Senior Reviewer Stan Russell brings us his take on the Bandai Tamashii Nations Samurai Sandtrooper and to those of you who already own a figure from this line it comes as no surprise that Stan was thoroughly impressed.
Star Wars is one of those franchises that everybody knows. You may like it, or you may not, but there is no doubt that you have at least heard of it. Star Wars has been a big part of my life, and to this day I love it as much, if not more than when I was a little kid. One of my favorite things about the franchise, are the Stormtroopers. The original troopers were awesome, and with each new movie, we have been introduced to new versions of the Stormtrooper. I love seeing all the different designs and functions of the troopers, and when I see something different, I just have to check it out.
Enter the Bandai Tamashii Nations Samurai line. When I first saw these, I was blown away by the images, and the unique look of them. They combine the iconic Stormtroopers with the genre of the Samurai. What could be better! Today, I will review the Samurai Sandtrooper.
The sculpt of the Sandtrooper is absolutely top notch. Every single detail has been taken into account, and each and every piece of the figure is sculpted to incredible detail. The head sculpt keeps the classic Stormtrooper look, but is very much a samurai look. All the sculpting and level of detail are amazing. If you have never seen one of these close-up, you can’t truly appreciate the sculpt work, but once you see the detail, you will be amazed. From the classic lines of the stormtrooper, to the tiny pieces of sculpted cloth pieces that hold all the armour together, there is nothing missing.
The body armour is amazing, and everywhere you look, you will notice a small detail that you did not see before. This figure, and this line in general, has the most amazing sculpt that I have seen from a 7″ figure. I can’t possibly explain the level of detail in these figures, and hope the pictures do enough justice.
When you first look at the figure, there does not appear to be much in terms of paint application, but once you look deeper, you will notice an incredible level of detail with the paint. Everything is weathered, giving the entire figure a nice worn look. The overall colour has a yellowish tone to it, and you can definitely see the difference between the Sandtrooper, and the regular stormtrooper.
All the pieces that look like cloth holding the armour together have paint on them, and considering the amount of them, and how small they are, I would expect to see some mistakes and misses with the paint applications, but my figure is perfect! The small parts on the accessories and throughout the entire figure are perfectly painted and add just enough colour to keep it from being a solid blob of one colour.
For the price, you get the figure, a total of 8 hands (2 fists, 2 sword holding, 2 small gun holding, and 2 large gun holding). You also get two guns, one very large, and one regular rifle. The large gun is cool, but seems very impractical, and can make the figure unbalanced pretty easy. You also get the samurai sword and sheath, and a backpack for the figure.
No figure is perfect, and this is where the biggest weakness is with this figure. While is has very good articulation, it is not the best that I have seen. I know a lot of it has to do with the amount of armor the figure has, and the level of detail in that armor, but I was hoping for just a little more articulation. The head moves back and forth very well, but has very little side to side, and due to the headpiece, very limited movement. The back of the helmet is sculpted in a way that does allow some looking up movement, but not very much.
The arms are perhaps the most articulated on the figure, even though they have large shoulder pads that you would think would hinder it. The arms rotate all the way around, and come up to just past 90 degrees. There is up and down movement at the shoulder joint, and the shoulder pads are articulated themselves, which let them move out of the way when posing the arm. There is a double jointed elbow, which allows the arm to bend all the way, allowing the figure to touch it’s own shoulder. There is lower arm rotation, and the hands themselves rotate, and can either hinge or swivel depending on how you rotate the hand joint.
There is a waist joint that allows side to side rotation, as well as some side to side bending. It can bend back a little, but cannot bend very far forward due to the armour piece that sticks out above the belt.
The legs are the weakest areas of articulation on the character. There are joints in the hip that allow the legs to move out, forward and back, but is pretty limited. The armor pieces that are in front of the legs are soft materials, and do move out of the way, but the joint itself does not allow for full movement. If you try to move the legs out too far, the legs will pop out of joint. There are single jointed knees, which hinder the movement, but even if it had double jointed knees, the armor and sculpt of the pants would not allow for much movement.
You can get the knee to bend to about 90 degrees. The ankle has forward and back movement, as well as side to side swivel. There is an ankle pivot of sort, but it is very tricky to get right, and once you rotate the actual joint to allow for pivot, you will not longer be able to move it back and forth.
Overall, the articulation is pretty good, and the figure has great balance, but it is not the best that I have seen. You can get some pretty good poses, mostly out of the upper body, but the lower joints is where I think the figure is not very good.
This line of figures from Bandai is absolutely amazing, and I would recommend everybody to get at least one. The only problem is that once you get that first one, and you see how awesome it is, you will want to buy more and more and get at least one of every type. I currently have three different figures, and am looking at getting many, many more.
The unique look of the samurai line is something that will stand out on your display shelf, and if you take pictures of them, it is nearly impossible to take a bad one. The sculpt, paint, and accessories are among the best I have seen, and the only thing that makes this a perfect figure is the articulation in the lower part of the body. If you get a chance to purchase one of these figures, I say do so without hesitation.