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REVIEW:
STAR WARS 327th STAR CORPS CLONE TROOPER & BARC CLONE TROOPER
By Thomas Wheeler

This review, I'd like to take a look at two newcomers to the Star Wars Legacy Collection, the figures based on the movies and other elements of Star Wars not affiliated with the current CGI "Clone Wars" series. Although, both figures are Clone Troopers. One has the rather lengthy title of "327th Star Corps Clone Trooper", and the other is a BARC Trooper. Let's start with the 327th Star Corps.

Technically, that name might seem to mean a whole lot in and of itself. But it is an impressive design, and unlike a few other Clone divisions that have been brought forth into the toy line -- not that there's anything wrong with them -- the 327th Star Corps did in fact appear in the Episode III movie!

Admittedly, that appearance was a rather brief one, and it was right after the infamous "Order 66" had been given, so it's not an especially pleasant appearance, but they are present in the film.

The 327th Star Corps was an elite corps of clone troopers during the Clone Wars. They were one of the most active units in the Grand Army of the Republic, and fell under the 2nd Sector Army and Systems Army Alpha.

The troops of the 327th Star Corps were distinguished by striped yellow markings running the length of their armor and, as a result of Clone Marshal Commander Bly's ARC training, his troopers were allowed to don kamas and command pauldrons.

The 327th Star Corps was deployed for the first time at the Battle of Geonosis and remained active all the way to the last days of the Clone Wars. Jedi General Aayla Secura was assigned to the Corps after her mission to Hypori, which took place four months into the war.

Under the control of Aayla Secura and Clone Commander Bly, the 327th served as the Republic's spearhead into the Outer Rim Territories in the latter days of the Clone Wars. Their name was derived from the actions they engaged in on the Outer Rim, never seeing Coruscant and rarely stationed in one place for more than a week. The troopers of the 327th saw action on such diverse worlds as New Holstice, Anzat, Dromund Kaas, and Honoghr.

The corps was deployed in full force during the Republic's five-month siege of Saleucami, which pitted the Jedi and their clone troopers against a massive Morgukai clone army. After the CIS forces were crushed, the 327th were deployed to the Commerce Guild purse world Felucia in an attempt to capture Presidente Shu Mai. Arriving aboard the Venator-class Star Destroyer Intrepid, the initial days of the assault saw a string of success for Bly and his troops, despite the fact that Shu Mai managed to elude capture.

As the 327th pushed through the planet's southern hemisphere, with some help from the elite 501st Legion, Bly received Order 66 via a top-secret channel. Order 66 branded Aayla Secura and the rest of the Jedi in command of the corps as enemies of the Republic. When Aayla was distracted by a low-flying bird, Bly and his lieutenants poured blaster fire into their Jedi General.

Presumably, the 327th went on to capture Felucia. It continued to faithfully serve the Galactic Empire after its creation.

Although inspired by the Thyrsus Sun Guard belt spats, kamas were more traditionally associated with Mandalorian warriors. ARC troopers, along with the clone commanders later, popularized this flexible anti-blast armor. Republic leadership was reluctant to allow widespread use of the potentially controversial symbol until it was pointed out that the kama was also worn by indigenous Republic fighters of Rotas V.

The sturdy leather kama was often derided as a "skirt" by the regular army. The ARC troopers found this criticism spurious in light of the kama's practicality as protection against crippling injury from low-flying shrapnel and debris on chaotic battlefields. Clone jet troopers also instituted kama as a way of protecting the legs against jetpack downwash.

Kamas were used primarily by ARC troopers, not only for protection, but as a symbol of rank; most high-ranking or elite clone troopers wore them to signify their high rank.

So apparently the "skirt" joke existed even within the Star Wars universe. But it sounds like it's a joke that would only be made once by the average sentient, before being given some background on it, probably from a ticked-off Clone Trooper.

You don't tease a Scotsman about his kilt, and you don't tease a Clone Trooper about his kama...

So, how's the figure? Really nice. I am always willing to bring a new Clone Trooper into my collection, as long as he has a good look and a decent amount of articulation to him. Fortunately, this guy qualifies on both counts.

There are several sets of body molds out there -- three, really -- for Clone Troopers which would qualify to varying degrees as "Super-Articulated". The one that seems to get the most use when it comes to making a Clone Trooper that's carrying a little extra ornamentation such as a kama and pauldron (the shoulder armor) is the one that's used here.

It also features a removable helmet with the traditional Jango/Clone head underneath it. Honestly, this is something I could just as well do without. For one thing, we KNOW what they all look like, okay? Secondly, there's the unfortunate consequence that as a result of the helmet having to be a separate piece that fits over the existing head, the helmeted head tends to look just a little too big at times. It's not too bad here, though, but I've seen it happen.

One problem with giving a figure a removable helmet and the pauldron, though, is that the helmet tends not to fit down all the way. You can see the figure's chin underneath the helmet.

Articulation is excellent. The figure is poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. Most of these points of articulation have a multiple range of motion. Here is also the one main articulation difference between this edition of the Clone Trooper and the other one. This one moves at the waist. The other version moves at a mid-torso point. In that one's case, it actually works better than on some other figures I've seen, since it can be worked into the armor design. Most of the time, I prefer waist articulation, but on the Clone Troopers, it works well either way.

The only other difference is that sometimes the black "undersuit" detailing on this Clone Trooper mold is not as well painted, since I think it's done by hand, rather than through paint mask stencils. A certain sloppiness tends to be inevitable as such. Fortunately, this particular individual 327th Clone isn't too badly off, but as often as this set of molds has seen use, I'd think someone could spring to have stencils made by now. The same could be said for the kama, although I am pleased to be calling it something other than a skirt or the not entirely accurate tunic at this point.

The yellow striping described is carried out more as a deep yellow-gold on this figure. That's fine, it's still within the yellow category. And given the sheer number of colors and patterns on these Clone Troopers, it's a wonder they haven't run out of regions of the spectrum to use. I keep expecting to see pink one of these days, but I guess that color of armor may be left to certain of the Halo Spartans.

The dark yellow striping runs vertically down the helmet and chestplate, down the arms, and is also present on the knee pads and around the ankles.

One thing I especially appreciate is that this Clone Trooper doesn't have a lot of weathering and battle damage. While the Star Wars line can get away with that practice a bit better than some other toy lines, and I've learned to live with it in this case in order to grow my Clone Collection, it's still not a procedure that I approve of, and anytime a "clean" Clone comes out, I'm especially happy with that. (The fact that fans requested a clean Sandtrooper, of all things, a while back, should tell Hasbro I'm not the only one that feels that way, too.)

The 327th Star Corps Clone Trooper is also very well armed. There are two holsters on his kama, each of which has a small, removable pistol.

Somewhat less likely to become vacuum victims are the more standard pistol-sized blaster, although it's definitely larger and more complex in design than the one usually issued with the average Clone Trooper, and a longer rifle. All of these weapons are very well made and nicely sculpted and detailed.

The 327th Star Corps Clone Trooper is in an assortment that include Jedi Stass Allie, Clone Commander Faie, whom I expect to be rather popular, the latest version of General Grievous, Bail Organa and his wife Breha Organa, and a scary-looking FX-6 Medical Droid.

Now, let's consider the BARC Trooper. There's something about the name "BARC Trooper", though. Okay, I know, it's an abbreviation. But still, doesn't it sound like the canine corps division of the Clone Army? I mean, do they even HAVE dogs in the Star Wars galaxy? I don't think I've ever seen one. But come on, you hear, "Send in the BARC troopers", and I expect to see a bunch of Clones with cloned, armor-wearing German Shepherds or some such.

The Biker Advanced Recon Commando trooper, also known as BARC Trooper, was the product of genius of Clone Marshal Commander Bacara, and was a specialized Clone Trooper division trained to handle the BARC speeders deployed during the Clone Wars.

BARC troopers saw action during the last years of the war. During the Battle of Kashyyyk, the BARC troopers saw action against the Confederacy tank droids and dwarf spider droids.Also a platoon of these troopers under Commander Neyo was out on a recon mission with Adi Gallia when the platoon commander received the "Order 66" command, and without hesitation carried out his orders.

The BARC trooper was one of the many specialized clone units bred on Kamino to operate new equipment introduced into the Grand Army of the Republic. They were a specialized branch of the limited ARC troopers, trained to handle vehicles. BARC troopers worked exclusively with BARC speeder bikes, and were trained to fly these vehicles at high speeds even across difficult terrain or dangerous battlefields.

The first time the BARC Trooper turned up in action figure form, it was in a Wal-Mart exclusive two-pack. This set came with the aforementioned Commander Neyo, a BARC Clone Trooper, and two BARC Speeder Bikes. The bikes were identical in design, if not color, to the one that had come with a Jedi figure some time earlier. If you had her, you could effectively re-create the "Order 66" scene from the movie.

The two Clones -- Neyo and the Clone Trooper -- in this set, were essentially identical except for their helmets, which were themselves of a distinctive design and rather unlike any other Clone Trooper helmets. Commander Neyo wore a helmet that, instead of the fairly wide, angled visor with the tapering vertical area that ended near the mouth, had two triangular slits for eyes, and more ridged "mouth" region.

The BARC Clone Trooper had a visor on his helmet. Many BARC troopers, although not all of them, wore a modified variant of the regular clone trooper armor, with a blindered helmet that directs the trooper's view directly forwards, allowing him to better concentrate on his route.

I think that "although not all of them" has been a bit of a way for Hasbro to continue to produce Clones Troopers using the helmet that technically belonged to Commander Neyo, but was really less complex in design, since it lacked the "blindered" visor, and put it to use for general BARC-affiliated Clone Troopers.

One other recent figure in the Legacy Collection has simply been named "Saleucami Clone Trooper", since that is the planet that they were featured on in the movie, and basically, it's the Commander Neyo figure from the two-pack.

The next time the BARC Trooper showed up, and this time pretty much identical in appearance to the one now available on a single card, it was in one of the Target exclusive "Order 66" two-packs. This figure was sold with Tsui Choi, a rather diminutive Jedi Master who had appeared in the Star Wars comic books taking place during the time of the Clone Wars, produced by Dark Horse Comics. Tsui Choi came to a rather bad end in the one-shot, post-Episode III book entitled "Purge", but he was an interesting looking character, and proof that Yoda wasn't the only really short Jedi around.

So now we have the BARC Trooper on an individual card. Clearly, Hasbro recognizes that there is a distinct market for Clone Troopers, especially among collectors who regard themselves as "army-builders". I have seen photographic displays that come from people that -- well, they have extremely impressive and very large collections and I sort of hope that they don't live all that close to me or I wouldn't be finding any Clone Troopers much of anywhere.

The BARC Trooper is an extremely cool figure. For the most part, it's a standard Clone Trooper, and the figure uses what has been described as the "Super-Articulated" body. One of the cool things about the basic design of any Clone Trooper is that it's entirely possible to incorporate the articulation points into the design of the figure so they don't show too much. The black "undersuit" of the average Clone Trooper is the perfect place to locate those articulation points without having to stick them in the midst of the otherwise fairly smooth white armor.

There are several extensively-articulated Clone Trooper molds out there, but the one used here, whatever helmet he might have, is my personal favorite. Along with being the most extensively articulated, it's also invariably the most neatly painted. There's another set of body molds out there, and it seems that for whatever reason, the black "undersuit" trim on that one tends to get done by hand, and as such can turn out rather sloppily, as opposed to this one, where clearly proper paint mask stencils have been used on the entirety of the figure.

The BARC Trooper of course has the distinctive helmet, and a certain amount of yellow striping on the armor. There's a yellow stripe down the front of the helmet and the chestplate, down both arms, and on the knees. One of these days, I'm sort of hoping there'll be an "in-universe" explanation for why, when the Clone Troopers became Stormtroopers, they went for that "all white" look. I rather enjoy the color marking variances (although there's nothing wrong with an all- white Clone Trooper, either).

This BARC Trooper has a few scuffs painted onto his armor. While the Star Wars universe can arguably get away a little better with weathering and paint damage, it's still a practice I am not personally fond of. However, if one is going to own and collect Clone Troopers, one had better get used to it.

One thing I'd like to note -- a lot of Clone Troopers (specifically those that use this set of body molds) have a communications antenna that's a separate piece that protrudes from the back armor. Usually this thing just pops off when you're trying to get the figure out of its package. I generally recommend putting these little pieces in a Ziploc bag so they don't become vacuum victims. There's also the alternative with the antenna of gluing it in place. Curiously, though, the antenna on this BARC trooper seems to stay put very well on its own -- and it's not glued!

While the BARC Trooper does not come with a speeder bike, the text on the back of his package card does point out right off the bat that these troopers do customarily use BARC Speeders to get around, which among other things gives them the ability to carry far greater firepower than most Clone Troopers.

The BARC Trooper may not come with a speeder, but he sure as heck comes with the firepower! It's just about shoulder-high to the figure, so figure out what that would be in real life, and is big in every sense of the word. It's mostly black with some very neatly painted grey detailing on it.

I'm not entirely sure what the official designation of this weapon is, but suffice to say it's one BIG multi-barreled gun that looks like it would make the Terminator himself drool with envy, and could probably take out a whole bunch of Battle Droids, the tank they're riding in, the ship that delivered the tank, and then do it again as soon as the Clone Trooper resets his dislocated shoulder from firing the thing. This is not a weapon you'd want to be on the wrong end of if the Clone Trooper carrying it was having a bad day.

AND -- if that isn't enough, there's the "Battle Gear". Much as the Indiana Jones line of action figures came with little cardboard boxes designed to look like wooden shipping crates, and each one came with a little replica of some archaeological artifact, so some of the "Legacy Collection" figures have been coming with these "Battle Gear" boxes -- those that haven't been coming with "Droid Factory" parts, anyway. Since a significant number of the figures in the given assortments tend to be Clone Troopers, ad since the boxes are mostly white, with detailing to make them look like weapons storage lockers, the boxes have taken on the colloquial name of "Clone Locker" among some collectors.

I honestly hadn't paid enough attention to know what to expect. I figured maybe a couple of medium-sized weapons might be within. So I opened the box and -- half a dozen assorted pieces of artillery came out.

Every piece is unique, and range in size from the little pistol that a lot of ARC Troopers come with and keep in their holsters on their tunic-skirts, all the way up to this wide-barreled thing that's almost as long as the massive piece of ordnance that the BARC Trooper is already equipped with. In between we have a large pistol and three assorted rifles, one with a strap, all excellent detailed, nicely sculpted, and all looking capable of doing a great deal of damage in the Star Wars universe.

So, let's get this right -- the BARC Trooper already comes equipped with the single biggest piece of firepower I think a single individual would be capable of carrying and using on his own. Then this cardboard footlocker gives him six more distinctive weapons? This particular Clone is going to be treated with a great deal of respect and courtesy.

So what's my final word here? Well, some of you may be saying, "Come on, what's the big deal? This clone's already been available once, in a two-pack, and versions of him have been available elsewhere." Okay -- technically accurate. It's also just as accurate to state that there are people who will happily pick up as many multiples of Clone Troopers, in as many variations as Hasbro is willing and able to turn out, as they can get their hands on and as their bank accounts will allow.

I'm not a collector to THAT degree. Wish I could be a bit more than I am. But I do try to have at least one or two of any given existing Clone Trooper, at least those derived from the movies and their connected material (I'm not collecting the line based on the animated series), as I possibly can. I may not have a Grand Army of the Republic here, but I've got a pretty decent selection of Clones, that I am pleased to have. Always room for one more. Especially one that brings this much hardware to the party. If you're an accessory hound, then you need to get this guy or one of the other Clones that comes with this weapons locker.

Even so, this BARC TROOPER is a distinctive Clone Trooper with an interesting helmet design, and is a cool addition to any Star Wars collection. And certainly, the 327th Star Corps Clone Trooper is a very interesting and impressive addition, more ornately outfitted than some, and would also be a welcome addition to anyone's Clone Army. The STAR WARS LEGACY COLLECTION 327th STAR CORPS TROOPER and BARC TROOPER definitely have my highest recommendation!