Since my previous reviews haven't been known for their brevity, I'm going to attempt today's 2 reviews in a different style that breaks it down a little better than before. I'll be reviewing the Clone Pilot and Deluxe Clone. Let's face it, I'll probably fail on the brevity issue again, but at least there will be more paragraph breaks.
Hasbro seems to be figuring out that Star Wars fans can't get enough clone figures and have added to the clone ranks with 2 new figures... it's about time. One is a deluxe generic grunt while the other is more specific, but both make good additions to any clone army. Both of the figures being reviewed today interact with Hasbro's Republic Gunship in some way, however since I do not yet have the Gunship, I can only review these figures on their own merits. Both packages briefly explain how the various parts interact with the Gunship, so you won't be left entirely in the dark.
Clone Trooper - Republic Gunship Pilot:
Contains 1 pilot, 1 blaster, and 1 turret with stand and projectile.
Sculpting - 8 out of 10
Considering that Hasbro has no physical source to real-scan these clones (they were all CGI-based, no clone armor exists), the sculpt on the pilot is pretty good and seems a little nicer than previous clone figures. However, the lower score is based on a sculpt softness in some areas which leaves the figure with less sharp detail than it should have in some spots - for example, the back of the thigh armor and the elbow armor just doesn't match the level of detail found on other sections; another problem being the chest control box details, they're ok but not great, like something from 5 years ago.
Another thing that hurt this score were the obvious mold lines everywhere, a lot more than usual from this line. The helmet face is also very thin and pointy looking, it doesn't quite match the face of the other clone trooper figures. The separate belt piece appears to be a resculpt from the red clone figure's belt, but it doesn't appear to have been sculpted for this figure so it looks more like a shelf than a belt.
On the up side, there are some very nice details sculpted into some areas on this figure such as the back of the armor and the intricate black body suit. Some of the armor is also sculpted with more sharpness and realism than previous attempts.
Pose - 6 out of 10
Star Wars figures have been suffering from bad poses for far too long, and our pilot pal here is no exception. While not a mega-pose disaster like some figs, the clone pilot has elbows permanently bent at 90 degrees, a slight tilt in the torso, massive trigger-fingers (that don't even fit in the blaster's trigger), and clone wide stance legs with slightly bent knees. The elbows and legs bother me a lot since they limit the figure to very few realistic "normal" poses, but the figure does look normal firing his turret cannon.
The chest box also has a pose issue, it's connected by flexible hoses to the helmet but stays up by the mouthpiece instead of hanging down on the chest.
Paint - 6.5 out of 10
It's a real shame when Hasbro has a figure that's nearly all-white and decides to get creative with the "battle damage" paint such as the repainted POTJ Scout Trooper. This time, big H didn't go that extreme, but the scuff marks given to our pilot are just too numerous and almost exclusively on the front instead of all around. Some of the marks are a little too big and end up looking like actual Hasbro damage rather simulated damage. If there were less of them, it would be a good touch adding a much-needed realism to the crisp white armor, but this is too much for my tastes. Other details also come up with problems, like the bland chest box and the half-missing Republic logos on the helmet.
The other problem is sloppy application with much of the black paint. Let's face it, this figure doesn't need a lot of paint - he's molded in his base color - so that should make Hasbro's job easier, but on the Clone Pilot there's just too many spots where black paint has missed its lines and has crossed over onto the wrong sections. You can also see where black paint should have been but didn't get properly applied leaving white areas on the body suit - these 2 problems make the figure up close look like a knock-off.
Articulation - 7 out of 10
This is usually my "make-or-break" section since I really love articulation on my action figures; unfortunately, Hasbro hasn't had a lot of successes in this department of late -- Clone Pilot isn't the worst offender but could be a lot better in this department. This figure has the SW standard 6 points (neck, shoulders, waist, hips) plus tilt articulation on the neck and cut joints on the lower biceps. While the bicep joints - the same as those on the POTJ Sandtrooper - can rotate all the way around, this is rarely useful articulation. The shoulders and hips follow the trend of the clone forefathers by having the armor and angle of articulation limit and even ruin the mobility of the figure. The legs can barely swing half-way forward or back, no sitting flat for this one. The shoulders are even more frustrating since the left one is fine but the right one is limited AND at an angle so when the arm is back it's out to the side, and when it's forward it's in front of his chest like he's trying to cross that arm. Bah humbug to that!
The neck articulation is nice though, a little tight turning left or right but a very nice tilt to it that seems like the full range of motion a person wearing this armor could possibly have. This is a point of articulation that should be on every core-character figure in my opinion, it does it's job and is well-hidden.
Accessories - 8 out of 10
Clone pilot's blaster is a prequel version of the classic Stormtrooper blaster. The Clone Trooper blaster has no sight, a smaller clip, and a squared-off rear section, and the handle is further back than the Stormtrooper's gun; it's also about 15% bigger than the POTJ Stormtrooper blaster, over half the length of the Clone's leg. The blaster is adequately detailed for the modern accessories, and thankfully is made of a hard plastic instead of that rubbery junk Hasbro's been so in love with for the past few years. Unfortunately, the gun is doesn't let the clone get his finger into the trigger guard.
The other accessory is a turret cannon, an accessory made up to emulate the Republic Gunship's side radar guns which were added to the film after Hasbro designed their Gunship toy without them. Basically, this is a big ball on an arm with a missile sticking out of a radar dish emitter in the front, looks like the Death Star's sickly little brother. The ball is solid rather than clear, painted gray and off-white with dirt-speckle paint. The gray control handle in the back has a pivoting arm and black control yoke, the whole handle can be rotated so the pilot can stand to either side of the turret when firing. The control yoke comes out of the pivoting arm a little too freely on mine. A big arm sticks out the lower back of the ball and pivots at 2 points but does NOT rotate even though it appears to. The stand at the bottom of the arm is adequate to keep the whole thing standing, but not as nicely detailed as the rest of the turret. Finally, there's the translucent green projectile which springs out when you push the back off the lip of the cannon, this thing has a ball tip and 3 triangular vanes in the front, the back sticks out the cannon almost an inch; the projectile looks ugly and off-center when loaded and ruins the symmetry of the cannon's dish emitter by requiring a keyhole-shaped opening in there.
Obviously, the turret is much too small for the figure to get into even if it were hollow, but this was an interesting solution to the problem of the missing turrets on the Gunship.
Final Score - 7.5 out of 10
Not a bad figure, but not a grand one either. The Clone pilot is neither made nor broken by his paint or accessories, but it's nice to have some swag for this otherwise tame figure. Even though he suffers from the same problems as previous Clone Trooper figures, this pilot seems to have a little more spark and life than those other guys and that's good because he's not an army-builder.