Thursday, August 14, 2014

Command your own Star Wars Army

I remember having some epic backyard battles as a kid where my friends and I gathered all of our little green army men to create gigantic confrontations where we would spend hours yelling "bam bam", "boom" and mimicking other sounds of war while we pretended to be four star generals commanding our forces against the enemy.  All of the boys in my neighborhood had a toy chest full of these plastic figures, plus toy tanks, trucks and artillery and other various military props to go along with them and we'd spend whole afternoons playing "army men".  These were really basic toys but yet they were some of my favorite play things growing up.

Thirty years later the little plastic army men of my youth have been replaced by action figures and video games by today's kids.  So when I was wandering down the toy aisle at the store the other day with my son and saw the new "Star Wars Command" toys on the shelf it brought a smile to my face, and of course I had to pick up a set for my son ... and me ... to play with.  The "Star Wars Command" toys are essentially the green army men of my youth but they aren't green and they are made up of Star Wars characters that you can create armies out of.  We picked up a set for $4.99 that contained 8 "soldiers" and 1 "general" figure.  The soldiers were split between storm troopers and tusken raiders to pit against one another.  The general bonus figure was actually just one of the nicer storm trooper poses that was colored slightly better than the others in the package.

There were several themed sets in the $4.99 range to choose from plus some other more expensive sets that offered more figures plus vehicles to go along with them.  The expanded toy sets ranged in price from $9.99 to $60.  The sets with vehicles have really nice sculpts for the space ships and war machines included in them that really impressed me but were somewhat disappointing because they aren't to scale with the army men figures and are actually smaller than the toy soldiers.  I remember with the toy sets of my youth we had trucks that you could throw your soldiers in the back of and tanks that could roll threw your squad of army men.  That quality of play is lacking with these new Star Wars army men.

Hasbo did a nice job with the individual sculpts for the Star Wars characters in these sets.  The molds for the figures that came with the "Star Wars Command" play set we picked up had very nice detail for a small plastic toy.  A negative though was the assortment of figures included in the set we received.  While you want to have "army builders" which means lots of duplicates of characters and poses to build up an army, the variety was really lacking for a 9 figure assortment.  Of the stormtroopers, 3 of them were in the same pose of looking through binoculars ... I could see maybe 2 in the package but really a 1/3 of your assortment. The binocular troopers were like the radio operators for the green army men of old, you didn't mind having a couple to build up your army but they weren't the fun ones you really played with. Here in this play set you have the vicious and dangerous tusken raiders battling against some guys looking through binoculars. Kind of puts a damper on imaginative play for a kid! The other three stormtroopers were in an exact same pose with a laser rifle.  While the sculpts were both nicely done for these figures couldn't the toy manufacturer have added one more cool action posed storm trooper to the set?!  Plus for the tusken raiders all three of these sand people are in the exact same pose...couldn't they have made one or two more sculpts to make the play set a little more interesting?  Plastic injected molding can't be that expensive of a process to have been cost prohibitive in adding a few more details to make these toys a little bit nicer for people to enjoy. 

If you want to be nostalgic and have your children experience playing army with little plastic soldiers picking up the "Star Wars Command" toys isn't a bad buy based upon the price and will provide an afternoon of fun.  Unfortunately, my son lost interest  after the first day of playing with these figures because he said they were "all the same guy".  He just wasn't interested in playing with a bunch of army men looking through binoculars which made up a bulk of his playset. Based upon the limited characters available through the various play sets and the large number of duplicates of the less interesting sculpts packaged in these sets I don't see us buying more sets to try and create a grand Imperial armada or vast Rebel force.  If Hasbo begins to enhance the product with more variety though we might give it a second glance because the army men themselves weren't bad it was the lack of variety that really put a damper on enjoying them.


  1. These are cool. My son would love them! :)

  2. So cool. These are so much better than regular army men and I am not a (gasp) Star Wars fan!

  3. OMG my hubby would love these... LOL. I have just recently revisited the movies. TFS

  4. I'm not a big Star Wars fan, but my husband is and I bet he would love these! He's such a big kid. :)