Back in March over at Star Wars site Galactic Hunter Adam Pawlus set out to get some sort of near-definitive count of how many "different" Star Wars action figures had been released by Kenner/Hasbro since 1978 (you can read his results/method of counting here). The number he arrived at was eye-opening to say the least, but a number of people questioned what he considered "new" or "different enough" to be added to the tally. I actually had a different reaction; I didn’t think that he took the definition of "figure" far enough in his count. I thought about my method of accounting "figures" which I know would lead to a much higher number the way I would count it. Admittedly I haven’t even started my own count because I just can’t get myself to actually settle on what rules I use to define a figure… When I do get around to doing my count I want to try to do it right the first time and I want to put it together into a database format so that by pulling different parameters a user could get a count based on their own definitions — a daunting task to start with, I’m sure, but once started it should go quickly and be easy to keep up-to-date (well, that’s what I think right now, anyway…).
Right now, here are my "rules" for what defines a Star Wars figure: Any human, alien, droid or creature counts regardless of size, articulation or pack-in status. My reasoning for such a crazy rule?… Why, for example, should a pack-in Pit Droid not count if there is a basic carded release that features two of them? Why shouldn’t a pack-in Gonk Droid count separately from the Jawa when it was later sold carded as the main figure in the pack with another pack-in droid? Why should Jabba not count as a "figure"?… Is it because he was sold as a "beast"?… If that’s the case, why should the Nexu count as a "figure" even though it was sold as a deluxe figure since it is obviously a "beast"? Why shouldn’t the patrol droid packed with the Sandtrooper in the 3D Cantina count as a "figure"?… It’s a small droid, does that mean that R2-D2 shouldn’t count because he’s a small droid?… What of Wokling Nippet from the just released Leektar and Nippet pack?… Sure the Wokling doesn’t have any articulation but it gets "name credit" on the package, so why shouldn’t it count? The original 3 3/4" sized hologram figures that were sold at Wal-Mart weren’t articulated but what should keep them off the list when the other hologram figures that have articulation would make the cut? Why would an articulated Pit Droid count when the folded one packed with Jar Jar wouldn’t, they are both the same type of droid after all? What of the droids in the Episode I accessory packs, shouldn’t they count as figures? How about "dedicated" (non-removable) figures like the Cruisemissle Trooper or the Ammo Wagon Gungan (admittedly I did stop counting starfighter droid domes as figures — although I still count the R2 and Luke in the FX X-Wing, and I never counted the Battle Droid that gets "battle damaged" in the ATT)?
As you can see, my reasoning is a bit on the "creative" side and that’s what’s going to make the list a challenge to put together and put together right. I know that many of you will laugh at the lengths I’ve gone to in defining what is a "figure" but I just have a hard time with saying that a pit droid is a figure but the folded pit droid isn’t… Why is an Astromech droid a figure but a Hailfire Droid isn’t?… I think that the only places that I’ve really drawn the line beyond the droid domes is with the little hologram figures (like the Leia that came with the CommTech R2, not the bonus pack-ins from 2006), the chubas that come with Gragra and the skeleton that’s packed with Amanaman (they are dead, afterall), those aren’t figures by my definition (but that may change by the time it’s all done). Hmmm,… That brings up another question,… Should the brain in the jar and the spider droid that make up the B’omarr Monk figure be counted seperately?… Hmmm…
So by my counts,…
Treadwell Droid (the one packed with Aunt Beru)?… Figure.
IT-0 Interrogation Droid?… Figure.
Dead Chubas?… Not a figure.
Wal-Mart Holographic Qui-Gon Jinn?… Figure.
Accessory pack Sith Probe?… Figure.
Jedi Starfighter Droid Dome?… Not a figure.
Ammo Wagon Gungan?… Figure.
Hailfire Droid?… Figure.
Destroyer Droid from the R2 Carry Case?… Figure.
B’omarr Monk brain jar?… Not sure…
All right, you’ve seen the madness to my methods, what say you?… (Psst,… you don’t have to limit discussions to Star Wars, I’ve got these kinds of crazy ideas about Mattel’s DC stuff, too…)
(Gotta give a thanks to Cantina-Dan for giving me the inspiration for this blog.)
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