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Star Wars: The Mandalorian
by yo go re

So it's come to this: toys based on puns.

One of a series of dangerous assassin droids largely outlawed in the galaxy, IG-11 is a hired gun programmed to follow Bounty Hunters Guild protocols to the letter.

That text comes from the normal release of IG-11, when he was a Best Buy exclusive. The figure wasn't particularly hard to find - you were likely to see an entire solid peg of the things if you remembered that Best Buy existed and that they sold toys now - but as a glorified repaint, there was no big reason to get him, other than general excitement about The Mandalorian. But now that he's been re-released as part of "the Credit Collection," there are enough differences to make him worthwhile. But there's also no character-specific info on the packaging, and thus you get text from a different release.

In case you always skip The Mandalorian's credits, they feature concept art for the episode - scenes, characters, shot selections, whatever. Instead of just a list of names you'll never read, Mando aims to hold your attention by showing colorful pictures. And then Hasbro copied those colors for their figures, because toymakers love repaints. In this case, the art is by Christian Alzmann, with the saturation dialed way up.

This is, obviously, a repaint of IG-88, because apparently the IG-series droids are counting down to something. General Grievous' bodyguards? IG-100s. Original trilogy? IG-88. Post-Empire era? IG-11. When they get down to IG-1, what happens? Does the company go out of business? Does the universe end? Do they just start going into negative numbers? And how would that even work when there's already a hyphen in the name? IG--11. See, that doesn't look like it says "I.G. Negative Eleven," it looks like a typo.

IG-11's only new piece was the double-bandolier worn over his chest. That's still here, with three greandes or mines sculpted on the back, and a loop to store one of his guns if he's not using it at the time. Even those are the same: a long BlasTech DLT-20A rifle and a Stormtrooper's short E-11 blaster, both with holes molded underneath them so the toy can appear to hold them in its clamps (which is another issue, because 88 had clamps, while 11 had more normal hands - still metal, but more like fingers than like pliers). No new bodyparts means no new articulation, so he moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, chest, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. The placement of the pegs to hold the weapons is the same on both arms, but the greeblies on the right wrist mean the rifle can only go in the left.

The paint absolutely sets Credit Collection IG-11 apart from the normal release. The body is a rusty orange-gold, with dark grey accents and shadows, and a few spots of bright teal and dark purple. Naturally, it doesn't look much like the droid seen on the show, but that also means it doesn't look much like IG-88 with a vest on. The idea was that he was reflecting the desert terrain around him, not that he was literally golden, but pretending this is his normal colorscheme helps make the toy stand out. It's not so wild and out there that you wouldn't believe a droid could look like this, and that's good.

At first, I didn't get the idea behind this subline - it's called "the Credit Collection," of course, but all the figures include a plastic chip representing Imperial Credits. It wasn't until reading the text on the back of the card that the artistic inspiration clicked: This distinctive collection features premium deco applications inspired by the end credit images from The Mandalorian, plus a collectible Imperial Credit accessory. After the fall of the Galactic Empire, usage of their form of money, Imperial Credits, became less common, with many planets refusing payments in the currency on principle. The aurebesh at the bottom of the chit says "ROWE," which means... something? Maybe? IG's is bronze; other figures in the line get silver, platinum, gold, or copper.

The only thing IG-88 ever did in canon was stand perfectly still in one spot, so IG-11 had a very low bar to clear when it came to being better. The first episode proved that he was going to be a badass droid, doing things humans never could, and made us want a toy. The plain exclusive version was okay, but not as eye-catching as this one.

-- 06/27/21

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