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Holiday Edition Range Trooper

Star Wars
by yo go re

Star Wars' "Life Day" was originally an analogue to (American) Thanksgiving - the Holiday Special aired in November, and the story was all about eating food with your family and watching TV. But the fact that it also involved special clothes and a tree made the connection to Christmas stronger, something that Hasbro is really leaning into this year.

Celebrate the season with specially designed Star Wars figures from The Black Series.

Hasbro is offering five "Holiday Edition" Black Series figures, in special white packaging with seasonal graphics (a big red bow, a "to" and "from" gift tag written in Aurebesh, snowflakes made from SW helmet shapes, etc). The toys look great as a group - Santa Claus and his happy little helper elves - but since every one of them is exclusive to a different store, and some sold out immediately, the odds of you being able to get all five are slim. So if you're only going to get one, Target's Range Trooper is probably the one to get. Because he's the president Santa.

Range Troopers were introduced in Solo, where they were guarding the world's most spinny and most explosive train. Here's what the packaging said about them back then: The Imperial expansion requires the settlement of vital operations on remote outpost worlds. These frontier Stormtroopers form a backbone of stubborn defense against would-be thieves and pirates. Good enough!

The Range Troopers looked like even more badass Snowtroopers, with the same style of breastplate, but thicker clothes beneath it. The original release had faux fur on the shoulders, but this release has faux faux fur: it's molded plastic, not softgoods. That's a little disappointing, but it does blend in better with the fur trim on his sleeves and skirt - in other words, all the stuff that made Hasbro choose him to be the Santa instead of, like, a red-and-white Darth Vader or something. Oh, and also he wears giant boots, another feature that helps the parallels.

The paint is, of course, mainly red, with white for the trim and black for the boots, gloves, and belt - you look at this, even divorced from any context, and you see "Santa." The top of his helmet is red as well, which is as close to being a hat as they could manage without actually molding him a new hat (because the one from Disney parks' "Droid Factory" buildable figure line would be too small), and the eye slit is golden. It's disappointing that all the small sculptural details go unpainted; yes, several of them were red on the original figure, but change them to black. Or white. Or gold. Make them look like buttons on his coat! There's no weathering or damage painted on him, which seems unlikely for a guy who spends his nights inside chimneys, but they did do a really nice splattering of white to make his mechanical boots look snowy.

Thanks to those big clompers, you shouldn't have any trouble getting the Range Trooper to stand. It also helps that the skirt and crotch-armor conspire to pretty well block the legs from moving very far at all. That just means he'll spend his time walking, rather than doing high-kicks. The ankle joints move up and down really far, which is probably important when you're magnetically locked to the side of a tilt-a-whirl.

While the original Range Trooper came with a blaster, the Holiday Edition does not: instead, he has the tonfa sword that came with the 2019 SDCC exclusive Sith Trooper. That's a strange choice. It's molded from translucent blue plastic... to suggest an icicle, we guess? Was that really the best they could come up with? How about Maz Kanata's crate, turned into a present? Boushh's thermal detonator painted black like a lump of coal? Vader's ruined helmet, just because I want it? The thickness of his coat sleeve keeps him from being able to hold the blade very well, but at least it contrasts against his red coat pretty nicely?

All the Black Series Holiday Edition figures come with a pack-in, which is what tipped the Range Trooper into the "buy" column: his extra is D-O, the anxious little droid from Episode IX. D-O (which, until writing this review, I thought was D-0 - a zero being pronounced as "oh," not an actual O). D-O was previously available with an Ep.9 Rey, but because Rise of Skywalker was dim and uncreative, that Rey was almost identical to one I already had. So I didn't get D-O. Until now!

Fitting with the "Santa" theme, D-O has been turned into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. His droid design is basically a horizontal cone on a single wheel, and that translates to "reindeer" really well - especially with the three balljointed antennae on the back of the head standing in for antlers.

The entire body is tan now, rather than white, and the tip of the cone is red. The mechanical bits attaching the head to the body are black, as are his three "eyes." The head is balljointed, so he can look all around, but unfortunately the wheel that is his body actually turns - "un"fortunate, you see, because there's no way to stop it moving, and thus no way to keep D-O standing reliably for very long.

I didn't have either the Range Trooper or D-O, so this set was right up my alley. Even if it would be fun to have the whole lineup on display around the Giftsmas tree, the Santa Trooper and Ru"D-O"lph droid are a good pair on their own. I just need to make them a little fireplace display to complete the mise en scène.

-- 11/29/20

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