Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 3,023: Biker Scout (The Retro Collection)

(Vietnam Variant, Kenner Style)

The Retro Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. F6866 No. F7279
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $11.99
Availability: February 2023
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: The Star Wars Retro Collection features design and detailing inspired by the original 1970s Star Wars figures. (Stolen from the marketing copy. 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!

The original Biker Scout had multiple variations, some of which were identified by each country of origin. Some came from Taiwan, some came from Mexico, and a bunch came from Hong Kong. Each has minor differences, like wrinkles around the groin, or chest indentations, or helmet changes. What makes me a little happy is that this one (and indeed, all of these) all seem like a minor variant, continuing Kenner's long line of weirdness. It's a reissue... but it's also an alternate universe variant that fell out of a wormhole. It's the same, but it's not - and at least from where I sit, that's really interesting. It will stop being interesting if Hasbro pumped out 90 Kenner figures a year with a dozen variants each, but if they want to make six figures with minor changes I'm pretty excited to experience them.

Oh, and the vintage Biker Scout isn't my childhood one, but one that came in a collection someone was ditching about 20 years ago. That's time for you.  And laziness, this was within reach.  He's probably going to get a visit to the H202 chamber if I get time to do one this summer.

As with many of the 1983 Biker Scouts, this trooper has some unique helmet landmarks. For starters, it's barely narrower. Much like a princess with a pea under a mattress, to my eyes it just looked narrower. And it is by about a millimeter. His visor is a little rounder on the top too, and it also has a zit. Over his right eye on at least two of my 2023 Biker Scouts is a tiny raised dot - as far as I know, that's unique to the reissue.

The blaster looks incredibly similar to the original and shares many landmarks, but they're differently placed. At a glance, it seems like the factory did a good job - until you compare it with an original, at which point the differently shaped elements start to pop. It's still good, though! He holds it well, and you can put it in a 1983 Kenner figure's hand on a display and anyone walking by will probably think it's genuine middle-aged plastic.

The figure's legs are sculpted a little more closely together, and generally Hasbro nailed it. What weirded me out were the paint masks - it just looks odd to see some of the deco decisions. The legs are molded in white plastic, with painted black elements... and the knee pads are painted in another layer of paint over that, rather than just leaving them blank. Why? I assume costs. I don't know. It looks weird. Similarly, the new toy has painted shoulder and elbow armor over what I am 99% sure is black plastic. (I'd just as soon not shave it down to be 100% certain.) It's worth noting that the legs splay out when they swing forward, just like the original, so they can better sit on a Speeder Bike. That's appreciated.

I hope Hasbro made a bunch of these, because a lot of fans will probably be happy to get a mountain of not-yellowed ones for $12 or so a pop. It's a good, classic design that Kenner got pretty much as good as you could hope in 1983. If you never had a Kenner original, this is a fine substitute for the price. It also is a good enough sculpt that I think it could hang around an Endor diorama with your fancy new The Vintage Collection figures in the background, and you wouldn't complain too much. While the helmet does look just off enough to grab your attention, I'd recommend getting it anyway.

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

--Adam Pawlus

Day 3,023: April 25, 2023

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