Updated: Nov 26, 2018
Review : AT-ACT Driver (Rogue One)
Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro)
Wave/Series : Target (US) Exclusive
Released : March 2017
Price : £29.99*
For me one of the nicest design elements that came out of Rogue One was the new Scarif Troopers. While every Star Wars film aims to add its own "trooper", the Scarif design is one that does feel right for the Imperials - somewhere between the Scout Troopers and normal Storm Troopers.
So far in the 6" Rogue One series we have had the Hover Tank Pilot that we saw on Jedha, we've also had the Scarif Trooper Captain and the basic Trooper. This release combines the two and gives us the AT-ACT driver. The AT-ACT driver is seen briefly in the battle scenes on Scarif, driving the larger AT-ACT walkers as they attack the Rebels on the beach.
The AT-ACT Driver is exclusive in the US to Target. It comes in the red phase box, but with the tweaked design that we saw first on the Chirutt and Baze Malbus figures. The lower frame of the box is bigger, the window is lost on the top panel and the side window shrinks.
Despite using the same helmet design as the Scarif troopers, Hasbro have not re-used either of the grey scale imaging from the 2016 releases, instead the AT-ACT driver gets his own image in grey lined art of the head & shoulders of the driver.
Being an exclusive there is no numbering on the bold red spine, only that bar-coding design and the character name. There is nothing else to distinguish it as an exclusive, still no over-stickers that we saw once on a Toys R Us exclusive, and are seeing on the newer Gamestop exclusives. Round the back the artwork from the front is blown up, but faded to become a background to the text which talks about "The Empires Combat Drivers".
Out of the box and the driver sits in the usual perspex tray on top of a red inner card. He is packed with an E11 blaster which sits to the right as you look.
The figure stands 6" high and is nothing we haven't seen before. Essentially the body is identical to the Hover Tank pilot from 2016, this includes the belt which was a difference between the Hover Pilot and the actual Scarif Troopers.
The helmet is the one used on the Scarif Troopers, with its large visor above the brow and the angular cheek panels that come down to the central breather. The colouring is different to the Scarif Trooper being an off white as opposed to a creamy finish. There is a bold red imperial logo on the brow visor, and round the back a large red square. To either side of this rear square are two grills which are sculpted detail and each one is painted internally with a black. The helmet is really well weathered.
Down to the body and while the Scarif Troopers lacked some weathering and detail, the AT-ACT driver does not disappoint. The chest panel has the buckles picked out in a black and there is a U shaped red logo on the left of the drivers breast armour - this corresponds to an identically shaped yellow version on the Scarif Squad Leader. Round the back and the rear back pack has black internal detail to the grills and recesses.
While the Hover Tank Pilot had plain armour, the AT-ACT driver has grey detail added in a horizontal stripe across the chest plate. The tops of each shoulder panel are also picked out in grey with two black lines underneath. The belt is the same as the Hover Tank pilot and is a separate piece that is cast in a rubbery plastic. This means that the longer pouches on the front don't interfere with articulation too much. Round the back is the cylindrical canister.
All of this top armour is weathered like the helmet, and this means the Driver does not look too shiny and new.
The legs are a plan brown and sculpted like cloth with creases and folds. They run down to the large intricate boots that all Scarif Troopers wear. The knee pads built into the boots are reminiscent of those you see on Storm Troopers and Sand Troopers and are different on either side of the boots. While the trousers haven't got any obvious paint detail, the weathering is back on the boots to finish the trooper off nicely.
Articulation on this new Trooper type is awesome and starts with the ball jointed head which can rotate fully and look up and down. The movement is so good you can rest the troopers helmet front onto his chest, allowing him to look down at his weapon.
The shoulders are rotating ball joints and as you raise them up the shoulder armour slips under the chest panel rather than restricting any movement. The elbows are a single joint and also rotate. With pegged hands that rotate and bend, holding a weapon in a variety of positions is dead easy - one handed, two handed and even firing positions.
Just under the chest piece is a hidden torso joint. This allows the chest to rotate a few cm to either side and gives some real forward and backward movement. The Driver can lean right back and also lean forward by some distance - although doing this will start to expose the gap and joint on the back.
The hips are ball jointed with a thigh swivel cut in just underneath and then double jointed knees. You can therefore sit, kneel or crouch the trooper and this means plenty of action poses are available for your display. He also stands really well with solid ankle rockers that feel like they have some ratcheting back internally.
The driver is provided with a plain black plastic E11 blaster, the same as has been included on the other Scarif Troopers. It has one panel picked out in silver in the stock. While detailed enough, you could argue a gun metal wash or some extra highlights would have made more of the sculpt and matched the effort that has gone in to weathering the Driver.
I am really impressed with the AT-ACT Driver and for me it is probably the best executed of the Scarif Troop types. The Scarif versions lacked weathering for me, and the Hover Tank Pilot was perhaps a tad too plain when you look at the detail that have gone into this one with the bold red Imperial decals and the grey paneling.
The issue is of course with the exclusivity of this Trooper to US retailer Target. While this isn't too bad for US collectors, it makes it more complex to obtain the figure outside of the US. And when I say complex, I mean that you have to rely on the independents like Kapow, from who we purchased this figure. You will pay a premium to bring this figure into your collection - and like many exclusives the advice is not to wait when these go up for sale as the imported cases are often limited.
I will score the AT-ACT driver assuming the price paid was under the £30 mark (the top end of what I feel is reasonable for a Black Series figure in the current climate). With its awesome paint job and excellent articulation it deserves nothing less than a 5 out of 5 score like its Hover Tank counterpart.