Thursday, March 16, 2023

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 3,012: Imperial Stormtrooper (Nevarro Cantina, The Vintage Collection)

(Nevarro Cantina)

The Vintage Collection 3 3/4-Inch Deluxe Walmart Shared Exclusive Action Figure
Item No.:
No. F5575
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Figure, cable, cannon, 3 legs, harness, ammo/power source
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $20.97
Availability: May 2022?
Appearances: The Mandalorian
Bio: Elite shock troops fanatically loyal to the Empire and impossible to sway from the Imperial cause. They wear imposing white armor, which allows them to survive in almost any environment. (Taken from marketing copy. There is 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!

Do you remember when most of the new action figures we got were exciting and fresh instead of more expensive versions of something you already purchased? A lot of 2022 exclusives shipped late - or not at all - to pre-orders. Walmart dragged their feet months before sending my order for the Imperial Stormtrooper (Nevarro Cantina) and it's probably pretty telling that I didn't miss it. The figure is the same Stormtrooper we've seen in regular, battle-damaged, army builder, and other configurations - so it's the latest and greatest mold, with the now-outdated hip joints that I can't really appreciate anymore. The elbows bend nicely and all the limbs have an acceptable range of movement, but due to the bulky leg joints he looks kind of funny when you pose him with the cannon. If you are only after figures, and not accessory completism, you may already have multiples of him laying around from other releases. He's neat, he's well-made, but it's not a figure that's going to excite you at the time of its release. Or its delayed rollout.

Vintage figures were about $15 when this was released - and this Deluxe set was $20. They removed the basic Stormtrooper blaster pistol, but instead you got a nice big E-Web Cannon, or a Tri-Pod Laser Cannon if you're my age. It seems to be a new mold with a rubbery plastic power cord connecting cannon to its power generator. You get three snap-in legs and the whole thing assembles pretty easily. It's a little on the shorter side, so your figure will need to lean or crouch down to grab the somewhat small looking handles. It seems to be about the right in-universe size, but due to the figure's arm poses and such it comes off as weird. The original Kenner incarnation of the toy looked more sensible, and the Mission Fleet one today also looks like a better toy - even if this one may be more properly sized. You'll appreciate the sculpted detail, and I like that it has a laser blast effect to plug in the barrel. It doesn't shoot or anything, it's just a special effect.

Is it worth the asking price? Well, it's moot because Walmart probably under-ordered. I never saw them in stores and other online shops carried them later - so at about $21, it doesn't seem like the big blaster is worth the $6 upcharge given it's unpainted and has no action features. But that's how deluxe toys work now - they want a higher price point, and by gum, they're going to charge it. I rather liked the pre-posed, spring-loaded Snowtrooper with cannon from 1997, mostly because it was a lot easier and less awkward to enjoy. I think I would have liked this figure much more as part of a "Force Friday" before The Mandalorian aired, because it would have been fun to build it all out before the show aired and exciting to see on screen. They made us wait over two years for this - and by then it was more than a bit of a shrug. It's important to note that it's not bad. Hasbro made a good new accessory, and took the best on-hand Stormtrooper they could sell us. But in an era plagued by repaints, rereleases, variants, and more of the same, this figure is less a must-have than a don't-have-so-may-as-well release. The box art is great. The idea is solid. But Star Wars is feeding us a steady, increasingly bland diet of troopers and main characters that effectively removed the weird imagination we enjoyed in its first few decades.

The funny thing is I think I would've enjoyed this concept much more as part of a big kid's line. If they had a simpler, easier-to-pose trooper figure and a rocket-launching cannon for $15 instead of the pretense that this is a serious collectible for adults, Hasbro may have sold many more units and I'd be gushing about how much fun it is. For example, This gift set was $20 with all this and much more - and while it was 20 years ago, a typical figure then was $6 and it was still an incredible value in its day. If Hasbro could make a better value proposition - maybe add a second trooper at a slightly higher price, or throw something to occupy the copious empty space in the packaging - I think it would be easier to swallow.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Walmart.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 3,012: March 16, 2023

1 comment:

Dan said...

I agree, if something isn't going to bring "newness" then value would be a nice option. The opportunities for value seem to be much more rare than 15-20 years ago.