Thursday, July 12, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 432: Anakin Skywalker (Mechanic)

Power of the Jedi Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84445 No. 84254
Number: n/a
Includes: Hydrospanner, Droid, Force File
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: July 2000
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker lives on the desert planet Tatooine where he serves the junk dealer Watto. He's a natural mechanic and talented pilot who doesn't realize that he's extraordinarily strong in the Force. (Taken from the figure's Force File.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: Released around the first time fans proclaimed the modern Star Wars line to be on its way out this figure managed to give us the best articulated young Anakin Skywalker figure we've ever seen. Knee and wrist joints are a nice touch, but the figure does have a problem in that his hands aren't too good at grabbing things, like his included accessories. The head paint isn't as good as some other releases as the eyes are a little more muddy, but the figure has a great "dirty" outfit to make it look like he's been working on some big mechanical gizmo all day. So far this is as close as we have to super-articulated and the figure isn't too good at sitting due to his shirt hanging over his hips. As far as Anakin figures go, Hasbro cranked out several nearly identical releases in about 18 months and each has something a little unique to it, be it a special grease gun, a helmet, or... something. So this one is really no better or worse than any other, but the companion green droid does make it a tempting figure even if you don't want the Anakin.

Collector's Notes: By 2000, it seemed pretty obvious that Hasbro was distancing itself from the successful-- but not successful enough-- Episode I line. (When you expect a kajillion dollars, a half-kajillion is sometimes considered a failure.) In almost no time, they transitioned away from new sculpts across the board to more repacks, resculpts, and repaints to switch the line over to more trilogy-based figures in a hurry, and as such, most Episode I figures since then haven't seen a new sculpt or a new release of any kind. This was the last new mold of the young Anakin figures. (It would be revised barely and reissued as part of the Jedi Council sets in 2004.) The figure wasn't a super-slow seller, but as he came out in a batch of mostly existing characters, fans tended to be more interested in items like the Senate Guards and split-at-the-waist Darth Maul. It's also worth noting that this figure's assortment hit stores after Hasbro took a six month hiatus from new releases in the stores as retailers were given time to let existing inventory burn off/get cleared out/get stolen. In light of the crazy awesome articulation on the recently released 2007 Jawa figure, it seems Hasbro could totally do an awesome and top-notch new Anakin figure-- and I hope they do. (Hasbro, if you're considering it: pack in the Naboo helmet, the Pod Race helmet, and I'll buy like 2 or 3 of them.)

Day 432: July 12, 2007

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