Thursday, January 13, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,457: Sila Kott (A-Wing Pilot)

SILA KOTT A-Wing Fighter Pilot
The Legacy Collection Battle Over Endor
Item No.:
Asst. 97639 No. 21451
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #1 of 2
Includes: Pistol, helmet, 3 additional figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $24.99
Availability: January 2010
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Bravery. Skill. Loyalty. These are defining characteristics of the starfighter pilots on both sides of the conflict at the Battle of Endor. Whether they are Rebels or Imperials, these elite pilots are all focused on the same goal: victory. They are deeply aware that they are deciding the future of the galaxy, and will do everything they can to complete their mission. (Taken from the figure's packaging. Note, there's no character-specific copy on the packaging.)

Image: The backdrop from the packaging. It's real nice, I'm keeping this one.

Commentary: Some fans say we still need more rebel pilots. With the release of these Battle Over Endor sets we're getting figures like Sila Kott who, as far as I can tell, weren't named until these toys were proposed. That, my friends, means we're hitting the bottom of the proverbial barrel. This character has a slightly interesting history in that the character on film is played by an unknown actress, but is voiced over by a male actor. I'll let that sink in for a second. Gender has been an issue with alien characters in the past, but very rarely have we had a situation where it's difficult to say what a figure should be-- male, or female? Given the costuming it could go either way, but the voice is unmistakably male. But the face? That's a woman. So what should the figure be? What you see, or what it seemed the film's various editors stitched together? It's weird. The only thing I can think of that's similar are the Talosians on Star Trek which were played by women but were also dubbed by men... although the costumes more or less obfuscated obvious signs of chickishness. The potential arguments you can have over the nature of the "character" from the film and his or her treatment on the screen could probably make for a lot of very interesting chatter... but this is a toy column.

Anyway. So while I haven't yet asked Hasbro what their process was on this one, it seems they did a good job covering their bases with a pilot of more or less ambiguous plumbing. The hair, eyes, and facial structure didn't strike me as female in the store but as soon as I looked at the photograph it did feel a little more feminine, and odds are if they gave the figure a little color on her lips fans would be immediately saying "hey, it's a girl's head on the male body!" Since Sila-- whose name I can't remember for more than two seconds despite trying to memorize it all day yesterday, what's wrong with me?-- is an unknown entity to fans on the whole (unless you wrote his/her Wookieepedia page yourself, if you claim you knew him/her before the figure got announced, you're a damned liar) I have a hard time really knowing where to come down on this one. Given that these sets exist to make the most out of existing tooling and do so at a good price point, I can't fault them from reusing the 2007 A-Wing Pilot body mold again, redecorating it slightly so the colors are different enough to be distinctive and also be obviously a member of the same squadron.

I really like the new head sculpt, even though I'm not quite sure how I'm supposed to look at it. It has personality and a nice hair color, plus the outfit looks really good as always. The helmet deco is also really nice, its coloring feels particularly of the 1980s. While I'm really happy to be getting more unique Return of the Jedi starfighter pilots, I'm left confused by this one-- my inability to stop contemplating things like authenticity and authorial intent (or just general screw-ups) gets in the way of my being able to tell you if you should buy this figure or not.

Let me put it like this: if you have no A-Wing pilots, this is a good one. If you have enough A-Wing pilots, this one won't do much to make you happy to have yet another one. If you want a conversation piece in your collection, by gum, this is a hum-dinger. If you have Star Wars fan friends I highly suggest you do a little research on Sila Kott and have yourself a nice little conversation about this one. I didn't know this little factoid until just hours before I wrote this column yesterday, so unfortunately I didn't have a lot of time to absorb it.

Collector's Notes: The set hit, as far as I can tell, yesterday. (The first sightings popped up on January 12, and I found a set a few hours later.) So as of right now, it's possible this set was at your local store, or already sold through-- the sets I picked up were the only ones there, so clearly someone beat me to the rest and it's possible your stores have already sold through their first shipments, too. Good hunting! The same body was used to make several other figures including Arvel Crynyd, Tycho Celchu, and Jake Farrell. If you're a Blackadder fan, I'm assuming that Sila may be Corellian for "Bob."

Packaging Notes: These figures come in blue and black packaging that simply says "Star Wars" on it. Since the instructions still say "The Legacy Collection," that's the name I'm going with, although some fans have referred to these as "Shadows of the Dark Side." The form factor is very tight, with little wasted space and a silver "R" exclusive sticker. I like these a lot, but I have to wonder why Hasbro didn't appeal directly to collectors with something similar to Target's vintage 3- and 9-packs. Y-Wing Pilot Ekelarc Yong is the strongest new figure in the set, with the R5-P9 droid being a great new redeco and Lt. Oxixo being a just-different-enough-to-make-you-made TIE Fighter Pilot. (Although Major Mianda is going to win figure of the year award for most frustrating, and we'll talk about him in a few weeks.) With these two packs of pilots and now Lando, we're fast approaching (if not having already exceeded) a necessary compliment of fighter pilots. Hasbro does a great job but if we get any more figures like Kott here my head is going to $#@#%@! explode.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,457: January 13, 2011


DarthBerl said...

I'm gonna wait to get mine in the mail, as per I ordered mine via when they debuted at buy 2 get 1 free. I'm disgusted with TRU's price increases recently, even though these are fairly priced for an exclusive, $21.99 for a deluxe figure, $29.99 for basic starfighter vehicles and battle packs, and I believe it's $10.99 for the vintage figures now. Disgusting.

Philip Ayres said...

Do the Y-Wing Pilot! I've waited 28 years for a grey Y-Wing pilot!

davy said...

i automatically assumed this was a male figure at first glance, but after reading your write up i'm not sure. "it" could be either one..thanks for the mind f**k hasbro!

Special Agent said...

Let's just call the pilot "Pat"...

moraitis66 said...

I've been waiting for a gray Y-Wing Pilot too. I just wish it was a new scult, and not a repainted B-Wing Pilot body.