Let's talk about Star Wars Command. Bad news folks - they're really nice, and you will want some of them. The concept of "green army men" has been a part of toy culture for years - variations on the theme have been in toy shops since 1938. In subsequent years we've seen variations on the theme, like the dinosaurs, aliens, and fantasy heroes put out by Tim Mee toys (reissues of which are on Amazon now) and other creatures sold by the bucket at Toys R Us.
Hasbro even tried a similar product for Star Wars a few years ago with Star Wars Unleashed Battle Packs from 2006 to about 2010 and Fighter Pods from 2012-2013. They were painted and averaged about $2.00-$2.50 per figure. Hasbro's latest offering (in stores and online now) is Star Wars Command, a line of figures measuring a hair over 2-inches tall and about 50 cents or less each. The unpainted figures are quite charming - but should you go get some?
Read on for more! Or don't.
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Older toy fans probably had access to some variation on the pre-posed figures as kids - but those born after the 1970s may not have been so fortunate. The toys are a bit of a throwback, but not an unprecedented one - the likes of Toy Boarders and other non-army variations have shown up in record shops, meaning that the older fan has some sort of interest in this kind of product. An endless supply of the green armies are available at discount toy shops, but the last big licensed attempt at a big line of army/collecting figures was the Marvel Handful of Heroes, which were much more expensive, smaller, and died out after two fairly well-received series.
While the smaller 2-inch scale Unleashed figures were inconsistently sized - some were giants - the poses were dynamic and the character selections spanned a wide variety of fan favorites. Command seems to be working with more traditional poses, pulling from normal "army men" as well as typical Star Wars characters. After all, there's really one great pose for the red Royal Guards... if they were lobbing grenades around, it just wouldn't be proper. Likewise, the Tusken Raiders have their gaffi sticks overhead which, while cool, is a bit of a drag as they only come in the one position so far.
The black R2-D2 comes from these sets and has a six-sided base. The blue one is rounded, and comes in a Hoth-themed Millennium Falcon set we'll review later this week.
Command has numerous price points, plus a bunch of exclusives. Recently I got 3 9-packs from Entertainment Earth (because I work there) and Hasbro's first batch is almost an all-Empire affair. Each set has 8 unpainted figures, plus a ninth "commander" which is metalic with some colored element - the Emperor has blue hands, while the Sandtrooper and Agent Kallus - the first-ever Rebels figure, so far as I can tell - have black guns and bases.
Sandtrooper Strike features a Sandtrooper "commander," 2x 3x Tusken Raiders, 3x Sandtroopers with Binoculars, and 2x Standing Sandtroopers.
There is no "gameplay" as this isn't a game, but Hasbro has pitched the play pattern basically being collecting armies and knocking them down with the vehicles that are sold in other, larger packs. In other words, this is more or less identical to Fighter Pods with a different more "realistic" style and a look closer to a classic toy than something new and cute - specifically, Squinkies. Command sets range from 9 to a whopping 93 pieces in Toys R Us' upcoming exclusive Galactic Battlefield set. With the rapid assault of new figures it's possible this will burn out rather quickly, but I for one would be glad to see it last long enough to get us some sort of Sail Barge battle. We saw Ewoks at Toy Fair and frankly, I hope we get a lot of them.
If you like this kind of toy, I strongly suggest snagging the Tim Mee Toys Battle Mountain Playset. I reviewed it at 16bit.com a while ago, and it's basically made precisely for this kind of "army man" figure. Tim Mee has a pretty decent suite of this kind of thing, and given their prices - close to $0.10 - $0.40 per figure - you can build up a pretty impressive collection quickly, and they're durable and don't take up a lot of room.
For more reading on the Tim Mee stuff, I like Little Weirdos, a great site focusing on cheap, small, monocolored figures. Click here to see a piece on Marvel-derived fantasy figures, and be sure to click here to see the Galaxy Laser Team - it's a totally cool knock-off on Star Wars.