Friday, March 2, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 300: 8D8

8D8 with Droid Branding Device
Power of the Force Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 69605 No. 69834
Number: n/a
Includes: Torture rack, Freeze Frame
Action Feature: Light-up eyeport
Retail: $5.99
Availability: Summer 1998
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Originally designed to work in smelting factories, 8D8 worked under EV-9D9 in Jabba the Hutt's droid operations center. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: The toy shelves of Adam Pawlus.

Commentary: We'll save the snide remarks about how poor a seller 8D8 turned out to be for later, and we'll start off by pointing out that it's an excellent figure. It's wiry and thin, like it should be. He has some dirt and damage on him just like the movie. He has light-up yellow eyes, six points of articulation, and is pretty much everything you could ask for from a figure based on this droid. For 1998, this was an excellent figure-- it's just not one fans really seemed to want, and why Kenner made it a point to be in the first few years of the line is beyond me given that its vintage counterpart is also pretty undesirable. The sculpt is excellent, the deco is good, and the articulation isn't bad. Oh, and it includes a torture rack accessory which is particularly notable as the droid with which it can torture wasn't released for almost a year and a half later.

Collector's Notes: Along with the Rancor Keeper, this is one of the figures you can blame for Expanded Universe's poor distribution in 1998. Most of the blame tends to go to Malakili, as the Rancor-keeping plastic heap of boring had figures from 1997 stick around to cause problems in 1998 and beyond. What's particularly notable about this figure is that along with the Ugnaughts, sometimes you'll still see them in drug stores. I myself saw one in a Rite-Aid not two weeks ago, while killing time for my pizza to be done from Hungry Howie's. As such, this figure is pretty close to worthless-- so remember that when you buy yours.

I really can't emphasize enough how bad a seller this figure is. I won't say "was" because I probably see one or two at retail every year. Sure, it's mostly in drug stores, but that says everything-- those places have high traffic and, in theory, can burn through toys quickly. If a figure stays put on the pegs for nine years, wow. That's a sign of a pegwarmer. People write in to Q&A all the time to complain how their store is "buried" in Heroes & Villains figures, but I guarantee you that they won't be there a decade later. Or, most likely, by the next holiday season. 8D8's longevity in stores is really quite amazing, especially if you consider just how long nine years is in relation to the vintage line. That's like the 1978 Luke Skywalker 12-back figure being found in stores in 1987, which, if you were a fan in 1987, was pretty much unthinkable.

Day 300: March 2, 2007

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