Figure of the Day: Day 784
6/28/2008 5:57:19 PM | Reported by Adam

PONDA BABA (or Walrus Man)
Power of the Force Collection 2 or 3
Item No.:
Asst. 69705 No. 69708
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster pistol, blaster rifle
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: Summer 1997
Appearances: Star Wars

Image: Adam Pawlus' computer desk.

Bio: Ponda Baba was an Aqualish pirate and the partner of Doctor Cornelius Evazan. He fulfilled the Aqualish stereotype of being an ill-tempered thug. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Commentary: One of Kenner's early great figures was Ponda Baba. It's so good, the same basic mold has been used since 1997 to make no less than 3 unique releases of this character. The articulation is standard for the time with six points, but he has a separate mold piece for his jacket, glossy boots and eyes, lots of paint applications, and significant detail. While he's beefy, he's not really all that bulky compared to other figures released at the time. In short, this figure helped to reveal that as of 1997 Kenner was quite aware of what fans of all ages were expecting from the line, and they started to deliver. The figure has numerous details not seen in the 1979 vintage release, and Kenner's 1997 figure is really amazing in that it changed fan perception of the character from a goofy green guy in swim fins to the thug you see before you. It can sit, stand, look good in a diorama, and most important of all, it was and still is cheap. An update is expected in the next couple of years, but frankly, I'm still pretty happy with this one. Kenner did a great job.

Collector's Notes: This is a figure with quite a few notations. One: in 1997, the figure was released on both Collection 2 and Collection 3 cardbacks-- Collection 2 is nearly impossible to find and seems to exist as a pre-release sample almost exclusively. The figure shipped with a grey beard or a black beard, and the grey one is the tougher to find. The figure ships with or without a holographic sticker, but the Collection 2 version has never shipped (as far as can be told) sans sticker. In 1998, a Freeze Frame Slider Holder was released which indicated a Ponda Baba with a slide was available-- this item never saw mass production, so you can't get it on a Freeze Frame cardback.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 784: June 28, 2008

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