AT-AT DRIVER with AT-AT
Power of the Force Vehicle Pack-In
Item No.: No. 69733
Includes: AT-AT, AT-AT Commander
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: Summer 1997
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back
Bio: Imperial Army pilots were the Galactic Empire's support personnel responsible for the operation and maintenance of a variety of vehicles, such as the AT-AT and AT-ST, within the Imperial Army. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.
Commentary: One of the finest figures in 1997, this AT-AT Driver represented the more slim figures which Kenner would become known for. Unfortunately, it was also a pack-in figure with an obscenely expensive vehicle, and a retooled version of the figure would go on to be an exclusive (in the USA, at least) come 1998. He only had six points of articulation, but what made the figure really stand out was the printed box of buttons and switches on his chestplate. There's a lot of detail here, and while it isn't perfect, it was one of many steps Kenner took to advance the look and feel of the toy line in its first formative years. The pilot largely succeeds on its own merits as a toy, as it's more authentic to the film than the vintage version yet also features just enough articulation so that it can sit down without a hitch. (Sitting, of course, being a really uncommon thing with figures released in 2007.) If you need someone to warm a seat, this is a fine figure-- but the 2006 version is arguably finer, cheaper, and much easier to track down.
Collector's Notes: As it comes with the AT-AT, it isn't a very easy figure to find, nor is it a cheap one. The 1998 carded version is very similar (with retooled limbs), and is easier to get plus includes a blaster. The 2006 version may still be available in your local stores (well, the crappier ones) plus is nearly super-articulated and includes a display base. This version in today's Figure of the Day is essentially a great version to get if you collect them all, if you're collecting vehicles (and dammit, you should collect vehicles), or if you're just a fiend for Imperials. It still looks very nice by today's standards but is by no means perfect-- Hasbro has since done much better, but still, the 1997 figure is nothing to sneeze at. (Especially if you want the AT-AT, and, as I said, you do.)
Day 505: September 23, 2007