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Holiday Edition Purge Trooper

Star Wars
by yo go re

Mickey isn't the only one who had his popularity boosted by Fantasia.

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

So we've explained before how The Nutcracker became a Giftsmastime standard after the San Francisco Ballet performed it. But that wasn't until 1944; when the Nutcracker Suite was included in Fantasia in 1940, Deems Taylor's introduction before the segment specifically mentioned the full ballet "wasn't much of a success and nobody performs it nowadays". Watching that today, it sounds like he's being ironic, but no, the ballet really was mostly forgotten until the movie rescued it from obscurity: Fantasia was praised for its music and its design, yes, but also for the skillfully planned choreography evident in its animation, so it's not hard to imagine dancers sitting in the audience, seeing what was possible with some then-underused musical pieces, and deciding to try on their own.

The Purge Troopers were seen in Obi-Wan Kenobi, but they first appeared in a 2018 comic, and then in Jedi: Fallen Order, which is where this toy's mold originates. Good thing, too, since those figures had bios on the back and the Kenobi ones didn't. Handpicked from the Stormtrooper legions for their aptitude and loyalty, Purge Troopers accompany Inquisitors on especially dangerous missions. These troopers receive additional training to make them a cohesive unit, formidable against any Jedi threat. Okay, neat! Since Purge Troopers normally wear black armor with red trim, this is the first time you can make out a lot of the details on this mold.

The Kenobi Purge Troopers wore Phase II armor, but this is Phase I. There are some small differences in the body, but (just like Clone Troopers) the only change of any significance was the helmet. Phase II Purge Troopers look pretty much like black Stormtroopers; this Phase I helmet is more like a Clone Paratrooper, with a horizontal visor slit, "stairstep" cheeks, and a combined mouth and nose vent.

The Holiday Edition Purge Trooper has the traditional nutcracker colors. His boots and kneepads are black, his upper legs are white, the kama and upper body are entirely red. His gloves are white, and the single shoulder bell on his left arm is golden. Normally we'd refer to that as a pauldron, but then it would get confusing when we bring up the Sandtrooper-style soft pad covering his right shoulder. His belt is black with a gold buckle, and there are three sets of fancy buttons painted on his chest. The helmet is mostly white, with a black stripe around the back at cheek-height, and a golden crown painted on the cap. The red on the lower part of the helmet (outlining his "chin") simulates the interior of a real Nutcracker's hinged mouth.

This mold was introduced in 2019 as a GameStop exclusive, and was repainted with a different weapon as another GameStop exclusive the next year, but otherwise hasn't been seen since. The articulation isn't surprising, though - one Stormtrooper moves pretty much the same as any other, no matter what specialized name they have - and since his kama is softgoods, it won't block the legs at all. While the original release has two blaster rifles, this figure only gets one: the larger DC-15, painted not like some existing Nerf gun, but to match with the nutcracker colors (white body, gold trigger and grip, black and gold stock).

All the Black Series Holiday Edition figures come with a pack-in, and they're obviously running out of small things to include, because this is a repeat of one we just got last year: a Mouse Droid. Hasbro needs to get to work making some Black Series Woklings or Loth cats or Ahsoka's owl or Pit Droids or something tiny and cute from that Galactic Pals cartoon that can be repainted next year.

The 2023 Mouse Droid is... unclear. Putting an MSE with this figure makes thematic sense, since the antagonist of the ballet is the Mouse King, but that's just a name; the colorscheme has nothing to do with anything. It's light beige with a black stripe running over the top. That's it. What is this supposed to be? How is it "holiday"? It's not a present, it's not a snowman, it's not an elf... is it supposed to look like a nut that's been cracked? That's the only thing I can figure out, and it doesn't make any sense. If you've got a better guess, tell us.

The Holiday Edition Purge Trooper is a "Fan Channel" exclusive, but I ordered mine from Hasbro Pulse - no point in letting that Pulse Premium free shipping go to waste. The Nutcracker's colors make for a really striking toy when applied to Imperial armor. I just wish the pack-in made more sense.

-- 12/02/23

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