Tomopop Review: Sideshow's Utapau Airborne Trooper

4:00 PM on 12.25.2012 // Scarecroodle

The full name? 212th Attack Battalion: Utapau 2nd Airborne Company

Star Wars is among the greatest of cultural science fiction phenomena. The majority of Americans have a good level of awareness of the franchise, even if they haven't seen the films (although I'd wager more have than not), but simultaneously there's a good level of depth to the franchise that leaves the more casual fan in the dust. One such area might be the individual troops.

Sideshow Collectibles' exclusive 1/6 scale Militaries of Star Wars 212th Attack Battalion Utapau 2nd Airborne Company probably won't look familiar to many Star Wars fans. Personally, I don't recall seeing these soldiers appear in the films, but Utapau was the planet on which Obi-Wan Kenobi was ambushed following Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's initiation of Order 66. The included bio states that the 2nd Airborne Company were clone paratroopers who fought against General Grievous' droid army and were later called into action under Order 66.

One of the largest perks to the Star Wars franchise, as strange as it might sound, is simply that even the most obscure of characters end up receiving memorabilia. While some may not necessarily recognize a character, others will likely be overjoyed to see it in figure form.

Hit the jump for the review.

Figure Name: Militaries of Star Wars 212th Attack Battalion Utapau 2nd Airborne Company
Figure Maker: Sideshow Collectibles
Retail Price: US$134.99
Available at: Sideshow Collectibles

The Utapau Airborne Trooper comes in a black and gray deco'd box with figure photos on all sides (the left and right sides have identical images). The back features what could be images from the film, as if to prove that you missed him in the background.

The sticker on the front denotes it as being a Sideshow Exclusive. This version (which includes an exclusive item) is limited to a thousand pieces.

The inner box features separate containment for the Trooper and the bulk of his accessories, with a window for each. Included on the left portion are details about the general events of the prequel trilogy while the center portion (or right) features more character-specific information.

So apparently the armor was designed to survive a fall. I doubt the same is true of the figure, however, so I'd advise against recreating that sort of a scene.

The Trooper comes with an arsenal of accessories. There are thirteen alternate hands, ten of which comprise a set (closed fists, open hand with palm flat (signalling?) hands, thumbs up fists, weapon-holding fists, and "at ease" open hands (currently in use)). The remaining three hands are a pointing-with-one-finger right hand, a two fingered gesturing/signing left hand, and a V sign left hand (give peace a chance!). Also included are an alternate "toes up" pair of boots.

Weapon-wise, the Trooper is equipped with two DC-17 Pistol Blasters, a DC-15S Carbine Blaster, and a DC-15 A Rifle Blaster. There's also a small, removable satchel (currently displayed on the figure).

Finally we have the exclusive item, a nice character-specific stand that features the unit's colors and name.

The Carbine Blaster features a movable bit which I believe is meant to fold around the weapon to compensate for recoil. Otherwise it could be used to balance the blaster.

I don't own many 1/6 scale action figures (just a few DC Collectibles items) so I was relatively surprised by how light this figure feels. Given the size, I would have expected quite a bit more heft.

The Trooper features a sculpted body mold covered by some sort of nylon material which, in turn, is covered by the actual armor. The armor features a recurring two orange stripe motif that signifies the character's rank (as explained in the bio). Additionally, there's a fair amount of shadowing and "scoff marks" which presumably represent field exposure. I'm less sure about a series of deep, black marks on the figure. Are they supposed to represent chips? Blaster burns? Either way, that detailing strikes me as looking cheap and subsequently a little out of place.

The figure features cloth bits in the form of straps and a back-skirt. The cloth bits are all of decent quality. Additionally, there's a leather bit on his chest that I imagine must have something to do with parachuting (possibly a harness of sorts?).

The Trooper's weight (or, more precisely, lack of density) sometimes impedes poseability. I imagine I'd have an easier time of things if there was more weight in his legs to prevent him from off-balancing. While the figure comes with a stand, I'm a firm believer in figures standing on their own two feet.

Otherwise, the joints feel surprisingly smooth despite seeming to have a fair amount of strength to them. The armored bits, being overlaid onto the figure rather than sculpted, can be freely maneuvered to look more appropriate for various poses.

The alternate "toes up" feet compensate for a lack of toe articulation and look somewhat nicer than a toe joint. However, it's fairly difficult to actually balance the figure while using them. I imagine that it wouldn't be as hard in an outdoor environment, given that one could compensate by sinking the foot a little into the ground or some such.

The hands and feet are changed by pulling the joint straight out. The connecting peg features some grooves that fasten the joint in place. The joint itself is similar to Revoltech's "Revolver Joint", allowing up/down in one direction as well as having rotation at top and bottom. The joint can be turned sideways to allow a sort of foot pivot.

The armor can be pulled off the arms/legs when the hands/feet aren't plugged in, although I'd worry about potentially damaging something.

On the subject of removal, the Trooper's helmet appears non-removable (well, without forcing it, at any rate). There's no normal head underneath the helmet or anything like that.

The helmet features an interesting paint shading deco that almost resembles a tire tread mark.

Actually, it's somewhat odd that he has so many marks on his helmet at all, especially since the rest of the armor doesn't seem that dingy. The marks are still a nice touch, though, and keep the helmet from looking bland.

In terms of articulation, the Trooper's head seems to be on a physical ball in addition to having another joint (offering rotation and forward/back) in the neck. This allows the figure to look down and to the sides easily, but the jointing is strangely insufficient for looking straight up.

The shoulder-pads can flip up slightly to afford additional arm movement, but the shoulder can't seem to go that much higher anyway. Although there's rotation at the bicep, I'm worried that overusing it might damage the fabric under-garment. The elbow features a hinged joint (up/down) and seems to be mildly impeded by the elbow pad. The wrist features the previously mentioned rotation and forward/back movement (and by moving the joint you can get side motion).

The torso joint allows for minor forward/back as well as a small around of rotation that gets impeded by the shoulder straps. The hips are ball-jointed and feature rotation at the upper thigh. The knee has similar movement to the elbow and the ankle has similar movement to the wrist.

All things considered, the 212th Attack Battalion Utapau 2nd Airborne Company Trooper has a solid functional design (which I understand is also used in some other Sideshow Collectibles figures) and a fairly cool build. While his aesthetic may not necessarily appeal to me, it's hard to deny the craftsmanship that went into making this figure since there's a wealth of detail and the material quality seems great.

My only major gripes are the minor free-posing balance issues, arm articulation that seems to come up short in a few places, and a paint choice or two. If you're able to overlook those things and are a fan of the troop, or clones in general, he's probably worth a consideration.

Until next time, folks.

[ Special thanks to Sideshow Collectibles for providing this review sample ]

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