Reader Review: VTAC IG-88 By Whitewolf

Bespin refugee - May 27, 2007
IG-88, aka "Phluttdroid" has always been a fan favorite. Yeah, I know...his EU exploits have been over the top: Murdering his creators at the moment he was activated, reprogramming an entire moon's droid factories to crank out "loyal followers" (I-Robot, anyone?), building duplicates of himself (IG-88A through IG-88D) to explain away why he and 4-LOM were both seen in a junk pile in Cloud City, downloading himself into the computer core of the second Death Star to begin a campaign of galactic domination, etc. But darn it...ya gotta admire his tenacity!

VTAC IG-88 is one of the most impressive figures of the line...completely cleansing my pallette of the Princess Leia figure I just did a review on. I knew that IG-88 was being given the vintage treatment, but I never realized that Hasbro could pull off the level of sophistication and articulation into a figure so small. Unlike what some have speculated, this is not a kitbashed version of the 2003 IG-88. This sculpt is brand new...and it had to be, considering all the things that are stuffed into the figure. 8 very small ball-socket joints are in the elbows, knees, shoulders, and ankles. The torso incorporates two different joints, a swivel joint at the droid's waist and a rather cool "gearworks" joint in the upper torso. This allows IG-88 to slump forward or "arch" his back. The shoulders and hips also incorporate straight-cut joints as well, allowing for additional articulation that would have otherwise been impossible. This "double-joint" system was first seen in the TSC Endor Threepio figure, which allowed his hips to bend forward a full 90 degrees---making it possible for that droid to actually sit down in the Ewok Throne. Numerous canisters, tubes, wires and mechanical greeblies adorn the assassin droid's body, but most of them are actually seperate parts and not molded to the body like in previous versions of IG-88. On a side note, the two armor plates covering the thighs also rotate back and forth, though I have no idea why they are supposed to do this...

IG-88's trademark bandolier was also given a vintage makeover...making one nasty strap of leather indeed. The front has several gas canisters and what appears to be a detonator of some kind. The back however, is where you really sit up and take notice. It features a holster for an illegally-obtained Imperial E-11 Blaster Rifle, a sheath for a vibroaxe (both removable), and 3 proton mines (non-removable). The vintage-style IG-88 comes to us at a time when he is also used as a major part of LucasArts' Empire at War: Forces of Corruption PC game. For the first time, this game gives a voice to IG-88, which sounds a lot like the silver RA-7 protocol droid in the Sandcrawler in ANH...but you can actually understand what IG-88 says. This adds a whole new dimension to the character that in ESB was little more than an unmoving stage prop whose head was originally part of the Mos Eisley Cantina's bar spigots.

The paint app is ingeniously done. It is applied in such a way that the droid appears completely silver in some types of light and appears to have rust spots under other types of light. Very cool effect that the folks at Hasbro cooked up for this figure. Fortunately, the rust shows up under the intense light of a camera flash, so you can see what it looks like in the photos. Aside from just being downright neat, the paint app is very clean and detailed, especially on the head and around the padded shoulder plate.

IG-88 comes with quite a few accessories, which is odd considering nearly all of the other VTAC figures only come with one or two.

The accessories include:

*Removable Bandolier
*E-11 Blaster Rifle
*T-6a "Thunderer" Heavy Blaster Carbine
*UGH Redemption Certificate
*UGH Proof of Purchase Sticker

Hasbro has definitely breathed new life into a character that had little to no screen time. As boring and unassuming as IG-88 may appear to some collectors, this is a figure that will definitely suprise you...and in a good way. Remember what Obi-Wan said..."Your eyes can deceive you." Compared to the older IG-88 figure, I say throw it away and replace it with this one. You'll be glad you did.

I give the VTAC IG-88 5 Death Stars.
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