TACTICAL OPS TROOPER (aka 501st Legion Trooper)
Revenge of the Sith Collection 2; Episode III Greatest Battles Collection
Item No.: Asst. 85174 No. 86730; Asst. 87181 No. 87246
Number: III-65; 7 of 24
Includes: Display stand, removable helmet, shoulder pad, blaster; Greatest Battles version has bonus holographic figure
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: Fall 2005-2006
Appearances: Primarily Revenge of the Sith; also appears in the Expanded Universe
Bio: These clone troopers accompany Darth Vader on a mission to destroy the Jedi. Vader and his highly trained tactical ops troopers storm the Jedi Temple and show no mercy to whomever may cross their path. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' Revenge of the Sith shelf.
Commentary: Easily the most anticipated trooper after the world saw Revenge of the Sith, Hasbro wasted no time in repainting two molds to make two different troopers. Formerly the AT-TE gunner, the Tactical Ops Trooper was part of the final 12 figures to be released in 2005, and was quite difficult to come by-- some fans never saw them on the shelves despite pounding the pavement daily. The figure itself was less than superb, with a cross-eyed head under the helmet and arms that at times would just fall off if you looked at them funny. The figure is actually fairly nicely articulated below the waist, with everything jointed and hips that can swing out. There's no waist joint, but it's about as good as you can get today and it has a nice paint job. This is a fairly "must buy" figure given its role in the movie, but as many fans will no doubt point out to you at length, it is not super articulated.
Collector's Notes: A giant pain to find, this trooper was extremely hard to find during its initial release and most found theirs on clearance several months after the fact. A bunch of Revenge of the Sith-packaged figures were sold in "bonus value" packs at Toys "R" Us as well as random sightings on clearance aisles in early 2006, which seems to have done little to satisfy demand. A new packaged version of this figure is due in stores shortly, otherwise unchanged, which will hopefully help satisfy Clone-crazy collectors. A different Tactical Ops Clone Trooper was made for Kmart in a gift set using the quick-draw Clone Trooper mold, and while neither is truly superior in terms of play value, this release has the best representation of the markings on the armor. Kmart's Jedi Temple Assault has no leg stripes.
In 2005 at Comic-Con International, an alternate version of this figure was shown using the III-41 Clone Trooper mold. This figure was the source of numerous rumors, including a possible "bonus figure" to be packed in with the game Star Wars Battlefront II and a rumored gift set that, of course, never materialized.
Day 67: July 12, 2006