Review : Imperial Death Trooper
Rogue One : A Star Wars Story
Wave/Series : Disney Elite Diecast
Released : September 2016
Price : £19.95
If you follow the site and my reviews you will know that I have been less than enamored with the Disney Elite Diecast Star Wars figures. Despite early excitement on Force Friday 2015, I was later less than impressed firstly with the Storm Trooper and then particularly upset with the General Grievous.
Roll forward now to the Rogue One releases and I find myself casting an eye towards a couple of these Elite releases. Curiosity got the better of me over Christmas and I picked up the Disney Elite Death Trooper, and here is my review.
I have always admired the brushed steel and bold backdrop colouring of the Elite series. The front of the box is essentially one big display window, showcasing the figure more openly than the Black Series or even SH Figuarts. The metallic trim grips this window at the corners. The top section carries a Disney store logo on the left corner, and on the right is an age guide of 3+. Down at the base of the box there is a strip which is trimmed in a bright electric blue. Within this sits the Disney Elite name, and above it the Star Wars logo. With the usual toy warnings in a black segment to the bottom left, the rest of the base is taken up with the character name specifically Imperial Death Trooper, and the subheading "Die Cast Action Figure"
The window clear perspex wraps round the two sides in a triangular shape, allowing more visibility of the side of the figure. Around this is the metallic box sides, trimmed in blue once again. At the top of each side spine is the Star Wars logo in flat black, and under this the first mention of Rogue One. The back of the box is a full brushed steel panel, headed once again with the black Star Wars logo. The rest is a text based introduction to the figures "in collaboration with Lucasfilm, Disney Store is proud to introduce..." and this leads into a short biography of the Death Trooper where it talks about their role as enforcers and body guards for Director Krennic. This same text is repeated in French. At the very bottom is the barcode and the printed price of £19.99 or €24.99 in the European stores and Disney Land Paris.
Out of the box and the Trooper sits in a clear tray, behind which sits a slightly darker blue card back. This is not as visual as the deep red used on The Force Awakens release, but still works. You can see why these figures are often kept packaged on display rather than unpacked.
But unpack we will, and be warned this will take a while due to the extensive quantity of tie wraps Disney insist on using, and how short a lot of these are cut - not only making them hard to grip and twist to open, but also leaving a lot of sharp edges so be careful. My advice is get hold of a pair of metal nippers and save yourself some time and injury.
Out of the pack the figure is hefty, it is die cast after all. The first bunch of Elite figures were not true 6" scale figures, coming in a bit bigger at around 6.5" and putting most out of scale with the more extensive Black Series range from Hasbro. This seems to have been tweaked in 2016 for Rogue One and although still not a perfect match, there is a closer scale to the traditional 1/12. The Death Trooper is, as seen on screen, taller than usual troopers and the figure replicates this at just under 7" tall. This is just a shade over the height of the Black Series version, and side by side the height isn't an issue.
What is an issue for me is that while the height looks OK, the trooper looks too bulky - as though he is the Trooper who has been eating too many Nerf burgers swilled down with gallons of Blue Milk. I did think the Black Series Death Trooper was a little skinny, but the Elite swings too far the other way.
The next issue is the paint job, or lack of. While the Hasbro version has a variant paint job with grey under garments, glossy black armour on top and within that silver trim - the Elite is basically black. The only variation you get is where the diecast parts change to plastic, such as the hands, and here there is a move to matt black. The only other paint I can see is the silver belt and the green detail on the helmet around the mouth filters and the eyes.
The sculpt of the figure is crisp and contains quite a bit of detail. The head in particular is very nice, and differs to the Black series version as Disney chose to sculpt the version of the helmet without the range finder. The specialist gear is also detailed from the Shoulder Pauldron down through the pouches to the wrapped belt. As a separate part it is relying on the body beneath to allow it to sit naturally, and as the Trooper is a tad on the wide side, this just adds to the bulk and seems to be stretched around the mid-rift.
The 2015 Elite figures suffered from the exposed screw holes right down the back of each figure where the parts were screwed together. Disney Store look to have taken this feedback into account, and have inserted black plug covers on the screw holes on the thighs and mid-drift. Screw heads are still visible on the arms.
Articulation, or lack of it, is another criticism of this range. Being Die Cast there is limitations in the joints, and due to the weight the joints often can't hold the weight of the limbs. The Death Trooper suffers from the former, and I suspect over time the latter issue will also become a problem. The head is jointed and can turn stiffly to either side. There are then shoulder joints and elbow joints. The Troopers left arm will rotate all the way round his body, while the right is blocked by the Pauldron so far up. The elbow joints will just about hit 90 degrees but lack the rotation needed to get anywhere near a two handed weapon pose. The hands rotate, but this is more like the way they are plugged into the diecast forearm rather than a designed joint. The best arm pose I achieved on my figure was a comedic C-3PO imitation.
You can feel a waist joint, but mine won't turn more than a few mm and I am scared to force it much further. The leg articulation is instantly "wobbly" when you handle the figure and I guess is the weak spot for floppy figures over time. To be honest the range of motion is so small in both the hips and knees that you could have almost left the legs a static piece. The best you will get out of the legs is a walking pose, and you will need to use the base to ensure he doesn't topple over.
The base is a real plus for this range, a nice die-cut plastic piece that plugs into the right foot solidly enough that you can put him in the walking movement with the left foot almost off the ground. Hasbro could learn a thing about stands if they could pack something similar with their Black Series, or at least make them available as an after market part.
The other great thing in the pack is the weaponry. While I was disappointed in the boring grey cast Black Series guns, the Elite series are both sculpted brilliantly but also painted pretty well. They are practically the same size as the Black Series version and the two are interchangeable. Combine the Black Series figure with the Elite guns and you instantly have a better figure.
The Elite also does a better job of holstering the smaller good, with an engineered clip on the thigh armour that snaps the gun tightly in place.
If you collect boxed figures, then the Elite series is one of the better looking packaged Star Wars ranges. If you are a loose collector, then for just a couple of quid more I would still plump for the Black Series every time. Comparing the Death Troopers side by side, then the Hasbro wins out on sculpt, paint and articulation. The Elite does have some positive elements like the weapons and the base. The Death Trooper Elite Series release is not a bad figure, it just is not as good as others in the same scale and price brackets. Where it will appeal is that this is the Specialist version of the Trooper with the added Pauldron and accessories - a figure that you can only get (at present) in the Black Series via a US only exclusive 3 pack.
The Death Trooper is not a figure that has converted me to the Elite Series. It will work as a stand in and can be used to compliment a Black Series collection if you wish. I am going to score it a 2 out of 5.