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Sith & Imperial Troopers

SW: The Force Unleashed
by yo go re

A Force Unleashed box set with a bunch of alternate Stormtroopers? Here we go again!

Trained to survive the galaxy's most treacherous weather conditions, EVO troopers have enhanced armor that withstands heat, acid and lightning.

This is the third time the EVO Trooper has been released, and every time it's used the same bio, but trimmed a few words. The last version said "Trained to survive the galaxy's most treacherous weather conditions, EVO troopers have enhanced armor that withstands extreme heat, acid rivers and lightning," while the original read "Trained to survive the galaxy's most treacherous weather conditions, EVO Troopers are equipped with enhanced armor that can deal with hazards such as extreme heat, acid rivers, and lightning." Both those also listed info about his weapons that this bio neglects. It's minor stuff, but at this rate, the next one they put out will just say "Trained to withstand heat, acid and light."

This figure uses the same mold as the previous releases, but this is the first time we've gotten a "clean" version of the armor - there are lots of black, grey and silver details (and even a single red stripe on the helmet), but there's no dust or mud splatter anywhere. He comes with the same accessories, as well: backpack, chest-mounted air pack, backpack, filter tubes on the small of his back, two small blasters and a big FA-3 flechette launcher.

Using the power of the Force, this female Sith Lord can warp and control the minds of the weak and make them do her bidding.

Now, granted, I haven't played The Force Unleashed yet, but I have a good idea of the plotline and I'd never heard of Darth Phobos before I saw this set. Turns out she only appears in the Playstation 2 and Wii versions of the game, where she attacks Starkiller in the ruins of the Jedi Temple - which is especially impressive, since she's supposed to have been dead for millennia by that point. She apparently lived sometime around KOTOR times, and was so underhanded even by Sith standards that the rest of them turned on her and tried to blow up her ship. When that didn't work, they actually teamed up with the Jedi to finally defeat her. Damn!

Darth Phobos was a Theelin, which probably means nothing to you unless you're a gigantic nerd. Remember the pink dancer at Jabba's palace? The ones with horns on the side of her face? She's one of those. Phobos is blue, rather than red, and has a surprisingly neutral look on her face. She's got no expression! Shouldn't she look angry or sinister or something?

Often in these box sets, figures will have slightly less articulation than the average, but not Phobos: she has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows and knees, and swivel forearms, waist and hips. She has no ankles, but with her weird hoof-like feet, that may be for the best. She's sculpted with a slight twist in her torso, and there's a notch in her hair so she can still look straight ahead. She's armed with a double-bladed lightsaber, which is just more proof that the Original Trilogy is the only brief period in history when those weren't commonplace.

Darth Phobos has a lot of complex paint apps, and they're all done well. Her light blue skin has dark blue stripes, and her deep egplant dress is dotted with plum speckles. The edges are crisp all over, even on the (sculpted) laces closing the back of her gown. This is a quite good presentation for a figure, better even than we see on many single-carded offerings, so congratulations to Hasbro for that. NECA's Predators have proved how hard those paint apps are to get correct.

Starkiller is the secret apprentice of Darth Vader and the son of Jedi. Vader trains him in the ways of the Force and promises to reward him with great power.

This is the sixth Starkiller figure we've gotten since the guy was introduced in 2008 - that's a hell of a collection! This one is wearing the Sith outfit Vader gave him on his first official mission, which comprises black, red-lined robes, a padded grey shirt and a bit of silver armor over the chest and shoulders. Honestly, it looks like what Darth Vader might have been wearing if he hadn't been turned into a half-robot by Obi-Wan: you know, a more human take on Vader's life-supporting suit.

The hooded cape is removable, allowing you to see the full head beneath. Starkiller may have originated in a videogame, but he still had a real actor behind him: Sam Witwer, of Battlestar Galactica and Being Human fame. This sculpt is good, but the likeness isn't very strong - something between this and the last attempt would be perfect.

This figure's articulation is also up to par: swivel/hinge ankles, knees, elbows and shoulders, swivel hips, waist and wrists, and a balljointed head. In addition to the rob, he includes his distinctive lightsaber, with the hooks around the blade. There's a hole in his belt where the hilt can be hung, but he doesn't include an uningnited version, making that useless.

The navy commando officer leads a squad that consists of several troopers, a sergeant and a medic.

It may seem ridiculous of us to review the officer before the standard trooper, but hey, we're just going in the order the box set presents them to us. The officer is just the regular guy with two additions: an antenna on his helmet and an orange Sandtrooper-style pauldron on his right shoulder. The figure has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel wrists, a balljointed torso (of all things), swivel hips, swivel/hinge knees and swivel/hinge ankles. He's armed with a standard Imperial blaster, and has an environmental backpack that plugs into a purpose-designed slot on his back; there are various bumps and blocks that have matching recesses on the figure's back, rather than just a simple tab.

Navy commandos are specially trained troopers that guard key imperial facilities and provide covering fire for other units.

The Imperial Navy Commando is not just any Stormtrooper - their armor is sort of a cross between standard Stormtrooper armor and the specialized gear worn by Biker Scouts. Like the Scouts, the Navy Commando has large gaps in his armor that reveal the black bodysuit beneath. He has large pockets on his thighs, an exposed midriff and bare biceps. A bundle of three narrow pouches are mounted on the left breast of the armor, and he has a thick belt with several accoutrements spaced around it (another difference from the Officer: this belt has small white pouches at the right hip, while the officer's belt has large black ones). There's a holster on the right leg for the blaster rifle.

The helmet is wider than the standard Stormtrooper brain-bucket, and has a flared ridge around the back that's reminiscent of Vader's. The visor is larger and wider as well, allowing for better sight. There are two ports on the front where tubes could be plugged in, similar to the EVO Trooper, in case they had to go to harsh environments.

The Imperial Navy Troopers, like Darth Phobos, is only seen in the PS2/Wii versions of the game - so this box set has a definite theme going on. I'm a total sucker for Stormtrooper variants, but you don't have to be to like what you find here: of the five figures in this set, only one is a pre-existing mold, three have never had any kind of toy representation before, and even the ones who have been toys have never looked like this. The set is expensive, but it offers a lot of value for its price: five figures, no lame ones.

-- 01/28/12

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