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REVIEW: STAR WARS THE CLONE WARS COMMANDER COLT
By Thomas Wheeler

There are, in the most general terms, two types of Clone Trooper figures available in the Clone Wars line. One type would best be described as general troopers, even if they're somewhat specialized. This would be the case with, for example, ARF Troopers. They're a specialized type of trooper, but the figure doesn't represent any specific individual, so you can army build as many of them as you want, can find, and afford.

The other type is specific individuals. These might be troopers, such as Echo, Fives, or whomever, or officers, such as Captain Rex, Commander Cody, Commander Gree -- or in this case, a new arrival into the Star Wars Clone Wars line -- COMMANDER COLT.

This figure is certainly distinctive and interesting enough to add to my collection. I have no problem whatsoever with basic troopers in the basic white armor, with a little decoration here and there. But I do enjoy seeing distinctive individuals as well -- and Commander Colt certainly qualifies.

And thanks to the highly informative Web Site known as "Wookieepedia", I am also able to present a comprehensive profile on the character.

Commander Colt first appeared in "Clone Cadets", the first episode of the third season of the series. He also appeared in the second episode, "ARC Troopers."

"Colt" was the nickname given to this Advanced Recon Commando who served in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. Commander of the Rancor Battalion and advocate of unity on the battlefield, Colt was assigned to Tipoca City on Kamino to select potential ARC Trooper candidates from squads of clone cadets nearing the end of their training. The ARC trooper was still on Kamino when the Confederacy of Independent Systems launched an attack on the cloning facilities. Colt participated in the defense of Tipoca City but was killed by the Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress.

It's pretty well established in the series that most Clones tend to fare only slightly better than the average "red-shirts" did in Star Trek. If you saw a previously unknown crewman in an episode of Star Trek, and he was wearing a red shirt, chances were he'd be phasered, blown up, catch some horrible and quickly fatal disease, turned into dust, stabbed, shot, or whatever, generally before the second commercial break. It's a wonder Starfleet was able to maintain any sort of recruitment quotas.

At least the Clone Troopers generally have the excuse of being in the midst of an ongoing war, but their life expectancy hasn't proven to be much better. I'm not sure off the top of my head what percentage of actual, named Clones in my action figure collection have already been killed off in the series, and to be perfectly honest, I'd just as soon not calculate that one, thank you very much.

One of many soldiers cloned from the Mandalorian bounty hunter Jango Fett on the planet Kamino and trained to serve the Galactic Republic, Colt was an Advanced Recon Commando commander tasked with leading Rancor Battalion of the Grand Army during the Clone Wars. Around 21 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin, a standard demarcation point for the Star Wars timeline), he was reassigned to Kamino to oversee the final stages of training for clone cadets in Tipoca City; the new members of the cadet squad who performed the best in the last challenge were to be selected as ARC trooper candidates. Introduced to the cadet squads by the Siniteen instructor Sergeant Bric (see my separate review of his figure!), Colt addressed the man, stressing the importance of unity on the battlefield.

This much is evident in a quote attributed to Colt in his Wookieepedia profile" "I want you troopers to remember - we're shoulder-to-shoulder on those front lines. Brothers! And sometimes we may quarrel, but no matter what, we are united. Rule one: we fight together."

Colt selected Bravo Squad to first perform the final challenge, as the squad's cadets had completed their run in record time - "ARC Trooper time", as Colt saw it. From an observation platform overlooking the practice chamber, the Commander instructed the Arcona trainer El-Led to initiate version THX, variable 1138 (and how many times are we going to see that combination, representing George Lucas' first pre-Star Wars cinematic effort, turn up?) of the citadel challenge.

Bravo Squad's performance in the test greatly impressed Colt, who congratulated the instructors on their training of the cadets. Domino Squad was the next to run the simulation. Colt felt that their handling of the test was "sloppy" and "unorthodox", and he soon ended the challenge when the cadets left one of their own behind. The ARC trooper additionally berated the squad for disobeying directives and breaking formation. Left with no choice, El-Les failed Domino Squad, though the cadets later succeeded when given a second opportunity to pass the simulation.

Colt remained on Kamino as the war progressed, and was in Tipoca City when the Confederacy of Independent Systems launched an attack on the planet. The Commander assisted with the defense of the city, leading ARC troopers during the battle and engaging Separatist B1 Battle Droids within one of the city's halls.

And then he came up against Asajj Ventress, and I'd just as soon not get into the details regarding the death of a character represented by an action figure I'm presently reviewing. There's just something a little grim about that if you ask me.

As to his personality and traits, Colt was an expert in ground and aquatic warfare, and believed strongly in the unity and brotherhood between his fellow Clone Troopers - especially when in battle - and stressed this lesson to the clone cadets whose training he was assigned to supervise.

When faced with the Separatist attack on Tipoca City, Colt and other clones fought against invading Battle Droids despite overwhelming odds. The Commander continued to fight even after his comrades were killed, until he himself was struck down in battle. The pattern on his helmet identified Colt as a member of the Rancor Battalion. And as long as we're talking about helmet patterns --

So, how's the figure? Really extremely impressive! Commander Colt is far more extensively outfitted than the average Clone Trooper, by far.

For starters, he has the Episode III-style helmet, with the larger visor, that is sort of a "bridge" between the original Clone Trooper helmets of Episode II, and the Stormtroopers of the Classic Trilogy. Obviously at some point between Episodes II and III, these new helmets were introduced, and the Clone Wars series has established that the ARC Troopers were among the first to receive them, which would certainly include Commander Colt.

The helmet is mostly white, with dark gray detailing on the back, sides, and lower part of the "face". The helmet also has a movable antenna on the side, tipped in red.

The brief bio on the back of Commander Colt's package card reads as follows: Clone Commander Colt defends Kamino cloning facilities that are under attack by Separatist forces. He commands the elite ARC Troopers assigned to this challenging mission. He is an expert in amphibious and ground missions and has a helmet with a distinctive design that identified his specialized unit.

And there, once again, we have a reference to this Rancor Battalion. Just for those of you who might not know, the Rancor is one of the animal-type creatures in the Star Wars universe. We got to know one in Return of the Jedi. It was the screaming horror that was sent after Luke Skywalker in the pits below Jabba the Hutt's palace. It chowed down on a Gamorrean Guard and then made after Luke.

According to the Star Wars Essential Guide on Alien Species, the homeworld of Rancors is unknown, although it may well be a world named Dathomir. They average about 10 meters in height As nonsentient species, it is unknown how they spread to so many different worlds, but it is believed they were taken around the galaxy by sentient species to be used as battle mounts or beasts of burden.

They are obviously fearsome fighters, and are highly resistant to blaster fire and other handheld energy weapons. Not a bad thing to name your Clone Battalion after, if you think about it.

However, despite their fierce fighting ability, the rancors are inherently benign when they are well fed and allowed to live alongside their own kind -- something Jabba definitely didn't do. They can be domesticated and training for riding or to haul goods.

Interesting if not entirely an inappropriate name for a Clone Battalion. Obviously these things have a certain reputation in some circles, and did well before Jabba started keeping one around to deal with pesky intruders.

Although the basic design of Colt's armor is relatively standard, it has no shortage of upgrades. The basic armor is pretty much standard Clone Trooper -- it's mostly white, with a black undersuit, visible only at the joints where the human body needs to move. There are some differences, though. The lower arms and gauntlet backs of Colt's armor are a very dark gray, as are the lower legs and tops of his boots. The lower leg armor is more detailed than typical for a Clone Trooper, including some sculpted sections that are painted dark brown on the front, and even darker gray on the back.

Notably, Colt has a 2010 copyright date on the bottom of his boot. At the very least, the lower legs and feet of this figure are newly sculpted. And I've seen it twice before -- on a couple of other ARC Commanders that were available in a boxed set a while back.

In addition to this, Commander Colt has a broad red stripe down the lower left arm, and two narrower, broken strips on his lower right arm. There's a series of buttons on the lower left arm, neatly painted, including one in green, a tiny little spot of green so small that a typical ruler can't even measure it, and it's the only spot of that color on the entire figure. That's the sort of tiny little detail that makes me wish I could see the requisition reports for paint supplies.

Commander Colt is even more extensively outfitted than this. He is wearing a double pauldron, as well as a kama. "Pauldron" is the Star Wars name for the additional shoulder piece that certain more elite troopers wear. It was first seen among the Sandtroopers of the first movie, but has since become one of the defining characteristics of ARC Troopers as well. Usually, the shoulder piece flares out to only one side, but Colt's flares out on both sides. I don't know if this grants him any special status or if he's just being a showoff. One side has dark gray panels, the other side dark red. These are attached to some additional dark gray check armor, which also includes three narrow pouches on the front. The armor and pouches are painted dark gray.

Then we have the kama. This is the "in-universe" term for the skirt-like tunic that most ARC Troopers wear. Colt's is somewhat shorter than some I've seen. The kama hangs from his belt, and also features two holsters for two small pistols. The kama is dark gray with dark red diagonal stripes. The holsters are dark gray, some additional equipment pouches in front of the holsters are light gray, and the belt is white.

Let me say this -- this has to be the most neatly-painted kama I have ever seen. I usually dread these things, because almost invariably, they tend to be hand-painted, and I'm sorry, but there is just no human way to do that on a mass production project like this and keep them all neat and consistent. Now, the complex pattern of bold diagonal lines might well have necessitated proper paint stencils or whatever on Commander Colt's kama, but even the belt, which is hand-painted, is painted very neatly, and the holsters and additional equipment pouches on the kama appear to have been painted through stencils, as they should be.

Overall, Commander Colt's entire paint job is very neatly done, and of course the figure is superbly articulated. Commander Colt is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, legs, knees, and ankles. There are rotational articulation points as well as back and forth movement in most of his joints.

His helmet is not removable. Not a big deal, since they all tend to look more or less like Jango Fett, although the animated Clone Wars series has shown that some Clones try for a measure of individuality with different hair styles, hair colors, facial hair, and even tattoos. Really, one can hardly blame them. It's got to get annoying, or at least unnerving, to wake up to the same faces every day -- and they're all the same face -- and it's also your face.

Based on an unhelmeted image on Wookieepedia, Colt wore his hair extremely short, almost shaved. Apart from that, he doesn't seem to have made much modification to his appearance.

The figure comes with plenty of accessories. He has two small pistols that fit into the holsters on the kama. Fortunately, they fit decently tightly so I don't think they're likely to accidentally slip out and be absorbed by the average living room carpet. Still, some caution is recommended.

Colt's other weapon is a massive bazooka-like device, almost as tall as the figure itself. No great danger of losing this thing. It has a spring-activated feature in it that launches an actual missile, which one should probably do one's best to keep track of. But in any case, it's an impressive weapon.

And, of course, Commander Colt comes with a card, display base, and plastic die, so he can take part in the Galactic Battle Game that's been part of the entire Star Wars universe of action figures for some time now.

So, what's my final word? I'm highly impressed. This is a WAY above average Clone Trooper figure, with the Episode III-style helmet -- which I'll admit I like a fair bit more than the Episode II, although I've gotten more used to that one thanks to the Clone Wars series -- and no small measure of special uniform accessories. He has a very distinctive paint job on his armor and his kama, and really does a good job of standing out in a crowd -- and for Clones, that's not easy. The figure is nicely designed, well-detailed, well-articulated, everything. If you're a fan of the Clone Wars series, and of the Clones in particular, Commander Colt is a must-have for your collection.

The STAR WARS CLONE WARS figure of COMMANDER COLT definitely has my highest recommendation!