Review: Star Wars Black Series Imperial Hovertank Pilot

Of all the endless variants of Stormtroopers and Clone Troopers, the absolute least interesting to me have always been the pilots. TIE pilots, AT-AT drivers, clone pilots, and everything in between. Not only do they generally have uninteresting designs, I never much saw the point in displaying them outside of the vehicle they’re meant to be operating. You never really see a TIE pilot fighting next to a regular stormtrooper, so why should they be on a shelf with each other? The problem with this is that the last couple of pilot trooper designs have actually been pretty damn cool. First it was the First Order TIE pilot with his glossy black armor, and now it’s the Imperial Hovertank Pilot.

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Appearance

All things considered, the Hovertank Pilot is actually pretty unimpressive. His design isn’t flashy at all, his armor isn’t glossy, and outside of his unique helmet, nothing really stands out. If nothing else, the design screams utilitarian: he’s a tank driver, so he’s not going to need heavy armor or anything special. Also, his job is to sit on his butt all day, so he eschews thigh armor for some nice padded trousers. I really like the practicality of it. 

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There’s a nice bit of weathering on the figure, as well. The matte plastic finish and little scuffs and smudges give the pilot a grungy, industrial feel that really makes him fit in with the OT “used future” feel that Rogue One is trying so hard to emulate. While the Death Trooper’s sleekness marks him as an elite soldier, the Hovertank Pilot’s dirty appearance puts him on the bottom of ranks – he’s the everyman of the Imperial army, basically.

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Articulation

Thanks to his lightly-armored design, the Hovertank Pilot has a fairly good amount of articulation, with the only notable limitation being outward hip movement, so too bad if you wanted to see him do the splits. He also gets props for coming the closest to achieving a full 90 degree bend on his elbows of any trooper variant, Imperial Stormtrooper aside. Also, the neck joint on mine is super stiff, but not in a scary this-is-going-to-break sort of way.

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Accessories

Being a simple tank driver, the Hovertank Pilot only comes with a single weapon, and it’s just the standard stormtrooper rifle. Not gonna lie, I would have liked to see a slightly unique weapon, or even a repair tool or something. On the upside, the blaster is molded in a much stiffer plastic than usual, so it shouldn’t warp in or out of package.

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Overall

In a franchise full of all sorts of armored, helmeted space soldiers, the Imperial Hovertank Pilot does not particularly stand out at all, but I kind of love him for it. I don’t feel the need to troop build him, and there will most likely never be a 6″ scale hovertank for him to pilot, but I think he has a good place in a stormtrooper lineup as more of a field engineer. The figure itself is really good for what it is, but if you’re not into what it is, there’s not much here to change your mind. 

(The Hovertank Pilot is a Toys R Us exclusive, though the basic sculpt is reused for the wide-released Scarif Trooper from wave 2, so you won’t be missing out on a unique mold if you skip it.)

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