QUI-GON JINN with Opee
Episode I Beast Assortment
Item No.: Asst. 84125 No. 84096
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: May 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace
Bio: In an attempt to recruit the amphibious Gungans in their fight against the greedy Trade Federation, Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jar Jar Binks swim to the vast underwater city of Otoh Gunga. On their return, the trio is attacked by a gigantic, ravenous Opee sea creature whose voracious jaws threaten to spell the end for the Jedi, and crush all hopes for the planet of Naboo! (Taken from the toy's box.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' toy room. Hey look, another excuse for Adam to trot out some Playmobil stuff.
Commentary: With Episode I, Hasbro had their first big crack at hundreds of new designs from which to make toys-- but given the nature of the modern toy market and its unique needs, Hasbro needed to make sure to crank out plenty of recognizable characters like this one-time-only release Qui-Gon Jinn, which was packaged with an Opee beast. The figure was based loosely on concepts from the film. Yes, Qui-Gon did have a sort of a scuba device in his mouth, but he never went spear fishing, as this figure may imply. I hesitate to refer to this figure as "Expanded Universe" solely for its accessory, but let's face it, this was a figure inspired by the movie and not directly from it. It's a pretty good one, too, and aside from the head it would have made a decent standalone figure. He has the normal articulation of a figure from his day, plus ankle joints. In 1999, the prospect of ankles was pretty exciting and very few figures had them that weren't specifically designed as "swimming" figures like this one. If Hasbro decided to reissue this figure with a new head and a full-size lightsaber, odds are it'd be pretty popular. It's a well-constructed toy that doesn't fall apart easily, plus the sculpt, texture, and paint job hold up well. It's more "toy" than "collectible," which is one of the reasons I really like it. I also like underwater stuff, so yeah, it works on many levels.
Collector's Notes: The figure released in this set never saw a second release, but that's OK as the original one was collected widely and mint-in-sealed-box samples are currently collecting dust in speculators' basements everywhere. If you want one, you can get one cheap, but the main reason to get this figure for most collectors will be for the Opee or because you too want as many undersea figures as you can possibly get. Since there's very few in the Star Wars toy line, you may as well get this one.
Day 636: February 1, 2008