Saga Basic Figures
Item No.: Asst. 84715 No. 84764
Includes: Blaster, helmet, stand
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: Spring 2004
Appearances: Star Wars
Bio: Gold Leader was the comm unit designation for Rebel pilot John Vander's Y-Wing during the attack on the first Death Star. He previously had led a squadron ar Renforra base, and he proudly wore the emblem of Specter Squadron on his helmet. He was killed during the Battle of Yavin. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.
Commentary: By default, Dutch Vander is considered the best non-Luke Rebel Pilot ever made. His body has the most articulation and is therefore the best, right? Well, I disagree. The figure isn't bad, but I really don't get why so many fans think it's so wonderful. There are some grey straps between (and on) his legs, and when the figure sits, they sometimes pop off. The arms have very limited articulation, the figure is unusually tall, has a strange joint/assembly in his neck, and doesn't look all that awesome, really. It is, however, the best body there is-- it just goes to show that there's always room for improvement. The flight suit is wonderfully detailed, with loads of creases and folds which seem to improve every time Hasbro revisits this costume in some capacity. The helmet, which is removable, has a chin strap-- which some fans seem to consider the most important part of the costume, if what I read on the forums has any basis in reality. Ultimately, what makes a pilot is his ability to sit in a vehicle, and this figure has no problems sitting in a Y-Wing Fighter. This is a good thing-- because this same mold is being used again, with a new head, as a Y-Wing Pilot pack-in for Toys "R" Us this year. For 2004, the mold was pretty good-- it had things like decent knee joints, and it wasn't too beefy or otherwise bloated. The figure was introduced prior to most of Hasbro's super articulated offerings, so for his day, he wasn't bad-- it's just that a year or two can do a lot to make a good figure age rapidly. If there were a way to give him new arms and some sort of soft goods for the straps, I think this mold very well might be perfect, but as it is, there's limited room for improvement.
Collector's Notes: I've seen these figures in the wild as recently as 2006, and the figure doesn't exactly go for a lot. I'd wager to say you can get one for $5 or less shipped via eBay if you're just a little patient. The character isn't what most fans would call exciting, and the basic body mold has been reused for other, more exciting characters like Wedge Antilles. (And Biggs Darklighter. Plus bits were used to make Zev.) So it's not a bad figure, just, well, all Rebel Pilots look very similar-- this is one of the reasons it may be a good long time before anyone has the sense (or lack thereof) to crank out a $40 all-orange pilot gift set. As we will likely never ever see another Dutch Vander action figure, you should get this-- but just remember, while it is good, it certainly isn't perfect.
Day 470: August 19, 2007