Friday, November 30, 2007

Side Gunner (Droids 1985)

I am going to switch it up a little here and post a vehicle from the Star Wars Droids line, since, technically, this is a Star Wars vehicle - to the same scale - and it came out in the 1980's. Eventually, I hope to show every vehicle and figure from the vintage line as well as from the Droids and Ewoks lines.

For some reason the Side Gunner wasn't given a more creative name like "L-Wing" or "SUX-456," it was simply called Side Gunner. I'm not sure if Kenner ran out of ideas by this time or what, but the vehicle was featured in the animated early adventures of R2 and 3PO called Droids: the Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO.

This vehicle is featured during a chase sequence in one of the episodes, which also featured an A-Wing (before they were supposed to be built). However, it is a nice toy. How nice?

Five reasons nice:

1. It is a two seater, so you can put a pilot in the cockpit and a gunner in the side car - extra play value!

2. There is a lever opposite the gunner side car that lets you rotate the side car around 360 degrees, or move it back and forth. This was actually a very cool feature.

3. It has guns, plenty of frickin' guns. In fact, they are in the name - Gunner. Did you get that?

4. As long as it was featured in the Star Wars universe, you can put whoever in the hell you want figures in there. Don't limit yourself to those pansy-ass Droids figures!

5. While the figures for this line got more cartoonish, somehow the vehicles got more detailed - you can see that here.


Not much of a backstory. Very little is actually written about this vehicle, other than it was featured in an episode of Droids. It seems to have cool features, but one wonders if it wasn't meant for some Power of the Force line originally. It has no photos on the box of Droids figures with it, only a Death Star Gunner figure for some odd reason. Maybe someone just saw the word "gunner" and equated the two.

I guess my fondness for this vehicle comes from its mystery. It seem like a neat vehicle, it's just that there's no history. Had it come earlier in the line it would have been something I would have played with constantly, but I actually got it from a friend later when I was more, ahem, "adult."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2) (SW 1978-79)

R2-D2, part of the original 12. This is one of those figures that my opinion of changed over time. I liken it to Garfield comic strips. When I was a kid, they were hilarious. As I got older though, I realized just how unfunny it was. I cannot figure out if my sense of humor became more refined, or that Garfield kept repeating the same jokes over and over (okay, you like lasagna and hate Mondays - can we move onto something else!). My point being, when I was a kid I liked this figure, when I got older however...

Yes, R2-D2 is a core character, and yes, I realize that the detail on his body could really only be accurately done with a decal. But still, when I got older, I realized this character kind of, well, sucked. First of all, where is the third leg? The only way to get an R2 with a third leg in the original line was to buy the Droid Factory Playset. He used that third leg most of the time in the movies! Second, the head detail only vaguely resembles his real head - and they never changed it. Not when they made Sensorscope R2 and not when they made Lightsaber-popping R2. Can you even put the R2 figure in an X-Wing? No! That feature is already built in. You had to wait until the Y-Wing was produced during ROTJ before you could put an astromech droid in a vehicle.

Okay, after all that, why should you own this figure? Five reasons:

1. It's R2, despite all his flaws, he's a core character. Who's going to shut down the trash compactor on your Death Star playset?

2. You can let Jawas shoot his ass.

3. That shiny, shiny head. I like shiny objects. Tin Man's my favorite.

4. His head clicks when turned, kind of like that barn door on your Fisher-Price farm set that "mooed."

5. R2 figure vs. Yoda figure in a no-holds-barred knockdown fight over Luke's X-Wing kit lantern! Who will win: the swiss-army droid or the 900-year-old Jedi Master? You decide!

R2, like most astromech-class (so-called because they could plug into many starships and aid with navigation and other duties) was built by Industrial Automaton maybe around 33 years before the first movie (age debated). At the time of "The Phantom Menace" he was owned by the Royal Engineers of Naboo, and the rest is history. He saved the Queen, ended up with Anakin, then Bail Organa, a bunch of owners (in the cartoon series Droids), then back to Bail, then to Luke and so on. In the novels after the movies, R2 eventually reveals details and footage of Anakin and Padme to Luke and Leia, since he never underwent a memory wipe like C-3PO did. In stories about Luke's descendants, R2 was still in use at least 137 years after the first movie's events.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

C-3PO (SW 1978-79)

Ah, C-3PO, you shiny-plated pain in the ass. C-3PO is one of the original 12, and he came on a SW back card and an ESB card. Despite being a central figure, he was never released on a ROTJ or POTF card because by that time C-3PO with removable limbs took over.

It's hard to be enthusiastic about someone whose main "power" is translating. Sure, he's shiny, but no weapons, no commlink, no nothing. He's more of the Jar Jar Binks of the original trilogy, except he's actually useful (and less annoying).

Why should you own this figure? Five reasons:

1. How else is everyone going to figure out what the hell R2 is talking about?

2. shiny.

3. Decently detailed figure - even has a restraining bolt on his chest.

4. C-3PO can be used as the fall guy for everything. Oops, ran over C-3PO with my landspeeder. Oops, C-3PO just got blown out the airlock on the Falcon. Oops, C-3PO just ended up in my dog's water dish.

5. Makes a good reflector for spotter planes when your on a life raft.

The movies pretty much show all this. C-3PO is built by Anakin, kind of stolen from the Lars homestead, resides on Coruscant until Anakin goes bad, given to Bail Organa (adoptive father of Leia) and his memory wiped. Then he goes through all that stuff in SW, gets dismantled and put back together in ESB, and talks a bunch of teddy bears into assaulting a much more technologically advanced foe in ROTJ. In the novels he pretty much follows Han and Leia around, translating and providing Han with someone to yell at.

Interesting movie note is that although Anthony Daniels wore the costume and provided the voice for Threepio, Lucas was going to replace his voice with more of a Bronx used car salesman. he hated Daniels' voice. However, they ran out of money on the first movie and stuck with Daniels.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

AT-AT Driver (ESB 1980-82)

The AT-AT Driver is one of those many instances where Kenner made something that, inherently, you had to buy something much more expensive to play with. In this case, an AT-AT. In the waves of figures from the first movie you had Luke in his X-Wing outfit.

The Driver came on an ESB and then a ROTJ card, and came with a blaster rifle that could be slung over his shoulder. Like many of the Imperial helmeted figures, his head did not rotate - that's why the AT-AT's did, heh, heh. The only variation in this figure was that the Imperial logos on his helmet came in two different shades of red.

Before Kenner/Hasbro had come out with the new, same-scale G.I. Joe line, they still did not include pertinent figures like the AT-AT Driver with the actual AT-AT. While they never did this for the original Star Wars line, they did do it for G.I. Joe figures starting in 1982. When Star Wars figures were again made starting in the 1990's, there were no end to the ones that came with vehicles. The reissued AT-AT vehicle came with both the AT-AT Driver and the AT-AT Commander. If you got both of these figures and your parents still didn't get you an AT-AT, call them up right now and tell them how they ruined your childhood.

Why should you get this figure? Five reasons:

1. Getting this (and especially getting this and the AT-AT Commander) gave every kid hope that his parents would get him the AT-AT just to make things right with the world.

2. Every helmeted bad guy figure was inherently cool. Boba Fett. TIE Pilot. Death Star Gunner. All cool.

3. As a kid, that rifle with the bandolier was a big deal, plus it was actually a different mold than any other rifles. Heck, just having rifles now instead of the pistols from the first movie was cool!

4. How else will you act out the scene where the Driver aces his parallel parking test?

5. Even though he truly went with an AT-AT, you could still use this figure with every Hoth playset or homemade cotton-ball scene you had, just because he was white. Of course, the black figures are great too, I'm not trying to discriminate here.


AT-ATs (All Terrain Armored Transport) were built in the Kuat Drive Yards to the specifications of the Imperial Department of military research. They evolved from the walkers seen as early as Episode II: Attack of the Clones. They landed using drop-ships (never shown in the movies) and were well-armored except for the neck and underbelly. This is why an AT-ST can be seen in ESB - they were to stop underneath attacks.

According to stats, an AT-AT could hold at least 40 stormtroopers, or 2 disassembled AT-STs, and the AT-AT could kneel to get any vehicles out on a ramp. The pilots wore survival suits similar to a TIE Pilot's because an AT-AT was not climate controlled. The Drivers underwent continuous training and simulation because of the difficult conditions and terrain they could face.

Interesting film facts:
- It is has been said that whenever the film makers made an AT-AT move the wrong way, Lucas had it shot in the leg to cover up the fact.
- The animators studied the movement of elephants to make the AT-ATs walks.
- LucasFilm was sued by Lee Seiler who claimed they based the design of the AT-AT on his Garthian Walker he drew in 1976 or 77. However, he couldn't produce his drawings, and his copyright was filed a year after ESB came out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Vehicle of the Week: Land Speeder (1978) (and Sonic version)

One of the first vehicles released in the original line, the Land Speeder (later releases made it one word: Landspeeder) represented the finest in Tatooine luxury and comfort. In other words, it was the used car you gave to your son or daughter learning to drive - a beater. Not like your dad's car with the Bantha-hide seats.

The toy was actually a bit more luxurious than the movie vehicle, because most of the vehicles in the movie were supposed to be from Lucas' "used" universe. It wasn't until manufacturing processes caught up in the 1990's that the vehicles got a more weathered look. The 90's version of the Landspeeder even had wrecked engine plating like the movie.

The toys glided on wheels that could be retracted using the "stick shift" between the seats. The engine hood also lifted up to engine decal. The British version did not have an opening hood, apparently because British children would have been too traumatized by the site of a sticker.

A little later Kenner came out with a "Sonic Controlled Land Speeder." If you're a child of the 80's you may remember this kind of "remote" control. Basically, the vehicle "heard" the audible click of the remote, there was no actual signal. When it heard the click it would make a J-turn in reverse. I had another toy like this from the Starriors line (Deadeye and Cricket - but I don't expect anyone but me to remember that). The only other differences from the original toy was that the engine cover didn't open, there were pegs behind the seats for figures to stand, and it was slightly larger. The Sonic version was only available through J.C. Penney, back when they used to be a big cheese in retail.

The landspeeder was released again in 1983 with a "classic" label on the box, distinguishing it from the 1978 release.

Why should you own this vehicle? Five reasons:

1. As Billy Dee would say, the wheels gave a smooth ride, like a Colt 45 Malt Liquor.
2. This was the one vehicle you didn't mind your younger sibling playing with. It was fun to watch them try to recreate the picture on the box only to figure out that there was no way R2-D2 and C-3PO actually stayed on.
3. It was like a Hot Wheels, it glided across the floor pretty well and didn't need you holding it up in the air the whole time.
4. No other vehicle felt as enjoyable while mowing down Jawas and Sand People.
5. Kenner tricked you into thinking it was a four-figure vehicle, when the only way the droids were staying on is if you didn't move it and no heavy trucks passed by your house.

Luke's landspeeder was an X-34 built by the Sorusuub Corporation (a popular manufacturer in the galaxy). Its popularity waned once Sorusuub came out with the XP-38 landspeeder, which looked similar except for more rectangular engines (never shown in the movies), much like the engines on the V-35 Courier landspeeder, shown in the Lars garage.

Landspeeders work using repulsorlifts that support it whether in motion or not. Turbine engines give it forward momentum. Sources say that the X-34 had a top speed of 250 kph, or 155 mph. The cockpit could be closed, but obviously Luke liked the wind whipping through his blond, feathered hair and sand in his eyes.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Walrus Man (Star Wars 1978-79)

Walrus Man is another poorly (many would say humorously) translated Cantina character into figure as far as clothing goes. This garish presentation wouldn’t be corrected until the updated figure in the 1990’s line. Sometimes it hurts my eyes just to look at it, like the tint on my TV is way out of whack. The figure has a, um, orange turtleneck, with blue arms and legs. It came with the same blaster that many of the Star Wars aliens came with, a Stormtrooper-issue blaster. Walrus Man came on the original Star Wars card, as well as ESB and ROTJ.

What always bothered me about this figure, other than the eye-straining colors, was that the card back wasn’t a photo but a photo-like picture. This character had real screen time and they couldn’t put a real photo on there? Really, I joke, Hasbro give me free stuff. Not only that, but the picture shows – glaringly – that the figure has the wrong clothing.

Why should you own this figure? Five reasons:

1. Common weaponry. Lose the figure and you’ve still got a gun that goes with a dozen other figures.
2. It is so damn funny. Orange turtleneck. Orange turtleneck!!!???
3. Again, no Cantina scene you make should be without him. After all, he gets his arm cut off.
4. Get enough of these and put them around a sleeping friend. When he wakes up convince him he’s having some kind of acid trip.
5. Finally, you have an excuse for ripping the arm off a figure – it happened in the film!


Like many of the aliens names from the original films, Walrus Man was more of nickname than anything else. In the mythos, his name is Ponda Baba and his race is Aqualish. Because of the mix-up in the original movie, where the standing Walrus Man has webbed hands and the severed arms has hairy fingers, the Star Wars universe says that there are two species of Aqualish, each having one of these traits. So, inactuality, Ponda is kind of a hybrid. It is also never explained why his is the only lightsaber wound that isn’t instantly cauterized.

Ponda Baba rescued Doctor Evazan (the other bad guy in the Cantina) from a bounty hunter and the two became partners. Eventually they ran into Luke and Obi-Wan, who cut off Ponda’s arm. Evazan made him a prosthetic arm which didn’t work, but he kept trying to make Ponda whole, even trying a mind transference device to another body. To this day they are probably both still alive.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Luke Skywalker (Star Wars 1978-79)

Not much I can say here that most people don’t already know. This is the original Luke in his Tatooine clothes - how he looked throughout most of the first movie. This figure came on cards for all three movies, including another ROTJ card with a different background picture (he’s seated at the control of a Millennium Falcon quad-gun). His only accessory is a built-in lightsaber, which Kenner inexplicably made yellow, instead of the blue hue it was in the film. Maybe to differentiate it from the Obi-Wan’s lightsaber which was also blue. His hair was sometimes yellow, sometimes a light brown.

Why should you own this figure? Five reasons:

1. C’mon! He’s the main character of the original trilogy!
2. Simulate the whining! “But I wanted to go to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!”
3. For my money there is no finer pilot…of the Landspeeder.
4. Have him fight Darth Vader! I know I did – even though they barely even saw each other in the original film.
5. Have your Han figure bitch-slap him for complaining all the time. “This ain’t like dusting crops boy.”

Backstory:Born in Revenge of the Sith, raised by his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru on blue milk, joined the Rebel Alliance, overthrew the Empire, killed his dad, and became a Jedi Knight. In the novels, after the movies, he eventually marries a fellow Jedi named Mara Jade (who used to work for the Emperor) and they had a son named Ben. He had many adventures which are too numerous to go into here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Death Star Droid (Star Wars 1978-79)

Seen in the first movie in both the Jawa Sandcrawler and the Death Star (the Death Star one is black), this droid is one of the more listless figures of the original line. At least the one from the 1990’s line had a mouse droid with it.

It came with no accessories, and had a shiny metallic finish and a bug-like head. It was released on cards from all three movies.

Why should you own this figure? Five reasons:

1. If you own the Sandcrawler you need to fill it with as much useless junk as possible, including this figure.
2. A more bureaucratic droid I have never seen.
3. If you have a headless one, and a bodiless C-3PO, they pretty much match.
4. The shiny metallic finish is kind of cool, until you play with it too much and you see the original plastic.
5. Oh, I give up. This figure was booooooring.


This droid’s official designation is an RA-7 protocol droid. They were fairly useless droids, but the Imperial Security Bureau used them to spy on other Imperials. Their limited use, however, caused many an RA-7 to be disposed of or “lost” by many an Imperial Commander – which is probably why one was in a Jawa Sandcrawler. There were so many aboard the first Death Star that they earned the nickname “Death Star Droid.” The similarity in body to C-3PO probably relates back to the first film’s limited budget.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Jabba the Hutt Action Playset (ROTJ)

In honor of the holiday, I’m giving you a Thanksgiving bonus – not one but two figures! Now, in name, this is a playset, but it can be argued that this is a two-figure set with some accessories.

The major player here is Jabba, with movable torso, arms, and tail. When you moved the torso it made the tail move – rather nifty at the time. Accompanying him is his cackling court jester, Salacious Crumb. Crumb has no movement, and is only formed to sit on Jabba’s throne. However, this doesn’t prevent your from trying to imitate his laugh.

The throne features all the accoutrements:
-Trapdoors to simulate Jabba’s dungeon.
-A hookah with pipe and water bowl (for a tasty Klaatoine paddy frog snack)
-A slave collar and “chain”

To be honest, this was probably one of the best figures I ever had. Why should you own it? I’ll holiday supersize-it with 10 reasons!

1. Jabba’s eyes. No, this isn’t romantic – the figure had really cool lifelike glassy eyes!
2. Where else are you going to find a toy that so blatantly advertises smoking?
3. The detail is actually really good for the original line, down to the little Cyclops faces on the front of the throne.
4. The inside of Jabba’s throne is another one of those “Mom doesn’t know what she’s buying me” things. There are skeletons in there and a random jawbone and everything!
5. Doing the Jabba Shuffle – move the tail back and forth and watch him do the twist.
6. Make Salacious Crumb cackle incessantly at your younger sibling.
7. The slave collar and chain gave you hope that they would make a Leia in Slave Girl outfit figure. This, however, did not come until the 1990’s line.
8. The figure set up on the box, other than Luke wearing the collar, is actually fairly representative of the characters on the scene in the movie.
9. Jabba’s trap-doored throne dungeon is a good place to give time-outs to your figures that have been naughty.
10. Perfect to place next to your Han in Carbonite (either the figure or the accessory from the Slave I ship).

His full name was Jabba Desilijic Tiure, a Hutt who, at only 80 (he was about 622 years old when he died), started his crime empire on Tatooine. His palace is actually an old B’Omarr monastery (the big spider thing you see in the palace? That’s a B’Omarr monk).

He rose to power through gambling, spice smuggling, and other sordid endeavors. He attracted various lowlifes of the galaxy, including bounty hunters, various yes-men, and his majordomo, Bib Fortuna. He picked up Salacious Crumb, a Kowakian spider monkey, on one of his rare off-world excursions. Crumb had been a pest on a space station and hitched a ride on Jabba’s ship, one step ahead of exterminators. Crumb so humored Jabba with his antics that he kept him on as a jester, but only if Crumb made him laugh at least daily.

Jabba’s overconfidence led to his downfall when Luke and the gang, attempting to rescue Han, killed Jabba and much of his entourage by blowing up his sand barge (technically Leia strangled him with the slave chain before that). Crumb died in the explosion.

After Jabba’s death, the B’Omarr monks took their monastery back by force, overcoming whichever of Jabba’s followers were left. Jabba’s father, Zorba, put a price out on the people who killed his son, but ended the bounty once Leia was elected to head of office, to avoid any conflict.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Leia - original white cape (SW 1978-79)

We finally get to Leia - the only human female action figure made from the whole freakin' trilogy - at least in the original 93 figure line. The Leia in white cape came on the original Star Wars 12-back card, and an ESB and ROTJ. Her figure and card picture never changed with each release however.

I don't know if it was true or not, but this figure's neck always seemed skinnier than the rest of the figures, which is probably why I had a couple with no heads after a while. She came with a skinny gun too, which must be modeled after the one she shot a stormtrooper with right at the beginning of the movie (on the blockade runner ship that also showed up in Revenge of the Sith). After that you see her firing stormtrooper-issue blasters, which always seemed a little big in her hands. Considering how petite she was, Natalie Portman was a good idea to play her mom.

Why should you own this figure? Five reasons:

1. Take off the cape and you have the beginnings of that 70's disco diorama you've been dreaming of.

2. Those buns. I mean, what is with those buns? Am I only the only guy who, while watching the first movie, thought at the end, "So that's what she looks like with the hair down. She's hotter than I thought!"

3. Her action figure looks a lot cheerier than her character in the first one. Jeez, did someone blow up your home planet or what?

4. Waaaaaay better than the first Leia in white cape figure that came out with the new line in the 90's, also called "monkey-face" Leia, and for good reason.

5. Pair her with the Han in Bespin outfit and you have the topper to your geek wedding cake. Let's just hope your wife doesn't get ticked.


Watch the end of Revenge of the Sith for the beginning. She's born, mom dies, she's adopted by Bail Organa and his wife, raised on Alderaan, served in the Senate, kidnapped in Star Wars IV (the first movie), planet blown up, kissed her brother (twice), found out Luke was her brother, fell in love with Han, was touched by Ewoks.

In the novels after the movies, her and Han have twins (Jaina and Jacen), then a third child (Anakin). She serves as president (or the legal equivalent) in the new galactic ruling body, and after she quits that she trains and becomes a full-fledged Jedi.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Chief Chirpa (ROTJ 1983-84)

Hey, we had to get to the Ewoks sometime. After all, there were eight figures - yes eight figures - in the original line, as well as a playset and at least 3 vehicle/accessories dedicated to them (4 if you include a speeder bike). Chirpa came on a ROTJ card only. Side note: on early ROTJ figures, the Ewoks were often blacked out to conceal the "surprise" until the movie came out.

Chief Chirpa is just one of fuzzy little Stormtrooper-killing machines. Yes, they had clubs and crude spears, yet somehow they took out trained soldiers with blasters and battle armor. Maybe one of them watched Imperial manuevers secretly and trained from that, kind of like Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They obviously knew enough to take down a few AT-STs, including one from a deleted scene.

Why should you own this figure:

1. He's the chief. Do you get She's the Sheriff figures and not get Suzanne Somers?

2. In all seriousness, the figure is molded pretty accurately to what the character was, from the hood to the command staff (shout-out to Admiral Ackbar!).

3. There is a whole frickin' Ewok playset - someone has to be in charge.

4. Those dark, dark eyes that you can just lose yourself in.

5. "Yub nub!" Those two words strike fear in the heart of any stormtroo, no, ha-ha, tee-hee, I just can't say it.

Much of the Ewoks cartoons can, and often are, taken as canon, but we know that the Chief had a wife (Ra-Lee) and two daughters, Kneesaa and Asha. The two Ewok Adventure movies are often considered canon as well, since they could have happened before the events in ROTJ - just pretend that the evil witch is using the Force to create illusions instead of "magic."

Chirpa's reign saw the arrival of the Imperials, and the Ewoks alliance with the Rebels. Not much has been said about the Ewoks post-ROTJ, but presumably they settled into a more peaceful existence, and some of their tribe have been known to travel the stars in the novels.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Accessory of the Week: Chewbacca Bandolier Strap (ROTJ)

You're such a geek, you want to wear your Star Wars heart on your sleeve. Well how about your chest? Yes, you've got it, the Chewbacca Bandolier Strap, which conveniently carries your figures where any bully or two-bit thief can rip them right off your person.

The Strap is a loving re-creation of Chewbacca's bandolier, but made to carry your action figures. Even Chewbacca's two compartments that say "Return of the Jedi" for your weapons and accessories are on here. Oh, wait, Chewbacca's real bandolier probably didn't say that.

5 Reasons you should have the "strap:"

1. Using your hands to carry your figures is just so damn inconvenient, and using your mouth just leaves a plasticky taste.

2. The foam holding your figures in won't wear out for at least, um, right about now.

3. Two compartments for your guns, command batons, and loose limbs!

4. That blonde kid on the box will be sent back to the orphanage if not enough are sold.

5. Does it really matter which figure holder you get? None of them seem to fit those fat guys, Rancor Keeper and Gamorrean Guard, anyway.


Yes, there's a backstory. Okay, there's really not a backstory. In the movie Chewbacca's bandolier was a belt of power cells for his bowcaster, and possibly other blaster weapons.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

EV-9D9 (POTF 1985)

Among some of the last figures produced, the Power of the Force line became instantly collectible because they are some of the rarest of the original line. EV-9D9 only came on a POTF card with her coin and no accessories. Despite having no guns (like pretty much every droid in the original line - except bounty hunters) it is a cool figure.

Why? My five reasons why:

1. Look at the last picture. There is lever in the back of her head which makes here mouth move. That's more action than any other figure in the line!

2. A female droid? Yes, a female droid. All the literature says so. When are you ever going to get a female droid again?

3. That third eye. Not only is she a control freak, she's a freak-freak.

4. The ultimate head caterer for any sail barge/Jedi roast get-together.

5. She is one crazy b*tch.


EV-9D9 actually worked in Cloud City during Lando's management. However, her sadomasochistic tendencies got the better of her and she systematically tortured many of the droids in Bespin. After her controller found out she fled the system, but not before partially sabotaging the City as a distraction. She found her way to Jabba's palace and quickly climbed the ranks. She secretly build a room for her tortuous experiments and built droids out of spare parts that felt pain, even giving pain receptors to droids that didn't have them, for her own sick pleasure.

After finding out that Lando had infilitrated the palace, EV-9D9 thought that he and his droids (R2 an C-3PO) were there for her, although they were there for Han. Before she could implement any recourse, she was tracked down by one of the tortured droids from Bespin, which let loose her own creations on her.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Han Solo - Bespin outfit (ESB 1980-82)

Han, in his most stylish Bespin outfit, came out on an ESB and an ROTJ card, and included a laser pistol - but not the same one he had in Star Wars. It was the same one a lot of the Bespin people came with, so there must have been a deal at Costco.

Now, while this is Han in "Bespin" outfit, apparently it wears well becuase he started on Hoth with it. However, he already has a Hoth outfit, so this is designated Bespin. If you have ever been to a really geeky wedding, however, this Han might be adoring the cake. Essentially, this Han is the closest the original line came to Han in any kind of formal attire. Put him and a Leia in white dress on there and you're set.

Five reasons to get this figure:

1. Who's going to shoot Vader in the hand during your painfully-recreated (complete with blue milk) Bespin dinner scene? C-3PO? I don't think so.

2. Your little sister needs this figure to recreate the kiss with Leia on the Falcon. Ew, gross, girls!

3. The aforementioned use-Han-on-a-wedding-cake.

4. The first time Han is a little more faithfully recreated than the original - no big head/small head versions.

5. This is the figure to hunt those f&*^ing mynocks chewin' on the power cables!


Han was a youth growing up on Corellia and eventually joined the Imperial forces. After rescuing Chewbacca he left the Empire and went into gambling and smuggling. The rest, as they say, is history. Of course, after the movies he and Leia married, had 3 Jedi, and had many more adventures.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Klaatu (ROTJ 1983-84)

Klaatu is an exceptional character only for the fact that he is the only character besides the main ones who really had two different outfits - the "regular" one and the skiff guard outfit. Now, granted, there was more than one of his race there, so it could have been a different "Klaatu" as well.

The Klaatu character came with a bladed force pike. Since we never really saw it in action, we can only guess he used it as a cudgel and a pistol. His loin cloth was also one of the few actual soft goods used in the original figures. The loin cloth came in two variations, thicker and thinner. Some Klaatus also had tan arms. The card back came in only two variations, one with a mail-away Emperor offer and one without.

Why should you get this figure - five reasons:

1. Klaatu's name was inspired by the movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still," where the main character utters the phrase "Klaatu Barada Nikto" to his robot. This phrase was used again in other popular media, most notably a couple of scenes in "Army of Darkness" where Ash forgets the words and unleashes an undead horde. Ah, good stuff.

2. Because of 1 you need this figure, plus Barada and Nikto, to complete a "set." In the later 1990's figures they were offered as a 3-figure set.

3. He came in two outfits, so you might as well get one of them.

4. You have to throw someone down the Sarlacc pit.

5. That alluring loin cloth. I'm not gay, but if I were...


Wooof (his real name) is a Kadas'sa'Nikto was a pilot for Jabba's many spacecraft. He was killed when Jabba's sand barge was blown up.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Darth Vader (SW 1978-1979)

We will now dip back into the original twelve with Darth Vader. Like Chewbacca, the Vader figure had a relatively taller stature, in keeping with the movies. Also like Chewbacca, Vader was another figure with no changes (other than the card back) during the entire original Kenner run. Darth Vader came on the original Star Wars card, ESB, ROTJ, POTF, and another ROTJ card that had a close-up picture of his helmet.

Because of manufacturing limitations, and the desire to be cheap, Vader came with a vinyl cape instead of cloth or molded plastic like th figures today. The figure is very much in keeping with the character's appearance, and the only accessory is a built-in telescoping red lightsaber. Some rare Vaders exist where the lightsaber telescoped to almost twice its original length. This proved handy in duels and Sith pornography.

Five reason to own this figure:

1. He's Darth freakin' Vader! The man in black. The Lord who won't leave you bored.

2. Come on, who didn't need Vader for the only lightsaber duels from the original trilogy? You had to at least have him fight Obi-Wan.

3. Despite the lack of accessories, he had the Force. Let your imagination run wild moving other Star Wars toys and choking other figures.

4. He had his own dedicated vehicle, and being an anal-retentive young man, I needed only the Vader figure to fly it.

5. Again, Darth Vader. Enough said.


If you don't know the backstory by now, get a freaking clue. Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker, seemingly immaculately conceived whiny child born to Schmi Skywalker. He trained in the Jedi order and forbiddenly fell in love with Senator Amidala. He freaked out over possibly losing her, and the Emperor (then Senator Palpatine) turned him to the dark side. Shortly afterwards he was wounded in a lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan and was forced to wear his black cybernetic suit. During this same time Amidala gave birth to their twins, Luke and Leia. Vader ruled the Empire as second-in-charge, while Luke and Leia grew up and joined the Rebel Alliance. Vader killed Obi-Wan. Luke eventually dueled his father, and brought him back to the light, but not before mortally wounding him (or that was the Emperor's Sith lightning - up for debate). Anakin joined the ghosts of Obi-Wan and Yoda.

About the only important part most people haven't heard is that there is debate over whether Palpatine is actually Anakin's father. Maybe he used those life-giving powers to conceive Anakin without actually doing the dirty deed. This is mostly fan speculation, and nothing from LucasFilm has been proposed to support this.

After Han and Leia have kids in the later novels, they name their third child Anakin.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chewbacca (Star Wars 1978-79)

Alas, poor Chewbacca. He's the only major figure that never got another outfit or any changes to his figure during the entire original run. It wasn't until the 1990's that Hasbro started making "Chewbacca as Boushh's Prisoner," "Chewbacca on Hoth," or "Chewbacca with Farrah Fawcett-like hair." Nope, in the original run we just get Chewbacca with the slicked-back fur, and a bowcaster gun that doesn't even have a crossbar.

Chewie came on the original 12-figure Star Wars back, where the figures were drawings instead of pictures of the actual toys. Even the TIE fighter and X-Wing pictured seem a little distorted due to the concept drawings and not photos. Look closely at the descriptions for those two vehicles - did "Laser Light" really need to be trademarked? Oh, and don't forget to send away for the exciting figure stand!

Chewie also came on an ESB card, 2 ROTJ cards (one with original picture and one with a picture from Endor), and a Power of the Force card with coin.

Five reasons to own this figure:

1. One of the tallest figures in the original line - crush those scrawny Stormtroopers.

2. Who else is going to sit in the co-pilot's seat in your Millennium Falcon? Luke? This ain't like dusting crops boy!

3. Relive the exciting conclusion to Empire Strikes Back where Chewie desperately tries to ignore the fact that Lando is wearing Han's clothes.

4. Lord your ownership of this figure over your wimpy Ewok-owning friends.

5. You owe it to Chewie since the medal-snub at the end of Star Wars.


Chewbacca was a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk (that's no typo - it really is 3 Y's). His father was Attichitcuk, his son Lumpawaroo, and his wife Mallatobuck. Between his adventures with Han he got to see his family, but he was devoted to Han because of his Life Debt to him. Chewie incurred this life debt after Han (an Imperial Lieutenant at the time) saved him from being killed by Han's superior officer. The two escaped together, living the life of smugglers and eventually hooking up with the Rebel Alliance.

Chewbacca's home life was explored a little more deeply in the atrocious Star Wars Holiday Special that ran once on CBS November 17, 1978. In it, Han tries to get Chewie home for the Wookiee "Life Day," while we mostly see Chewie's family doing stuff at home. It was only shown once, and was later denounced by Lucas, but many of the factual elements were kept for Chewbacca's biography in the official novels and comics. There are usually bootlegs sold on Ebay, and downloadable video on the web if you look.

Unfortunately, around 25 years after the Battle of Yavin (the first Star Wars movie) Chewbacca was killed by a falling moon while saving the inhabitants of Sernpidal and Han and Leia's son Anakin. Han blamed Anakin for Chewie's death, but later came to the conclusion that nothing could have been done. Poor Chewie - first no medal and then he has a moon fall on him.