Note: For the ready-made fully-articulated new Hasbro Rogue One figure, see HERE.

Stormtroopers were among the original set of Star Wars action figures, but have encountered a long string of imperfections in any common collectible scale. Of those based on the films set in the time of the Original Trilogy, the Rogue One 1/6-scale version by Hot Toys probably came closest to capturing the precise appearance of what we saw onscreen, but that version of the imperial stormtroopers was itself slightly modified from the basic original design (you can check out my detailed review HERE). I am not talking about these here and today.

I am talking about the "classic" or "vintage" scale of figures (generally about 3.75 inches tall) established by Kenner and continued by Hasbro. First, a brief journey through a few of the more important stages of Stormtrooper action figure evolution at that scale. Kenner's original Stormtrooper (1978) was nicely sculpted for its time, but unfortunately under-articulated even then: the usual five-point articulation (swivel shoulders and hips and head) was brought down to four points, because the helmet was sculpted as part of the torso. A sparse and often sloppy paint application made the figure's appearance even more unfortunate.

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(More photos and brief review HERE.)

Kenner's figures became more and more sophisticated in sculpting and paint, but the Stormtrooper was not revisited and continued to be produced on the basis of the same molds. Until, that is, the Power of the Force collection included with a hideous, misshapen, and standing-challenged figure (1995). The less said about this, the better. The one improvement was that the head could now swivel around on top of the neck, and the waist could swivel around its axis.

Topics tagged under spacetrooper on OneSixthFigures The-Power-Of-The-Force-2-Stormtrooper_Big_2
(More photos and brief review HERE.)

After that travesty, things looked up when Hasbro acquired the license. In 1999 it produced its first Stormtrooper (with battle damage), complete with a gun rack and 10 points of articulation (admittedly, of the rather basic, swivel kind, except for the ball-jointed neck and shoulders).

Topics tagged under spacetrooper on OneSixthFigures The-Power-Of-The-Force-2-Stormtrooper-Commtech_Big_2
(More photos and brief review HERE.)

Hasbro's improved model took off, and was reiterated and occasionally slightly modified over the following years. By 2011 (Vintage Collection # 41), the little Stormtrooper featured not only a removable helmet and an underlying battle-scarred human face, but also 14 points of articulation and ball-jointed neck, shoulders, elbows, waist, hips, knees, and ankles. I had started collecting action figures again.

Topics tagged under spacetrooper on OneSixthFigures The-Vintage-Collection-Stormtrooper_Big_2
(More photos and brief review HERE.)

What more could you ask of a 3.75 inch action figure? These figures were not perfect, but for the most part the issues were the preciseness (or lack thereof) of paint application and the often soft or distorted sculpt of the helmets (and not just those that were designed to be removable and made of softer plastic). Then Hasbro went backwards instead of forwards, abandoned the excellent articulation it had achieved, and reverted to... five points of articulation (except for the 6-inch Black Series Collection). And that was enough to get me stop collecting Star Wars action figures in the Classic scale.

But while the articulation went back to Neolithic, Hasbro's sculpting improved dramatically and so did the resolution of its paint application (I say resolution, because it is not always applied with absolute precision or correctness). The sad under-articulated Stormtroopers produced for Rogue One appeared perfect until you tried to pose them. This made me think: is it possible to combine the excellent head (i.e., helmet) sculpt of these new figures with the nicely articulated Stormtrooper bodies of Hasbro's more felicitous products? In almost all cases, that proved impossible -- not without serious alterations (whittling off parts of the neck pegs) and compromises (like having exceedingly wobbly heads or sacrificing neck articulation completely). But there was one combination that worked perfectly, and that is the point I have been getting at.

You would need a Hasbro Rogue One 3.75-inch Stormtrooper (either the ones carded by themselves HERE or, better yet, the ones in the two-pack with Baze Malbus HERE -- these have a better/more complete paint application) and a Hasbro 3.75-inch Spacetrooper (Legacy Collection # 32, HERE and HERE).

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The Spacetrooper is nothing more than a Zero-Gravity-kitted-out Stormtrooper, let loose on the surface of your friendly neighborhood space station. He has been given a removable rebreather tank system with a hose and an additional blaster rifle.

Topics tagged under spacetrooper on OneSixthFigures Swstc011

The face, which has been described in somewhat unflattering terms, is actually a decent attempt (given the scale and the time when it was made) at capturing set photos of none other than the versatile Star Wars designer and occasional extra Joe Johnston preparing to be filmed as a Spacetrooper.

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Topics tagged under spacetrooper on OneSixthFigures Gallery_12157_38_24406

At any rate, the crisply sculpted and (usually) precisely painted new Stormtrooper helmets fit perfectly on the "Spacetrooper" neck peg, making for the simplest custom of all time (I am sure it's a draw, but it is one of them). Now you can get a good looking (as in screen-accurate) and well-articulated Stormtrooper all rolled into one.

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Can it get any better? Yes. If you used the helmet from the single-packed Rogue One Stormtrooper, you'd probably want to paint in the two trapezoidal areas on the back of the helmet (if you used the helmet from the two-pack, they are already -- and correctly -- painted). More importantly, while the "Spacetrooper" has 14 points of articulation, unfortunately the hips are swivel rather than ball-jointed. My attempts to swap out the legs with those from even better-articulated versions failed, although they should have worked in theory.

Topics tagged under spacetrooper on OneSixthFigures Swstc013

I helped myself to a bunch of both figures some years ago and did some army building. The under-articulated bodies would act as holders for the unused heads and helmets and could always be used for background characters in formation (which would be more authentic than painting them in as they did for the emperor's arrival scene in Return of the Jedi).

Topics tagged under spacetrooper on OneSixthFigures Swstc014

Now here's the possible rub: these figures are getting rarer to find, but are still available and often inexpensive (even the 2-pack). But Hasbro has re-launched its Vintage Collection and started putting out some excellent and (even more encouraging) excellently-articulated 3.75-inch figures. Not yet available at the time of writing but advertised to appear this year is the Vintage Collection Rogue One Stormtrooper. If it is like the others in the series, and if its sculpting is on a par with the earlier under-articulated versions, it would obviate the "need" to kitbash the perfect Stormtrooper. Of course, you might prefer a real Original Trilogy figure (I think we all would), but the differences -- especially in this scale -- are largely too minute to notice (unlike with the sixth-scale figures). And you can never have too many Stormtroopers. So if you happen to have a bunch of these already in your collection, you could still apply this easy kitbash to make them more compatible with the new ones you might be interested to get. That, at least, is how I see it.

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As always, let me know what you think.

Note: For the ready-made fully-articulated new Hasbro Rogue One figure, see HERE.

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