Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sideshow 501st Legion: Vader's Fist Clone Trooper Review 1

The 501st Legion is an international fan-based organization dedicated to the construction and wearing of screen-accurate replicas of Imperial Stormtrooper armor, Imperial officer uniforms, Clone Troopers and other villains and nefarious characters from the Star Wars universe. Formed by South Carolina residents Albin Johnson and Tom Crews in 1997, the group boasts more than 4800 active members in 40 countries as of June 17, 2010, with a 15% female membership. [source: wiki]

As a tribute to this dedicated group of fans, the blue clone troopers led into the Jedi Temple by Anakin Skywalker in "Revenge of the Sith" were officially designated as the 501st Legion, with the nickname "Vader's Fist" due to his exclusive use of the unit.

Since then, there has been an official description of this unit as an elite unit of clone troopers, and later stormtroopers. The 501st Legion were the soldiers under the command of Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith. Also known as "Vader's Fist," they continued to enforce order and Imperial rule well after the death of Vader.

This is the Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 scale 12-inch Figure Clone Trooper from the The 501st Legion: Vader's Fist and it features: Fully articulated male body (armored body) with 30+ points of articulation, Bodysuit, Fully detailed armor set with helmet, Clone Trooper Carbine Blaster, Clone Trooper Long Rifle and 12-inch Figure Display Base with Star Wars Logo. The Sideshow Exclusive is just another Display Base with the 501st Legion Insignia.

This is the most recent Sideshow Collectibles 12-inch Clone Trooper to be released since the release of the Imperial Shock Trooper in their "Militaries of Star Wars" series

The mold is pretty much the same as the previously released figure, the difference being the paintwork, this one being blue while the Imperial Shock Trooper was red.

The black Bodysuit is different from the previously released Imperial Shock Trooper as this latest Clone Trooper bodysuit is made of a stretchable soft cloth / fabric material whereas the previous version was made from a non-stretchable vinyl-like material, for lack of a better word. Personally, I prefer the texture of the older version except that the material tends to bunch up at the joints. This new material reminds me of the nylon stockings worn by the ladies and I don't like the thought of the 501st Legion: Vader's Fist Clone Trooper wearing a full nylon stocking as a body suit. The consolation is that at least the bodysuit is almost entirely covered by the white armor.

This new body can hold poses pretty well but still suffers from wobbly ankles which mean that the 1/6 figure will easily topple over and take a dive anytime, not good for collectors like me who prefer their 12-inch figures to be free standing for that natural and more realistic look without the aid of the figure display stand. Surprisingly, the figure is not as tight as the Sideshow Firefly 12-inch figure (reviewed HERE). I would have thought they would be using the same body type. Furthermore, the bottom of the box packaging of this Sideshow 501st Legion: Vader's Fist Clone Trooper figure has a HOT TOYS logo. I wonder how Hot Toys is involved in the making of this figure.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with this figure and I dare say Sideshow has produced the BEST 1/6 scale 12-inch Star Wars Imperial troopers by far, this one included. My clone army continues to grow as new troopers are added.

Here's the Sideshow 501st Legion: Vader's Fist 1/6 scale 12-inch Clone Trooper armed with the Clone Trooper Carbine Blaster, also known as the DC-15S blaster, the carbine variant of BlasTech's DC-15A blaster rifle. Smaller in scale than the DC-15A blaster rifle, the DC-15S lacked its larger cousin's range, but was easier to handle than the bulkier "A" variant.

And here's Sideshow 501st Legion: Vader's Fist Clone Trooper with Clone Trooper Long Rifle or DC-15A blaster rifle, the weapon of choice for the Galactic Republic's clone troopers in the Grand Army of the Republic and the standard weapon of the Senate Commandos. It was a larger and more powerful long-range alternative to the DC-15S blaster.

This was one of the standard issue weapons for clones. While the use of blasters allowed a clone trooper to carry significantly more ammunition than a projectile weapon, the DC-15A was a heavy 9.5 pounds, and despite the weapon's size it is not a true dedicated repeating blaster rifle; the inherent instability of plasma gas in ion blasters reduced the weapon's accuracy under sustained fire. Even so, the DC-15A was very powerful and deadly in the hands of the skilled clone troopers that received extensive training in its use. [source: starwarswiki]

I find this weapon too long and unwieldy and its equivalent would be like a modern soldier going into battle carrying a Barrett M82A1 .50 caliber BMG (12.7 mm) rifle instead of a SOPMOD M4 rifle. In most pictures I see of a clone trooper with this rifle, it looks like he's using it as a crutch or walking stick.

The DC-15A blaster rifle that the majority of the clone troopers carry in "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith" is based on parts from the German Maschinengewehr MG34 from World War II (the same gun was used as the basis for the DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle in the original trilogy), making up the rear half, as well as much of the BlasTech E-11 blaster rifle (carried by the Imperial stormtroopers from the original trilogy) turned upside-down for the front.

And here you have the Sideshow 501st Legion: Vader's Fist Clone Trooper standing side-by-side with the Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 scale 12-inch Imperial Shock Trooper (full review with pictures HERE and HERE, if you are interested :>)

Besides the difference in paintwork for the armor, the other difference is the black bodysuit or body glove. I much prefer the previous version than the stretchable nylon stocking the newer version is wearing. It just seems wrong :(

The Singapore 501st Legion was featured in the papers back in 2008 - check out the post HERE. And they have been at the Singapore Toy, Games and Comic Convention ever since.

MORE Sideshow STAR WARS 501st Legion: Vader's Fist Clone Trooper pictures in Review 2 - close-up photos


laME boy said...

The whites on the 501st are too white for my liking. They seem to contradict the battle damage which looks as bad ass as ever.

Whites on shocktrooper look more yellow and realistic.

Anonymous said...

How much is the 501st and imperial shock trooper? Been wanting to collect this line...

alex teo said...

I think Sideshow has no more stock and there's a WAIT list. You can try this link:

Star Wars - Imperial Shock Trooper is also out of stock

All the BEST!

desmond said...

Bro, nice detailed review. I also prefer the earlier version rubber material undersuit. This one looks weird. I guess Sideshow is trying to use other material to replace the rubber material for their coming clone troopers. The other 41st elite corps troopers have the rubber material undersuits back again :)

alex teo said...

thanks desmond :) I didn't get the 41st Elite Corps Trooper as I didn't like the paintwork

Anonymous said...

Received mine Friday. It's my first Sideshow purchase and I must say it's a beautiful piece. The joints do seem a little loose but the positives outweigh the negatives.

I liked it so much I went ahead and pre-ordered the Commander Cody figure scheduled for release next year.

alex teo said...

Good decision :) Commander Cody looks to be even cooler CHEERS