Friday, October 21, 2016

From the ol' Epinions files: Garindan - Star Wars action figure review


Pros: Nice sculpt and paint job.
Cons: Though Hasbro has reissued Garindan in post-POTF lines, this version can be found only online.

Garindan, a Kubaz informant, works only for the highest bidders - usually the Empire or Jabba the Hutt. Garindan followed the young Skywalker and his mentor Ben Kenobi through the alleys of Mos Eisley.  - From the package blurb.

The shadowy spy retroactively named Garindan only appears briefly in A New Hope as the shrouded figure with the long nose and goggled eyes, he is the character who tips off the Imperial stormtroopers that Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi have gone to Docking Bay 94 in Mos Eisley.  He appears twice or thrice, following the Jedi Knight and his new apprentice through alleys and bystreets and muttering into a handheld comlink in a squeaky language.

Garindan is not identified by name in the film or the 1976 Alan Dean Foster-penned novelization; the figure is also known colloquially as "Long Snoot" because of his long proboscis.

The Figure: 

 Height: 1.85 Meters
Status: Spy
Classification: Kubaz
Affiliation: To The Highest Bidder
Weapon of Choice: Blaster Pistol, Hold-Out Pistol

Bipedal and roughly humanoid, the Kubaz alien is roughly the size of an average human but has that long snoot that gives him his nickname.  Garindan is attired in a hooded cape - done in plastic - and goggles to protect his vision from the twin suns of Tatooine.

Though Garindan never wields a weapon in Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope, Hasbro has equipped him with a hold-out blaster.  After all, he is a spy who will work for organized criminals such as Jabba or the local Imperial authorities, and spying is a nasty, dangerous business.

The figure was actually released in three different packaging variants; the toy itself was not modified but it came in two Green Collection carded bubblepacks, one with a picture and one with a hologram in foil, and one Freeze Frame carded bubblepack.  This last one included a Freeze Frame slide with a still from A New Hope that could be used in a slide projector.

Weapons and Accessories:

Hold Out Blaster 
 Plastic Cape 
 Freeze Frame (.01 only)  

My Take:  
Although Garindan is only seen for less than a minute in Star Wars: A New Hope, his actions lead to the docking bay shootout between Han Solo and a squad of Imperial stormtroopers before the fateful flight of the Millennium Falcon.  This kicks off the first adventure Luke Skywalker has in his quest to become a Jedi Knight, so the spy's small but pivotal role makes him worthy of his own little action figure.

As far as detailing goes, it's very nicely done.  The dark gray, almost black outfit is perfectly suited for skulking about in the alleys and sideways of Mos Eisley and elsewhere; the sculpt is nicely done for a figure of 1997 vintage.  The only bit of unclothed Kubaz - the long nose - is rendered in simulated brown skin tones with almost-elephant-like wrinkles and folds on the surface.

As far as articulation goes, it's not too shabby.  Garindan's hooded head can be turned from side to side even though he's a cloaked figure.  That's because Hasbro did not affix the cape's hood to the rest of the simulated garment to allow for neck movement.

The figure's arm movements, though, are restricted by the cape, which is rendered in plastic instead of cloth.  The arms have no elbow joints so posing the figure naturally is difficult.  Additionally, the figure can only be posed In standing or "walking" stances, since there are not enough articulation points in the legs to have him sit unless Garindan is sitting with his legs stiffly straight.

On the whole, the figure is for serious collectors only; Garindan is hard to find in local stores unless you go to a comics-and-collectibles store.  Prices there can vary from $1.00 for a Long Snoot loose and without his blaster to $15.00 and up for one in a carded bubblepack in mint condition

I bought mine about eight years ago from a private collector who was going to go to college and was selling off her figures.  I paid $10 and it was packaged, but the seller put the carded bubblepack in a too-confined box, so the near-mint figure's bubblepack was all bent and no longer displayable that way, so I decided to open Garindan and pose him on a shelf.

As always, parents are cautioned that Star Wars figures have small accessories or parts that can be choking hazards for children under three years of age, and Hasbro recommends this toy for kids ages four and up.

(c) 2010 Alex Diaz-Granados

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why I haven't been around lately

Hi, there, Constant Reader. I'm sorry that I have not dropped by recently, but I've been busy writing paid blog posts at Cerebral Palsy Guidance (CPG), a site that provides information about one of the most common disabilities that afflicts children and adults - cerebral palsy (CP). This isn't my preferred type of writing gig; I'd rather be paid for writing reviews of movies, books, computer games, and music albums, to be honest. But I have CP - I acquired it as the result of an injury at birth - and the site owner wanted a blogger with some insights about living with the disability, so I was asked to contribute. I accepted the gig, not because I like the topic, but because I need the money.

I didn't set out to become a spokesperson for the many people who live with CP in the U.S. and elsewhere. I am more comfortable writing about, say, the merits of Saving Private Ryan and arguing in favor of George Lucas's much-maligned Star Wars prequels than the ups and downs (mostly downs) of living with a disability in 21st Century America. As a writer, I want to share my love for reading and movies, my passion for history, and my observations on love, life, and this crazy but wonderful world that we live in. What I didn't want to do was to put the spotlight on my disability; I'm not as funny as Geri Jewell or as talented as Christy Brown, nor do I want my life story to be told as a 21st Century version of My Left Foot. 

Nevertheless, I have taken my assignment to heart and I give my client 1000% when I write posts for the CPG. Since January, I've written about 30-35 pieces for the site, including a long autobiographical series titled Growing Up with Cerebral Palsy. You can read all of my CP-related articles here, if you want.