Cliffbee.com: Clone Trooper / ARC-170 Starfighter Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Clone Trooper
Series: Star Wars Transformers
Allegiance: Galactic Republic
Function: Clone Trooper
Alternate Mode: ARC-170 Starfighter

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me the Clone Trooper for this review



STARFIGHTER MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 20cm Width: 19cm

   A beige and maroon Star Wars fighter plane with gunmetal here and there - both the gunmetal and maroon are done in a matte paint. This is seen in Episode 3 of Star Wars. There are big black missile launchers underneath the wingtips which sport dark red missiles, along with small guns black on the tail, one on top and one at the bottom. There are jets engines at the base of the wings, with maroon and black intakes at the front. The colour scheme is functional, but well laid out.

   He has three canopies, with a small white Clone Trooper which fits inside the central one. The front and rear ones don't open, although all of them are transparent plastic with beige ribbing. The rear one faces backwards, for a gunner to operate the rear guns (another WWII style feature). There's a black R2 unit moulded into the roof between the central and rear canopies. The wings stick out to the sides (did I mention this guy has a lot of WWII fighter elements?) with panels that lift up on tip and bottom, forming a star-like cross section. All of these elements work well together, visually, with the possible exception of the missile launchers on the wings, which look like they've been added for the robot mode. They don't look bad in my opinion, but they detract from the rest of the visual layout a little.

   The play value here is great for what is essentially a deluxe. The guns at the back turn from side to side and lift up/down. The central canopy opens as I've already mentioned, allowing the Clone Pilot mini figure to sit inside. The wing panels can stow or deploy while the missiles fire quite well, and won't fire unless you want them to. The launchers can turn around but the attachments are designed so they snap back into the facing forward position easily and don't flop around. There's not undercarriage of any sort but then this is a space based fighter so it's a fair assumption that it launches directly from a mothership or spaceport in zero gravity which would make wheels all but useless.

   I like this plane mode, even if the colour scheme is underhwhelming (and overshadowed by the later repaint). The WWII fighter stylings are cool, the play value is great and the vehicle holds together quite well for a SWTF. It's not the most iconic Star Wars vehicle in this line, but the WWII themes and solid design still make for a good vehicle mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Collapse the wing panels and detach the missile launchers. Unclip the robot legs underneath, allowing clearance for the wings. Lift the arms out from within the jet engines, fold the wings down. You can now split the front out to either side and swing the robot legs down in to position. Rotate the waist, extend the legs and fold down the feet. Slide the arms up, rotate the down and swing the intakes forward to form shoulders. Position the fists, split the sides of the rear, fold the central part of the rear back to reveal the head and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17cm Width: 16cm

   The beige of the fuselage is now again dominant here although the maroon is still prominent on the wings which hang out to the sides. The legs are grey, the arms black and shoulders maroon and black, The face is silver with a transparent red eyevisor. The head is actually white rather than beige - it's a Cloner Trooper helmet. The colour scheme is again understated and again works well enough - even the white and silver head manages to not look out of place.

   Tying into the Star Wars theme, this robot has been designed to fit in to a pre-existing vehicle, but it still works as a robot, unlike some of the Star Wars Transforms with heads that are awfully organic. The helmet makes this fairly straightforward, but I'm not worried that it achieves it by default. The downside is that it ends up with quite a bit of kibble (having said that, there's essentially no kibble on jet mode, which is nice). The halves of the front hang off the shoulders as long armour plates while the sides of the rear stick up from the shoulders at about 45 - they're almost shoulderpads but not quite. The central tail section is the worst offender, sitting behind the head, and unlike the panels, there's no armour or shoulderpad excuse. I wouldn't say the kibble is a serious shortcoming, since only the latter piece can't really be justified, but the kibble is still significant.

   Despite the kibble there are some great visual elements here, such as the wings, the central canopy on the chest, the jet intakes on the shoulders and the jet thrusters which sit behind the shoulderpads. The torso is slightly narrow and the groin is rather narrow, but the wide wings help to hide this - it doesn't stand out. The missile launchers are huge in the hands, which detracts a little, I find it looks better with one left aside so they don't overwhelm the toy so much. The kibble really does stand out on a toy with such a simple colour scheme.

   As in jet mode, the Clone Trooper has good play value. The missile launchers can be wielded in either hand - although they're huge guns, both are longer than the arms. The missiles fire in this mode, as you'd expect. You can detach the guns from the back of the plane and plug them into the outsides of the shoulders, if you like. This isn't an intentional feature, rather a side effect of the designer using the same style of connection in several places. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides, the elbows are hinged with rotators above them and there are also rotators in the wrists. The shoulderpads do get in the way of the shoulders a little, but with a little work there are quite a few decent arm poses available. The waist rotates but the head is fixed. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees bend and have rotators above them. The knees joints are quite low, it'll look weird if you try a running pose, although walking poses work well enough. The ankles are hinged, giving enough latitude for stable leg posing, and there are heelspurs.

   The basic idea is good, but there's a lot of kibble here, overwhelming some of the better features. The layout does have some nice features, such as the jets on the shoulders and the wings. The helmet is close enough to robotic that it has something to offer to fans of giant robots - a failing of most of the "human" SWTFs. This robot mode is clearly second to the vehicle mode, but does what it has to do.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although as mentioned, the 501st legion version is a repaint with a resculpted head.

OVERALL

   A good transforming mech with nice WWII fighter elements, although this one is overshadowed by the stronger 501st legion repaint. This is the version seen on the silver screen, mind you - which counts for something. As a Transformer, this is a decent toy with a very solid vehicle mode, although the robot mode is very kibbly. Recommended if you like the SWTFs or WWII fighters, but I'd recommend the repaint over this one - 7/10

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