Sideshow Collectibles’ Clone Trooper Echo Lives to Fight Another Day [Review]
Though almost all of Star Wars' expanded history has been wiped from the holocrons, there are still a great many stories that exist as part of the new canon. Stories taking place around the New Jedi Order or the Legacy of the Force have been left to memory, but the Clone Wars shows managed to maintain their legacies in the Star Wars pantheon. That era has given us some of the best new stories in the universe, as well as fan-favorite characters like Ahsoka Tano, Asajj Ventress and a number of Clone Troopers that otherwise had been generic soldiers in the Republic's war against the Separatists.
Where but a few of the Clone Troopers got some screen time in the prequel trilogy, the animated Clone Wars offered many more of the Jango-lites a chance to step into the spotlight. A few have even made the leap from the screen to action figure form. Such is the case with Echo, the second member of Domino squad to get a sixth-scale figure from Sideshow Collectibles. Though he borrows parts from other Clone soldiers Sideshow's previously released, Echo's slight variations make him a standout piece in an already solid series.
Echo is not the first Clone Trooper in Sideshow's sixth-scale army to get the Phase II armor, as Captain Rex and Domino squad partner, Fives, also got the updated gear in their releases. For the most part, the Phase II armor is identical to the original Phase I outfits you may recall from the films. The upper torso and shoulders remain similar in design, with the noticeable differences coming in the forearms, shins and feet. The core concepts remain the same, but there are flourishes in the machining of those three areas. The wrists have more technical instruments sculpted in, and the plain Jane styling of the Phase 1 shin guards has been embellished with a simple pattern. The Phase II armor also incorporated a kama skirt, with each character getting slightly different design to make it more personal.
Echo also comes with shoulder pads, like Rex and Fives, but has his ammunition clips on the left breast, where Fives had them on the right. This allows for Echo to highlight the eel blood handprint left there by Commander Rex after the Battle of Rishi Moon. This complements the blue markings that signify the 501st Legion, and helps distinguish Echo from the rest of the Clones. Throughout the Clone Wars animated series, we'd seen some personal touches on armor to help identify the different troops, and Echo's is certainly one of the boldest and most memorable.
Where Sideshow truly sets Echo apart is in the uncovered portrait, which offers a glimpse at the clone's true face. You might think it difficult to provide much difference between the helmetless versions of the soldiers, but with a handful of different figures, Sideshow has done just that. Fives had his grimace, Rex had his short, blonde hair cut, and Echo's got his stern "You kidding me?" stare. For characters that had only previously existed as Genndy Tartakovsky-inspired designs in an animated series, Sideshow's sculptors have done a terrific job making these characters appear as if they fit in amongst the real-life versions of Star Wars heroes and villains also offered by Sideshow [The company lists four different sculptors (Pascual Wawoe, Patrick Piggott, Earl Ellis and Dave Kawano) so I can't rightly say which of them individually deserves the credit for Echo's head.]
As has been the case with all of Sideshow's Clone Troopers to this point, the articulation has been tremendous. Despite having all that armor, it's arranged in such a way to allow Echo more than enough flexibility in crafting some nice poses. However, you will want to use the included stand to give him proper support for truly dramatic stances. He has plenty of hands in a variety of positions, as well as the standard armaments of the ARC Trooper (DC-15S Blaster Carbine, DC-15A Blaster Rifle, and two DC-17 Hand Blasters). Should you wish to pose him with the helmet, Echo does also have a personalized Phase II helmet, which replaces the portrait instead of fitting over top. It's a small complaint, but I do wish the helmet fit over the head rather than being a separate piece.
You do have to be a bit of a fan of the Clone Wars series to go the extra mile in wanting all the different variations of the soldiers offered by Sideshow, but there's no doubt these pieces are great representations of these characters. While soldiers like Echo might not be as memorable or eye catching to the layperson as a Darth Vader or Han Solo, Sideshow has still put the same amount of attention to detail in bringing them to life. It's a fitting tribute to Echo, and coupled with the accessories and articulation, that's all you can really ask for.
You can order ARC Clone Trooper: Echo Phase II Armor sixth-scale figure from Sideshow Collectibles for $149.99. This figure was provided for review.