Monday, May 25, 2009

Evolution of the Clone Commanders (Part IV)

As you may have guessed from the last few posts, the next figure in my ongoing Evolution of the Clone Commanders series is Commander Fordo (ARC-77). I have no idea what happened to Fordo after the end of the Clone Wars, but assuming that he survived to the end of the conflict, I think it is likely that the Empire would continue to capitalize on the unique and highly specialized skills of Fordo and the other surviving Advanced Reconnaissance Commandos. We know that the Empire eventually developed Storm Commandos, an elite branch of the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps known for their blackened Scout armor and specially trained for counter-insurgency missions, siege breaking, and sabotage. I think it reasonable to surmise that at least some of the ARC Troopers may have been the beginnings of what eventually became the Storm Commandos...

A-77 Captain Fordo (Alpha-class ARC Trooper) Phase II Armor

For his great efforts at the Battles of Muunilinst and Hypori, Fordo was awarded the Chancellor's Service Medal, which he refused and instead gave to CT-43/002, a fallen member of the Muunilinst 10. He was also given Jaig eyes, bestowed to clone troopers for particular acts of bravery. These were applied to the helmet of the phase II armor he wore later in the Clone Wars, during the Battle of Coruscant. Fordo's preferred use of weaponry proved most effective in the defense, at one point throwing his blaster rifle through a super battle droid like a spear, then continuing on wielding one of his blast pistols and another blaster rifle from a fallen trooper. His position was being overrun by Separatist forces, and he was ordering a retreat when Jedi Masters Yoda and Mace Windu arrived to reinforce the beleaguered clones. With the Jedi aiding in defense on the left, the captain and his men focused fire on the right and turned the tide on the battle droids.

Parts: Head (Saleucami Trooper), Torso (Saleucami Trooper), Arms (Saleucami Trooper), Legs (Saleucami Trooper), Blaster Pistol (Clone Commander), Holster (Clone Commander), Blaster Rifle (Clone Trooper).

Supplies: X-acto knife, brushes, Testors paints and Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: The Clone Wars animated microseries. NOTE: This figure was first posted quite a while ago, but I moved the post because I wanted him to fit into the chronology of my other Captain Fordo figure posts.

First, I used an X-acto knife to remove the vertical strap on his harness and to carefully scrape all of the red unit markings off of the armor. Next, I painted the figure according to my references. A light coat of Testors Dull-Cote was applied to seal the paint and reduce the shine.

NOTE: After I posted this figure at the FFURG Forums, Soja Rinn pointed out that I had fogotten to add the rear holster. I trimmed the holster from a Clone Commander's kama using the X-acto knife. I then sanded the holster smooth and super glued it to the rear of his equipment belt. The holster was painted white to match the rest of the armor and a light coat of Testors Dull-Cote was applied. Thanks, Soja! Adding the holster made a huge difference!

A-77 Captain Fordo (Alpha-class ARC Trooper) Animated Style

This version of Captain Fordo was inspired by The Clone Wars television series, which I watche every week with my kids. Because Fordo is one of my favorite clone characters, I just couldn't resist rendering him in the animated style of the show.

Parts: Head (Captain Rex), Torso (Captain Rex), Arms (Captain Rex), Legs (Captain Rex), Blaster Pistols (Captain Rex), Blaster Rifle (Captain Rex).

Supplies: Testors paints and Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: Although he has not appeared in the show to date, this figure depicts Captain Fordo in the animated style of The Clone Wars television series.

This is simply a re-painted Captain Rex. There was nothing particularly tricky or difficult about it, but I'm still very happy with the way it turned out. The Jaig eyes were carefully scraped off the helmet with the blade of an X-acto knife. Then the armor was re-painted to match Fordo's armor markings. A light coat of Testors Dull-Cote was applied to seal the paint and reduce the shine.

A-77 Captain Fordo (Alpha-class ARC Trooper) Phase I Armor

Alpha-77, known as ARC-77 and more commonly known as Fordo, was an Alpha-class ARC trooper captain in the Grand Army of the Republic who led his squad, later known as the "Muunilinst 10", into combat at the Battle of Muunilinst during the Clone Wars. Although he was an excellent tactician, Fordo preferred solving problems through heavy weapon use, as opposed to complex tactics. Fordo and his squad were instrumental in the attack on Muunilinst, infiltrating the city and disabling a massive artillery cannon, even after their LAAT/i was shot down. As the bulk of the Republic forces took advantage of this to breach the city, he aided Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi in a surgical strike on the enemy headquarters, leading to the capture and surrender of key members of the InterGalactic Banking Clan leadership, including Chairman San Hill. Shortly thereafter, Fordo helped defeat the formidable bounty hunter Durge, despite being injured in the fight. In response to a distress signal received from Jedi Master Daakman Barrek after the end of the Battle of Muunilinst, Kenobi sent Captain Fordo and a unit of ARC troopers to Hypori to rescue a doomed Jedi task force on the planet from the clutches of the dreaded Supreme Commander of the Droid Armies, General Grievous. Despite taking casualties, he and his men held their ground and succeeded in driving the fearsome droid commander away with a hail of heavy weapon fire. Their efforts undoubtedly saved the lives of three of the four surviving Jedi - Ki-Adi-Mundi, Aayla Secura, and Shaak Ti - while the fourth, K'Kruhk, was left for dead, although he survived his serious wounds through a healing trance.

Parts: Head (Captain Fordo), Torso (Captain Fordo), Arms (Captain Fordo), Legs (Captain Fordo), Blaster Pistols (custom-made), Kama (Captain Fordo).

Supplies: X-acto knife, brushes, Testors paints and Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: This figure depicts Captain Fordo as he appeared at the Battle of Muunilinst, during the first season of the Clone Wars animated microseries.

This was more of an improvement of the existing figure than a true custom. Overall, I was pretty happy with the Captain Fordo figure. He got a new paint job using a brighter red, and some of the details that were missed at the factory got painted (such as the webbing for his holsters, buckles on the kama straps, etc). He also got a new pair of pistols. Although the original ones were probably more accurate for the realistic sculpt, I really liked the longer barreled pistols he was seen twirling (something he seems to have inherited from Jango) in the Clone Wars animated microseries. The new pistols were made by cutting the stock and part of the receiver group from a standard DC-17 rifle. The barrel and pistol grip assembly were super glued together and the barrels were hollowed out with the Dremel. A light coat of Testors Dull-Cote was applied to seal the paint and reduce the shine.

RC-1345 Sergeant Humpty (Republic Commando)

RC1345, nicknamed "Humpty", is the leader of a Republic Commando Squad within the Special Operations Division of the Grand Army of the Republic. He and his squad are routinely assigned to Commander Gree's 41st Elite Legion to perform certain critical functions.

Parts: Head (Republic Commando Scorch), Torso (Republic Commando Scorch), Arms (Republic Commando Scorch), Legs (Republic Commando Scorch), Holster (Clone Commander), Blaster Pistol (Clone Commander), Pulse Rifle (Marauder, Inc.).

Supplies: X-acto knife, super glue, emery board, sandpaper, brushes, Polly Scale paints and Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: None. The character and his design are entirely fan-fic.

The basic Scorch figure was not changed. The backpack and the thing attached to his right leg were removed and set aside. The figure was then painted in a camouflage pattern of my own design. No references were used, I pretty much just decided how I wanted it to be. The holster was trimmed away from the kama of a Clone Commander figure using an X-acto knife. The holster was then painted flat black and superglued to the right leg, in place of the item that was removed earlier. The pistol can be easily inserted or removed from the holster. The original figure, Scorch, was a demolition specialist and much of the backpack was supposedly geared toward that mission. Therefore, I ended up chopping quite a lot of the backpack off to make it appear like more of a basic trooper's pack. I also added an antenna to the backpack before painting it flat black. I also attempted to remove the anti-armor attachment from the DC-17 Commando rifle and convert it to a standard commando's rifle. This effort was a dismal failure. I was also unsuccessful in trying to trade for enough of the rifles to outfit my squad. After several months of agonizing over it, I finally decided to give the commando squad M41A Pulse Rifles, as seen in the film Aliens. I know, I know... it's not Star Wars. But it's a fantastic weapon. Once the figure and all of the accessories were dry, I applied a light coat of Testors Dull-Cote to protect the paint and dull the shine.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Evolution of the Clone Commanders (Part III)

The next figure in my ongoing Evolution of the Clone Commanders series is Commander Bly (CC-5052) of the 327th Star Corps. After the end of the Clone Wars, Bly continued his service to the Empire, even performing a couple of special missions for Darth Vader himself. I used a PotJ Sandtrooper for Bly's new armor. I didn't really have a special reason for choosing the Sandtrooper, aside from wanting to keep each of these guys a little bit unique. Had I not already used the EVO Trooper armor on Commander Bacara, I could have just as easily given that to Bly. To give Bly a little extra firepower, I trimmed down a modular M203 Grenade Launcher and attached tio to the barrel of his E-11 Blaster Rifle (my theory being that this was an experiment that didn't really work out and was later abandoned by Imperial Forces).

Monday, May 11, 2009

Evolution of the Clone Commanders (Part II)

This is the next figure in my ongoing Evolution of the Clone Commanders series...

The next one up is Commander Bacara (CC-1138). I've always liked Bacara because he was the commanding officer of the Galactic Marines, a unit near and dear to me as I was once a Marine, myself. While Bacara's Marines wore maroon-colored armor that was the obvious predecessor to the Snowtrooper armor, he wore a regular set of phase II armor with a modified helmet. I decided to continue this trend of having him wear different gear than his troops. While Bacara's Marines would have adopted the Snowtrooper armor, I gave Bacara a set of EVO Trooper armor. Both provide the wearer with protection against the hazardous environments that might be encountered by a Marine Landing Force. As with the Cody figure, no significant modifications were made to the figure, but the armor was painted to somewhat resemble that which was previously worn by Bacara.

Imperial Infantry Trooper

This is the second Imperial Army Infantry Trooper I've done. He is in the same squad as my previous Imperial Infantry Trooper and Imperial Infantry Officer. Stay tuned for more of this squad in the near future!

Parts: Head (TSC Galactic Marine), Body (TLC Imperial Engineer), Helmet (AT-ST Driver), Load Bearing Equipment (25th Anniversary Snake-Eyes), E-11 Blaster Rifle (TLC Imperial Engineer), backpack (PotF2 Sandtrooper).

Supplies: X-acto knife, paintbrushes, Testors paints and Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: Illustrations from the Star Wars: Empire comic series.

This one was done exactly like the first one. I removed the Engineer head and replaced it with the GM head. I dipped the load bearing equipment (LBE) in a mug of boiling water and then stretched to fit the waist of the figure. Once it fit correctly, it was dipped in very cold water to keep the desired shape. I added the LBE to the figure and then used the X-acto knife to cut off the hand grenade and the holster. I glued a cast of a Sandtrooper's ammunition pouch to the LBE where the holster had been. Finally, the back pack was attached to the LBE with two small dabs of super glue. When the LBE is removed, the backpack stays attached to it. The casted ammunition pouch was painted black and the entire figure was given a light coating of Testors Dull-Cote.

CC-0607 Captain Kay'Tee (Commander of the 5th Reconnaisance Group)

This is a special project for my daughter, Katie. She has me asked numerous times "why aren't there any pink girl clones"? She doesn't understand what a Clone is and just sees them as soldiers in white armor. So, who am I to argue? For her 5th birthday, I have made her a pink Clone Commander in the animated Clone Wars style. The character is named Captain Kay'Tee. I saved all of the packaging from the figure and modified the cardboard insert a bit so that the character name and image matched her new figure. This was my first attempt at packaging, and it is by no means perfect. But,. I figured that she's gonna tear it open anyway, so I didn't want to spend too much time on it. I just thought it would be cool for her to open. The character image looks kind of washed out in the photos. I'm not sure why that is, because it doesn't actually look that way.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Evolution of the Clone Commanders (Part I)

Okay, this next series of figures was completely inspired by a customizer by the name of JediStyle (see his work here: He made several custom Imperial Stormtroopers that had colored markings like those seen in units of the Grand Army of the Republic toward the end of the Clone Wars. In particular, I loved his Commander Fordo in phase III armor. This got me to wondering what some of the other notable Clone Commanders would look like in Stormtrooper armor that bore markings similar to their Clone armor...

The first one I tackled was Commander Cody (CC-2224). Cody wore a visor in his phase I armor as well as both versions of his phase II armor. It was no big stretch to see him continuing this trend. Cody also used a small jetpack and often commanded airborne troops. Because of this (and it's similarity to Cody's phase II armor), I chose the Imperial Jump Trooper as the base for this figure. No significant modifications were made to the figure, but the armor was painted to closely resemble that which was previously worn by Cody.