AT-AT DRIVER carded release
Power of the Force Collection 3 Fan Club Exclusive
Item No.: Asst. 69705 No. 69864
Includes: Blaster, Freeze Frame Action Slide
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: Late 1998
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back
Image: Adam's back yard.
Bio: Drivers of the dreaded AT-AT walkers, specially trained "ground pilots", played a vital role during the Empire's assault on Hoth. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Commentary: While the big $100 AT-AT came with a single driver, Kenner decided that it would be a good idea to sell an individual version of the AT-AT Driver in stores. Due to the ginormous amount of SKUs being sold at the end of 1998, the figure instead went to the Official Star Wars Fan Club as an exclusive. This release was modified from the vehicle pack-in. For starters, he's shorter. Rather than having his limbs straight like the pack-in (and vintage) releases, this version has his legs and arms bent very slightly. The sculpt itself appears nearly identical to the pack-in version, and unless you had the two side-by-side odds are you would easily mistake one for the other. The differences are extremely subtle.
The figure's design and deco are spectacular for the time. He was designed to sit, and sit well-- there's no problems fitting this guy into the cockpit of your favorite vehicles. He has six points of articulation, and a very colorful chest panel. Even his back panel is loaded with detail, all sorts of lights and switches are there and painted quite carefully. This figure can't hold a candle to the 2006 (and upcoming 2009) releases, but it's quite good for its time and one of the best figures of its era. There's little need for you to revisit it today due to the more recent and clearly superior releases, but if you want to look at a fine example of what Kenner was doing well at the end of their branded run, this is it. (Pote Snitkin was also incredible.)
Collector's Notes: In the USA, this figure, the Death Star Droid, Hoth Princess Leia, and Pote Snitkin were sold as fairly expensive Fan Club exclusives. Internationally, they were standard releases.
Day 1,140: October 27, 2009