Friday, August 15, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 828: McQuarrie Concept Snowtrooper

SNOWTROOPER McQuarrie Concept
30th Anniversary Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87500 No. 87390
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #3045
Includes: Blaster, coin, face cover (stand not included)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Fall 2007
Appearances: n/a

Image: Adam Pawlus' floor, in front of a box.

Bio: The stormtrooper's uniform was modified for differnt environments, yet retains the featureless uniformity captured by McQuarrie in his art. Snowtroopers have additional head, chest, and leg coverings to insulate them against the cold and help them to blend into snowy surroundings. (Taken from the cardback.)

Commentary: As the McQuarrie Concept figure series went on, fans kept gobbling them up because they were all new sculpts and all pretty amazing. After a while, we started getting away from major characters, and away from the designs fans were used to seeing in concept art books. This Snowtrooper is by no means obscure, but the number of fans who currently collect action figures that are also proud owners of The Empire Strikes Back Sketchbook are probably few. The figure itself is very Star Wars-y in design, and it just goes to show how important Ralph McQuarrie was in making a good design. Unfortunately, the sculptors at Hasbro seemed more interested in making a great statue, and even then, his oddly positioned legs don't make him that great of a statue. If this figure hand ankles, it'd be a lot easier to pose. Sadly, he's not much of a sitter-- but given the target market for these art-driven toys, that's OK.

The sculpt and deco are both excellent, borrowing heavily from the original sketches. The removable face piece is here, the unique blue symbols on the left side of the helmet are here, even the awkward gun is here! It really does feel like a little work of art has come to life, right down to the dual-fingered gloves. It almost looks like he'd fit right in on Hoth, but there's just a little more yellow, blue, and brown than you would expect from the opening scenes of The Empire Strikes Back. I'd say that this design probably influenced Kenner's Mini-Rigs of 1980-1982 a great deal, as he looks like he would fit right in with the MLC-3 or maybe even the MTV-7.

Collector's Notes: Most McQuarrie figures were cherry-picked by fans. A lot of collectors decided that was all they were going to buy, and their blue-striped packaging made them stand out at retail, causing a lot of dealers to snap them up as they were unique. Because of this, you may have to go to the secondary market. The good news is that it only goes for a buck or two above retail, so go get one if you're so inclined. Heck, buy the set of them all, you won't regret it.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 828: August 15, 2008

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

absolutely love this guy. great design, great custom potential (gloves are just like a Gand), nicely done