Soon after they released teaser photos of upcoming trooper figures, including the Stormtrooper, Sandtrooper, and potentially even the Snowtrooper and Biker Scout. It's been a long 6 month wait, and they've finally released the Ashigaru Stormtrooper figure, and it was definitely worth the wait!
For my full video review, click the video link below to check it out on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel. For more pics and info, scroll on down for the full written review :)
The packaging style follows closely with that of the Darth Vader, and is very simple and classy. The clamshell inside is perfectly collector friendly. The set comes with a nice array of accessories, including the vintage style flint gun, katana sword and sheath, and an assortment of swap out hand sculpts.
I love the way they did the style around the chin area of the helmet, and the hinge joint that attaches the chin flap. The flap itself has the little gold highlights that are scattered across many areas of the suit. Because it is on a flap, it's easy to move around to articulate the head more, so there's no real issue with articulation.
The rear of the helmet is similar to the layered pattern on the Darth Vader helmet, and is again a softer plastic with gaps between layers. There's a little give in the plastic so there isn't too much restriction in head movement when posing. The subtle weathering on the helmet is nice, and leaves plenty of room for more dirt and grime for the Sandtrooper version!
The body armour is of course the highlight. Some people do not like the style of the chest/torso plate, especially the visible nipples. But this is very accurate to the traditional Samurai ere Japanese armour, and I think it looks awesome. Particularly with the very nicely done dirt/weathering, I think Bandai have done another great job.
The rear of the torso piece is just as intricate as the front, with almost gill-like patterning on the back. I think that really accentuates the figure and makes it look amazing from any angle. I also love the fake ropes across the tops of the shoulders that mimic rope ties used to hold the front and rear sections together.
The shoulder pads are also a nice design touch, where they are attached to the arms via a ball joint. This allows for a lot of range of motion in the arms since the shoulder plate can be easily moved out of the way. The shoulder joints themselves are on a well-designed ball joint system that can move the shoulder up and down, out the sides almost perpendicular to the body, and straight out the front or rear.
As with the Vader, much of the detailing in the costume centres on the kama or skirt. It is all one piece that is made of softer plastic to allow for the hip articulation. The detailing with the front dagger sheath, and the fake ropes holding the various flaps is really nice, especially with all the gold/yellow highlights.
I love how they have mimicked the canister at the rear of normal Stormtrooper outfits. I'm not exactly sure what it's meant to be, but it still looks cool! :) Again the detailing in the flaps is very nicely done. On the left side that is a clips that holds the katana sheath nicely, which is just inserted and left along the hip.
Even the leg armour is nicely molded and detailed. The thighs have a white armour layer under the kama skirt, leading into black plastic representing the undersuit. It's all soft plastic that doesn't restrict hip/leg articulation too much. Going down towards the lower leg armour, that looks fantastic too. The differences in design between the legs is another nice bit of detail, and again the weathering is top-notch.
The feet are a little hard to articulate and get looking right, especially flat on the ground. The ankle joints get a little hard to manipulate without a true ankle rocker motion. I do believe that the ball joint can be rotated to allow the ankles to be tilted in the perpendicular direction, but I haven't tried it out myself yet. But other than that, all the movement is as expected, and nothing is loose so standing on its own is quite easy. The line markings on the shoes also look great.
General points of articulation include both double jointed elbows and knees. The elbows in particular look great, with a wide range of motion, and the elbow joints doesn't become too visible went bent. Similarly, the knee joints also have a great range of motion, and can all cater for some amazingly dynamic poses.
Posed together with Vader, I think the potential for something really special in the Star Wars collecting world is immediately obvious. There is just nothing else out there that is as unique but still instantly recognisable as these Bandai Movie Realization figures!
With teaser pics already posted showing variant Stormtroopers with flags, drums, and other accessories, there will be plenty of opportunity to build an incredible feudal army of Stormtroopers! Add to that the amazing pics of the Royal Guards and Boba Fett, I think this line will become a legendary line of Star Wars figures in the future.
These figures are definitely gaining in popularity, and are selling out fast at most retailers. Click the link here to get yourself the Ashigaru Stormtrooper from BBTS! Do NOT miss out!! :)