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By Thomas Wheeler

Can't get enough of the Empire from Star Wars? Then Toys "R" Us has the four-pack for you. Although most of the figures within the set are previous releases, there's more than enough reasons to pick up this set for any fairly faithful collector of Star Wars.

The four figures include a Stormtrooper, an AT-ST Driver, Darth Vader, and Imperial Droid R4-I9.

The Stormtrooper is one of the more greatly articulated ones, able to move at the head, arms, swivel elbows, waist, legs, and knees. I don't think George Lucas has ever topped this classic design for the all-purpose space trooper. Don't get me wrong, the Clone Troopers are cool. But the helmet design for the Stormtrooper has more of a "face" to it, and yet manages to be rather anonymous-looking.

The AT-ST Driver -- honesty, I don't recall seeing this particular version before. The goggles are not placed in front of the eyes but rather are raised up on the helmet. The figure's face is plainly visible, and it looks like the helmet should be removable, but it's not. Even the figure's hair has been painted. The AT-ST Driver is nicely articulated, at the head, arms, swivel elbows, gloves, waist, and legs. The Imperial insignia on one arm isn't done quite correctly, a rather surprising oversight in my opinion.

Personally, I wish Hasbro would reissue the AT-ST vehicle one more time. I know a number of people, myself included, who have missed out on its prior releases.

I have no idea which of the many Darth Vader figures the one that comes with this four-pack is, but it's a very decent Darth Vader figure. The copyright on it reads 2001. The figure has a nice combination of gloss and matte black, and isn't so pre-posed that one feels the toy couldn't be reasonably played with -- or displayed -- in multiple environments. Vader is very nicely articulated, with special attention having been paid to the right arm, allowing a wide variety of poses for lightsaber duels.

Lastly we have the one somewhat new figure in this mix, the Imperial Droid R4-I9. Obviously recoloration of the previous R4 droid, R4-M9, this is such an extensive recoloration that it practically amounts to an entirely new figure. R4-I9 has been done completely in black. He has silver trim, a retractable third leg, and his two side legs are very nicely poseable. Overall, a very worthwhile addition to the Star Wars collection.

Still, just four figures do not quite a boxed set make, so Hasbro has thrown in an abundance of accessories for this special four-pack. Along with an Imperial Interrogator Droid and the popular Mouse Droid, whose sudden fleeing from Chewbacca in the first movie will probably go down in Star Wars history the same way that poor skier's tumble went down in history as the "agony of defeat" for the opening credits of ABC's Wide World of Sports, the boxed set also includes 2 Stormtrooper blasters, a heavy blaster rifle, a weapon for the AT-ST Driver, a lightsaber for Darth Vader, a blaster rack, and a huge Imperial tripod cannon with generator container and firing projectile.

With the newest shipments of single-carded Star Wars figures being scarce and hard to find (there's a reason I haven't reviewed Aayla Secura, or Yoda and the Jedi trainee kids, or much of anyone else lately -- I can't FIND them!), this four-pack is a nice treat for long-starved Star Wars collectors, and really, not a bad way at all to build up the Imperial ranks, get a generous amount of weapons, a good version of Vader, and a new droid! I definitely recommend this set -- assuming IT hasn't vanished by the time this review is first posted...!