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Saesee Tiin

SW: Clone Wars
by Artemis

Fun fact (a reliable way of getting past the "What do I open the review with?" problem): Saesee Tiin, one of the mooks to get killed in point-oh-five seconds by Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith, was scripted to be the first one killed. He's a telepath, and Sidious - playing Palpatine wrongly accused - would've turned to him and said "You're a teep, read my mind and see how innocent I am!", then chopped his head off while he was distracted setting up his ouija board. Lucas changed it because it was too violent; yeah, you'd only see decapitations in the kind of gorefests that'd feature someone dismembered and burned alive onscreen... oh, wait. Never mind then.

The Separatists attack Coruscant, and the Jedi launch an all-out defense. Saesee Tiin leads a squadron of clone trooper marines on a daring spacewalk to capture a Trade Federation cruiser, after the Republic assault cruiser they are on sustains heavy damage.

Shame they didn't go with the original scenario - his last words could've been "You're thinking about killing m--", and Sith would've had at least one entertaining moment in it. Anyway, if you appeared in Star Wars for half a second, wearing a cloak, hiding behind a column, and were in fact just some Tunisian guy who wandered onto the set not realising they were filming, there's an action figure of you, so naturally Tiin - who's kind of like Darkness's weedy brother who grew up to be an accountant - gets his little plastic replica, based off his appearance in the Clone Wars animated series (not the The Clone Wars animated series, where I don't believe he's shown up yet). Tartakovsky can't draw to save his life so I didn't sit through enough episodes to see him, but it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure the basics out.

Like many a "Jedi General" (a role which, any real-world officer will tell you, the Jedi were utterly unqualified to hold), Tiin's got it into his head to nick some armour from the QM's office and build himself a sci-fi suit; since male Jedi prior to the Clone Wars were evidently required by law to dress as Tatooine dirt farmers, it's no surprise they jumped at any excuse to wear something new. Tiin's effort is your basic clone armour with his old robe stuck in beneath the midriff section, appearing over his chest and shoulders, and down around his hips. The overall look isn't bad - it owes some simplicity to the animated style, but the level of detail and plausibility is good enough that it'll fit in pretty well with "live action" figures - but the chest is quite slim compared to the bulky shoulders, so the chest armour, which has to fit beneath the sculpted robes, looks downright tiny.

(If all the clones have the same body, where do you get a small-size suit of armour from? Maybe it's just a plastic suit they sell on Coruscant as a patriotic costume for the kids. It's not like it'd make any difference anyway - Jedi can dodge or deflect laser blasts, and clone armour wouldn't stop them anyway, so it might as well be cardboard for all the good it'll do.)

Over that fairly generic robed-armoured body, Tiin's head is the distinguishing feature, with its grim bulked-out visage and demonic horns. The sculpt is good, but the paint lets it down a bit - the face fades into a pale cream colour, but it's a very simple fade, leaving no shading or details like lips, though the cleanly painted eyes save face (so to speak). The horns, sadly, don't stand out well at all - they have a paint app, a slight beige tint, but it's barely different to the slightly mottled salmon colour of the rest of his head, which if I recall isn't how they appeared onscreen. The back of Tiin's head sports a striking design, which looks like some kind of natural colouration - up close you can see that it's a fairly simple black-over-white job, but at a glance it looks decent.

Having a fairly standard body, Tiin gets fairly standard articulation - in fact, from what I've seen, he's exactly the standard layout for current Star Wars figures. Balljoint neck, swivel waist (at the bottom of the stomach armour), swivel/pin shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, peg hips, swivel/pin knees and ankles. The skirt of the robes is soft, and between sitting away from the legs a bit at the back, and having the part at the front, it doesn't impede mobility much.

Commemorating his spacewalk, Tiin gets a breather mask, which fits over his head to cover the face and back of his head, but has cutouts for the horns, leaving them exposed. A techy life support pack sits on his chest, connected to the mask by two flexible but sturdy cables - here the slim chest comes in handy, since it doesn't force the support pack to sit out too far in front of him. The face of the mask has a T-visor roughly derived from the early clone armour (and hence Jango Fett), but streamlined and stylized - aside from a couple of shallow contours, and painted rims around the horns (to make an airtight seal, I guess, although to fit on the mask doesn't close up beneath them), it's really very plain. An extension of the forehead comes down as if to protect the nose, very much like the Royal Guard or whatever they were, and of course the traditional medieval knight helmets they in turn were inspired by.

Besides his brain bucket, Tiin's naturally got a lightsaber - green blade, so-so flare, nondescript hilt design, it's nothing out of the ordinary. He's also part of a build-a-droid series, so he comes with the right leg of R7-T1, the super-advanced descendant of the R-series astromech. It's identical in every way to the left leg (naturally) supplied with Ilum Padme, which is to say it's a good effort; there's a removable jet unit on the side, and the bend put in it by being carelessly jammed into the packaging will work itself out just fine once it's stuck to a body.

-- 07/05/09

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