Figure of the Day: Day 588
12/15/2007 3:09:20 PM | Reported by Adam

CLONE TROOPER with Firing Tripod Cannon!
Saga Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84851 No. 84635
Number: #0217
Includes: Cannon, projectile, blaster, stand
Action Feature: Firing cannon!
Retail: $4.99
Availability: Spring 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: Trained specifically for military combat, Clone Troopers are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Part of a cloning army, they are grown in the cloning facilities of Tipoca City, a luminescent city of industry emerging from the raging seas of Kamino. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: This particular Clone Trooper (specifically, a Captain) was the first clone in the regular line for the movie in 2002-- a white figure was part of a sneak preview assortment a few months earlier. Even though this figure had the same basic pose, it was hugely popular. So popular, in fact, that it was pretty shocking that the only Clone Trooper figures to follow it in 2002 was a pilot, and a deluxe white Clone with a speederbike, and that was it until Fall of 2003. Call it stoking the coals to make Clones hot. Call it the worst foresight ever. This clone "shortage" caused fans to rally and demand man, many, many more figures. And they succeded-- about 100 or so unique Clone figures can be bought today, but let's get back to the second clone ever first.

This was the first clone figure to have a significant level of articulation. The first Clone had about as much as a vintage 1984 release, but this one had ball-jointed knees, swivel elbows, rotating wrists, and even articulated ankles which was highly unusual for its day. The figure's sculpt was true to the film, and its accessories were some of the most extensive we ever saw in a $4.99 action figure. In short, at the time, it was very impressive even though it had a fairly action-oriented pose, no ball-jointed head, and was made from a crappy plastic that would secrete a film that would make it look like it was discoloring. (It should be noted that loose figures, with a little work, can be mostly cleaned of this residue.) It's a good figure, and for its unique accessories, arguably worth buying. There are nearly 100 Clone figures, but aside from standing around, there's not much they can do-- this figure's tripod cannon can add variety to your dioramas and armories, and in 2007, it's easy to say that the weapon is more exciting than the figure since new Clone Captain releases have been made out of better plastic with enhanced articulation. (Sure, they cost more, but they're out there for the buying.)

Finally, let me touch on the "stand"-- it's a little pile of dirt which sort of makes it look like the figure is running. It's basically a sloped rock with a foot peg on it. It's more or less disposable and easily forgettable, so if you buy this figure loose on the secondary market be sure to check for the little brown stand-- which, as it stands, is not in the picture.

Collector's Notes: The figure was released once and only once, so new versions of this particular red trooper were never reissued. The mold was recolored in 2003 to make a plain white figure as well as a blue and a yellow trooper. I should also note these figures suffered the same discoloration as the original, as did the 2003 ARC Troopers, the 2002 Arena Padme, the 2002 electronic R2-D2, and a few other figures. To clean them, I suggest cold water, a paper towel, and some vigorous rubbing on the discolored toy. Carded figure collectors may have a problem with this one in the long run because even a properly kept figure (cool temperatures, dark room, etc.) will likely discolor with age. Also, there's a variant to be had here: there's a figure like the one pictured, and a later release with four rank pips on his chest. The plain white version was released first, although neither appears to be more desirable or more in-demand as variation collectors are a niche who rarely overpay for such things due to the astounding abundance of regular figures to buy these days. ( MORE IMAGES )

Day 588: December 15, 2007

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