Every geek has his or her favorite Star Wars movie. For most of them, it's Empire. But personally, I dig Jedi - not because of the story or the characters, but because of the cool new vehicles. In terms of large transports, my absolute favorite is the AT-ST "chicken walker," introduced (of course) in RotJ. But for lightning-fast assaults, nothing beats the spry little speeder bikes. So it's great that we get to see that the speeders were in service well before the battle of Endor.
The Clone Troopers use speeder bikes for reconnaissance and fast-strike attacks during the Clone Wars battles. Small and swift, the speeder bikes provide the Clone Troopers with an excellent means of gaining information on the Separatist forces by approaching close to the opposing armies and retreating quickly with valuable intelligence. Their streamlined design and highly reactive maneuverability allows Clone Troopers to coordinate surprise attacks on small units away from the main Separatist armies.
As cool as a new white speeder bike is, there's something else about this set that really makes it worthwhile: the Clone Trooper has removable armor! Always a fun part of any toy line, from the earliest days of M.A.S.K. to the most recent SpyTroops, removable armor shows up with a nice regularity in the Star Wars line.
This particular trooper can strip off his chest armor and the pieces on his biceps and thighs to expose the black bodysuit beneath.
His helmet comes off so that you can see Jango Fett's cloned face and he moves at the neck, shoulders, left wrist, waist, hips and knees, though he does have that typical "saddle sore" posture that bike-riding figures often sport. His right elbow hangs loose as part of his action feature: press the button on his back and he swings his right arm to throw the included ion grenade.
The armor pieces all fit on nicely, though since they're molded from white plastic while the "permanent" armor is painted on, the colors can differ somewhat. In addition to the ion grenade (which looks like a land mine with electricity arcing all over it) the Trooper includes a blaster pistol that can plug into the frame of the speeder bike.
The bike is 8½" long and has the same basic design as every other Star Wars speeder toy: a tubular body, air foils jutting out the front and a pair of landing gear feet in the back. And just like all those other speeders, this bike is front-heavy; its feet are too far back to support it. There are a few surface changes to the toy - some blasters up front, a different set of handlebars, no exploding feature - but this is still the same cool bike that Luke and Leia took on a joyride through the forest.
After the paint job, the most obvious difference between this and the RotJ bike is the (comically) large missile launcher on the underside that fires a big red rocket. The bike looks beter without the 2½" long launcher, but the thing does help hold the front up by coming between it and the ground.
The Clone Trooper and his speeder bike don't make quite as nice a toy as Durge and his swoop. Bonus points for the removable armor especially, but the action feature just detracts and the missile is silly. While this isn't the best Clone Trooper ever released, it is a decent offering.