clone noun \ˈklōn\ : an individual grown from a single somatic cell or cell nucleus and genetically identical to it 1
EYE (clap) DENTICAL! (jazz hands) 2
Clones are supposed to be identical to one another. As you can see from the comparison picture with the Vintage Collection 501st Clone Trooper, Commander Wolffe is nearly a full head shorter than his supposed genetic replica. This leads us to one burning question: Aren’t you a little short for a clone trooper? (Pauses for laughter.) Of course, that joke is not new. When this figure was released that “short for a clone trooper” crack littered most reviews and comment sections. A quick check of Disqus shows that I myself used that joke on eighteen separate occasions. That zinger became old almost as fast as it was birthed. And that, dear reader, is the reason for the two year hiatus of Bantha Skull. We were waiting for that joke to become new again for our review. It is, and we’re back, BABY!
Clone Commander Wolffe (CC-3636) underwent more wardrobe changes than Celine Dion in a three hour concert. If you search the internet for reference images, this figure’s armor configuration is hardly what pops up first. If Commander Wolffe has an iconic singular representation, it would be his base Phase II armor (see inset to the left).
This figure ain’t that. At the time of its release, Hasbro was honoring the then Netflix exclusive Season Six of The Clone Wars. It was a bit of an event. I took the day off. In Episode 10, Plo Koon and Commander Wolffe track down a lost Jedi shuttle on a desert moon of the planet Oba Diah. The duo would ultimately locate the lost lightsaber of Sifo-Dyas. It was some of the best payoff to the underdeveloped, cryptic backstory of the Prequel Trilogy (and still left me unsatisfied). This armor is partly designed to deal with the sandstorms faced in that planet’s environment. Because of the extreme one-offness of this design, the figure probably should have come with a sub designation: Clone Commander Wolffe (Oba Diah armor). It also left some fans disappointed because they would have preferred the more standard Wolffe configuration. But again, Hasbro was taking advantage of a new media event, and that always takes priority (like it or not). It also offered a much more visually compelling figure.
This figure is compelling partially for the elaborate design. Unfortunately, at the time (and up to the time of this review), Hasbro was beset with occasional comically bad paint applications, and you can see that manifested here with this sample. Looking at the upper torso closeups, the symmetry of the helmet is awful. The two halves do not match and the black paint for the iconic clone/storm trooper frown misses the mark wildly. On the plus side, the Wolf Pack Battalion insignia on the figure’s right shoulder is instantly recognizable and well done. For whatever reason, these paint issues are mostly isolated to the heads or helmets of the figures. Another reason this design is compelling is that it clearly borrows styling elements from the McQuarrie Concept Snowtrooper. If you think that bit of self-plagiarizing is a bad thing, I won’t argue, but that is a criticism for the media and not the figure.
Those are the negatives, which cannot be dismissed. The figure does have tremendous positives, however. That mainly (if not entirely) manifests in the articulation. It features articulation at every joint we currently define as super articulated and goes beyond that with premium ball jointed articulation at the wrists and hips. The figure is a joy to pose. If only it had rocker ankles, it would have been one of the best figures ever in terms of posability. The balance is a little off center and those premium ankles would have gone a long way towards remedying. Unexpectedly, the obscurity of the figure helps mitigate one of the negatives. This figure, to the best of my knowledge, has no realistically-styled companion pieces. This means you could display it in a way that doesn’t draw attention to the short stature, but this doesn’t allow me to ignore the issue completely when grading this figure. 7 out of 10.