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Review : Star Wars Black Series Carbonized Stormtrooper, The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary


Following on from the first Carbonized Exclusives in 2019, three more figure were released in the Carbonized metallic paint finish and box in 2020 to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. Alongside Carbonized Stormtrooper (reviewed here) were figures of Boba Fett and Darth Vader.

Packaging 4/5


The 2020 Carbonized figures continue with the design principles laid out in 2019. The box is the same as the Phase 3 packaging, with the small addition of a circular panel cut into the window that confirms this as a Carbonized release.


The box is presented in a metallic foil with two contrasting colours of glossy silver and a contrasting black for the Imperial Stormtrooper. This metallic finish makes the box very striking in terms of a look, and the shades and artwork do look very different and appear to change depending on the light. Being a 40th Anniversary release for The Empire Strikes Back a silver foil log sits on the top of the box.


The 2019 Carbonized figures kept the numbering system from their corresponding general release, while these new 2020 figures do not and the metallic black side spine has the usual dotted box we associated with exclusives.


Front and back carry the same Gregory Titus artwork, with the back also carrying a short piece of background text.


"Stormtroopers are elite shock troopers fanatically loyal to the Empire and impossible to sway from the Imperial cause"



Paint & Sculpt 3/5


Out of the box and our Carbonized Stormtrooper is visually impressive in metallic silver armour. The proportions and sculpt of the helmet are spot on as is the armour panels which overlay a dark black undersuit. The figure, as we will see in the articulation section, does suffer with bow legs and a tendency to lean when stood and that is quite visible on a lot of poses.


The figure is essentially cast fully in black and the carbonized silver is painted on top. Ths does mean there are some areas of bleeding around the joints where the silver has strayed onto a part that should have stayed black. The only other paint app is a metallic blue on the cheeks of the helmet.


The silver paint does carry some defects - an issue we had with the first batch of Carbonized figures. This includes some flecks where I can only assume the spray coat was touched up by hand. There are also issues with molding on both shoulder pauldrons with defects at the back of each of them. These will be factory errors and won't appear on all the figures.



The Carbonized Stormtrooper uses the existing Stormtrooper sculpt that was originally released in 2014 and has been used on all Imperial Stormtrooper version since. You can see the leg issues on these comparison photos.



Accessories 2/5


Our Trooper is armed with the same weapons as all previous Stormtrooper releases. Disappointingly, neither weapon gets a metallic paint job. All the other Carbonized figures to date have got a metallic treatment on the accessories.


The E-11 blaster rifle is cast in a grey plastic with no paint apps at all. It is designed to fit in the right hand, where trigger finger slots into place. When not in use it can fit into the holster on the left hip.

The D-20A rifle is also cast in the same grey plastic and fits into the right hand. It too can fit in the holster if needed, but it looks a bit odd sticking up so far towards the head.


The Stormtrooper seems to have a slightly looser right hand which does see the trigger finger slipping quite often. And oddly the left hand is very stiff and tight making a two handed weapon pose a little tougher to get into position.



You can see in this comparison that not only are the Carbonized weapons missing any metallic pit, they are actually less detailed than the general releases we've seen. The D-20A usually gets a silver dry brush to bring out the detail. And the E-11 more often than not has a silver panel on the barrel.



Articulation 3/5


The Stormtrooper weighs in with 18 points of articulation. This is a couple more than standard as this is an older figure base and gets the bonus of having double joint elbows supported by a bicep swivel. This makes the lower arms very mobile and poseable with weapons posing etc, but the upper shoulders are not quite so lucky as they are blocked by the shoulder armour when you try to raise them.


Head : Ball joint Pivot Neck

Body : torso ball joint

Arms : ball joint shoulder, bicep swivel, double joint elbow, wrist pivot

Leg : ball joint hip, thigh swivel, double jointed knees, ankle rocker


The legs too, as mentioned, are carried over from the older figure and are not quite right. They look bow-legged a lot of time and to get a stance you often have to bend the right knee. The knees and ankles are securely ratcheted, but there is an issue that the feet never seem to line up with the knees for a flat position pose.



Summary


The whole purpose of the Carbonized line is to enhance an existing figure with a metallic paint job that is not quite screen accurate, but is very visually striking. Silver for the Stormtrooper was probably one of the obvious choices, especially as Red had been done already with the First Order versions. And it looks OK, without looking too gaudy.



It is a shame that the weaponry is shortchanged on the metallic paint job, and that the figure doesn't use the updated Stormtrooper body - but rather the old version with the bow legged issues.


The box is gorgeous and changes from silver and black to almost sharp contrast black and white in certain lights. This, like most Carbonized figures, is one that will potentially look best kept in the box. I score it an above average 3 out of 5.




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About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...

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