Toy Review: Sandtrooper: Squad Leader (Mania.com)
By:Robert T. Trate
Review Date: Friday, March 26, 2010
There comes a time in every collector’s life when he wants a little something extra for his collection. I have tons of Star Wars figures by both Kenner and Hasbro. To see just how many Stormtroopers are standing on my desk at this moment would easily reveal that I am obsessed with Star Wars (check out Mania’s article by Joe Oesterle on the topic). This year I celebrated one of those birthdays that many people call a milestone. Now some people would go out and buy a sports car or something of that nature. Sports cars have never really been my thing. I wanted something special, something to mark this birthday. I turned to the good people and master craftsmen at Sideshow Collectibles for my sports car of an action figure.
I knew that that I wanted something extraordinary for this birthday so I had been checking their site for months. If that sounds crazy you have clearly never purchased anything from Sideshow before. They announce their new figures and take preorders way in advance. Sure you can on the site right now and buy something but there is a good chance it will be on backorder or sold out. It isn’t their fault they just make highly sought after collectibles.
I kept looking for that certain collectible that would evoke both the spirit of Star Wars, my childhood memories and instantly be recognizable when someone saw it. One would think something with Darth Vader would be a no brainer. If it weren’t for the oversaturation of the Dark Lord of the Sith in my office already it would have been. I wanted something different. Something that stood out past Vader and for me that was Sandtrooper: Squad Leader. This might be because of the hours I’ve spent playing Star Wars Battle Front or that when I was kid you couldn’t get this Stormtrooper. For whatever the reason it clicked and it had to be this one. The cool part was he was limited to 3500 copies. The bad part was he was on a wait list. The best I could do was put myself on the list and hope that either someone backed out of an order or a credit card gets declined. A few weeks later I got the email, then several more confirming I would, in fact, be getting the Sandtrooper: Squad Leader. A shipping date followed along with plenty of confirmation numbers all of which made me smile and giddy like a little kid waiting for Santa.
Upon removing it from his box I was suddenly torn on whether to open him or not. This wasn’t some eBay purchase of some toy from long ago. He was new, produced in limited quantities and made for display. Sideshow Collectibles have that museum like quality that begs for tearing open the box, albeit very carefully, and letting that toy breathe. Besides I have enough toys sitting in boxes that haven’t seen the light of day in years. I am opening this one.
The box is beautiful and finished with a high gloss. The Sandtrooper: Squad Leader is displayed on the box in multiple positions and showcased with different scenes from the movie. Included on the box as well are the Sandtrooper Sergeant and the Sandtrooper Corporal. The box unfolds to reveal the accessories, a history of the character and the figure. Each piece of the box slides out of the other and nothing has to be cut or torn out the package. Perfect if you wish to store the figure or transport him to another galaxy. To close the box again simply fold it up and connect the magnets which work as a latch to secure the figure safely.
I expected no less than perfection on this 1:6 scale figure and it is exactly what I got. Each detail highlights what this group of Sandtroopers puts up with on Tattoinne. There are tiny deposits of sand collected in little crevasses on the armor. The armor itself is faded as if two suns have been burning the color of the sand into it. In short the Sandtrooper: Squad Leader looks as if he has been patrolling Mos Eisley spaceport for quite some time.
The articulation of the figure is good. I wish that I could say superb but his armor hinders some of his movement. There is no interference on moving the wrists, arms, head, legs or knees. The armor makes him awkward to pose in various battle situations. This is, again, a museum type piece and really not something for the backyard battlefield. It is nice that the Sandtrooper comes with two different sets of hands enabling him to pose with his T-21 Light Repeating Blaster in a variety of positions.
I expected no less than flawlessness again when it came to the accessories of the Sandtrooper. This is after all the one Stormtrooper that had more accessories than any other. What I didn’t expect was the incredible craftsmanship on the BlasTech E-11 Blaster Rifle. Brilliant in likeness and design it is the perfect accessory for this character yet he has no holster for it. The Sandtrooper has multiple pouches, a backpack even a Velcro belt yet nothing to sling this awesome weapon into. The backpack was a bit of a conundrum to get on but once properly attached it looks as if it has always been there. There was a strange pipe and extra pouch supplied with the Sandtrooper (see picture above) but since there were no directions these found their way back into the box. Since the Sandtrooper is to be displayed proudly he is supplied with a stand. Many of the pictures show him without one. If he does not use the stand he eventually begins to sway back and fourth. The stand which only bares the Star Wars logo is good it just could have been designed with a little more style. The Imperial symbol would have been better.
THE FINAL WORD:
There are 3500 of these and I have one. Yet there is nothing on the box or even the bottom of his foot which tells me which one I have. This isn’t really necessary yet strange that it isn’t identified somewhere on the figure. The Blas Tech Blaster Rifle really blew me away with all that it could do. It might be the standard gun for many of these figures it just seriously lacks a place to put it. It would have to go in the box if I were to display him with out it. This is not my last Sideshow Collectible, the process of finding the next truly special collectible has already begun. With Sideshow’s vast list of properties perhaps a Universal Horror monster might be next. Who am I kidding? It will be another Star Wars character. The Sandtrooper: Squad Leader looks lonely. If only Sideshow would make a Dewback for him to ride upon.
Mania Grade: A-
Toy: Sandtrooper: Squad Leader 1:6 Scale
Toy Line: Sideshow Collectibles
Suggested Retail: $109.99
Includes: Shoulder Pouches, Belt Pouches, T-21 Light Repeating Blaster, Detailed Backpack, 12-inch Figure Display Base with Star Wars Logo