Thursday, April 30, 2009

Action Man German Stormtrooper

And now for the origin of Stormtroopers. The term "Stormtroopers" wasn't created by George Lucas. The Stormtroopers (in German "Stoßtruppen" for "shock troops") were specialist military troops which were formed in the last years of World War I as the German army developed new methods of attacking enemy trenches, called "infiltration tactics". Men trained in these methods were known in German as "Sturmmann" (correctly "assault man" but usually translated as "Stormtrooper"), formed into companies of "Sturmtruppen" ("assault troops", more often and less exactly "Storm Troops"). Other armies have also used the term "assault troops", "shock troops" or "fireteams" for specialist soldiers who perform the infiltration tasks of stormtroopers.

This is the Action Man World War II era 1/6 scale 12-inch German Stormtrooper, part of the Soldiers of the Century sets which were introduced during 1967/1968. This release was similar to GI Joe's Action Soldiers of the World (SOTW) line but GI Joe's "foreign" soldier spotted a unique "Nordic" head sculpt. Both figures were based on the Blitzkreig era combatant. The actual Stormtrooper uniform would go through significant simplification as the war progressed, including the introduction of ankle boots and gaiters instead of the infamous jackboot.

The Action Man Stormtrooper came with the M1935 German Stahlhelm helmet with tricolor shield decal which had slanted stripes of the national colors (black, white, red) on the right side and a black shield with white eagle grasping the swastika on the left side of the helmet.

The "flock" hair or realistic hair head sculpt was only introduced in 1970 and I prefer this head sculpt over the original painted head versions. The red piping on his epaulettes or Waffenfarbe denotes that the wearer is part of an artillery unit.

Above the right breast pocket of his tunic is sewn the German national emblem of an eagle. This early released uniform (tunic and trousers) was made of a heavy grey green material. It represents the 1936 pattern service tunic of the German Army.

The Action Man German Stormtrooper came with the Iron Cross First Class. He also has his cartridge belt with M1933 cartridge pouches in two sets of three. Each set would have contained six five-round clips of 7.92mm Mauser cartridges. I added the standard issue pocket flashlight which was not part of the original set.

Close-up of the Standard issue pocket torchlight

The German Stormtroopers were issued with black leather marching boots. The Action Man Stormtrooper's jackboots were moulded black polyurethane boots.

The Action Man German Stormtrooper was also given a field pack and stick grenades or M1924 hand grenades. I've added more stuff to make him more historically accurate.

Besides the Lugar pistol in holster on his right rear, I've equipped the Action Man German Stormtrooper with additional accessories.

The Action Man German Stormtrooper Tornister fur covered field pack. The fur pack was mainly used for formal occasions such as drills or rallies.
In combat, the equipment carried included entrenching tool in artificial leather carrier, gas mask in canister, mess tin, breadbag, water bottle and Mauser bayonet in scabbard. I added these items to the Lugar pistol in holster on his cartridge belt to complete the look.

The original weapon that came with the Action Man Stormtrooper was the MP38/40 sub-machine gun which is inaccurate as the cartridges on his belt are meant for the bolt action Mauser Karabiner (Kar) 98k rifle. The MP40 or Maschinen Pistole 40 fired 9mm Parabellum rounds and the 32-round straight box magazines were usually carried in triple magazine pouches. I switched weapons to make it more accurate.

The helmet has the tricolor shield decal which had slanted stripes of the national colors (black, white, red)

This is one of the nicer action figures to be produced and released by Action Man.

Check out the GI Joe Australian Jungle Fighter with the "Nordic" face from the "Action Soldiers of the World" line here

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Star Wars Imperial Stormtroopers

I just had to do it, since it has been a "storm"-ing week. A group picture of the 1/6 scale 12-inch Imperial Stormtroopers of the Galactic Empire all lined up, including the Sandtroopers, all from Star Wars Episodes IV to VI.

Medicom Sandtrooper and Medicom Stormtrooper

Sideshow Stormtroopers (rightie and leftie)

I'd posed the troopers before, together with their creator, George Lucas (see post here) and the verdict over who owns the rights to the Stormtrooper armor design was in fact decided - see article below (oh yeah, you can click on the picture to get a bigger and better view; it applies to all the pictures in my blog as well, just so you know ;>)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sideshow vs Marmit vs Medicom

And here are comparison pictures of Sideshow's Imperial Stormtrooper (on the left) with Marmit's Stormtrooper (on the right). Sideshow's Stormtrooper helmet has additional detail where the air supply nozzles are located as well as breathing filters. Sideshow's Stormtrooper helmet also has holes cut into the "mouth" position or vocoder. Although it's a nice touch, under the helmet there's supposed to be an atmosphere intake and processing unit, voice filtering unit and comlink microphone so the holes wouldn't be showing at all.

Sideshow's Stormtrooper Blaster, the E-11 BlasTech Standard Imperial Sidearm with 3-position foldable stock is extremely detailed and nicely done with some weathering paintwork as well compared to Marmit's molded plastic piece which looks rather small in the trooper's hands.

Marmit's holster is also just one molded piece of plastic compared with Sideshow's Imperial Stormtrooper holster which is made of a leather-like material with restraining strap and magnetic tab. Because Sideshow opted for hard plastic, the details of the Stormtrooper armor are more defined and obvious versus Marmit's which was molded with soft plastic and hence pales in comparison.

The energy sinks on the Stormtrooper armor have always been quite tricky to reproduce in 1/6 scale but Sideshow was able to execute this very well. Marmit's boots are also molded together with the lower leg armor, thus compromising on the poseability. No such problems with Sideshow's Stormtrooper. Only problem with Sideshow's is the loose jointed body. My verdict: Sideshow Imperial Stormtrooper beats Marmit Stormtrooper in all areas.

And now comparison pictures of Sideshow's Imperial Stormtrooper (on the left) with Medicom's Stormtrooper (on the right). The forehead/top of Medicom's Stormtrooper helmet seems to be a bit too high compared with Sideshow's which is rounded nicely. Most notable is the difference in overall size of the figure which is the bane of all Medicom's Star Wars figures. Although the chest plate armor is not as wide as Sideshow's, Medicom's Stormtrooper looks really skinny (not Lindsay Lohan's skeletal skinny but for an armored trooper, he looks malnourished). In this instance, the chest plate armor is TOO TIGHT. You can see from the picture how short his legs are next to Sideshow's.

Medicom's Stormtrooper armor is too tight on the figure overall, causing the exposed body suit to bunch up at the joints i.e. elbow areas. Plus because Medicom's Stormtrooper body suit/glove is made of a rubbery material, fear of the suit disintegrating over time is highly likely :( This will not happen with Sideshow's Stormtrooper.

The height difference between Medicom's Star Wars Stormtrooper figure with other 1/6 scale 12-inch figures is very apparent and shows why I've sworn off Medicom's Star Wars armored figures.

The verdict is IN - Sideshow's 1/6 scale 12-inch Star Wars Galactic Empire Imperial Stormtrooper is the best by far. Now they just have to improve on the body they use - tighter joints please.

"The baton has been passed, shortie. Take a hike and Sayonara!"

Pictures of Sideshow's Imperial Stormtrooper here

You can view pictures of Marmit's Stormtrooper here and Medicom's Stormtrooper here. I've also covered Marmit's Sandtrooper here and Sandtrooper Sergeant here as well as Medicom's Sandtrooper here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Imperial Stormtroopers with Darth Vader

Now that I have two Sideshow Imperial Stormtroopers (see my previous posts here and here), it's time to shoot them with Darth Vader. And since Sideshow has yet to release their 1/6 version of Darth Vader (preview pictures of Sideshow Darth Vader here), Hasbro's 14-inch Darth Vader (see my post here) will have to do for now.

Sideshow's Imperial Stormtroopers are really looking good in terms of scale and quality (all except the horrific loose joints)

The poseability of Sideshow's Imperial Stormtroopers hold up well

This is rightie

And here's leftie

And here are Sideshow Imperial Stormtroopers standing with Medicom's puny Darth Vader (more picture here). I wouldn't label it 1/6 scale because Medicom's Darth Vader isn't any much taller than the troopers. To at least get a decent picture, I'd to pose Sideshow's Stormtroopers standing behind Vader so that they don't dwarf him.

And if you think posing Medicom Darth Vader with Medicom Imperial Stormtrooper (more pictures here) should work, you are so wrong. Somehow Medicom's Stormtrooper helmet is slightly too big for his body and Medicom's Darth Vader head and body is way too small.

To get a more accurate picture of Darth Vader towering over the Stormtrooper, I'd to pose him standing in front of the Stormtrooper. It now appears that the trooper is hiding behind Darth Vader and not doing his job as a trooper.

Close-up of Medicom's Imperial Stormtrooper and Darth Vader side by side. Medicom's helmet is supposed to be the "Hero" helmet, made for the leading actors in the film. They differ from the "Stunt" helmets (reproduced for the Marmit and Sideshow Stormtroopers) as they feature a smaller frown and lowered brow. But Medicom's frown is not smaller but consistent with the "Stunt" helmets.

And here's a picture of Hasbro's 14-inch tall Darth Vader surrounded by four Imperial Stormtroopers, the two in front are by Marmit (more pictures here) and the two at the rear are by Sideshow. Notice how it works better when there's leftie and rightie. I'd also posted pictures of Hasbro's 14-inch Darth Vader with just Marmit's Imperial Stormtroopers here, including posing Jedi Luke meeting his father in the scene from "Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi"

In the next post, we'll compare the various Imperial Stormtroopers.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Sideshow Stormtrooper Review

Buoyed by some very positive comments from fellow bloggers (see previous post), I decided to post some more pictures of my Sideshow 1/6 scale 12-inch Star Wars Galactic Empire Imperial Stormtrooper. Also partly because I bought two figures and this one's going to be a lefty.

Like I mentioned before, when you remove the figure straight out of the box, he looks like this - no neck with shoulders all hunched up.

Removing the helmet/head, chest plate armor and neck sleeve, you can access the rubber bands joining the shoulder armor which are twisted too tightly, causing the shoulder armor to hunch upwards. Releasing them gives the shoulders more room and looks better

Neck sleeve put back in place

Chest plate armor positioned nicely. Notice the shoulder armor looks better

The new and improved look of Sideshow's Imperial Stormtrooper. Like I said in the previous post, don't push the helmet in all the way so that he looks like he has a neck.

Me liking the new look :)

Chest armor before applying of double-sided tape - it sticks out

Chest armor taped down - looks way better

Stormtrooper Blaster E-11 BlasTech Standard Imperial Sidearm fits snugly in the holster

Another view showing the restraining strap holding the blaster in place

Sideshow Imperial Stormtrooper with blaster raised

This one's the leftie

There you have it! Sideshow's Imperial Stormtrooper's looking mighty FINE!!

Pictures of Sideshow Imperial Stormtroopers with Darth Vader here