Thursday, May 4, 2023

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 3,026: Zuckuss (The Retro Collection)

and 4-LOM, Amazon Exclusive

The Retro Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.:
No. F6983
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $27.99
Availability: March 2023
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Cold, calculating droid 4-LOM and Gand bounty hunter Zuckuss were summond by Darth Vader to locate the Millennium Falcon and her crew in STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKE BACK - and together, they make a deadly pair. (Taken from the figure's outer packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

Commentary: If inevitability has a name it's Zuckuss. Boba Fett is a given, but when IG-88, Dengar, and/or Bossk show up you know 4-LOM and Zuckuss are just around the corner. In 1982, Zuckuss was the name on the package of a silver/gray robot which fans realized was wrong years later in the 1990s when books and games started to correct the mistake. It really speaks to Kenner's then-dominance over the perception of these characters and films, as toys and toy marketing materials were the reference material a lot of kids had on-hand. Neither figure in this set is going to set the world on fire, but I like what Hasbro did here. Zuckuss has enough changed about him that, if it were the early 1990s and I were going to garage sales still, I would buy this variant because it's distinctive.

So what's new? The silver/gray color is changed, and the hand was retooled to better hold the blaster. The butt triangle is a little different, and many of the sculpted details are a little softer - the circles on the chest are clearly changed. In many respects, the 2023 Amazon-exclusive reissue looks more like what I remember - it doesn't have the metallic swirl baked in, the fingers nicely grip the blaster, and the details on the furrowed droid brow aren't quite as severe as the 1982 release. His joints are stiff, but so are many originals - this was one of the later releases from The Empire Strikes Back and the original 4-11-year-old Star Wars kids were a creaky 9-16, so some kids just got them as gifts and they sat in a carry case or a vehicle, unlikely to go on any adventures like Boba Fett did just a few years earlier.

The sculpting looks typical of the time, minus about 20% of the crisp detail. Hasbro softened the chest details, knee panels, finger joints, and so on to give you something that's good, but could be better. Every last detail from the movie is not represented on the figure, but you get the key ones - some of which are even correct. The Kenner toy coloring is much cleaner than the brown-lined movie costume with green eyes.

Since you can get the original pretty cheaply on eBay I was initially grumpy they picked Zuckuss to reissue, but Hasbro did a great job updating the figure. Sure, a Snowtrooper might be more exciting, but Zuckuss in a visibly different color with a retooled hand that better can hold his blaster? I'm all in for functionality. If you collected old Kenner toys and are a variant hunter, I'd suggest you get this set for that reason alone. It doesn't quite have the same metallic luster as the original, and it doesn't have the history behind it, but as someone who loves toys I just appreciate that Hasbro made the hand better. I'll buy anything from that era again if it's improved, even if it's not a 100% improvement. At least I can interact with it differently than I would the 1982 original.

Collector's Notes: I got mine at Amazon. It was delivered to the wrong house. My friend's evaporated en route. This set carries a curse.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 3,026: May 4, 2023

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