Yodasnews Review: Captain Rex (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Review and Photography by Jeffrey A. Gouse (SithLord0498)
Review Date: July 21, 2008
Soldiers have always been a major component of the Star Wars universe. To many, they are even popular than the Jedi or Sith. Without them, the wars would have been very short and far less epic or interesting. The arrival of the Prequel Trilogy greatly expanded the armored ranks of the universe’s various factions, bombarding the public with a diverse array of biological and mechanical soldiers. For collectors of Hasbro’s 3.75 scale brand, the Prequels heralded a golden age for army builders. Whereas figures of Force-users and politicians typically warm store pegs, the “army builder” clone figures are consistently hot items with only the most basic soldiers joining the peg-warming crowd.
On July 26th, the Clone Wars Collection is going to flood stores with an event previously reserved for the three cinematic entries of the Prequel Trilogy. As this site’s initial two reviews have demonstrated, the line is going to get off to a shaky start with two major characters falling below expectations. While not yet reviewed on this site, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi have a good share of flaws as well. For example, neither have any articulation below the hips, and Anakin’s stability is extremely poor. Yes, Artoo is a bright spot in this first assortment, but how many people are going to be interested in another variation of the iconic droid?
With the Jedi and Grievous coming up short, the success of the initial wave is now on the shoulders of the military figures, but will they deliver?
Today, Yodasnews proudly presents the fourth in our pre-release Clone Wars Collection reviews: Clone Commander 7567 aka Captain “Rex”.
CLONE PORTRAIT: Excellent
During their appearances in the Prequel Trilogy, all of the clones kept the same basic appearance. Naturally, some like Cody were physically scarred by battle, but they still kept Jango Fett’s appearance. Captain Rex marks the first time a clone’s physical appearance has been significantly altered in the cinematic Star Wars universe: his hair is dyed blonde and buzzed into a very short military cut. Such changes reflect the ability of clone commanders to employ more independent thought as opposed to the brainwashed rank-and-file clones.
Fortunately, Hasbro did not share Rex’s penchant for going his own way, and their work on the portrait is extremely faithful to the CGI model. Beyond the hairstyle, Rex’s most distinguishing feature is his flat and blocky Neanderthal-like nose—both on the bridge and slope. Those features were fully transferred to the figure as were the chiseled and angular cheekbones. The eyes have been painted in alignment, and there is no inappropriate bleeding. The hairline does have a bit of fuzziness to it, but that is intentional and meant to simulate hair.
HELMET AND ARMOR (Sculpting): Above Average
Hasbro did a terrific job adhering to the more angular and streamlined style of the animated CGI Phase I armor. The CGI version sports a torso that tapers at the waist more than a human torso, and that feature carries over to the figure. Also, the figure replicates the more slender legs of the CGI model. The placement and spacing of the suit’s armor plates are largely accurate, but Hasbro came up short in fully copying the sharp angles found in the animation. This is found mostly in the torso armor. When sculpting this area, Hasbro leaned toward the live-action design rather than strictly sticking with the animated version. As for the helmet, it is too blocky and lacks some of the depth found in the CGI—most likely an aesthetic trade-off for having a removable helmet. The visor is also blocky and lacking in the sharp angles of the source material, an error that has nothing to do with the incorporation of a removable helmet.
HELMET AND ARMOR (Paint): Wearing Helmet: Average; Without Helmet (Above Average)
The same general praise cannot be given to Hasbro’s paint applications. Not all is bad though. The weathering and scraping on the blue markings is highly realistic and excels in simulating the wear-and-tear of the battlefield. While overdone in spots, the “dirty deco” dry-brushing gives Rex’s armor a fairly decent weathered appearance, its effectiveness increasing when one views the figure from a medium distance. Lastly, the blue trim on the kama has been carefully applied and does not bleed over its boundaries. Unfortunately, these achievements are hampered by the shortcomings in the paint applications.
Those shortcomings center on two major issues. The lesser of the two will go mostly unnoticed by the casual collector—the shade of blue used on the armor is incorrect. Appo’s predecessor, Rex is commander of 501st Battalion (soon to be Legion), but Hasbro used a shade that is too dark for their markings. Serious enthusiasts will notice the incongruity, but more casual consumers are more likely to notice that the darker shade makes it hard to see the helmet’s black visor. The second and larger issue is that Hasbro did a sloppy job on Rex’s helmet. The most noticeable and distracting flaw is that the Jaig eyes are clearly lopsided. Additionally, the blue markings are fuzzy along their borders, and the black dashes representing the vents on both sides of Rex’s helmet are crooked and of varying length.
At last, we have a winner!
As opposed to the Jedi and Grievous, Captain Rex delivers the goods with a level of articulation that very few figures have achieved. Of its fourteen joints, twelve are ball jointed/hinged, giving collectors a broad range of display possibilities. Rex features the ball-hinged wrists of Commander Gree (Version 2), and that allows more nuanced poses with the blaster pistols. Sadly, they share the same weakness as Gree’s wrists: the hinges are oriented in perpendicular directions, meaning their articulation is not symmetrical. The ball-jointed torso helps redistribute the figure’s center of gravity, compensating for the skewing caused by the plastic kama. Ultimately, the inclusion of the ball-jointed hips found on Gree V2 is the only way this figure’s articulation could have been improved (based on Hasbro’s current design style).
The only major weakness in the figure’s poseability and stability is the lighter and softer plastic from which the figure is molded—but that is hardly limited to this one figure. It is representative of Hasbro’s overall approach to the Clone Wars line.
It should also be noted that the generic Clonetrooper from the first wave has identical articulation, and its poseability is not limited by extraneous attire.
ACCESSORIES: Above Average
Rex comes packaged with dual blaster pistols and a larger blaster rifle, both of which are completely new molds based on the animated style. These are pretty standard weapons for clone commanders, and the plastic used on the rifle is of the typical soft variety. This lends itself to easy warping both in and out of the packaging. The area in which these weapons have been improved is in their paint applications. Hasbro applied a metallic wash to both (the rifle more so) that simulates battlefield weathering better than many previous attempts. As for the smaller pistols, they fit well in both the figure’s hands and functioning holsters.
The best accessory is the grappling projectile attachment that slides over the barrel of the blaster rifle. The first noticeable positive is that it is light enough that the rifle doesn’t immediately get pulled down by the added weight. Of course, prolonged use of the attachment could change that. The metallic battle-worn deco is also used here but with greater success due to the larger surface area. Both projectiles lock firmly into place, and the spring inside the launching mechanism is highly effective. Plus, there’s the added benefit of having an “action feature” that not only performs well but is also completely removable from the figure.
OVERALL RATING: Excellent
The Clone Wars Collection scores its first real success with Captain Rex. While it has its fair share of aesthetic weaknesses, the removable helmet gives collectors a way to hide the bulk of the flaws. The paint applications on the armor are an overall success, and the articulation is among the best in the modern era. The accessories are rather mundane and suffer from soft plastic, but the “action feature” attachment is a strong feature that actually works as promised and integrates beautifully into the arsenal.
Poor choice of plastics aside, this is the level of quality collectors have come to expect from Hasbro in the wake of the 30th Anniversary Collection, a level upon which many initial Clone Wars figures are not delivering. For the animated line, Rex sets the standard, and collectors can only hope the recently revealed future entries in the collection can meet this standard.