|Anakin Skywalker with 501st Legion Clone Trooper|
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
2013 Darth Vader Line Look Mission Series
Item No.: Asst. A5228 No. A5230
Points of articulation: 5 per figure
Includes: Lightsaber and DC-15S Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: July 2013
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith
Verdict: The Clone Trooper is a repaint and so is Anakin - surprise! Variant hunters can't miss this one because Anakin's outfit is a little different with paler skin, different hair, and Sith eyes. It's simple. The 501st Clone is a 501st Clone, and the pair is a lot of fun for the asking price. Neither offers anything new beyond the ability to sit in vehicles easily, which is reason enough for young fans to be excited. You will not be amazed, but you may find yourself delighted as you get your money's worth out of this pack.
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Bio: Anakin Skywalker and the 501st Legion Clone Troopers attack the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. After falling to the dark side of the Force, Anakin invades the temple to eliminate all the Jedi because he now believes they are enemies of the Republic. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)
Each figure is a new sculpt, but the sculpts are available individually as well. The Clone Trooper is the same body used on the Saga Legends 2013 Clone Trooper (AOTC) as well as the Shock Trooper and Utapau Clone Trooper. Anakin Skywalker is available individually with a different paint job, but all of the sculpts debuted in July 2013 together in these new waves.
Anakin Skywalker has 5 points of articulation and can indeed sit at a 90-degree angle. He has zero problems holding on to his lightsaber, and his dark hair has the illusion of giving him a smaller face. The figure is reasonably thin compared to Obi-Wan Kenobi. The gloved hand and boots have some nice detail, and it does look close enough to Hayden Christensen that fans hould not have too much to complain about. Hasbro did an excellent job capturing the leathery feel of his robes, with the inner cloth portions looking appropriately soft. He looks good without being too bulky, and has an excellent range of movement.
The 501st Legion Clone Trooper is a 5-jointed figure with a smaller than expected helmet. He shares a body with Hasbro's latest Attack of the Clones trooper, with unique deco to match a shiny version of his legion. The patterns on the armor of the legion rarely match one another, and army builders may enjoy a figure which stands at attention on his own without the need of a stand. The figure's sculpting looks clean and sharp, although the armor's plastic lacks the glossy finish of most other troopers - if this is a benefit or not is entirely up to you. This figure is functional and neither disappoints nor surprises.
It's worth noting that the single carded Saga Legends SL03 Anakin Skywalker and the MS02 figures have different paint jobs. MS02 has paler skin, darker hair, Sith eyes, and a one-color glossy belt with a silver buckle. SL02 has a little color in his skin, more sandy colored hair, blue eyes, and a two-toned flat brown belt with a silver buckle. Overall, the single-carded SL02 is superior, but both are different enough to warrant your attention. The shades of brown in the Jedi outfit are also slightly different, and both figures have silver buckles on the gloved hand.
The 501st Legion Clone Trooper is another functional paint job - the white figure has some black markings in addition to a minimal compliment of blue legion markings. The figure lacks any thigh or shin markings, and the helmet's blue stripe comes to a point at his chin - this is not consistent with most other collectibles or the movie stills. As such, the deco could use some work, but it's arguably more interesting as an "incorrect" figure than it would be as having the authentic stripes. Since it's ultimately meant as a cheapo figure for kids to put in vehicles, it gets the job done with no flourishes that would surprise the eye.
Includes a lightsaber with minimal paint applications. The weapon may be gripped tightly by the figure's hand without fear of it falling out if you breathe too heavily. Decorated with silver and a black pommel, this lightsaber is unique in that roughly 50% of the hilt is painted in black plastic - this is not true to the movie, but it is striking and unusual as Hasbro figure gear goes. I should also note that the weapon is a different sculpt from the single-carded Anakin Skywalker from Saga Legends, which came as a surprise to me.
The Clone Trooper's gun is a Clone Trooper gun. You have numerous DC-15S blasters in your collection by now, and this one has no visible trigger guard this time around. It fits into his hand easily without any real fuss, so kudos to Hasbro on executing both accessories in a pleasing manner.
There have been countless versions of both figures and no long-term collector needs a new version of either. However - the 1970s/1980s aesthetic in terms of articulation, functionality, and simplicity are what's appealing here. Most Anakin figures over the last eight years have been based on one of three sculpts with minor tweaks, so this all-new sculpt is a refreshing change of pace that's completely welcome. And to think, all that had to happen for the change was obscene increases in material and labor costs.
The 501st Clone Trooper has also been done numerous times to varying degrees of success - each figure has its own unique foibles from a missing paint application to overall unavailability, and this one is the least articulated of them all. It's ideal for vehicle pilot duty, but it's also likely you have an entire legion of the 501st in your collection from buying one of each new release since 2005. While not a significant improvement, it is more fun to futz with than previous releases.
Anakin can sit well and fits in the 2005 Jedi Starfighter quite nicely. (Our 2013 sample has yet to arrive.) Since he can stand and sit with an easily removed lightsaber, this may well be the best "toy" Anakin on the market. The Clone Trooper's functionality is good, but the articulation of previous figures tend to allow them to assume many poses. This one benefits from having hip joints that do not get misshapen if you have the figure sitting down, as most previous figures had hip joints that would slowly widen over time if left seated. This one does not appear to have that problem.
Functionally superb, visually adequate. Two figures are packaged in a single, mind-bogglingly clever package. There's a trick to opening it - the top of the bubble is the only part sealed to the cardboard. Slide your finger under the heat seal, or make an incision along the top of the bubble. The entire plastic part of the packaging slides open without any fuss, sort of like those cardboard strips on fast food pie slice boxes. Watch the video for a demo of this.
The front of the packaging is a bit of a snooze, but it does feature both character portraits on the front. The Star Wars logo seems undersized for the design, with Vader's hand looming large over the figures, giving them an unintentionally small look. (The Mattel DC Universe Infinite Heroes 3 3/4-inch action figure line had a similar problem - the hand motif tends to visually "shrink" the figures to the consumer, leading to arguments between toy reviewers and fans over the actual size of the figures. Your average joe doesn't see these as their correct height.)
Hasbro deserves kudos for the design, as it takes up minimal cardboard and plastic with no twist ties or rubber bands. Two pieces of tape hold the accessories in place, and the plastic tray does the rest. This results in less waste and no frustration on the part of the collector.
Its worth noting that the photo on the back of the package deserves a dishonorable mention for being dark to the point of being useless. As a great man said, "Thou Shall Not Squint." You could replace this photo with the picture of the inside of a closed freezer and at first glance, nobody would know the difference.
Congratulations, Pete and Yuka!