Friday, May 28, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,293: Wes Janson

WES JANSON Snowspeeder Pilot
The Legacy Collection Evolutions
Item No.:
Asst. 87874 No. 87602
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: I
Includes: Blaster, helmet, additional figures
Action Feature: Removable helmet
Retail: $19.99
Availability: July 2008
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: The legacy of Rebel pilots is one of uncompromising independence and gritty determination. These are the pilots who crushed the Empire and became the architects of the elite squadrons to come. Dorovio Bold flies an X-wing at the Battle of Yavin, going cannon-to-cannon against Imperial fighters. During the Battle of Hoth, Wes Janson toppled an AT-AT walker with a skillfully unorthodox maneuver. Ten Numb helped achieve victory at the Battle of Endor flying a weapons-packed B-wing. From hotshots to heroes, Alliance pilots built a legacy that has given birth to countless tales of glory throughout the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: In 2008 the Evolutions line evolved rather quickly, from the premiere destination of new, super-articulated premium sculpts to a place where Hasbro frequently reused some of their more popular molds. Not that I blame them, but with three packs of Rebel Pilots over about a year and a half, it got pretty samey pretty quick. At the time of their release, these pilots and Wes Janson were pretty exciting and new-- this was our first-ever truly super-articulated Snowspeeder pilot and unless I'm mistaken, the only Snowspeeder pilot figure to be a completely new sculpt since the 1996 X-Wing pilot Luke. Hasbro did a good job doing it right from the get-go here, giving fans the super-articulation they expect and an easily reused body so they can make additional pilots in the future. Wes has a thermal cap on under his helmet, a strange facial expression, and a lot of detail in his suit. Actually, his face is the one thing i dislike about this figure, because he just looks strange. I know they can't all be perfect, but geez, this is a creepy guy. At least you can leave his checkered helmet on and basically ignore the fact he's probably looking you up and down through the window while you undress. With a trigger finger sculpted for his blaster and lots of straps, Hasbro did really good here-- after all, what can you do to make White Guy in Orange Suit interesting after so many releases? The added bulk and off-white accessories did a lot to make him distinctive, so he's worth picking up for your Hoth dioramas and vehicles. And he's probably pretty cheap these days.

Collector's Notes: The 2008 Evolutions sets were not great sellers in most areas-- they stuck around and pretty much caused the line to end up as a Wal-Mart exclusive, which also underperformed and was eventually dumped at Ross stores. For this set, if you pay more than original retail, you're a chump. $10-$15 may even be too much just because there's very little interest in this pack on the secondary market at press time.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,293: May 28, 2010

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