Saturday, April 13, 2013

Didn’t They Solve This Problem In The ‘80s?! The Yellowing Helmet Ruins The Vintage Collection Clone Trooper!

The Good: Amazing articulation, Good sculpt for certain poses, Good accessory, Great balance.
The Bad: Facial sculpt/coloring is not exactly right, Yellowing helmet (already!)
The Basics: The Clone Trooper would be just fine (face-under-the-helmet-issues aside) were it not for the yellow helmets!

When I was in college, I ended up going back to my father’s house one break and going through boxes and boxes of my old toys. I was pretty disappointed when I discovered that of my old Star Wars figures, very few were in a condition to sell (something I wanted to do in order to afford the newer – at that point – Power Of The Force action figures). Sadly (for me), one of the big problems was that many of the standard figures from Kenner from the 1980s that had white as a main component of their casting – Stormtroopers and Princess Leia, predominately – suffered from plastic that denatured and yellowed.

Well, Hasbro had almost thirty years to fix the problem, so when the first wave of Vintage Collection Clone Troopers hit the market with helmets that were already yellowing, I (and many other collectors) were pissed. The simple Clone Trooper figure that kicked off the run of more detailed Clone Troopers for the Vintage Collection remains one of the line’s big flops.

For those unfamiliar with Clone Trooper, they were the standard soldiers of the Republic seen throughout Attack Of The Clones (reviewed here!) and Revenge Of The Sith (reviewed here!). They are white and black armor-clad clones who are the obvious predecessors to the Stormtroopers many of us grew up playing with.

The Vintage Collection casting of Clone Trooper is exceptionally articulated and would be absolutely perfect, were it not for the details of the figure underneath the figure's already-yellowing helmet.


The Clone Trooper is incredibly detailed both in the sculpt and the coloring (though the coloring is exceptionally hard to screw up given that the armor is cast and colored in monotones). Standing at 3 7/8" tall with his helmet on, the Clone Trooper looks like an ideal soldier. The Clone Trooper was released in 2010 as part of Hasbro's Vintage Collection, with a classic-looking card.

This toy is a very cool sculpt, which is the standard Clone Trooper sculpt with a slightly different sculpt to the belt accessories and with black accent paint on the joints. The figure has a removable helmet. The figure's armor looks strong and durable and this sculpt features a softer plastic utility belt, which is not actually molded to the figure's waist. Beneath the helmet, the Clone Trooper is revealed to be a pretty loose interpretation of a Clone Trooper in the head and face sculpt. The head looks only slightly like Temuera Morrison and there are no molded-on details that are unique to Clone Trooper's face that define him as a specific Clone Trooper that viewers might recognize.

The white and black armor of the Clone Trooper is perfectly represented in this version. Unfortunately, the head underneath the helmet is not painted in realistic fleshtones. Instead, this figure's face is cast in a monotonal brown plastic and it is not highlighted with any other shades. The lips are uncolored, which is odd. The eyes are white and beautifully detailed as brown with black dots to add a level of realism the earliest Star Wars figures lacked. But the armor and helmet do not match because the helmet is already beginning to yellow.


The Clone Trooper, efficient Clone Trooper who is ready to do the bidding of the Jedi, is granted only a blaster pistol. The blaster pistol is a clone trooper staple and this version is the 1 1/4" long blaster with the flattened barrel end which allows the Clone Trooper to hold the gun in a two-handed grip and look realistic while doing it! The monotonal black color the blaster makes it look clean and unused and matches the clean coloring of the rest of the figure. There is nothing that makes this particular blaster distinct to this character.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and the Clone Trooper is exceptional in that regard. This Vintage Collection figure has great articulation and wonderful balance. The Clone Trooper is able to stand in some pretty outlandish poses, as well as stand in more standard poses. For additional support, he has holes in both feet which may be plugged into pegs on vehicle or playset toys!

The Clone Trooper comes with fourteen points of articulation, most of which are not just simple swivel joints. The Clone Trooper has joints at the ankles, knees, groin socket, shoulders, elbows, wrists, neck, and waist and he twists at any of those points. The shoulders, elbows, wrists, ankles, groin socket AND knees are all ball-and-socket joints. The head joint is also on a ball-and-socket joint and because of how the armor is designed on the sides, this is a more useful joint than the groin socket having the added articulation. The groin socket is designed to allow Clone Trooper to open his legs wider, presumably to straddle something like a Speeder Bike, but because of the raised portions on the upper outside of the thighs, the armor prevents much in the way of articulation from that joint. Even so, this represents a vast step-up in articulation for fans of the Clone Troopers!


The Clone Trooper is part of the first wave of 2010 Vintage Collection four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was a bit more common than many of the Vintage Collection lines. Because of the yellowing helmet and the prevalence of plenty of other Clone Trooper figures that had more detail to them, this is not an ideal investment figure; it is one that has lost some collectible value on the secondary market already.

The Clone Trooper is VC15 in the Vintage Collection.


Outside the helmet and what is under it, the Clone Trooper is a good staple, Star Wars action figure. But, because of the yellowing problem, its overproduction, and the prevalence of many other fine – even plain – Clone Troopers that are not yellowing at all, it is impossible to recommend this one.

For other Vintage Collection figures from Revenge Of The Sith, please check out my reviews of:
VC17 General Grievous
VC38 Clone Trooper (212th Battalion)
VC39 Super Battle Droid
VC43 Commander Gree
VC46 AT-RT Driver
VC54 ARC Trooper Commander
VC58 Aayla Secura


For other Star Wars toy reviews, please visit my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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