REVIEW: STAR WARS THE CLONE WARS - 41st ELITE CORPS CLONE TROOPER
I wasn't at all sure that I wanted to collect the Clone Troopers from the Star Wars: Clone Wars line based on the animated series. They didn't seem especially compatible with their movie-based Legacy Collection counterparts, and I have to admit I have a preference for the Episode III-style Clone Trooper helmet. The Clone Wars series, taking place between Episodes II and III, is using the helmets from Episode II -- for now, anyway.
But, with the movie-based figures heading back to the Classic Trilogy for the most part, and not planning to do all that much with the Expanded Universe, I figured if I wanted to bring some new Clone Troopers into my collection, they were going to have to come from the Clone Wars, and I would simply have to regard it as a second collection of Clones.
There were a couple of other factors. The Clone Troopers from the Clone Wars were coming up with some very interesting characters and divisions and specialties that the Legacy Collection Clones never did. ARF Troopers, as one example. The other major factor was the last Legacy Collection Clone Trooper I picked up. Commander Cody. Nothing against the character, certainly, and admittedly, the new figure of him was designed to represent Cody close to the end of the Clone Wars, but the armor not only had a lot of battle damage painted on it, but molded into it! Personally, I really don't like that sort of thing.
Maybe the Clone Troopers from the Clone Wars series are taller and more slender than their Legacy Collection counterparts, but they're also generally have cleaner uniforms. That sort of tipped the scales, and as I'm able, I plan to round up some Clone Wars Clone Troopers, and here and there will be presenting reviews of them for your reading enjoyment.
One Clone Trooper represents the 41st ELITE CORPS. Apart from having some green trim on his otherwise standard uniform, I wasn't entirely sure what that meant. Fortunately, there's a Web Site out there called Wookieepedia, that takes care of filling in my own informational blanks on things like this. Here's what they have to say about the 41st Elite Corps:
The 41st Elite Corps was a legion of elite clones in the Grand Army of the Republic, composed of many variants of troopers (including AT-RT drivers, clone swamp troopers, clone scout troopers and BARC troopers). Their legion color was alternately gray or marked with green camouflage. The 41st Elite was a division out of the 9th Assault Corps, under command of Jedi General Luminara Unduli and Senior Clone Commander Gree.
Led by General Luminara Unduli and Clone Commander 1004, the 41st Elite, a legion of the 9th Assault Corps, specialized in long patrols on alien planets, often operating in primitive and grueling conditions while forging alliances with indigenous populations. Seeing so many alien species even caused CC-1004 to become an expert on species and customs, taking on the name Gree to display his knowledge of obscure galactic species.
The methodology of the 41st Elite caused the special unit to quickly become known as specialists in hostile terrain warfare (as well as alien recruitment and counter-insurgency experts).
They maintained a large armory with gray-marked Phase II and camouflaged scout armor for jungle duty. They also pioneered the use of AT-RTs, BARC Speeders and Juggernauts, using them for reconnaissance and battles such as the Battle of Kashyyyk.
A year into the war, Gree and the 41st Elite participated in the Battle of Dinlo, where they became pinned down by a large number of droid forces. Jedi General Tur-Mukan led a mission to evacuate the legion from Dinlo. The 41st Elite were then granted shore leave on Coruscant, partly as cover for Kal Skirata's black ops missions, and partly as a morale booster.
Two years later, the 41st Elite saw heavy action in the Battle of Kashyyyk against the droid invasion force sent to seize the world. There, the clone troopers of the 41st Elite fought alongside Wookiee warriors and a small clique of Jedi to a near standstill against the Confederacy.
While most of their men were transferred to Kashyyyk, a detachment of the 41st Elite was sent to assist in the Battle of Utapau, perhaps to smooth relationships with the native Pau'ans.
Rather busy and diverse bunch, obviously. Although not referred to by name, this is clearly the corps of Clones that were seen in Episode III at first aiding the Wookiees in their battle against the Trade Federation on the Wookiee homeworld. By that time, their uniforms made them look like camouflaged Biker Scouts as much as anything.
This figure doesn't look like that, so obviously, he represents the earlier days of the 41st Elite Corps. Still, there was something in the description that didn't quite follow, that line about "Their legion color was alternately gray or marked with green camouflage." This Clone Trooper doesn't have any gray on him. He does have green trim, but it's certainly not camouflage. So -- what's up with this?
There was a secondary link on Wookieepedia, under the entry for the 41st Elite Corps, that was marked "Green Company". This sounded promising, so I checked it out.
Green Company was a division of the 41st Elite Corps of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Green Company was assigned to oust a faction of Geonosian Separatists that had taken over exonium mines on the planet Rishi. They took heavy losses until they were joined by Kit Fisto. With the help of Cooker, Green Company's best sharp shooter, Fisto was able to break the Separatist's defenses and Green Company took control of the mines.
Twenty one clone troopers from the company, under the command of Green Leader, were present on the Venator-class Star Destroyer Tranquility, which was carrying captured Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray, when it was attacked by Separatist droid starfighters and boarding craft.
Commander Gree sent Green Company to eliminate the separatist boarding party. Most of the company was killed by B2 super battle droid's. Green leader (the leader of green company under commander Gree) sent a message to his Commander, but was exterminated moments after by an advancing super battle droid. One of the last members of Green Company (barely surviving the battle) tried to get a message to the crew members, but was swiftly cut down by the Separatist assassin Asajj Ventress. Only five clones successfully retreated to the detention level. Three of the five were killed in a brave attempt to stop the droids. Finally, Jedi Master, Luminara Unduli, and Commander Gree reinforced the two survivors and stopped the super battle droid rescue party.
Okay, that's impressive, but it doesn't specifically state that the members of Green Company had green trim on their uniforms. Still, if you're going to call yourself Green Company, what color would you expect?
A little cross-research on the details provided on the action figures themselves gives a little more information. The details on the back of the package for this Clone Trooper state: "The clone troopers in the 41st Elite Corps are led by Clone Commander Gree and Jedi General Yoda. The troopers are equipped with specialized gear for combat on jungle worlds such as Rodia, one of the planets to which this unit is assigned during the Clone Wars." And, sure enough, there's a shot from the animated series of a couple of green-trimmed clones with some of Greedo's people, the Rodians.
Then there's the details on the back of the Commander Gree figure, whom I'll review separately, but they provide a little more of a clincher. "His armor bears the distinct markings of the 41st Elite Corps, a unit Gree has nicknamed 'Green Company'." And indeed, the Gree figure has the same color trim as this Clone Trooper -- just more extensive.
So, I think it's fair to say that this Clone Trooper figure represents the 41st Elite Corps, but specifically Green Company.
So, now that we've played detective a bit -- how's the figure? Very cool. The Clone Troopers in the Clone Wars line, much as with the Legacy Collection, are divided into two groups, in one sense. There are those that represent individual characters, mostly Clone Commanders, and there are those that represent trooper divisions, which, if one has the money, space, and inclination, and can find enough of them, can be "army-builders" to one's heart's content. This Clone Trooper definitely fits into the latter category. Buy as many of him as you feel like.
Hasbro has created an excellent body design for these Clone Trooper figures. There's actually a couple of versions out there. One has slightly greater leg articulation than the other, but they both look good. The 41st Elite Corps Clone Trooper uses the earlier edition, with a good back and forth movement to the legs. The figures are more slender and slightly taller than their movie-based counterparts, but this is to accommodate the style of the animated series. In that respect, these figures are an excellent match for it. And while they aren't really compatible with the other style of figures, they're not so cartoonish in appearance that they look odd or strange. The overall proportions are well within human parameters.
One advantage in this regard for the Clone Troopers are the helmets. More to the point, keeping them on, those that can remove them in the first place. The facial designs in the Clone Wars series are arguably the most exaggerated aspect of the characters, especially the human ones. This does include the Clones' faces, but with their helmets on, it's not as severe, since the helmets are much closer in appearance to their movie counterparts.
Not all Clone Wars Clone Trooper figures have removable helmets. I'm honestly not sure what the overall ratio is. The 41st Elite Corps Clone Trooper does NOT have a removable helmet, so it's not an issue with him.
One thing does impress me, though, on a comparative note. I compared the figure to another Clone Trooper that does have a removable helmet. The helmet was no larger than the non-removable one. One of my minor gripes in the Legacy Collection was that a Clone Trooper with a removable helmet was pretty easy to discern because it was noticeably larger, which also had the unfortunate effect of making the bodily proportions look a little strange. Honestly, I never saw the need to do any removable helmets with the Clones. They're all clones of the same guy, and we know what he looks like. The Clone Wars line has revealed that some Clones have opted for different hair styles, or even colors, somehow, so there is some variance, but still, it did make some of the figures look weird with their helmets on, which I feel is how they're best presented.
In the Clone Wars line, the helmets seem to be much the same size between removable and non-removable, and the overall body proportions are excellent. So my commendation to Hasbro for seeing to it that that particular oddity didn't make its way into the Clone Wars line.
The design of the Clone Trooper armor lends itself particular well to being turned into an action figure. All of the appropriate articulation points are showcased by the black "undersuit" that all Clone Troopers wear, so it's not necessary to break up the armor with articulation lines. Even the mid-torso articulation point works out well, and there's an articulation point that doesn't always work very well on any action figure in any line. Sometimes it does, but too often it doesn't.
The overall articulation of the Clone Trooper is excellent. The figure is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows (including a swivel), wrists, mid-torso, legs, knees (including a swivel), and ankles. The range of motion at any of these points is considerable. The legs are slightly hindered by the armor design, but not as severely as many of those from the Legacy Collection.
Paint detailing is excellent, although admittedly minimal. The Clone Trooper is molded mostly in white, of course, with a certain amount of black, mostly around the joints, and the black visor on the helmet. To represent the 41st Elite Corps, dark green trim has been added around the visor, the helmet fin, and in a broad stripe down each arm from shoulder to glove. All of this detailing has been very well done.
I will say that I do wish they would get away from the practice of hand-painting the black undersuit detailing on these figures. I've encountered it several times. This sort of thing, given the mass production nature of the toys, inevitably results in some sloppiness. I will say, conversely, that this particular 41st Elite Corps Clone Trooper that I bought has exceptionally neat detailing in all respects. If they were all this well painted, I wouldn't have any gripe about it.
There's a little white area in the green section of the lower left arm that at first I thought was a paint glitch. It's not. There's a little series of buttons there. The picture of the figure on the back of the card shows the same white stripe.
There's a belt around the Clone Trooper's waist, clearly a separate part attached during assembly. Although it looks as though the belt might be removable, or that perhaps there's a hidden articulation point there, neither is the case. I'm not quite sure why the figure was designed like this. This isn't a complaint at all. If anything, it brings out the detail a little bit better. Simply an observation.
The 41st Elite Corps Clone Trooper comes with a generous supply of accessories, which seem common to quite a few of the Clone Troopers in the Clone Wars collection. He has a fairly large blaster pistol. I would regard this as a "third" common pistol, directly behind the standard Clone Trooper blaster and Stormtrooper blaster that are included with many of these divisions of figures in the Legacy Collection. Between all three, and their considerable multiple uses, I really find myself wondering just how many of these things Hasbro has turned out. The number must be staggering.
The other accessory, which I've also found with some other Clone Wars Clone Troopers, is a huge weapon that looks like the Star Wars universe's version of a very large multi-barreled machine gun. In fact, this is a spring-loaded missile launcher, and a missile, which the first time I ever saw one I mistook for a pike or spear, is included. The missile is shoulder high to the Clone Trooper, and the hardware that launches it is a seriously mean-looking weapon, but impressive.
So, what's my final word here? If you, like me, have been reluctant to get involved in the Clone Wars saga, just out of lesser interest or not wanting to start a whole new phalanx of Clone Troopers that aren't quite compatible with what has gone before, I recommend that you give them a closer look and another chance. The figures are as well made as any Star Wars figure, they don't look nearly as cartoonish -- if that's an issue for you -- with their helmets in place, and there's some characters, armor pattern designs, and specialties that you won't find anywhere else. They're definitely worth your attention and consideration.
With all of that, the STAR WARS CLONE WARS figure of the 41st ELITE CORPS CLONE TROOPER definitely has my highest recommendation!