Episode I FAO Schwarz Exclusive
Item No.: No. 84369
Includes: Prod, Fambaa
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: Fall 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace
Bio: Giant swamp lizards called fambaas are key to Gungan defense on the battlefield. Working in pairs, the forward fambaa's apparatus fires energy into a receiver mounted on the rear beast, creating a bubble-like shield that unites with other fambaa shields to from an enormous canopy of protection over the Grand Army. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)
Image: Adam's former back yard.
Commentary: The very first Gungan Warrior was packaged with a very expensive, very large exclusive which was sold at a high-end toy store not available in most cities. As an army builder, I found that frustrating-- especially since this one was pretty good. With six points of articulation, the figure was designed to do little more than stand on a platform inside the massive Fambaa, a huge lizard with zero points of articulation which was priced about $30-$40 too high for something that did essentially nothing. It was basically a very expensive version of the cheap hollow vinyl dinosaur toys, but if you wanted one of every action figure? Tough. You had to get a Fambaa.
I will say I like the figure enough that I'm not sorry I made the purchase. The armor was sculpted quite well, and the detail on the figure is very good overall. The skin pattern, specifically on the arms, is quite remarkable and something Hasbro has phased out of Gungans released since 2009 (so far, anyway.) If you get in close, you can see all these little textures on the figure, which does a lot to bring it to life-- granted, another fifteen cents of paint applications could have made him gorgeous, but that was twelve years ago and too bad. If you like Gungans-- and I might take flack for this, but I do-- this is an essential buy as the mold has not yet been reused.
Collector's Notes: After lingering on FAO shelves, the set is now worth about $20-$40. And yes, that's sealed in the box. Much like the Ewoks of old, the Gungans will likely always remain relatively cheap because the collector market won't drive up the prices. I'm not sure how many of these were produced, but there's no shortage of the supply. Don't let that stop you, though-- if you like Phantom Menace stuff, this is a really neat piece, and the entire toy program for that movie is better than people on the message boards would have you think. Having said that, the Fambaa comes in a swell window box (that's good!) and has fewer play features than your average $9 action figure these days (that's bad!) so buyer, be aware! Not "beware." I think you don't need a sense of foreboding when it comes to buying a Gungan and his giant elephant-lizard friend.
Day 1,681: November 23, 2011