Thursday, September 1, 2011

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,622: Wicket the Ewok

The Vintage Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 97568 No. 21488
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: VC27
Includes: Pouch, green hood, brown hood, spear
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $7.99
Availability: October 2010
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Celebrate the legendary Star Wars saga that changed the universe forever! This collection brings to life the incredible story of good versus evil that captured our imagination and took us to a galaxy far, far away. Iconic Star Wars heroes and villains are captured with incredible detail and premium features to commemorate each epic tale in the Star Wars saga. May the Fore be with you! (Taken from the figure's packaging. There is no bio.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' apartment complex common area. Figure is pictured with alternate accessories, included. Note: this figure does not blink.

Commentary: The original 1998 Wicket sculpt did Hasbro (then under the Kenner brand) a lot of good, as numerous figures were tweaked versions of that design. While not bad for a generic Ewok, the mold wasn't really ideal for Wicket as he was really big and kind of funky. This new one is more appropriately sized, with more articulation and gear. It also costs about three times as much as the 1997 release. Such is progress! The new figure is an entirely new sculpt with nine points of articulation-- but it's worth noting the hoods restrict the neck movement a little bit. The very fuzzy sculpt is augmented with a lot of paint, and the face paint seems more dirty than it does seem true to the creamy fur on the face of the movie suit and original 1984 Kenner figure. He's no slouch-- the body is unquestionably better with so much more movement and detail at a more compact size, if Hasbro repainted the face I wouldn't complain when the variation hit.

What makes this figure really special-- more so than the wrist and ankle joints-- is its gear. The spear is nice and everything, but Hasbro decided to give children of the 1980s a treat by including a second hood. The primary one (as worn in the package) replicates the garment from Return of the Jedi, while the green hood and pouch are inspired by the second season of the ABC-TV Ewoks cartoon from roughly 1986. Rather than having a "bib" hanging down over his belly, the animated designs for Wicket, which were also used in a number of coloring books, valentines, and other merchandise, sported a cape. Granted, most of these used a tan or brown color, so the green one is a genuine treat for fans of the show, who know it's meant to be from the year that Ewoks saw a change-up in its voice cast and animation. I applaud this weirdness. It also leaves the door open for an orange or brown "season 1" redeco down the road, minus the pouch. (Hasbro: that's about as subtle as my hints get without labeling them. [Too late, sorry.])

Despite the price, I like this figure. It's weird-- at a retail store, paying $9 for arguably the best Wicket toy we'll ever get seems like a stretch, but if Hasbro put the very same toy at Comic-Con as an exclusive for $20 I'd pay it with a smile. Weird, hunh? I really dig the nod to the cartoon, as very few of these have been made in the modern line's rapidly approaching 2,000-figure run.

Collector's Notes: This figure sold pretty well and shipped from Hasbro as late as July 2011, if not more recently, as you are in the future. The price is creeping up on eBay, but that may be in response to rising prices at retail. I'm going to guess it'll go up over time due to the cartoon accessory, as even if this figure gets reissued down the road, I can't imagine they'll include the same season 2 gear again. So pay the $9 and get it over with.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,622: September 1, 2011

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