Updated: Nov 24, 2018
The first wave of Star Wars, The Force Awakens 6" Black Series figures hit shelves on the 4th September 2015, Force Friday. This signalled another evolution for the 6" Black Series and the 3rd packaging change in as many years.
The First Order Storm Trooper, is #04 in Wave 1 of the TFA series . This is the identical figure which prior to Wave 1 was packed as an SDCC exclusive in a Black & White presentation box. This review is relevant for both figures, and images of the SDCC version can be found in the gallery.
The Storm Trooper arrives in the red & black livery box which is new to the 2015 Force Awakens figure. The box retains familiar features to its two predecessors with grey lined artwork of the character front & rear. The number and figure name is now picked out in bold red, with a striking red panel down the right hand side. The rear of the box contains a short bio of the figure, but nothing that would give away any plot details of the movie. Out of the box the figure is presented in a clear insert with bold red background piece which has done a great job in giving the figures more shelf presence. The Trooper arrives with a larger blaster in his right hand and a smaller pistol packed alongside.
The sculpt on the Storm Trooper is particularly striking, capturing the new updated look of the troopers perfectly. The clean lines of the helmet follow down into the body armour which is clean and crisp and only broken by the odd black "vent" or insignia. The utility belt is retained with a number of pockets & pouches. There is no obvious holster, which feels a miss at first - but all is revealed a little later.
The white areas of the figure are cast in a shiny hard plastic and therefore reflect light pretty well and look the part vs the on screen version. However, the issue that plagued the Storm Troopers and Clone Troopers from 2014 is still evident on this figure where any added parts like the belt and knee pads are black plastic painted white and these look very yellow and off colour vs the rest of the armour. The paint, for what it is in these areas is neat although I have got some very minor bleeds on my Trooper's knees.
Articulation is OK, but not great. Starting with the head as we always do, this rotates a full 360 degrees and can look down slightly on its ball joint. Arms start with a jointed shoulder, but due to the shoulder panels of the armour you can only really get them up about 45 degrees to the body. The elbows rotate and are on a pivot joint, but again the armour doesn't allow them to reach a full 90 degree. These two issues combined mean your First Order Trooper will struggle to hold a gun naturally with both hands, unless you want to get radical and start customising your figure and cutting away parts of the armour. The wrists rotate and allow the hands to bend, so you can at least aim your gun even if it can't be held in both hands.
There is a nice torso joint on the Trooper which allows for a lot of movement - in fact you can rotate his whole chest area 360 degrees to his legs. There is no waist articulation, so down into the legs and they have a similar issue to the arms that despite hip and knee joints the armour stops getting down into a crouching or kneeling position so you will have to settle with a standing up stance for all your Troopers. The ankles are on rockers, so getting him to stand up is no issue.
The two guns are nicely sculpted and then painted in a very nice black and white colour scheme. The larger gun fits neatly into the right hand with the finger going easily into the trigger. The smaller gun fits in both hands. And remember the holster issue - well there is actually a slot on the Trooper's right thigh and a corresponding groove on the gun, so the side arm slots onto the thigh and looks pretty cool - another advance in Storm Trooper equipment in the 30 years since Endor - I wonder if they have taught them to shoot straight yet?
The SDCC version of the Trooper only differs in the box design, which is a very nice Black & White colour scheme with an outer sleeve which slides off to reveal the figure in a black inner box along with both guns. The box also contains a rear slot in which is a small notepad which details the various evolutions of the Storm Trooper from the Mark 1 clones through to this First Order version.
I give the new Storm Trooper a 4 out of 5. I can look past articulation as I would rather have accurate armour than a masses of articulation. The off white painted parts are the turn off for me. Bandai can sort this on their figures, not sure why Hasbro is struggling.
Be assured we will see many more versions of this sculpt from Hasbro. We are already getting a Sergeant with Pauldron in an Amazon exclusive 4-pack, and a crowd control version with shield in the Argos 2-pack with Poe Dameron.
Also coming are Flame Troopers and Snow Troopers and I for one can't wait...