Monday, April 1, 2013

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,034: BoShek

BOSHEK So It's Come To This
The Power of the Jedi Collection Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 84455 No. 84664
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Helmet, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Late 2001/Early 2002
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: BoShek is a smuggler and starship technician who flew illegal ships for Tatooine monks. He helped Obi-Wan Kenobi by pointing out Chewbacca in the Mos Eisley cantina, when the Jedi was looking for transportation to Alderaan for himself, Luke Skywalker and the droids.  (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam's old apartment's toy room, in the cantina diorama.  I took this in 2009.

Commentary: I consider BoShek to be the original gag figure, largely because I feel the joke was on me.  I used to write a Q&A column over at Rebelscum in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and fans started writing in - regularly - asking about when BoShek might come out.  My answers were typically some variation on "half past never" or "after Hell freezes over" or what have you, but since I was writing 3 10-question columns per week, I had to post something.  It turns out that back then Hasbro was reading the column regularly, and when BoShek came up at a brand meeting (or so one version of this story goes) they said "Hey, there's this guy on the internet who keeps writing how we'll never make it, we should totally do it to see his head explode."  (I've heard another version of this story that say "I don't know that you came up.")  Regardless, a couple of years of me making fun of BoShek inadvertently created more awareness for a balding, no-line pale man in a black space suit.  The least interesting man in the world has been rendered in plastic over some fairly fantastical alien creatures from one of the most influential scenes of one of the most world-changing movies ever made.   There were never petitions for BoShek, but there were a lot of nasty columns from me to my readers about why anyone would ever want him after the mutton chop joke worse off.  And I have him.  You do realize this is one of many problems I carry around inside my person on a day to day basis.

Complain as I will, even at the time of his release I couldn't deny that this was actually a pretty good action figure.  Hasbro made it do everything it should be able to do, and then some.  I was figuring we'd get an adequate figure who could stand up and maybe have a helmet or a drink, but Hasbro gave him a really ornate space helmet plus a unique gun which fits in a holster on his left hip.  Also, his right hand was posed in such a way that it looks like he can carry around his helmet... or make a rather rude gesture.   This figure was made using the same basic format for the era.  Heck, he doesn't even have that much articulation - the standard six joints were augmented by a swiveling right arm bicep, and that's all you get.   The quality of the sculpt was a little soft as well, especially when compared to the 2002 Cantina alien Djas Puhr which looked spectacular but felt less like a toy and, like much of the 2002 line, more of a collectible. 

While not a figure any kid would ever ask for, BoShek was a neat transitional piece between the end of Power of the Jedi, were you didn't really have to "be careful" with figures and you could just hand them to a kid and count on lightsabers generally not snapping or limbs generally not breaking off because the pegs were too skinny, or painted in place.  Things worked pretty well up until this point, and from here on out Hasbro started to question the "toy" conceit.  Heck, Eeth Koth from the previous wave was described by Hasbro as the future direction for the line with more of a statue pose, an aggressive stance, and a two-piece lightsaber which had a removable (breakable) blade.   History judged the removable blade harshly, the subsequent magnetic features (which I thought were neat) were dropped by 2003, and action features - largely absent from Star Wars figures - began to creep into the line with more spring-loaded rockets and other gimmicks.   Were I to begin collecting Star Wars toys today, I'd probably focus largely on Kenner and Hasbro's offerings from 1995-2002 and of course Kenner's range from 1978-1985.   Even "hard to get" figures were easier to find than the bulk of today's newest releases.

Collector's Notes: Depending on where you shopped, this figure was either fairly common or impossible to find. There was a Toys R Us near me that not only had a ton of these, but kept restocking them.  It was paved over for yet another car dealership after closing around 2006. Back in 2001, Hasbro would sometimes do case mixes with 3-4 new characters at 4-3 units per case - and stuff sold through.  There were few carry-forwards and the realty was that shortpacked Star Wars figures were fairly uncommon if you could wait a couple of months.  You likely could find them.  These mixes helped online stores to sell sets of waves, and it gave fans a bigger chance at actually finding stuff at retail.  This practice was pretty much done away with completely by 2009 as Hasbro produced larger waves and they had a stronger desire to milk existing figures for additional runs.   I don't blame them - Boba Fett and Darth Vader sell - but it kind of stings.   Today BoShek can be had for roughly his original issue price; he was always somewhat cheap on the secondary market.  I saw a bunch of him sealed on the card at Goodwill a few months ago.   Also, this is the last Star Wars Figure of the Day. Thank you for your kind indulgence.  Thank you for having read the column these last few years and please keep enjoying Galactic Hunter and Q&A.  If you'll excuse me, I need to go off and listen to a 50-minute version of "Louie, Louie."

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,034: April 1, 2013


Rez said...

Why the last figure?! We haven't gotten all the figures, have we? Have we? WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO READ EVERY DAY NOW MAN? BOOKS? PFT!!

Rez said...

Why the last figure?! We haven't gotten all the figures, have we? Have we? WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO READ EVERY DAY NOW MAN? BOOKS? PFT!!

KKNIGHT said...

Ok... perhaps I'm the only person that reads anymore, but tell me this isn't the last one? April fools? Please?

KKNIGHT said...

Ok... perhaps I'm the only person that reads anymore, but tell me this isn't the last one? April fools? Please?

Jason Fry said...

Really hope this isn't the last one -- have loved the column, along with everything else you've done for your fellow action-figure dorks over the years.

Philip Ayres said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Philip Ayres said...

Bo Shek's Spacesuit (and Bossk's) have a much longer history that most SW fans know.

I first saw them in the 1966 Doctor Who story the Tenth Planet and they're reused again in 1968's The Wheel in Space. There's a picture of the astronauts wearing them on the Tenth Planet entry on the Tardis Wikia.

m'learned colleagues tell me that Doctor Who wasn't the first time they were seen either - apparently The space suits are also used in the 1964 Harryhausen version of The First Men in the Moon.

Matthew said...

hope this is an april fools;)
check out this image:

Sy_Snootles_Is_Hot said...

I, too, hope this is a joke! Keep the FOTD coming! We love it!

Anonymous said...

I was sure this was an April Fool's Day prank, but here it is April 3 and no follow-up?

What of the thousand other barely discernible repaints?

Oh the humanity!

Madezra said...

Please do not be the last FOTD. PLEASE!
Just redo some if you have to. We need it!.

Madezra said...

Please do not be the last FOTD. PLEASE!
Just redo some if you have to. We need it!.

safari4ad said...

Please keep FOTD going!! I love the column and I need a reason to log on every day!

Andy said...

Thanks Adam for your years of hard work on this feature. I was a reader for day one and have used your body of work over the years time and again. Reading Figure of the Day has been part of my daily routine now for many years, sad to see it go but I wish you the best. Thanks for all the awesome.

Matthew said...

If this really is it, thanks a lot Adam. I've read every single one of these from day one and it's been a part of my morning routine for years. I'll miss the column but thanks so much for years of quality entertainment.

the Leatheryman said...

That's it? Say it isn't so!.. :(

My "Go to guy" for an insightful, honest and delightfully cynical, if not sarcastic, look at the little plastic works of art I love.

I didn't read your column every day, but the fact that you posted a new figure each day was one of the most obscure phenomenons I have ever encountered. Much respect. You will be missed!

Eddie Utrata said...

Just to bring it all full-circle, I came across this while re-reading (I was there from the start) your ancient Q+A's on RS via the Internet Archive---from August 6, 1999, the very first BoShek question and answer!:

Why hasn't Hasbro made a Bo Shek figure yet? They're making a couple of minimal characters like Admiral Motti and Wuhrer, but no Bo Shek.

Sure, I'll probably buy Motti and Wuhrer, but realistically these two figures are only going to be bought by older collectors, not kids. A figure like Bo Shek would be interesting enough that younger kids might actually want it just because he looks cool.

And I just don't think kids will want to play with a fat-bottomed booze jockey...

I've been following the POTF2 line since its rumored conception in 1994 (before if you count obsessively reading any sci-fi or toy mag for info), and I must say, this is the first time I have ever heard anyone ask for Bo Shek (for the uninitiated, he's the one Ben is talking to in a grey flight suit in the cantina.) I'm not saying it's weird, but it is a first-- I didn't think he was on the top 10 of anybody's want list, but hey, this proves the Star Wars Pizza Theory. (See below for more on that.)

Why not? Well, when it comes to cantina characters, the fan demand is generally just "more please" without many requests for specifics. Wuher was a popular character because a lot of us thought Hasbro defied what we considered a shoo-in, and that was having him as the pack-in figure with the pop-up diorama instead of the Sandtrooper. Like you said, Wuher's not for the kids... he's for us. Well, "us" meaning the people that have a Cantina Diorama set up and realized "hey, who the heck is supposed to go behind the bar? Sure, we could use the Jabba Dancers as waitresses, but we need a fat-bottomed booze jockey!!!"

Motti? Well, I've never talked to a collector who hasn't expressed interest in more Imperials... soooo... well, he's a good one. Anybody with a choking action is a must-buy in my book! :) Put those 27 Vaders to good use, I say.

Minor characters are like pizza toppings. Statistically speaking, it is impossible to fill a room with people and get them to agree on any one of these things. (Especially those "cheeseless pizza" freaks.) Yes, Motti and Wuher are aimed at older fans, but let's face it, so's Bo Shek, and Motti is a wee bit higher on the recognition scale... plus, as many of you would chime in, he makes better custom fodder.

I, for one, cannot wait for those two figures... but then again, I'm one of those people who has a room whose population in 4" people rivals many a midwestern town. Like the one near Doane in Nebraska. (Actually, I think the toys could take the town...)

Luis said...

Alright. I guess two weeks later, it's time to give up the hope that it was a really elaborate April Fool's joke. I mean... two weeks? That's too much discipline for a joke.

I have been reading FotD regularly for a couple of years now, ever since coming across the entry for Isabet Reau while browsing google for info on the characters from that bounty hunter set.

Always informative, bringing me insight on cool and interesting figures that I would have otherwise overlooked, and always with a bit of sarcasm and disdain towards figures that cannot fit in their associated vehicles (although I must admit I kinda tuned out of some of those Clone Wars clone trooper reviews because, well... I found the figures themselves quite repetitive) your column was very entertaining and helped to inform some of my purchases. You shared my quirky passion for droids and my bitterness and weary resignation toward the launch of the Disney B-A-D program. And I especially enjoyed your reviews of all those figures tagged as "Bad Figures". I hated the launching lightsaber R2 from the start and - although he didn't make the cut - I also felt oddly unsatisfied after purchasing my Star Tours Security Droid.

It was an admirable effort to review all of these figures, I am glad I was along for the ride, and I will miss this column and hope that one day it starts up again. Until then, when are you compiling this column into a book?

Unknown said...

Adam, I have been reading FOTD religiously for years. Not stopped have you...?

Chris said...

Finally finished working my way through all of the entries. A fantastic look over an ever expanding toy line and you didn't even touch on the original vintage series (wouldn't have minded reading your thoughts on some of those). I do feel this would compile into an awesome book, one to rival Sansweet and co and even the Kellerman bible. Thouroughly enjoyed reading it so thank you for your hard work and dedication that you have put into it. All the best for your next endeavour.