For me, the enjoyment of Star Wars has little to do with Luke Skywalker and his friends. It doesn't matter if Han Solo shot first or if Hayden Christensen is transparent blue at the end or any of the other pissy complaints that fanboys come up with to make excuses for why they aren't enraptured as adults the same way they were when they were kids. I can deal with all that, but if I don't see some cool-looking Stormtroopers and impressive ground vehicles, heads will roll. Revenge of the Sith was particularly good for this, what with all the Clone Troopers being sent to exotic new locales across the galaxy, and taking specialized gear with them.
The planet Saleucami is pockmarked with large craters
created by meteors that hit the planet. This barren desert world becomes a place of conflict during the Outer Rim Sieges of the Clone Wars. The Republic ultimately won the battle to secure this hot, dry world, and a small contingent is sent there to conduct mop-up operations, led by the Jedi Master Stass Allie. She and two clone troopers under her command are conducting one of their regular speeder bike patrols when Order 66 is enacted.
This Wal*Mart exclusive Battle Pack features two new Clone Troopers and two BARC Speeders - for $20, that's not a bad deal. Especially since one of the clones is a named commander, available nowhere else.
Trained by ARC trooper Alpha, Commander Neyo receives the Emperor's instructions to enact Order 66 while on a speeder bike patrol with Stass Allie. He and his wingman allow Allie to move ahead of them, then open fire on the unsuspecting Jedi.
As a clone trooper commander, clone CC-8826 was encouraged to develop autonomous thinking and independence. Part of that was tactical training, instruction in mass troop coordination and similar martial skills, but another part was taking a name and developing a personality. Neyo turned out to be quiet and distant, which certainly didn't win him many friends among the other commanders. Well, he did get along with Commander Bacara, who showed similar traits, but that was about it.
Neyo uses the same basic body as the Attack of the Clones superposeable Clone Trooper, so you know the articulation is going to be good. Balljointed ankles, knees, chest, elbows, shoulders and neck, and peg wrists and hips. The hips and wrists have been slightly retooled, giving him a wider stance and a more angled grip, to better accommodate the bike. Yes, at last, we have a speeder pilot who doesn't look bow-legged when off their ride. And speaking of his ride...
Aratech speeder bikes provide clone troopers with the operational range, speed, mobility, and firepower they need to accomplish reconnaissance and scouting missions with greater efficiency during the Clone Wars.
The BARC Speeder is repainted from the one that came with the deluxe Stass Allie, though this time they got the vehicle right - see, Stass was supposed to be riding a normal speeder bike, not a BARC Speeder. It's a minor difference, though, and one only die-hard nerds would care about. Since the toy bike is the same, so is our review of it.
The BARC Speeder is over 10" long
and has a more powerful look than all the speeder bikes we saw in Return of the Jedi - in motorcycle terms, those were sport bikes, while this is a Harley. There are two huge engines on the sides at the rear, and a third turbine in the nose. Four guns are mounted on the bike, and there are two sets of handlebars.
The surface of the vehicle is detailed with sculpted seams between the panels used in its construction and is painted with the dark reds of the 91st Reconnaissance Corps. Landing gear folds down so that the BARC Speeder can actually stand on its own, something unheard of for Star Wars bikes. Just like the Jedi's speeder, this pair has no action features - the difference is, this time the packaging doesn't claim they do. You could take them apart, if you wanted, but there's no internal mechanism to do it. There's no difference between the two riders' bikes.
Loyalty to the Republic and Emperor
has been programmed into them from their "birth." So when clone troopers are told that someone is an enemy of the Republic, they do not hesitate to execute orders to eradicate the purported threat.
Neyo's wingman in this set is CT-3423, one of his lieutenants. He shares the same modified body as his commander, which actually works perfectly as a reference to the film: the two clones who flew with Stass Allie and shot her down used the same digital design, right down to the battle-damage marks on their armor. The kayfabe reason for this is Neyo's lieutenants, wanting to protect their commander, wore the same customized armor that he did, so he was less of an obvious target on the battlefield. The real world reason was that the troopers were only onscreen for about three seconds and were too small and blurry for anyone to tell the difference. In keeping with that, even the figures' paint apps are the same - yes, that includes the scratchy black scorchmarks.
One area of difference is the figures' helmets. Neyo wore a unique helmet,
which his figure has, but rather than wearing an exact copy of it (as he did in the film), 3423 has a pair of macrobinoculars over his eyes. Why's that on the figure when it wasn't in the movie? So no one felt cheated by having to buy a box set of two of the exact same figure. The paint on the binoculars' visor is really unreliable, so check that before you buy. Both clones are wearing ARC Trooper harnesses and shoulder pauldrons, and can hold the included blaster rifles.
The 91st Recon's color is a dark red (darker than the red worn by Shock Troopers, at least),
and its symbol is a circle with a white sword pointing downward through the center. This symbol has led Australian fans to dub them the "Australia Post troopers," since it's so similar to the logo of the mail service. Coincidence? The movie was filmed down under, after all. Sure, the digital effects guys (the ones responsible for the Troopers) work in California, but they probably got a trip down there at least once.
The Treachery on Saleucami set is a good one: You get two superposeable clones, with newly sculpted helmets. The bikes are nice, and the figures' articulation means they look great both on and off the transports. The insert behind the figures shows a scene of the countryside, making for a nice diorama. Other than one unreliable paint app, you really can't go wrong with this set... if you can find it. This supposedly came out months ago, but never seems to last more than a few minutes on store shelves. If you see this one, go ahead and pick it up; you won't be disappointed.