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Ben Quadinaros & Otoga-222

SWI: The Phantom Menace
by yo go re

So, after last week's big multi-pack, it's decided: I'm collecting podracer pilots.

Ben Quadinaros is part of the vintage collection, and while Hasbro can charge us more to sell a figure on black cardboard, they can't be arsed to put a bio on there (because the real vintage figures didn't have one, either). Fortunately, Wookieepedia is a thing that exists, so we can tell you something about this character other than "there's only one R in his last name, so searching 'Quadrinaros' won't bring you any information."

Ben Quadinaros is a Toong from the planet Tund, and we swear to you, it only sounds like we're making those names up on the spot. He had a reputation as a coward (since Toongs tended to be timid in social interactions) and had only raced on a safe, gentle course before coming to Tatooine. The only reason he entered the Boonta Eve Classic was that someone bet him five million monies that he wouldn't - Ben was scared that he'd die in the race, but his engines malfunctioned on the starting line, saving him from ending up plastered across the sand dunes.

Ben's body is about 90% face. He's a lot like MODOK, really, in that he's basically a giant head with arms and legs. And yet, despite that, the likeness isn't quite right. His nose should be smaller and higher, and he looks angry. Angry? The guy is a creampuff, he should never look angry! Worried? Happy? Sure, but not angry. It would also be good if he had larger bags under his eyes, but honestly, this is definitely a "good enough" sculpt.

Unlike MODOK, Ben can stand on his own. He's got spindly arms and legs, but hey will hold him up. With his bulbous torso, he kind of looks like a living onion! The texture on his skin and his clothes seems to be the same, which is a little weird, but what are you gonna do? His hands are large for his body, but his feet are barely even stumpy nubs - it's kind of cute, really. He wears gloves, has kneepads on his jumpsuit and for some reason gets translucent pods over his ears. Really, why did they go so far as to cast clear plastic like that? It seems unnecessary, but Hasbro still bothered to do it just to make the Star Wars fans happy.

Another area in which Hasbro went above and beyond? The articulation. The Vintage Collection is known for its high articulation, but this is just nuts! Look at Ben Quadinaros, at how bloopy and simple his body is. And then consider that his wrists are swivels, and his elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are all swivel/hinge joints. This is a ridiculous amount of movement for a guy that looks like this. They could have easily switched a few of those to simple hinges or peg joints and nobody would have been the wiser, but no, they went all-out.

Ben has two accessories. Or maybe just one. It depends on how you want to look at things. The one indisputable accessory is a small blaster, which looks to have been designed just for him. It's not like he used a gun in the movie, so this is another case where they could have skipped it and everybody would still have been happy.

He also comes with a pit droid. No, not one of the cool ones, the insectoid Otoga-222 maintenance droid. It's the same mold that was released in 1999 with the other Episode 1 toys, given a nice "weathered" look to make him look like he's been in use for a while. The articulation is simple: swivel shoulders and hips, and nothing else.

Ben Quadinaros has never had an action figure before, as evidenced by the "Character Debut" sticker on the front of his card. So for such a minor character to come out of the gate so hard is really impressive. There's never been a toy of him before? There may never need to be a toy of him after, either.

-- 04/29/12

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