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SWV: Empire Strikes Back
by yo go re

How about a big round of applause for Walgreens, being the first place to ever stock this series of figures - and only, what, five, six months after online stores shipped theirs?

This series (which is apparently Series 9, somehow? How did that happen? Chewbacca was only in Series 5.) seems to have done away with any sort of biographical info on the back of the boxes; either that, or IG-88 is so boring that they couldn't think of anything to say about him. After all, if only the movies are canon now, all he ever did was stand in one spot and not move, making him a glorified coat rack.

Before the reboot or restart or continuity scouring or whatever you want to call it, the IG-88 we knew and loved(?) was actually IG-88B, the second in a series. IG-88A was the original, and upon being activated, he gained sentience and killed his creators. He immediately created three duplicates of himself - B, C, and D - and travelled to a droid factory planet to begin a Droid Revolution. To keep anyone from realizing what was happening, they sent IG-88B out to the galaxy to act as a bounty hunter, drawing attention to himself and away from the others. He was blown up by Boba Fett on Bespin, while IG-88A uploaded his consciousness into the second Death Star, just in time for it to be blown up by Nien Nunb and friends. Whoops!

IG-88 is the Where's Waldo or Loo-Kee of Star Wars - he shows up all over the place! At least, his head does. The prop was made from a flame tube from a Rolls-Royce Derwent jet engine, and showed up several times before becoming a droid head. It's fairly well known that the distillery equipment behind the bar in the Mos Eisley Cantina is made of IG-88 heads, but there was also one seen laying by the charred bodies of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. This is the most detailed a toy's head has ever been - to the point where I never realized the "mouth" holes were supposed to go all the way through.

The body is detailed incredibly well, considering that the character in the movie looks like he could have been assembled from PVC pipes. The early Black Series figures were digital sculpts, so it's unlikely that Iggy was made the same way McToys' Endoskeleton was. His arms and legs are thin tubes, while his torso is blockier. There are all sorts of greebles on his surface, most of which look like bits of plumbing equipment (which is probably what they really were, given the way Star Wars props were made). His right claw is more complex than his left, and the strap around his chest plugs in at the shoulder, to keep it from flopping around. The paint is lovely, with different metallic tones to keep him from looking dull.

When this figure was first revealed at Toy Fair this year, its articulation garnered some discussion on our message board. The thing really looks like it would only move at the Big Five, but there's a lot more than that. He has a swivel neck, swivel/hinge torso (that big section in the center is a functioning hinge), swivel/hinge shoulders that work through gaps in his armor, swivel/hinge elbows hidden behind soft PVC bellows, a T-crotch, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The prototype also had hinged wrists, but they're not really missed here. The tubes on his legs make it a little tricky to bend his knees. The figure is 6¾", a bit too tall for his official height of 6'5", but he still looks awesome.

IG-88 has three accessories: a BlasTech DLT-20A rifle, an E-11 blaster (aka, a Stormtrooper gun) and his vibro-blade. Both guns have tiny holes under the stock that plug onto the pegs on his wrists, to help keep the toy from dropping them. The blade is too skinny to hold, but it (and the E-11) can be stored on the back of the bandolier, right above the sculpted concussion grenades.

This is the third member of the famous ESB bounty hunter crew - we're halfway there. All we need now are the robotic 4-LOM, the insectoid Zuckuss, and the toilet-paper mummy they call Dengar. Dengar! Imagine the fun and majesty of a Black Series Dengar. The ultimate Dengar! The last Dengar you'd ever need to own! But that's a dream for another day. Today we've got IG-88, and he's pretty damn cool.

-- 09/27/15

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