Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,940: Nuna

NUNA  Swamp Creatures
Discover the Force Walmart Exclusive Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 63349  No.  63354  
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Tool, bag, Shaak, Pikobi, Faamba
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: May 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: The Nuna, or "Swamp Turkey," is a two-legged blob of meat.  Baby Nuna hatchlings are pretty tiny, and coincidentally the full adult size of the Dwarf Nuna.  While designed as a Naboo creature, you can see Jabba delight in flicking them to their deaths on Tatooine.  There's also an awesome book called "The Wildlife of Star Wars" that features these and other creatures from the saga (and beyond) in great detail, which, honestly, I think you'll enjoy more than this figure.

Image: Adam's photo dump.

Commentary: 1999 was an orgy of delights when it comes to Star Wars as a licensed product.  There's so much stuff from so many companies that the mainstream press picked up on it, and Us Magazine (now Us Weekly) even called putzes like me to be quoted on how these would succeed or fail.  (I predicted a few turkeys, so I consider that bragging rights.  It also was the "Hunks of Summer" issue so you can bet I used that line on the few dates I could con women into going on... to no great effect.)

Anyway, Nuna.   This little guy was part of a sub-line of little plastic figures, unpainted, roughly 2-inches long.  "Battle Bags" were a bizarre carded packet, with the four figures completely obscured but fully identified in a black sack with this powdery slime that turns to gel when you submerge the bag in water.  It's a proper "toy" from a time when we saw the transition of Star Wars merchandise take a hard turn away from kid stuff, and man, this set was total kid stuff.  These figures were not really scaled to the figures on the whole, but the Nuna was pretty close to proper action figure size.

The little guy was molded in a creamy plastic and painted with some varying shades of green and given red eyes.  It's a fat little guy with bulbous toes and a strange wattle, standing near 2-inches high.  Since there's no articulation to speak of you probably aren't going to do a heck of a lot with him, but man, look at it.  It's neat!  One of the areas where I feel the prequels were shortchanged were its creature design, with bafflingly great creatures based on classic movie monsters, real-world sea creatures, and goodness knows what sort of nightmares were in the artist heads.  The Nuna was one of the many bipedal, arm/wing-free creatures and I just love it.  We'll probably never see more of the monsters from the first prequel as big toys, which saddens me, but I am really glad we got a more or less properly-sized Nuna for our action figures.  It's cute.  I love it.  I think you will, too.

Collector's Notes:  There were few times that were as glorious for toy hunting as the late 1990s and early 2000s, as massive clearance sales were almost the norm starting late December 1999.  The Battle Bags were dumped at Target for 75% off - that's when I got mine - as I was in a period where I thought I might actually be exiting Star Wars collecting, it was more of an afterthought purchase.  Today these sets aren't worth too much, but it surprised me they can still command $10 on eBay.  They're neat, for four little guys it seems a smidgen expensive but hey, I'd have paid $10 for this one.  I'm stoked Hasbro took a chance on this weird concept so I got a Sando Aqua Monster and numerous Naboo fish, even if the sizes aren't quite what I might have preferred.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,940: November 20, 2012


Reverend Strone said...

I love that we got these. It's this kind of spicey background texture that makes the galaxy far far away so attractive to me, so I was thrilled when I discovered these had been made (they were never released in my territory). He's close enough to action figure scale and a good enough scupt and paint to be worthy diorama filler. I own several and am always on the look out for more. :) I wish we got more of these little obscure background critters as blister filling fodder with modern figures. I would love some Tatooine Scurriers, a Road Creature, more Woklings or any other mini one-piece unarticulated goodies like these. Long live the Nuna.

Chris said...

Agreed. Still looking to track down that Jabba's palace denizels pack for a reasonable price, but I'd love an additional Attark and some other critters. Might have to keep an eye out for this one.

Chris said...
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