Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,815: Cara Dune (The Retro Collection)

CARA DUNE Kenner Style
The Retro Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. F0937 No. F2020
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Black pistol and black rifle with strap
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: April 2021
Appearances: The Mandalorian

Bio: Carasynthia "Cara" Dune was a human female Alderaanian who served as a shock trooper in the Alliance to Restore the Republic and the New Republic during the Galactic Civil War. A seasoned warrior, she was an intimidating brawler and a crack shot. (Stolen from Wookieepedia. Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: Star Wars is no stranger to controversy, usually over things fans made up. This retro-style Cara Dune figure got under peoples' skins in a hurry because she was set for release after the character had seemingly departed the show on the way to her home planet, but before she came out. To give you some context, this action figure was manufactured in January of 2021 - before the news got newsworthy. So Hasbro made the entire batch of wave one (assortments and solids), and those are going to make it out. She's a popular character and likely would have hung around a tiny bit, if the slower sales of the 2020 Carbonized and Credit Collection figures were any indication - but now she's controversial, and not without cause. There's no known shortage - it's just hype right now. It's sort of like the bonkers "lead paint" and "ugly face" recall rumors of 1995 (Speeder Bike, C-3PO, and Princess Leia figures) and the, shall we say, cold appearance of Padme in the Unleashed line were also not exactly true. The products were popular-ish, but hype and bored collectors leads to fanning the crazy flames. Having said that, I'm not saying "wait and you can find her" because that has not remotely proven true for The Retro Collection thus far - if you see a figure at a price you are willing to pay, buy it. If there are subsequent production runs of this particular assortment of characters (and as I write this, I have no information of such things) I would not bet money on her being in them.

I hate writing paragraphs about this kind of thing. Let's talk about the figure. It's good!

This release tries to mimic the house style of Kenner action figures from 1978-1985 and comes close - like with Mando, she's took good. If you pick up an old figure, it's rare that they have more than two colors of paint per plastic piece, and it's unheard of to hav make-up or tattoos. The budget wasn't there - but you're paying $10 in 2021 for a kind of figure that sold for $2-$3 in the 1970s. That would put it at $8-$12 in modern dollars, so it's nice to see Hasbro gave us more value than we got back then - she has two accessories, and a plastic tray inside the bubble to keep her in place. Old vintage Kenner figures had tight coffin bubbles, tape for the weapons, and sometimes cardboard under the feet.

In terms of deco, she compares favorably to some of the original line's better figures. The head has black eyes, brown hair, and painted pink lips - most Leia and Kea Moll figures just had eyes and hair painted. Cara Dune also has her shock trooper tats (red), the bare plastic flesh arm, plus black and teal paint - so four colors - on her chest and arms. Her chest also has some silver on it. However, the belt buckle is unpainted. The legs are black with blue paint. Comparing her to my Kea Moll figure, she stands up very favorably. In many respects she reminds me of some of the early Return of the Jedi figures - the details are sculpted right, and the colors are more or less what the budget gets you through a small fun house mirror. The shades of blue and teal aren't quite what the costume shows, but that's also sort of what I want. The "retro" figures of old were charming in that they did the best they could with the reference they had, resulting in lemon heads, blue jerkins, tall aliens with silver boots, and whatever the heck R2-D2 was.

As mentioned above, the sculpt is pretty good. It looks like they translated this through the funnel of a boy's toy from the 1980s - the boobs are played down a bit more, her hair has a lot of texture going on, the face is rounded, and the muscles are (curiously) not as big as I would have expected. The arms all swivel nicely and the legs do too, without the weird square butts you get once some retro action figures sit. Everything lines up nicely, and the figure fits great in the ships and Mini-Rigs I had within arm's reach. She's great. And she was designed to hold her weapons too - if you have old Kenner figures, you know they're not always the best at that. This one is better, easily holding her rifle or pistol in both hands. There's no weird broken "can't hold a gun" hand here, nor is the grip loose like Kea or other certain figures that just don't seem to want to hold their gear.

This is the second figure from this wave I opened and I like it a lot. Don't get me wrong, Mando's great - but as a kid, those vinyl capes always got in the way. Cara has no cape, and is ready to pilot my vehicles and blow stuff up. This figure feels more like a real toy, which is what I want - super-articulation in no way improved how toys interact with playsets or ships, nor how they stand. The Kenner-style figures tend to easily stand on their own without support, and are great display pieces too. If Hasbro killed The Vintage Collection and just cranked out everybody like this I would be a heck of a lot happier. If you can find this figure, and you're an opener, you should get it. She is a little shorter than some of her Kenner companions of old, but again, this is probably the kind of thing Kenner would have done in the old days. Maybe.

I hope Hasbro looks at this line as a new pillar, possibly for kids, because ten bucks and a consistent scale with lots of old existing tooling and collectors could be fun. The likenesses don't have to be perfect, fans are forgiving of errors, and frankly the format just works. More, please.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,815: May 18, 2021

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