Figure of the Day: Day 686
3/22/2008 9:32:16 PM | Reported by Adam

CANTINA BAND MEMBER Five Members, One Mold
Power of the Force Fan Club Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 69734
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Five instruments, plastic cloak
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $12.99 for 5 for $50
Availability: Spring 1997
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: The Modal Nodes were an all-Bith music band, specializing in the fields of Jizz and Jatz. The bandleader and organizer was an overbearing, compulsive Bith named "Fiery" Figrin D'an. The band's matching stage costumes were somber in tone and reflected the moody aesthetics attributed to their preferred style of music. Although the Modal Nodes enjoyed success on the Intergalactic circuit, they never rose to great prominence beyond the Outer Rim Territories worlds, owed largely in part to the fact that they incorporated no vocalists into their act. (Stolen from Wookieepedia. Haha, "Jizz.")

Image: Adam's toy room.

Commentary: I was really excited when we first got word that the Cantina Band Member was coming-- like, super-thrilled. I ordered 7 of them so I could make what I perceived to be the complete band, which, in hindsight, was kinda dumb because I never set up all of them at once and then Hasbro did newer and arguably better versions since. Which I also bought extras of. As the first Fan Club exclusive, this figure had a 100% new sculpt with a lot of detail and more articulation than any other figure at the time. The figure wasn't beefy like so many others, plus he had wrist joints and elbow joints in addition to the basic six points of articulation that fans of that era came to expect. In short, he was a superb figure. I often gave him a lightsaber or other extras just to see how a figure with this level of articulation would look, and it was exciting to think about what might come of Jedi in the future and depressing to think that, right then, the best we had was a single joint on each arm.

Kenner's thinking for this one was that all five members (they claimed there were five) were identical-- so why bother to make five sculpts? Smart move! Fans gobbled these up and with good cause. There was a lot of detail to be found on this guy's head alone, like bumps, folds, ridges, and all sorts of markings that said to me that Kenner was going out of their way to make a top-notch figure in an era where a lot of fans were less than pleased with the overall look and feel of the line, but well, they were still better than the alternatives. The pants had some nifty folds, the tunic was nicely sculpted, but the downer is that it had a weird clamshell plastic thing to go over the body. It didn't fit perfectly well, and it added a little bulk to the fairly thin character. The plastic vest was replaced by a cloth one for the releases in 2006 and 2007, but arguably neither really looked any better. It's a nice figure, and it's about as good as the repaint released recently-- so whatever's cheaper, go ahead and buy. They're all good for different reasons.

Collector's Notes: This was sold in 1997, and a resculpt was sold as Barquin D'an in 1998. A repaint of the figure reviewed today was sold in 2006 in a boxed set and in 2007 with electronic display bases. Get 'em all, or don't!

--Adam Pawlus

Day 686: March 22, 2008

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