30th Anniversary Collection Wal-Mart Exclusive
Item No.: No. 87229
Includes: 5 instruments, 4 identical figures, tin
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: November 2007
Appearances: Star Wars
Bio: During the Clone Wars, the Bith Jazz sensation was at its highest, and Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes rode that wave all the way to the top. Popular even with the clone troopers of the Republic, the Modal Nodes toured constantly. After the war's end, Imperial policies and mismanagement cast the Modal Nodes on hard times. It fell to band leader Figrin D'an to keep the group together, booking gigs at any backwater cantina that would pay their fee. (Taken from the figure's box.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' kitchen.
Commentary: The Cantina Band (made up of Figrin D'an, Doikk Na'ts, and depending on who you ask several others) is tricky because all the members look the same and you'd basically need a freeze-frame and a pointer to identify all the different dudes hanging out in the Cantina who may or may not be a part of the group. Since there are only five instruments, it seems Hasbro considers there to be only five members of the band-- so in this set, you get five figures, and the value isn't really there. Since they're sculpts from 1997 Hasbro did have to do some work to dress them up a bit-- quite literally, as each has an added garment. A cloth vest has been added to each band member, but there's no getting around some of the flaws of that era. Specifically, none of the figures can stand unassisted unless you kick a foot ahead and angle it slightly, so only one foot can be flat against the ground. Sadly this was a common issue in the early days of the modern line, although ultimately you could find a way to position each figure to stand. Clearly, this was not a priority for Hasbro (then Kenner) until a few years later.
The sculpt holds up fairly well, thanks mostly to the paint added to the figures. There's a lot of detail and a light wash brings out the various bumps and grooves on the head, while the outfit has been redecorated with another light wash plus the shirt has some added white paint on it. Each figure has 10 points of articulation and is notable for having the first articulated wrists and elbows in Star Wars. Basic figures wouldn't get this sort of articulation until about a year later, but since this figure is a repaint of a then-10-year-old toy... well, it's just sort of old. The set looks better in the box than it does out, although diorama fodder doesn't need to do much other than stand around and look pretty. I also suggest leaving the rubber bands on the hands to keep the instruments in place, they'll decay eventually but at least you'll get a few good years out of them being posed properly. The figures are good, but not great, and clearly a great case for Hasbro to redo a figure for vintage. After all, these figures were one of very few I think all fans would agree were sorely missing from the 1978-1980 line of action figures and really are a hallmark of what made the movie memorable, even if they are clearly lesser characters as sales and the story goes.
As Hasbro made no effort to name the characters in-pack, and they're all essentially the same guy, we're just going to do the one article on them. I'm not sure if we should tally them individually in character count or not (probably) but for the purposes of this column, it's all one figure.
Collector's Notes: The same five figures were also repackaged as "Star Wars Weekends" Disneyworld exclusives shortly thereafter. The figures are identical, but each costs a lot more and includes a really swell light-up display base that plays music. If you have to choose between the two, get the Disney ones as the tin isn't exactly fun.
Day 1,440: December 21, 2010