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REVIEW:
STAR WARS JEDI TEMPLE ASSAULT SET
By Thomas Wheeler



The STAR WARS JEDI TEMPLE ASSAULT Set includes Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, a Clone Pilot, and the real reason a lot of people want this set, three particular Clone Troopers. To be precise, it includes three of the blue-trimmed Clone Troopers that Vader took with him in his, as the name of the set implies, assault on the Jedi Temple.

This was not an easy version of the Clone Trooper to get a decent version of. The one that was sold on a single card as part of the standard Revenge of the Sith line was, unfortunately, not as well- articulated as some. It was also dang hard to find because I think it was short-packed, and some people still saw it as the only reasonable way to get this particular Clone Trooper, articulation be hanged. I saw one in a local collectors' shop (that not too surprisingly doesn't carry action figures much anymore given their horrific prices), and they wanted $35.00 for the thing. The entire K-Mart five-figure set didn't cost that much!

Then there was a "Super-Articulated" version of this blue-trimmed Clone Trooper. It was sold as a special premium with the video game "Star Wars Battlefront II". I believe the game cost $50.00. And I'm not good enough at video games to have spent that much money, even if I had it to spend, just for the sake of getting the figure.

Then there was the K-Mart set. You can see why I didn't especially like my odds of ever adding these blue-trimmed Clone Troopers to my collection. But I finally do have the set, I am very thankful for it, and now I shall review it for you.

ANAKIN SKYWALKER/DARTH VADER

Technically this figure is listed only as "Darth Vader" on the package, and indeed, the events showcased by this particular set are from a time in the movie after Skywalker had sided with Palpatine and been given the name of "Darth Vader", but I just have a little trouble seeing anything but the pre-big-black-suit version of this character as "Darth Vader", so I'm throwing in the "Anakin Skywalker" name for my benefit as much as anything else.

The figure in this set is a good sculpt of the figure. Nicely sculpted and well-detailed face, well-sculpted uniform, neatly painted for the most part. Unfortunately, the internal mechanism and its requirements pretty well ruin it otherwise.

Squeeze the legs and he turns at the waist and his arms go flailing around. His right hand has a lightsaber molded to it, and it doesn't help that the lightsaber handle is hand-painted, and not very well, making it look as though the lightsaber handle is melting into his hand (although if you think about it, that might have been possible given the fight over the lava pits on Mustafar, but it still comes down to sloppy painting).

The arms are extremely loosely-articulated to assist in the flailing- around lightsaber-swinging. Basically, this is a figure with one purpose
- to be put in a lightsaber fight. It's not really good for much of anything else, and I understand that there were several figures like these of different characters in the Revenge of the Sith line.

While some kids might get a kick out of this, I would suspect that most collectors wouldn't. Certainly I didn't. Anytime an internal action feature gets in the way of the basic structure and articulation of the figure, it's not a good thing. As for this particular version of Anakin/ Darth, it looks decent enough, but I was otherwise reminded of the figures from a game that was produced by Hasbro a number of years ago - Karate Fighters. A perfectly good line within itself, but making a Star Wars figure like that just doesn't work in my book.

But then this figure wasn't my main reason for wanting this set anyway.

CLONE PILOT

Honestly, I think it's a bit of a stretch to put this figure in this set. I don't recall any Clone Pilots involved in the assault on the Jedi Temple. Anakin/Darth marched the troopers there, as far as can be determined (although I suppose they could've been flown to the vicinity of the Jedi Temple in troop transports, and probably were). I'd wager any number of collectors would've preferred an additional blue-trimmed Clone Trooper.

That's not to say this is a bad figure. It's not, and it's a pretty cool design. Think of something that's a precursor to both the TIE Fighter Pilot and the AT-AT Driver and you've pretty well got it. In fact, Hasbro clearly realized the similarities when they issued a black-uniformed version of this figure, which never appeared in the movie, rather than the grey and white version which was initially sold on an individual card, and is the one that appears in this set.

It's a fairly standard Star Wars figure as far as articulation is concerned. Head, arms, diagonal-cut elbows, wrists, waist, legs, and knees.

Don't get me wrong - it's a perfectly good Star Wars figure, and anyone wanting both some blue-trimmed Clone Troopers and a Pilot (or perhaps an additional pilot) will be pleased with it. It just seems a little out of place in this set to me. And, as with Anakin/Darth, isn't the real reason I wanted this set.

CLONE TROOPERS

Here's the real reason I wanted this set! I already knew the difficulty in obtaining these blue-trimmed Clone Troopers in the first place, and they certainly played a major part in the movie. There have been quite a few color variants of the Episode III Clone Troopers available. There's a couple of plain ones, a recently released orange- trimmed one, some grey-trimmed ones in a Target set, some rather ornate red-trimmed ones that Palpatine used in the Senate Chambers after his battle with Yoda, and on Mustafar, a couple of other exclusives that never appeared in the movie but are still darned cool, as well as a fair variety of differently-colored Clone Commanders, including Bly, Gree, Cody, and a few others. Personally, I really wish we'd get the camouflage-uniformed Clone Troopers that Gree had on Kashyyyk. Maybe at some point.

I like the Clone Troopers. Okay, they did some rather questionable things after Order 66 was given. (On the other hand, I don't think it's unfair to say that some of those Jedi were a bunch of stuck-up self- righteous overbearing jerks. Does anybody else think that while maybe throwing Mace Windu out a window was a bit much, he did need to be taken down a few pegs? Let's face it, one of the reasons the Jedi lost was because they got caught with their robes down because they really thought they were so darned superior because of their connection to the Force that they couldn't be beaten. Arrogance and pride, people.)

But the physical design of the Clone Troopers was excellent, and I liked the color variations. But trying to get a blue-trimmed one - like I said earlier, it didn't seem terribly likely. And now thanks to this set, I have three!

The figure is based on the "Quick-Draw Action" Clone Trooper, which was actually the first Clone Trooper figure to come out in the Revenge of the Sith line. While not a "Super-Articulated" figure, the articulation is certainly above-average, the figure is not the least bit pre-posed, and the built-in action - squeeze his legs and his right arm goes up in a "quick-draw" action (although sometimes it goes up so far this might better be called "taxi-hailing" action) - doesn't interfere with the design or articulation of the figure in the least, except for cutting out any mid-torso or waist movement, which in Star Wars, isn't exactly crucial to begin with. If you're going to put some sort of built-in action feature into an action figure, this is how to do it, unlike the Anakin/Darth that comes with this set.

The blue trim on the uniform is certainly distinctive, and well-applied. And, as I said, you get three of them in this set, so it's sort of like a built-in army-builder. Well worth it as such.

The other nice thing is that, unlike the other versions of this particular Clone Trooper, and indeed unlike an awful lot of versions of the Clone Troopers, these figures aren't the least bit stunk up with any sort of painted-on or printed-on battle damage or dirt. I especially appreciate that.

So, my final word on this set? Well, the Anakin/Darth figure looks good, but its built-in action feature makes it pretty worthless in my opinion. The Clone Pilot is a decent figure, but maybe just a little pointless, or at least out of place. However, if you want a Clone Pilot and don't have one, or have one and want some more, it's not a bad way to get one as long as you're getting the set anyway.

Not surprisingly, and I'm sure Hasbro had this in mind to some degree, it's the Clone Troopers that make this set. They're clean, well-made, well-articulated, and represent a particular branch of Clone Troopers that are not easily found otherwise - not that this set was easy. But they are also the version of the blue-trimmed Clone Trooper that I would most recommend. Buying a video game just to get a figure isn't worth it in my opinion, and even if you found the single-carded version at this point (unlikely), it's not as well articulated as it should be. I believe they used the body of the AT-TE Gunner for it. A decent figure, but a little limited in articulation, at least in the arms, particularly.

Granted, this set isn't easy to find. On the other hand, we have here at least one instance of it turning up several months after it was supposedly gone. That might've been a fluke. But maybe there's others out there. If you have a K-Mart near you, it might be worth keeping an eye on.

On the whole, though, the STAR WARS JEDI TEMPLE ASSAULT SET definitely gets my recommendation!