For the first time, I will be bringing you a review of a relatively new Star Wars figure. I’ve been slowly expanding my collection and when the opportunity came up to get a unique figure like this, I couldn’t pass it up! What makes this figure special? It is a Tamashii Nations Web Exclusive which essentially means this figure is even harder to get in the United States (though not overwhelmingly so). While not all of the major Japanese retailers have this item in-stock, the ones that do tend to have it charge a higher price like $65 on Play-Asia.com plus shipping. So do keep in mind that this figure is a little harder to get and a little more expensive. As I go through the review, I will talk more about what makes this figure unique and why it is a Web Exclusive.
Packaging – One of the things that is different about a Tamashii Web Exclusive is that they come in a plain brown box like pictured above. If you search S.H. Figuarts on Amazon or Ebay, sometimes you’ll see sellers who post a picture of just this box. I don’t know exactly why Tamashii Nations does this because the regular Figuarts box is inside this plain box. As far as the Figuarts box goes, while the front of the box is a little more plain and less exciting than the standard S.H. Figuarts box, the back has the usual pictures of the figure to get you excited about owning it.
The Character – While I wouldn’t be surprised if there were Riot Troopers in the opening scene on Jakku, as far as I know this character appears during the fight at Maz Kanata’s Castle. TR-8R yells traitor and fights Finn briefly in the movie. Not unlike Admiral Ackbar exclaiming, “It’s a trap!”, this scene has become a meme and made the character popular. With that said, this is a pretty minor character in the Force Awakens and it is interesting that Bandai chose to make a figure of him at all considering they have mostly made figures of the most iconic characters. I suspect the main reason why this is both a Web Exclusive and was released at all is because Bandai could take an existing First Order Stormtrooper mold, make some alterations and sell a limited run of a figure that is cheap for them to make.
Accessories – Compared to other Star Wars figures I’ve reviewed, it is hard to deny that this figure is a bit bare bones. The Riot Control Stormtrooper comes with a shield and stun baton. The shield while simple looks nice and it actually has a hand attached to the inside of the shield which goes directly into the Stormtrooper’s arm. The stun baton comes in two different forms, both before and after it is deployed which is a nice touch. You also get a pair of fisted hands and a pair of relaxed hands. Both of these sets of hands are helpful and worked well but this is definitely less than other Figuarts figures. It also would have been nice if we got a blaster like TR-8R dropped right before fighting Finn. While it is not realistic to expect it, an energy attachment on the stun baton would have looked incredible too. Overall, the accessories we get are nice but not outstanding especially when you consider the higher price.
Paint – One of the strengths of this figure is the paint job. The white paint looks shiny just like the stormtroopers do in the movie and the black parts look threatening and ominous as well. Surprisingly, the instructions for this figure warn you about potential paint transfer both on the shield and with the Stun Baton. The accessories are the main reason to buy this figure so it is a little concerning that Bandai warns you about potential paint issues straight out of the box. I plan on being careful with this figure and not swapping the parts too often to prevent paint transfer and wear.
Articulation and Posing – Overall, the articulation on this figure is strong and Bandai had a couple of clever design ideas to help with that. The first is that the shoulder pads can easily be adjusted to give the Riot Control Stormtrooper a full range of motion. The pouches on his belt can also raise up so that you can move the hips around easily. My figure has joints that are maybe just a little loose and I found it hard to balance this guy when posing him but other than that, I thought he could do quite a few different poses and I am happy with the articulation. The biggest limitation is how he holds the stun baton (and this is a fault of the movie more than the figure) which can be hard to imitate like in the movie.
The one movie image I could find, I tried to pose the Riot Control Stormtrooper like TR-8R and I’m happy to say it looks great. We really need a Finn figure so we can represent their fight in the movie, but some of my other Star Wars figures had to step in since we have still haven’t gotten any figures for the heroes of Force Awakens.
Closing Thoughts – This figure is a Tamashii Nations Web Exclusive for good reason. It is something only a diehard Star Wars fan (like me) would want. With TR-8R’s short screen time, many people might pass on this guy. The figure is solid but unlikely to persuade anybody skeptical of owning him. I wanted this figure because I think the Web Exclusive figures could become hard to get in the future and I want to have a First Order Stormtrooper display one day. Perhaps as we get more figures (especially Finn), especially from Force Awakens, this figure will become even more fun to own. That will probably be the true test of its long-term value as well.