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Friday, November 26, 2010

Death Trooper Mini-Bust Review: Zombies + Storm Troopers = Epic Win

A few months back, a girlish squeal could be heard for miles. You may have even felt the Earth tremble. It's no coincidence that these events took place around the same time Gentle Giant announced that they would be releasing a mini-bust of the Death Trooper. Right now, you may be asking yourself what a Death Trooper is. In its simplest form, it is the culmination of all things that make me a geek. You take a Storm Trooper, turn him into a zombie, and make a high-end collectible created by one of the greatest manufacturers of licensed merchandise on the market. Before I go any further, let me start with a disclaimer...

I am obviously a huge fan of zombies. I am also obviously a huge fan of toys. Most of you already know that I'm also a Star Wars geek along with the rest of my family. Finally, when it comes to collectibles, Gentle Giant is in the small group at the top of my list. Not to say that this isn't warranted. Gentle Giant has been in the game for years and have earned their keep among my collectibles because of their quality and attention to detail. Like other companies, they release a lemon every now and then but the real question we must ask is the Death Trooper is one of these times.

The Death Troopers entered the Star Wars universe in a novel by Joe Schreiber:

When the Imperial prison barge Purge—temporary home to five hundred of the galaxy’s most ruthless killers, rebels, scoundrels, and thieves—breaks down in a distant part of space, its only hope appears to lie with a Star Destroyer found drifting and seemingly abandoned. But when a boarding party from the Purge is sent to scavenge for parts, only half of them come back—bringing with them a horrific disease so lethal that within hours nearly all aboard the Purge die in ways too hideous to imagine.

And death is only the beginning.

The Purge’s half-dozen survivors will do whatever it takes to stay alive. But nothing can prepare them for what lies waiting aboard the Star Destroyer. For the dead are rising: soulless, unstoppable, and unspeakably hungry.

There are two versions of this collectible available. The regular edition which was just released and actually comes with a copy of the book. We currently have this bust available in the Zombie Toy Store. The version we are about to look at now, however, is the deluxe version that is available exclusively through the Gentle Giant web site. He costs more than the regular version and does not come with the book. These two points, however, are the only two negative things I can say about this piece.

Details are abundant. Of course, we have the obvious ones like cracks in the armor, appropriate shading, and movie accurate details. Where this bust really shines is with the more subtle details. Areas of torn flesh expose muscle fibers. The visible eyeball has a gloss making it appear wet. There are even areas in between the armor giving us a glimpse of the ghoul beneath. What makes the deluxe bust ...well, deluxe, is the modular aspect allowing numerous customizing options.

First, we are treated to three different right arms. These are held to the shoulder firmly with magnets. Taking it a step further is the inclusion of various armor pieces. You can actually determine the extent of damage you want exposed. There is a piece that can cover the gouged area of his torso if you have a weak stomach. Additionally, you can remove the Death Trooper's jaw and put his helmet pieces on. The one detail I like the most is the ball-jointed head. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that Gentle Giant has added this feature and there isn't a better piece to add it to. Zombies are generally known to have a somewhat angular position with their heads and this feature allows you position your Death Trooper in a truly undead fashion. The culmination of all of these details is a magnificent collectible that combines two of the greatest things known to geek kind: Star Wars and zombies.

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