Welcome to another entry in our The Vintage Collection: The Ninety Six column. Hasbro recently committed to collectors that they will be “focusing” on characters in The Vintage Collection that fall under “The Ninety Six” banner. If you’re new to this, it means that there needs a modern counterpart for every classic Kenner figure. Between 2020 and 2021, Hasbro’s made an admirable effort by focusing on these characters. But there is more work to be done, and we’ll figure out where we are step by step. Today we assess Imperial Gunner.
Just a few notes: We’re right in alignment with Hasbro in our vintage Kenner database with the count. There are 21 figures under the STAR WARS banner, 29 figures under THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK banner, 31 figures under the RETURN OF THE JEDI banner, and 15 figures under THE POWER OF THE FORCE banner. (Sy Snootles, Max Rebo, Droopy McCool, and Blue Snaggletooth bring the number to an even 100 figures.)
Read our assessment, and then please add your thoughts to the comments. Let us know if you agree or disagree. If you’re a customizer, show us your definitive custom figure in the comments as well! Who knows? It might give Hasbro some ideas.
THE POWER OF THE FORCE Imperial Gunner
Is there a definitive modern counterpart to 1985’s POTF Imperial Gunner?
2006’s TSC Death Star Gunner (SAGA 042) is generally regarded as the closest placeholder.
Has Hasbro added this character’s card art and action figure into THE VINTAGE COLLECTION? And is it definitive?
No. And 2019’s THE VINTAGE COLLECTION Death Star Gunner (VC147) is not an acceptable action figure to count as the modern replacement to the classic Kenner figure.
Does THE VINTAGE COLLECTION release completely satisfy the modern counterpart to 1985’s THE POWER OF THE FORCE Imperial Gunner figure?
2019’s THE VINTAGE COLLECTION Death Star Gunner (VC147) is a terrible action figure. The helmet is too small. The antenna looks like a snorkel. And the vest is non-removable. Still, the character is based on its appearance in ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, and not the Original Trilogy. 1985’s THE POWER OF THE FORCE Imperial Gunner is specifically based on the character from RETURN OF THE JEDI. This detail is authentic, as evidenced by the lack of a radiation vest. Hasbro needs to make all variations of this fantastic STAR WARS character. But a definitive counterpart to this figure requires a likeness from RETURN OF THE JEDI.
If Hasbro didn’t release the figure yet, do we have a near-definitive or definitive release of this character that can be added to THE VINTAGE COLLECTION as a straight repack, repaint, or with little retooling to update it?
The Death Star Gunner (VC147) figure serves as an excellent template to retool and make a new action figure scene-specific to RETURN OF THE JEDI. With some retooling and repainting, Hasbro can check this figure off of our lists rather quickly. But right now, the 2006 THE SAGA COLLECTION Death Star Gunner (SAGA 042) figure most closely resembles the character from RETURN OF THE JEDI.
What does Hasbro have to do so we can check off “Imperial Gunner” from our Vintage Vs. Modern checklists?
They need to retool existing figures and place a new version on a RETURN OF THE JEDI or THE POWER OF THE FORCE card in THE VINTAGE COLLECTION.
The year and years elapsed (through 2021) since we last had this character in classic Kenner-styled packaging (vintage or modern)?
2019’s TVC Death Star Gunner (VC147) 2 years ago. (Rogue One variation)
1985’s POTF Imperial Gunner 36 years ago.
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