Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: Sideshow Commander Cody Militaries of Star Wars Sixth Scale Figure!

After a sluggish start to the year, I've been desperate to get excited about Star Wars collecting again. It's been my primary focus for over 15 years now and with action figures scarce, my interest was waning. But, thanks to our good friends at Sideshow Collectibles, I finally got the shot of Star Wars adrenaline I required! I'm talking about the Sideshow Militaries of Star Wars Commander Cody 1/6th scale (that's 12 inches) action figure. Which also makes me feel a little embarrassed because, as loathe as I am to admit it, I was totally late to this party...

Did you know about these? Have you all been having fun without me? Where have you been all my life Mr. Cody? Now look, I've got plenty of older Hasbro 12 inch figures, and they're not without their charm in a goofy kind of way (I have the Chewbacca that looks like he was shot with a hair dryer and the Hot Leia that looks like my uncle), but I had NO IDEA that Sideshow was producing 12 inch figures of this quality. I thought they be would be good, sure, and I was certainly interested in handling one, absolutely, but I don't think I was adequately prepared for just how far they've evolved. 

I rave A LOT about the wonderful Hot Toys 1/6th scale toys on this site and I want those Avengers more than I want my own legs (I'm probably only going to sit around anyway. If you're from a country that won't frown on such a trade then contact me. They're real shapely!) but this Cody is of a very similar detail and quality to work Hot Toys is producing. In fact, in some aspects I think it might actually be superior. And I can back that up with either facts or my fists.

To find out why it's so exciting (and see a Sith-load of pictures) join me after the jump!

But first let's get up to speed on Commander Cody. He's arguably the most iconic of the on-screen, named clone troopers, especially seeing as how he starts as Obi Wan's main man, and is then the unfortunate soul who receives Order 66 from a manic Palpatine. The Clone Wars has made Commander Rex my personal overall favourite, but when it comes to the movie clones, Cody is where it's at. He straddles the line between heroism and villainy, and that's not easy to do with heavy, chafing armour tight around your thighs.

Who likes boxes?! This is a shiny one:

It's more focused than fanciful, clearly showcasing the various modes of the figure, but I do think that it's slick and effective. I especially like the back panel which features Precious Cody Moments from the film...

But the real treat is when you open it up. Which admittedly took me a while to figure out. Do I open the top? The bottom? The side? No! You open it like a book! Do you guys remember books?

Will you look at all that crazy stuff?! What a visual feast! I'm going to just spoil it now - he has SEVEN PAIRS of interchangeable hands! That's nearly as many hands as two octopuses. (Cartoon octopuses with hands. Preferably gloved). He has gun holding hands, punching hands, waving hands, and my favourites are sets of gesturing hands used to signal combat manoeuvres. So. Many. Hands.

Most of these are in the tray on the left...

You may also notice that he has additional pair of feet where his heels are raised for action poses. There's great flavour text on the side panel explaining the back-story behind the Star Wars militaries. It turns out there was some kind of huge war that happened mostly in the stars.

Then let's look at the tray on the right...

Move over Cerberus, because this Cody also has three heads! His two helmets give you the option of displaying him as he looked in Episode Two (with the helmet fin) or as he looked in Episode Three (closer to a stormtrooper). We also get more text, this time specifically about Cody and how he rolls. 

I think it's a really great touch which doesn't take the fan-base for granted. It would have been easy to skip, (or just put a link to wookieepedia) but I'm glad Sideshow went that extra mile here. It makes the entire package more desirable to keep. (And let's face it, you're going to want it just to store all the leftover parts).

Okay, now let's pry Cody out of his plastic, hermetically sealed prison and foist him upon the world. First we'll look at him in Attack of the Clones mode...

I'll tell you what really impressed me. For some reason I thought all his armour would be part of the sculpt, much like the regular action figures. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! He's actually wearing a black fabric bodysuit and each armour piece is an individually sculpted part that slide over the top.

Now here's where you learn a little too much about me. I actually have stormtrooper armour (although I'm not with the 501st. I'm a rogue trooper! I only troop at home. Purely for my cat) and I can guarantee you that the armour Cody is wearing has been applied very much in the same way that the real armour fits to you. It's a detail I really wasn't expecting and it's a much better figure because of it. 

All the plates slide around and readjust depending on how you pose him, just like the real thing. Let's see what he can do...

He has over 30 points of articulation (according to the box - I'm not going to count them) and is actually very flexible. There's a wide range of movement despite the armour plates - in fact he's a lot more articulated than I am in my suit. I found him more flexible than most of my Hot Toys figures and a lot more sturdy. I love Hot Toys but they can be fragile. Cody, however, feels like he could take a couple of knocks and scrapes, which is only going to add to his authenticity in the long run.

Notice I've got him posed with his huge rifle. That's the biggest of a small arsenal of weapons you can equip him with. He has no trouble holding it in two hands.

When there are a lot of accessories included I always get flummoxed by a mystery accessory. This time it was this one which didn't seem obvious straight away...

I'm assuming it clips onto him somewhere but there's no pegs or mechanism. So I begin scouring the figure looking for somewhere to attach. On his back? But there's nothing there...

Then I brush it past too closely and it magically clicks into place! It's a magnetic backpack! This is super smart design and exactly what I want from a high-end figure. Do you know how many action figures I own with backpacks that fall off every couple of seconds. Sometimes at night it sounds like someone is rolling dice in here. But Cody doesn't have to worry about that. It's a smart, effective solution and it doesn't ruin his look if you choose not to use it.

Let's switch helmets to the Revenge of the Sith style and try out one of those gesturing hands...

You'll notice that he has his mid-sized blaster here which can be held in a single hand if desired. I prefer the Sith helmet and this is probably how I'll wind up displaying him.

Of course the absolute best accessory is the holographic Emperor which pegs into a specially designed hand, but I led with that photo already. It's my favourite accessory not just because it looks cool, but because it tells a story. I think we collect these things because we want to own a little piece of the film, and the Emperor piece goes along way towards evoking the emotion of that scene.

But there's still one more head. Here's the unmasked version...

I think the sculpt looks a little softer in these photos than it does in person. It's a solid likeness. I don't think it's up to the uncanny/realistic quality of Hot Toy's paint jobs, but that's really their forte. You have to remember too that Cody doesn't cost nearly as much as a Hot Toy either. I will be displaying him fully armoured, but it's a nice option to have included.

The twin pistols are his final weapons choice. It would have been nice if he had holsters to put them in, but the design is a slave to how he appeared in the movie. Again, it's great to have options. And if you don't want to use any weapons at all, you can opt for peace...

In fact the various combinations are pretty limitless. He's a fun one to keep re-posing on the shelf...

Now I'm really going to level with you. One to one. Just you and I. I'm really excited about this. He's a detailed replica of an iconic character from the movies and you can display him a myriad of ways by changing up his look or his pose. I don't think you can ask for much more than that.

I know there are people who will baulk at spending $125 on an action figure, but this is high end, folks, and it's well priced when you see what you get and you compare it to what's out there. And if you're a collector then you know all that already. You have that drive. You've got to collect!

Because what I've grown to realise is that I'm an adult collector and I want to collect great looking stuff that is made for adults. I already have billions of cheap Phantom Menace figures and Happy Meal Toys and I just don't get a buzz off them. A $10 Cody doesn't look like this. A $30 Cody doesn't look like this. A $60 Cody doesn't look like this. There's genuine craft here, people! Art! Clear out all your crap and make room for the best. I crave manly stuff for manly men! And this hit the spot.

Yes, I'm probably still going to buy 3 3/4 inch figures and Pez dispensers and all that other stuff, but figures like Cody here are the ones I'll treasure. As I said, I've been collecting for over 15 years and don't have that many things which are as nice as this. 

Oh... and did I mention they're making Boba Fett?

So what did we learn today? I am still excited about Star Wars collecting. I just haven't been looking in the right places. Thanks Sideshow!

Commander Cody is in-stock right now at Sideshow Collectibles for $124.99. Hurry! There's only 5,000 available. Well... 4,999!

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