As collectors, we all have those little things that we dig more than anything else. Some people like hot women, some people like robots, some people like guns that fit in real holsters. Me, I like removable armor, and I like variant Stormtroopers, so imagine what a find a variant Stormtrooper with removable armor must be.
These elite clone trooper specialists received advanced training under ARC troopers on Kamino. They have specialized skills to operate the AT-TE (All-Terrain Tactical Enforcer) tanks and other armored vehicles.
The clone trooper ranks have given us a lot of new versions of that spooky white space armor, some of them really quite dumb. But then we get figures like the AT-TE Tank Gunner, and everything is forgiven.
Did the Gunner appear in the film? Maybe, briefly. Who can tell? But the figure's so good, who really cares? Rather than being covered by pads and pouches like a lot of the Troopers are, this guy is mostly reserved. He's got a harness/shoulder pad, and extra padding on his helmet, probably to protect his head when the tank starts bouncing around - not known for their smooth ride and active suspension, are those large armored carriers. There's an Empire insignia on his left shoulder, and he's armed with a blaster rifle and a pistol.
But what of the removable armor? The Gunner can doff his brain bucket, revealing Jango Fett's face beneath. That's nice and all, but this figure goes further. You can take the padding off the helmet and, with some work, get his harness off over his head. Damn thing's harder to work than the first bra you encountered in middle school. Attach the included white shoulderpad, and you've got yourself a 100% plain Clone Trooper, and the new clone armor is close enough to the Stormtrooper armor that he'll blend with the ranks of either.
Articulation is a mixed bag. Some bits are on par with the super articulated figures, and some just plain suck. The AT-TE Tank Gunner has balljointed ankles, knees, hips and neck. That's nice, but his shoulders, elbows and wrists are all pegs, and since they're often attached at angles, he's really limited when it comes to poses.
Hasbro's figures all seem to have either an action feature or a display base, and since nothing happens when you squeeze the Gunner's legs, he gets a lump of plastic with a foot peg in it.
Since the AT-TEs were on Kashyyyk, the Gunner's base is the same organic one included with Luminara Unduli. Of course, they fit together well, so the Trooper can stand behind his commander, ready to carry out any orders he receives. Any orders.
Even with the glut of Ep.3 product flooding the shelves, the AT-TE Tank Gunner is still pretty hard to find. This isn't a figure you want to order blindly online, since there have been some paint problems - primarily getting the eyes to both look in the same direction - but it is one worth owning. Yes, the articulation above the (non-existant) waist is spotty, but that shouldn't be enough to keep you away.