Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,270: Battle Droid

BATTLE DROID Arena Battle (Tan)
Saga Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84861 No. 84865
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0211
Includes: Backpack, blast effects, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: April 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: A decade earlier, the Trade Federation's army of battle droids invaded the peaceful planet of Naboo. Now these droids are back in even greater numbers, ready to march against the Jedi and the forces of the Galactic Republic. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's yard.

Commentary: While not Hasbro's finest Battle Droid, this one ain't bad. In 2002 Hasbro redesigned the figure, removing the knee joints we saw on most of the Episode I and Power of the Jedi releases. While this may sound inexcusable, Hasbro added additional paint operations, more accessories, and slashed the price by two bucks. In my book, that's a huge improvement but it seems a lot of fans didn't agree. A number of stores choked on this figure, and I personally managed to score a few of them for around US $0.60 a piece. It's sad to think we live in a world where any troop builder has to go through multiple clearances to get to that point, but it does show that anything-- even something great-- isn't guaranteed to be a hit.

The sculpt is pretty good and was used on and off for a while. Hasbro gave the figure joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips, and neck, which are certainly acceptable. We've since got better sculpts and even more improved deco, but this is a good one for scene filler. The chest has a little peg on it which you can place a "blast effect" on to make it look like he got shot. There's also some blue energy pieces to make it look like he suffered damage. A fan without the obsessive need to keep everything on the figure (like me) can mix and match elements with other Battle Droids, creating a scene of "different" figures using these unique pieces. It's a pretty good figure from the Episode II line, and since we haven't yet received a "perfect" tan Battle Droid with mega articulation and all of that it's still arguably worth owning. With dozens of unique Battle Droid figures a collector could assemble quite the toy collection of just this character, and it's a great example of how Hasbro has developed and how their thinking has changed over the past ten years.

Collector's Notes: The first release of this figure (seen here) shipped in 2002 in tan. In January 2003, the assortments shipped with a recolored and repackaged red figure under the same SKU. The tan one is the more common. Interestingly, Hasbro knew of the fact they would change it as soon as possible at Celebration II, the big Star Wars convention held in Indianapolis. That was in May 2002, which shows that even when you're trying to do something "immediately" it may take a while in the world of manufacturing.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,270: April 27, 2010

No comments: