The Clones just keep coming from the Star Wars line -- and yes, there is a certain irony in that. Mind you, I don't object. I honestly expected to see relatively few Clone Troopers of any sort in 2008, with the emphasis being on the 30th Anniversary of the first Star Wars movie, and while there has been a strong emphasis on that, Hasbro has clearly chosen not to neglect the other movies.
Besides, they've got a perfectly good set of molds to turn out Clone Troopers as much as they want, and most collectors like the "army-building" capabilities of most of the Clones.
Some may argue that Hasbro is doing too many repaints of Clone Troopers. Personally, I think that comment is unfair. Consider the scope of the Clone Wars. I suspect what we saw in Episode III, and for that matter the original Clone Wars animated series, barely scratched the surface. Remember that we're talking about a war that encompassed the better part of a galaxy! I would expect that the forthcoming new Clone Wars animated series will go into even greater detail on this remarkable time for the Star Wars universe, and no doubt we will be introduced to Clone Trooper divisions that we never knew existed.
And as long as Hasbro continues to use this excellent set of molds, if they want to continue to produce Clone Troopers representing those divisions, I look forward to collecting them.
One recent addition to the line was listed on his package simply as "Clone Commander". This was somewhat unusual. Many Clone Commanders had individual names. Bly, Thire, whatever. Some didn't, but a lot of those tended to be packaged in multi-packs. The Clone Commander from the Mace Windu set is unnamed. Then again, given that his crew went around in Clone Trooper armor that was trimmed in Mace Windu's favorite color -- purple!
Still, for an individually-packed Clone Commander not to be given a specific individual name struck me as a little unusual. So I decided to do a little research and see if there was more information to be found.
The "trim" color on this Clone Commander's uniform is grey. I recalled that this was a color that I was fairly certain was associated with a troop division assigned to Coruscant. They were hardly the only one. Anakin Skywalker, or more correctly, the newly-minted Darth Vader, used the blue-trimmed Troopers of the 501st Division to stage his assault on the Jedi Temple. Emperor Palpatine's Shock Troops had a significant amount of red trim on their uniforms. These two units pretty well eclipsed the greys, but I was able to track some information down on a Web Site called "Wookieepedia", a Star Wars-based version of the popular Wikipedia.
According to the entry on this site, this Clone Commander is representative of the 41st Elite Division, a specialized division of elite clone troopers in the Grand Army of the Republic, composed of many variants of clone troopers (including AT-RT drivers and clone scout troopers). They specialized in missions on planets with difficult climates, and were well suited for them. They forged alliances with the indigenous species of the planet they were on.
They maintained a large armory with gray-marked Phase II armor. They used AT-RTs and Juggernauts to great effect, for recon and battles such as the Battle of Kashyyyk. A year into the war, the 41st participated in the Battle of Dinlo, where they became pinned down by a large number of droid forces. Jedi Commander Tur-Mukan led a mission to evacuate the legion from Dinlo. The 41st 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 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 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 was sent to assist in the Battle of Utapau, perhaps to smoothen relationships with the native Pau'ans.
Interestingly, the Wookieepedia listing indicates that the Commander of the 41st was Clone Marshall Commander Gree. He is best known as the Clone Commander on Kashyyyk, the one with the largely dark green armor and the bright green visor. There has been a figure of Commander Gree for some time, and this new Clone Commander presumably is not him. However, one also has to assume that a division of Clones so large that it is assigned to multiple planets is going to have more than one Commander, and the fact that Gree has "Marshall" in front of his rank likely indicates a higher position.
Technically, this figure is a repack of the figure from 2005's second Clone Trooper to Stormtrooper Evolutions set, but those sets were fairly scarce to begin with, and obviously haven't been around for a couple of years. I'm hardly going to complain about seeing a figure available that was only previously available in a hard-to-find multi-pack.
On the whole, the figure is excellent. It has the high level of articulation that one has come to expect of the "Super-Articulated" Star Wars figures, poseable at the head, arms, elbows (including swivel), wrists, waist, legs, knees (including swivel), and ankles. This also results in a figure that is not at all pre-posed, which is something else I appreciate. If a figure can take on just about any pose you want it to, there's no reason to pre-pose it in the first place.
This Clone Commander has a removeable helmet, and the ever-present (getting almost to the point of being creepy these days) Jango Fett/ Clone head underneath it. About the only problem here is that since as a Clone Commander, the figure is also wearing the distinctive shoulder pads, the helmet doesn't QUITE want to fit down all the way. One can see a bit of the human chin at the base of the helmet. For those who find this even more annoying than I do and would have no intention of displaying or playing with the figure without its helmet in place at all time.
The grey trim detailing can be found on the helmet, the shoulder pags, the belts, the gauntlets, and the boots. One of the most interesting decorative features of the figure can't even be seen with the figure in its package. As with a number of Clone Commanders, who maintained the "skirt" that was started by ARC Troopers some time earlier, this Clone Commander has this length of plastic "fabric" hanging behind him. It appears black, but the reverse side -- facing the package card, of course, has a very ornate pattern printed in silver on it.
Any complaints? Well, just one. Clone Troopers tend to have armor that ranges anywhere from "Right out of the Kamino Clone Factory clean" to "I just won the mud-wrestling tournament on Dagobah dirty". Frankly, the cleaner a Clone is, the better I like it -- and this Clone Commander is reaaaallly dirty, far beyond average. The torso and legs of his armor was given a dirty wash of paint, and there are scrapes and scuffs of dirt imprinted in black and brown elsewhere on his armor, in a "dot printing" pattern that, their presence notwithstanding, looks pretty primitive compared to decorative imprintings that I have seen on other action figures from Hasbro. I've seen THIS particular method before, as well, and really, I feel it should be phased out. If they MUST scuff up a figure, I know they can do better than this.
Still, I'd rather put up with a dirty Clone Commander than not have him in my collection, especially since the last group of Clones to have the "Coruscant Grey" trim were a multi-pack of figures that were, unfortunately, somewhat pre-posed and more limited in their articulation. I regarded that as something of a disappointment. Hasbro has these fully-poseable molds, they're obviously extremely versatile for a wide range of Clone Troopers and Commander, and I believe they should be used for ALL such entries in the collection.
The Clone Commander's profile on his package card is as generic as his unnamed status. It reads as follows: Clone Commanders are specially bred and trained for leadership positions within the vast clone armies. They are more capable of tactical thinking and combat strategy than standard Clone Troopers, and work closely with the Jedi generals during the Clone Wars.
Still, that's not a bad summary of Clone Commanders in general. And
this is a very decent Clone Commander figure. Excellent, really. If
you, like me, are a particular fan of the Clone Troopers and Clone Commanders
that are part of a growing army within the Star Wars Universe and the
Star Wars Action Figure collection, then you'll certainly want to add
this Clone Commander to your collection, and he definitely has my highest