Thursday, October 26, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 173: Luke Skywalker in Bacta Tank

LUKE SKYWALKER Echo Base Bacta Tank
Power of the Jedi Deluxe Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 84475 No. 84652
Number: n/a
Includes: Stand, pointer
Action Feature: Luke "breathes" when you fill tank and blow bubbles through tube
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Fall 2001
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Experience the thrill of The Empire Strikes Back once again, as a critically injured Luke Skywalker is immersed in a bacta tank to save his life. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelf.

Commentary: Sometimes, there are figures that fans demand. These include the likes of Wedge Antilles, Slave Leia, Tarkin, and Commander Cody. But after a while, the bulk of "A" choices, and then the bulk of "B" choices get made-- and the demand starts to skyrocket for choices like this particular Luke Skywalker. Fans recognize this as a recreation of a key scene in which Luke escapes death by the skin of his teeth, and he is brought back to health by being placed in a medical solution with droids monitoring his health. To the rest of the world, this is some elaborate scuba bondage scenario. The figure and accessories, on their own merits, are excellent-- the playset included with Luke feels like it came right out of the 1980s, but better because it can plug in other figures like FX-7 and 2-1B, and it has a bubble blowing thing so you can fill the tank with water and it looks like Luke is coming back to life. Oh, and it was only ten bucks. As a toy, Hasbro went out of their way to design this to be a fun thing to play with, but can anyone get past the fact it's the greatest hero the galaxy has ever known in a diaper? The sculpting is good, and the articulation is better than necessary given the figure can't do anything but be suspended in the tank-- he can't stand or sit particularly well and looks goofy outside the playset. Like a few other releases, this figure celebrates one more fan demand being crossed off a list, and amazingly it makes for a really decent toy with more play value than most similar kinds of items. Kudos to Hasbro on a job well done given the circumstances.

Collector's Notes: Like so many of the "hah hah I can't believe they made that" releases, this figure is basically worthless today. So for you, the collector with taste, this is good news because it's only about $5-$10, maybe even cheaper if your timing is good. Also notable: before this figure, Applause released a high-end ($100) statue in the late 1990s with a light-up tank and a pretty crappy sculpt. (At least in hindsight, it sucked.) For many fans, this was the reason to demand the action figure. If Applause could sell a $100 statue, surely Hasbro could sell a $10 figure. The figure sold fairly well, but came in a case with a significantly more popular and almost as ludicrous on paper figure of Darth Maul with his shirt off.

Day 173: October 26, 2006

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