Saturday, August 4, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 455: Emperor Palpatine

EMPEROR PALPATINE with Walking Stick
Power of the Force Collection 1, 3
Item No.:
Asst. 69570 No. 69633
Number: n/a
Includes: Walking Stick, Freeze Frame in 1998
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99-$5.99
Availability: March 1997-2000
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: The Emperor schemed on levels that few could understand, manipulating plans within plans the way a master gamesman strategizes his pieces on the board. But young Luke Skywalker exceeded all of Palpatine's evil expectations... (Taken from the figure's 1998 cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' figure shelves.

Commentary: While not the most popular figure ever, nor the best selling, the 1997 Emperor Palpatine helped mark the transition that Kenner was going through, from super-buff toys for kids to realistic, more true-to-the-film action figures that fans of all ages could probably enjoy. While saddled with a non-leg as the figure is a solid piece from the waist down, the sculptors took advantage of this to create robes and a pose which would give this figure a lot of personality while being stuck as a non-moving statue. (Except for the head and arms, that is.) As a figure that doesn't do much but stand or sit, it's nice that this one looks good sitting. An extra layer of rubbery robes can be found over his shoulders and back, encasing him in an extra layer of costuming which hides his fairly useless waist joint. The robes were great for the day, with loads of wrinkles, and just enough folds and creases to let you know that it wasn't 1984 anymore and the sculptors were serious about making a great figure for fans. His face wasn't quite perfect, but wasn't exactly bad either-- the orange circles around the eyes were a nice touch, but the figure wasn't terribly wrinkly and looks downright young compared to more recent releases which look like they have some of the most ornate foreheads you'd ever hope to see. This is probably the best modern Emperor figure, which is unfortunate given how many more we've since been sold. If Hasbro fixed up the head and made him a little more wrinkly, this would probably make the basis for the all-time best Emperor Palpatine action figure-- although the 2005 one was very good, too.

Collector's Notes: Available for the better part of two years, this figure sat around in some areas and was a decent seller in others. Old men in black robes with no color, no exciting weapons, and no action features aren't necessarily the most enticing to a casual buyer, but fans do remember quality. This figure has it in spades, and due to the high production numbers, you can still get one for a very fair price.

Day 455: August 4, 2007

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