Another Star Wars multimedia extraveganza similar to 1996's Shadows of the Empire, the Clone Wars spans comics, books, cartoon shorts, and of course, a toy line. I'm not a fan of the Clone Wars concept as a whole, I don't dig overall EU story or EU characters they're adding and I haven't been too interested in the toy line it's spawned. However, I'm a sucker for speederbikes and the like, so I made it a point to track this puppy down even though the figure looks like a GI Joe baddie. Unlike the only other CW toy I've bought so far, this one comes off quite well received.
Sculpting: 4.5 out of 5 (both)
Durge is covered head to toe in armor with lots of little details like dents and rivets and other little similar nuances sculpted in; the large chest insignia is even sculpted into his armor. Most impressive are his forearms and lower legs which have lots of gadgets and technology, the boots also have menacing cleats in case he wants to pick up a fun game of soccer after murdering innocents all day and a heel talon to complete his raptor costume. There are also separate hoses that run from each inner thigh to the waist armor, not really sure what they're for, but they tend to want to pop out of place when you first stand the figure (luckily, they go back into place easily). The lower score for the figure is due to his head sculpt - specifically the visor design or the head skirt which I don't like that much - and the fact that he's HUGE compared to other Star Wars figures: he's a full head taller than the ARC Trooper, he's so large that he's in scale with Mattel's Justice League figures. I dunno if he's supposed to be this way, but it doesn't look quite right to me that he's as tall as my JL Batman.
The bike is nicely sculpted as well, with both molded and separate hoses, intakes, dents, exhaust pipes, and other such details. The sculpt seems slightly "softer" than the other speederbikes in the Star Wars line, but not glaringly so. There are 2 cannons mounted on the main forks leading to the steering vanes, each with hoses leading to the main body. Hasbro cheated on the front end of the bike by having some undersides hollow, not terribly noticable but a little bothersome. The point where the front end connects to the main body of the bike has 2 rectangular notches cut away, one of which is right in the middle of a sculpted cloth bag so it hurts the look there; the other negative is also at this section except on the underside where 2 flat posts snap into corresponding holes on the body; the problem is that the front post is not quite far enough forward and has to bend out of position to work, which means it doesn't lock into place and could cause problems down the line.
Pose: 4.5 out of 5
Standing alone, this version of Durge looks fine, no goofy ankle bending or anything like that. The hands are sculpted to hold weapons, with index fingers fully ready to pull triggers, but there is a bit of bend in the wrists which makes holding his blaster pistols look a little "shoot from the hip"; the hand sculpt looks fine holding the bike controls. Riding on the bike looks ok and hangs on well, but there is one small issue which is where the half-rating-point hit came from: Durge's hips aren't universal-jointed so they stay close together and keep him from looking like he's truly hunkered down on his bike. He sits fine, but it could look a little better.
Paint: 4 out of 5 (bike), 3 out of 5 (figure)
This is one area where Hasbro definitely could have done better, it's not to say they did a bad job, just not really as good as it could be. The bike looks ok, with some white weathering at leading edges and white & red worn-away details. The white steering control system is painted a little thick, and the red control details on its center are a little sloppy. Hasbro shouldn't have included a photo of the prototype on the cardback though, that one has a better paint job using only subtly different touches - it wouldn't take much to add paint details like a wash to make it really stand out nicely.
Durge's paint is a mixed bag, some parts like the boots and shoulderpads are painted in this neat metallic almost-black stuff that has an interesting texture and looks very realistic; however the main light gray color lacks a dirty weathering and tends to wash out the figure. The chest emblem is painted navy blue very clean; unfortunately the black visor has some slop covering everything between its lines (minor, but somehow quite noticable). The smaller details like the gloves and waist cylinders are well done with almost no slop, but the sculpted thigh pistons get lost in the look thanks to a total lack of paint. In the basic Durge figure and on the prototype on the cardback of this deluxe figure, Hasbro painted the top of the forearms flesh color, however the production version here is left gray which not only looks better but I believe is also accurate to the character's main design. The prototype also has more flattering grimey detail which this toy sadly lacks -- again, an easy custom job but should have been part of a "deluxe" toy.
One afterthought about Durge's paint, he has some red logos in various places, the ones on the helmet and the right thigh stand out like a sore thumb thanks to all the bland gray plastic they're sitting on, while the ones on the kneepads and shoulders are almost invisible I guess because they're thin paint on that dark metallic gray paint.
Articulation: 5 out of 5
Good news: Durge is highly articulated! A total of 12 points of articulation, all but 4 of which are universal joints. Neck, shoulders, elbows, mid-torso, and knees are all universal joints, while hips and wrists are standard rotation joints. Unfortunately, the neck is pretty limited thanks to the head skirt and chin, and the hips don't have all that much range of motion and should have been universal joints. But on the flip side, the torso tilts forward about 20 degrees and back even further when not wearing the backpack and also replaces classic rotational waist articulation, the knees have plenty of range of motion, and the universal shoulders and elbows allow for a lot of arm poses even though the elbows don't bend all the way to 90 degrees. The head tilts down enough to see all the other figures he's about to lay waste to, and when bent, the knee and elbow armor end in sizeable, nasty-looking points for maximum pain-delivering (don't worry, dangerous to his enemies, but rounded enough to be safe in your hands).
Accessories: 5 out of 5
Twin blaster pistols that fit in holsters, closed jetpack that fits snugly onto back, blaster rifle that fits into holster on bike, and a 7" battle lance that clips onto bike's cannon -- all of which are molded in a nice gunmetal color... Oh yeah, and I guess the huge horkin' swoop bike is another accessory, you've already heard plenty about that.
The twin blaster pistols don't quite fit in with the Star Wars aesthetic, but the guy is 2,000 years old so I suppose they get some leeway there and they look pretty cool. The stock is fat on this gun, but fits nicely in the figure's hand, there's also an angled trigger guard that allows for his big finger to fit through. There's a small scope off to one side, that's pretty Star Warsy; the barrel is quite short and ends in a flared muzzle. My favorite detail is what appears to be a small pump-action slide - like the kind you'd find on a shotgun - in front of the trigger guard under the barrel, maybe it's supposed to be a clip but I kinda like the idea of this gun having to be pumped after each reload, gives it a little character.
The blaster rifle is strange, it's clearly designed around the classic Stormtrooper blaster - the exposed barrel IS that stormie gun - but behind that is a different kind of scope, more like a hunting rifle would have except off to the side slightly. There's the stormie blaster side-clip of sorts, but there's also a larger traditional-style automatic weapon clip design behind that. The trigger is found in a shotgun-style grip with a large, thin trigger guard to add to that shotgun feel. In front of the trigger is curved, 2.5" band that ends at peg on either side, one side of the gun has a hole to accomodate either peg thus creating an odd sort of strap. While the rifle fits fine in the bike's holster, between the stormtrooper origin and the shotgun grip of this rifle, I think this gun was actually meant for the ARC Trooper who has the proper lineage for the weapon to be based upon and has hands that seem to be sculpted specifically to hold this gun rather than the big beefy job he actually comes with.
The lance is quite long and has little detail, not that it needs much, and ends in a nasty 3-pronged claw; it can be clipped on the bike where it sticks out in front threatening any fool who gets in its path, and can also be held by the figure for trash pick-up or other poking tasks. The backpack is fairly simple, a closed version of the jetpack the basic figure comes with only here the wings sculpted to look like they've been pulled in; while not exciting, it's thin enough to avoid looking gaudy while adding a little extra character to the set, and it also helps cover the slight gap at the mid-torso articulation. Strangely, the hole in the back of Durge is a bit off-center, but the peg on the backpack matches so it sits centerd on his back.
Overall: 4.75 out of 5
Big, burly, and well-armed, this is one figure that actually lives up to the hype of the term "deluxe" - a neat figure plus a great vehicle and a bunch of accessories for only ten bucks. This is one figure that fares a lot better out of the package than most. Perhaps not the most Star Warsy character, but a nifty toy none the less with a boatload of articulation to boot. Definitely worth buying and playing with, it'd be tough not to find something cool about this set.