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Premium Format Figures

Blackhole Stormtrooper - Premium Format Figures

Name: Blackhole Stormtrooper
Number: Item #71802
Edition Size: 750 (Exclusive)
Scale: Premium Format Figures
Source: Expanded Universe (Gambler's World)
Availability: January 2014
License: Sideshow Collectibles

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For much of the Galactic Civil War, a mysterious agent of Palpatine, code-named Blackhole, carefully sifted through countless streams of data, distilling it into useful information for Imperial Intelligence. Blackhole had an impressive amount of resources available to him, including an entire Star Destroyer and its complement of troops and fighters. Per his orders, the stormtroopers under his command had their armor cast in black to match his own particular eccentricities. The armor modification had practical benefits as well. The stygian-triprismatic polymer afforded the stormtroopers increased sensor-stealth.

Blackhole disappeared completely during the Galactic Civil War, and his forces were absorbed by other Imperial groups. When the Empire fragmented after the Battle of Endor, some of the Blackhole stormtroopers found their way into Carnor Jax's private army.

Although never officially announced, Sideshow Collectibles posted a banner on May 23, 2013 that collectors could expect the first character to be reused from the Stormtrooper Premium Format Figure. Officially it went up for pre-order on May 30, 2013 but we have to inquire why there was little to no fanfare for this release. All 750 pieces were Sideshow Exclusive versions and could only be ordered through their website. Sadly, in the Premium Format Figures scale when “not too much new” translates into “not really needed” the Blackhole Stormtrooper didn’t become the latest craze and didn’t sell through nearly as quickly as most of their other products in this line. The Blackhole Stormtrooper does indeed borrow much of the tooling of the Stormtrooper Premium Format Figure, but it might be more accurate to refer to this sculpt as “all-new” because there are very few parts that are identical. Instead of just simply repainting the Stormtrooper, Sideshow’s sculptors actually scored and etched cracks, blast marks and various other battle-damage so that the armor feels textured and bumpy. And the way that that decorated and painted the piece is beyond impressive. One thing is for sure about the artists at Sideshow Collectibles: they know how to breathe life into their sculpts via gorgeous hand painted detailing. The Blackhole Stormtrooper is impressive from this aspect alone!

Blackhole Stormtroopers/Shadow Stormtroopers were all the rage in the mid 2000s. It seems that they have had their run and that interest in these characters is nowhere near where it used to be. Still, if the market goes for a spell without seeing any of these characters released, demand quickly accumulates and when the next collectible is announced it seems to do well. Whether it’s because of the MSRP or the sheer size of the characters in the Premium Format Figures line, the Blackhole Stormtrooper didn’t sell through as well as Sideshow Collectibles likely thought. It makes sense when a license amortizes costs by reusing a buck (say in the 1:6 Scale Figures line for example) body or a clone trooper sculpt that they can repaint many times over, but when an item is over $350, collectors are less interested in pieces they already have but just in a different color. As zealous collectors of the line ourselves, we have to say that both the Black hole Stormtrooper and the Stormtrooper Commander did very little to excite us and that’s not what licensees hoop to elicit from collectors with a brand new item. They are gorgeous and wonderful pieces, but they just don’t bring enough newness to the line. The price is almost a preventative for this piece becoming a success. Maybe for the Premium Format Figures line, Sideshow Collectibles should just stick to never before attempted characters, that is characters that really cannot be made from previously existing tooling.

That being said, the Blackhole Stormtrooper Premium Format Figure is literally a beautiful tapestry/negative of the classic Stormtrooper Premium Format Figure. It has its own unique texture and matte finish, but they look pretty darn cool side by side. The silver details that make up the lenses, the grate and the vocoder section of the helmet look fantastic. And you will find other silver details here and there to accentuate the piece. All of the battle-damaged markings have been colored with a tan/orange wash to make the slits, crack and gashes stand out (which they do incredibly). There are other battle-damaged markings that looks gray and white as well. Clearly Sideshow was adamant about ensuring that this piece was going to look marvelous once completed. (It does.) We think it was a gamble to set the MSRP at $359.99, especially since the regular Stormtrooper only went for $299.99. Sideshow Collectibles already had this sculpt under their belt. It just needed a little bit of reworking to recreate the battle-damage. So in our opinion the piece should have been set at under $300. These collectibles are getting more and more expensive all around. It might be wise to create brackets for these pieces to fall under based on what the Premium Format Figure contains or comes with and if a previous sculpt was utilized to create the new piece. All in all, we’re thrilled to have the Blackhole Stormtrooper Premium Format Figure, but we will be able to understand quite easily if this never becomes a hit with Sideshow collectors.

Collector Notes

Blackhole Stormtrooper

Status: Sideshow Collectibles presents the Blackhole Stormtrooper Premium Format Figure. This Exclusive trooper features the unique all-black armor modification worn by agent Blackhole's elite squadron during the Galactic Civil War.

Announcement: The Blackhole Stormtrooper Premium Format Figure was informally announced May 23, 2013 via banners on Sideshow Collectibles' website.

Pre-order Information:The Blackhole Stormtrooper Premium Format Figure went up for pre-order on May 30, 2013.

Articulation: ball-socket head

Assembly: 7 parts

Accessory Details: helmet (head), right hand holding blaster attachment, left hand attachment, body, belt with holster, thermal detonator, environmental diplay base

Sideshow Exclusive: The Blackhole Stormtrooper is an Exclusive Release from Sideshow Collectibles

Date Stamp: 2013

UPC: 747720216624

Retail: $359.99 USD

Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on Click here to check the market value on eBay! listings.

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Added: October 31, 2014
Category: Premium Format Figures
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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