Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 3,089: Gamorrean Guard (The Retro Collection)

2023 Remake of 1983 Figure

The Retro Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure Hasbro Pulse/Shop Disney 6-Pack
Item No.:
No. F6988
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Axe plus Mon Mothma, Yak Face, Emperor's Royal Guard, Wicket W. Warrick, and Admiral Ackbar
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $72.99
Availability: November 2023
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Star Wars Retro Collection includes Star Wars action figures from the 40-plus-year legacy of the Star Wars Galaxy, including movies and live-action series. (Stolen from the marketing copy. Packaging has no bio.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at eBay now!

It's always a little weird to see a figure I got for Christmas as a little kid reissued, but hey, at least it's a sensible set! The Gamorrean Guard is one that dropped on eBay lately, but was going for a decent amount of money (especially with his axe) just a few years ago. I assume this set and Stan Solo axe repros drove prices down, so now you can get a loose original guard for around $15-$16 shipped, or this one in a 6-pack for $73 (about $12.16.) If I were you, and I just wanted pig guards, I'd buy originals - they're better overall, but they don't include a friggin' Yak Face. Or Mon Mothma. It's a really good set and you should get one, at least.

Originally a figure I had as a kid, I can say it worked well in its design as an actual toy. You get one hand which can hold an axe, which can menace Luke or Chewie or whoever you like. The other hand was a fist - unusual for Kenner Star Wars at the time - so it actually gave him a little extra personality. He could punch people! Everybody else tended to have a gripping hand or an open hand, so something this simple gave the brutish guard some real thug energy. It was great! (And it was fun to punch other figures.) He's slightly hunched over, as is his design, with a generously portioned body - the widest in the line - meaning he won't fit in most vehicles. There were special wide slots on the C-3PO Carry Case for him, though. He can't sit like normal figures due to how Hasbro implemented the "skirt" design, which was really clever - the legs were inside and had a "v" crotch, swinging to the sides rather than swinging forward. It's kind of a pity that this design was not tried again with future figures, most of which got an actual skirt or just a t-crotch cut. He can't fit with his legs fully forward, but at least he can kind of, sort of sit a bit. I assume a person in the costume would do the same. It was a good design, even though it lacked some of the pink in his face this green ham (no eggs) was a fun toy figure for kids of the era.

This new Gamorrean Guard looks just like the old figure at first glance, but if you get in close there are lots of weird little changes - this is basically. He's a little smoothed-out, like he got botox and was squished a bit. His belt buckle was a circle, now it's an oval that's been squished a bit - just like Retro Skiff Lando. Sculpted details vary widely from the original, with some elements like his arm veins or dots on his armor seeming more detailed while the wrinkles on his face and sculpted toes seem less detailed. As I've mentioned with other Retro Collection figures, it's not better or worse - it's different. It's the 2023 Vietnam Variant, and the details are more smoothed out and cartoony. The 2023 figure is the one in your memory, whereas the real 1983 deal has a lot of intricate wrinkles around the eyes. The helmet hoodie has lost most detail on the silver element, giving you a figure that seems like it took a trip through the uncanny valley on its 40 year journey to us today. I don't think anyone who never owned the original will find fault with this one - he holds his axe, the arms and legs all feel exactly like the original when they swivel.

Paint on the new Gamorrean Guard is good, and the color matching is excellent. The axe is a little bit lighter, with brown paint and silver plastic just being a bit more vibrant. The same is true for the figure's silver armor, which is a heck of a lot shinier than I remember ever seeing on an authentic 1983 Kenner figure. The browns, blacks, and yellows match closely, with eyes that seem bigger, cuter, more surprised. The 1983 figure looks like Kenner made the best figure they could with 1983 budgeting and manufacturer techniques, while the 2023 Hasbro figure looks like they were trying to copy the aesthetic of that older figure - but not the manufacturing methodology. It's a minor quibble and most people won't notice a difference, but you can see a few alterations that seem like you lost a generation of toymakers and it is a good, but not precise, copy.

Would I recommend this figure? Of course - it's just different enough to make you go "OK sure" if you're an old-school variant fan, and it's pretty cheap if you just want a carded Kenner Gamorrean Guard. Having said that, army-builders have an endless supply of the 40-year-old originals, but the 2023 one has cleaner paint. I can't fault rerunning army builders, so I think this is going to make a lot of people happy. Hopefully Hasbro keeps 'em coming and hopefully puts some in stores - The Retro Collection figures hitting mass tend to sell out immediately if they're remakes of the 1978-1985 Kenner figures, and are very hit-and-miss if they're Disney-era stuff.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Hasbro Pulse, who seem to have sold out days after shipping. Check ShopDisney for availability too.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 3,089: December 12, 2023

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