Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,627: First Order Driver (Galaxy of Adventures 5-Inch)

FIRST ORDER DRIVER with Treadspeeder
Galaxy of Adventures   5-Inch Vehicle Pack-in
Item No.:
No. E3030
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, projectile, Treadspeeder with pop-off panels
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99
Availability: October 2019
Appearances: The Rise of Skywalker

Bio: No bio on the box - that must be why it looks so good. Let's say The First Order Drivers are pretty good at their job.  They start learning their craft at an early age, as a baby driver.  Unfortunately that has been used as a name for a movie already, so we will not see a Star Wars Baby Driver movie.

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: Behold, the lost promise of the 1990s.  When I first saw this upsized Galaxy of Adventures line-up, I saw things that seemingly didn't make it out - but the First Order Driver and this new 5-inch scale is pretty fantastic.  The only thing it has going against it is that you've already got dozens, hundreds, or maybe thousands of figures in other formats.  If Hasbro sticks to its guns and makes this a new "kid format," I think it has a lot of potential - but we've also seen limited tenacity with most new toy expressions.

Since and including 2005, Hasbro has had tons of formats in circulation.  Unleashed (7-inch), Unleashed (2-inch), 3 3/4-inch (basic, vintage, Titanium, and so forth), 12-inch Titan Hero Series, Galactic Heroes, Jedi Force, the new line called Galactic Heroes that used to be called Jedi Force, MicroMachines, 6-inch Black Series, 6-inch basic/value, and more - plus more from other manufacturers.  Any new format probably results in collectors clenching their backsides, squinting, untrusting of a new format.  And rightly so - even The Black Series was greeted with derision before achieving significant popularity around wave 3, at which point the old guard hated it.  You can't succeed for winning, I guess.

At press time I managed to get my mitts on this 5-inch not-a-Stormtrooper early... and I hate myself for liking it.  Back in the 1990s, action figure fans generally loved Kenner's 4 1/2-inch-ish  Batman and other lines as well as Playmates' then-transcendent 4 1/2-inch Star Trek lines.  For $5-$6 you got a good figure with a gaggle of accessories, possibly a display stand, and maybe a trading card on nice packaging.   Kenner went with a smaller format, which seemed disappointing given other companies gave you more plastic for less money.   Hasbro has been giving you less plastic for more money ever since, with 3 3/4-inch figures seemingly selling at a premium mark-up.  These new guys are about $10 with 10 or more points of articulation - this trooper has 23 points of articulation, and a vehicle.  I can't help but feeling I was hornswaggled in the other formats.  Hasbro gives you a figure with decent deco and frankly superb articulation at a price I can't complain about.

The mostly white figure has a few markings, and is basically a sort of Scout and Trooper hybrid. There's a double-neck joint barbell piece, so there's superb range of movement there.  You have wrist joints, rocker ankles, a waist joint, elbows, knees, lateral hip movement... it's dang near perfect and better than most 3 3/4-inch figures we've had over the last 41 years.  You might not like the stylized proportions, but I don't notice them on this trooper.  The only things I didn't love on the figure itself were the quick-draw mechanism (it works, but there's no way to lock it or turn it off) and the fact the blaster can't plug into the figure's hip. An extra groove in a thigh and an extra tab on the gun don't cost more money - Hasbro could've done this easily and at no added cost.

The bike itself is perfectly fine, large and goofy with big treads and no on-board weapon storage.  (Yes, this is an issue for me.)  It's simple and looks like something Kenner would've come up with if its Mini-Rigs line continued another 2-3 years in The Power of the Force lines - either one, really.   The packaging is attractive with lots of dots, bright colors, and minimal plastic - it's impressive.  I wanted to hate this toy, and even not write about it.  But once I got it in my hands and played with it, I can only say that it's really good and I wish we lived in some miracle era where this could be a new standard for kids and collectors, rather than splitting the line, or that it were the line we got in the 1990s instead of POTF2.  It's good, it's priced fairly, and my only real complaint about the line as a whole is that it lacks cohesion so far.  I hope Hasbro sticks with it long enough to give us 100 or so of the best characters.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.  

--Adam Pawlus


Day 2,627: October 8, 2019

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