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Clone Trooper (327th Star Corps)

SWIII: Revenge of the Sith
by Artemis

So let's review the 327th Star Corps. They're engineered and trained to the peak of physical form, they're all but incapable of disobeying an order from a superior officer, they've got no inconvenient social conditioning, and they're a bunch of studly Maori guys. And they got given to Aayla Secura. So, did she? Like hell she wouldn't have.

The clone troopers in the 327th Star Corps are led by Clone Commander Bly and serve with Jedi General Aayla Secura on several planets in the Outer Rim Territories. This elite corps is distinguished by the yellow markings on their armour.

In Attack of the Clones, all of the clone troopers look absolutely identical (literally, since they're all the same CGI model). Well that ain't gonna sell many toys, so the moment the dust had settled on Geonosis, the Republic and Hasbro set about creating more variations of clone than there are colours of lipstick. And when you're so stuck for extra names that you're calling them "Cha Cha Cherry" and "Boy Magnet," you're well beyond the basics. The lipsticks, that is, not the clones. Well, maybe; who knows? Most of them sound like they got named after someone's pet dog; around here that'd result in clones called Lily, so anything's possible.

This clone, although he's not specifically named on the packaging, looks identical to an image on Wookieepedia of one Lieutenant Galle - his equipment as well as his face, smartass. He's wearing Phase II armour - that's the more stormtrooper-y kind from Sith - with the addition of a kama (open-fronted skirt) and a shoulder pauldron, though the latter is removable if you take his head off first; the bandolier strap doesn't actually attach to anything on his belt, though it does a decent job of looking like it does. On the down side, when in place the pauldron means the helmet can't quite rest as far down on the head as it should, so you can still see the bottom of the wearer's chin poking out the bottom.

The body... well, it's a clone trooper, Hasbro pretty much know what they're doing with them by now. Since the helmet and kama are softer plastic than the body itself their sculpts are a little shallower, less defined, though good paintwork on the helmet, particularly the fine black lines of the visor slit and the seam just above it, make the soft sculpt far less noticeable there. The ring of the shoulder joints are a slightly duller, darker shade of tan than the painted markings on the rest of the shoulder (and body), but with the pauldron on they're covered up, so it's no big deal - even without it's not a huge issue. Oddly, the inner rings of the ankle joint - which are nowhere near a tan marking that'd connect up to them - are also the tan plastic, which does look a tad odd when you use those joints. One other peculiarity is that the kama's holsters mean possibly-Galla can't have his arms at rest by his sides.

The helmet is soft because it's removable, revealing the standard clone trooper face beneath - Temuera Morrison plus enough CGI variation so's Lucasfilm don't have to pay him every time they use a clone. The face is a good sculpt, and accurate so far as I can recall - the only clones I've seen recently have been the CG-animated Clone Wars ones, and since I haven't seen Sith since its premiere, my memory's a little hazy on it (I got roped into a weekly Star Wars viewing party not so long ago, but luckily Sith turned up the same week as the first volume Empowered, so I read a rather good comic while everyone else suffered). The demonic red eyes you'll see in the photo aren't an issue except under extreme magnification - it's just a better way of faking brown eyes at that scale; the only real problem, helmet off, is that whoever painted the neck thought that the clones were Caucasian. Oops.

It may or may not be based on a particular character, but the figure's also an army-builder - the generic body as well as this specific 357th incarnation of it [good thing, too, since we've had it before --ed.] - so it's got a decent share of articulation to make those massed-troops dioramas look good (mind you, Star Wars figures in general are pretty spiffy these days joint-wise). There's the balljoint neck and swivel waist for the body; swivel/pin shoulders and elbows, and swivel wrists for the arms (easily capable of wielding weapons one- or two-handed realistically); and pin hips, and swivel/pin knees and ankles for the legs. The kama restricts backward motion of the legs - it's soft, but not that soft - but for once I'm not slightly irked that they haven't switched to swivel/pin hips yet, since it'd get in the way of those anyway.

Even if you count the helmet and pauldron as parts of the uniform, maybe-Galle has a decent little arsenal of toys to keep him warm at night; well, the silly buggers got rid of Aayla, they'll need something to play with. The holsters contain a pair of stubby little blaster pistols, for two-fisted John Woo gunplay, plus he's got a submachine-gun-sized blaster, and one of those heavy long-barrelled marksman rifles. All the blasters are just plain black plastic, unpainted, but they serve their purpose even so.

Perhaps-Galle also comes with a Build-A-Droid bit, the torso of MA-RA-7, a shiny brushed steel RA-7, the fairly useless administrative assistant droids commissioned by the Empire for its officers, so many of whom wound up aboard the Death Star that the model became known as the "Death Star droid" (until it blew up, obviously). In fact, the droids were made rubbish on purpose, so that their recipients would shove them in a corner and forget about them, thus facilitating their actual purpose of spying on their owners. The torso is quite a nice silver, with a shallow balljoint waist at the top of the wiry bit, and connectors for swivel joints where the extremities plug in.

I'm no expert on storm/clone trooper figures - I've bought a few occasionally for the droid bits (affordable if they're on sale, and there's a girl or two in the assortment to make it viable financially), but never paid much attention to them. This guy looks like a good deal to me, though - what foibles he has are minor, he's well sculpted and painted, can move decently, and has enough accessories for several different display options - gunfighter, rifleman, etc. Solid work all 'round, then.

-- 07/11/09

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