Power of the Force Deluxe Collection
Item No.: Asst. 69610 No. 69609
Includes: Flight-Action Thruster Pack and Capture Claw
Action Feature: Spring-loaded jet pack, opening capture claw
Availability: Summer 1996
Appearances: Kenner's POTF2 Toy Universe
Bio: Feared throughout the galaxy, stormtroopers are elite shock troops deployed in support of both ground forces and the Imperial fleet. They are responsible for policing Imperial outposts and territories, accountable for sustaining Imperial control in even the most dangerous sectors. This can be a challenging and often deadly assignment for the most reliable shock troop squadrons. Touch port cities such as Mos Eisley have high populations of outlaws, criminals, smugglers, and other anti-Imperial types who create a typically chaotic atmosphere.
In order to suppress brawls and uprisings and to facilitate the supervision of areas with high criminal activity, the Empire began issuing crowd control thruster packs to many of its impact troops stationed in these areas. The packs themselves are made up of two large thrusters which extend outward for flight. Once in the air, a trooper can simply hover or travel up to speeds of 200km per hour. Dual hand levers provide acceleration as well as directional and weapons control. Mounted on the bolstered arms is a heavy blaster module, a grappling claw used for massive lifting and prisoner-hauling, and a supercharged laser which sends out a shockwave useful for repulsing and immobilizing victims.
These packs give the crowd control troopers a distinctive advantage during situations where they are outnumbered: two or three skilled roopers can effectively round up over fifty people with relative easy once taken to the air. The pack's incredible maneuverability and high speed make prisoner escape on foot virtually impossible, while its relatively quiet thrust has helped it to be come a stealth vehicle sometimes used by the Imperial Espionage Division. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Bio notes: A number of the 1995-1996 era figure bios on the file cards were written by author Andy Mangels, keeper of one of the world's finest moustaches. I am, unfortunately, not certain if this is one of his. The rest in this era were supposedly written by Kenner interns. As far as I know, the Crowd Control Stormtrooper hasn't been referenced in the gaming supplements or any other areas of Star Wars fiction.
Image: Adam's Pawlus Toy Shelves.
Commentary: Back in 1996, Kenner couldn't expand the Star Wars Universe fast enough. Despite having only released just under 20 movie-based figures, most of which were from A New Hope, it was time to create Shadows of the Empire and a number of original concepts like this Crowd Control Stormtrooper. The company realized quickly that we ate up Imperial-based toys, leading to such designs as this one and the baffling Cruisemissile Trooper later on. This figure was a basic, six joint Stormtrooper with a hole in his back, black "pepper" speckles all over his armor, and a nifty backpack that seems modeled after various Mechs and Mini-Rigs from years gone by. So while there's not much to speak of about the figure, the backpack had a lot of nifty red designs on it (seen in "more images" below) and was one of the first "special" troopers we've ever been given as a toy. Of course, for a long time, it was to be the only "original" design Stormtrooper for many, many years. Actually, 10 years later, in just a few weeks, we're going to get the next ones-- a "501st" Comic-Con Exclusive Stormtrooper and a black Shadow Stormtrooper, neither of which add any neat hardware like this figure did way back when. As such, this is a neat figure and one worth picking up.
Collector's Notes: Believe it or not, when first released, this was a staggeringly popular figure. I myself bought an "army" of four or five of them. This was, in part, propelled by a minor packaging variation and even more minor deco variation which is pretty much imperceptible. Back in 1995, fans had so much time and so little to collect that the most minute running changes because holy grails, commanding significant amounts of money over the regular version. Today, these older items are practically worthless in any flavor. This particular figure is only worth a couple of dollars on the secondary market, if you check eBay there's no shortage of them for rock-bottom prices. Even though it's from the "muscular" designs of its day, it's not unthinkable of this sculpt as a sort of special reinforced armor trooper, or just as a neat artifact of the long-since-gone days of 1996. Also, this figure (and many deluxe figures) don't say "Power of the Force" anywhere on the package.
Day 60: July 5, 2006