West End Games Zero-G Spacetroopers

Star Wars Zero-G spacetroopers surprise some rebels in a hangar during a miniature wargame.

I mentioned the Star Wars Miniatures Battles terrain I was working on in my last post, but I have also been readying additional 25mm reinforcements for that battle. The first finished is this six-man squad of West End Games ‘Zero G’ stormtroopers, or Spacetroopers. I’ve had two of these since I was in 8th grade, but over the last six months added four more. I was able to obtain these for under $5 each, still in blisters, which is a welcome surprise given the inflation of the OOP miniature market these days.

If you are not familiar with the heady days of Star Wars in the 1990s, in the glorious middle age of the Expanded Universe, before the dark times of the devil mouse, then you are undoubtedly wondering what exactly a Zero-G Stormtrooper is. Basically, they are a spaceborne assault powered armor for Stormtroopers, a creation of West End Games for their excellent Star wars RPG and later in the spin-off wargame, from whence these miniatures came.

A couple of Spacetroopers of a more basic type are seen on patrol around the Death Star hangar bays in extended cuts of the original Star Wars, but the Zero-G Assault Suit is a much more heavy duty piece of equipment, primarily utilized for vacuum assaults and boarding actions. It is powered armor, with each suit having its own fully sealed life support systems and miniature ion engines for independent movement in space. Weaponry includes standard arm-mounted blasters and shoulder and back-mounted mini-proton torpedo launchers and fusion cutters for breaching starship hulls.

I like these miniatures, but they are some of the least impressive in WEG’s line. The sculpts are somewhat sloppy and indistinct, leaving them looking rather light on detail compared to, say, the regular Stormtroopers, and much harder to paint than they ought to be. The painting is complicated further since there are few color pictures of them in any of the books. The reference I used is an illustration from Rules of Engagement, although the illustration doesn’t look very much like the miniatures, as you can see here.

Black and white Zero-G spacetrooper illustration from West End Games' "Rules of Engagement: the Rebel SpecForce Sourcebook"

Nevertheless, a good cleaning, thin primer, and a close visual inspection went a a long way toward revealing some of the details, and an oil wash brought out a lot of others that I missed.

You can see I modeled two of these as flying or jumping, utilizing those aforementioned ion engines. This does a lot to break up the tedium of their poses: there are only two body sculpts, and although eight arms come in each pack, there’s not a lot of variety to the arm positions. (And no, they don’t have four arms each, as I originally assumed as a 13-year-old. There’s no reason why you can’t model yours that way, though!). I also mounted these on special 3D -printed bases that looks like ship platforms or space station surfaces.

These are a powerful addition to my Imperial forces, with a very strong statline for Star Wars Miniatures Battles. Each suit gives a +3 for Strength with only a -1 for Dexterity (standard Stormtrooper armor gives +1 STR/-1 DEX), plus some very powerful heavy weapons. Zero-G units will typically also have an Elite profile. In Stargrunt II, I would treat them as Elite troops in Heavy Powered Armor.

As far as the Star Wars universe goes, the Zero-G troopers are one of the many cool things that have been lost since the rise of Disney’s skinsuit abomination in 2015. They predate, and probably helped inspire, the Dark Troopers from the classic Dark Forces video game, as well as Dark Horse Comics’ representation of a lighter Spacetrooper armor depicted in the Dark Empire comics. (Dark, dark, darkity dark dark dark!), though even in their own time they very rarely appeared in official media. This is quite a shame, considering they fill a very plausible niche in the Imperial forces and excite thrilling images of spaceborne boarding actions in my brain.

What do you think of their design, and what is your preferred heavy infantry from Star Wars? Let me know in the comments.

4 responses to “West End Games Zero-G Spacetroopers”

  1. Now I have some inspiration for putting mine together. I also found some 3D printable ones, that I hope will look good.

  2. If I remember correctly, the man who designed the Dark Trooper program in the old canon was a former Zero-G Spacetrooper; his name was Rom Mohc, and he was the final boss for the Dark Forces videogame. He’s a pretty interesting guy. His Dark Trooper was indeed an extension of the Zero-G Spacetrooper concept.

  3. As for my preferred heavy infantry in Star Wars, it would indeed be the Dark Troopers. Spacetroopers are powerful, but they excel in zero-g environments, whereas a Dark Trooper excels in planetary environments with gravity, making them extremely useful in assaulting enemy bases.

    The Phase Zero and Phase Three Dark Troopers were my favorite, the former was a clone in a cyborg suit with a powerful close-range weapon, be it a blaster shotgun or an arc caster, and the latter is a man inside a heavy suit of power armor filled to the brim with blaster cannons and missiles that can blow apart vehicles and infantry alike. Oh, and he also carries an assault cannon with five plasma barrels for good measure. But the Phase One and Two were pretty good as well, with the former being the Empire’s answer to the Magnaguards of the Clone Wars, and the latter being a medium-heavy unit similar to the heavier Clone and Mandalorian soldiers who have heavy repeating blaster cannons.

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