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Quarren Soldier

SW: Clone Wars
by Artemis

I always thought they were called "Qarren," with no u after the q - like Qantas, only the seafood's better. Since Wookieepedia just lists it as a variant spelling and never elaborates, it's probably just a matter of someone (probably the makers of the X-Wing game, if it's anything I'm remembering) got it wrong, a few other people followed, and they decided it was a spelling variant instead of just admitting that they goofed. Bit of a shame they didn't adopt it for general use, since it seemed nice and alien. Or Queenslander, which is close enough.

The Quarren launch an undersea attack on the Mon Calamari. Supported by the Separatists, the Quarren swell their ranks with battle droids, but encounter strong opposition when Kit Fisto and his clone troopers come to the aid of the Mon Calamari.

The Qarren (bite me) and the Mon Cal are Star Wars's version of elves and dwarves, or Israelis and Palestinians, or Trekkies and Star Wars fans (what are they, Warsies?) - no matter how much everyone else settles their differences and puts their efforts behind the common good, the fish guys and the squid guys just will not stop trying to kill each other. Any time they get together, the Qarren complain that the Mon Cal only build their famous pickle ships using Qarren slave labour, the Mon Cal retort that if the Qarren had any brains they wouldn't be in slave pens, now would they? ...and five minutes later they're ethnic cleansing the bejeezus out of each other again. Or maybe that's an exaggeration, or just downright wrong, but what do you expect me to do, research this stuff? Hell with it, just nuke them both from orbit, it's the kind thing to do.

The Qarren are your basic squid-headed alien - every setting's got one, either as a result of natural if unimaginative evolution on their homeworld, or human Lovecraftian cultists having hideous sex with their necrotic squid-gods and winding up looking like them. That's why you wear condoms, people. Since Star Wars, to its credit, generally puts more effort into its equivalent of the alien-of-the-week, the Qarren isn't just a guy with his head stuck up a squid's anus. His skin's leathery and generally monster-y all over, matching the head's texture, with exaggerated wrinkles across the pecs and a knobbly texture to the back, with hints of the spine down the middle. His hands are the sci-fi favourite three-fingered gloves, and his feet are kind of backwards, with the big "toe" on the outside. He's evidently proud of his icky squiddy physique, since his outfit consists of a skirt and an armoured waist cincher. Luckily for the mental equilibrium of OAFE reviewers he's not going commando under there.

His face is... well, it's a Qarren, it's a pointy-headed squid. He's pretty true to the live-action Qarren we saw in, what was it, Return of the Jedi? One of Jabba's court, wasn't he? His mouth, amid the tentacles, is framed by three stubby little fangs picked out rather unsubtly in off-white, and the eyes are a flat sky blue. To another Qarren it'd probably look like a pretty ham-fisted paint job, but it's good enough for us humans. Speaking of the head, if you're disappointed that he's wearing underwear, don't despair: his alien nutsacks (two of them) are hanging off the back of his skull for all to see. I guess this balances out the plastic vaginas in the porn star figure reviews.

Squiddy's articulation is a bit odd. He's got the balljoint neck, swivel/pin shoulders and elbows, and swivel wrists that are the de facto standard for any Star Wars figure that doesn't need to have particularly slender, shapely arms. But rather than the now-common torso swivel/pin joint, there's just a swivel waist, and then only peg hips and swivel/pin ankles. No knees? No knees. He's got a certain line going in sturdy warrior poses, but any kind of fighting stance is out of the question.

Evidently the Mon Cal are smarter than everyone who's ever captured the A-Team, since in enslaving the Qarren it looks like they didn't leave them with enough tech lying around to build their own armoured personnel carriers. Up against this series's Mon Cal warrior's pointy blaster rifle thing, the Qarren has a trident and a little stubby knife with a shell for a handle. Well, good luck with that. The knife fits into a little holster on the Qarren's right thigh, underneath his skirt; the trident he's just got to hold, but his arms are articulated enough to wield it in both hands fairly well.

Squiddy's build-a-droid piece is actually two pieces, the head and third leg of R7-T1, one of the super-advanced future astromechs. The leg is just plain white, with a little wheel in the base; the head makes up for it in detail, with all the coloured bands and sensors and whatnot all painted on nice and sharp, topped by a dark red triangular "eye." The leg ends in a sturdy peg to fit into the "torso" base, while the head is hollow, with its connection peg extending into the internal cavity, to match the built-up techy stuff on top of the torso.

This is one for the hardcore collectors - not in the squid-sex sense (though if that's your thing, hey, go for your life). I can't really see anyone army-building with Qarren, and this guy isn't a famous Qarren, insofar as any of them are (the guy from Jedi, I guess), so it's probably just as well he's got the droid bits, or the only people who'd buy him would be the crazies who just have to own every Star Wars figure made. But for the lack of knee joints, you could say well, at least he's a good figure by his own merits, but as it is, he's a bit weak as a fighter - it's no wonder the Mon Cal kick their butts.


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