Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,011: Stormtrooper

STORMTROOPER First Modern Release
Power of the Force Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87565 No. 87567
Number: n/a
Manufacturer: Kenner
Includes: Blaster, rifle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: August 1995
Appearances: Star Wars, etc.

Bio: Feared throughout the galaxy, stormtroopers are elite shock troops deployed in support of both ground forces and the Imperial fleet. Stormtroopers are unquestionably loyal to the Empire, and their unshakable military discipline has led to speculation that they may be the result of accelerated Imperial cloning experiments, although this has never been confirmed. (Taken from the figure's 1995 cardback.)

Image: Adam's desk drawer.

Commentary: Back in 1995 (and through about 1998) this Stormtrooper remained a scarce item. Many fans were building armies for what they believed to be an inevitable large-scale Death Star playset (which never happened), plus because of the original Kenner line we basically all assumed we would never see a resculpt of it. (Oops.) Today, many fans from that era have crates of these and no real need for them given all the super-articulated versions which have since hit the market. Figures based on this beefier sculpt have basically been off the market since late 1998, although several were made before that time.

Since he's from 1995, you have to remember, he was impressive for his age. The 1978 Stormtrooper had jointed arms and legs-- the 1995 version added a jointed neck and waist, which means it was a huge upgrade. He could not only sit, but look around! Saints be praised! Marvel of marvels!!! At the time he had no problem fitting in vehicles or playsets, and the more accurate helmet was seen as a real plus. As time went on, fans wanted more articulation, a less muscular pose, and a slightly better helmet sculpt. In late 1998, our prayers would be answered, and in 2004, we'd see even more improvements. But for the first few years of the line, this was it, and it was a decent toy. He could hold both of his guns, he could stand up without assistance, and he did indeed have more detail than the original Kenner figure from the days when the Star Wars saga was but a single film and some comic books. By today's standards, this figure is something of a joke (see below), but part of the fun of being in a hobby like this for the long run is that you get to see some real growth in the manufacturing output of Kenner, now Hasbro. The downside is that this figure is really little more than a curiosity, new fans probably will have no reason to pick one up unless they like strange releases.

Collector's Notes: This figure was a popular "Swap out" in recent years-- if you have less-than-honest fans in your area, sometimes they will buy an item with a trooper or pilot and return the item with this figure in its place. (Don't think I don't notice.) Before fans were paying premium prices for this one, today you're lucky to get a buck for it. It shipped on pretty much every possible cardback variant during its era, and even had its legs resculpted to move the copyright from the back of the leg to the bottom of the shoe around 1998.

Day 1,011: April 29, 2009


JGS said...

1) "He could not only sit, but look around! Saints be praised! Marvel of marvels!!!" That was seriously funny.

2) "Swap Out" thieves are really lower than low. Not only are they crooks, but they're taking advantage the average layman "civilian" toy buyer who has no clue that they're getting a lesser used toy for their kid.

3) Speaking of lesser used toys for kids...I do recommend this as a great use of these old '95 era releases that are now obsolete due to upgrades. Instead of trying to get 39 cents for each one on eBay (with $12 for shipping), why not just give one to a kid for nuthin'? That's what I've done with a lot of my older ones, and it's fun to know that they're being enjoyed as TOYS, destined to be buried at the bottom of a sandbox near you where they will be slowly digested for a thousand years.

See you in the aisles...

Bravo said...

I admit I bought some, but this wasn't a good figure even in its day (the kenner stormtrooper probably wasn't either, actually). The He-Man esque build, the blatantly inaccurate head sculpt and the stalking stance brought it down. The 1996-97 Luke disguised as stormtrooper had a better pose.