Sunday, November 5, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 183: C-3PO

C-3PO with Realistic Metalized Body
Power of the Force Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 69570 No. 69573
Number: n/a
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: October 1995
Appearances: The Star Wars Trilogy

Bio: Designed as a protocol droid, C-3PO's main programming function is to interact with human society. He is an interpreter fluent in over six million galactic languages, specializing in the areas of etiquette and translation - especially important during diplomatic missions. To aid in these tasks, he is equipped with microwave and olfactory sensors, photoreceptors, vocabulator speech units, energy transducers and broad-band antenna receivers. He was programmed with an elegant, human sounding voice, but more often than not C-3PO is heard whining and bickering with his companion, the astromech droid R2-D2. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelf. Specifically, by some Star Tours figures.

Commentary: The last of the initial 1995 wave of figures, C-3PO was a hugely popular figure mostly due to his being difficult to get. (But more on that later.) This figure has a vac-metal body with the typical six points of articulation. His coloring was better than the original figures from the vintage line, and his sculpting and pose were improved significantly. Actually, for the days of the muscle-bound figures, this figure was one of the best of the initial offerings, but was later eclipsed several times over. It didn't have a silver leg, a number of details on the costume were wrong, and it was still a little "muscular" for a droid of this nature. Still, when it came out, it was hot stuff-- new figures were just five bucks, and after C-3PO's late release, there weren't any new figures due out for another two or three months. So he was top of the collector heap in the Spawn-driven, speculator-happy, scalper-friendly market that was 1995. The next time you feel like shelling out $40 for a "rare figure," remember that this one once fit the bill back when there were but 9 figures in the entire line. Obviously, "rare" in the modern line is a very temporary distinction.

Collector's Notes: This was once a rare figure-- for a time, the rarest in the line. Delayed from the first wave of the modern line slightly, this figure came out in around October of 1995 and that caused a panic. "Lead paint!" They screamed a number of oddball rumors that had no basis in reality. This was a pretty good figure for the time, and commanded a fair chunk of change for many months after release. Today, it's worth a dollar or two as better versions have been released. Also, there are many variations on it. A "green tint" release was sold in Japan. The packaging itself was changed to green in 1997, and there were more changes to be had: the bubble was either squared off or slanted, and there was (or was not) a holographic sticker. At this time, none of the variants seems to command any extra attention, but you can collect them all if you'd like.

Day 183: November 5, 2006

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