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Biker Scout

SWVI: Return of the Jedi
by yo go re

As the Star Wars movies went on, the Stormtroopers we saw got more and more exotic. First came the Sandtroopers with their shoulder pauldrons, then the Spacetroopers with their little backpacks, followed by the skirt-wearing Snowtroopers, and finally the one that's furthest from the starting point, the Scout Trooper.

These stormtroopers are stationed on planets instead of Imperial vessels. Their lightweight, flexible armor allows them to maneuver the high-velocity speeder bikes that they ride while conducting patrols - or when they're chasing Rebel intruders like the ones they encounter on Endor's moon.

This figure is a direct re-release of the 2006 VTSC (Variable Television Signal Collector or some stupid crap like that) Biker Scout, proving yet again that anyone who paid $12 for superfluous packaging is a gullible chump. Though you have to wonder why re-releasing these particular toys is acceptable, but the fanboys get up in arms if Hasbro tries to find a way to make other rarities available to the folks who mised out. We've said it before and we'll say it again: there's just no pleasing the Star Wars dorks.

The Biker Scout's armor has a wonderfully impressive sculpt. The chest armor has angled flares, and his backpack power generator - used to control the suit's various functions - has some very small details. His abdomen looks like it's covered in thick cloth, the better to maximize mobility. It's the same reason the scout troopers have so much black showing. Can't go sneaking around the woods or balling up on the seat of a speeder bike in the full suit of armor, right? His knee pads are detailed nicely, and the armor on his hips is actually part of his separate belt, so the legs move beneath it rather than just having the pieces sculpted on.

We get the familiar Scout Trooper helmet, with the visor designed to focus all his attention forward. Because peripheral vision is overrated. The helmet has integrated macrobinoculars, and probably some kind of super-advanced HUD that keeps the wearer from running into trees at high speed. Most of the time. Almost comically, there's a sort of vent sculpted on the back right side of the helmet, and a matching paint app on the back left side.

Articulation is plentiful. The Scout has balljointed ankles, knees, elbows and shoulders, swivel gloves, one of those chests that has the range of motion of a balljoint, and a ball and socket head. His legs aren't quite wide enough to ride a speeder bike, but then, he doesn't come with one. His only accessory is the small blaster that fits in his boot. Of course, that's not so weird, if you think about it: not all the Scouts got to ride the bikes; some just moved on foot, doing their job quietly and without notice.

This Biker Scout is a couple years old at this point, but it's still a great figure. The only additional feature I might have wished for (beyond the obvious - a bike) would be a flip-up faceplate on the helmet to reveal the guy inside. Of course, we all know how well that would go over. But that just brings us back to the beginning, and the idea that no matter what Hasbro does, the Star Wars fans will never be happy. For everyone else, though? Those of us out here in the real world who appreciate the hard work that goes into good toys? The Biker Scout is a worthy buy.

-- 03/28/09

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