This year’s Star Wars Comic-Con exclusive from Hasbro was one of the more straightforward toys in their offerings, a single 6″ Black series figure, which will later be released as a standard retail item. Why, then, was this simple toy THE hot ticket at Hasbro’s booth? Because it’s the first toy from JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Your mileage may vary on the significance of that fact, but regardless, it’s hard to argue that the First Order Stormtrooper is anything but a fantastic addition to this great toy line.
The figure is based on the newly redesigned Stormtrooper from Episode VII, and based on what we’ve seen of the movie thus far, seems pretty accurate. The new armor is a great design, clearly rooted in the Imperial aesthetic, but streamlined. There’s also a more even balance between the white armor and the black detailing and bodysuit, giving this Trooper a truly distinct, yet still recognizable appearance. One thing I find very interesting about the new design is how gender neutral it is. Gone is the chest plate modeled after a male chest, replaced by a less angular shape, something that could compliment either male or female wearers. This totally makes sense, since we already know we’ll be seeing at least one female Stormtrooper in the movie, but it’s still pretty awesome, and surprisingly progressive for the new would-be dictators of the galaxy. Good going, First Order!
If you’ve collected any of the 6″ Black Series figures, the articulation structure of the Stormtrooper should come as no surprise. The figure features a very good range of motion, although the half-ball elbows are limited by the sculpt, only reaching about a 45 degree angle. It’s still possible to have the figure hold a weapon in both hands, but more range in the elbows would have opened up even more firing poses. Speaking of weapons, the Stormtrooper comes packing two guns– a pistol and a redesigned blaster. Both guns get some white paint apps, which matches the armor nicely, and the smaller pistol features a peg which allows it to plug into the Trooper’s leg. I can only assume this is accurate to the movie design, as otherwise opting for a peg instead of a working holster would seem like a weird side step for such a highly detailed figure.
Like I mentioned previously, the First Order Stormtrooper will be part of the mass retail Force Awakens toy line this Fall. So one of the big draws of the Comic-Con exclusive was simply to own the figure a few months early. The other motivator is the special edition packaging, only available with this SDCC edition. The box art is great, all black and white, with a sleek starkness to its design which compliments the figure itself. An outer slip cover features a good shot of the Stormtrooper from the film, along with a First Order insignia die cut into the back. Inside the figure and accessories are displayed in a black tray, while the back of the box features a window for the Evolution of the Stormtrooper booklet, another Comic-Con exclusive. The booklet looks at the history of the Stormtroopers’ design, dating back to the Clones first seen in Attack of the Clones. Each armor features all new illustrations of each Stormtrooper armor, as well as a translucent overlay which can cover the drawing, pointing out various features of each design. Not surprisingly, the First Order armor’s features are all classified, in keeping with JJ Abrams’ mystery box approach.
I’m probably a pretty easy mark for this figure, since at this point I’m all-in for the new Star Wars. But even if I ignore my excitement to return to the galaxy far, far away, the First Order Stormtrooper remains a fantastic figure, no matter how you look at it. The design is strong, and Hasbro’s sculpt does a wonderful job of capturing it in plastic. The paint work is clean, the sculpting is highly detailed, and the articulation is totally solid. I doubt this will be the only Force Awakens Stormtrooper I add to my collection, but I’m super glad I had the chance to get started on my new army nice and early. I’d highly recommend picking this Trooper up when you have the chance. Bring on the rest of the Force Awakens collection!