Jedi Temple Assault (Kmart Exclusive Battle Pack)
Hasbro
Released August 2005
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on August 30, 2005

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The Cinema Scenes, and later Saga Scenes, were notable and surprisingly controversial (as toys go) parts of Star Wars collecting. While each and every one of these sets showcased some of Hasbro's most striking packaging alongside a mix of new, obscure, and favorite characters, rarely was there a set released that was flawless. Sure, you could get a set with a great new Chewbacca sculpt... but the Mynock Hunt Cinema Scene cursed you with a Bespin Han you probably didn't want. Likewise, the Wal-Mart Death Star Compactor sets weren't exactly beloved at the price, nor were the Jedi Council sets memorable for their high quality. In late 2005, Hasbro reinvented the concept of the multipack with the Battle Pack, which basically translated to "pretty much stuff you've got and can safely ignore" with a few exceptions, one of which is this Jedi Temple Assault set, which has three Clones exclusive to this set-- it also shows Hasbro is smart enough to recognize the popularity of this particular model

The set includes five action figures, three clone rifles, and four clone blasters. While "Darth Vader" has a removable hand, he has no other accessories.

Sculpt/Articulation/Gimmicks/Paint

With three figures, we're going to need some sub-sections. So, let's start with Darth Vader.

This figure was previously released as Anakin Skywalker (Lightsaber Attack), also known as "III02." The sculpt and mechanisms are identical-- you squeeze his legs, and he twists at the torso, and if you have him posed right you actually get a pretty cool lightsaber attack. As one of the better sculpts with one of the better mechanisms in the line, it makes sense to release this one again in a battle pack primarily aimed at children, as this figure was a little hard to come by at the time of this set's release.

With that in mind, this figure was also sold with Wal-Mart's exclusive Darth Vader Carry Case, Toys "R" Us' exclusive green Jedi Starfighter, and will soon be repainted as a Lava Reflection figure for Target. So, what does this particular release have to offer outside fewer accessories? Well, on our sample, comparing him to our other samples, we noticed the eyes, scar, and eyebrows were a little more pronounced on this multipack release. His hair is a little darker and a little redder, too. Overall, it looks nice and more toylike.

Fans will undoubtedly be questioning the naming of the character, and the lack of both a key accessory and possibly a key detail. There are no "Sith eyes," which would have actually made this figure go from "not bad to see again" to "screamingly welcome to see" in addition to his lack of a cloak-- which you will recall he wore while marching on the Jedi Temple. I understand the need to keep costs down, but since they left off the interchangeable shoulder pads on the clones, some minor change to Anakin/Vader would have actually made this a very attractive set. Overall, he's a nice figure, but fans wanting merely one of every figure probably have this one and don't want to see it again. Others have suggested merely tossing in the other saber-swinging Anakin would be better, but as it stands, this product qualifies as OK in my book.

Not great, just OK. For additional photos of this figure, please consult the Jedi Temple Assault Image Bank. And now, let's look at the Clone Pilot.

Once again, this figure is basically very similar to a previous release. While the basic carded version included an extra accessory-- a Clone Army laser cannon that really fired-- this one just has the basic blaster. The firing cannon is nice, but most likely not a selling point to fans wanting to buy extra Clone Pilots, and I have no doubts that they could have left it off the basic carded version and nobody would mind. But I digress.

The sculpt and deco of the Clone Pilot are more or less identical to the previous release of the carded figure. His legs are still somewhat stiff (which, interestingly, they aren't on the black one) and he has the same coloring. It would have been nice to see a slightly less peachy and more Maori skin color used (like on the black pilot), different helmet deco used (as shown on the basic Clone Pilot's package), or, well, the black Clone Pilot stuck in here. As it stands, though, it's a decent choice for giving the set a little more variety-- for those of us with ARC fighters and Republic Gunships, just one of each of those two vehicles will require five pilot figures. This makes us happy to have more. Since those vehicles are somewhat hard to find, though, kids buying this set will most likely have little use for another Clone Pilot outside the realm of "another cool armored trooper guy to play with."

While we would have preferred more Special Ops/Tactical Ops clones instead, this wasn't a bad choice-- it's just a little dull given that it's in no way distinguishable from the basic carded version of this figure which has warmed pegs in numerous stores. And now, let's take a look at the Clone Trooper, which comes in this set in a group of three.

This is the prize in the Cracker Jack box, in more ways than one. While it's the thing you're looking forward to the most, it's also a little disappointing, but significantly superior to a squirrel call or a tattoo of a cowboy hat.

Based on the "Quick Draw" Clone Trooper (III06), this figure has had one major modification from its previous release-- the shoulder pad is fused to the arm. As in, it's glued, or molded, or something. It ain't coming off. The good news about this is that it masks the big ugly white shoulder joint disc on that arm... but the bad news is that the other arm is still white, and as you can see, it's pretty obvious. For Entertainment Earth's exclusive Clone Trooper packs, the colored clones' joints were actually molded in the proper color so it didn't stand out. The Shock Trooper variant of this same mold (sold individually) had the plastic painted black, which didn't stand out quite as much. So, this joint being very visible is a little disappointing. Not a deal-breaker, but the first of a few questionable deco decisions.

The mold itself is great, he can sit easily, move around just fine, and the quick-draw action works spectacularly. He can look around with his ball-jointed neck and is generally a very good figure. The figure is weird because we have yet to see, as far as I can tell, a "clean" 501st Trooper-- they always have lots of damage on them on the big screen, and here, he's totally clean. That's one oddity. The second deco oddity is that the stripes on the legs are totally missing, meaning that a bored person with the right blue paint marker could do a lot to improve this figure's appearance.

Overall, it's a toss-up. Personally, I think this figure is great because (and ONLY because) there's one or two more 501st Troopers coming out and this one is going to look significantly different. It's not as authentic as it should be and it's certainly not a fair definitive release. But as a squad of Clones, he's really cool, and it's neat to see this design before they all got scuffed to high heaven. A battle damaged redeco would be awesome, though, and I hope Hasbro beats this design into the ground by fixing the mold's coloring up a bit and rereleasing this figure on a basic package down the road. He's quite nifty.

Accessories

This set includes seven weapons and a lightsaber hand.

Nothing here is new or has new deco. If you have a decent smattering of ROTS toys, you've seen all of these and most likely have extras.

Packaging

The box? Awesome.

As usual with Hasbro's finer multipacks, the box is nice. The front has a sort of pop-up diorama of stairs leading to the Jedi Temple, and the figures are spread around nicely. It's a great presentation package, and this is somewhat unfortunate because the box is so nice you'll probably want one to leave in the box in addition to a few to open. The big photoshopped collage on the back is equally awesome and I hope Hasbro pays the graphic artist large amounts of money and then makes a poster of it to put up at the walls of my office. It looks wonderful.

The insert is pretty cool, as you can see, and it shows that a lot of work went into designing this box.

Availability

As of today, I've seen this exactly once, and that was the morning of the day I wrote the review. Kmart has been good about ordering more of their exclusives in the past to meet demand, so the secondary market prices on their pretty spiffy OTC Cantina 3-packs are still somewhat low. Of course, the market is so Clone crazy that it's possible it isn't possible to make enough of these for trooper fans, so if I were you, I'd keep hunting often.

Because Kmart hates you, the price will vary by store. Here in Los Angeles, we've seen prices vary by neighborhood, with prices in the (shall we say) less affluent areas being $27.49 and the moderate neighborhoods closer to $24.99. Odd. Still, it means the price is about $5-$5.50 per figure before taxes, so if you have to trade for this piece, keep in mind that "cost" may vary.

Fin

The Clone isn't authentic, the pilot is a retread, and Anakin is missing some key accessories. And it's still one of the best exclusives of the year. The unique deco combined with the fact these are slightly different versions of the most screamingly awesome Clone recolor in the entire movie should make these must-buys for fans, and it's extra awesome that Hasbro put three in a box-- although we wish it were four, or even five or six. This is a no-brainer-- you will most likely want this set, if not two or three. You can find a home for those Pilots, but those spare Anakins are a bit of an eyesore-to-be.

Despite the high price, we still like it. It doesn't provide the value of five basic carded figures (if anything, this should be cheaper), but let's face it-- we're Clone-tarded. Buy it if you see it.

Because we like a good tangent, here's today's. We want vehicles for our clones. Hasbro has done a stellar job of coming up with an army figure and repainting it to be several cool army figures, of which we all want many. But what can we do with these guys? So far, they can stand in a gunship, and that's it. I pulled some of my Mini-Rigs and Strike Assortment Episode I vehicles out and I must say that I really wish Hasbro would whip up some $9.99-$12.99 vehicles (with figure, hopefully) for Clones. A one-man Clone Swamp Skiff would be awesome. How about some sort of miniature Clone Fighter? Or Clone Shuttle? (Think combining the concept of the ISP-6 Mini-Rig from 1983 with the 2005 Emperor's Theta Class Shuttle. Does that not sound nifty?) There's a great opportunity here being missed. I look at these original Clones the same way I looked at all the cool Cobra troopers from G.I. Joe-- I want a few of each (but probably can't afford it), and I love the vehicles made for them.

Hasbro is really missing a huge opportunity for small, original (if need be) vehicles. Figures are interesting, but for any figure line to do well, the figures have to do something other than fight one another. For 2006, I hope Hasbro has some small (or even large) Clone vehicles on tap, because these guys are screaming for a kick ass ride. And if they don't get one, I'm going to buy a Jedi Starfighter and some paint and make my own.

Our review sample was obtained from Kmart in LA on August 29, 2005.









 
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