Monday, February 13, 2012

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,739: Pit Droids

PIT DROID Red Crouching Deco
30th Anniversary Collection Saga Legends (also Episode I bonus figure)
Item No.:
Asst. 85770 No. 84190
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Box, extra figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Early 2000/Late 2007
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Pit droids help repair and maintain podracers with zealous efficiency. Small yet incredibly strong, pit droids often dash onto the racetrack before the vehicles have stopped, risking their mechanical lives in their eagerness to get to work. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: One nice thing about Hasbro is that they're pretty good at slowly dismantling the secondary market of the modern Star Wars figure line, with few exceptions. At one point, the Pit Droid figures like this one were overseas exclusives, a replacement for the CommTech Chips around the year 2000 in Europe and Asia. We wanted them-- and we didn't get them. Which is totally uncool, being the biggest market for this stuff. (It would be like US-exclusive Zoids. It makes no sense.) These figures were in short supply, got expensive, and the fan outcry was surprisingly low. Heck, even I didn't complain about it all that much-- current distribution woes were more of a big deal than these six little droids which were absent from the US collector market for nearly 7 years, while some climbed to triple digits. Thankfully Hasbro had mercy on us and released them with minimal changes, in 2-packs, around 2007. This little red droid was basically the same as the one packaged with the Naboo Guard and Holographic Emperor figures overseas, except this time it didn't require you buy duplicate figures to get a set of them. (Well, aside from the droid itself-- they came in pairs.)

Being a product of 1999 design aesthetics, the little guy has jointed shoulders and hips, plus a ball-jointed head. Being wiry, he may have difficulty standing if you aren't careful. He doesn't have foot holes either, so prepare for a hassle there. He has no trouble sitting, or looking cool. Since these guys are best displayed fidgeting with your Pod Racer vehicles, you can probably have them leaning or pretending to grab things. The sculpt is unremarkable, but that's OK-- the design isn't very complicated, so there don't need to be too many exposed wires or other elements here. I'm sure Hasbro could do an entirely new sculpt and blow us away, but they did a good enough job 10 years ago where I don't expect to ever see an all-new Pit Droid ever again. These are fine, they're cheap, and frankly I'd rather they keep reissuing figures (so I can skip them) than making new, different versions anyway.

Collector's Notes: You should be able to score this figure off the secondary market at or under its issue price, which is great. These little guys are cool and not the kind of thing that should be a bazillion dollars. An alternate sculpt of this toy in the same colors was also sold, as were 2 other recolors of the toy using this same mold. All 6 different flavors of Pit Droid were sold as 2-packs in the same SKU.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,739: February 13, 2012

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