Thursday, June 1, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 26: Darth Sidious

Episode I Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84095 No. 84087
Number: n/a
Includes: CommTech Chip (not shown)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: May 1999

Bio: Cloaked in flowing robes and shrouded in evil, Darth Sidious is a Dark Lord of the Sith and the mysterious power behind the Trade Federation's blockade of Naboo. As he conspires and manipulates, he keeps his presence- and his true intentions hidden- well hidden. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: This one was taken on a piece of an Ultarama diorama. The blue is much more pronounced due to the flash.

Commentary: With such heavy hitters as Darth Maul and Mace Windu hitting stores as part of a then-unprecedented 18 figure launch, The Phantom Menace had some great figures like Darth Sidious sit around not selling-- which was a shame. With individually sculpted legs, jointed wrists and elbows, and a wonderful sculpt, this figure really delivered what was more or less the best "Emperor" figure ever. For fans of Clone Wars or dioramas, this guy is a must-buy because Hasbro only made two Sidious figures for Episode I and II-- this one, and a holographic figure. This one has high production values (for the time) and as a main character (albeit a shadowy one), is a figure that fans didn't appreciate nearly as much as they should have. Oh, and he's a Sith Lord-- and one would think fans would be all over that.

Before Episode III, George Lucas and the movie makers tried to downplay the connection between Palpatine, Sidious, and actor Ian McDiarmid. While it was blindingly obvious to anybody who watched, fan speculation often veered into ridiculous places, and the credits made sure to not mention Sidious' actor by name. As such, Hasbro more or less obscured his face, something Gentle Giant did not do when it released a Bust-Ups micro bust of Darth Sidious which was essentially a hooded Ian McDiarmid with next to no facial obfuscation.

Collector's Notes: While the term wasn't known to all collectors in 1999, the word "pegwarmer" revealed its ugly head during Episode I. The problem wasn't that the product was bad, it's just that some wonderful figures like Sidious were made alongside even more popular figures and troop builders and at the new highest-ever price of $6.99, fans started to get picky and ignore them. The figure was very easy to get, is still very easy to get, and can be had for cheap. (About US$5.) I would put this on your Top 10 Prequel must-get figures, partially because it's cheap, but more because it's just such a wonderful figure.

Day 26: June 1, 2006

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