Review : Scarif Stormtrooper
Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro)
Wave/Series : Rogue One, Walmart Exclusive
Released : November 2016
Price : £29.99 (import price)*
*we are awaiting confirmation that this figure will hit UK Asda stores
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.
We've already taken a peak at the standard release, the Scarif Squad Leader. And in this review we will take a look at the Walmart exclusive Scarif Stormtrooper - the Grunt of the Scarif troopers.
The Scarif Trooper arrives in the standard Phase 3 black packaging with red trim. As he is exclusive he is not numbered, instead there is a barcode-esque design on the red spine where the number would be. His full title on the packaging is Scarif Stormtrooper. To the right of the box front and in the triangular cut out is a grey scale illustration of the Scarif trooper's helmet, and hats off to Hasbro as this is a variant image to the one used on the Squad Leader release - it would have been easy to use the same one.
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. This is the same text used on the Squad Leader, albeit with an update to the header character name. 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 standard E11 Stormtrooper blaster - 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. Of course it is also shared with the standard Squad Leader release, although with some additional tweaks in both paint and sculpted detail around the midriff.
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.
As this is the standard Scarif Trooper he lacks any real colouring compared to the Squad Leader. His only real splash of colour is the same red right bicep armour that we see on his Squad Leader, complete with the three yellow squares. He also sports the red cut out circle decal on the helmet.
There is also some attempt at weathering with some brown splashes applied to the chest to look like mud splashes. These are better on the helmet that the Squad leader. But on the chest are very heavy handed and look like brown paint not mud splashes. Like the Squad Leader 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. From this belt hangs a small skirt that extends just over his backside. This skirt piece is cast in cream and does have some degree of flexibility to it. The other change to the Hovertank Pilot and Squad Leader is the addition of a larger brown leather look pouch that hangs at an angle to the right of the belt. This pouch is further detailed with a silver button on each of the four segments of the pouch. There is also some more weathering here on the left hand side of the skirt as you look at the figure. We are back to good mud splashing here and this small piece does look particularly impressive.
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 only accessory included is the new Rogue One style R11 blaster, a sculpt that has been modified from the original wave 3 Stormtrooper with the addition of a side scope of some description to the barrel. This gun has already made appearances in the Black Series with the Hovertank Pilot and with the Kmart (US) exclusive Jyn Erso. It is cast in a dark grey, and this is a harder plastic than has been used on other recent releases. It gets a decent amount of paint detail, with silver elements picked out from front to back. Like the Squad Leader, who admittedly has a cooler and bigger gun, the Stormtrooper's articulation and hand engineering allows for an easy two handed pose with the right hand gripping the gun and the left cupping the barrel tightly.
To sum the figure up, this is a great design turned into a great figure with a really good sculpt. My issue lies in the decision to make this troop builder an exclusive. Why not give Walmart the Captain (who we haven't seen yet) or eve the Squad Leader. Fans would only want one of these - while many would like to squad/troop build the standard trooper. Granted this is Walmart, and assuming this also comes to the UK via Asda, getting hold of one wont be overly difficult - however, the frustration still stands that Hasbro seem to be giving too much this year in terms of exclusive content - what with this and the Original Trilogy C-3PO at Walgreens.
Aside from this availability the figure carries the same issue as its Squad Leader variant - letting itself down with the paint application, and being one wash away from being awesome. Especially frustrating when you consider the wash we wanted across the figure IS applied to the leg armour but taken no further. I score the Scarif Squad Leader a 4 out of 5.