Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 221: Snowtrooper

SNOWTROOPER Battle of Hoth
The 30th Anniversary Collection Tins
Item No.:
Asst. 87154 No. 87204
Number: 5 of 6
Includes: Removable helmet, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99-$32.99
Availability: Fall 2006
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Emerging like invisible ghosts from the tundra, few sights chill the hearts of Rebel soldiers like a charging battalion of Imperial Snowtroopers. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's coffee table.

Commentary: Since its first release in 2003, the Snowtrooper mold used as the base for this figure has had a lot of changes. Let's stick to the matter at hand, though: this figure is good. Not perfect, but good. The 2002 release had more gear, but this one has a removable helmet and is the first-ever Snowtrooper figure to have such a feature. The face underneath has a scar unique to this figure, and due to how Hasbro sculpted the head, this one is not swappable with the Tin Series Sandtrooper. (Boo, I say.) The figure is painted differently from other releases of this mold, namely on the gloves. A few small details were changed here and there, so if you're making a squad of blizzard troopers and want them all a little different, this is a figure worth buying.

Of course, it isn't perfect. Hasbro went through the trouble to retool part of the body, but didn't bother to remove the rank marker on the armor. (A pity, as all "new" Snowtrooper figures that use this body since 2003 have had this ranking.) The figure has seven points of articulation-- the standard six, plus an ankle. This was originally done to better interact with a tripod laser cannon, but since it wasn't included in this set, it really doesn't matter. An articulated ankle is just a nice extra. The ball-jointed head is especially nice, but seeing the figure without its helmet is, to say the least, very jarring. The Scout Trooper, you can imagine. The Stormtroopers, you've basically seen-- sure, it was Han or Luke under the helmet, but you knew what it'd look like. There's something very freaky about seeing a Snowtrooper with its head off. I'm sure toddlers have the same reaction when they see Mickey Mouse or some such take his head off at a theme park. It's just weird. Cool, a welcome change, yes. But weird.

Collector's Notes: This is a figure you probably own with a new head and hat. There's some new paint, and it comes in a very expensive set with three other figures you may already own, also with new paint. This is really the bad thing here, because it's very hard to justify a new figure for $30. $20, maybe. $10, sure. But $30? It's excessive. I enjoy having this figure in my collection and the removable Snowtrooper mask was designed so well, you might not even realize it's meant to come off at first. It's Hasbro's finest removable helmet figure to date, easily. It's just... weird. (Oh, and while the holster works fairly well, my sample of the figure has a hand that doesn't like to grip the weapon, hence its appearing holstered in the photo.)

This mold was previously used to make a Snowtrooper in 2003. In 2004, the figure was slightly redecorated and shipped in OTC packaging, and shipped again in a Battle Pack in 2005. In 2006, the figure's torso, waistcoat, and head were reused to make a new "basic" Snowtrooper using the 1997 figure's arms and legs. And finally, this figure that I just reviewed came out in 2006, based on the original figure's sculpt, but with a new head. The 2006 Tin release is arguably the second-most fun, after the 2003/2004 one with the firing giant cannon.

Day 221: December 13, 2006

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