View Full Version : 12-inch Commander Bly reviewed

09-10-2011, 04:29 AM
12" Bly arrived today, and I just took him out of the box, trying to take my mind off of real-world things. This is my first prequel armored figure (I have Vader and the Stormtrooper with which to compare, as well as light experience with a friend's Utapau Clone).

The figure is quite impressive, although mine has a few QC failures which makes him destined to be a return. The issues are:
- twisted strap glued from holster to belt;
- DC-15s barrel misaligned;
- split left forearm wrist joint.

I like the figure and am looking forward to the replacement. I'd like to point out the flaws and nitpicks before going over what's good (bad news, good news).

Flaws & Nitpicks:

First, let's get the color issue out of the way: the base yellow color seems to be wrong. I'm not a huge Bly fan, I bought this figure feeling this simply had nearly everything a prequel trooper could need - phase 1 and 2 helmets, every weapon including twin DC-17 pistols, the fold-down binoc-visor, a kama skirt, a pauldron (the only thing Bly lacks is Cody's jetpack) - so I don't care whatsoever that the figure's base yellow is more brown mustard than yellow American mustard. That said, some fans who are sticklers for such things, they will have a hard time reconciling this color with the movie character, and I would suggest that stance robs them of easily the best Sideshow Clone Trooper figure so far.

In the grand scheme of things, the only really weak point about the figure is the thigh armor, the paint is ok, but it looks too plain, there's no nicks or notable imperfections except at the very top and bottom. There's actually a blackwash-style paint job there to match the rest of the figure, but on the solid yellow thighs it just disappears.

Both the helmets have the movable binocular visor, and both visors on the underside are squared off as it was when Bly gunned down Aayla, while some of the early character promo pics' CGI shows that visor as rounded off that isn't how it was in the movie, so that itself is not a flaw. That said, they put in eyepieces inside and painted them brown, the fit on both helmets when moving the visor up to the movie position is so tight that it squeaks and rubs a little of that brown paint onto the helmet, which is a tough pill to swallow.

There's a sculpting flaw in the phase 2 helmet, but this is a flaw that Sideshow has been stuck with for every phase 2 clone, the nozzles below the mouth are not only too big, but the opening is supposed to cut at the top straight into the "chin" which Sideshow's sculpt doesn't do, instead they remain round and jut forward to meet the chin. This is a fact, there is no arguing it, the SSC design is wrong, if you disagree you are mistaken, sorry to have to be the one to break it to you, but it's just incorrect on all of them and Bly is saddled with that same mistake.

The deco gets a few more nitpicks. The dark stripe on the helmet isn't quite symmetrical and it doesn't continue past the "mouth". The shoes are painted very worn, like Bly has been working in a coal mine, it's a bit overkill.There's no silver on the little ring holding the straps from the belt to the holsters.

The foot joints are a touch loose, I won't be leaving the figure freestanding despite his ability to do so right now, he's already tipped a few times trying it and is too expensive to replace.

The holsters for the DC-17 pistols are essentially riveted to the kama, while in the movie they're clearly free.

Both the DC-15S and DC-15A are sculpted with not enough detail, and the rifle's muzzle is wrong with extra detail I've not seen (although I don't dislike it). The DC-15S blaster is a little inaccurate to boot with a tall angled fin at the midpoint instead of a short horizontal flat tab. And I firmly believe both the DC-15 weapons are too large for their scale. While the DC-17 pistols both sport a ton of silver weathering, the DC-15 weapons sport none which only further accents their plainness.

The thigh armor won't stay high enough up the thigh, the fabric undersuit keeps pulling them back down.

The "ear" pegs holding the visor onto the Phase 1 helmet aren't quite fully inserted so the visor hinges stick out the tiniest bit, this is a really little thing but it was the very first thing I noticed.

And that's about it. Almost all nitpicks, only 1 or 2 notable flaws depending on how you look at it.

Things that aren't bad or good but are noteworthily "odd" maybe:

The character portrait head has a yellow bandaid-type detail cleanly painted and sculpted on either cheek, dunno what that's about, but haven't seen that on any comic incarnation so far, it's a touch odd. Not sporting a scar or stubble or even the right hairstyle, but those are comic elements so they're not required.

Range of motion on the torso joint is quite limited by the tightness of the armor.

The belt slips out of alignment just a smidge whenever handled.

I didn't realize the fabric ammo pouch strap hanging from the pauldron was meant to be attached to the belt, here it's glued to the lower torso armor under the belt.

The holsters are loose, so if you lay the figure down, the left DC-17 especially might slip out and is small enough to get lost.

Both bicep armor pieces and the left forearm were rotated around - easy enough to rotate right, but that's odd, especially if you don't know the character that well.

What's Good:

The first thing that stands out when you get this figure out of the box is how incredibly superior this deco is from any previous SSC prequel Clone Trooper. This figure is about 80% as good as the prototype, you will almost certainly NOT feel ripped off here. Every part has an incredibly subtle blackwash-type paint giving a realistic light reflection; there's no silly plasticky bare white, nor is there the annoying heavy shadowing at outer edges - I hate both of those with a passion, and Bly is entirely free of that crap. There's a heavier spray of black under the pectorals of the chest armor that subtly spreads into the rest of the chest, and it looks really good, not at all cartoony or heavy, but natural. Even the kama gets a weathered dye job, and the pauldron gets a mottled design. Everywhere you look, there are fine scrapes and black smudges. There are a couple black smudges on the chest which don't look as nice as the prototype and a little wax crayon-like, but they're the small exception to an otherwise outstanding piece of weathering.

The deco is also very tight, virtually no slop or bleed on the belt or the armor or myriad of hands. There is a very tiny amount of bleed on the phase 2 visor, you really have to hunt to find it on mine. The head is tight, no probs on the hairline or eyebrows or lips, the eyes have a slight upwards gaze but no annoying catchlight "doll dots".

The armor sculpting is fantastic, sharp and clean, very realistic and impressive. The pauldron looks great, the custom biceps look great, the holsters are sharp, there's a ton of swappable hands and they all look great and have matching paint on their armor (so the right hand looks the same no matter which pose you're using and the left has a different pattern that holds throughout). There's also a second set of feet in an action stance, as with previous clones. The AOTC helmet to symbolize the character's role in The Clone Wars tv show is a great touch, using a logical realistic tack with the paint to fit the rest of the armor.

The elastic fabric bodysuit with its sewn ribs is much nicer than the earlier painted vinyl which looked like a rubber batman costume from the '90s. This moves better and for the most part cooperates better, less blubbery bunching. I worry about snagging, but so far haven't actually seen that happen. I haven't mastered the separate collar so well though, it's the same material but cut and sewn into a loop about 33% taller than the neck, it's supposed to compress into that "hot dog neck" shape but I haven't taken the time to figure it out.

The 3 varieties of blasters work great in the hands, a natural fit on each. The DC-15S blaster has the fold-back stock as a throwback to the original E-11 Stormtrooper blaster, though simpler. The DC-15S also has a nice incarnation of the 2 wires that make up the front sight.

The articulation on the body is quite good, it works well with the armor, which is exactly what SSC had in mind when they worked together to design this armored body. Some of the armor restricts motion, but mostly that's what one would find in the real version (were it not CGI in the films), and there's still a great range from what's there.

Nearly everything in the "good" column here is big deal stuff, lots of top quality work on the deco, and overall an outstanding armor experience. The pauldron, the kama, the bodysuit, the range of motion, all authentic and enjoyable.

So, it's very easy to dig Commander Bly - even at the fairly high price it took him to get to my house ($139 with tax and shipping and a $4 discount from using the last of my points) - the figure has a lot going on, and I think it's the best Clone Trooper Sideshow's ever done by leaps and bounds. Everything that Sideshow has gotten not-so-right on past 12" Clones which has kept me from investing in them has been done right with Bly (except the lackluster DC-15S and DC-15A), such as a top-notch prototype-quality deco finally, and a nice kama instead of a tacky one (sorry Rex). Despite my not caring much about Bly as a character, the figure is a home run and a welcome step above the previous Sideshow Clones.

09-11-2011, 04:21 PM
I have to take back some of the love for this figure after discovering that the reason the paint was coming off the visor was because they designed it wrong, the eyepieces make it too close to the helmet, so when they scraping it was a sign they weren't designed to go that high. Not knowing they had designed it wrong, I just positioned it like it was in the movie, and last night I discovered that the hinge had broken on 1 side of each helmet's visor! That is totally unacceptable bullcrap. This is a $125 figure, it should at least be able to handle positioning the visor the way it was shown in the film without breaking! And it's breaking because Sideshow got cute and added a bit one can't seen in the film anyway, brown eyepieces.

That said, I still like the figure quite a bit, but between the inaccurate color and the unusable visors, I would reserve recommendation to others for something so expensive.

09-12-2011, 09:04 PM
Thorough remarks there, JT....looking forward to seeing for myself this Friday.
Just a couple of comments on your review...I've seen some "in-hand" shots on line and it's appearing that the waist/crotch straps are coming up short on these figures...not long enough to lay right. Is that the issue you've got?
Big drag about that helmet hinge....I'll take extra care with that...thanks for the heads-up.
The color issue is just a bit of a drag...here's hoping SS gets back on track with that by the time Gree comes around.
I've enjoyed the clones thus far...each one has seen some improvement with each successive release and it sounds like Bly continues that trend. It'll be tough to best Cody for me though...I really like that figure!

09-13-2011, 03:00 PM
Received mine today...yes, JT...the prominent yellow/brown/gold stripes, whatever the right color palate name is-are just wrong! The Hasbro 3.75 nailed it better. Probably won't send me back cause I know Sideshow isn't going to repaint the thing. A big misfire for the $$$ they charged.

09-13-2011, 04:09 PM
Thorough remarks there, JT....looking forward to seeing for myself this Friday.
Just a couple of comments on your review...I've seen some "in-hand" shots on line and it's appearing that the waist/crotch straps are coming up short on these figures...not long enough to lay right. Is that the issue you've got?
Big drag about that helmet hinge....I'll take extra care with that...thanks for the heads-up.
The color issue is just a bit of a drag...here's hoping SS gets back on track with that by the time Gree comes around.
I've enjoyed the clones thus far...each one has seen some improvement with each successive release and it sounds like Bly continues that trend. It'll be tough to best Cody for me though...I really like that figure!I hadn't thought about it before you mentioned, but yes, the holster to belt straps are indeed too short - not by much, but enough to be further inaccurate.

Received mine today...yes, JT...the prominent yellow/brown/gold stripes, whatever the right color palate name is-are just wrong! The Hasbro 3.75 nailed it better. Probably won't send me back cause I know Sideshow isn't going to repaint the thing. A big misfire for the $$$ they charged.Interesting way of looking at it. They aren't going to repaint, that is almost certain despite their prototype having a more accurate palette. But for $125 plus shipping and/or tax, I don't understand why you won't ask for your money back if you aren't satisfied. I am very satisfied with mine because I don't give a crap about Bly, but if you do, I would think that's too much scratch to waste on something you're so annoyed by.

I'm waiting on UPS to email me the return postage email, I've already been approved for the return. I hate this part of the game (and I've had it way too often with Sideshow, when I realize I am so familiar with it), having the product in my hand and waiting to get rid of it, then waiting and waiting and waiting to receive the replacement.

Who have I had notable troubles with?

- Bly
- Vader
- Hot Toys Iron Man
- Luke Bespin (twice)
- Maul
- Aragorn

Out of...

Luke Bespin
Luke ANH
Han Bespin
Leia ANH
Leia Boushh
Vader ANH
Obi-Wan ROTS
Obi-Wan ANH
Palpatine ROTS 2-pack
Anakin ROTS SDCC-exclusive
Indiana Jones
Hot Toys Iron Man Battle Damaged
LOTR Aragorn

Wow, a quarter of my Sideshow figures have had to be returned! That's pretty awful. I'm grateful that Sideshow stands behind their products, but that's a significant QC failure rate.

09-17-2011, 09:35 AM
Bly is here, and I got a chance for a quick inspection and a few quick shots...

He seems like another well-done clone to me. The head portrait has better/cleaner paint apps than Cody did (less "pancake" finish and no weepy eyes from too much clearcoat like Cody had). He also looks "older" too. The yellow "warpaint" is...interesting.

Both helmets are well-rendered - heeding JT's observations, I haven't forced the visors up too far, but they both seemed to position okay. The rest of the armor looks good - it just needed to be re-positioned and turned correctly, something I do with each clone anyway since the limbs usually need to be turned and positioned correctly as well. It just required a little more caution with the added gear on some of the pieces to avoid snapping those pieces off.

Now the coloring may be a bit off, but I think the detailing and application is really good. The shading is really well-applied on this one too. As JT mentioned, there are a few of the black marks that look a little "marker" applied, but most look really good...there is actually one on an arm sleeve that looks like a crack (but it's not). While the mottling texture on the pauldron pieces looks a bit garish in photos, it looks fine "in hand" and depending on the lighting conditions really adds some great texture.

Seems like the perfect clone. eh? Well...there is one thing which may not be an issue to some but for me is really the "dropped ball" of this figure and that's the straps that come off of the waist ammo belt. They are ill-fitting, too short and fastened wrong onto the kama. There is no way to pull them down across the front of the figure as illustrated on the box photos or the film. It's really unfortunate, because as small a detail as they may seem, they really are one of the "signature" looks to this clone commander that set it apart from the others. There have been enough "in hand" photos of this production version appearing around the net to show that it's not an isolated thing, but it happened on all of them.
So much for sending it back in the hopes of getting a "correct" one... I may get brave enough to try and fix/replace them myself...

Bottom line for me...another great clone figure from Sideshow with one bad production flaw (the straps), but still a worthy display piece in the "Militaries of SW" collection...here's hoping Gree comes out well too.
Gotta say...Cody's still the best "Commander" figure so far for me...

Here's a couple quick shots, with more to come later...
25386 25387

...and here's one with his Jedi General...

09-17-2011, 04:37 PM
Starting to really enjoy this one...

Here's a couple shots of him on patrol....

25389 25390

09-18-2011, 12:30 AM
Nice shots JB. I *think* the belt is actually a separate piece from the crotch panel and might be able to be worked down a little. I could be wrong though, it could be that they've been glued together. I should have tried to futz with that before I sent my defective unit back.

09-22-2011, 03:32 PM
I got my replacement Bly yesterday. The DC-15s blaster barrel is misaligned the exact same way. I looked at it more carefully, and it appears that for whatever reason it's sculpted to be 30 degrees rotated off Y-axis, the ribs are flat against the Y-axis so it's tooled for that to be the side, yet the middle detail piece isn't in line with the clip like it should be, the forward tab IS in line with it when it shouldn't be (it should be lower), and the V wire sights should be equidistant from the midline instead of an L shape. This isn't some ultra-fine detail like the corner of the cutout in the back of the helmet, this is a notable thing. And I checked, it's been wrong the whole time they've been releasing Clone Trooper figures! How does Lucasfilm give approval for that?

The figure's paint is sloppier than the original in subtle ways, a little slop and bleed on stuff that was crisp on my original, and the overspray isn't as even (though that's a good thing on the thigh armor). The body suit also has a lot more twists and loose threads this time, but nothing I would send it back over.

The alignment on the kama was WAY off and I was really bothered by that for a while. I tried to adjust, the belt is indeed a separate piece and can be moved (though nowhere near low enough to make the holster strap issue look any better) but the kama wouldn't accept the fix. I nearly sent it back, but finally located a small spot at the very back where the belt had been closed over the kama pinching it into the movement of the belt. Once I freed that pinch, it seemed to be willing to take adjustment, though I'll need to double-check when I get home, I had to run out to watch my sister's dog in the middle of writing this post.

The left wrist peg is split just like the last one, but at this point I don't want to risk an even worse rendition. But clearly there's a problem with QC at Sideshow which isn't reflected in the cost of the figures, and that's something I think they must address to get their SW market back.

09-23-2011, 08:49 PM
Sorry to hear your replacement ended up with so many issues as well, JT. Guess I'm lucky with this one...other than the helmet visor's limited upper movement and the ill-fitting/too short waist straps, I think the one I received looks pretty good.

The QC issue does have me concerned, especially with edition numbers creeping up (along with the prices) as well as the number of offerings. Seems like figures always get released in groups instead of more spread out and that makes the chances for flubs in production a bigger possibility. I also think it's probably why Sideshow's longtime weakness is still production paint apps. It's been the downfall of many a decent figure from them (especially the human characters).

Look at Boba Fett...SS just announced an exclusive edition for that figure at 2000! Wow...I want to remain hopeful that the complex cut-sew and detailed paint apps that the proto are featuring will make it through production with that high of a production number....sheesh, 2000....what's the "regular" number? 5000? Time will tell...

I just hope that Sideshow will still put out some great clones....Bly is good and a little more complex than a base clone, and the forthcoming Gree will also feature some intense paint apps and additional outfitting that require more attention come production time, here's hoping Sideshow steps it up and doesn't rush it the a half-hearted QC before the major release...

09-24-2011, 07:52 PM
Thanks JB. The frustrating part I guess is knowing that I had a better one in my hands and have to make a sacrifice or take another risk that could get even worse. Right now, it's just the sloppy flash on the belt that's got me thinking it's got to go back. Oh, and the left hand literally dropped out of the forearm today. I think I may have brushed it as I walked by, but that's not a good sign. I can beef it up with paper, but I shouldn't have to.

The visor is such a frustration, the stupid eye cups are totally unnecessary and cause it to be less than it should be.

You make a good point, I have a 1 out of 4 fail rate so if that were an accurate view of their QC, then that's 500 Boba Fett exclusives going back to Sideshow for replacement - how can they afford that? How can they afford not to fix the problem?

The edition number thing is funny, they started dropping the edition sizes when they started raising prices and the audience thinned, now they've kept raised pricing around until it feels "ok" to the remaining audience, so I guess they feel comfortable raising edition sizes again to try to open it to suckers who didn't know what it used to cost.

09-24-2011, 08:25 PM
I'm thinking the edition size raise could be because it's Boba Fett...a character they know fans/collectors have been asking for so they feel they can sell more of him. I'm not opposed to that, heck the more folks that want Fett that can get him is a good thing. I'm just concerned about the quality...Fett is one of the few characters left that I consider a "must-have" for my collection. I'd just like to see the figure well-rendered and produced with no QC issues, but as you've pointed out with the unfortunate number of QC issues you've had...well, it doesn't bode well.

I think the only other characters that could end up with high edition sizes when (and if) produced are Chewie, the droids and any classic trilogy version of Vader. Anything/anyone else will probably end up with the lower edition sizes many of the figures many of the ones from last year featured.

I'm also concerned with HT in the SW mix now that prices are really going to explode upward and Sideshow may not produce any more "human" styled characters anymore and I'd be disappointed with that....there is still a handful of those "human" characters I'd like to see them produce...the Padawan versions of Anakin and Obi-Wan, a Hoth version of Leia or any Amidala to name a few, but I figure it'll be HT that produces those now, with their well-crafted but slightly off head sculpts (see the recently revealed Bespin Luke) and exorbitant prices and overdone accessories...this is making a lot of high end collectors happy...but I'd rather see Sideshow continue with what they were doing.

If there was a need for Sideshow to do anything different it would be to adjust their announcement/production schedule to space out releases so that production could be more quality-controlled and collectors could be confident of seeing figures that ended up closer to the excellent prototypes they display at PPO time. They do okay for the most part, and at least they have one of the best customer service departments around....

Anyway...derailed the topic enough here with my little rant....let us know if you go for round three with Bly...if so, here's hoping for a good one, JT...

09-27-2011, 03:47 PM
Vader and the Stormtrooper regular editions were 1500 higher than Boba Fett though, 6500 for the regular editions on each of them compared to 5000 for Fett. Maul was 9000 on top of the Inclusive edition! I don't mind the higher edition sizes either, but if they're selling more, they really shouldn't also be CHARGING more.

Fett unfortunately will almost certainly be a QC concern, 1:2 odds I'd say, just based on how many little thin pointy things he has, how much cut-n-sew layers, and the body has to support a high backpack to boot on a body that - while very nice - has a bad track record of joint strength and quality build.

Hot Toys does seem to have taken the focus away from Sideshow's human character production. I can't even remember who was the last one, only the last one I bought - Lando. But the head on Bly looks really good and notably better than the Cody head, so the idea of doubling down on the price to get a HT human seems a painful thought. That said, I think the fans are being unfair to HT's Bespin Luke, that figure has the look from its left profile, just not its right, and it is a pending-approval prototype still. Looking at their work with the Batman and Iron Man human likenesses, they've had a lot of home runs.

Their schedule has sucked since day 1, it's always been feast-famine-famine some more-bankbusting feast. And they always promise they will fix the situation, they space it out on paper, then it's delays or early releases to fit the insanity it's always been. I don't know that they'll ever get figures closer to the prototypes shown during PPO, Brant always talks about how they get closer and closer, but aside from Bly, I haven't seen a single example of that - then again, I've been out of the game for over a year with Sideshow until now.

I'm sticking with my Bly, the flash is fine enough that I can overlook it, and the paint alone is too much of a risk, this isn't "bad", just not as good as v1.

I have had some trouble getting the figure to pose, but not for the reason I thought. I've never used that crotch stand before, it doesn't let the figure spread its legs AT ALL because it's too high, of all odd things. I don't care for static poses, and right now mine is fairly static below the shoulders (I have a hard time getting a pose out of the torso armor, it's very tight). Also, the crotch stand pushes the waist armor up which looks odd.

10-13-2011, 05:53 AM
I finally opened my Cmdr. Bly.

I really like this figure.

I posed him shooting my Aayla Secura almost exactly like the Order 66 scene in the movie.

I gave Aayla her ignited lightsaber since I have no other lady Jedi figures on display with ignited lightsabers. I posed her kind of sexy-like so her rear and her breasts are thrust out. Yeah. I liked being able to do that. Meanwhile, I think I'll pose Bariss using her lightsaber on Geonosis also - but that would be accurate. (with the Hasbro figure)

I have Bly's ROTS helmet on (Phase 2) and he's using his long rifle like he does in the movie (Bacara is the only one amongst his men that I saw using the short blaster in his Order 66 scene with Ki).

Interestingly enough, Cmdr. Cody appears to be UNARMED during Order 66, else he is just wearing small guns on hip holsters or something. I went to YouTube and typed in Order 66.

Anyway, I don't seem to have any quality control issues with my Bly - but I handled him REALLY carefully when I opened him because of this thread. Then I did not really play with him. I just posed him with the correct ROTS head, and put the little neck cloth on with this correct head, armed him correctly, and put him on the shelf with Aayla.

He has a strong "new figure scent" to him that's permeated my entire room. But whenever I approach the bookcase I display him on, I take a strong whiff of Bly and try to inhale him. Very nice new plastic scent.

I haven't opened my of the figures / toys that I've still been collecting recently, so it is really refreshing to get to inhale something new!