It might have been Star Wars that kickstarted my love of action figures - I have vivid memories of Darth Vader, a Stormtrooper (how beefy he was!) and Chewbacca accompanying me to see A New Hope at the cinema, despite having no clue who they were yet. So it's been very tough to keep myself away from The Black Series, the first 6-inch-scale toys from the Galaxy far, far away... but I think it was worth caving for these two.
I've groused for a while that £20 for an action figure that's any good these days is taking the mickey, but it's kind of hard to remember that complaint when you free the Black Series stormies from their cardboard prisons. The detail and articulation is like nothing ever been seen in Star Wars figures before - like someone scaled down a Kotobukiya statue and made it poseable. For all the starkness of a black and white armoured soldier, they're backed with a ton of detailing, but it's the articulation that I love with these Stormtroopers. The range of movement in the shoulders is slightly compromised by the armour plates there, but otherwise the insane level of articulation lets you get a lot of fun poses out of them, whether it's more standard guard poses (they're just dying for a Darth Vader to escort standing like that!) or that classic from-the-hip firing stance, right out of the Imperial Marksmanship Academy textbook. No wonder they miss all the time, you'd think they'd consider using the scope on those blasters!
The detailing especially excels in the helmets, naturally, as they're the most detailed part of a Stormtrooper in general. The paint job is spot on, detailing the side-tubes perfectly, as well as the grill on the mouthpiece. One of my troopers has an unfortunate dent on his otherwise perfect bonce (you can see it's the one on the right above), but I think I'm just going to headcanon that moulding error as an accurate portrayal of that one guy who bonked his head on a Death Star blast door.
Aside from their trusty E-11 Blaster rifles, each Stormtrooper comes with a long-barrelled blaster, because everyone loves a big gun sometimes. Oddly enough despite the accuracy with the rest of the figure, this is the one that stands out: Stormtroopers are never shown using this gun in the Original Trilogy. At first I thought it might be the rifle that some of the Sandtroopers carried on Tatooine, but that's much heftier (and, naturally, comes with the Black Series Sandtrooper. Oh god, I'm gonna buy a bunch of these guys, aren't I?), but after a quick google image search I confirmed it as the blaster rifle used by IG-88 - that's a BlasTech DLT-20A, to those in the know. I much prefer the smaller E-11 in the hands of these two, although it's nice they do come with a functioning holster to put them in if you want to use the long rifle. There's nowhere to really keep the other one though, unless one of your troopers gets a bit gung-ho and duel wields them:
Which kind of brings me onto the next bit of this post - Stormtroopers are perhaps one of my favourite sci-fi designs ever, from a trilogy of movies jam-packed with iconic imagery they still stand out as my favourite. But there's just something about a Stormtrooper figure in a silly pose that I am really, really endeared by (and it's something seemingly the rest of the internet likes too) - for faceless goons, they pack a lot of personality into their figure forms. Considering this new scale means my lovingly-articulated Stormtroopers can blend in with the other toys on my desk pretty well, and also that the mind of a four year old still inhabits my adult body, I took full advantage of these beauties to have a little fun!
What do Stormtroopers chit-chat about when they're off duty? How much they hate rebel scum? Space-weather? Trooper Gary from Imperial Accounting? Who knows.
"Sir, I found it! The droid we're looking for!"
"This isn't even a Droid, TK-354. It's a raccoon. An armed Raccoon!"
"Well, it was this or his friend..."
I AM GROOT!
"So, does it work?"
"Wow! What was the future like?"
"Well... maybe you shouldn't take that posting to Lord Vader's new space station next week..."
All in all, I'm incredibly impressed with my first two pickups from this line. It's tempting to just get a few more troopers to have a squad as they're so great, but I'm going to try and restrain myself and pick up my absolute favourites when and if they show up. I can't wait for Admiral Ackbar to show up in this range, he's going to be gorgeous if the quality of these Stormtroopers rings true for the series as a whole.