Tuesday, October 14, 2008

N-7 Lieutenant Mereel (Null-Class ARC Trooper)

Numbering only twelve, the Null-class Advanced Recon Commandos were the first clones of Jango Fett created by the Kaminoan cloners, and the prototypes for the Grand Army of the Republic. The Kaminoans attempted to enhance the Fett genes, but only six of the twelve prototype troopers survived the gestation period. They refused to follow orders, and were thus deemed unacceptable. The Kaminoans originally intended to "recondition" or terminate the "defective units", but they were saved from destruction by Mandalorian Training Sergeant Kal Skirata. Skirata volunteered to train them as "black ops" commandos, named them, and taught them about their Mandalorian heritage. Most Nulls were named after Mandalorian warriors. During training, the Nulls were taught to resist interrogation. Though peerlessly efficient, the Null ARCs were quite unpredictable by clone standards, and loyal only to Skirata. Due to their genetic enhancement, they had near-photographic memory, and slightly more muscular physiques. Despite the fact that their loyalty and their reliability to the Jedi was constantly in question, the Nulls' unique skills compared to the rest of their brethren was undeniable, and thus they and Kal Skirata were reluctantly tolerated in the Grand Army, if only to ensure their cooperation during the war. Eventually the Null Squad became Clone Intelligence Units (MILINT), working for the Special Operations Brigade under the command of Jedi General Arligan Zey. Though they worked for the Grand Army of the Republic, Kal Skirata had them keep alert for evidence leading to the location of Kaminoan Chief Scientist Ko Sai, so Skirata could find out how to decelerate the Nulls' aging. Lieutenant Mereel (who was likely named after former Mandalore Jaster Mereel, Jango Fett's mentor) was considered amazingly patient for a Null ARC. His weapons of choice, both made by Merr-Sonn Munitions, were the Z-6 Rotary Blaster Cannon and the Reciprocating Quad Blaster or "cip-quad". Mereel also had a habit of collecting swear words while he was on missions. Omega Squad once recalled him "holding court and reciting an astonishing list of obscenities in forty different languages" without repeating himself once. Mereel participated in the black op in 21 BBY, led by Skirata, to destroy the Separatist terrorist cells operating on Coruscant along with his brother Ordo, Mandalorian Sergeant Walon Vau, Republic Commando squads Delta and Omega, and the Jedi Generals Etain Tur-Mukan and Bardan Jusik. A few months later, he participated in an unauthorized mission to Kamino. Disguised as a normal clone trooper, he accessed the Tipoca City computer mainframe for any information on Ko Sai. Although he didn't find any, he did succeed in downloading part of a secret conversation between Chancellor Palpatine and Prime Minister Lama Su, that revealed that secret cloning facilities had been set up on Coruscant and that the Republic wasn't planning to order any future batches of clones from Kamino.

Parts: Head (Saga Clone Trooper), Torso (Saga Clone Trooper), Arms (Saga Clone Trooper), Legs (Saga Clone Trooper), Helmet (Order 66 ARC Trooper), Shoulder Pauldron (Order 66 ARC Trooper), Equipment Belt & Kama (Order 66 ARC Trooper), Merr-Sonn Reciprocating Quad Blaster (Saga Clone Trooper).

Supplies: Super glue, brushes, Polly Scale paints and Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: The Republic Commando series by Karen Traviss.

Step One: This is actually the second time I've done this figure. After the Order 66 2-packs were released, I found that I liked that ARC Trooper much better than the base figure I had used for my first set of Nulls. In Mereel's case, he is known to favor the Reciprocating Quad Blaster, so I chose to use the Saga Clone Trooper that came with a cip-quad for him. I gave him the normal ARC Trooper's helmet the shoulder pauldron from one of the Order 66 ARC Troopers. As a matter of preference, I used four small dabs of superglue to attach the forearm control panel to Mereel's left arm. Otherwise, the base figure was not changed.

Step Two: The armor was re-painted so that the blue matched the color used on all of my other Null ARC Lieutenants. The base figure had a rather purplish blue used on his armor. The small buckles on the kama were painted to appear metallic. The background of the forearm control panel was also painted blue. All of the buttons were left silvery. On the opposite arm, the small control buttons were also painted a silvery color.

Step Three: A coat of Testors Dull-Cote was applied to protect the paint and remove the shiny appearance of the armor.

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