The 4th of October 2019 was badged as Triple Force Friday, the launch of the Star Wars merchandise for Winter 2019 for the three new properties - The Mandalorian, Jedi Fallen Order and of course Episode 9 : The Rise of Skywalker. Figures from Episode 9 in the launch were limited to characters and alongside 4 general releases was this new Elite Snowtrooper. He is exclusive to Target in the US, but has been available via most UK independents as a Fan Channel Exclusive
This review is Spoiler Free, other than the look of the figure nothing else points to or indicates any key plot issues for The Rise of Skywalker.
The Elite Snowtrooper is packed in phase 3 packaging, with the red spine and figure backdrop. Being an exclusive, the figure is not numbered and is titled as the First Order Elite Snowtrooper on the front and on the red side spine. The illustration captures the helmet and shoulders of a Snowtrooper with the cloak/cape evident wrapped around each shoulder.
Round the back this image is repeated, or rather the head piece is with the shoulders now cut off under the various warning text. A short, no spoiler, piece of text sits to the left of the image.
"The latest generation of cold weather assault Stormtroopers, Snowtroopers wear advanced insulated armor and helmets that reduce the glare of icy terrain."
The Elite Snowtrooper has a couple of extra points I want to make you aware of when unpacking. First is quite a bit of additional clear packaging slotted in and under the cloak to keep it straight in the pack.
The other is this string which you will see on the figure round the arms and tied at the back. This is stitched into the cloak and is how the cloak is sitting so well on the arms and head without any form of neck strap. This can be untied if you want to remove the cape. The temptation, when unpacking the figure is to cut or snap this as it looks like part of the inner packaging and can also get caught on the insert piece I mentioned.
Paint & Sculpt 4/5
This is the same Snowtrooper base figure as we saw released in 2015 as part of the Force Awakens line of figures. The only difference, aside from the cloak, is the control panel on the front panel. On our Elite figure the buttons are much darker than the original Snowtrooper releases and has some red to one side.
While this is a re-use of the figure, the figure was a well sculpted one to start with having glossy bright white armour and smooth lines and panels. All of this is cast colour, but over this we have the chest armour decals, black trims and eye visors and some further black detailing around the belt and boots.
The cape, is an interesting design being pure white on the hood and outside, but with an added black stitched lining. Like more recent soft goods it hangs naturally and flows down the body. The hood can be up or down - but having it up is my preference. As we saw above, a small drawstring holds the cloak around the arms and back to keep it in place. The biggest issue with the cloak is the creases that it will pick up in the packaging.
Our Snowtrooper is armed with the larger First Order blaster rifle which is cast in white plastic and has black panels painted. There are even some touches of silver around the scope and barrel. It will be interesting to see if this is the weapon used in the movie, as I imagine an Elite unit may well employ other weapons - a sniper blaster for example?
The blaster is designed to fit in the right hand as this has the flexible trigger finger.
The backpack is also a separate piece, but you would be unlikely to display the figure without it. This is the same backpack from the 2015 figures, but is interestingly wrapped in a further bit of soft goods. This cloth strip wraps from the peg on the back of the backpack and round over the control panel where there is a cut out so this detail remains visible. It then comes back round and hooks again over the peg. You then slot the peg into the body which has the function of holding the backpack cloth to the backpack and also anchoring the figures cloak.
I am assuming this wrap has some functionality and some reference in the film as it seems over and above the requirements of the figure, and something you won't really see unless you display your Snowtrooper on his side or facing the back of your shelf?
The original First Order Snowtroopers had some restriction in their articulation, and that is also true of this 2019 version. The figure carries the usual 16 points of articulation, but the legs in particular are locked by the shape and design of that skirt which is rubberised plastic and not soft goods. Neck and Torso joints are also restricted to rotation only, despite being ball joint, thanks to the shaping of the armour.
Head : ball joint pivot neck
Body : ball joint torso
Arms : ball joint shoulder, single rotating elbow, wrist pivot
Legs : ball joint hips, thigh swivel, double joint knee, ankle rocker
The arms are much more mobile, with a trick to withdraw the shoulder armour panel into the chest armour as the arms are raised. The Snowtrooper can hold his rifle in both hands as well as extend the out and upward for shooting poses.
At all times the cloak does move with the articulation and remains secure and flowing nicely in line with the pose being used.
Like the Flametrooper in 2015/6 the key to this figure is how he behaves and is represented on screen. The original Snowtrooper was massively under-used in both Episode 7 and 8 and The Rise of Skywalker offers an opportunity for these First Order troops to cement their place - although I am not convinced that will happen.
Without knowing anything about this Elite troop and its role, I can say that the figure is a solid execution of a design with rounded lines and panels of the First Order armour type. The cloak addition works well and shows the progression Hasbro has made with soft goods so while still not perfect, they do flow and hang much better.
The First Order Elite Snowtrooper has some restrictions in articulation, as did its predecessors, but it looks good and is has troop building options for a First Order display.
I score the exclusive First Order Elite Snowtrooper a 3 out of 5.