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By Thomas Wheeler

I'm going to start this review with a little editorial. I don't like the name "Legacy Collection". This name has been introduced to differentiate the two main branches of Star Wars figures presently available.

You have, of course, the figures based on the new CGI Clone Wars concept. Now, it's understandable that this would be promoted as the newest incarnation of the Star Wars saga, which indeed it is, and given that it has a distinct style of its own, it is just as understandable that the more "movie-real" Star Wars figures would be given a different name.

But there's something about calling that branch of Star Wars figures "The Legacy Collection" that bothers me. It somehow makes them sound old and outmoded, and that's simply not the case. Between novels, comic books, and video games, including the highly-anticipated "Force Unleashed" video game, the more realistic-style version of the Star Wars universe still exists and continues.

Technically, the Clone Wars concept is part of the canon Star Wars universe. George Lucas quite appropriately keeps a tight rein on his creation and its various elements. So names like "Saga Collection" or "Legends Collection" might not have worked. Perhaps a separate name simply wasn't needed. The Clone Wars collection has its own name. Why create a name that makes the realistic-figures sound like something that's already passe, especially when there are several new characters in the series? And indeed, it is one of those new characters that I wish to review, so I'll end my little editorial as such. But sometimes, something seemingly minor like this bugs me, and I feel I need to address it. Derryl DePriest was recently quoted in Lee's Toy Review magazine as stating that the more realistically-styled Star Wars figures WILL continue, so I will endeavor to be content with that.

Hopefully, that will include more Clone Troopers! They are among my personal favorites in the Star Wars universe. I like the design, I find it very difficult to regard them as bad guys despite "Order 66", and generally speaking, the Clone Troopers are among some of the best-articulated Star Wars figures in the entire collection. They also haven't been subjected to the "human shrinkage" that some other figures have been in recent times, and I hope they never will be.

As long as Hasbro maintains a decent standard of excellence and quality, which for the most part they do, I'll gladly add at least one and possibly more of almost any Clone Trooper and for that matter Stormtrooper they care to produce. I've seen pictures from some collectors that buy literally hundreds of one given type of Clone. I can't do that. My "Grand Army of the Republic" is by no means as big as some people's. But it's an agreeable size for me, and this newest Clone Trooper is an interesting and distinctive new addition.

On the package, he's just called "Clone Trooper". This, unfortunately, is a rather considerable understatement, given both the look of the figure and the equipment that he comes with.

Although the body of this Clone Trooper is fairly standard, he's wearing the waist tunic generally reserved for ARC Troopers and other high-level Clones Troopers.

Secondly, his helmet is most definitely not the typical Clone Trooper design. It's more along the lines of the distinctive helmets worn by AT- RT Drivers, of which there have been several variants over the course of the Star Wars line. And yet this isn't an AT-RT Driver, since the rest of the armor doesn't match their distinctive design.

What's even more interesting about the helmet is that it's removable. This is not something that any AT-RT Driver headsculpt was capable of. They all had helmets that -- WERE the head. But you can pop this helmet off, and there's that Jango/Clone head underneath. The helmet is actually a very good fit, and doesn't look overly large, something that some other removable helmets have had a problem with.

So, we've already got a Clone Trooper who is very distinctive in his design. Throw in the color trim and that just adds to it. It's a very interesting shade of blue, almost a royal blue, that is quite different from the darker blue which has appeared on other Clone Troopers before -- most notably the 501st Legion, which were the Clones that Anakin Skywalker led in the raid on the Jedi Temple. This is not that blue. It's a bit lighter, and in some respects more intense.

This blue trim is most prevalent on the helmet, around the visor and muzzle, and down both arms. It's also a border around the tunic. Personally, I rather like the color.

Now, if all of that wasn't enough to set this figure apart from most Clone Troopers and make one think that he was certainly deserving of more of a name than just "Clone Trooper" -- I mean, come on, we've had Utapau Clones, Engineer Clones, Airborne Clones, Shock Trooper Clones -- anyway, then you've got the hardware.

The average Clone Trooper comes with a blaster that's about the size of a large pistol. Hasbro's made so many of these for so many different variations of their Clone Troopers that -- well, the numbers are probably greater than the military capabilities of some small countries.

This Clone Trooper doesn't come with a blaster pistol. What he DOES come with is one of the most serious pieces of personal firepower I think I've ever seen out of the Star Wars universe. The package calls it a "Cip-Quad", and it's doubtless the reason that this particular Clone Trooper has picked up the unofficial nickname in the collectors' circles of "Quad Clone".

The completed contraption is taller than the Clone himself. The Cip-Quad consists of a backpack, which clips into a hole on the back of the Clone Trooper, a pair of articulated arms which go over the Clone Trooper's shoulders, and a massive firearm that the Clone Trooper can grasp in both hands.

This firearm is some seriously heavy artillery. Four distinct barrels, each with two holes at the end of their barrels. There are two distinct triggers for the Clone Trooper to hold and fire, presumably in rapid succession. This thing is so big, that one has to believe that only an armored soldier, hopefully one with considerable physical strength and a good bit of padding, would be able to use this. On anybody else, the recoil would probably send their spleen flying thirty feet behind them.

One question that was certainly in my mind was -- can this guy even stand up wearing this thing? It looked to me as though it would make him massively too front-heavy and he'd just fall right over. Ah, but the main gun up front is mostly hollow. This lightens the load, and much to my surprise, the Quad Clone is entirely able to stand up on his own.

The figure's articulation is excellent. Most Clone Troopers are, but there are exceptions here and there. Fortunately, this isn't one of those exceptions. He's very nicely poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. Most points of articulation have a multiple range of motion -- which is a good thing especially in the legs, since while he can stand up on his own even carrying the weapon, he does need a little adjustment here and there to do so.

The Cip-Quad is also nicely articulated, with the arms moveable at both the backpack and the gun. Overall paint work is excellent, at least on the bulk of the figure, although the paint details on the tunic are a little sloppy, and the black-painted portions of the gun barrels could have been neater, as well.

A specific note -- there were a couple of little chips of blue paint off of the visor of the helmet. I was concerned that this might have been evidence that the wrong sort of paint might have been used on the flexible plastic of the helmet, but the problem has not worsened, and every other Quad Clone I've seen looks fine. When I bought this one, it was the only one of the shelves, and I am attributing this solely to an isolated incident, and at this point I just hope I can match this paint color in a crafts store. Not at all a difficult repair if I can.

The profile for the Clone Trooper on the back of his card reads as follows: When armed with a Cip-Quad, a clone trooper becomes a mobile piece of anti-personnel and anti-armor blaster artillery. Troopers wear special gear to operate the experimental weapon's twin-barreled cannons that can take out AAT's and tanks.

Hold it -- this thing is EXPERIMENTAL!? Boy, the Cloners on Kamino weren't kidding. These Clone Troopers really will do anything they're ordered to! Better hope that "special gear" is up to the task.

So, what's my final word here? How about "Fantastic"? Seriously, what you have here is a well-designed, well-articulated, nicely-detailed, and very distinctive, unusual Clone Trooper. He's not a named Commander or anything, so if you can find enough of them, you can army-build this guy to your heart's content. Moreover, he certainly comes with an impressive piece of weaponry that goes way, way beyond the usual blaster pistol these guys tend to be issued. Put together a line-up of these guys and no one in their right mind, regardless of what they might be carrying, driving, or flying, is going to want to go up against them.

And the general word in the collecting community that I've heard is that this figure and his equipment is being very well-received, even if, like me, they wish the figure had been given a somewhat more distinctive "official" name than just "Clone Trooper".

But, call him what you will, the STAR WARS CLONE TROOPER WITH CIP-QUAD most definitely has my highest recommendation! And I'm not saying that just because he's got it pointed at me right now. Come on, put it down. I gave you a good review and I meant it. Really, you're a cool figure. Put the Quad down. Come on...