Imperial gunners were tasked by the Empire for their skills with heavy artillery such as the turbolaster and ion cannon. Employed on Imperial crusisers and military bases, these skilled gunnery crewman operated with smooth, calm precision, even during the fiercest battles. On the Death Star, the Imperial gunner had the job of maintaining the battle station’s powerful superlaser. A weapon with enough fire power to destroy an entire planet. The Imperial gunners wore large black helmets with a slit-like visor, designed to protect their eyes from the bright flashes of light.
Gentle Giant Ltd. once again surprises the heck out of us that they have chosen a very popular member of the Imperial forces to be an exclusive instead of a general release Mini Bust. We have noticed throughout Gentle Giant’s more than decade long tenure making high quality Star Wars collectibles that they love to mirror many of their releases after what Hasbro does. And then they take it a step further and, for lack of a better word, “cash in” on the nostalgia of the characters released in the vintage Kenner line. For example, 2009’s Yak Face Mini Bust and now 2012’s Imperial Gunner Mini Bust were two characters that were rare action figures in Kenner’s 1985 The Power Of The Force line. Now both are limited edition and exclusive Mini Busts under their own license. Gentle Giant Ltd. may be doing this subconsciously or intentionally, but whichever way it gets done makes collectors like us very, very happy that such awesome characters are getting made in Mini Bust format.
We still feel however that the Imperial Gunner would have been a successful general release Mini Bust instead of an exclusive. Reserved for Action Figure Xpress (or AFX for short), only 1200 units have been manufactured worldwide for the Imperial Gunner. You may notice right away that this version of the Imperial Gunner is based on his appearance from A New Hope and not Return of The Jedi. In Episode VI, the Imperial Gunners were seen without the protective radiation vests. It may have behooved Gentle Giant Ltd. to include this removable armor portion for extra display options, but they played it a little bit safe by designing it after the Episode IV look. The Imperial Gunner looks fantastic, so you probably won’t care about the specifics of his sourcing. Every last detail is in place from the shiny helmet, to the ribbed texture of his protective body glove and to the precise placement of the Imperial insignias found in multiple spots on his uniform.
Often referred to as a Death Star Gunner, the Imperial Gunner comes with blaster in hand. It’s quite obvious that they must do other things on the Death Star and just wait for the latest Emperor command to blow up a nearby planet. So they must perform some guarding or administrative duties in the interim to keep busy. This interpretation in Mini Bust format lies somewhere between the two. The Imperial Gunner Mini Bust is definitely a long-awaited addition to the Mini Bust line. It seems it took Gentle Giant Ltd. much too long to bring it to the Mini Bust line. But they really did a fine job with the final product and whatever wait was required to bring a piece this gorgeous has made the wait more than worth it. Simple details like the inordinately thin antenna and the eerie yet simple visor that protects his eyes from the laser beam, the Imperial Gunner Mini Bust is a piece that has brought us compete satisfaction to our Mini Bust collection.
Status: This highly-detailed mini bust, based on the original Lucasfilm costumes and props, was sculpted and painted by Gentle Giant Ltd. We hope you enjoy it.
Exclusivity: AFX (Action Figure Xpress) Exclusive
Date Stamp: 2012
Retail: $64.99 USD
Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on listings.