I’m gonna level with you: I was always into the private aspect of faceless troopers in the Star Wars universe. And by private aspect I don’t mean any of those things that came to your minds, pervs! I simply mean that what is going on under those armors. Ook, that came out even worse. What I REALLY mean is I like to consider the actual beings that form those intimidating rows of seemingly identical troopers. That made me enjoy stories featuring clone troopers as individual characters (like the Clone Wars TV series or novels by Karen Traviss). I am also interested in the culture and code of honor of Mandalorians. And of course there are stormtroopers.
Ah yes, stormies. The beloved bucket-heads, lousy shooters, easily tricked guards and patrolmen unable to find the droids they are looking for. At the very beginning, after Palpatine formed the Empire, they were of course clones in new armors but at the time of Galactic Civil War, so basically around the time where the original movie Trilogy takes place, those were ordinary men. As elite soldiers of the mighty Empire they surely had their personal beliefs and sympathies but were either seeking stability in life or the need for regular income was sufficient to make them obedient and deadly tools implementing the Imperial Order.
In 2009 I got around to playing the MMO Role-Playing Game Star Wars Galaxies and there I had the chance to join a guild of people roleplaying a squad of Storm Corps troopers. Since then I follow this recurring theme in my figures collecting (one of oh so many lol) trying to gather a 1:18-scaled squad of stormies ‘with personality’ – meaning those who can be clearly distinguished from others. Of course the real thing are ones featuring not just various armor modifications but first of all removable helmets and unique faces.
Ok, let’s finally get down to figures. First we’ll take a look at the standard Hasbro 1:18 stormie mold that is with us since the OTC Stormtrooper figure released in 2004 and was used as base for many, MANY figures, basically every stormtrooper until an update followed.
The mold is nearly perfect in terms of looks and hands articulation allows for nice freedom of movement due to both arms and elbows being ball-hinged. Unfortunately the legs kinda suck due to poor swivel joints in hips that render the figure really hard to pose doing anything more than standing upright. The variations were done mainly by mixing color and detail options but here we can already see one trooper featuring a more significant difference.
No, not that one. That’s just a simple recolor.
Yes, that’s the one. But we’ll get to him later.
Now let’s take a look at the most modern 1:18 stormtrooper as of today, here in the form of a TVC Stormtrooper and a TVC Sandtrooper. The ball-hinged hips allow for much more dynamic poses.
Ironically those guys have a problem with the only pose that the old timers had perfected: the standing at attention stance, with their legs close together. It’s not impossible to achieve but requires some fiddling with the legs joints and even applying a bit of force to push the legs together as they tend to form this ‘gunslinger stance’.
But hey, I am babbling here about stuff that’s more-less obvious for most Star Wars figures collectors and you probably already wonder if there’s a purpose to it all. Yes there is! And since most of you know what to expect considering the title of this text – without further delay let me introduce the star of the show!
And man, does she shine!
This is a figure that I got as a present for my Wife, who at that time was playing Star Wars Galaxies alongside me. She was ropleplaying a female Imperial Intelligence Bureau officer but she would be more happy to join my character in the Storm Corps squad. The problem was SWG depicted the times of GCW so there was no way a female could become a stormie, our guild leader was really strict in that department. I can see where he was coming from but I still wanted to cheer my Wife up a bit and I got her this girl so she could have one at least IN FRONT of her screen if not ON it.
Notice how her armor retains all the elements and aesthetics of a male stormtrooper version, yet it’s definitely more feminine with the slick waist cut and the upper torso piece forming… a corset? Somehow the oh so familiar chest piece edgings now seem more like… boobies armor?? Ok, I’m gonna stop right there and let you assess the sexuality of the figure’s mold yourselves (Pervs, we are all pervs, my friends!).
She has only swivel joints in her hips, yet they look and work just fine: no ‘I’m so modest and scared of the big bad Galaxy’ stance of the older trooper and no ‘I just got off my super-wide speeder bike’ stance of the new guys. Her slick design reminds me of SWG’s female character wearing a stormtrooper armor.
These are screenshots of my Wife’s character trying her non-canon armor on (ignore the hat, it was an attempt at a look revealing the face; also ignore the black floating belt, it was an attempt at completing the look while not being able to afford the regular armor belt… a miserably failed attempt, I may add). She still couldn’t join the Storm Corps but that didn’t stop her from wandering around the starport dressed like that.
Ok, back to the figures, time to remove the helmets and follow this ‘troopers with personality’ theme.
Notice that I left in only those figures that can actually have their helmets removed. Ok, who do we have here? Well, there’s the… Wait a minute! That guy on the far right! Didn’t I see his face on an Imperial Most Wanted poster??
That sneaky smuggler! All right, with him out of the way we can take a closer look at our squad members.
So these are the ‘individual’ stormtroopers that I managed to acquire so far. We have our lady, which I’ll get to in a minute. The young guy is for some reason called a Spacetrooper and is rumored to have his face sculpted after one of the original Star Wars movies art directors. And yes, the figure had a non-standard backpack with air containers and a breathing tube leading to his helmet which I probably have… somewhere… but his armor is no different than those of his teammates. Ok, stormtroopers are said to be able to survive in outer space for a short period so his name does make SOME sense but I can’t help thinking of those guys instead. But never mind, as long as I get an easily accessible (the figure is a peg warmer around here) individual stormie I am happy.
Moving on. The guy on the far right is the TVC Stormtrooper with a clone’s face so that kinda lessens the ‘individual personality’ effect here but as long as he doesn’t mingle with clone troopers we are fine.
Let’s focus for a moment on the green-face in the middle. Obviously he is an alien, a Neimoidian to be exact, and this requires me to sidetrack a bit (I can hear you cheering happily feeling another share of rambling incoming so let me start).
I realize the Empire’s policy of ‘no aliens in Imperial Forces’ (well, apart from a certain blue-skinned super-skilled admiral anyway) but that was the law during the GCW era. Not sure if you’re familiar with the Legacy comic books series (I highly recommend it if you’re not) that tells the story of a Cade Skywalker, a descendant of Luke living in the far future where the Empire is a much more balanced (in terms of actions and beliefs) organization without a strong race prejudice any more. Non-human stormies are not very common but you can spot a bunch in the comic. And this approach is one that I apply to ‘my’ Storm Corps squad, therefore an alien is a welcomed addition. By the way, this guy is NOT a Legacy-themed figure. He comes from a comic-pack with Rebels disguised as stormtroopers but he works just fine as your regular Neimoidian stormie.
The more lenient rules concerning candidates for Imperial troopers in the future apply also to women, of course. And hence this girl.
I am really pleased by how great her mold is. Visibly different from a male stormie, yet fully acceptable as a team member wearing a regulation armor. Her face is also painted just right: with a discrete hint of make-up on her lips which could also be her natural lip color so I bet the squad sarge won’t nag about it. The shape of her eyes and her skin color are also feminine enough without looking too seductive for the military unit code. Also the tight cap on her head hides all the hair which allows for comfortable helmet wearing and makes her all the more fitting along her male squadmates. Surely a perfect female stormtrooper head design, right? WRONG!
You see, this head is not Hasbro’s design for a female stormtrooper. Hell, this figure is even not an official Hasbro release! Oh, so she is a knock-off?, you ask. Yes. And no… Let me explain. For starters, she wasn’t prepared by me or any other private collector but… well I have no idea by who but this figure can be quite often found on e-bay and in other places. Well, not often enough to stop her from being a rare but often enough to prove that someone somewhere produces those. I got her off an auction portal without any packaging or other description by the seller than ‘a female stormtrooper’. So is she some 3rd party product? For a while I suspected that after I had learned that she is nowhere to be found among official Hasbro’s lines of SW figures. But she actually is what can be called an ‘unofficial kit-bash’.
So what if someone wants more female stormies with individual faces? It’s not that easy, sadly. The Jes Gistand figure is a pain to find outside e-bay (and even there it depends on your luck and craving for adventure while spending your money). The kit-bashed girl less so (hey, I got one for a reasonable price off a local auction portal!) but still not an easy buy (I only saw the one that I got around here and I keep my eyes open for her). But what if you DID manage to get more bodies and are looking for heads that can be used on them, other than Padme or Jes?
You can use the head of Juno Eclipse from The Force Unleashed (or the repaint of the same head used for Deena Shan for a brighter hair color).
The head seems to be sitting a bit higher on the neck joint than Padme’s but this may be only an illusion caused by different shape of the face. It doesn’t cause her to look awkward but the white ball joint can be seen from the side so it may be wise to paint the ball of the neck joint black or a matching skin tone color if you’re going to go with that option.
Due to Juno’s modest hairdo she can wear the helmet without any problems which makes her an ideal candidate for another female stormie.
So what other options do we have? Ugh, there is one problem…
The ball of the neck joint is a really big one (Did this sound wrong or is it only me?) so it’s not that easy to match another head with that body, even if you ignore the issue of hair not fitting under the helmet. I tried TCW Aurra Sing, TVC Slave Outfit Leia and TVC Shea Vizla and no luck – their heads are made for joints with significantly smaller balls. Sure, one can adjust the inside of the head to make it fit on a larger ball joint but that means the head won’t be usable with the original body any more (or at least terrible wobble on it) so that’s the choice each collector has to make on his own. I decided against it for obvious reasons: I have only one female stormie body and none of those three heads can wear the helmet anyway. So for the time being I am left with only the original-unoriginal stormtrooper girl.
I think this figure is great and I can see no reason why it wouldn’t be a great addition to your local Storm Corps squad. Well, unless you are a follower of Palpatine’s ‘purity of race and sex’ rule concerning the Corps in which case ka-boo-to-you!
I really wish Hasbro used the great mold they already have and gave us more girl power among our stormies. It’s only the matter of making more heads that can use the neck joint and can fit inside the helmet. And of course more figures (non-exclusive and not restricted to special packs ones!) would mean easier access to women in iconic white armors in 1:18 scale and what’s wrong with that? Here is looking at you, Habro! Or… are you a bunch of male chauvinists, huh? Are you??
Ok, I will stop now, for my own sake. And to finish on a less awkward note… This is not a review but I’ll say it anyway: get this figure if you spot it, it’s awesome! It has slick believable design, a nice generic face and is deprived of the hip joints failure of the male mold. And… IT’S A FEMALE STORMTROOPER!! What more needs to be said?!
[UPDATE: Few years back me and my friend Rennus amused by this whole issue of female characters not being allowed to join the Storm Corps in SWG’s guild roleplay decided to comment on it in a comedic way and created a short photo-story that covers this subject. I asked him for permission to place a link to his blog here and so you can find our photo-comic at the beginning of this post. Rennus is the author of the pictures and all special effects, I provided the ‘actors’ and the ‘set’ and we both contributed in terms of ‘plot’ and setting up the figures for the scenes.]