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Juno Eclipse

SW: The Force Unleashed
by Artemis

Let's be honest, the Lego Juno Eclipse is more fun as a toy - she may look like a cubist sculpture, but she comes with her own spaceship. What worries me is that there's probably some Star Wars fans who'd choose the spaceship over the woman for real.

Juno Eclipse is the Imperial captain of the Rogue Shadow. She is appointed by Darth Vader to pilot his Secret Apprentice throughout the galaxy. Haunted by a tragic past, Eclipse continues to serve the Empire loyally while secretly yearning for a new life.

Aren't Jedi supposed to have, y'know, mystical insight and stuff? You'd think with the entire Imperial Navy to choose from, Vader could have found a decent pilot who wasn't just itching to switch sides at a crucial moment, not to mention presumably drag his apprentice along with her? Maybe he just figured she'd brighten the place up, which shows you why it's a bad idea to be making command decisions with the charred cybernetic wreck of what's left of your penis. (If you ever thought it'd be cool to be Darth Vader, consider that last sentence and think again.)

Juno is, more or less, the first female Imperial Navy officer to get an action figure - so far as I know she's the first female Navy officer flat-out, but I'm sure some have cropped up in the Expanded Universe somewhere before now. She's in dress uniform, the black (or 97% grey, apparently) version worn by TIE pilots, Stormtroopers, and probably a few other branches of the Imperial military - since the only look they're allowed is "evil," it's no surprise they double up on department colours - and aside from her hands, she's perfectly serviceable as any female Navy officer, and would make a decent army builder. In fact, she has: this body showed up in a two-pack with a disguised Luke Skywalker before Juno came out.

The figure is sculpted pretty well, evident but subdued under the fairly neutral uniform (although no doubt there'll be some jokes about the double-breasted tunic), and she has all the necessary accessories for the uniform, including the rank cylinders, the silver buckle and little shoulder clasps, and that little silver button they all have on their caps. There's quite a lot of sculpted texture on the uniform, but with the dark base colour this tends to stand out only when it catches the light, adding a little realism to her without going overboard. Her hands are non-standard - rather than the dress gloves or bare hands normally seen, she wears tight open-backed gloves, presumably fit for use during precision flying. If you're building an Imperial Navy and want a generic female officer, it'd be a simple matter to paint the hands in flesh tone all over, and there's no stand-out sculptural elements that'd look bad in that case.

Juno has an attractive face, though fittingly for her position she looks all business, and doesn't wear any makeup - the plain skin around her eyes, combined with a slight sculpted prominence, makes her look a bit older than she's intended to be. Her eyes are painted quite delicately, although not with any remarkable amount of detail, and she has a simple pink paint app on her lips. This latter, to judge by the figures I chose from, can be highly variable - if you buy in person, make sure to check your options, because the "lipstick" being in slightly different places over the sculpt produces a surprising amount of variation in the look of the whole face, from aloof to disapproving to petulant to, frequently, just plain badly-painted. Her hair is silver blonde, almost white, and held back very severely in a tight twist - with her cap off her forehead looks quite high.

There's little to remark on with the rest of the paint - her uniform is black all over, with only the minor details requiring colour. The silver is applied fairly cleanly, with tiny red stripes picking out the rank cylinders; simple work, but effective at a glance. The only real shortcoming is the flesh tone, which works well enough on the backs of her hands exposed by her gloves, but on her neck is wavy at the uniform neckline, and doesn't quite match the plastic flesh tone of her face. It's a minor complaint though - in sculpt and paint, she looks good.

She's fairly well articulated by today's standards, and unlike some of the other recent Star Wars women, she doesn't suffer from feast-or-famine design with heavy articulation in her arms and none in her legs. She has the requisite balljoint neck, which, with her hair up, has a free range of motion in all three axes. Her shoulders and elbows are ratcheted balljoints, offering decent flexibility, and her wrists are swivels hidden inside the sleeves - mine has a very loose right wrist, possibly as a result of being packaged with her blaster elastic-banded into that hand, but that may vary with individual figures, and unless you give her a weighty accessory it shouldn't be a problem. She has a swivel waist above her belt, peg hips, and ratcheted balljoint knees and ankles - which sounds good, but the lack of y-axis (side to side) tilt on her feet means it's difficult getting them flat to the ground. With only peg hips her wide stance is more or less built in, which almost mandates posing her in "at ease" parade posture, with her hands behind her back - the arm articulation is sufficient to carry the pose off.

She comes with three accessories - none of them are a spacecraft this time, sadly. Her cap is removable, and while fairly simple like the rest of her uniform, is a fairly good example of action figure headgear, being thin enough to go on her head without looking goofy. She is armed with a standard Imperial blaster, the "submachine gun" heavy pistol kind, which is actually a fairly small, delicate accessory - the truth is, most accessory guns are bigger than they should be, while this one is closer to a realistic size. It's just plain black plastic, but that serves adequately. The blaster fits in her right hand; the left isn't sculpted closed, but has a very tight grip, so if you want to try giving her a two-handed grip on the blaster, make sure she doesn't end up bending the barrel sideways by mistake (who knew Imperial pilots were so strong?).

Lastly she has a base, the standard gunmetal grey plastic kind for this series, with her name printed on the angled front, and a single peg. I'm guessing the ankle articulation prevents the holes from being in the heels, but the holes in the balls of her feet are just too damn shallow - pushed in as far as it will go, her foot still doesn't touch the flat of the base, and since Star Wars figures aren't especially heavy at their scale, it's actually possible to pose her with both feet not touching the ground. I'm sure that'll be useful if there's ever an action figure of Fenchurch from Hitchhiker's Guide, but I ended up reaching for my Swiss Army Knife to cut the peg down to a more useful size. On the plus side, the fit is nice and tight, so Juno's not going to be falling over in a hurry.

Bottom line, Juno is a good figure. The base is an annoyance, but easily solved with the nearest knife, and while the swivel/pin ankles combined with the peg hips have trouble with some stances, the way she looks in at-ease really overshadows any small shortcomings. Oh, and the Force Unleashed cheat code that came with my Juno is LIGHTSABER, which makes your lightsaber more powerful. I'm glad they thought to include these codes, as I'm sure no-one would ever have thought to type "lightsaber" into the code entry field of a Star Wars game on their own.


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