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Imperial Jumptrooper

SW: The Force Unleashed
by yo go re

When it comes to Star Wars, the toys are considered canon. Hasbro submits the figures to Lucasfilm, and everything has to be approved. A Boba Fett toy has a removable helmet that shows Temuera Morrison's face? Then that's what he looks like. Darth Nihilus has black hair under his hood? Then that's what it is, even though it's never been shown anywhere else. Sure, if the toy's "facts" are later contradicted by a superior source, then they're no longer the final word, but until then? Toys are where it's at. For instance, the Imperial Jumptrooper.

Equipped with jet backpacks, Imperial jumptroopers burst through the air in short spurts. Their long-range rail detonators eliminate all enemy targets from any vantage point. As the Emperor extends his iron-fisted rule, jumptroopers join Imperial forces from Outer Rim planets to more central locations like the Death Star.

These guys, who debuted in The Force Unleashed, weren't given any specific name in the game or the instruction manual. The Star Wars Miniatures game from Wizards of the Coast included the same kind of soldier in their Force Unleashed booster expansion, but called it the Raxus Prime Trooper. That's pretty much a misnomer, since they show up on more than just that planet, and that's why Hasbro's name has so far won out.

The Jumptrooper's armor is more "normal" than the EVO Trooper's, though it does share some similarities: the grey shoulder and knee pads, the air tank on the chest with a hose running around the side, two pods on the back of the belt, stuff like that. This figure's sculpt is entirely new, still; no re-used parts. Interestingly, he seems to have a coil of rope stowed on his back - a suitable feature for someone stationed on a planet where getting from place to place involves scaling huge piles of industrial trash.

Even the helmet is similar to the EVO Trooper's, with the extra detailing around the sides. The Jumptrooper only has a single hose running from the center of his mask to his chest, and has the addition of biker scout-style visor. He still has a red stripe on the forehead, but the outlining paint on the sides of the helmet is rather sloppy. Still, it's a good look overall, just different enough from the regular Stormtroopers to stand out.

The articulation is standard, but there is an oddity with his construction. The armor covering his butt and groin are molded as part of his belt, so there are large, visible gaps where they then meet with the actual body beneath. It's an odd choice with inexplicable motivations, and it doesn't work well. On the plus side, that does do its part to make this guy not look like every other Stormtrooper.

Another disappointment? Accessories. The Jumptrooper comes with the standard-issue BlasTech E-11 blaster, which he can hold well, but you know what he doesn't come with? The "jet backpack" and "long-range rail detonator" specifically mentioned on the back of the damn card. And the jetpack is what puts the "jump" in the Jumptroopers' name! Come on, that's not right. There isn't even a hole back there you could plus someone else's jetpack into. Lovely.

Despite the strange construction and the absent accessories, the Jumptrooper is still a good toy. If you just want a variant Stormtrooper, he's a decent find - but if you want the specific character seen in the videogame, with his little jetpack, you'll be disappointed.

-- 01/17/09

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