Saga Collection 1
Item No.: Asst. 84851 No. 84890
Includes: Imperial Blaster, C-3PO parts, bag
Action Feature: C-3PO's eyes light up when head is pushed down on body.
Availability: Fall 2002
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back
Bio: Captured upon their arrival at Cloud City, Chewbacca and his Rebel companions are apprehended by Darth Vader in hopes of luring their Jedi friend, Luke Skywalker, into a trap. While in solitary confinement, Chewbacca takes solace in reassembling the dismantled C-3PO. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' desk. Note: the version pictures is the 2006 The Saga Collection release. As far as I can tell it's the same as the 2002 Saga release.
Commentary: Is this one figure or two? I decided this Chewbacca would be just one, since the C-3PO parts aren't enough to really do anything with. But since there are two characters here, there's some more writing to do. Starting with Chewie, for the time, this was the best-ever Star Wars Chewbacca. Given the figure is meant to be from The Empire Strikes Back, this may bother some folks. The hair is really the big thing which indicates which movie he's from, and with his hair back he has more in common with the vintage toy than the 2001 "mechanic" figure-- which was really slick. Anyway, is this figure any good? Heck yeah. He has ball-jointed shoulders, elbow joints, and wrist joints-- this was, until 2004, the best Chewbacca you could possibly hope to get. He can lean back and scream in agony, he can fire his gun at the Empire, and he can be posed to "fix" C-3PO. Our friend, however, can not swivel at the waist. He can sit, he can stand, he can emote, plus his fur is sculpted to look more like fur and less like some sort of clumped mess. With his black nose, blue eyes, and expressive mouth, this is a sign that Hasbro was really heading in the right direction after the first push for Attack of the Clones. Even more amazing, there's more to this figure.
Back in 1982, Kenner made a C-3PO with removable limbs for Chewbacca to carry around on his back. (Kenner did a new version of this in 1998.) However in 2002, they decided to give fans a head, a body, and a pile of junk to represent the disassembled droid as accessories. You can even "repair" C-3PO like Chewie did in the movies-- push the head into the body, and the eyes will light up. It's pretty amazing, although the light isn't one of Hasbro's finest. Still, it's hard to be picky-- the sculptor for these parts obviously snagged an existing protocol droid mold, chopped it up, and cast the results. This gives us a C-3PO that looks like C-3PO, and it avoids some of the problems we've seen with vehicles and astromech domes that are incredibly off-model.
In addition to the one-and-a-half figures, you get a standard Stormtrooper blaster (the same "small" one that has been in circulation since 2001), and a cloth net bag with a little piece of elastic. I have to say that it's a little tricky to get the most out of the bag, but you can still get Chewie to fit it on his back. As toys go, the entire package is a shining example of some of Hasbro's finest work. I assume this was a more expensive figure to make, as it incorporates kid features (lights), core characters, added articulation, plus accessories. Hasbro could have just as easily made one version with the net backpack, and a separate one to represent the time in the Cloud City cell where Chewie was at work. If you never got this figure, you should rectify this ASAP.
Collector's Notes: The figure was a decent seller when it debuted around September 2002, and it was good enough for Hasbro to reissue, mostly unchanged, in the 2006 line. C-3PO retained the eye feature, and Hasbro tossed in a bonus display stand. I do not consider these to be different figures, but packaging variant hunters will no doubt want both versions. The 2006 packaging is, if you ask me, better. The C-3PO seems to be based on the TC-14 mold, but chopped up. Chewbacca was recolored for numerous figures in exclusive multi-packs, like a Hoth version in 2003 and a bizarrely recolored Endor version in 2008. If you look back at this figure, it was a pretty amazing deal. Actually, if Hasbro sold this figure today for eight bucks, it'd still be a pretty solid deal.
Day 960: February 17, 2009