Friday, February 20, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 963: Tusken Raider

TUSKEN RAIDER Tatooine Camp Ambush
Saga Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84861 No. 84921
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0306
Includes: Gaffi stick, robes, display stand, head
Action Feature: Magnetized head can be knocked off
Retail: $4.99
Availability: January 2003
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Nomadic tribespeople, Tusken Raiders scavenge and pilfer the sparsely populated areas of Tatooine. Also known as Sand People, they are a vicious lot, frequently raiding unsuspecting moisture farms in the desert regions. On one of these barbarous raids, Tuskens seize the helpless Shmi Skywalker and imprison her within an isolated encampment. Warding off previous rescue attempts by local moisture farmers, the Sand People are unprepared for Anakin Skywalker's discovery of their camp and the young Jedi's uncontrollable act of vengeance. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Commentary: As one of the first figures Kenner made back in the 1970s, it isn't surprising that the Tusken Raider keeps finding its way to retail in new and interesting ways. What may be surprising is just how many we've seen. Hasbro introduced is to a red and a tan clan last year, but before that we've had basic figures, more articulated figures, female and baby figures, and now even two Jedi members of a Tusken clan. It's an astonishingly diverse alien tribe, and one that a collector could probably drop hundreds of dollars on and still have more goodies to pick up. Naturally, this figure is another great addition to the family.

In Episode I, most of the Tusken Raiders were missing a little canister beneath their chins which makes the figure look like it's missing something when Hasbro leaves it off. This release keeps the gizmo, which makes the figure look just as much like an original trilogy Tusken as you could hope for. The sculpt is incredible, as is the detail, but unfortunately this figure was released in 2003 before things like shoulder ball joints became basically standard, and before Hasbro really upped the ante on the quality of paint on a figure. It's basically a really cool and fun statue, as it stands fine, it has a display stand, and sports a fair degree of arm articulation. (Well, for its time.) His coloring is a little more orange than other Tuskens, meaning he stands out as a sort of an oddball on a shelf of warriors. Since these nomads tended to use whatever scrap they could find, it isn't out of the question that there should be some inconsistency in the coloring, but it's a shame that he doesn't match his brothers and sisters. I don't think Hasbro has made a more lively looking Tusken warrior, and this figure looks (key word: LOOKS) better than the vintage version which would follow a few years later, plus it tends to hold together better despite having a head designed to fall off. (That says a lot.) If for some reason you decide to only buy one Tusken Raider action figure, I'd say you should consider this one. He may not have knee joints, but I'll dare you to find one that looks more awesome.

Collector's Notes: This figure has never been reissued, repainted, or otherwise returned to retail. It's a shame, as it's a great sculpt and would really have been a nice entry in those Tusken and Bantha camp battle packs at Toys "R" Us in 2008.

Day 963: February 20, 2009

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