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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA


    Sideshow deploys a new armored trooper...

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    It's amazing what attention to detail can do for a toy and its collectors, especially when it's Star Wars. We've seen what Hasbro did with their twelve-inch line a decade ago, and while they were able to produce quite a number of figures, it ultimately just wasn't good enough. Sideshow joined the scene with their highly articulated and detailed 1/6th scale figures and hasn't slowed down since.

    After years of Jedi and other alien figures, the popular armored troops are now a standard issue. Sideshow has released a white ranking Sandtrooper earlier and has an Authorized Sideshow Retailer Exclusive with the Sandtrooper Corporal, a black rank on pre-order. Just recently shipped to those who ordered, however, is the Squad Leader with his orange rank shoulder pauldron, the most popular one, no doubt.

    Priced at $109.99, Squad Leader is a limited edition of only 3,500 pieces and is now on Sideshow's WAIT LIST, though you might be able to find the troopers you're looking for elsewhere.

    PACKAGING: The packaging for these figures are still the same familiar box with the 30th anniversary design. Full color photography grace all sides of the box with the added screen captures on the backside. Magnets hold the box tightly together and upon opening, you'll find the weapons stored on one side and figure on the other. You'll also find the backstory of the character if you care to read it.

    SCULPT/ ARMOR: Sculpting is very good, and while there are areas that may seem off, it's just difficult to pull off in a functional figure. This armor is basically the same as the previous Sandtrooper, which was in itself a variation of the Stormtrooper. Sideshow is definitely making their money back on this design. Underneath it all is a black body glove suit.

    What separates this armor from the basic Stormtrooper are minor, most notable in the mid torso, which feature a different pattern. The shoulder pauldron is actually a soft fabric piece that you put over the arm and neck once the head is removed. Also worth mentioning is that there is no head underneath the helmet since no Sandtrooper ever shows their face in the film.

    The color of the Sandtrooper is an off-white with some added dirt and grime to show off the "worn" look that made Star Wars believable. It's not overdone, though I think they could have pulled it back a little bit.

    ACCESSORIES: If there's anything great about this release is that accessories are essential. Fortunately, Sideshow provides us with more than enough to mess around with, and there's even room to customize your Sandtrooper depending on which version from the film you like best. This isn’t to say that I have my major gripes, but I'll get to that in a bit.

    First things first, the Sandtrooper Squad Leadercomes with two pairs of hands that are swappable at the wrist. I actually didn't find these extra hands necessary but they're there for those who want them.

    The shoulder pauldron, as mentioned above, is a soft accessory that straps on around the right arm and over the neck. It's not a plastic as it appears.

    Then there are belt pouches and shoulder pouches. You can only use two belt pouches at a time so feel free to pick the two you like best. The belt is attached via Velcro so adjust that while you're at it. The shoulder pouch can be strapped on over the left shoulder easy enough.

    Sandtrooper comes with two weapons: T-21 Light Repeating Blaster with strap and the standard issue Stormtrooper Blaster. He's seen in the film with either one so have fun deciding which to display. I prefer the T-21 though, since it just screams "Sandtrooper".

    Lastly, we have the backpack. The oh so annoying backpack. It comes with straps not unlike the kinds you’d find on regular full size backpacks. If you don't have tweezers, good luck as this may take up a good half an hour of your time to figure out. I actually had to do this part twice as it fell apart the first time. Please, Sideshow, if you're going to make things this complicated, do it for us or at least provide instructions on how we best tackle it.

    I almost forgot, this figure, like all figures, comes with a Sideshow display stand with the Star Wars logo. Since Sandtrooper has so much gear though, this stand really isn’t ideal and it's too bad we aren't given something more similar to what Hot Toys provides.

    ARTICULATION: The Sandtrooper has over 30 points of articulation and stands taller than my normal Stormtrooper. That might be not be entirely accurate as I’m just eye-balling it. The one thing that really bothers me about this figure is just how loose his joints are. It makes for a difficult time standing up and not being able to use the display stand conveniently makes matters worse.

    OVERALL: After all the time spent on getting this figure together, I decided that it wasn't worth all that trouble. This figure is $20 more expensive than the standard Stormtrooper and I was more impressed with that one. If you're into Sandtroopers or collecting Original Trilogy, by all means, this is a great piece for the collection. But as a more casual Star Wars collector (in this scale anyway), the price and the amount of preparation time, and the fact that he can't stand very well on his own makes this toy collector less than enthused. The weak joints also make holding his weapons in various poses impossible as the weapons themselves are too heavy.

    Final verdict: Looks great, but it should be much better. If Sideshow can give a little help on the backpacks and developed appropriate stands for figures with a lot of gear, than I would be more inclined to buy the rest of the gang. Until then, this is a one-man army.

    Review and Photos by David Yeh

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