The Vintage Collection Kmart Exclusive
Item No.: Asst. A1116 No. A0398
Includes: Packaged with AT-ST Driver, helmet, blaster
Action Feature: Removable helmet
Availability: October 2012
Appearances: Return of the Jedi
Bio: These two Imperial troopers find themselves in trouble when they encounter a couple of Ewoks and one giant Wookiee. The unlucky driver is knocked unconscious by Widdle Warrick, Wunka and Chewbacca. The gunner fares no better: he is unceremoniously tossed out of the vehicle by the trio. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)
Image: Adam's photo dump.
Commentary: Will nameless on the box, this AT-ST Gunner is based on Robert Watts, a Return of the Jedi co-producer eventually dubbed, not very originally, "Lieutenant Watts." There aren't many cameo gag figures in this line, but Hasbro has put out quite a few good ones like Lt. Dannl Faytonni, Jeremoch Colton, and of course Baron Papanoida. (We had better get a Steve Sansweet from the next 5 movies. Get on that, Disney, he's good people.) Watts the AT-ST Driver is the same as his box-mate save for the head, both figures recycle the basic body type introduced by a Hoth AT-ST Driver in a Target exclusive from a couple of years ago. It's a really great mold, why it didn't get made as a "vintage" figure is beyond me as its 15 points of articulation and pretty fantastic hip joints make it an ideal pilot and a great collectible. (I'm also fairly sure the figure's harness is really a seat belt.)
While the packaging showed a different harness with a holster, this figure is basically nothing too new for its time. The new head and the cameo gimmick made it interesting, plus it had really fantastic packaging. (Which I tossed out because I've only got so much room.) This is a great trooper done right, and it looks good in the AT-ST vehicle. Oh, and Kmart's exclusive AT-ST vehicle is, out-of-the-box, not much good until the Earth's gravity changes so it won't collapse upon itself. If you're short on money, just buy the drivers, maybe the Ewoks, and if you've still got $30-$50 to blow just get that French LP by "Soggy" for your turntable. You'll be glad you did.
Collector's Notes: Kmart being Kmart, you probably don't have one near you which means this was scarce. It came out later than expected, but did tend to linger a little bit before getting marked down from the already pretty good price of $14.99. Word on the street had it that, at one point, the AT-ST and the four figures were to be a larger gift set but Kmart demanded a smaller price point so Hasbro hacked it up into the set you see here. True? Probably but I can't confirm it with my data on hand, i.e., not that many people are looking forward to taking my calls. But seriously, get that first "Soggy" record and if you can find the second one, Slog, do let me know. I want to hear it.
Day 2,025: March 19, 2013