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ARC Trooper Commander

SW: Clone Wars
by yo go re

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones introduced the Grand Army of the Republic, aka the Clone Troopers. The standard armor was a little too boring for me, but with a few nice additions, you get the much cooler ARC Trooper.

The ultimate supercommandos, the ARC (Advanced Recon Commando) troopers are clones who were personally trained by Jango Fett. Only a select number of ARC troopers were bred and trained before Jango's untimely demise at the Battle of Geonosis. Activated shortly after the start of the Clone Wars, ARC troopers are used for only the most dangerous missions in which a substantial amount of independent thought and iniative is required. They are equipped with highly advanced clone trooper armor and formidable heavy weaponry. Whether they are fighting on their own or at the side of the Jedi, the ARC troopers are a symbol of the Republic's military superiority over the droid armies of the Confederacy.

ARC Troopers were first seen in the Clone Wars cartoon, which may explain why the design of this toy feels slightly less detailed than some of his Vintage Collection brethren. Maybe I'm just imagining it, but it certainly feels like the sculptural extravagance has been played down a bit, even though the bulk of this toy's body is pulled from the same molds as the 2011 VC Clone Trooper. The armor itself is very smooth, but even the belt and the pauldron/collar piece look atypically unadorned. He wears his animated origins on his sleeve.

The head, however, is a different story. If you remove the helmet - a standard "Phase 1" Clone helmet woth the addition of a (non-articulated) antenna on the right - there's a fully detailed Temuera Morrison face underneath. This is apparently Captain Fordo, though it's not like there's anything on the packaging to reveal that; he could easily be any ARC Trooper with red paint on his armor, couldn't he? Why does he have to be Fordo? Whoever he is, he's got a fauxhawk and a soul patch.

Actually, a note about that red paint: the packaging identifies this toy as "ARC Trooper Commander," but Commanders wore yellow - it's Captains who wear red. Though Fordo was often called "commander" in the stories, it was a job title, not a rank.

Since the Clone Wars cartoon was bridging the gap between Episode 2 and Episode 3, Fordo changed his armor during the course of the show. By the time Grievous invaded Coruscant, the clones were in their "Phase II" armor (the kind that looked closer to the eventual Stormtrooper design) - the ARC Troopers included - so this figure includes extra pieces to convert him to his second design. It's just a new helmet and belt/pauldron combo, but the change is quite effective (in no small part because the new look loses the softgoods kama the prior one had).

Beyond the fancy hats and pretty belts so that you can play dress-up with your new dolly, he comes with two DC17 hand blasters, the weapon of choice for high-ranking and specialized Clone Troopers during the Clone Wars. His Phase I belt has two holsters, while thw Phase II belt only has one. The figure has a balljointed head and torso, then swivel/hinge joints at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles.

Whether or not this is Fordo, it's a great ARC Trooper. You get plentiful articulation and enough accessories to turn him into two different figures? Sure beats the 5 POA crap they're putting out now.

-- 06/14/14

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