Monday, October 26, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,139: Pit Droid (Gasgano)

PIT DROID also known as DUM-4
Episode I Collection 3
Item No.:
Asst. 84105 No. 84116
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Gasgano figure, CommTech Chip
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: May 3, 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Image: Adam's desk.

Bio: With his multiple arms, thrill seeker Gasgano is uniquely suited for the extreme sport of pod racing. Piloting a cockpit pulled by two dangerously powerful engines, he relies on a crew of pit droids to keep him in the race when the action heats up. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Commentary: Rarely did Hasbro or Kenner nail it on the first try, but this Pit Droid was pretty much perfect right out the gate. While the pose was a little stiff, it was exactly what fans were asking for in those days, plus he had a ball-jointed head, which was fairly new in 1999. This little guy was the ideal Pit Droid mold, as he could stand, sit, or be gripped by the neck if another figure got angry with him. The coloring was a little pale, but the saucer-shaped head and spindly little limbs were just perfect recreations of what we saw in the movie. Short of enhanced articulation, which Hasbro has not gone back and done yet, this little guy is about as good as we've ever got. Subsequent Pit Droids were posed with their arms and legs at various angles, but the articulation never improved beyond this, the very first release.

At the risk of making this a boring review, Hasbro pretty much got it right-- so this one is totally worth buying. The figure also comes with the only release of Gasgano as an action figure, and that release also turned out very well for 1999.

Collector's Notes: A one-time release, this figure was widely available in 1999 and in some stores, 2000 as part of the insanity that was Episode I. Word from retailers was that Hasbro and Lucasfilm both prodded stores across the board to up their orders on everything because whatever they ordered wouldn't be enough-- and it seemed in some locations, this turned out to be true. While some have dismissed figures in that line for being old or worthless, several of them are genuinely excellent toys with this duo leading the pack. Be sure to score it if you have the means, as the figure set goes for about $1-$3 on eBay. I'd suggest picking up a collection (or "lot") of carded figures from that era as they tend to go cheap and there's quite a few gems in there, like the first Darth Sidious figure, Chancellor Valorum, Nute Gunray, and Rune Haako. (It's worth noting that most of the gems come in "Collection 2" and "Collection 3.") Hasbro will never make a better Pit Droid at this rate, so go ahead and spring for the original-- it's well worth it.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,139: October 26, 2009

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