With the advent of the 30th Anniversary line of Star Wars toys, and given the assortments announced thus far, it's fairly apparent, and I'll admit appropriate, that the emphasis of the figures being produced is shifting back to the Classic Trilogy for the time being. This likely means that there aren't going to be many more Clone Troopers in the standard assortments.
However, the first assortment of 30th Anniversary figures did feature quite a few prequel characters, actually more than it did Classic Trilogy characters, and among this assortment were two Clone Trooper representatives, hopefully not the last, but impressive nonetheless.
While it may be hard to recall seeing all of the various Clone Troopers that have been carried out in figure form, and it's fair to say that Hasbro has even just plain made up a few here and there, doubtless with LucasFilm's permission, both of the Clones available in this first assortment of 30th Anniversary figures were indeed featured, if admittedly very briefly, in Revenge of the Sith. Let's consider them individually.
AIRBORNE TROOPER - Interestingly enough, this figure first turned up as the Clone Commander in a Battle Pack that included Mace Windu, a Clone Commander, and three Clone Troopers, all with purple trim -- Mace's favorite color. However, that set was really made up by Hasbro, so let's not assume that this was an Airborne Trooper that had somehow ascended the ranks and repainted his uniform a bit.
The Airborne Troopers appeared in the battle on Utapau, and were part of the detachment of Clone Troopers that served under Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is evident by the orange trim on their uniforms.
Curiously, I seem to recall reading an article, I think it was in Star Wars Insider magazine, that indicated that these Clone Troopers with the unusually-styled helmets were actually medics. For that matter, the photograph from the movie pictured on the back of the package card shows one of these Airborne Troopers kneeling over a fallen Clone Trooper, apparently checking his condition.
However, I suppose it's well within the realm of possibility that these Airborne Troopers are also medics, and really, what's going to sound better as far as sales potential is concerned? An "Airborne Trooper" or a "Clone Medic"? The package calls him an Airborne Trooper, so that's what we'll go with -- and maybe those pouches on his belt have some aspirin and bandages in them.
The armor is pretty much a straightforward Clone trooper uniform, with some alterations other than the helmet. There is an area of ridges on the left shoulder, and the figure is wearing a small harness as well as the skirt-like tunic that was generally notable of Clones that had received greater levels of specialized training of one sort or another, generally starting with the ARC Troopers in Episode II and the Clone Wars animated series.
The helmet is the most unusual aspect of the Airborne Trooper. The visor is entirely different, more or less just a slit across the front, with the "muzzle" of the helmet rising higher than usual, and not protruding forward as much as it would on a typical Clone Trooper helmet. On this figure, the helmet is removable, and has the usual "Jango-Clone" head underneath. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, the helmet isn't as good a fit as I might like. It takes a fair push to get it to completely cover the Jango head. Perhaps the interior of the helmet is somewhat smaller as a result of the reduced size of the "muzzle".
The figure is dirtied a little more than I'd like, but one almost gets used to this after a while. I still can't say as I approve, though. However, most of the uniform trim is neatly painted, except for the detailing on the belt, which is a little on the sloppy side. On the whole, though, the paintwork is excellent, and involves a series of fairly intricate orange stripes on various points on the uniform. It all works out quite nicely.
The Airborne Trooper comes with an additional satchel -- as well as a large blaster rifle and a smaller pistol.
The details on the back of the card read as follows:
Species: Human Clones grown in cloning facilities of Tipoca City, Kamino
Status: Called to action as the Separatist crisis escalated to war
Weapon of Choice: Blaster Rifle
Characteristics: Programmed and trained for efficient and relentless combat
Obi-Wan Kenobi attacks General Grievous and his droid army on Utapau with the assistance of the Parjai Squad, 2nd Airborne Company, part of Commander Cody's 212th Attack Battalion. The Clone Troopers descend upon the droid armies and decimate them while Obi-Wan dispatches Grievous, ending the Clone Wars.
Overall, the Airborne Trooper is an excellent figure, nicely detailed, and possessing the high level of articulation that fans and collectors have come to expect from most Star Wars figures. It's nice that the design of the armor lends itself well to largely concealing the articulation points, or at least making them look like part of the overall design.
Now let's consider the other Clone in this 30th Anniversary assortment:
GALACTIC MARINE - These guys got even less screen time than the Airborne Troopers. While they fared somewhat better than the three-second Firespeeder Pilot -- and HE got a figure -- they weren't on the screen very long at all... just long enough to accept "Order 66" and set up their weaponry to gun down a thoroughly surprised Jedi Master Ki-Adi- Mundi, who still managed to block a few shots before going down.
And it still took me a couple of viewings of the movie to get a decent look at them.
It's a shame they didn't get more time, because they certainly have a dynamic design. This figure is by no means just another repaint of the basic Clone Trooper. The Galactic Marine had to be designed from scratch. Indeed, he's one of the first Star Wars figures to have a 2007 copyright date on him. This is an all-new figure.
It's been said that the Galactic Marines, specially outfitted for particularly hostile environments, are the precursors to the Imperial Snowtroopers that fought the Rebel Alliance on the ice planet Hoth in "The Empire Strikes Back". And indeed, they certainly look the part. While not quite a Snowtrooper -- they're not quite as close to their descendants as, say, the Elite Corps Clones we saw on Kashyyyk were to the Imperial Biker Scouts we saw on Endor -- the similarities are definitely there.
The Galactic Marine is outfitted in a much bulkier armor, with far thicker torso plating. The arms are about average in size. The Marine has the tunic-skirt that some Clone Troopers and Clone Commanders wear, and he is wearing thick, padded trousers, and heavy boots that are an amazingly complex design. Honestly, on the figure, this is almost a problem. The boots have such a weird heel and sole that it's a little difficult to get the figure to stand up sometimes. The helmet is especially reminiscent of the Snowtroopers, as it features a large protective mask across the face that tapers down to the chest.
Although one may assume that Galactic Marines have differently-colored uniforms depending on what division they're serving in -- and indeed there's already been one recoloration that was part of the Target exclusive "Order 66" sets that featured a Galactic Marine whose armor was mostly white, the Galactic Marines shown in the movie, and upon which this figure was based, had surprisingly little of the usual Clone trooper white to their uniforms. Indeed, the only real white is the face mask and elbow pads. Most of the armor is burgundy red, and the belt and boots are a dirty pale tan. Maybe the boots were once white, but they sure aren't anymore.
The figure is superbly well articulated. No short-cuts were taken just because this wasn't a rehash of existing Clone Trooper molds. The figure has the full range of motion that most fans and collectors have come to expect from most Star Wars figures, and in some respects, this can't have been all that easy, especially given those thick trousers, but the figure is fully articulated in the legs, as well as all other major points one would expect.
The Galactic Marine comes with a large blaster rifle, as well as a backpack that is supposed to be attached to the figure -- unless you want your Galactic Marine walking around with a hole in his back. And at least on the Marine I purchased, it's a good tight fit, too.
The information about the Galactic Marine on his card back reads as follows:
Species: Human clones created on the planet Kamino
Status: Clone Troopers specializing in zero-gee combat and planetary assault
Weapon of Choice: Blaster Rifle
Characteristic: Supposedly allies of the Jedi but secretly loyal to the Emperor
Clad in armor and uniforms designed to maximize combat efficiency in hostile environments, the Galactic Marines are the Republic's front lone forces and often take on the most formidable opponents. After the issuance of Order 66, a squad of these troopers betray and shoot down Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi on Mygeeto.
Oh, so that's what that planet was named.
One additional note about both figures. Each comes, as do all of the 30th Anniversary Star Wars figures, with a metal coin, about 1-1/2" in diameter, with the character's name and picture on it, and a symbol of its allegiance on the reverse side. This is a tribute to one of the most popular promotions from the original Star Wars toy collection, in which a large number of "Collector Coins" were offered as a special promotion with the figures at one point.
You can get an album in which to house your coins, along with a Darth Vader figure and his coin, currently available at retail. Of course, if you want the complete collection of coins, you'll have to buy all of the figures in the 30th Anniversary line. I, for one, am not that much of a completist, but the coins are cool and seem to be well-made. It's a cool enough promotion.
It would seem that, based on available information, the AIRBORNE TROOPER and the GALACTIC MARINE may be the last Clone Troopers available for a while, at least at general retail. Hopefully we haven't seen the last of the Clones. There is the "Clone Wars" animated series in the works, but given the stylized look, I'd be a little concerned about compatibility issues there, but we'll see.
I hope we haven't seen the last of Clone Troopers with a realistic,
movie-derived look to them. In the meantime, I certainly give the AIRBORNE
TROOPER and the GALACTIC MARINE my most enthusiastic recommendation!