PIT DROID Anakin Deco/Orange
30th Anniversary Collection Saga Legends (also Episode I bonus figure)
Item No.: Asst. 85770 No. 84190
Includes: Box, extra figure
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: Early 2000/Late 2007
Appearances: The Phantom Menace
Bio: Pit droids help repair and maintain podracers with zealous efficiency. Small yet incredibly strong, pit droids often dash onto the racetrack before the vehicles have stopped, risking their mechanical lives in their eagerness to get to work. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' toy room.
Commentary: I loves me some Pit Droid action. Once the most valuable action figure in the modern line, Hasbro decided to rerelease these figures with some slight changes in late 2007 since the six bonus Pit Droid figures from Europe and Asia were never sold in the USA. (You know, outside eBay and the like.) The figure's legendary status declined as a lot of collectors ignored it to pretend their collections were complete-- but today, everybody can get one, or more. The figure is presently sold in a two-pack, so you get two of the same exact droid in a $6.99 package. (Fans initially asked for one of each sculpt in each set but that didn't work out.) This droid has five points of articulation and no foot holes-- so getting him to stand can be tricky. The construction is good and the figure doesn't fall apart easily, although you can pop off the heads. I think this is a good thing because you can swap them and cobble together "junkyard" droids easily. Since the original sculpt is from the Episode I era it's actually a solid toy that looks good-- its aesthetics hold up well with modern figures, and it doesn't fall apart due to questionable engineering choices like we've been seeing in the more recent eras. While a super-articulated or collapsable droid would be fun to see, odds are it'd fall apart or be too fragile. As such, this is about as perfect as we can hope to get. There's some minor sculpting enhancements that could be done, and maybe Hasbro could've opted to paint the antenna, but the end result is a nifty and well-thought-out figure that functions as both a toy and as a diorama piece/collector's item/whatever it is you people do with these things.
Variations: This droid with this pose and this accessory are available in two configurations. One (shown) is the 2007-2008 release, which features slightly murkier "A" markings on the torso and a shiny silver painted box. The other release (not shown) was released in 2000 and had slightly brighter whites/tans plus the box was a tan color with some brown markings on it. The box is genuinely different between the two releases, but the figures are essentially the same. He also has the same copyright markings in the 2000 and 2007 release. As such, aside from the boxes, there's really no easy way to tell the first release from the second, which is pretty stunning when you consider the price difference between the two in the package.
Collector's Notes: Believe it or not, this figure was one of the few that was once truly "worth something"-- before its rerelease in 2007, carded samples of the figure with the bonus droid from 2000 sold for $200 or more. Today, the "bonus" versions are less than $100 and will probably continue to decline in value as people realize two for $7 is better than one for $200. The different accessory, while cool, isn't necessarily worth that kind of premium but I'm glad I got all of 'em. But then again, as regular readers know, I do really love the droids. I would advice against buying the Episode I packaged versions unless you're a) a packaged collector, b) a true fiend for variations, or c) so hardcore that you should be writing this column so I can take a vacation.
Day 699: April 4, 2008