Yodasnews Review: V-19 Torrent Starfighter (Clone Wars Collection)
Review and Photography by Jeffrey A. Gouse (SithLord0498)
Review Date: August 11, 2008
With the debut of the Clone Wars Collection and the Legacy Collection, Hasbro appears poised to inaugurate a new Golden Age of Vehicles for their 3.75 scale Star Wars brand, spearheaded by two of their largest ever—the AT-TE and the massive Millennium Falcon. For toy manufacturers, the development and production of such high-ticket items is a costly and risky venture. The items need to be major sellers in order to recoup the production costs, and that has been the biggest factor in Hasbro’s decision to hold back since the colossal failure of Amidala’s Royal Starship in the Episode I line.
Rather than testing the waters, though, Hasbro has cannon-balled back into the vehicle pool, and the resulting wake has rippled through to the smaller vehicle assortments as well. Out of the four “Starfighter Assortment” (MSRP $20.00) items released on July 26th, one was a repaint, one was a repack of a relatively new vehicle, and two were all-new and radically different vehicles. Today’s review looks at the Republic side of the brand new sculpts, the long-requested and relatively obscure V-19 Torrent Starfighter.
DESIGN QUALITY AND ACCURACY: Excellent
Prior to the use of the ARC-170 and the V-Wing Starfighter in Revenge of the Sith, the clonetrooper starfighter of choice was the V-19 Torrent, which made an auspicious appearance in the first season of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars micro-series. Since then, it has appeared in both the Dark Horse comics and LucasArts’ Republic Commando video game. Oddly enough, each appearance presented a slightly altered depiction of the starfighter. No two media sources showed the same design, and the V-19 featured in the new CGI cartoon is once again different.
It is this latest version on which Hasbro based their V-19. Despite the limited amount of reference material currently available for the CGI model, it looks as though Hasbro matched it perfectly from the shape of the blaster cannons to the placement of the cockpit and engines.
Speaking of the cockpit, the V-19 features one of the most detailed interiors seen in a modern starfighter vehicle. To simulate padding, the seat has raised portions layered over the base seat. Two black strips are then sculpted on top of that, representing a harness for the pilot. Moving toward the front, there is a flight yoke directly in the middle of the cockpit, and the pilot’s legs straddle that when “flying” the ship. Lastly, there is the starfighter’s computer displays. While lacking any kind of decals (the only negative), the TIE Fighter window-like pattern looks so sleek and sophisticated that the omission of displays can be forgiven.
PAINT APPLICATIONS: Excellent
Whereas the design is based on the current CGI model, Hasbro’s painters went with the minimalist approach seen in the Tartakovsky cartoon (although the pattern is from the CGI as well). This means that what little paint is used needs to be immaculately applied because anything else will be extremely noticeable, and Hasbro is clearly up to the challenge here. As with other vehicles, there is only a little bleeding to be found here and there. The Republic insignia is weathered and worn off in a crisp yet somewhat random fashion, simulating long-term term wear-and-tear. There is a blemish on the green patch directly in front of the cockpit, but it appears to be a molding flaw on this sample and not necessarily symptomatic of other V-19s. All in all, the paint applications are virtually flawless, but it would have been nice to see some carbon scoring and/or battle damage effects added. One can imagine that will be included on the inevitable repaint and re-release of this mold.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Above Average
There are two ways to look at this category, and the score wildly changes depending on which path you take. The first school of thought here is that the rotating airfoils are hardly a “special feature” because they are an integral part of the ship’s design. Could you imagine an X-Wing that couldn’t lock its S-foils in attack position? Or a toy lightsaber without an extending blade? When the design clearly calls for certain elements, they become part of the expected design and no longer qualify as a special feature. The same holds true for landing gear and opening cockpit canopies.
So what does that leave the V-19 with in terms of true special features?
Sadly, not much at all.
The second school of thought dictates that special features are any interactive component that increases the playability of the item. In this case, the V-19 has a decent amount of features, and this is the way in which the vehicle will be viewed for this review. The canopy and landing gear are routine and function exactly like those on past vehicles. The rotating airfoils operate very well with the side foils folding just like the wings on an Imperial Shuttle—except that each moves independent of the other. The center airfoil also locks into place in either orientation.
The V-19 also comes with two spring-powered missile launchers—one on each side airfoil. In terms of performance, they function well. They have a range of approximately two feet (more if the missile bounces off a surface), and they don’t jam or misfire in the launcher. However, the firing power is so weak that it feels lackluster when the spring launches them. Considering this is a children’s toy, that’s a good thing, but it’s disappointing for older and more responsible collectors. Additionally, more than 75% of the missile hangs out of the launcher whereas most vehicles allow the bulk of the projectile to be loaded into the mechanism. This allows the missiles to pull double duty and pose as blaster cannons.
Beyond the unique airfoils, the V-19 doesn’t exactly lend itself to a wealth of features, so this starfighter can not rank as high as such vehicles as the AT-AP in this category. There’s only one other weapon missing: two concussion missile launchers located in the front center of the starfighter. Had Hasbro included those, this could have been considered a comprehensive version of the V-19 Torrent Starfighter
OVERALL RATING: Excellent (Bordering on Above Average)
The conditional “Excellent” rating here isn’t because of any major flaws on the V-19. It’s because the vehicle simply feels lacking in the grand scheme of things. It just doesn’t feel as interactive as vehicles like the AT-AP, and a big part of the reason is the plain look and limited special features. How many times can rotating airfoils stay exciting? Make no mistake though: this is a solid vehicle. It has been a long-standing fan request, and Hasbro clearly didn’t phone in this one. They put a great deal of effort into its development, and it does show. The V-19 Torrent Starfighter is a worthwhile purchase—but do so after picking up the AT-AP, which is the superior vehicle between the two