email thomas

 

 

 

 

THE FINAL "PRE-2" STAR WARS FIGURES
By Thomas Wheeler

It might be called the end of an era. The final assortment (I assume) of POWER OF THE JEDI green-carded, off-to-one-side-packaged STAR WARS figures have been turning up in ridiculously short supplies here and there. I had to get mine off of eBay. Fortunately, I didn't have to pay much over retail for them, thanks to a "Buy it Now" option.

The assortment is an interesting one, including a droid, a human pilot, and an Ewok. Interestingly, everybody but the Ewok is from the very first Star Wars movie.

The droid is named R4-M9, and is described as an Imperial Astromech Droid stationed on the Star Destroyer that captured the Rebel ship that was transporting Princess Leis. You probably saw him marching along with captured rebels, and probably assumed that he had also been captured. Nope -- looks like he was working with the Imperials and had been trying to search the
computer banks to find the stolen Death Star plans.

R4-M9 has the typical "fireplug" body and three legs (one retractable) best-known on R2-D2. Of course, R2-D2 was part of a series of droids designated by the prefix "R2". According to the "Star Wars Essential Guide to Droids", there was a whole host of "R-with-a-number" type droids, and Hasbro is finally getting around to making more of them. We've seen several different R2's. There was R2-Q5, the black Imperial droid; R2-B1, the
blue droid; the unnamed red R2-droid that came with Naboo Royal Starship, and in the 12" scale, the green-highlighted R2-A6.

We've also recently seen an R3-droid, in the Episode 2 Sneak Preview assortment. This was R3-T7. The R3's are notable for their transparent domes. And who could forget R5-D4, with the sort-of squared-off head who popped his cork after being bought by Luke's uncle from the Jawas. This is the first R4 type droid, notable for a rather trapezoidal head, and stripes down its front, in this case, anyway. Oberall it's an excellent droid, and a superb addition to any Star Wars collection, especially if one is a fan of droids. He comes with a "mouse droid" accessory, and also has
a transparent light-filtering head that at the proper angle makes his "eye" seem to glow green. Nice touch.

By the way, according to the book, there are R6 and R7 type droids, but they're a bit more different than the others, and to my knowledge have never appeared in any of the movies.

Next up we have BoShek, a human smuggler pilot whose only appearance was in the first movie, when he pointed out Chewbacca to Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Mos Eisley spaceport. According to some fan reports, this was a figure that was
in fairly high demand. Perhaps there's a lot of people building Cantina dioramas out there and it just doesn't seem right without him, and we've certainly had plenty of Cantina Aliens over the past few years.

It's a really superb figure and an excellent likeness, comparing the
photo of the actor on the package to the sculpted head. The body looks like a recolored X-Wing pilot body to some degree, although the suit is black instead of bright orange. Accessories include a blaster rifle and a helmet. It's a fairly basic figure, and a relatively obscure one except to real Star Wars die-hards, but it's still a nicely made figure, and if one is a fair completist with Star Wars toys, I would certainly recommend it.

Finally we have Teebo, an Ewok. According to the back of the package, Teebo is an Ewok poet, musician, and mystic. Given the chatter of Ewoks, I can only guess what their poetry sounds like. It is said that he is a member of the tribes Council of Elders and led the war party that discovered Han Solo and Luke Skywalker on Endor.

There haven't been as many Ewok figures in the modern Star Wars assortment as there were in the original toys from the 80's, and there's only so much you can really do with something that looks like a teddy bear with attitude. But the overall sculpting and detail on Teebo is very nicely done, and the figure is notable for articulated wrists, so he can brandish his spear properly. If
you like the Ewoks, then you'll doubtless want to own this figure.

There's a few other figures that are worth mentioning, that have been turning up very sporadically here and there as the POWER OF THE JEDI assortment winds down. I'm listing the above three as the final assortment because (a) I haven't found them in the stores, (b) they're the most recent ones to turn up, and (c) most of the eBay auctions list these three in a group with no real variation on that theme. But there are a few others that are still worth
mentioning.

First up is Eeth Koth, an Episode 1 character and member of the Jedi Council. He's listed on the back of the card with these other three, but I actually found him at K*B Toys as part of another assortment. He's a cool figure with an interesting semi-human but clearly alien head, and superb overall detail, but the figure is so drastically pre-posed into a fighting stance that he really wouldn't be good for much of anything else, and in fact was one of the
early "extreme posed" figures that, along with some early pictures of Episode 2 figures, has caused something of a fan and collector outcry on a number of prominent Star Wars fan Web Sites about toning down this sort of thing.

Next we have Zutton, the alien formerly known as Snaggletooth. Described as a Snivvian artist who turned bounty hunter, this figure is one of the best examples of the greater detail put into you sculpting these days, compared to his original 1970's incarnation. Snaggletooth, some may recall, was one of the early "collectible" figures since the first version made him too tall and
put him in the wrong color costume. But neither original version can stand up to the superb sculpting work on his 21st century incarnation, and the articulation is excellent. He even bends at the knees, perhaps to more comfortable sit on a barstool. And the figure is not especially pre-posed, either.

Finally we have FX-7, the Medical Droid. Again, this figure is a superb example of how mich more detail and effort can be put into modern action figures compared to their original counterparts. This figure features over a dozen narrow, individually articulated arms and a vast amount of carefully
sculpted and painted detail. Ironically this is a character that I seem to recall Hasbro saying a couple of years ago was unlikely to ever be made, and then they turned this overgrown salt shaker into a true masterpiece of a Star Wars action figure. If you like droids, you will want FX-7, and of all of the figures I have reviewed in this report, he's probably the most readily available.

And so the sun (or suns, if you're on Tatooine) on the POWER OF THE JEDI line as we move to STAR WARS EPISODE 2. But the last handful of figures has proven to be a superb farewell to this aspect of the growing galaxy of Star Wars action figures!