Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,035: Ponda Baba

PONDA BABA Cantina Showdown Cinema Scene
Power of the Force Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.:
Asst. 69650 No. 69738
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, additional figures, display stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: 1997
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: On the run from Imperial stormtroopers, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker enter the seedy Mos Eisley Cantina in hopes of finding swift passage to the planet Alderaan. Inside, among the gallery of criminals are the murderous Dr. Evazan and the brutal Ponda Baba--both of whom are thirsty for a fight with Skywalker. Reaching for their blasters, the villains are suddenly cut off from Luke by the pulsating blaze of Obi-Wan's lightsaber! Will Obi-Wan triumph and save the Rebellion's only hope? (Taken from the figure's box.)

Commentary: After releasing the super-cool basic carded Ponda Baba, Kenner made Wal-Mart this exclusive version. It was basically the same, but had more action-oriented limbs. The good news is that in the packaging, or in a diorama, it looks fantastic. The figure had the same ahead-of-its time-sculpt with the highly detailed face and jacket, the sharp boots, and the cool blaster. The coloring wasn't as good, but hey-- can't win 'em all. Unfortunately, the goofy pose prevents the figure from standing, sitting, or performing any other function. It's a statue with joints, and while it's certainly a well-designed one with great black eyes and a bright orange jacket, it isn't much of a toy. This is a display piece, so if what you want is a solid toy, go for one of the other releases-- both offer a little bit more, specifically the 2002/2004 release with its removable arm. (That's what makes it.)

Collector's Notes: Every Ponda Baba to date uses the same basic design as this one-- unless a new one got announced by now, the 1997 releases and 2002/2004 versions are all pretty similar. A new version is rumored for 2009/2010, which I have to assume will be redone from the ground on up.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,035: June 2, 2009

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