The great thing about the Stormtroopers' armor from Star Wars is how the familiar design can be adapted for new looks, but still come through strongly. Of course, in some cases, it's literally a case of the old armor being worn under new coverings.
The stormtrooper's uniform was modified for diffrent environments, yet retains the featureless uniformity captured by McQuarrie in his art. Snowtroopers have additional head, chest, and leg coverings to insulate them against the cold and help them to blend into snowy surroundings.
The Snowtroopers were already pretty cool in the movie, with their skirts and their crazy hoods and whatnot, but Ralph McQuarrie's conceptual version is even more fun. The design work for Empire was done after the original Star Wars had come out, since no one was sure it was going to be a success. Because of that, the design for this armor is based on the Stormtroopers we actually got, rather than McQ's earlier Stormtrooper designs. It's just a minor thing, but the difference is there.
Compared to some of the other McQuarrie Concept figures,
like Albino Fett or Luke with ovaries, the Snowtrooper looks a lot like his eventual counterpart. He's dressed all in white, with a big round helmet, a cloth covering his face, an evironmental backpack and a skirt around his legs. To describe it, it sounds exactly like the usual outfit, but the visuals are much different.
The parts of the suit that would be cloth are thick and padded, to suggest the insulation they'd need to provide. His mittens are split into two big fingers, for the best combo of warmth and dexterity. He wears shinguards strapped over his boots, and his skirt doesn't even reach his knees - on the final costume, it almost goes down to the ankles. There are large pouches on the back of the skirt, and the backpack is on a harness that slips over the figure's shoulders.
The hood the Snowtrooppers wear draped around their necks is actually to make breathing easier - it retains warm air so they're not constantly shocking their lungs. The concept design has a similar thing, but it only falls down the front instead of wrapping all the way around. It's sculpted to lay realistically over the harness, and can actually be removed: snap it off and you'll see the odd Stormtrooper mask beneath.
Paint is more complex than it looks at first glance. The Concept Snowtrooper looks all-white, but that's really just his armor. His clothes and pouches are off-white, the soles of his boots are ecru and he has silver scratches on his right shin - suggesting the armor is made of metal, then painted white. The black on the mask is crisp, and the yellow and blue details on the helmet are actually sculpted (though only the ones on the left get the blue pait - the right remains blank). There are some grays on his backpack, and a little bit of red.
Our friend the Snowtrooper has a large rifle.
It's a huge two-hander with a shoulder strap, and it really resembles a blunderbuss, though that could just be an effect of the large muzzle. The figure is articulated enough to hold the gun properly - like any decent modern 3¾" toy, he's loaded with balljoints (you'd have to be an idiot to try making figures in this scale without them). I suppose technically the harness would count as an accessory, as well, but you have to pop his head off to remove it.
The Concept Snowtrooper is a great figure. He's as much fun as any other SW offering, but his unusual design makes him a standout. And yet, put him in the ranks of your Stormtroopers, and he'll look right at home. Whether you're collecting the McQuarrie figures or just enjoy strange Troops, this is a good one.