DRAGONSNAKE Luke's X-wing Fighter
The Saga Collection Toys "R" Us Exclusive (later, shared exclusive with Entertainment Earth)
Item No.: No. 32459
Includes: X-wing Fighter, Luke Skywalker figure
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: August 2006
Appearances: Empire Strikes Back
Bio: A large native in Dagobah's many swamps, this dragonsnake tried to make a quick meal out of R2-D2 before realizing the droid was inedible. (Taken from the set's box.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' toy room.
Commentary: Hasbro (and Kenner) were pretty great about releasing a steady stream of creatures from 1997 to 2000-- and then it all went to crap. Newly sculpted non-figure beasts are far and few between, so it's easy to get stupid excited over the likes of the Dragonsnake from when it came out in 2006. Pictures of the creature were practically non-existent in my early years, and I didn't realize you can actually see the monster in a semi-well-known Ralph McQuarrie painting featuring the swamp slug. (Check it out.) Aside from its back, you really don't get much of a look at this guy, and the Galoob Dagobah playset from the MicroMachines line in the 1990s really didn't help paint it in a new light either-- it was just some bumps and part of a head. As (I presume) the "real" interpretation of this creature, the figure is pretty good. It's slightly larger than your average human in the line, and sports four point of articulation. You get one at the neck, one at the tail, and one on each arm. The creature itself looks a little more like one of the critters from The Neverending Story than from Star Wars, but hey, it's still nifty and weird. His blue skin has a ton of texture, with scaley bits, hairy bits, and some bits on the back that look vaguely armored. Hasbro's sculptors gave him webbed... er... hands? The design looks like he can claw his way through the water, or use his tail to propel himself forward. Sadly, the creature is far too small to "eat" R2-D2 and spit him back out like in thet movie. I don't believe the creature is meant to be able to unhinge its jaw, so I'm assuming the size of this beast was done to meet a price point, and not to be an authentic replica of the creature we "saw" try to eat the droid in the swamp. It's still good-- if this is the only Dragonsnake ever made, you should still get one because it is a truly unusual item plus it offers a glimpse at a creature that the movie glossed over. It's simple, but neat-- and if Hasbro ever decides to try it again (which I very much doubt), with any luck there might be a "launching R2-D2" feature or something just to make it a little more interesting. As it is, this qualifies more as a large-ish action figure than what Kenner and Hasbro typically developed for beasts in the deluxe, standard, or really big sizes. I still like it, even if it is pretty ugly.
Collector's Notes: Since its introduction roughly 20 months ago, this item has been on and off the market. Right now, it's very on the market and can be had for $44.99 online with no problem at all, or can be found in select Toys "R" Us stores-- if you're lucky. The Dragonsnake is only available with the X-wing and Hasbro has made no plans known for issuing it elsewhere. It's also the real draw of this gift set if you already have a Luke and an X-wing.
Day 694: March 30, 2008