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By Thomas Wheeler

They are, after all, the Clone ARMY! And yet, the Clone Troopers from Star Wars Episode III have been, action figure wise, somewhat elusive in the stores. Attempting to build a Clone Army one figure at a time is a difficult task at best -- except apparently for those willing to drop in on places like Wal-Mart in the wee hours of the morning to clean out the recently replaced stock.

Although it's not much easier to find, there is a way to get three Clone Troopers in one package -- if you don't mind the fact that they're a bit pre-posed. But for diorama builders especially, that shouldn't be much of a hindrance. And three Clone Troopers for ten bucks is certainly a better deal than one-at-a-time for five dollars or so. It's almost like a buy- two-get-one-free deal --which is probably better than you'd get from the Kaminoan Cloners.

This Episode III Clone Trooper three-pack is, not surprisingly, something of a rehash of one that was made for Episode II. Pretty much just the helmets are different. One of the Clone Troopers is standing, in something of an action pose, another one is crouching, and the third one is crawling.

They're all pre-posed, with limited articulation and poseability. But the set is still obviously popular enough that I've only ever seen it once -- and barely managed to snag the set that I did as another Star Wars collector came along and promptly dumped the other three sets that were on the peg into her cart. Claimed she was buying them for her grandkids. Sure thing, lady -- and I'm Emperor Palpatine. At least she didn't try to snatch the one I had with me. I've heard stories of that sort of thing happening in the toy community. At least it's certainly an indication of the popularity of the set.

Haven't seen any supplies of this three-pack since, but this is still once more often than I saw the Episode II set, and I would imagine they're out there. Despite the fact that we're presently in the "down time" between the theatrical release and the DVD release of the movie, Star Wars toys are still shipping. I saw renewed supplies at my local Wal-Mart this past weekend, late July.

So I have no reason to believe that the Clone Trooper 3-Pack isn't out there someplace. I can't recommend it quite as highly as, for example, the single-carded Super-Articulated Clone Trooper. I've never been especially fond of pre-posed figures, and these three guys are very pre- posed. But I know that doesn't bother some people, and as I said, this would be a great set for anyone who's perhaps building a diorama of a Star Wars battlefield. And they are Clone Troopers, the "army builders" of Star Wars, and army builders do tend to be popular.

So from those standpoints, I do most definitely recommend the Clone Trooper 3-pack. Finding it may not be all that easy, but they are out there, they're cool figures for what they are, and I suspect they'll make a good collectible, and they certainly have their uses in the proper environment. So go get yourself some more clones!