Death Trooper. Is there a more badass name for a Stormtrooper variation? Although they didn’t see much action between the opening and end scenes of Rogue One, as far as Imperial troops go, I think they stole the show (sorry Scarif Troopers).
Hot Toys has released two versions of the Death Trooper; The DT Specialist and Specialist Deluxe. The only difference being the inclusion of a stormtrooper doll accessory and a custom diorama base with the Deluxe, and this is the version I’ll review here.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
• Death Trooper – in black armor with thirty points of articulation
• Belt with pouches and three grenades
• Shoulder pauldron
• Special Forces DLT-19 long-range blaster rifle
• Blaster pistol
• Nine interchangeable hands
• Stormtrooper doll
• Sculpted diorama base
SCULPT – 9/10
Of course, this being a Stormtrooper, we’re talking helmet instead of sculpt here.
As opposed to the OT (original trilogy) troopers, new models have been 3D designed and these designs may be available to companies like Hot Toys to build from. Even if that is not the case here, this seems like a near perfect reproduction of the on-screen helmet. There is some really nice weathering on the helmet; paint wear on some edges, scratches, and “dirt” in some crevices.
The light up features – the eyeline scope and the tusk-based (presumably night-vision) green LEDs – are a nice feature. The battery/on-off switch is accessed under the top cap of the helmet, which is convenient. What isn’t convenient – and keeps it from being 10/10 – is having the magnet that holds the cap in place directly next to the battery case. Nothing more fun than just about having those tiny batteries in place only to have them pop out from the pull of the magnet! You’ll need to replace the included batteries soon after putting them in and admiring it – they don’t last long. Better quality batteries should last quite a while longer.
PAINT APPLICATION – 10/10
Like the helmet, the armor is also very accurate and, for a mass-produced figure, nicely weathered. A dirt look in the crevices of the armor, while not exactly natural looking does a good job of giving it a worn look. Personally, I would have liked to see a few more of the scratches and wear that is present on the helmet, but that’s a minor quibble.
Aside from the basic Stormtrooper armor pieces, the DT comes with a nicely crafted leather (or leather-like) shoulder pauldron, shoulder pouch and chest belt containing three removable grenades and six cartridges (non-removable as far as I can tell). The chest-belt can be removed via side buckles and slipping it over the helmet. A waist-level belt, with the Vader-inspired buckle, rounds out the armor set. Under all this is the ubiquitous coil-type undersuit.
Eight pairs of hands in various states of grip, one open/spread hand and of course an extra set of hand pegs are included and painted/weathered to match the body armor. The DLT-19 long blaster rifle and blaster pistol are nicely detailed (but again could be weathered a bit more) with the rifle being the standout weapon and the one you will most likely feature most often. Included with the Deluxe DT are the stormtrooper doll (as belonged to Jyn Erso) and a sculpted “diorama” base. The doll is very simple, but nicely done and somehow makes this guy seem more ominous while holding and staring at it. The base makes for a nice display over the standard bases, although due to the size it almost dictates that you have one leg up on the rocks (but that looks cool so…).
Anyone who owns a Hot Toys standard Stormtrooper knows the limitations of movement due mainly to the bulk of the undersuits. While the OT troopers have a fair range of motion, the recent First Order troopers had bulkier undersuits and were more akin to lightly posable statues than “action” figures! The Death Trooper seems to fall somewhere between the two but shares more in common with the FO troopers. Arm motion is pretty good, without taking it apart I’m assuming double-jointed elbows, as they can just about touch the shoulder when bent. But an outward stretched arm only goes to about shoulder height as the suit is stitched fully under the arms. I would have sacrificed some accuracy to have some stretch material under there to allow for more range of motion.
Legs are about the same as the FO troopers as well, with a 90º sitting position nearly impossible without risking ripping the undersuit. You can get a little bit of backward motion at the waist, but not so bending forward due not only to the undersuit, but also the tight proximity of the armor pieces to each other in the front.
The center of balance on it, however, is great and with a little patience it can hold some fairly dynamic poses without a stand.
PRICE POINT – 9/10
Going by the cost of other franchised Hot Toys, this is priced right in the (current) sweet spot of $250. Personally, I feel this should be in the $210 – 220 range due to the limited accessories and almost no tailored clothing, but it is in-line with other figures at this price point.
OVERALL DESIGN – 10/10
It is simply a stunning piece to have on your shelf or, in my case right now, desk. As much as constant slight variations or even wacky designs that are pushed out as Stormtroopers bugs me (I’m looking at you Porcelain Trooper – though not for long, yecch!), and even though my attitude about the DTs is still “where were these guys in the OT?” – I have to admit this is a killer-looking addition to the Trooper line and fits nicely in the Star Wars mythos. It is truly menacing and “elite” looking. The black armor works so well here whereas the Shadow Trooper always felt a little “goofy” to me – no more menacing than a white armored trooper.
Whether you liked R1 or not (and how could you not!), if you’re a troop builder/collector this is a must have. It is simply too cool looking to ignore, even if you can’t put it in a tuck roll position! This and maybe K-2SO are also good representatives for R1 on the shelf if you just can’t see yourself buying every human figure. They will likely both pop up in other movies/media (as the DTs have on Rebels already) thus ensuring some longevity to them that may not be the case with the human characters.
Trevor is a New York based Creative Director and owner of The Brand Counselors. He has a growing collection of 75+ 1:6th scale stock and custom figures (and more and more Lego sets). Toy photography melds his childhood dreams of comic book illustration and film directing with his design talents and – in his mind – justifies the ridiculous money he spends on these things. He has been featured on CNN.com and Spoiler Free Movie Sleuth. When he’s not shooting, he enjoys kayaking with his wife, catching up on good TV and building seemingly endless custom figures.