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By Thomas Wheeler

Hasbro has tried, in recent years, to make their Star Wars figures more dynamic. They've generally done this in one of two ways -- by pre-posing the figures into some dramatic stance, or by adding articulation. In the case of pre-posing, this has been an abysmal disaster. By pre-posing a figure, you limit its playability. Such figures often can't sit in vehicles, or really do much more than just stand in the pose they've been posed in. That's sort of useless in the long run.

In the case of adding articulation, this has sometimes been more successful, but all too often the figure is already somewhat pre-posed, and the additional articulation doesn't help, or the additional articulation hinders the overall appearance of the figure in some way. Personally, I've never had any real problem with Star Wars figures, at least the humanoid ones, having the basic articulation of head, arms, and legs. And Hasbro's done an excellent job in my opinion in incorporating a wide range of oddball and often inhuman aliens and droids into the line. I especially think Hasbro's done a good, solid job with their droids. Their modern FX-7 Medical Droid has more moving parts than the average Gundam.

All of that having been said, I was a little skeptical when I heard about a Super-Articulation Clone Trooper coming out. I remembered the Super-Articulated Stormtrooper from a few years ago. The figure had too many pre-posed elements to really work properly. And I was increasingly unimpressed by added bits of articulation here and there on this figure and that figure that if nothing else, resulted in a very inconsistently-articulated Star Wars line, even amongst figures that should have had some reasonable level of consistent articulation between them.

Still, when I finally saw the Super-Articulated Clone Trooper in the stores near Christmas, I liked what I saw. I decided to pick it up, and if for some reason I wasn't impressed, I could always sell it or some such.

Suffice to say this Clone Trooper isn't going anywhere. This may be one of Hasbro's best Star Wars efforts in years. And the scarcity of this figure is probably testament to that as much as this review.

Hasbro has articulated this new Clone Trooper at the head, arms, swivel arms, elbows, wrists, mid-tosro, legs, swivel legs, knees, and ankles. The one and only deficiency in this figure, and unfortunately it's a fairly serious one, but not quite enough to negate the rest of the advantages, is the legs. They move forward and back but not outward. And because of the construction of the figure and its armor, the legs don't move very far forward. Or backward. Asking this Clone Trooper to sit down is not going to result in a successful endeavor.

But really, who cares? Apart from this, it's a spectacular figure! He's not at all pre-posed, the articulation joints are not promiment or distracting from the appearance of the figure (granted the armor design was a big help here), and he's capable of quite a few various military stances and positions. He can hold his blaster rifle very effectively. There's no significant weathering or dirtying on his armor -- thank God, and he can stand very nicely in a neutral "attention" position, something that even Toy Biz's increasingly legendary hyper-articulated Marvel Legends figures can't do -- not without looking darned silly, anyway.

It's not often I devote a review to just ONE basic 3-3/4" Star Wars action figure. But the Super-Articulated Clone Trooper deserves it. If you're looking to build an army of Clone Troopers, and assuming you can find enough of them (I've found a total of two and sold one to a friend), then I give the Clone Wars Super-Articulated Clone Trooper my highest recommendation! Good work, Hasbro!