Witness the evolution of the armored elite...
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Since 1977 and the opening scene of Star Wars, armored troopers have been a staple of the galaxy far, far away. Stormtroopers were cool, and in time were joined onscreen by Sandtroopers, Snow Troopers, and Scout Troopers. Then came the Prequel Trilogy with its clone armies and too many variations to list! Hasbro has been very helpful in providing us fans with all of the troopers we could possibly want to buy, in every version seen or imagined. The newest way to grab a trio of armored warriors is in the sub-line of Evolutions packs, one of the greatest things to happen in Star Wars toys in a long time. Collected together for the first time are Alpha the ARC Trooper, Fi Skirata of Omega Squad, and the Storm Commando in the Clone Commandos Evolutions set, exclusive to Wal*Mart!
Evolutions sets first appeared alongside Revenge of the Sith figures in 2005. Multipacks are everyone’s best friend, especially when they include high-quality versions often with extreme articulation and great accessories. Add to that variations, excellent character choices, and best of all MORE CLONES, and fans were very happy. Recent Evolutions sets have included forays into the Expanded Universe as well, bringing to plastic new characters and variations of existing ones that may have only existed in comic, novel, or video game form.
The Clone Commandos set incorporates the current clean lines and look of the Star Wars Legacy Collection, while retaining the flat rectangle shape Evolutions have had since the beginning. Primarily white with accents in red, the box includes a window on the right side shows off the three figures, and there are helpful identifying notations above them. To the left is a pretty badass piece of artwork of the trio, with another small note letting you know that additional accessories are behind it. The back of the box repeats that same image, along with a photoshopped shot of the figures and a brief description of their characters (very handy if you’ve never heard of them before). Finally, there’s a “Collect Them All” section advertising the other two sets in the Wal*Mart wave: Rebel Pilot Legacy and Imperial Pilot Legacy.
To sum up the description on the back of the box, clone commandos kick ***. This long history of violence stretches back to the one and only Alpha, designation Alpha-17 and first of the Alpha-class Advanced Recon Commando unit. His story is mainly told in comic book form. Trained by Mandalorians, the ARCs were independent and free-thinking, excelling far beyond the standard clone trooper programming. Alpha would go on to serve in many engagements alongside the Jedi, and Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in particular. Alpha wears the standard ARC Trooper outfit consisting of clone armor plus pauldron (collar piece), kama (skirt), gauntlet, and helmet periscope/rangefinder. He’s armed with the heavy duty WESTAR-M5 blaster rifle.
As the war against the Separatists dragged on, the Grand Army of the Republic expanded its ranks to include much more specialized soldiers. Among the most well-trained and effective were the clone commandos. Serving in small squads, the commandos wore heavier armor and carried a wider array of deadly weapons and tools to get the job done no matter what. Fi Skirata was one such commando, serving as medic in the illustrious Omega Squad. The garrulous and humorous clone appeared in the Republic Commando series of novels. Here he comes outfitted in his Katarn commando armor with backpack, leg cuff, medical scanner, and DC-17m Blaster.
As the noble Republic gave way to Palpatine’s decadent Empire, clones would continue to serve in the armed forces alongside regular recruits. Already veterans of countless battles, the clone troops were natural choices for elite units including the Storm Commando. He wears a variation of the Scout Trooper armor with a stealth paint scheme and carries a variety of small arms for sneaking up on and eliminating high value Rebel targets. The Storm Commando appeared mainly in the Rogue Squadron novel series, providing deadly enemies for the heroic pilots of the Rebellion.
All three characters in this set are based heavily on previous figures, with new paint jobs and some new parts. The Alpha figure has a long “evolution” of his own, starting with a great clone trooper in 2005’s Clone Trooper to Stormtrooper Evolutions set. That figure got a major upgrade with lots of new parts to represent Alpha (with blue Lieutenant’s markings) in 2007’s Obi-Wan Kenobi and ARC Trooper Comic Pack. This Alpha is a repaint of that one with red markings and a brand new (and much better sculpted) head. Fi Skirata utilizes the standard clone commando body first used for 2006’s Scorch figure and later his allies in the Republic Commando Delta Squad set. Skirata has a new paint scheme along with new better articulated legs. Finally, the Storm Commando is based on 2006’s Biker Scout with a whole new look and new head and other bits.
With such proud lineage, it should come as no surprise that all three of these figures have excellent sculpts. The various clone armors are intricately detailed with plates, segments, underlying body sleeves, and much more. Each has his own special parts of course. Alpha’s got great detailing on his pauldron and kama, and his head is really well done. Fi Skirata, with his bulkier armor, has larger smooth plates but additional elements around the joints and neck. His big old helmet has a lot of character too, which helps it look not so much like a bucket. The Storm Commando probably has the most sculpted detail, mostly because of the intricacies of his outfit. The Scout Trooper he’s based on wears a cloth undersuit which shows through on much of the middle body, arms, and legs. These areas have realistic creases and folds, with a distinctively patterned “cummerbund.” His newly designed helmet has a very aggressive face plate.
Paint quality on these figures is likewise very strong, if varied in amount of detail. Alpha, like the vast majority of clone troopers, is almost all white with black joints. Red shows up in bands on his calves, the kama, stripes on his arms, pauldron, and helmet. There are also various details in gray and black, but that’s about it. His head, while a little waxy looking, has a very good paint job. Fi Skirata also has a bit of a plain color scheme, but it works. His armor is white and dark blue in a (random?) pattern of large sections, with more black at the joints. Other than that, there’s light blue on his visor, leg cuff, and backpack. Thankfully, the paint lines are very clean and crisp, and the solid colors work well with the heavy armor.
Of the three figures here, I must say that I was least excited about the Storm Commando. While I’m a big fan of troopers, I’m not usually into the “stealth” versions. The fun for thing for me in the endless variety of clones is the variation in bright colors and patterns, not a drab black and gray guy – besides, there was only one guy who did that well, and I’ve got plenty of Vader figures. But, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised once I got the Storm Commando out of the box. He’s not just black and gray. Instead, he’s a metallic blue/green (over black) with details in silver and grays. It’s a much more dynamic paint scheme than past stealth or shadow figures, in my opinion anyway. It’s also not the easiest thing to photograph, so make sure you check him out in person.
All three clones have excellent articulation, befitting their status as Evolutions figures. All three have the now standard 14 points of articulation, with slight differences. Alpha has a waist joint, while the other two trade that for a ball-jointed torso. The Storm Commando has articulated forearms, while the other two have jointed wrists instead. In all cases, the figures can be posed in a variety of ways and are very stable.
The other staple of Evolutions sets is accessorizing, and in that capacity the clones are a bit short-changed. It’s not that accessories are lacking; they’re just not amazing. Alpha’s got his ARC kit, much of which is technically removable but I wouldn’t mess with it. He’s got the removable helmet and gauntlet, and the single blaster rifle – kind of odd since other ARC and clone figures have come loaded down with guns. Fi Skirata is outfitted much like Sev from the Republic Commando set with the backpack (plus over-the-shoulder attachment), leg cuff, and rifle, with the addition of the relatively tiny medical scanner device. The Storm Commando is really shortchanged. While he does have built in holsters, he only comes with two small blasters (regular and sniper), and frankly, they’re crappy. The plastic used on these is very soft, and they don’t look all that good. But, if you’re a trooper collector like me, you’ve probably got stores of armaments so you can arm this guy properly.
With the Clone Commandos Evolutions set, what you see is pretty much what you get. Alpha is a repaint in his alternate red colors, and he’s got a great head sculpt, so that’s cool. Skirata is pretty unique, with a deco we’ve never seen before on a figure that’s improved over the existing version. Storm Commando is a familiar face with a (literally) shiny new look, and is much more impressive out of the box. If you’re in need of clones, you could do far worse than picking up this set. Go find yours at Wal*Mart while I play with my clone army!
For more photos of this set, CLICK HERE!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin