Figure of the Day: Day 730
5/5/2008 7:35:56 PM - Adam

Clone Wars Vehicles
Item No.:
Asst. 84841 No. 84976
Number: n/a
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Includes: Figure, 3 Projectiles
Action Feature: Firing rockets, moving wings
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Fall 2003
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Column Notes: It's vehicle week! This week, we focus on the hardware created for our action figures, which gets too little attention. From giant space freighters to tiny bikes, there's quite a large variety of vehicles to be had, and we look at seven random examples over the next week.

Bio: A lean, needle-nosed fighter-craft with a distinct alien heritage, the starfighters of the Geonosians are small, compact vessels of great speed and superior agility. A single Geonosian pilot sits within the cramped cockpit and peers out of a bubble canopy that allows a 360-degree field of vision. Cradled within the forward needles of the ship is a turret-mounted laser cannon. During the Clone Wars, the fighters were modified to increase their firepower, by adding two proton torpedos in the side launchers. (Taken from the toy's box.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' bathroom.

Commentary: Supposedly initially pitched as a vehicle to extend the Episode II line, the Geonosian Starfighter didn't see release until the whole Clone Wars thing was in full swing. Well, the first Clone Wars thing, anyway. As part of the second wave of vehicles, this one did pretty well thanks mostly to the fact they packed an exclusive figure with it. Nevermind that it sucked, but hey, a pack-in figure and a $20 price tag is pretty enticing. The vehicle design is unique, and that's pretty much its entire selling point. Like too many vehicles these days, all it does is offer you seating for one and some firing rockets. There's one clearly visible rocket launcher, and two more that "pop out" on the sides which are cleverly hidden until you flick a switch. This is great because, as I frequently say, it keeps the vehicle authentic to the movie while giving the kids something else to play with. So as far as how Hasbro made this toy, well, it's pretty good. The one big flaw/safety feature is that the two big prongs that stick out on the front are made of a bendy plastic. With time, they will sag unless they're propped up, or unless the vehicle is stored on its side. Sucks, don't it? As such, if you hang one up, be sure to keep an eye on it in case of sagging.

The vehicle, while neat looking, is just unexciting because there's no one cool play feature that makes it stand out more than any other ship. A lot of old G.I. Joe vehicles had wacky extras like a buzzsaw, or little ships that could be taken off the main unit. Classic Star Wars ships frequently had some big special feature to set it apart. The Imperial Troop Transporter could talk, the TIE Fighter had blast-off wings, even the mini-rigs had wacky spring-loaded doodads to add to their uniqueness. So many modern vehicles rely solely on firing rockets and maybe extra hidden cannons, so it's a bit of a downer that there's really nothing to make this ship memorable. Well, aside from the figure, but it sucks.

Collector's Notes: Most vehicles, over time, saw a gradual increase in their secondary market asking price. Anakin's Jedi Starfighter from the same era as this ship really shot up, as did the greenish Jedi Starfighter and the Clone Wars Federation Tank. The Geonosian ship goes for about $20, and as of yet there haven't been too many rumblings about a reissue. As a card-carrying vehicle fiend I can say I spent very little time with this one as it really isn't any fun to play with, but the good news is that if you want one you can score one off the eBay for the original price. ( MORE IMAGES )

--Adam Pawlus

Day 730: May 5, 2008