Monday, October 19, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,134: Clone Trooper Pilot

CLONE TROOPER Republic Gunship Pilot
Saga Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84851 No. 84911
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0249
Includes: Blaster, rocket, gun pod
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: September 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Image: Adam's yard.

Bio: Led by Jedi Master Yoda, Clone Troopers are strategically deployedduring the Battle of geonosis to rescue the overwhelmed Jedi and combat Separatist forces. Clone Trooper Pilots, distinguished by yellow markings and specialized helmets, helm the Republic Gunships in a full-scale assault on the devastating droid armies. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Commentary: For some reason Hasbro didn't quite get the cash cow that was the Clone Trooper until about 2005. The Attack of the Clones and early Clone Wars figures were starved in supply, and often discontinued quickly. Fans were eager to buy tons of them, but they simply were not available in sufficient quantities. This pilot may be one of the two best (for its time) and hardest to get, too.

The figure is essentially a basic Clone body with a new head and black specks on it. With limited articulation on the arms, the figure is a far cry from the super-articulated figures which would follow but is a pretty excellent release overall, particularly because at the time the figure was designed to sit in the Gunship. With a little manipulation, he will slide right in and lead your troopers to victory. The sculpt isn't too chunky, and it was just about perfect for use with the vehicle. Its gun pod accessory was designed to plug in to the Republic Gunship or be used as a free-standing weapon, as seen in the picture. It's really great to see that Hasbro planned this item out so well, which is one of the reasons it was a real pain in the neck that the company didn't continue shipping the figure in 2003 or beyond. Truly, the figure was too good to be so short-shipped. By today's standards, with the new gun pods, it may not seem as impressive but it still looks great on the old ship and is well worth picking up if you have the means. Be sure to buy two.

Collector's Notes: Despite being obscenely popular, Hasbro let this one go away quickly and never reissued it. This mold is a one-timer. The pod accessory is very much in demand from vehicle collectors, as each Republic Gunship can accept two of them. Finally, the figure (like almost all 2002 figures cast in white plastic) has a habit of getting a very bright yellowish green film on it. This film can be wiped off, but you may notice numerous packaged figures which seem to have "yellowed" from this era despite limited to no exposure to light. This is unusual in that this discoloration can rarely be easily removed, but in the case of this figure, it comes off with a little scrubbing.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,134: October 19, 2009

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