Saturday, May 12, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 371: Speeder Bike Pilot

SPEEDER BIKE PILOT Expanded Universe
Power of the Force Expanded Universe
Item No.:
Asst. 69760 No. 69772
Number: n/a
Includes: Speederbike
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: Spring 1998
Appearances: n/a

Bio: Whipping through the forests of Endor on a Rebel strike mission against the Death Star shield generator, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia battled Imperial scout troopers atop highly maneuverable speeder bikes. Considered ideal reconnaissance vehicles by the Empire and he Rebel Alliance alike, their maneuverability and acceleration is superior to both landspeeders and airspeeders. This particular speeder bike was designed and built based on production sketches found in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Sketchbook; its creator was renown Star Wars artist, Joe Johnston. (Taken from the toy's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: The notion of concept art based-figures is a popular one in 2007, but it's nothing new-- we've been here before in 1998 with figures like this Speeder Bike Pilot. With only six points of articulation, its main purpose was to make this tiny $10 vehicle seem like a better deal. And today, we have figures with fancy packaging that nobody bats an eye on dropping $10 on. Oh, how far we've come. This is a fairly simple figure, especially by modern standards. The sculpting is a little clunky, but as it's meant to look like a simple sketch from 1983, well, it's a pretty decent three-dimensional translation of the concept. Hasbro has really upped the ante with enhancing the designs and making conceptual figures true works of art, but as a fun curiosity and grandfather of the McQuarrie Concept figures of today, you'd be well-served to add this one to your collection. As well as the two other vehicle-and-figure sets. Quality stuff, folks, much more inspired than the mini-rigs and almost as fun.

Collector's Notes: This was a bit of a slow seller-- these came up at retailers for sale as recently as 2005 (at a Phoenix Wal-Mart I frequent) and 2006 (online at Entertainment Earth) for various reasons. As such, it's not exactly a hot item-- but the vehicle is a lot of fun and you should totally get one if you can for like ten bucks.

Day 371: May 12, 2007

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