Monday, February 22, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,224: Scout Trooper (Imperial Patrol, Clean)

SCOUT TROOPER Imperial Patrol, Clean
Power of the Jedi Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84445 No. 84586
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Pistol, Force File
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99-$6.99
Availability: 2001
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Although lightly armored, Imperial scout troopers are essentially highly mobile stormtroopers. They patrol perimeters, perform reconnaissance missions, and scout enemy locations. They are equipped for high maneuverability and long periods without support. (Taken from the figure's Force File.)

Image: Adam's front yard.

Commentary: Not all improvements are huge, but many are big enough to get excited over. While this Scout Trooper (or "Biker Scout") didn't have scores of articulation, it did have a fantastic sculpt which looked leaps and bounds better than the 1996 version, with its awkward gait and oddly bent knees. Sure, it worked for the bike, but what if you wanted your troopers to look good away from the Speeder Bike? You were pretty much out of luck. Aside from being a little less beefy, this version's most notable advancement was the inclusion of a boot-based holster which has since been included on every other newly sculpted Imperial Scout Trooper out of Hasbro. It's a wonderful little touch, it functions properly, and it just shows that Hasbro was really trying to improve these figures during that brief time that articulation started to take a small step backward. (In 1999, Hasbro started using lots of swivel arms and knee joints, by 2000 and 2001 a lot of these features were temporarily dropped.)

So! How's the sculpt, you ask? Pretty fantastic. The proportions are very good, arguably as good or better than the super-articulated release which first hit the market in 2006 as a "Vintage" figure and has since been repackaged and redecorated numerous times. The 2001 release's pose is a little more action-oriented, as it looks like he's posed to communicate with his men or fire on the enemy, but he still looks great in a diorama setting. While not designed to sit on a vehicle well, he will look good in a diorama and it's worth snagging one or more of each deco variant to flesh out your shelves and armies. The armor is well-sculpted, black-and-white paint jobs are hard to mess up, and Hasbro had a real winner on their hands. This original clean white release proved extremely difficult to find at retail for months, and even the reissues were tricky to get. Hasbro cranked out more plain clean white ones in 2004 in pretty good numbers, and those sold through just as quickly. Even though it wasn't perfect, this was a great figure and proves that sometimes a fan just wants to buy a good figure.

Collector's Notes: This figure was repainted with dirt shortly after its release in the same SKU/package. Also notable, a version which is literally ass-backwards came out in 2002 as a Target exclusive. It's the same mold, but the crotch piece was assembled backward, which was the way each and every figure of that run ended up being produced. Anyway, this is the first release, and arguably one of the best-looking. The mold was also used for the AT-AT Scout Trooper figure released as a Toys "R" Us exclusive with the giant Imperial Walker in 2006, although that version had a flip-up helmet.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,224: February 22, 2010

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