Friday, April 22, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,528: Snowtrooper

SNOWTROOPER The Battle of Hoth
Saga Basic Figures Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84851 No. 84979
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0319
Includes: Blaster, E-Web Cannon, Projectile, Backpack
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99-$5.99
Availability: Summer 2003
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: With the Imperial forces dominating their assault of the Rebel base on Hoth, the battered Rebels flee the ice planet. An Imperial Snowtrooper, a highly-specialized form of trooper created for cold weather missions, sets up an E-Web repeating blaster hoping to destroy Han's Millennium Falson. But Han destroys the enemy's blaster and escapes to continue to fight another day. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: On a 2010 Freeco Speeder backdrop. Nice, eh?

Commentary: There are two fascinating things about this Snowtrooper: one, that its accessories are far better than its cost warranted, and two, it was made from an inferior grade of white plastic. (See Collector's Notes for more on the latter.) This figure was also notable for not being a "trooper" so much as a ranking officer, on the upper left-hand part of his chest armor are some colored squares that says he's smarter than the average grunt. Shorter than the hulking 1997 Snowtrooper, this version really did pack a lot of fun into a cheap package. The head could turn (a first for a 3 3/4-inch Snowtrooper), he had a holster for his blaster, and he had added ankle articulation to help with improving his poses in battle scenes.

The detail is really nice, with some crinkles in the mask and a nice, smooth helmet. There isn't a lot of dirt-- which is nice, given the snow-- and while the articulation isn't as good as later figures, it's not bad at 7 points. The helmet's ability to pivot forward and backward is a nice touch, but the real winner here is the E-Web Cannon. In the vintage line, it was a separate accessory-- in 1997, it was a deluxe figure's accessory. And now? Basic figure. How cool is that? It fires a rocket and has pretty good detail, but lacks the cable and ammo box of the previous two releases. So while not perfect, it certainly was cheap and you absolutely got your money's worth. For those keeping track of such things, the accessories Hasbro packed in with figures from 2002-2004 were, on the whole, some of the best of the entire run. And when I say "entire run" I mean everything from 1978-2011, they really crammed some awesome gear in some of those figures. Sure we got a few good ones in 2006, but nothing quite this nice.

Collector's Notes: This figure was made during a time where Hasbro's white plastic often grew a green film over time. This happens to packaged and opened figures, and can be removed off the figure if you rub it with a cloth, damp or otherwise. It's extremely difficult to get into the nooks and crannies. If you can get the green out of the nooks of his backpack, you're a genius. This particular affliction is pretty common on figures made of mostly white plastic from 2002-2004, which effectively encompasses the entire Attack of the Clones/Saga blue carded action figure line as well as some 2003 Clone Wars figures. If you haven't seen your 2002-2004 figures lately, you might want to go check them out-- even if properly cared for in a dark, cool place, the figures will grow this green grease that has to be removed physically. This particular Snowtrooper mold was reused quite a bit, so don't be surprised if you see a few flavors of it in your collection.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,528: April 22, 2011

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