Review : Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader
Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro)
Wave/Series : Rogue One Wave 2 (Phase 3 Wave 8)
Released : November 2016
Price : £21.99
Every Star Wars movie, with the exception of The Phantom Menace, has added it's own spin on the original Stormtrooper design. Empire gave us Snowtroopers while Jedi brought us the Scouts. Even the prequals slotted in a myriad of Clonetrooper armours and colour designs. And of course last year The Force Awakens re-imagined the original Stormtroopers for a new age with the First Order.
Rogue One will follow suit with this tradition, but is in the difficult position of creating new Stormtrooper designs for the Empire while making them contemporary to the designs from 1977, 39 years ago. We've already taken a look at the first of these new designs, The Deathtroopers, who were part of the first wave of Rogue One Black Series in September.
It's now time to look at the Shore Troopers, to give them their original name, or now confirmed as Scarif Troopers - named after the planet on which they serve. I first saw the costumes for these Troopers in person at Star Wars Celebration London 2016 and was blown away. Time to see if the figures live up to the costumes.
In this review we will be looking at the standard release of the Scarif Trooper type. This trooper is labeled as the Squad Leader and was part of Wave 2 of the Rogue One series (wave 8 of Phase 3 overall).
The Squad Leader arrives in the standard Phase 3 black packaging with red trim. He is numbered #28 in the range and his full title of the packaging states Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader. To the right of the box front and in the triangular cut out is a grey scale illustration of the Scarif trooper's helmet.
Round the back of the card and the blurb reverts to talking about these as Shoretroopers who patrol the beaches and bunkers of an Imperial facility on the planet Scarif. As a back drop to this blurb the grey scale image is blown up and expanded to include the shoulder area and sits behind the text and then coming out beyond the writing to the right of the text.
Out of the box and the Trooper is packed along side a rather impressive double barreled rifle - we'll take a look at that a bit later. At Celebration it was the helmet design of these Troopers that had me sold, and the figure replicates the helmet really well. The design takes a lot of inspiration from the Jedi Scout Troopers more than anything with the wider visor and the central breathing panel. There are also aspects of Clone Trooper design like the visor. The whole helmet is also well sized so it looks like a human wearing a helmet. The sculpt on the helmet is crisp with clear definition between panels and with neat details built in like the recessed grid where the ears would be - to the intricate mechanism on the black snout where the breathing apparatus would be.
Once down from the helmet you realise you have seen a lot of this figure before, and the reason for that is that after the helmet the body is the same as the Hovertank Pilot we looked at from Toys R Us. I have no issue with this, after all there would be a consistency of armour usage across the Empire. It will be interesting to see if the Hovertank Pilot and these Shore Troopers are part of the same unit, or on completely separate worlds?
The armour on the body starts with a chest piece which is sculpted with straps over the shoulder connecting it to the back piece. Round the back is a box type backpack which is sculpted with two grid panels recessed into the back of the figure. Under the chest sits a stomach armour with various panels and grills set into it. The arms start with an elongated shoulder pad which sits over a bicep armour panel. The armour then skips the elbow and picks up with a forearm piece and then a panel set into the back of the gloves.
All of this armour is painted in a cream colouring and this is not a bad match to the actual prop, but I think at this scale it may have been better to mute it slightly to go cloer to the shade used on the Hovertank Pilot.
This is the Squad Leader of the Scarif Troopers and to reflect that he uses a light blue colouring that goes across the top half of his shoulder armour and across his chest in a line. Like the paint apps on Cody this isn't a flat colour and there is a ragged edge to it to indicate it is chipped and worn and not fresh out the factory. Further paint apps can be found with a bright red bicep panel on the right arm, with a three square yellow design over the top. There is then a red cut out circle decal on the helmet and a further yellow panel to the base of the chest.
There is also some attempt at weathering with some brown splashes applied to the chest to look like mud splashes. This mud would have looked effective had the armour underneath been weathered a little first. Had they gone with a brown wash over the armour, like they did with the Hovertank Pilot, then the whole figure would have looked sufficiently battle hardened. Instead it looks like the paint costs went on the coloured parts - and the weathering suffered, as did some other details like the shoulder clasps which are not painted in a brushed metal like they are on the Hovertank figure.
Moving to the lower half of the figure and this starts with a belt piece that is of similar layout to most Stormtrooper belts with its various pockets, and cylindrical compartment round the back. This is a Squad Leader and from his belt hangs a Kama, another nod to the Clone Troopers from where these trooper designs would have originated. This skirt piece is a softer plastic and cast in grey and yet holds some crisp design elements such as the ridged pattern around the hem and the punched holes at the corners. Underneath this are the cloth trousers that we saw again on the Hovertank Pilot, and of course similar to how the Scout Trooper armour works. These trousers have a pattern build into the cast and are painted in a flat brown, but have sufficient rolls and creases around the knees in particular for the depth of the sculpt to come out in the light.
The final piece of armour is the shin armour which is really intricate with panels and clasps - and frustratingly this part of the armour is washed out and weathered and looks amazing. Imagine if they had replicated that wash on the rest of the cream armour.
As with the Hovertank Pilot, the articulation on the Scarif Trooper is brilliant. It starts with the new head option where the ball joint is also hinged. This allows the head to rotate, but also achieve a much wider range looking up and down. This neck moves so much that you can get the base of the helmet to touch the chest plate.
The arms are ball jointed at the shoulder. Don't be fooled and think the shoulder armour would restrict the movement of the arms as each plate slides under the chest plate as you raise the arms. This means a full 90 degree angle can easily be achieved out from the body, and with the shoulder also rotating it means the arms have a full range of motion over the head too. The elbow is a single joint, but also rotates and this means two handed weapon poses are easily achieved and are supported by the movement range in the hands which are a pegged joint and can be bent up and down as well as rotated.
A torso ball joint sits hidden under the chest plate and where this comes in is more action orientated poses allowing the torso to move, bend and rotate independently from the legs. The legs themselves start with the ball jointed hips, there is no waist articulation. These hips swing forward to a sitting position, but are blocked from a sideways movement by the skirt section. The thigh swivels are unnecessary in my opinion as they add little to any poses other than swinging the feet outward for stability - and this figure is stable enough compared to many. The knees are double jointed and disguised behind the knee pad of the leg armour. The knees can bend past 90 degrees so the Scarif Trooper can easily kneel on one or both knees - opening up a wealth of more action poses.
The figure ends with rocker ankles, and as I said the figure stands perfectly well on his own with no obvious weakness at the ankles that would pose stability issues.
The single accessory is this new blaster rifle design, a double bareled design with extended stock. At first I though this was the same as the rifle included in the Deathtrooper - but no, this is a brand new design and cast. It is, like most of the weapons in phase 3, cast in a granite grey plastic. This feels more robust vs some of the rubbery weapons we had during the Force Awakens releases. It also gets a small paint app with a silver brush applied around the base of the barrell. The gun fits perfectly into the Squad Leader's right hand, with the trigger finger having enough give to turn itself into the trigger. The left hand is also designed to grip the barrel if you wish, giving true trooper style two handed posing
To sum the figure up, this is a great design turned into a great figure with a really good sculpt. Where it lets itself down is the paint application, it is one wash away from being awesome - and the frustration is that this wash IS applied to the leg armour and all it would take is that extended upwards. I score the Scarif Squad Leader a 4 out of 5.