Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,131: Endor Rebel Soldier

ENDOR REBEL SOLDIER First Modern Release
Power of the Force Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 69570 No. 69716
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, Backpack, Freeze Frame (1998 release), display stand (2002 release)
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99
Availability: January 1998
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Image: Adam's back yard. Or Endor.

Bio: The Rebel strike team, on a mission to sabotage the second Death Star's shield generator, falls into a trap set by the evil Emperor Palpatine. Surrounded by a full legion of stormtroopers
and Imperial soldiers, the Rebel commandos are temporarily unable to shut down the battle station's shield. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Commentary: The first modern release of the Endor Rebel Solider is an example of a great toy and, if the stories are true, one of the times Lucas Lucas' camp stepped in and ruined a perfectly good action figure. First, the sculpt is pretty solid and this figure is one of very few action figures in the modern line to feature a molded-on helmet and, for some reason, no chinstrap. The face doesn't seem to be anyone specific but the figure's head sports a fair amount of personality and looks like it might just be based on someone. There's not a lot of detail here-- no facial hair or anything-- but the deco is solid and the came paint is really sweet. A lot of fans griped about this figure looking like a G.I. Joe in 1998, which proves a lot of fans a) don't know anything about G.I. Joe, and b) just want to hear themselves whine. This is a great replica of a movie costume, and sports a unique pose which unfortunately doesn't let him aim his weapon. According to the big book of toy lore, Kenner sculptors initially designed this figure to aim with both arms and Lucasfilm thought it was a bit much at the time, so he's in a more exploring-friendly pose. The two-handed aim would be seen in 2002, and many times in the future.

With only six joints, this figure is good for display fodder and he can sit nicely. If there were sensible vehicles for this one, it'd probably be worth picking a bunch up. As it stands, anyone building an Endor diorama would be well-served to buy at least one, perhaps more.

The body was used to create a repaint with a new head and removable helmet in late 2006 as part of a Return of the Jedi-themed collector tin.

Collector's Notes: Originally released in 1998, the figure was put out in a white box 4-pack as a shared exclusive around 2002. The figures were identical, but they included clear oval plastic stands which a lot of fans really dug. These are actually still available online at certain toy outlets for really cheap.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,131: October 14, 2009


tomfabulous said...

Crazy Adam, if you're going to make such an assertion about George Lucas personally stepping in and ruining a figure, you could at least call out your source! Who are you, Bob Woodward!?

It seems unlikely, though, that Kenner would have made him capable of a two-handed firing grip when no other figure at the time could hold a weapon with both hands. If memory serves, the first figures capable of holding a weapon with both hands wouldn't come along until Episode 1, when Jedi could begin holding lightsabers with both hands.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say Lucas LICENSING felt the two-handed grip was too aggressive for the toy line at that time. If that's the case, I think it's important to know where that information come from. Otherwise, I've got a cache of authentic missle-firing Boba Fett's to sell you. Let's all chill out on the idea that George Lucas spends his days dreaming up new ways to screw with "fans."

Love the column anyway, AP!

Adam16bit said...

Chill out indeed. Of course I meant Lucas' camp, he's not involved in day-to-day approvals. You can always just ask "hey is that a mistake?" or "was that a typo?" rather than offer three paragraphs of why I'm full of it and fans are crazy paranoid.

Since we're being overly specific here, you're about the grip thing. Numerous figures could hold weapons with both hands in the vintage line including the Weequay (1983), Cantina Band Member (1997), Sandtrooper (1996), ASP-7 (1997, arguably not a weapon), Weequay (1997), Lando Skiff (1997), and I'm probably forgetting a few, all before the Endor Rebel.

Bravo said...

Calling something GI JOE-like is high praise, or used to be, in my book. And this was a cool figure, even if his left had is strangely posed and useless (which is funny because the 1983 Rebel Commando is uncommon among vintage figures for having two hands capable of holding weapons, etc). The story about changing the arms makes sense, because why else would he have that left hand?

tomfabulous said...

I stand corrected on the two-handed grip comment, I was thinking of NRA-approved, two-handed firing stances, but why quibble?!

Still - I insist on verification of sources!!! NO RUMORS!

Sergio said...

Yes! No rumors on something such important like if a 10 cm toy can hold a plastic mini-weapon!!!