You know, I realize this isn't a very popular opinion, but sometimes, when watching Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, I sometimes wonder if the Jedi deserved to lose. Now, I'm certainly not excusing everything that the Sith did. Sending an armed regiment to the Jedi Temple to kill everyone there including the younglings is way over the line.
But think about it. The Jedi never saw Order 66 coming. How in touch with the Force could they have been? And the Jedi were more than prepared to indulge in some hypocrisy of their own to preserve the Republic as they saw fit. They told Obi-Wan to have Anakin spy on the Chancellor, probably figuring that Anakin would be more accepting of such an order coming from his friend, not to mention it being off the record. On Mustafar, when Anakin says, "Either you're with us or against us," Obi-Wan replied, "Only a Sith thinks in such absolutes." Anybody else notice that that was an absolute statement itself right there? And the Jedi were certainly not above certain absolutes. Anakin and Luke were both considered too old to be trained. Jedi could not marry. They could not have possessions (except presumably the clothes on their backs and their lightsabers). And don't get me started on Mace Windu...
Assuredly, Order 66 and the formation of the Empire wasn't the best thing in the world for the galaxy. Not only did the Clone Troopers turn their attention to exterminating Jedi, but they turned away from helping the various planetary races that they had until that moment been defending. Granted the Clone Wars were nearly over as it was, but the persecution, especially of non-human races, would persist. Even so, the Jedi were not as squeaky-clean as I think they liked to believe themselves to be. Just an observation.
Last year, Target presented Star Wars fans with a set of six two-packs, named "Order 66". These cylindrical packages, however difficult they may have been to handle, nevertheless presented six very cool individual figures, such as Darth Vader, Palpatine, Mace Windu, and others, but six very distinctive Clone Troopers, as well -- hence getting away with the "Order 66" designation.
Well, if it works once, why not again? Target released a second series of two-packs, yet another half-dozen, in the Order 66 series in spring 2008. This was part of a special Hasbro-related exclusive promotion that also included three G.I. Joe vehicles, boxed with special driver figures, and a series of specially-painted Transformers, in cylindrical packaging similar to the Star Wars sets.
The Star Wars sets are all numbered, so I'll be reviewing them in numerical order.
SET #1 - OBI-WAN KENOBI and ARC TROOPER COMMANDER - The text on the back of the package reads, "Obi-Wan is assisted on many of his missions during the Clone Wars by an ARC Trooper Commander and his elite supercommandos."
Interesting thing about this set and a few of the others. Some of these sets are clearly intended to be derived from Episode II, not Episode III, well before "Order 66" was issued. Or at the very least, the time span between those two movies. Not a problem with that, just an observation.
This set is clearly one such, based on the length of Obi-Wan's hair, and the helmet design of the ARC Trooper Commander. Even the fact that he is an ARC Trooper, a designation that I believe had been eliminated or altered by the time of Episode III, when more specialties had come into play.
The Obi-Wan Kenobi figure -- well, it's nicely detailed, and well-painted. It's a really nice sculpt. The figure is wearing a fabric robe that has a really interesting feature that I have not previously encountered. There's a wire in the hem across the bottom that allows the robe to be "posed", in essence, in any variety of dramatic positions. Nice concept, really. I'd like to see this happen with superhero figure capes, instead of just molding them out of a heavy piece of plastic that makes the figure so back-heavy he can't stand up.
Unfortunately, dramatic poses are about all this Obi-Wan Kenobi figure is good for. His legs are EXTREMELY pre-posed, and except for basic articulation at the hip, are not poseable. No knee or ankle articulation whatsoever. This results in a nice-LOOKING figure, but you can't really do all that much with him. He is poseable at the arms, has the "diagonal cut" elbow articulation, and moves at the wrists. His head and waist are also poseable. I will say this -- his articulation is decently tight. This isn't one of those floppy-armed Jedi figures that's supposed to be waving his lightsaber around but generally looks more like he's having a nervous fit of some sort.
The ARC Trooper Commander, on the other hand, has tons of articulation. The helmet is removable, revealing the expected head. This is a feature that I can take or leave.
The helmet is the standard Episode II Clone Trooper helmet, with red striped trim on it, which can also be found on the uniform in a few areas. It's a pretty dark red, too. In addition to his usual armor, the ARC Trooper Commander is wearing the shoulder piece and "fabric" tunic around his waist that designates him as one of the more advanced ARC Troopers. He also has a special device on his right wrist that is linked to the shoulder piece.
The figure is pretty much in the "Super-Articulated" category, which I think most people expect from Clone Troopers these days. He is poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. The beauty of the Clone Trooper armor design, when applied to action figures, is that it allows these articulation points to be designed into the armor with no real impact on the visual aesthetics of the figure.
Accessories for the set include a lightsaber for Obi-Wan, of course, and a large rifle and two quite small pistols for the ARC Trooper Commander. He does have holsters for these on his tunic.
SET #2 - ANAKIN SKYWALKER and ARC TROOPER - The back of the package reads, "As a general in the Grand Army of the Republic, Anakin commands highly skilled Advanced Recon Clone Troopers during the Clone Wars.
This set, at first, looks like a slight dichotomy. The Anakin figure in the set is very clearly Anakin from Episode III -- long hair, scar on his face -- but the ARC Trooper has an Episode II style helmet. Even so, we don't really know when the Clones switched their helmet designs. The closest we have to that is that the original Clone Wars animated series. Possibly the new series coming up will reveal some additional details.
The Anakin Skywalker figure in this set is really an incredible piece of work. It was a nice treat given the limited capability of the Obi-Wan figure. Anakin is very fully articulation -- head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, and knees. Not the ankles, and the legs are very slightly preposed, but not significantly. Anakin's robotic right hand is clearly evident.
Especially interesting to me is that the figure is wearing a fabric and leather-like tunic. Sometimes a figure in this size range can't really get away with wearing cloth goods very well. My rule of thumb is that generally, about 6" in height is when a figure can really look decent in a cloth outfit. But somehow, Anakin pulls it off quite nicely here. I think it's helped abundantly by the fact that the tunic is held tightly in place by a wide plastic belt around the waist.
This is a recent figure, too. I don't believe that any of the figures in these Target sets are ENTIRELY new, but this Anakin has a 2007 date on the bottom of his boot, so he's at least somewhat new. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd bet that he was the shirtless Anakin with the tattoos on him that was released a while back, and this was the most economic means of giving him his tunic. Fortunately, it works, and it's a cool figure.
The ARC Trooper that comes with Anakin is largely identical to the ARC Trooper Commander that comes with Obi-Wan, except he has a different color scheme, and a different tunic. This one has a tunic-skirt that has two large equipment pouches, but no weapon holsters. The trim color on the figure is not dark red, but rather a sort of steel blue. This trim extends to the boots, as well, with a series of stripes that the ARC Trooper Commander in Obi-Wan's set does not have.
Those are about the only differences, and the figure has the same excellent high level of articulation. One note is that some of the paint work on this figure and the ARC Trooper Commander is a little sloppy. The trim along the sides and backs of their helmets look like it was done by hand, and to some degree, not all that well. I realize it's expecting too much to expect machine-like precision on a mass production project. But that's why stencils and paint masks are created -- and should have been here.
SET #3 - TSUI CHOI and BARC TROOPER - The text on the back of the package reads, "Jedi Master Tsui Choi travels to Eriadu at the end of the Clone Wars, encountering a squad of clones including BARC Troopers."
It's mildly ironic that this particular Jedi is part of this "Order 66" set. Tsui Choi was one of Order 66's few survivors, at least for a time. I am not certain of the extent of the role that he may have played in the Clone Wars. I do have (and highly recommend) the nine Dark Horse Comics trade paperbacks that comprise a considerable percentage of their Clone Wars stories, but I know that these are not the Clone Wars as portrayed by Dark Horse in their entirety.
However, for me, Tsui Choi first turned up in the early adventures from Dark Horse, which commenced following the events of Episode II, in a storyline that appears in the first of the aforementioned trade paperbacks known as "The Defense of Kamino". Perhaps his most notable appearance was in the post-Episode III special, "Purge", which is also reprinted in the last Clone Wars trade paperback. In it, a group of surviving Jedi, including Tsui Choi, meet to discuss what steps to take to survive, fight back, or whatever. One of their number, unbeknownst to the others, has put word out that Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi will be joining the group. Of course, he does not, but the plan is to lure Darth Vader, who has been on an obsessive quest to find his former master, into a trap, where these remaining Jedi can destroy him.
The lure succeeds, as Darth Vader does arrive, but the trap does not. Those Jedi not killed by Vader himself are brought down by a squad of Clone Troopers who arrive to inform Darth Vader that the Emperor wants him back on Coruscant ASAP.
To his credit, Tsui Choi lasts longer than most of the other Jedi, but he does not survive.
The figure is truly excellent, more closely resembling the "Purge" Tsui Choi than the "Defense of Kamino" design. Initially I thought it was remade from a Yoda body with a new head. Certainly the legs, arms, and basic height of the figure would have been compatible, and if I recall, a Yoda figure was in a recent standard assortment, so this still might be the case. However, the copyright date on the figure reads 2008 -- so even if there are some Yoda parts in here, they're brand new, and clearly some other parts had to be made. The neck on the upper body and the vague hint of a tail on the lower torso are definitely un-Yoda-like, and certainly the head doesn't look a thing like Yoda. I suppose this could be an entirely new figure.
Tsui Choi is an interesting little critter. He has a long head, somewhat reminiscent of the "Aliens" that Sigourney Weaver has always ended up on the wrong side of, but obviously far kindlier in appearance. His skin is mostly blue, with some very pale tan. He has two wide-set eyes, a long grin with narrow teeth, and what look to be curved fins along his jawline.
He is wearing a cloth robe, and it has the same feature as Anakin's -- there is a wire in the hem that allows it to be "posed". The articulation, especially for such a short and stubby figure, is astounding. Tsui Choi is poseable at the head, arms, wrists, waist, legs, and ankles. Just amazing.
The paintwork is very neatly done. including very intricately painted eyes, right down to irises and pupils, and little dots on the sides of his head. It's amazing to me that the company can be this precise with one figure, and so sloppy on some helmets in the same series.
The BARC Trooper that comes with Tsui Choi is also highly impressive. I honestly don't recall offhand what "BARC" stands for. Presumably it's some sort of extension of "ARC". This Clone Trooper comes with a piece of hardware that's shoulder-high to him, and looks like the sort of multi-barreled take-out- a-whole-regiment-and-their-vehicles!
The figure uses the very unusual helmet previously seen only on Commander Neyo, a figure that was originally sold in a special Wal-Mart exclusive set with a Clone Trooper and a couple of Speeder Bikes. Reportedly Neyo is due for an individual release. There are differences, though. Neyo had red trim on his uniform. This guy has yellow, including a stripe running from his helmets forehead down the front of his armor to the belt, and yellow stripes on the arms.
The figure is a fairly standard, but truly excellent, Clone Trooper, very neatly painted and detailed, and of course, superbly well articulated.
This particular set is truly outstanding. You get a cool new Jedi, and a very distinctive Clone Trooper. Of the six sets, this one may well be the most impressive.
SET #4 - EMPEROR PALPATINE and COMMANDER VILL - The text on the package reads, "Palpatine sends secret orders to Commander Vill, who is the clone commander of the 501st Legion on New Plympto at the end of the Clone Wars." Well, since it was the 501st that staged the raid on the Jedi Temple, I think we can guess the nature of those orders.
Seriously scary face notwithstanding, this really is an excellent figure of Emperor Palpatine. This is Palpatine after his face was deformed in his battle with Mace Windu. The skin on his face and hands has a greyish caste to it. In fact, if it weren't for the red lightsaber, I could take a black and white picture of this figure and no one would know the difference. The figure is displayed in package with the entire head revealed. Fortunately for those with delicate sensibilities, the hood on the cloth robe does raise up.
The overall detailing on the figure is excellent. Palpatine is wearing a black cloth robe and cloth tunic. The articulation is superb -- head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. The figure has a 2005 copyright date on the foot, so I assume it's been used before, although it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the head was new. I don't recall a Palpatine THIS ugly before. The facial expression, an angry snarl, certainly helps. He looks like he's just been presented with a line-up of surviving Jedi that escaped his infamous Order 66. This is Palpatine in a mood where you sort of think that once he's done with the Jedi, he's going to use his lightsaber on the Clone Troopers that brought them in just for taking so long about it.
Bottom line, this is an extremely impressive, well-made, well-detailed, well-articulated, nicely done figure of Emperor Palpatine at his absolute nastiest worst.
Commander Vill is the poor sap who got stuck in the same package with this guy. While I don't recall the name being mentioned in the movie, I do believe I've encountered it in the comic book a few times. Clearly Vill is affiliated with the 501st Legion. The blue trim pattern on their armor is certainly one of the most recognizable and distinctive.
The figure also has the additional shoulder piece and waist tunic, denoting someone of higher rank. Vill's tunic is a sort of tan in color, an interesting offset to the blue trim of his armor. The helmet is removable, which in this instance doesn't really work that well. The additional shoulder piece is a fairly thick item, and it tends to push the helmet upwards a bit. It doesn't want to stay put as well as it should. Not a serious complaint here, just an observation.
Vill's weapons include a long rifle, and two small pistols that fit into the holsters in his tunic-skirt. As with the ARC Trooper Commander that comes similarly equipped. They're packed in a separate little plastic bag that also includes a worn-looking cane for Palpatine.
Commander Vill, as with all of the Clone Troopers in this series, is superbly well articulated, poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles, with multiple points of movement at most of his areas of articulation. His paintwork is generally neat, although there's a couple of areas that could've been better, and interestingly, he's not the least bit weathered or dirtied. Thank you for that!
SET #5 - LUMINARA UNDULI and AT-RT DRIVER - The text on the back of the package for this set reads, "Luminara is a Jedi General sent to Kashyyyk in the final days of the Clone Wars with a squad of Clone Troopers including AT-RT Drivers."
Luminara is a prominent Jedi Master that appeared in Episodes II and III, albeit without any speaking role, and has been used extensively in the original animated series and even more widely in the comic books from Dark Horse.
The character has a very distinctive appearance. She is humanoid, with a greenish caste to her skin, and a diamond pattern imprinted on her chin. She is from a race known as Mirialan and was usually accompanied by her Padawan, a young woman from the same race, named Barriss Offee. In battle, the two worked superbly well together, usually moving in tandem.
Her outfit is quite a bit different and more ornate than the average Jedi. It customarily consists of a long black dress with an ornate waistpiece, and a headpiece that, for lack of a better description, makes Luminara look half-Egyptian and half-nun.
Based on the comics, she was indeed stationed on Kashyyyk towards the end of the Clone Wars, and assisted the popular comics-created character Quinlan Vos in the final battles. She also appeared in the novel "The Approaching Storm". In this book, Unduli and Barriss Offee, together with Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, were dispatched to the minor world of Ansion to settle a dispute, thus solidifying Ansion's place in the Republic and dissuading them from joining the Separatist movement.
The figure is superb. She is wearing a fabric dress, at least fabric below the waist, that is somewhat frayed along the end. I am going to assume that this was intentional. She's been through the Clone Wars at this point. Her wardrobe might not have held up all that well. However, I recommend careful handling of the figure in this respect.
She has a very ornate waistpiece and wristbands, painted in copper, and the large headpiece. Facial detail is very neatly painted. Articulation is excellent, if not quite to so-called "Super-Articulated" levels. The head moves, but just barely because of the headpiece. Her arms move, the elbows have the "diagonal cut" articulation, and the tops of the wristbands rotate to allow her hands to turn. She is poseable at the waist, legs, and knees. Her boots also have some intricate copper-painted detailing on them, even though they don't really show in the picture, or the figure in package.
Overall a very nice addition to this series.
The AT-RT Driver is also a very cool figure. The AT-RT Driver has turned up on quite a number of occasions at this point, and as far as I know, the only one I'm lacking is a mostly white one that was sold as part of a special set that came complete with a commemorative tin box.
What we have with the AT-RT Driver is a division of Clone Troopers that are clearly based upon the basic Clone Trooper -- in that it is an armored soldier -- but is different enough in quite a few respects to result in a very distinctive and unique look.
The armor has a somewhat more segmented look to it, especially around the lower torso and upper legs. The helmet is very different, and doesn't really resemble any other design of Clone Trooper or Stormtrooper helmet all that closely. The arms and legs are pretty much the same as a Clone Trooper, lending a certain amount of continuity to the overall look.
The AT-RT Driver that accompanies Luminara in this set has a tan color to its armor, with splotches of brown camouflage. He almost looks better suited to a desert environment, than the forests and jungles of Kashyyyk, but I suppose you go where you're ordered regardless of how you're dressed. There's very little weathering on the figure, really just a very light wash of very watered-down grey that is barely visible. The helmet has light green lenses in its eyes, in keeping with most Kashyyyk-assigned Clones.
Articulation of the figure is excellent, pretty much right up there with expected levels. The figure is poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles, with multiple points of movement at many articulation areas.
He comes with a pretty good sized firearm, too. It's not as big as the BARC Trooper's, but it is different than the ARC Troopers'.
Paintwork is very well done on this AT-RT Driver. No signs of sloppiness whatsoever. It's really a superb figure, and a cool addition to anyone's Clone ranks.
SET #6 - MASTER SEV and ARC TROOPER - I tried to track down some information on Master Sev, since this wasn't a character I was familiar with. Unfortunately, the text on the package, which read, "Master Sev is a Jedi General in command of Clone Troopers aboard a Republic attack cruiser during the end of the Clone Wars", wasn't much help.
It's entirely probable that this was a character created for use in the novels or the comic books that I have simply missed. Either that, or I need to find my copies of the Clone Wars trade paperbacks and re-read them more carefully.
I doubt that Hasbro created the character just for this set of action figures, so I am sure that Sev has some background somewhere that I am simply unaware of. Maybe he's in one of the role-playing games or video games.
So, what can I say about Master Sev? Well, for starters, he appears to be a Weequay. This is an alien species that first turned up in Return of the Jedi. A couple of them were among the band of lowlifes that accompanied Jabba the Hutt.
However, there's no reason to assume that all Weequays behaved like the ones under Jabba's employ. Certainly as a sentient species, one could qualify to be a Jedi.
The figure is very impressive. He has a shorter robe than most Jedi wear, hanging only about to his knees, and it doesn't have the wire in the hem. Personally, I always thought the "traditional" look of the Jedi, with that long, flowing robe, was pretty ridiculous. It's fine and well for meditating around the Jedi Temple, but in the midst of a battle situation, it's asking for trouble. Assuming somebody doesn't manage to just step on the thing, it could theoretically be set on fire by blasters, and if nothing else, it makes the Jedi look pretty silly, like they're going into battle in bathrobes. And note the times Obi-Wan and Anakin take their outer robe off before facing an opponent. That's time wasted that could get you killed.
If you have to wear a robe into battle, a shorter one makes sense.
Master Sev has a well-sculpted head. By definition of the alien race represented, it's a highly detailed head, and that detail has been amazingly well accentuated with a wash of a darker color of paint. This is the sort of detailing that can go pretty wrong if it's not done just right. In the case of Master Sev, it's done right. There is a length of molded, braided hair hanging off to the left side of his head, and his very small eyes are nicely painted.
Most Jedi prefer earth tones to their clothing, and Master Sev is no exception, but the color scheme is a little different. His cloth robe is brown, but the plastic tunic underneath is almost an orange-tan, with a paler tan underneath that. The pale tan can also be found on a waist wrapping underneath a brown belt. His trousers are a somewhat darker brown, and his boots darker yet. For a Jedi, wearing pretty much the traditional garb in form, Sev is almost flamboyant.
Articulation on the figure is excellent. The copyright date on the figure is 2004. I have no idea who this might have been before. Much as it's possible to get a wide range of Clone Troopers out of the same basic set of molds, this set of molds could readily be used as a sort of "basic adult humanoid male Jedi" -- just add a distinctive head. Sev is poseable at the head, arms, elbows (NOT the diagonal cut), wrists, waist, legs, and knees. The figure is slightly preposed in that the left leg extends further out than the right, but it's not severely so. Overall, this is an excellent figure of a character I wish I could tell more about.
Then we have the ARC Trooper. Let's see, we've had ARC Troopers with red trim and blue trim in this series, so why not one with yellow trim? And that's exactly what this ARC Trooper has. He uses the same set of molds as the two others, including the big shoulder piece, although he has a different tunic-skirt than either of the other two. This one has neither holsters nor the large equipment pouches up front. I honestly didn't know until now that Hasbro had made this many versions of that uniform segment. I need to pay better attention.
Even though the text on the package once again makes reference to the "end of the Clone Wars", and in fact the entire series itself is built around "Order 66", once again we have a Clone Trooper with an Episode II-styled helmet. Not a complaint, just a statement of fact. The yellow trim runs from the fin on the helmet down the front, and is also on the sleeves. Interestingly, the entire fin is NOT painted. This is highly unusual. When you see an Episode II Clone Trooper with a stripe on its helmet, the entire fin is usually painted. But this guy just has the TOP of the fin painted. The sides are white, but there is some yellow on the helmet itself on either side of the fin. Surprisingly meticulous work.
Speaking of which, the entire painted detailing on the helmet is very neatly painted. Shame I can't say the same about the other two, and I dang well ought to be able to. Yeah, this is one of those things that really bothers me, because clearly it's something that doesn't need to happen. I've even seen little kids pass up some action figures, including Star Wars action figures, because of sloppy paint work.
Articulation on the figure is superb, as one would expect it to be, with the full range of motion in the head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. This ARC Trooper comes with the same pretty big rifle that the other two ARC's come with.
So, what's my final word on all of these figures? I'm extremely impressed. I mostly got them for the Clone Troopers, but the other figures that came in these two-packs are also very impressive. I am not too pleased with the Obi-Wan Kenobi figure. He looks good, and I like the wire hem in the robe, but he's just too limited in his articulation. And Palpatine's face is still creepy enough that I think it could give nightmares to younger Star Wars fans.
But overall, there's some really spectacular figures here. Anakin is as impressive as it gets, and creepy face aside, Palpatine is superb. So are Tsui Choi and Master Sev. And except for a little bit of sloppy paint on a couple of ARC helmets, I certainly have no complaints about these six very impressive assorted Clone Troopers.
Doubtless by the time this review appears on MasterCollector, these sets will have come and gone from Target. But as I always say in such matters, there's always the secondary market. And heck, you may buy in confidence based on this review that you're getting some impressive figures for your Star Wars collection.
This second series of TARGET ORDER 66 STAR WARS ACTION FIGURE SETS
definitely gets my highest recommendation!