Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,861: Death Star Droid (The Vintage Collection)

Now with Better Paint

The Vintage Collection Walmart Exclusive
Item No.:
No. F3116
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #197
Includes: n/a
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.93
Availability: August 2021
Appearances: Star Wars
Bio: The gleaming silver Death Star Droid was captured by the Jawas and transported across the Tatooine desert in the dungeon of a sandcrawler. (Taken from the web site. There is no packaging copy.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

There's seemingly no mold too old to behold, and the Death Star Droid had been brought around at least twice - once as part of a 3-pack at Target, and way back in late 2008, MB-RA-7 [FOTD #921] was sold as a build-a-droid. That makes this Death Star Droid mold 13 years old, which is positively ancient in the action figure world. When I was a kid in the mid-1980s, you rarely - possibly never - saw figures hanging around from the 1970s, unless it was a reissue on new packaging. By 1990, most of the 1980s stuff was long gone unless it was a closeout. Nobody was thinking of bringing back Micronoauts or Mego, He-Man's day had come and gone, it's just sort of mind-boggling to see the exact same tooling still being used so much later. Even for Power of the Force vehicles in 1995, the tooling was changed - or, according to legend, redone entirely - and those were at most 12 years old.

This one shows signs of its age - the mold came out after the very first Super Articulated figures. For that reason, the droid only having 14 joints made him seem stiffer than his plastic pal brethren, but no less fun to be with. The droids of 1977 were very stiff on-screen, so the swivel shoulders and hips combined with the lack of wrists and ankles did a lot to make this figure seem as awkward as its on-screen counterpart. Many figures with ankle joints are hard to balance, so I'm actually happy his don't move - you can just plop him down and he stands. I would have liked different arm jointing, but this is fine overall - and you can pop them all off, too. It's a good toy design, and undoubtedly very cheap to make. (In my dreams, Hasbro would make cheap figures like this one - 12 joints or so, $8 retail or so, rather than $13 and up. I don't need ankles.)

The reason you want this figure is the deco. Previous releases have been clean silver, this one has dirty printing on it. Grime on the various limbs really make the various panels and sculpted bits pop, with wonderful muck on the head. The shins and forearms - and back - are clean, but that's not the end of the world. It looks like it belongs in one of your sandcrawlers. Sadly he isn't vac-metal silver, but this tooling wasn't optimized for ABS, so you get no chrome. Maybe in the future.

If you can find this figure, it's a good upgrade from the previous release and superior if you don't have it. Get this one if the opportunity arises, even though it costs more, it's probably better than any customization you have the skill to do on an existing figure. (It's certainly better than what I can do.) Best of luck finding this one.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walmart.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,860: October 5, 2021

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