Friday, October 26, 2007

SOTW: Darktrooper

I have waited 9 years to find this figure (or one like it). That's right 9 years!

It all started back in the summer of 1998, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Star Wars: Dark Forces, a PC game from Lucas Arts, had been out for a little while and I was hooked. I would spend an hour to two hours every Friday before I went to work trying to make it from level to level on this game. It had everything, first person shooter, Star Wars, and these evil looking Darktroopers! Well that summer Kenner/Hasbro released expanded universe toys in their Star Wars line, always trying to milk the cash cow, and the Darktrooper was among them! I searched and searched for this figure, refusing to pay scalper prices of upwards to 50 bucks for this figure, maybe more. in April of 1999, at the first Star Wars Celebration, I actually got within 2 feet of one, it was in a huge jar on the artists table with a sign that said "guess the number of Star Wars figures and win the lot!", I think I actually touched the jar (no not Jar Jar).I remember sitting there staring at that figure when I wasn't working on drawings or talking with the other artists. It was just sitting there taunting me. I remember one fellow strolling up to the table and asking the assistant if all the weapons were with the figures, she just said they dumped what ever was in the package in the jar. He was especially interested in the Darktrooper as well. Being a "employee" I was excluded from the fun of guessing the number, and sadly the company store was fresh out of Darktroopers.

So, years went by and troopers came and went, but the ever elusive dark trooper never crossed my door. 2007 came with the re-release of the Darktrooper, being hand picked by fans across the globe as this year's Fans' Choice #1 figure. To make it that much more desirable and rare, it was packed with the "gold" collector's coin instead of the usual "silver". A nice little touch that was sure to drive all the scalpers into a feeding frenzy as they gobbled every last one of these up, only to flood eBay with an ever growing army of overpriced Darktroopers. I got myself ready for another Darktrooper drought, knowing I would never, ever see one of these in person.

That all changed when I took a quick trip to the local grocery store for some milk and as usual, I passed down the toy aisle on my way to the cash register. Thats when I noticed the first ever concept figure I had ever seen in the wild, a concept Boba Fett! I had ordered it months before and had it at home, but it was cool seeing it out in a store... but hey, what was this behind him... a Darktrooper. Holy Crap! Hoooooly Craaap!

I knew I shouldn't get him though and after sitting there holding it in my hands, resided to the fact that it would be lost to time again. I actually made it all the way home where I recounted the morning's adventure to my son and wife, knowing that neither one of them really cared, I mean one Stormtrooper is the same as the other right? My son seemed a little more interested as I told him the stories of these troopers, that's when the ever beautiful Judy spoke up with "if they're that hard to find, just go back and get it." she also added that I'm an addict and that I needed help. I think she wanted to see if I would actually go back after this figure, you know what? I thought about it, and I threw caution to the wind and jumped back into the Jeep and to the store I went. This was the first time I had ever done something like this, the figure meant that much! I felt like I had finally accomplished a life long goal (or at least a 9 year goal) and as I walked this trooper to the register and plopped down my cash, I envisioned marking the Darktrooper off some list of things to do! Upon return home the second time that morning, my son and wife both asked what I was going to do with it, being that it is "rare" and all, and I told them it was getting opened and put on the blog and then placed on my desk never to leave my sight. A trophy for all to see, a prize from "the Hunt", always to be cherished, never to tarnish. You know though, now that I found one, they'll be everywhere... Oh well such is the karma of the Toy God, at least I have my Darktrooper, finally!

Here's a link to the original release that came with a cool package feature, where you could turn the package into a 3-D scene from the game. The new one doesn't have this feature, but it does have a gold coin!

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