When this figure was announced, it was cause for some excitement. The VOTC Stormtrooper was the premiere Stormtrooper mold that Hasbro had made up to that point, but it was released in the boutique Vintage Collection line at $9.99 which represented twice the MSRP for a basic figure at the time. Even at retail, army building the VOTC Stormtrooper was an expensive proposition due to the premium pricing. In the subsequent years, the secondary value of a VOTC Stormtrooper pushed higher demanding upwards of $25. When Hasbro announced that the VOTC Stormtrooper mold would be the basis for the basic figure in the 30th Anniversary Collection is was reason to celebrate. Finally we could afford to army build the most iconic army builder in the entire Saga.
Unfortunately Hasbro decided a straight re-release was not enough. They had to “improve” upon the base figure and in this case it meant including a removable helmet. Removable helmets are a classic case of subtraction by addition for fans. Either the aesthetic or the scaling has to be compromised in order to achieve this feature at the 3.75” scale and often times it’s both. Solid sculpted helmets are almost always executed better. Unfortunately in this case the aesthetic was worsened, but admittedly the scaling actually improved. The big unfortunate decision that Hasbro made was to paint the helmet in the “hero” helmet configuration. The “hero” helmets were used for closeups in A New Hope and as the name indicates, this meant they were the ones worn by Han and Luke. On the “hero” helmet, the black band across the forehead is much closer to the eye lenses, and while the two don’t actually touch, it does give that illusion when looking straight at the helmet. In the reduced scale, this means they actually do touch. Unfortunately Hasbro seemed to go overboard with the paint apps and the end result looks like an angry muppet mono-brow across the figure’s helmet. The “stunt” helmet is the preferred configuration for Stormtrooper helmets and Hasbro should always err on this side when making the trooper version.
What some fans felt added insult to injury was the fact that the face underneath the helmet revealed a Jango clone likeness. It was another reminder of the PT staining the OT for purists. Aside from the fact that the eyes are rolled back into the head on my sample, I don’t get too worked up about issues like this. I don’t have to ever remove the helmet in my display. I guess for some fans knowing the Jango likeness is under the helmet doesn’t allow them to escape the fact that the PT happened. Much more of an issue is the sculpt itself. I’ve droned on and on about how poor the arms are on this sculpt. The hands are rigid and fixed in a predetermined pose. You cannot effectively make your Stormtrooper a right handed shot. The upper torso is a tad too short and too easily exposes the ball joint connection. The leg stance is in a narrow ballerina positioning making action poses difficult. With later retool releases, Hasbro corrected all of these issues save for the blasted and awful hands. I do think you need a few releases of the Stormtrooper with the VOTC legs for formation poses. The ball jointed hips on the superior Vintage Collection Stormtrooper release do not allow for a neutral pose used for displaying Stormtroopers in ranks. Because of its faults and the helmet issue, this figure sits at a lowly 6 out of 10.