The Wal-Mart exclusive Imperial Shock Trooper might be just a repaint, but there’s no such thing as too many stormtroopers.
If the Hasbro Black Series six-inch action figure line has a problem, it’s that their best wave of figures was the very first wave back in 2013. This is not to say that every figure since then has been terrible–far from it–but dozens of figures later and they seem to be generally getting a bit worse, not better. Between the questionable paint applications and the inferior articulation, the figures are just not improving. They are still good, but they are not progressing.
The Battlefront Imperial Shock Trooper is a great figure. It has good articulation, excellent sculpt, and is just fun to play with and pose around. However, it is also a repaint of a wave one sculpt–the sandtrooper (with orange pauldron). This sculpt has been reused a bunch of times, including the regular stormtrooper, the shadow trooper, as well as a handful more. And I’m fine with that because it is a fantastic figure, and troop-building is fun. But as much as I like this, it also makes me sort of dislike the Black Series line a little bit more. It reminds me that while the line is still good, it is not really getting better, and reinforces my decision to focus primarily on SH Figuarts.
As with the other Black Series stormtroopers, the helmet sculpt on the Shock Trooper is spot-on. It’s one thing Hasbro did get better than any of the imports. In fact, looking at that helmet in store is what made me impulse-buy a figure I wasn’t even planning on getting.
One of the few complaints I do have about the regular Black Series stormtrooper is the matte finish to the armor. But the Shock Trooper seems a bit shinier–especially the red paint–so he seems more elite than the other soldiers in my little army.
I was lucky enough to find this Wal-Mart exclusive on the peg the day after Christmas, but it was a tough hunt for a lot of people, especially around its release back in November when it debuted alongside the Battlefront game. The fact that I found it in store when I wasn’t even really chasing it suggests that it may be a bit easier to find now. But if you are still trying to track this one (or any figure for that matter) down, I recommend checking Brickseek, an inventory tracker designed originally by LEGO collectors but usable for anything you have the item number for.
And while I’m giving tips for hunting hard-to-find action figures, I should also mention r/actionfigures, a subreddit with a well-informed and active community of collectors. When figures become available online, nine out of ten times it’s r/actionfigures where I find out.
Born in 1976, Bill Drewnowski grew up surrounded by Star Wars, the likely reason for his love of a great story. Now a father living in New England, Bill teaches high school English, including courses in science fiction and fantasy. Bill enjoys collecting books, posters, action figures, trading cards (including a huge Magic the Gathering obsession), and of course all things Star Wars. His favorite book is Moby Dick by Herman Melville. You can follow Bill on Twitter @DorkLair and Instagram @TheDorkLair.