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Review : Snowtrooper, Star Wars Black Series Wave 9 (December 2016)

Review : Snowtrooper

Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro)

Wave/Series : Wave 9 (Phase 3)

Released : December 2016

Price : £22.99

The final figure of Series 9, numbered 35, is the Snowtrooper from The Empire Strikes Back. The release of this troop complete a full set of Original Trilogy Storm Troopers after releases of the Sand Trooper, Storm Trooper and Scout Trooper.

Like all of the phase 3 figures that came before, the Snowtrooper is packed in the standard black box with red spine and backing card and grey lined artwork. He is titled Snowtrooper in red on the front and again on the side spine with no specific reference to the actual movie he appeared in.

Round the box back is a short overhead of the Snowtrooper role within the Imperial Military Machine and again this is kept generic rather than talking about their onscreen appearance at the Battle of Hoth. The grey lined artwork, used front and back, captures the sleek look of the Snowtrooper helmet while applying a partial shadow effect and some dynamism into the image as though the trooper was swinging his head round at the time.

Once slid out of the box you are faced with the Trooper himself surrounded with his back pack to the right (as you look) and two weapon options to the left.

The Snowtrooper stands dead on 6 inches high putting him in line with the other troopers to date. In the 1980 release of Empire there at least two different Snowtrooper armors in use in the Hoth scenes. Our figure appears to be based on the ground troops that enter Echo base once the shields are down. It will be interesting to see if Hasbro will tweak the sculpt and give us the commander version we see on the AT-AT bridge with General Veers.

The sculpt is very impressive on this figure, as it has been with most armoured figures that Hasbro have released. The helmet is smooth and rounded, while the face section does carry some folds and creases to reflect it is actually a cloth face cover. The body suit which is visible at the arms and legs is also creased and painted in a cream colour to create a differentiation with the gloss white armour pieces that sit on top.

The body armour starts with two shoulder pieces that seem to hang in place. There is then the chest section with its rounded central section and inserted control panel with black painted detail. There are a couple of further details either side of this with a red/black decal to one side and the larger three squared red controls to the other side. The arms have forearm panels and the gloves are white with an armoured piece across the back of each hand.

The backpack slots into a hole in the rear of the figure. Around this hole are some sculpted straps but these are lazily just cast in the same cream as the rest of the outfit. The hole is hexaganol while the peg on the backpack is rounded and it actually doesn't matter which way you put it in as it rotates easily around to any position. It does however hold in place quite well although over time it may start to loose grip. The backpack, like the armour, is gloss white in hard plastic. It has some neat details with red, black and grey paint details in the controls and a couple of areas which appear to be Aurebesh text and impressively they don't seem to be decals but rather painted details.

The snowtrooper wears an impressive looking armoured cod piece which is attached to the belt which also carries the skirt section. The knees, like the shoulders, are armoured. The belt section has pouches to either side, and the familiar Storm Trooper circular capsule round the back. From this the skirt hangs down, and this is cast in a textured plastic rather than soft good. It is also coloured in the cream used on the undersuit.

The figure ends with the cloth boots, similar to the ones both Han and Luke are wearing in their Hoth gear. Up to this point the paint apps have been neat, but quite simple with gloss white on the armour and cream on the other parts. Here though the skirt bottom and the boots have both been weathered. The weathering is also quite variant between batches, with some I've seen being heavily muddied, while mine was more subtle on the skirt base but still quite heavy on the boots.

While all the paint is neat the issue with the figure for me is how dark the cream colour is. Now I know this is screen accurate, BUT there is such a thing as perception of what the Snow Trooper should be and thanks to the various incarnations of the Snowtrooper since 1980, including the Vintage figure, my view of the figure is that it is too dark and too far away from what I perceive as the crisp white armour of the Snowtroopers. It's a minor complaint, and feels ungrateful considering Hasbro could have cast the whole thing in white but instead went for screen accuracy.

Articulation is standard starting with a ball jointed head. The head does move a lot more than you may expect it to with that face section. What happens though is that as you do rotate the head the face cover starts to "hover" unnaturally. The shoulders are ball jointed, and as the arms raise the shoulder armour retreats under the chest joint without restricting any movement.

Down from the shoulder we have a single elbow joint which both bends to 90 degrees and rotates. Thanks to this, and some pivot pegs in the hands, the ability to hold a weapon in two hands is pretty impressive. Just under the chest piece is a torso joint which feels like a ball joint rather than simple rotating peg. The torso can we swiveled to either side, with a little bit of forward and back movement also.

The legs are a different matter unfortunately as they are completely blocked in by the skirt. While not a complete fan of soft goods, you feel a soft good skirt here would have worked so much better to allow the Snowtrooper to get into some more action poses - kneeling and crouching. The leg joints are all there to achieve this - with ball joint hips, double jointed knees and ankle rockers - they are just locked in place by the skirt.

The two weapons are the E11 blaster, the new version that has been tweaked for Series 9 and that has also arrived packed with the Princess Leia and AT-AT Driver figures. Its a plain black plastic, but carries some decent detail and it fits into the Snowtroopers hand really well, including the trigger finger slotting into the trigger.

The larger weapon, the DLT-19 heavy blaster, is the same as was packed with the original Stormtrooper. While cast in black plastic, it is heavily dry-brushed in silver to bring out the details. Out of the two it is the DLT-19 that not only looks better, but also poses better. With this weapon I got the Snowtrooper into a bunch of poses - including a two handed carry pose, but also a sniping/firing position.

The Snowtrooper is a fantastic figure, and in a wave full of crowd pleasers it still stands out from the crowd. The cream is a tad too dark for some peoples liking, and there is opportunities for some extra paint apps around the backpack straps. It does have articulation issues around the legs, but makes up for it in the arms. In fact with these niggles aside, the problem with this figure will simply be its availability for those who want to army build. I would hope Hasbro give us options for picking up more of these in the future either with re-releases or perhaps with some troop building boxes alongside the Commander we mentioned earlier, or even with the E-Web cannon.

I award the Snowtrooper a 5 out of 5 score, and had the skirt been a bit more flexible and the colouring a little better then he could have easily been the first Star Wars Black Series figure to get our 5* award.

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