REVIEW: STAR WARS SAGA LEGENDS SPACETROOPER
When we were first introduced to the armored Imperial Stormtroopers in the first Star Wars movie, those nameless, faceless, legions, it seemed that they were all pretty much alike. Oh, the Empire had other military divisions -- TIE Fighter pilots, most notably. But it wasn't really until the second movie that we discovered that the Stormtroopers could be a little more specialized. Here we were introduced to Snowtroopers, who wore a distinctly different armor. In the third movie, we discovered Imperial Biker Scouts. And what with the Clone Wars these days, we've learned that the predecessors to the Stormtroopers had specialties all over the place.
However, it didn't take the prequels or the Clone Wars series to develop some interesting variations on the Stormtroopers. One of the most impressive came about as a result of what is commonly known as the "Expanded Universe" -- that realm of adventures that still falls within the Lucasfilm radar, but whose "canon" might be open to a bit of interpretation depending on who you ask. Here are the comic books, the novels, and other forms of media that have, much as the name implies, expanded the Star Wars universe far beyond what six movies and one television series set in a very specific time period could hope to accomplish.
One of the most impressive of these is assuredly the SPACETROOPER, and really, it's a bit of a wonder that it took the "Expanded Universe" to come up with this guy. Although the basic Stormtrooper armor looked as though it could have allowed its wearer to survive, at least for a limited time, in outer space, there wasn't any reason to necessarily assume that it could, and admittedly, it wasn't anything that ever came up as a story point in the movies. The space battles were carried out by fighter craft, and if one of these was shot down -- on either side -- it didn't really matter if what you were wearing allowed you to survive in space or not -- not if your fighter was going up in a fireball around you.
There have been Spacetrooper figures before -- and they've all been scarce. The first one came out in the late 1990's, and was a capable figure for its time, but it also readily demonstrates just how far Star Wars action figures have come since that time, in regards to both detail and certainly articulation.
There was another figure designated a Spacetrooper, that was a more recent release, but this was just a Stormtrooper with a hose that fit up the front of his helmet and connected to a special backpack. A cool enough figure, but not exactly what Star Wars fans tend to think of when they think of a Spacetrooper. Admittedly, the Empire might well have more than one division of space-capable troopers, and as I said, the basic Stormtrooper uniform doesn't look like it would take that much to modify it into something spaceworthy, at least on a limited basis.
The Spacetrooper that most fans think of has the official designation of "Zero-G Assault Stormtrooper", and is certainly a far cry removed from a basic Stormtrooper with an oxygen pack and a hose. This massive armored menace looks so threatening that I would half-expect any Rebels in his way to surrender on the spot just on general principle.
The Web Site known as "Wookieepedia" provides the background of the Spacetroopers:
The Zero-G Assault Stormtroopers, commonly known as Spacetroopers, were members of a specialized branch of the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps equipped with and trained to capture enemy vessels intact. Their loyalty and skill were second only to that of the Emperor's Royal Guards.
To perform their missions, spacetroopers wore a two-meter-tall set of Zero-G armor that interfaced with standard stormtrooper armor. The suit provided a hermetic seal against the vacuum of space and propulsion that allowed spacetroopers to move and fight in space for extended periods.
In addition, the suit allowed them to carry heavy firepower, turning each trooper into the equivalent of a light tank. Weapon systems included two shoulder-mounted, magazine fed grenade launchers able to fire concussion, gas, and stun projectiles; a right gauntlet blaster cannon, and a left gauntlet miniature proton torpedo launcher. Each gauntlet also included laser cutters to penetrate ship hulls.
The Wookieepedia history does mention the more Stormtrooper-ish spacetrooper, indicating that these troopers appeared earlier, during the building of the first Death Star, but were rarely seen. These units were deployed to many zero-G environments, such as areas outside the Death Star's artificial atmosphere. These troopers wore standard stormtrooper armor, vacuum sealed, with a rebreather unit and a back-mounted jet pack.
The history of the spacetroopers dates back to the Clone Wars. The Galactic Marines tested prototype spacetrooper suits during the Battle of New Bornalex. The weapon systems failed, and the Marines were forced to use hand to hand combat. The Empire later corrected the problem with a new armor design by Dr. Nashiak Llalik. Platoons of forty spacetroopers were deployed from Gamma-class assault shuttles. Enemy capital ships could be easily overtaken with organized assaults.
Spacetroopers, along with representatives from every specialized Stormtrooper Corps, were assigned to Darth Vader's personal Death Squadron, and several spacetroopers served in the Battle of Endor, attacking Rebel ships entering the second Death Star. Must have happened off-screen...
So, how's the figure? Well, for one thing, as of this writing, they're scarce enough so you could probably find some collectors that are reasonably convinced they're an urban legend. I'd been keeping a moderate eye out for one for some months, and had largely given up, until one day, there I saw this one, front and center in a display store. I made such good time to the cash register from there that I should probably write the store and apologize for the burn marks my sneakers must have left in the linoleum.
It's understandable that the Spacetrooper is a scarce figure. He's extremely cool, he's an army-builder, and he sticks out like a very large, white, sore thumb in almost any Star Wars action figure display. I don't care if that display is 90% assorted Clone Troopers that are also dressed mostly in white, you're STILL going to see this guy. He's that much bigger and bulkier. He pretty much looks like the Empire signed up the Incredible Hulk and had to build a suit just for him.
The Spacetrooper comes from the Saga Legends line, but he's so much bigger than any typical Star Wars figure, and admittedly has a slightly exaggerated look to him, that if you wanted to incorporate him into the animated Clone Wars action figure line, there's no reason he couldn't work there as well.
The back of his package provides a basic outline of the Spacetrooper. It reads: Spacetroopers are high-ranking Imperial commandos who wear powersuit armor designed for space combat. These Zero-G Assault Troopers are considered "walking tanks" because of the extensive weaponry built into their suits.
Yeah, "walking tanks" isn't a bad name for these guys. Given that one of their specialties is supposed to be the ability to capture enemy vessels intact, I find myself wondering if one of their strategies might be to fly up to an enemy ship, grab hold of it, and just drag the thing back to a Star Destroyer's docking bay. They look like they could just about get away with it.
The Spacetrooper stands almost 4-1/4" in height. This for a line that averages 3-3/4" for standard humanoids. The spacetrooper armor, as one would expect, bears a general resemblance to that of a stormtrooper, but it's stormtrooper armor on steroids.
The helmet is especially interesting. It has the basic characteristics of a Stormtrooper helmet, but is far broader in size. The eyes are more spread apart. One wonders how much of an advantage this is. Reportedly the standard helmets are hard to see out of. One guesses that perhaps these are camera lenses of some sort. The "mouth" of the helmet is perched higher and juts out further. The "collar" of the helmet is much more extensive than on a stormtrooper. The back of the helmet, interestingly, curves inward slightly, and has several ridged areas, quite unlike any conventional stormtrooper helmet.
The spacetrooper helmet is not removable, by the way. The helmet is the head of the figure.
The shoulder armor is unusual, in that is consists of double flared panels. A word of warning on the action figure, these panels are inserted via fairly small pegs, and don't always want to stay put all that well. I don't recommend gluing them in, since they need a certain amount of mobility to accommodate arm articulation, but one should keep an eye on them to make sure they don't fall off and get lost.
The upper torso of the Spacetrooper is probably the most akin to a standard stormtrooper, conforming in shape to a humanoid torso. However, much like every other aspect of the spacetrooper, it is larger and bulkier in size. Hasbro saw fit to sculpt a little dent in the armor on one side. It's nothing all that glaring, but I still rather wish they hadn't.
The abdominal area of the armor is something entirely unlike anything I've seen on a stormtrooper or Clone Trooper. It is heavily ridged, both front and back, and is relatively narrow compared to the rest of the figure. It's still fairly bulky, though. It's white, with a silver stripe down the center on the front.
The Spacetrooper doesn't really wear a belt. Instead, the torso armor goes directly into the trunks, and then proceeds to the legs. Interestingly, only the front of the upper legs is armored in white. The sides and backs are black, designating the "undersuit" that stormtroopers tend to have. However, even this undersuit appears to be rather bulky, and is heavily ridged, doubtless providing some measure of protection of its own. And one must guess at this point that the Empire looks for larger-than-usual individuals to begin with to fill these suits.
The lower legs are quite ornate, with sculpted panels and other details, and ridged silver areas on the fronts of the boots. The feet are unusual, in that they almost look robotic. They're very squared off in their design, and have thick, ridged, black soles.
The upper arms are armored in white, as are the lower arms. The figure gives excellent evidence of the armaments typically carried within spacetrooper armor, as a panel on each arm is permanently set to open, with silver gun barrels protruding forth. The lower arms also have a narrow ridged line sculpted into them.
The hands are interesting, in that they are far more armored than is typical for a stormtrooper. The average stormtrooper has black gloves with white armored panels on the backs of the gloves. The spacetroopers hands are almost entirely armored. The sculpted and painted detail on the figure is extremely impressive, showing tiny black dots at what would be articulation points on the index fingers.
The figure comes with a standard blaster gun -- as if he really needs it. The other item he comes with is a massive backpack. This serves as the spacetrooper's main propulsion system. If you take a look at the back of the figure, you can see a large flat area with three plug-in slots, and some sculpted detail with some small areas painted in red and blue. First of all, credit to Hasbro for taking this level of detail, especially painted detail. This is the only real color on the figure, except for black and silver, and there's a degree to which it probably wasn't even necessary, since I suspect most people who buy the spacetrooper will display -- or play with him -- with the large backpack in place. Nevertheless, it's some serious attention to detail here, and it's sincerely appreciated.
The backpack is large and protruding, and features two large, rectangular jets. One would hope that most spacetroopers have strong backs. Zero-G Assault or no, they've probably still gotta walk through a hangar deck in full gravity wearing these things before they're let loose into the middle of a space battle. The backpack is mostly white, with some silver detailing, and the interior of the jets has been painted black.
Painted detail overall is excellent. As one might expect, except for the little colored buttons on the back, and a few strips of silver here and there, the main painted detail is black, around some areas of the helmet, and representing the black "undersuit" of the armor. All of this detailing has been very neatly done, and I see no indication that any of it was hand-painted.
Articulation is excellent, especially for such a bulky-looking figure. The Spacetrooper is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows -- including a swivel -- wrists, mid-torso -- cleverly worked into the armor design -- legs, knees -- including a swivel -- and ankles, also including a swivel.
The Spacetrooper also comes with a Game Card to allow him to participate in the Galactic Battle Game, as well as a display stand and plastic die. I have enough of those things now to overwhelm a Las Vegas casino...
So, what's my final word? This is an extremely cool figure, and may be one of my prize finds in Star Wars in some time. I have an affinity for Clone Troopers and Stormtrooper types to begin with, and certainly they don't get much more impressive and distinctive than this! I can certainly understand why he's been so hard to find. Need it be said, he's also immensely more impressive than the original Spacetrooper from the 1990's. That was a cool figure for the time and I'm glad I got him when I did. But at the same time, the modern incarnation is that much more advanced in every respect, reflecting how much more detailed and generally articulated the Star Wars line itself has become.
This figure won't be easy for you to find, unless there's a sudden influx of them in a future assortment. I've only seen the one that I bought. But if you can track him down, he's well worth it. Any collector of Star Wars action figures will be delighted to add this Spacetrooper to their collection.
The STAR WARS SAGA LEGENDS figure of the SPACETROOPER definitely has my highest recommendation!