As the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars commences, and is reflected in the toy product, I have the feeling that we'll be seeing fewer and fewer Clone Troopers. They are, after all, the product of the prequels, and I have a hunch that the action figures for the 30th Anniversary year, while not entirely devoted to the Classic Trilogy, are certainly going to lean heavily in that direction.
However, that doesn't mean there won't be Clone Troopers here and there. Target, apparently agreeing with the belief of many Star Wars fans, myself included, that you can never really have too many Clone Troopers, especially given how many types and divisions they were divided into for Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, has comes out with a series of six two-packs of figures, all from that movie, and each one featuring a Clone Trooper of some sort, or a Clone Commander.
This special series of two-packs, offered under the group name of "Order 66", turned up at Target stores. Interestingly, the toys were not stocked in the action figure aisle. They were placed on the shelves of an end-cap near the checkout registers, along with an exclusive boxed group of Transformers. That was a nice little assortment of four small Legends of Cybertron figures.
"Order 66", as anyone who has seen Revenge of the Sith will know, was the command given by Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine for the Clone Troopers to turn on their Jedi Generals and eliminate them. The Clone Troopers had been programmed with this information, and to be entirely loyal to the Republic -- NOT to the Jedi. The fact that the Republic had just become an Empire was irrelevant to them (although there have been some stories that have presented Clone Troopers here and there that rebelled against the command, but not many). As far as they were concerned, the Jedi had just become the enemy.
But, hey, most fans still thought the Clone Troopers were pretty cool, and given all of the various types and divisions they were presented as having in Revenge of the Sith and a wide range of ancillary material, entire studies have been made regarding the Clone Troopers, and these various types, divisions, their Commanders, where they fought, and so forth.
And they make darn cool action figures. So I don't repeat myself endlessly over the course of all six sets, let me make a few general statements about most Clone Trooper action figures here.
Hasbro has certainly upped the level of articulation in Star Wars figures in recent years. Long gone are the days where major players are articulated only at the head, arms, and legs. It's now common for the average Star Wars figure to have at least some level of articulation in the waist, elbows, knees, and possibly even wrists and ankles, perhaps even with some swivel articulation. And when it comes to Clone Troopers (or, for that matter, Stormtroopers), the articulation works especially well, since it's generally possible to work the articulation points into the pattern of the Clone Trooper armor. At least, far more easily than on a Jedi's loose-fitting tunic. So as a rule, a Clone Trooper action figure is going to be very well-articulated, and look good with it.
Now, let's consider the six sets comprising Target's "Order 66" series of two-packs. Let me say one thing about all six -- I'd love to find out who came up with the cool package design. These toys were packaged in clear plastic cylinders about six inches in height and five inches in diameter. The interior packaging featured a cardboard backdrop and liner with the necessary character information, and the figures were tied down to the cardboard base.
SET #1 - EMPEROR PALPATINE & COMMANDER THIRE - The text on the package reads, "Emperor Palpatine is accompanied by the elite shock troopers, led by Commander Thire. The Emperor wields great power and seeks only those who are exceptionally loyal and strong for this elite unit."
The backdrop of the package looks like the lava planet Mustafar, even
though the Palpatine figure that comes with this set is clearly from
before Palpatine was physically deformed in his battle with Mace Windu.
He's clearly announced himself as a Sith, though, since he comes equipped
with a red lightsaber. The Palpatine figure doesn't have a lot in the
way of articulation. Not only would his (admittedly very nicely
As for Commander Thire (and yeah, you can expect me to emphasize the Clones in this review, since I don't think I really need to explain the major characters all that much, and I mostly bought these sets for the Clones), he's a very impressive figure. Characterwise, a Web search didn't have any additional information on this character other than the fact that he leads the Clone Shock Troopers, which are described thusly: Clone shock troopers were specialist clone troopers, commanded by Clone Commander Thire, introduced towards the end of the Clone Wars to increase security and order on Republic worlds.
Following increased threats to Coruscant in the wake of the Battle of Jabiim, the shock troopers were raised and trained on Coruscant itself, rather than the sterile environment of Kamino. These red-emblazoned troops had become a familiar sight across Galactic City on Coruscant where they operated as law enforcers, patrolling public plazas and guarding government buildings and landing platforms.
Though they wore the Phase II clone trooper armor common to all clone troopers serving in the final years of the Clone Wars, they were distinguished by red markings all over their helmet and body armor.
Hasbro made this basic Clone Trooper division a while back, and the red markings are really quite extensive and ornate compared to most Clone Trooper markings. Of course, Commander Thire is going to be a little more ornate than that. The figure is wearing the waist tunic that distinguished a number of Clone Commanders and more highly trained Clone Troopers. While on most such Clones this tunic is tan, Thire's is red with black trim. He also has the shoulder-padding notable to some Clones, which is black with a patch of red trim. This figure is highly articulated, and also has a removable helmet with the Jango/Clone head underneath. Honestly, this is a bit of a problem, since it's difficult to get the helmet all the way down over the chin with the shoulder- padding in place, but at least the helmet isn't prone to falling off, and it's really a very cool figure.
SET #2 - MACE WINDU & GALACTIC MARINE - The text on the package reads, "Mace Windu puts aside his diplomatic mantle to lend his skill as a powerful Jedi warrior during the Clone Wars. He leads a regiment of Galactic Marine clone troopers into battle to stop the Separatist invasions on several worlds." It's honestly a little hard to tell what the backdrop is supposed to represent. Looks like Mace and the Marine are standing inside a building, and there's a curved window behind them. It looks as though it could be a window in the Jedi Temple.
Look, I know Mace Windu is one of the good guys, okay? But honestly, he acted like such a self-righteous, incapable-of-error, pompous jerk so much of the time that he was really hard to like. I'm not saying he deserved to be tossed out the 750th floor window of the Chancellor's Building, but somebody really should've taken this guy down a peg a bit, and arguably, at least part of the blame for Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader rests on his shoulders.
The Mace Windu that comes with this set is actually a very good one. The figure's mouth is closed, and while the arms are a little loose, and bringing the figure's legs together causes him to raise his arms and turn at the waist, the articulation is not so floppy that he won't hold a decent pose. This Mace has a 2004 copyright date, so it goes back a bit, but it's a very good Mace.
Then we have the Galactic Marine. Online information offers the following details: The Clone Marines, originally known as the 21st Nova Corps of the 4th Sector Army, was an elite Clone Trooper unit, it was created to serve as the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. They specialize in assaulting and protecting Spaceships, and planetary assault; they were also usually selected to test new equipment due to their elite status and famed adaptability. These elite troopers were predecessors of the Imperial Snowtroopers and wore similar armor except for the color and the backplate.
Yeah, they pretty much look like Imperial Snowtroopers. Now here's the thing with this Clone, figurewise. He's brand new. There's a standard version, that's part of the first assortment of 30th Anniversary figures, and I haven't been able to track him down yet. Big surprise there. There's two Clones in that assortment, the Marine and an Airborne Trooper. I found ONE Airborne Trooper and have yet to see the Marine. This Galactic Marine is identical to the ones that served with Ki-Adi-Mundi before Order 66 came through and they turned on him.
The Galactic Marine that comes with Mace Windu is the same figure, and its the first Star Wars figure I have purchased with a 2007 copyright date on it, but it's been substantially recolored. The single-carded Galactic Marine is predominantly dark red. This one in the Target exclusive set is mostly white -- then there's the trim color...
I wonder if actor Samuel L. Jackson had any idea what he was going to cause when he asked for Mace Windu to have a purple lightsaber. Ever since that time, purple has been indelibly associated with Mace Windu. There was a Target exclusive set of figures last year, that featured Mace Windu, a Clone Commander (interestingly enough, a recoloration of the Airborne Trooper), and three Clone Troopers -- all with purple trim. When Wal-Mart did an exclusive assortment of single-carded Star Wars figures, there was a purple R2-droid -- property of Mace Windu. Now we have this Galactic Marine.
The helmet is mostly white, with purple trim, as is the torso armor. The shoulder pads are actually metallic (!) purple. There's also purple on the gloves, purple stripes on the tunic, and purple stripes on the knee-pads. Oh, and little purple pouches on the right armband.
Overall, though, the figure looks very decent. Certainly it's neatly painted, and that's not something I've come to expect with these figures that have the tunics. But this one is very neatly detailed right down to a little silver buckle. This is how ALL Star Wars figures deserve to be painted! The figure's overall design is quite a departure from the average Clone Trooper. The helmet is entirely different (and is removable), the chest armor is different, and looks thicker, the figure is wearing a huge backpack, and the upper legs appear to be representative of fabric, but it must be pretty thick, padded fabric, because they're actually thicker-looking than the armor on a standard Clone Trooper! Complete this uniform with some seriously heavy-duty boots.
However, none of this additional bulk has affected the articulation. This figure has the same high level of articulation as any other Clone Trooper one would expect to find these days. This Galactic Marine is really an excellent figure, and now I really look forward to finding the standard version!
SET #3 - DARTH VADER & COMMANDER BOW - The text on the package reads, "Darth Vader is a frightening figure who leads through power and intimidation. Commander Bow carries out Vader's orders with alacrity and unquestioning obedience as Vader tightens the Emperor's grip on the galaxy."
Quick, when's the last time you heard the word "alacrity" used on a toy package?
The backdrop in the package is, eerily enough, Tatooine -- unless Darth Vader has found another world with two suns. There's a double sunset in the sky, and the background is clearly dusk. Grim irony, indeed.
Although Darth Vader is dated 2005, there are reports that the arms were redone or replaced with ones that were better articulated. While I can't confirm this personally, I can certainly say that this is the most impressive, best-articulated 3-3/4" scale Darth Vader figure that I've ever seen! The figure is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows, gloves/wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. That includes swivel-movement along most of those articulation points. This is arguably a Super-Articulated Darth Vader action figure, and it's really an amazing piece of work.
The cloth tunic and cape have been worked in to the overall look of the figure perfectly, and the cape, fully spread out, is huge. There's not a lot of painted details, but the areas that are painted are done with great care and precision. Some areas of Vader have been painted gloss black for a little extra detail. Even if you're not that interested in Commander Bow, if you're looking for what may easily be the best small-scale Darth Vader action figure ever, here it is!
Now, as for Commander Bow. There wasn't anything online about him, although some people have speculated that he may be the Clone Commander from the Dark Horse Comics' Star Wars one-shot, "Purge", which took place not long after the events of Revenge of the Sith, and had Darth Vader track down a small group of surviving Jedi, believing Obi-Wan Kenobi to be among them. A cadre of blue-trimmed Clone Troopers and their Commander show up and help Vader deal with the Jedi as the fight is getting a little out of hand, and to return Vader to Coruscant, where the Emperor has demanded his presence.
Certainly this figure looks the part, although he has the extra sliding visor, that the unnamed Commander in "Purge" didn't have. But never mind. There's no question it's a cool figure. The armor is trimmed in the same pattern as the Clone Troopers that Anakin/Vader took with him in the raid on the Jedi Temple. Commander Bow has the added features of a shoulder pad with blue trim, and a black tunic around his waist, as well as the visor. Of course he's superbly articulated.
SET #4 - OBI-WAN KENOBI & AT-RT DRIVER - The text on the package reads, "Obi-Wan's leadership during the Clone Wars earns him a well-deserved reputation as an outstanding general. He battles the separatist forces with the help of clone troopers who operate AT-RT vehicles on the thick of battle." Not surprisingly, the backdrop within the package is Utapau, looking upwards at the rim of one of the massive pits in which the natives reside.
The Obi-Wan figure that comes with this set has a date of 2004 on his boot. It's a very decent figure of the well-known Jedi, although articulation is a little limited. The figure has the same action feature as Mace Windu - squeeze the legs and the waist turns and the arms swing up, all the better for a lightsaber duel. The figure isn't quite as floppy-armed as some figures I've seen with this feature. Fortunately, some elbow articulation lets him hold a decent pose. There have probably been better Obi-Wans in the collection, but this one isn't bad.
As for the AT-RT Driver, there has been a figure of this particular Clone Trooper before, but that one was assigned to Kashyyyk, and as such had a rather distinctive and significant amount of green and brown to its armor.
The AT-RT vehicle was a precursor to the later AT-ST, the two legged Imperial Walkers that were the little cousins of the massive, and somewhat better known AT-ATs. The AT-RTs saw use on a number of worlds during the Clone Wars, including, obviously, Kashyyyk, and as evidenced by the coloration of the AT-RT Driver that comes in this two-pack, Utapau.
The AT-RT Driver's armor is somewhat different from a standard Clone Trooper in a number of respects. The helmet is drastically different, for starters. But the torso armor is also more intricate and segmented. It's really a very cool design overall.
The trim given to this figure is just as intricate as the design. This AT-RT Driver's armor is mostly white, but it has significant orange trim, denoting it being part of the contingent of troopers that backed up Obi-Wan on Utapau, at least until Order 66 was given. There is orange striping literally on every segment of this figure's armor except the shoulder pads, lower arms, and feet. And it's all very neatly done.
One interesting note about the accessories in this particular two-pack
I suppose I should make a note about accessories in general in these two- packs, and now is as good a time as any. Each set has a nice little plastic bag with additional accessories besides whatever weaponry the figures are wielding in their packages. These tend to include extra pistols, extra hands, deactivated lightsabers, and the like. Most of this stuff is pretty small. My advice here is -- put it all in a Ziploc Bag and label it "Order 66 Accessories". Otherwise this stuff all has way too much potential for being turned into what I call "vacuum cleaner bait."
SET #5 - ANAKIN SKYWALKER & AIRBORNE TROOPER - The text on the package reads, "After he becomes a Dark Lord of the Sith and the Emperor's new apprentice, Anakin storms the Jedi Temple with his personal legion of clone troopers, including an elite division of airborne troopers. Together, they eliminate all the Jedi inside, sparing no one."
The backdrop inside the package, as one might expect, appears to be Coruscant. It's a night-time image, with a dark blue sky and the silhouette of buildings in the background, with some lights in the building and from the vehicles in the travel patterns in the sky. Little do any of them know what's going on at the Jedi Temple.
The Anakin figure that comes with this set is an interesting one. Unlike the other figures, this one doesn't have a fabric robe. It's plastic. And while he does have the "squeeze the leg and the arm raises" feature, it's a lot tighter than it is on Obi-Wan or Mace Windu. it still works, though.
This is pretty obviously Anakin after he has turned. The figure has a very grim expression on its face, and he wouldn't likely be hanging around with a Clone Trooper, even an Airborne one, from the detachment that raided the Jedi Temple if he was still one of the good guys at this point. On the whole, though, it's an impressive figure of Anakin after he became a Sith, but before he got cooked on Mustafar and had to be encased in the Darth Vader armor to survive.
As to the Airborne Trooper, while I don't offhand recall seeing any Airborne Troopers in the procession that Anakin led to the Jedi Temple, there were a LOT of Clone Troopers there, and hey, it was a pretty big building, as most such buildings on Coruscant are. I consider it entirely plausible that Anakin might well have sent a detachment of Airborne Troopers to the higher levels of the Jedi Temple to prevent any Jedi from escaping from above-ground exits.
The figure is actually the third use of the Airborne Trooper. The first was not officially designated an Airborne Trooper, but was the purple- trimmed Clone Commander that came with the Mace Windu Target exclusive set late last year, which also included three purple-trimmed Clone Troopers. The second use of the Airborne Trooper was the individually-carded figure, which had orange markings on it, denoting it as part of Obi-Wan Kenobi's detachment of Clones that headed to Utapau.
It's actually interesting to compare these figures and see how the different markings work on otherwise identical figures. Overall, the Airborne Trooper is a very nicely done Clone Trooper. The armor itself clearly dates back a bit, since the figure has a 2005 date on its foot, but the helmet, which is removable, has a distinct design, as does the unusual harness and tunic, which on this Airborne Trooper has a colored (blue) border, something the single-carded Airborne Trooper does not have.
The only real fault I can find on this figure, and it's common to all of its versions, is that the helmet is not the best fit in the world. It doesn't like to stay put all that well, and can pop off fairly easily. But neither it is impossible to get it back in place. Of course, the figure has the Jango/Clone head underneath the helmet. And really, if it pops often enough to the point of annoyance, there's always Elmer's Glue.
Now, let's consider the final set in this Target exclusive collection:
SET #6 - YODA & KASHYYYK TROOPER - The text on the package reads, "Specially trained troopers provide military support to Yoda to crush the Separatist forces on Kashyyyk." As one might expect, the backdrop within the package showcases the forests of Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld.
Honestly, I would expect this to be one of the most popular sets in the entire series, not so much because of Yoda, although he's cool, but because of the very distinctive Clone Trooper that comes with this set. But let's consider Yoda first.
Obviously, it's Yoda, so the figure is pretty small, just barely 2" in height. The figure of this noble Jedi Master also has a particularly grim expression on its face. This is Yoda prepared to fight. He may hate the Clone Wars, but he's more than prepared to do battle if it will bring them to an end.
The figure is rather limited in articulation, although the arms move well. A lightsaber is molded directly to the right hand. Now, Yoda has a very interesting action figure. You wind the fgure around at the waist, and then press the feet. Yoda's upper torso spins around, swinging the lightsaber. Now, while Yoda wasn't actually capable of that, of course, he did prove against Count Dooku in Episode II, and Palpatine in Episode III, as well as assorted other battles, that as far as Yoda is concerned, size DOESN'T matter, and for someone who's on the high side of eight hundred or so, he's pretty spry. This "whirling torso" feature is probably the closest Hasbro could get to that and still keep the toy within safety standards.
Then we have the Kashyyyk Clone Trooper. And you know, for a battle that was one of the big knock-down, drag-outs between full forces of Clone Troopers vs. Battle Droids (with a mess of Wookiees thrown in for good measure), it certainly took long enough to get some action figures from it all. Up until recently, all we had was Commander Gree and an AT-RT Driver. Not that those weren't good figures. They're both very decent action figures and I'm glad to have them. But come on, already, where were those "camouflage Biker Scouts" that were all over the place? We finally got those at the tail end of the "Saga" collection just before the 30th Anniversary toys started coming in.
And now we have this Kashyyyk Clone Trooper. Offhand, I don't recall seeing this one in the movie. And I'm not about to give myself eyestrain and ruin a DVD player with single-framing the entire battle. Maybe these guys are there, maybe they're not. But who cares? It's a darn cool design.
Since the "camouflage Biker Scouts", as I took to calling them, were officially listed as "Elite Corps Clone Troopers", it makes sense that somewhere in the midst of that battle, there were probably some more standard Clone Troopers fighting the good fight. But if there's one thing about any Clone from Kashyyyk, it's that they're going to dress for the planet. And Kashyyyk is very distinctly a forest world. The Clones are going to look the part.
So what we have here with the Kashyyyk Clone Trooper is easily the most distinctive Clone Trooper in the entire Order 66 series, as well as being a very distinct Clone Trooper just in and of himself. There's not a bit of the standard white armor on him. The overall design is a standard Clone Trooper, but the colors are something else entirely.
The Kashyyyk Clone Trooper has armor that is mostly a pale tan, with extensive green and brown camouflage all over it. The shoulder pads and opper arms are a sort of greenish-brown, as are the boots. The mid-torso section is dark grey, and the visor, like the other Clones from Kashyyk, is bright green.
The end result is a truly incredibly impressive Clone Trooper design. It's distinctive, it looks entirely plausible for the environment in which this Clone Trooper is expected to serve, and it's very, very cool.
The absolute only problem the figure has is that little antennae gizmo on its back doesn't want to stay put. But I've found this to be true of ANY Clone Trooper that has this feature, and it's nothing that a couple of drops of glue won't easily remedy.
While I don't expect any of these Target-exclusive sets to be in the stores for any length of time, I would expect this one to be especially popular because of the distinctiveness of the Clone Trooper.
On the whole, this is an amazing offering from Hasbro and Target. You get a number of very good representations of notable characters from Star Wars Episode III, easily the best Darth Vader figure to date in the 3-3/4" scale, and six very impressive and unique Clone Troopers of one sort or another, all with superb detailing and excellent articulation!
As I said at the start of this review, we might be seeing an end to the vast quantities of Clone Troopers coming out, as the 30th Anniversary line is likely to place a somewhat greater emphasis on Classic Trilogy characters, and before long, we'll be seeing a new 3-D computer animated Star Wars television series that takes place during the Clone Wars. While that may bring us new Clone Troopers, the style of them may be more reflective of the animation than of the movies.
So Target has given us the opportunity to increase our Clone Collection by a very impressive half dozen, and I don't doubt that those fortunate enough to find them and with the finances to afford them, are likely to do some army-building, and I certainly don't blame them.
The Target exclusive STAR WARS "ORDER 66" Two-Packs all have
my most enthusiastic and highest recommendation!