Friday 27 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Clone Commander Wolffe

Release Date: 2018
RRP: $19.99

Along with expanding on existing prequel-era characters and introducing fans to brand new ones, one of the great things Star Wars: The Clone Wars did was put some focus on the clones themselves. The series even managed to turn many of them into completely unique characters, which is pretty impressive given many of them looked nearly identical and they were all voiced by the same actor. One such clone is CC-3636, who took on the name Wolffe and led the 104th Wolfpack Battalion. Working closely with Jedi Master Plo-Koon as well as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, Wolffe was also one of the few clones to resist and survive the effects of Order 66 - eventually living on the planet Seelos with his brothers Captain Rex and Clone Commander Gregor. Black Series Clone Commander Wolffe was released as a GameStop exclusive in the US, and then a shared exclusive in the UK and other parts of the world. 

Even as an exclusive release Commander Wolffe comes in nearly identical packaging to the rest of the “Phase 3” Black Series figures, with the only real difference being the absence of designated numbering on the spine of the box. The rest is the same premium-looking black and red packaging we’re all used to, complete with a helmeted image of Wolffe on both sides of the box. The one on the back is also accompanied by a short bio in several languages, briefly summing up his time in the Clone Wars and leadership of the Wolfpack. The figure is packaged without the helmet on so you can get a proper look at the head sculpt to easily identify any potential QC issues, and all the contents are stored on a single moulded plastic tray.

Following on from Captain Rex, Commander Wolffe is the second trooper in the Black Series to include a head sculpt based on actor Temeura Morrison. But while the two heads may be cut from the same mould, there’s enough differences here to make them completely unique from one another (ironic given that they’re clones). Wolffe’s sculpt features a scarred right eye (received during a close encounter with Asajj Ventress), scowling expression and black flat top hair. The latter especially makes the head feel much fuller than Rex’s. 

Then from waist down Wolffe is a reuse of the Black Series’ tried and tested clone body, with a few similarities to Rex but also a fair few differences as well. While the two both have the cloth skirt section, Wolffe’s armour lacks the additional shoulder piece and instead has a far more symmetrical look to it. The left shoulder pad also has a small aerial piece jutting out of it, but due to the soft plastic it’s made from will likely be bent straight out of the packaging. Easily fixable, but a little cheap-looking. What really stands out though is how much more even the armour deco is here compared to Rex, dropping the patchy brown wash with clean white plastic with grey flourishes. The only bits of battle damage are some gold splashes on the torso and upper arms, which despite having an obvious toy look to them are at least evenly and neatly applied. The Wolfpack sigils on the two shoulder pads also look great. If you’re a fan of Clone variants or just Clone Troopers in general, this is a very attractive figure.

Despite originally being released all the way back in 2014 the Clone Trooper body is still no slouch when it comes to articulation either. Altogether Commander Wolffe features a ball jointed head, swivel hinge neck, shoulders, wrists and ankles, double hinge elbows and knees along with a single hinge waist joint. Considering the line hasn’t really advanced that much further since then that’s pretty impressive, and the double hinge elbows and knees really make a difference to action posing. The Clone body isn’t perfect though, and sadly it’s the shoulders and hips that suffer. In both cases the armour gets in the way of the joints’ full range of motion - in the shoulders’ case preventing decent upward and outward movement, and for the hips only allowing a small circle of movement. It’s a shame Hasbro could implement some sort of shifting shoulder armour to at least fix the arms, but on generally affordable collectors’ figures such as these that might be asking a little much. Respectable overall, but after so much time maybe it’s time to give this body a bit of an update to make it even better.

Wolffe's accessories are of course his Clone Trooper helmet, along with twin blaster pistols that can both comfortably fit into the holsters on either side of his belt. The blasters are identical to the ones included with Rex, featuring plenty of moulded detail but lacking any paintwork to bring said detail out on that black plastic. While they fit comfortably into either hand, only the right hand has been moulded with a separate trigger finger so naturally that one is a far more secure fit. Given the amount of figures the default hands have proven a problem with, Hasbro really need to start thinking about producing some new ones to give each figure that uses this mould the ones they actually need.

The far more exciting accessory here though is the helmet - a Phase 2 BARC helmet with moveable range finder and Wolffe's signature inverted Wolfpack markings. Like the decals on the armour the markings have been perfectly applied, and when placed on the figure really complete the Clone Trooper look. The head sculpt underneath is good, but this is better. Whereas Rex's neck is still visible from some angles even when the helmet is on, the slightly larger BARC helmet covers it all up nicely.

With so many different Clone Trooper variants it can be difficult to choose which ones are worth adding to your collection if you’re not a completist, but for fans of The Clone Wars Black Series Clone Commander Wolffe should definitely be near the top after Rex. Between the sharper head sculpt and more even deco on the armour he may even be the better figure overall. The generic clone body continues to be an asset to the line five years later, even if it’s few negatives sadly mean the figure falls just short of perfection. While I’m not sure about Wolffe’s availability in the rest of the world in the UK at least his shared exclusive status has resulted in a rather unfortunate price tag (usually hovering around the £30-35 mark) that he’s not necessarily worth, but if you get the chance to pick him up for a reasonable price he definitely shouldn’t be missed out on.

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