the Force to navigate through debris. When the group rendezvoused at the hangar, it was attacked by a Vulture droid and it became apparent that the crash site attracted Separatist interest as well. The Jedi quickly defeated the droid and ordered the clones to scout ahead and find the ship's data recorder, while they themselves engaged the battle droids and followed by an alternate route.
On Uba IV, home to a droid manufacturing plant, Gree faced virus-filled octuptarra combat tri-droids, forcing him and his troops to keep their helmets sealed and breathing filters working. As the war neared the end of its first year, Gree, in charge of Sarlacc Battalions A and B, and under the command of Jedi General Vaas Ga, was deployed to the world of Dinlo. When they were pinned down by Separatist droid forces, the Grand Army's Improcco Company, under the command of General Etain Tur-Mukan, was dispatched to Dinlo to open up an exit route for them between the forest where they were trapped and the delta region of the river where Tur-Mukan established an extraction point. As the battalions set out along the shoreline, Gree and Ga called down air strikes for Improcco. Gree, Ga, and approximately one thousand of their men were able to escape, retreating to the Acclamator-class assault ship Fearless, which returned them to Coruscant.
In the last days of the war, Gree accompanied Jedi Grand Master Yoda to Kashyyyk in response to a Separatist attack. After breaking through the enemy lines surrounding the planet, he helped fight back against the droid forces of the Separatists. It was at this point that Palpatine issued Order 66, and Gree found out what happens when you try to sneak up on a Jedi Master like Yoda.
Commander Gree was a loyal and disciplined soldier. His sharp mind and battle prowess made him an ideal second-in-command for the renowned Jedi Master Luminara Unduli. Though he served Yoda faithfully during the Clone Wars, his ultimate loyalty lay with the Republic. The commander would not disobey a direct order from a superior, and he held in contempt those who betrayed their post to the Republic. He was willing to sacrifice his own life to fulfill a mission.
Some who sided with the Separatists—such as Viceroy Nute Gunray and traitorous Senate Guard Captain Argyus—saw Gree's allegiance as servitude, only present because of his birth as a clone. However, Gree was acknowledged by his fellow clones, the Republic, and the Jedi as a being with individualism, for which he was granted his own name. The commander was abnormal, with respect to his fellow clones, in his pursuit of knowledge of alien species. Though discouraged by his Kaminoan cloners, Gree's independence was stimulated in Alpha-17's training program, and he took an interest in knowing who else shared his particular passions of learning.
Interesting fellow. It's probably worth noting that a Clone Trooper figure representing the 41st Elite Corps, complete with green trim, is available in the Clone Wars line, so there's no reason you can't build up some forces to be specifically assigned to Commander Gree. I'd say the guy deserves it. This is an impressive record.
So -- how's the figure? Excellent, really. Hasbro has developed several Clone Trooper body molds for use in the Clone Wars line, and in my estimation, Gree uses the best of the lot.
One cool thing about Clone Troopers and Stormtroopers from any Star Wars action figure line -- the basic design of the characters lends itself exceptionally well to being incorporated into an action figure. The armor follows the basic lines of human anatomy, and the articulation points can be concealed along the design quite nicely, especially around the arms, elbows, legs, and knees, where the black "undersuit" of the Clone Trooper uniform is visible.
Commander Gree is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows (including a swivel), wrists (including back and forth movement as well as rotational), mid-torso (which works a lot better on these guys than it does on some figures), legs, knees (including a swivel), and ankles (back and forth as well as rotational).
Gree comes with a removable helmet, and I must commend the Clone Wars line in this regard. Those Clone Troopers in the movie-based lines that had removable helmets were often rather obvious from those whose helmets were their heads, because the helmets were distinctly larger. That's not the case in the Clone Wars line. The helmets are the same size in either case.
Additionally, it's not quite as seemingly pointless in the Clone Wars line to have Clones with removable helmets. Although the Clones are all based on Jango Fett, and as such have the same basic facial structure -- exaggerated on the toys to match the style of the animated series (so as such they tend to look a little better with their helmets on in my opinion), the Clones have managed a certain amount of individuality with differing hairstyles, and even hair colors. I'm not entirely sure how they've got different hair colors.
Gree's hair color is brown, almost a reddish brown. And as indicated in the Wookieepedia information, it's shaved in a double stripe pattern over the top of his head, joining in the back at the top of his neck. Think of it as a sort of low-cut, double mohawk. If the Clone Wars series were just a bit more popular, or if Gree were a more prominent character, I'd expect to see kids out there with their hair styled like this. Probably just as well that hasn't happened -- to my knowledge, anyway.
Gree's armor has quite a bit of color decoration on it. The Clone Troopers as they appeared in Episode II all had white armor, although it was soon revealed that some Clone Troopers with higher ranks had color stripes on their armor respective to rank. By Episode III, Clone Troopers with all sorts of color patterns on their armor were prevalent. It's clear that this practice started fairly early during the Clone Wars. Of course, somewhere along the way, after they became Stormtroopers, they all went back to white.
But for the Clone Wars, we've got some pretty ornate armors here, and Gree's is certainly one of them. His helmet has a broad swath of green over the top and across the lower "face". There's a vertical stripe running down the front and back of his armor, expanding into a horizontal stripe that runs around the entire armor just above the belt. There are vertical green stripes that run down the shoulder pieces, turning into horizontal stripes around the upper arms. The upper legs of the armor are entirely green, as are the elbow pieces.
I must say that all of the paint work is exceptionally neat, including, somewhat to my surprise, the black "undersuit" trim. This has been a little problematic on some of the Clone Wars Clone Troopers, as it was obviously applied by hand, and it's just not humanly possible to paint that sort of even basic detail on a mass production basis like that and keep it all as neat as would be possible through proper paint stencils and masks. It looks very much to be as though paint stencils have been developed for the black undersuit areas. I sincerely hope they see extensive use well beyond Commander Gree.
Gree has a little extra uniform accoutrement, a strap slung over his right shoulder that goes under his left arm. I'm not entirely sure of its purpose, as it doesn't have any apparent equipment pouches on it or anything. Then again, in Episode III, Gree's uniform was a little more complex in design apart from the different color scheme. This may simply be an early reflection of that. Gree also has a small holster on the right side, attached to his belt. This is also an unusual feature.
Among his accessories, Gree comes with a small pistol, and I do mean small. It's barely 1/2" in length. Although it's a reasonable fit in the holster, I would recommend putting it in a Ziploc bag and writing "Commander Gree" on the bag. (And then put the bag with all the others that I've recommended doing this with in my reviews...)
Gree also comes with a far less easily lost rifle that's about 2-1/2" in length, and a very large missile-firing rocket launcher, with missile, that would be darn near impossible to lose. Although a little unwieldy in appearance, it has a decent Star Wars-ish design to it.
So, what's my final word here? Commander Gree is certainly one of the more prominent Clone Commanders in the world of Star Wars, and honestly has been since before the Clone Wars series got started. I'm pleased to see him having such an active part in the series, and certainly I'm glad to see we have an action figure of him to add to the Clone Wars collection. And as I said earlier, you can also get designated Clone Troopers of the 41st Elite Corps, for Gree to command.
The STAR WARS CLONE WARS figure of COMMANDER GREE definitely has my highest recommendation!