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Star Wars [Saga - Phase I]

Ponda Baba - SW [S - P1] - Cantina Bar Section (1 of 3)

Name: Ponda Baba
Collection: Star Wars [Saga - Phase I]
Number: 1 of 3 (Walmart Exclusive)
Source: A New Hope
Availability: August 2002
License: Hasbro

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On the planet Tatooine, the Mos Eisley Cantina, also known as Chalmun's Cantina, is the hot spot for entertainment and intrigue. Many species intermingle there, spying and conducting shady business. Bounty hunters frequent the seedy joint, hoping to catch their prey in an unguarded moment. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker went to the cantina to find transportation off the planet, which led to their first meeting with Han Solo.

The partner of the mad Dr. Evazan, Ponda Baba is an Aqualish smuggler and pirate who causes havoc throughout the galaxy. He's aggressive, rude and mean, as are all members of the Quara species. He picked a fight with Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley cantina, and came out of the confrontation minus one arm, when Obi-Wan Kenobi came to Luke's rescue.

The 25th anniversary of Star Wars occurred in 2002. Although Hasbro didn’t create and devote a line of figures to it, they did produce some nifty products to commemorate this one in a lifetime achievement. At the tail end of the Power Of The Jedi line in early 2002 we received three Silver Anniversary (1977-2002) dioramic type of boxed sets that commemorated not only 25 years of Star Wars, but three specific scenes from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. After that the fanfare was diminished greatly, but Hasbro did release multiple exclusive “Silver Anniversary” static figures to the collectors’ market via things like convention and Toys R Us exclusives. But perhaps the greatest tribute give to A New Hope was the long overdue Cantina Bar Section Walmart exclusive sets. They weren’t really intended to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Star Wars, but collectors of course felt they did because what better exclusive than to get anything from Chalmun’s cantina. Collectors had been asking for this since the line’s rebirth in 1995. But if there was a reason for Hasbro to never rely on the wishes and desires, the Walmart exclusive Cantina Bar Section sets is probably the case in point. The first wave was released in August of 2002 and barely budged. In fact, the sets piled up so quickly on store shelves that Walmart had to reduce them as low as $2 a set before the end of the year. We never understood its failure. Did not enough people know these were exclusive to Walmart (Unlikely). Did they really not want these to begin with? (Doubtful). Did a repack/repaint of a very old figure halt the sales of this? (Probably.)

For only $9.99 collectors were treated to a basic figure (with either new tooling or an all-new paint or job (or both), a Cantina Bar Section (with screen inaccurate barstools – it’s OK, let it go) and a cardboard backdrop of a section of the cantina for visual effect. Collectors couldn’t have spent their hard-earned money more wisely in the Star Wars line, but for reasons unknown this retailer exclusive failed miserably. Sure it would have been nice to get a never-before-released cantina alien, but the updates made to the rehashed figures are noteworthy. Let’s take a look at Ponda Baba. Hasbro took the base 1997 POTF2 [FF/TKC] Ponda Baba figure, gave him a new right arm (with swivel and removable bicep to recreate the scene from the film) and two new legs to include hinge-jointed articulation in the knees. The knees in all honesty are kind of moot in retrospect. Ponda Baba just stood around the bar picking a fight with Luke Skywalker. We really didn’t need this enhancement. But the update is appreciated. The removable arm is a nice touch. Some believe the wrong arm is removable, but we’ll leave that explanation for an Expanded Universe story. Ponda Baba also received an all-new paint job. We won’t claim that the new coloration is better. It does look incorrect when compared to the reference shots. Both previous versions of Ponda Baba tend look better in our opinion from this vantage point.

How about that Cantina Bar Section? Well, it’s beautiful. We don’t even care that Hasbro added barstools. It appears that with some clever customizing that they would be removable. The actual tooling of it is gorgeous. Hasbro was sure to include every last detail of the simple design. And the deco seems to be perfect as well. The whole idea behind these exclusive sets is to build a complete bar. Three more will create the other side of the bar and then we just have to wait for the curved Cantina Bar Sections to be released at some point as well. (Editor’s Note: The curves bar section were released with both 2007’s TAC M’iiyoom Onith (30 22) and Elis Helrot (30 23) figures.) All three Cantina Bar Sections snap together. We did notice that the connection isn’t perfect, but we’re sure over time with a little more wear and tear that they will connect a little more smoothly. A cardboard cutout, which is part of the packaging, with dotted lines is visible on the reverse side of the packaging. You’ll have to use a pair of scissors to utilize this part of the set. Overall, we’re thrilled that Hasbro has released these. But we’re equally disappointed that they didn’t make a bigger splash at retail. The second wave of figures which include Dr. Evazan, Kitik Keed’kak, and Wuher were planned, produced (limitedly), canceled and ultimately released and were picked up by online shops. But they are rare and if you find them consider yourself fortunate.

Collector Notes

Ponda Baba (1 of 3)

Status: Ponda Baba is a retool and repaint of 1997's POTF2 [FF/TKC] Ponda Baba figure. This time the figure has a new right arm and newly added articulated knees.

Articulation Count: 9 points (9 areas of articulation)

Articulation Details: swivel head, (1), swivel left shoulder (1), swivel right shoulder (1), swivel right bicep (with removable arm feature) (1), swivel waist (1), swivel left hip (1), swivel right hip (1), hinge-jointed left knee (1), hinge-jointed right knee (1)

Accessory Count: 6

Accessory Details: cantina bar section, 3 bar glasses, removable jacket shell, cardboard backdrop

Date Stamp: 2002

Assortment Number: 32543/32539

UPC: 076930325438

Retail: $9.99 USD

Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on Click here to check the market value on eBay! listings.

Star Wars [Saga - Phase I] Cantina Bar Section Sets Wave 1

Ponda Baba (1 of 3)

Momaw Nadon (2 of 3)

Greedo (3 of 3)

Added: June 27, 2017
Category: Star Wars [Saga - Phase I]
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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