REVIEW: Sideshow's 12" Star Wars SNOWTROOPER
An Arctic Assault On Your Collection...
The 12" Snowtrooper is IN-STOCK NOW at Sideshow Collectibles priced at $149.99 with a payment plan available.
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Everyone has their favorite Star Wars characters and the action figures they represent. Boba Fett has always been my main man, but the Imperial Stormtroopers and their many variations run a close second, in particular, the arctic assault Snowtroopers. While seen all too briefly in The Empire Strikes Back, their explosive debut with Lord Vader marked an epic conclusion to the Battle of Hoth - arguably my favorite scene in the entire Star Wars Saga. Where the Prequels went crazy with color, the Snowtroopers of the Original Trilogy stood out from their stark white generic cousins with menacing goggled hoods and half-skirts. At this time in the film series, the Snowtrooper was the most radical Stormtrooper design to be introduced, one that forever made a impression on this fan's mind. These weren't just any Stormtrooper. These were Commando Elite!
As cool looking as the Snowtrooper is, there hasn't been much action figure love for the character outside the 3 3/4" scale. Hasbro released a 12" POTF figure in '97 and Gentle Giant has a 12" vintage reproduction on the horizon, but those seeking 1:6th scale realism have been out of luck. Now thanks to Sideshow Collectibles, collectors can own a 12" Snowtrooper worthy of quality display. For fans tired of Sideshow's countless Clone Troopers and those patiently waiting for the fan-favorite Biker Scout to see release, the Snowtrooper fills the void nicely with a fresh and exciting new design. With most modern 1:6th scale collectibles breaking the $200 barrier, the Snowtrooper is also a small relief on the wallet at $149.99. While still beyond what many would consider cheap for a toy collectible, it's a far cry from the startling high-end direction the hobby is heading.
Packaging is Sideshow's now standard fifth panel window box affair. It's sturdy and attractive, with product shots adorning all sides and actual movie stills of the Snowtrooper's all-to-short screen time gracing the back. Flipping open the magneticaly sealed outer flap - always a classy touch - reveals the figure for clear viewing on the right, while the opposite side features an in-depth description of Sideshow's "Militaries of Star Wars" series, as well as an interesting Snowtrooper bio. Freeing your figure is as easy as lifting up the top tab and pulling out the inner plastic storage tray.
The Snowtrooper isn't as heavily armored and accessorized as say, Commander Cody, but it's that more simplistic - streamlined - approach that I like so much about the character. Being less complex doesn't mean less appealing, and in terms of the Snowtrooper as an action figure, it's actually a welcome plus. Playing with and displaying your Snowtrooper is as easy as 1-2-3, with little to no fuss involved.
The first thing you'll want to do is equip the Imperial Trooper with his survival backpack. Located on the upper back sides of the energy pack are four small pegs. These insert into corresponding holes found on two rubbery straps hanging off the Snowtrooper's back. It's a bit of work to get the pegs punched all the way into the holes (you'll want to hold the strap steady with tweezers as you push the pegs in), but once in the connection is nice and secure. While this system works, I think I would have rather seen Sideshow use strong Velcro or even small metal hooks to mount the backpack. Mounting aesthetics don't really apply here as I don't see many collectors displaying the Snowtrooper sans his pack. Lastly, two straps ending in clips on the Snowtrooper's waist snap onto the pack, firmly locking the device in place.
Sideshow also lists as an accessory a "Thermal Detonator". I'm most familiar with the grenade-sized device used by Princess Leia in Bousch Disguise, so I presumed the included canister was a supply container of some sort. After digging around in the package for a grenade and coming up empty-handed, I concluded that the canister was indeed a Thermal Detonator... and sure enough, a quick search on starwars.wikia.com shows Leia's familiar weapon as a Thermal Detonator... as well as the Snowtrooper's canister. Learn something everyday. This device has two metal clamps that allow you to mount it anywhere on the Snowtrooper's belt. These metal clamps are the same type I wish was used on the backpack, where their inclusion would work best sight unseen. On the bomb, however, the clamps appear awkward if you ever plan on displaying the Snowtrooper holding it. A small nitpick.
Once you've equipped your Snowtrooper with his backpack (and explosive), the only two steps left are to decide which hands you want on your figure and to give him a gun. Included with the Snowtrooper are three (3) sets of easy to swap alternative hands (nice and thick wrists posts). For the right you receive fisted, one to hold his E-11 blaster rifle, and another gripping hand for use with Sideshow's E-Web heavy repeater (sold separately). Left hands include the other E-Web grabber, open and relaxed, and my personal favorite, a commanding hand gesture with the index and middle fingers pointing. You can get some cool poses using this hand - from the serious (leading troops to battle), to just being silly (making a peace sign or gang sign).
The Snowtrooper comes armed with the standard-issue E-11 blaster rifle (with folding stock), but those that ordered the Sideshow Exclusive (now sold out) received a bonus "Vintage Blaster Rifle" (DLT-20A). As mentioned, the E-11 fits snug in the figure's right weapon-grasping hand and features an incredible hard plastic sculpt. Once armed for battle, your Snowtrooper is good to go. For long-term display, Sideshow provides an optional snow covered display base featuring the more standard (and superior) crotch support system. I love how you don't have to fiddle with waist clamps.
Three simple steps later and you're ready to admire your Snowtrooper. The first thing to grab your attention is the figure's powerful portrait. This is an unusual head sculpt in that it's really not a complete head sculpt. There's the helmet and goggles, but beneath the face hood is thin air. The hood itself is a rubbery material molded to give the impression that a head lies underneath. While this sounds like a bad thing, it's the complete opposite. Since there is no physical head, there is nothing for the hood to hinder. This allows an unprecedented range of movement, letting you pose the Snowtrooper's head in a number of cool, commanding ways.
Aside from the Snowtrooper's helmet and backpack, other armored pieces include shoulder and arm plates, knee pads and a clamshell control unit that fits over the torso. All these pieces are well sculpted in a glossy hard plastic, each part realistically weathered with dirt and everyday wear and tear. That realistic weathering continues on the rest of the figure - which except for the plastic boots - is entirely real cloth. Matching up all-white weathered plastic armor pieces with an all-white weathered fabric uniform could have easily spelled distaster, but Sideshow pulled it off with flying colors. Where the pants are a more rough cloth material, the shirt and half-skirt (which I now see might be once piece, like a jacket) are tailored out of a super soft suede-like fabric. Hey, Snowtroopers have the right to be cozy for combat! I want a large blanket made out of this stuff. Anyways, the entire cloth outfit is extremely well made and the dirty look Sideshow managed to deliver makes it all appear ultra realistic. As for the figure's articulation, Sideshow used the Prometheus 1.1 body. I'm not an expert on these body types, but I'll say that my Snowtrooper's joints are all very firm and fluid, no dreaded floppy limbs to be found.
Sideshow has been on a roll with their 1:6th scale armored Star Wars figures. We've seen released almost every conceivable Clone Trooper and now we're heading into Original Trilogy territory. I'd LOVE to see someone's collection that has every armored Star Wars figure released so far on display. It'd be a sight to behold. The stark reality for most of us, however, is that we have to be selective in which $150+ figures we purchase. Cool, unique characters like Boba Fett, Commander Cody and now the Snowtrooper are what I look for when adding to my armored ranks. I treasured my Kenner Star Wars action figures growing up, but Sideshow's 12" Snowtrooper is the figure I always wished I owned. Grab yours, while supplies last (3500 were made), at Sideshow Collectibles.
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Sample Courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles
Last edited by JeffSaylor; 08-01-2013 at 01:50 PM.