HEIGHT: 1.83 meters
STATUS: Heavy Weapons Gunner
AFFILIATION: Galactic Empire
WEAPON OF CHOICE: Imperial Blaster, Assault Rifle
In 1985, The Power Of The Force line intended to go back throughout the Star Wars saga and create action figures that might have been overlooked when the films were new. The best example of this was Luke Skywalker (In Stormtrooper Disguise) which is character based on A New Hope. Sadly, the 1985 Kenner Star Wars toy line was abruptly canceled and they never got the chance to complete what they started. Many of the planned figures for this line never got the chance to be produced or released. One of the final 15 figures included Imperial Gunner, and many thought this character was based off of the character from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as well. But they were wrong. In Return Of The Jedi, a revised look for the Death Star/Imperial Gunners included the removable radiation protective vest (which is only seen on the Death Star Gunners from A New Hope). A decade later, Kenner made the “other” Death Star Gunner for The Power Of The Force “2” line. Worried that we’d get bulky and muscular features, Kenner actually toned down the superhero look instead for as much authenticity as they could muster. And as a result the final figure has pleased many collectors.
Much like the TIE Fighter Pilot released earlier, the Death Star Gunner is a culmination of dull and shiny paint operations. The helmet and radiation vest are glossy, while the rest of the figure is more matte. This attention to detail is greatly appreciated by collectors and creates an intense sense of realism for the action figure line. But the realism goes deeper. The pose is very natural. The wrinkles and folds of the clothing are respectfully done and appear as accurate as they should be. And collectors noticed. The Death Star Gunner never shot up in price on the aftermarket, but when it arrived at retail it briskly sold though almost every time a store received an allotment of it. Part of the Collection 1 assortment of Kenner Star Wars action figures, we’ve been told by Kenner that it means this figure should be a main hero. Obviously that’s not the case and its designation is incorrect. (Editor’s Note: The Death Star Gunner was re-released countless times and its designation to Collection 3 was ultimately revised.) Still, if you’re a loose collector and could care less about the packaging, the Death Star Gunner triumphs on all levels and remain a steadfast and strong action figure in the Kenner toy line.
The Death Star Gunner comes with two accessories, although we’re not too sure if either of them are screen accurate for these characters. The Death Star Gunners in A New Hope sat at a huge gunning station (that in our opinion seems to have inspired the “space jockey” scene in 1979’s Alien film. We digress.) But since we don’t have a huge gunning station to interact with the Death Star Gunner action figure, kids and collectors are going to need weaponry to use in place of a huge gunning station. You get standard Imperial issue E-11 blaster (which is still too large for these action figures). And then you get a large strapped heavy blaster rifle (which interestingly seems to mimic in shape and look) what the Death Star Gunner characters used on the Death Star while destroying various planets across the galaxy. Both weapons interact beautifully with the Death Star Gunner. The only thing missing in our opinion is the antenna on the helmets. Kenner attempted to recreate this but we don’t feel it has turned out all that well. The antenna is a big part of the look of the Death Star Gunner. It really feels like this action figure is missing something important. Other than that, the Death Star Gunner is mighty fine action figure