Monday, July 2, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 422: Tusken Raider Desert Sniper

Power of the Jedi Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84455 No. 84248
Number: n/a
Includes: Sniper Rifle, Force File
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: July/August 2000
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Also known as Sand People, the Tusken Raiders of Tatooine have not accepted homesteaders on their planet. They prey upon settlers and travelers foolish enough to try to cross the desert wasteland. Savage and extremely dangerous, Tusken Raiders should not be underestimated. (Taken from the figure's Force File.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: This figure came out after Hasbro rebooted the whole line because Episode I didn't have a great perception in the marketplace. It was around that time where about 8 out of 10 emails I received were "how long until my Darth Maul figures are worth something?" and "what should I put away for later?" It was a depressing time to be a fan with a podium because none of the new blood really liked the stuff, they just wanted to make a buck off of it. And, naturally, one starts to have thoughts about quitting-- thankfully Hasbro made some really good figures like the Tusken Raider Desert Sniper, which took one of my favorite trilogy creatures and remade it for the prequels. You'll notice the little breathing gizmo on the neck is missing and is replaced by what appears to be a scarf, plus the sculpt is quite good-- actually, this is the first post-POTF2 sculpt Sand Person, and most figures to come since then are closer to this one in design than the figures from 1996 and 1998. Short of the breathing thing, this figure could fit in dioramas or displays for either trilogy, making it one of those extra special figures that really does belong in just about any fan's collection. Considering he was taking potshots at characters in the too-long Pod Race sequence, he's even cooler. The sculpt is very good, despite the figure having but 8 points of articulation, 2 of which are useless due to being under the Tusken Raider's desert robes. Still, it's a nice figure, and might make for the basis of a nice Sharad Hett* some day. (This figure came out around the same time as the surprisingly good Outlander comic arc in Star Wars Republic [nee Star Wars] which I should add I just re-read a few months ago and damned if it didn't make me want to buy even more Tuskens with different weapons, robes, hoods, and other accessories. Good job Tim Truman.)

Collector's Notes: Originally, this figure was going to be an Episode I release complete with CommTech chip. A few samples have shown up on the collector market, so if you want something special and have a lot of money, that could be a fun item. The regular release was for Power of the Jedi, and this figure's mold has been reused many, many times-- which is good, as it's a strong mold. It was repainted and packaged with a Massiff in 2002, it was repainted for the Original Trilogy Collection in 2004, and was repainted two more times and repackaged yet again as a Bantha/Tusken Raider Battle Pack at Toys "R" Us just a few months ago. They're all excellent for different reasons and if you're like me and what a crapload of Tuskens, you may as well get 'em all. This isn't the bestest painted version of the mold, I should note, but it is the first and it's still very good.

Day 422: July 2, 2007

* - Yes, Sharad Hett. Not A'Sharad Hett. Sharad was awesome.

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