Sunday, September 17, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 134: Grand Admiral Thrawn

Power of the Force Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 85213 No. 85238
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99
Availability: Fall 1998
Appearances: Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command

Bio: Five years after the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance has driven the evil Empire into a distant corner of the galaxy. But a new danger has arisen: the last of the Emperor's warlords has devised a battle plan that could destroy the New Republic. A tactical and military genius, Grand Admiral Thrawn rallied the remnants of the Imperial fleet and set in motion a plan to destroy the New Republic. Using Force-inhibiting ysalamiri, he became vitally close to achieving his evil plans. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: More tackle boxes.

Commentary: While the figure had some of the best packaging in the modern line, the actual toy for Grand Admiral Thrawn left many fans scratching their heads. Where is the nutrient frame backpack? Why doesn't he have the yellow things on his shoulders? And is he too pale? It was confusing, but this first-ever (and so far, only) member of the Chiss species proved to be one of the most popular figures in his day, thanks to his being the first major "new" villain many fans were exposed to during the second coming of Star Wars. The figure itself is very of its day, with six points of articulation, a removable Force-pusher lizard on his neck, and a blaster pistol. The paint is good, but not great, and the detail in the sculpt can be described similarly. Today, it seems very average but the enthusiasm you may (or may not) have for the character improves the figure many times over. I, for one, was giddy to have a line of Expanded Universe figures (which included concept art as well as comics, novels, games, and so forth). Especially since it was of a character I knew and liked. Fans of Thrawn owe it to themselves to pick this one up, especially since the pricing is quite good these days.

Collector's Notes: Very few figure lines come with their own "reality distortion field," and Expanded Universe toys really seem to pack the most "bugwah?" moments. Hasbro claimed that this 1998 series of 9 figures was a failure, and did not sell. Which in a way was true, as they were next to impossible to find at the Top 5 retailers and many collectors had to slum it in video game stores, scalp shops, and other oddball places just to see these. Many fans also took solace in being able to order some from Sears. The figure was very popular in its day and rumor has it a new one is coming in 2007, along with a new Mara Jade. It seems that the figure is nowhere near as "rare" as some would have you believe, though, and the prices on the secondary market suggest interest has cooled significantly. He can be had for about retail.

Day 134: September 17, 2006

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