Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Then & Now, Round 2: Klaatu (In Skiff Guard Outfit) '83 vs. Klaatu '99

Well I suppose this series of reviews isn't so much a direct comparison of figures as a group of thoughts and memories about the two separate figures. Both these Klaatu figures are based on the the same Jabba sail barge character in the film. Jabba Guards were a favorite of mine, both in my youth and until this day. There were so many aliens involved with Jabba in Return of the Jedi that it was hard to keep track of them all. I think this chaos is where the appeal comes from. Lucas was quoted as saying in an early interview that Jabba's palace was the alien showcase he had wished the Cantina could have been. Later around the time of the Special Edition of the original trilogy Lucas changed his story claiming that the Jabba's palace didn't live up to his vision and the new Jabba's scene was how he had envisioned it. I digress. The paint application on the face of the original figure kinda smooths over the detail of the sculpt, making the figure seem a little primitive by today's standards. However the '99 version captures Klaatu nicely. For a while the '99 boxed set of Skiff Guards was very difficult to locate. As luck would have it I ended up getting box set when it showed up with clearance merchandise at Kay Bee toys around the time of the launch of Episode I the Phantom Menace or within a few months later. The other chain stores stopped ordering any other merchandise at the end of 1998 before ordering the Episode I toys for the May 1999 film premiere. As a result tons and tons of remaining toys showed up at Kay Bee with prices slashed at least in half. I think the boxed set of guards was $7.99 at first but since the clearance toys were selling so fast KB adjusted the prices making them slightly higher. Although the case with the Skiff Guards in it came off the truck with $7.99 stickers on it, by the time it was to be put on the shelf, and I had an opportunity to buy it, the price went up to $9.99. Nevertheless it was a great deal on a three figure box, reminiscent of the vintage price of a single figure when averaged out over the three figures. Vintage figure photography by D. Martin Myatt, images courtesy of Rebelscum.com

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