Yodasnews Review: Airborne Clonetrooper (30th Anniversary Collection)
By Jeff Gouse (SithLord0498)
SCULPT – 4.25 out of 5
Hasbro really did their research on this figure. When compared to a publicity shot from starwars.com, the action figure’s armor is virtually identical to the CGI clone. The utility and ammo pouches are in the correct locations, and the helmets are very similar. Even the kama (skirt) is nearly identical in length to the CGI version!
Because of all the additional features of the armor, there is a great amount of fine detail that needed to be translated into plastic, and Hasbro did an outstanding job here. The helmet is another area where the sculptors really stayed as true to the source material as possible. For me, I see shades of the Rocketeer’s helmet in the Airborne Trooper’s helmet, particularly because of the symmetrical ridges on the sides.
The drawback here is the decision to use a rather stiff plastic for the kama, which interferes heavily with the legs’ range of motion. The Galactic Marine faced a similar problem as well. Soft goods similar to the material used on the VTSC Snowtrooper would have been preferable here. Another alternative could have been sculpting a tattered kama with a deep slit directly in line with either one of the legs’ movement. This approach was used with great success on ARC Trooper ‘Alpha’ from Wave 2 of the Comic Packs.
Unfortunately, the Airborne Trooper remains hindered by this design choice and therefore can’t hold kneeling positions very well or as naturally as figures such as the super-articulated Snowtrooper can.
The last design element that impedes one’s enjoyment with this figure is the double whammy of an unusually loose helmet and the intrusive strap of the shoulder satchel. Because it rests on top of another layer of armor, the strap continuously butts into the bottom of the helmet, which falls off very easily due to its loose fit. In order to minimize the irritation, it’s best to get the pose right, push the strap out of the way, and then put the helmet on the figure.
PAINT APPLICATION – 4.8 out of 5
The Airborne Trooper has some of the best weathering and battle-worn armor that I’ve seen on a predominantly white clonetrooper. While only a single base color (a slightly gray-tinted black) was used, the manner in which it was applied creates a broad palette of distress and damage. Some areas have wider brush strokes to simulate burn marks. Other areas have very fine, spackled strokes that effectively imitate scratches on the armor.
The only problem is something that is symptomatic of all Hasbro battle damage: there is little to none on the back. In this case, the back armor is clean as a whistle. Seriously, these guys never get hit in the back?!?! After such an outstanding job on the rest of the battle damage, Hasbro left this peculiar clean spot. Again though, it’s an issue that most if not all clonetrooper figures share.
In terms of screen accuracy, the trooper’s assortment of orange patches and stripes has been placed in precisely the same locations as the reference photo downloaded from the Internet. The saturation level is bit too high, but it’s nowhere near as neon-bright as the standard Utapau Clonetrooper figure from The Saga Collection. This orange is on a similar level to that found on the Commander Cody figure.
There is, however, a slight loss of points here due to the paint application on the clone’s human face. For some reason, Hasbro still insists on adding a hint of demonic red to the eyes. Perhaps it’s their way of saying that “hey, these guys aren’t so heroic”, but it’s become tiresome. Also, the eye application is too vacant, which is made worse when combined with the peculiar Boy George eyebrows.
And, yes, I know I’ve just sorely dated myself with that one…
ARTICULATION – 4.75 out of 5
Any interfering design flaws aside, the articulation on the Airborne Trooper is extremely good. The frequent inclusion of ball joints into the figure allows for a wide range of motion, including subtle bends and shifts in the extremities (a must for naturalistic poses). The ankle joints are an asset when it comes to creating wider stances, and the ball-jointed elbows easily allow a two handed grip on the blaster rifle.
However, the waist joint would have much more useful if it had been augmented by a ball-jointed torso. This would allow upper body angling without as much chance of becoming top-heavy, and it is great for replicating crouching poses.
And my last gripe could very well be limited to my sample. The wrist joints are very loose, which makes it difficult to place weapons in them. This is the first time I have ever encountered this problem and, as I said, is likely restricted to a fluke. Therefore, it is not a factor in my score, but it’s worth mentioning.
ACCESSORIES – 4.75 out of 5
Removable helmets are becoming a standard feature of clonetroopers, so their presence is not as impressive as it once was. The same is true of the blaster rifle. This is an accessory mold that has been used so much in the past few years that it has become almost irritating (especially when you choose not to use it and end up with a small Tupperware container full of them).
However, they must still be considered in this score. Add to them a smaller scout trooper blaster pistol and a shoulder satchel with a unique feature, and you get a near perfect accessory score. Considering the reference picture I used to evaluate the sculpting showed the Airborne Trooper holding a standard clonetrooper blaster, it should have also been included. Plus, one thing I’ve wanted to see included with more specialized clones is gear that’s equally specialized. For the Airborne Trooper, a rappelling cable would have been a fantastic inclusion.
Alas, nothing specialized with this figure’s arsenal.
But we do get an interesting feature with the shoulder satchel. On the back side of the bag (the part facing inward toward the body), there is a highly accurate imprint of the scout trooper blaster pistol. With a surprisingly snug fit, you can press the pistol into this imprint and keep it stored “in the bag” so to speak. And since it fits virtually flush with the bag, the pistol doesn’t stick out at all.
Very neat feature…
“FUN FACTOR” – 4.5 out of 5
The design flaws are enough of an irritant to prevent this from being a top-of-the-line entertaining action figure. Those aside, there are enough poseability options to regularly change up your display or buy multiples and create a small squad with each member having a unique pose. And for those with Photoshop know-how, you can make some pretty cool pictures with this figure.
OVERALL RATING – 4.61 out of 5
It’s not perfect, but the Airborne Trooper is a cool figure to own. It’s a necessary addition to any fan’s Utapau collection, and it stands out amongst its peers in a clonetrooper display. The paint applications on the armor are top-notch, and this is one of the most accurate as well as complicated sculpts in the Hasbro clonetrooper pantheon.
Because of case revisions, the Airborne Trooper appears to be getting its second wind with regards to distribution, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one at your local retailer.
And for anyone who’s curious, this particular clonetrooper is most likely a member of the Parjai Squad in the 2nd Airborne Company of the 212th Battalion.