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SWV: Empire Strikes Back
by yo go re

I have absolutely no data to back this up, but I'd be willing to bet that the most "collected" Star Wars characters (that is, a specific group people set out to complete) are the six Empire Strikes Back bounty hunters.

Bossk is a bounty hunter hired to track down the Millennium Falcon. The Trandoshan meets with Lord Vader and is given the task of capturing the Rebel ship. The Reptilian humanoid is an efficient and ruthless hunter whose personal goal is to capture Chewbacca.

Devour prey (Like a Bossk)! See in infared (Like a Bossk)! Hail from Trandosha (Like a Bossk)! Son of Cradossk (Like a Bossk)! Worship the Scorekeeper (Like a Bossk)! Regrow lost limbs (Like a Bossk)! Invade Kashyyk (Like a Bossk)! Skin some Wookiees (Like a Bossk)! Eat other Wookiees (Like a Bossk)! Trade slaves (Like a Bossk)! Barefoot in space (Like a Bossk)! Bounty hunt (Like a Bossk)! Meet Aurra Sing (Like a Bossk)! Chase Mace Windu (Like a Bossk)! Deal with pirates (Like a Bossk)! Prison break (Like a Bossk)! Hate Han Solo (Like a Bossk)! Hate Chewbacca more (Like a Bossk)! Carry grudges (Like a Bossk)! Summoned by Vader (Like a Bossk)! Lose to Boba Fett (Like a Bossk)! Get your revenge (Like a Bossk)! You're the man now (Like a Bossk)!

Because he literally was just born of a werewolf mask and last-minute desperation, the Star Wars folks try to pretend Lak Sivrak never happened. But why does he have to be digitally replaced in the Cantina scene, while Bossk (who is clearly just a guy in a lizard mask) gets a pass? He's brown with orange eyes, and his mouth is open slightly.

Bossk's costume is a real pressure suit - a Windak high-altitude suit originally designed for Britain's RAF. In fact, considering that ESB was shot in London and the utter rarity of these suits, there's a damn good chance that the yellow suit Bossk wears is the exact same one seen in several Doctor Who episodes (including 1966's "The Tenth Planet," first to feature Cybermen) and the 1964 film First Men in the Moon. This thing's got a hell of a pedigree!

Developed in 1962 by Baxter, Woodhouse and Taylor Ltd., the suit was built of a single piece of rubberized silk bonded to strong cotton. The toy even has the air ports used to inflate the suit sculpted on the thighs! The bands around his shins are cartridges for a flare gun, worn like the Luftwaffe did in WWII. His lizardy arms and legs poke out of the suit, and the straps hanging around his legs are a separate piece. So's the suit's red collar, oddly enough - it and the equipment hanging from it just lay against the suit's built-in flak jacket, rather than being attached.

This figure is a re-release of one that was originally released in the overpriced retro packaging. Since those were all about the super-articulation, Bossk moves very well: he has a balljointed head; swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles; swivel hips and forearms; and a swivel/hinge torso. This is the most dynamic Bossk has ever been - and probably the most dynamic he'll ever need to be.

Bossk's trademark weapon is a Relby-v10 micro grenade launcher, and sure enough, the figure includes one. His right hand (claw?) is posed to hold it, but not very tightly. Since this release is part of the Saga Legends line, he also includes a base, die and card for whatever little game they were putting in the packaging back then, as well as "secret weapons" - a bag full of random accessories. It's amazing what you can get when you don't have to pay for fancy cardboard that's going to get thrown away.

Like most of the people (beings?) that appeared in Star Wars, Bossk is less of a character and more of a design, but "outer space lizard man" is a pretty cool design. It's like paranoid ramblings of David Icke and Giorgio Tsoukalos came to life and had a sweaty love-baby. And right now, there's no better toy of the result.

-- 08/04/13

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