Not only did every wave of the 30th Anniversary Collection, with the exception of the repaint wave, include a figure based on Ralph McQuarrie concept art, but the Empire Strikes Back wave included a figure of the man himself. The concept and matte painting artists for Episode V were dressed in costumes and used as extras. In addition to Mr. McQuarrie, the quartet of costumed artists included Joe Johnston, Harrison Ellenshaw, and Michael Pangrazio. General McQuarrie’s first name is Pharl which is clearly a failed attempt by Mr, Burns to decipher the Junior Jumble in the Sunday newspaper. Despite some conjecture that General McQuarrie was a Decipher invention for their customizable card game (ccg), Lucasflm confirmed in 2007 that this is indeed an on screen character albeit a fleeting background appearance. General McQuarrie was Echo Base second in command behind General Rieekan. If I ever had to pronounce “Rieekan” in public, I would suffer a panic attack.
This General McQuarrie figure is based on The Saga Collection Major Bren Derlin figure from the previous year in 2006. At that time articulation was not something that was assumed. It was needs based depending on the character. Higher ranking officers tended to fall in the “just standing there” category and correspondingly the figures lacked lower body articulation that is needed for action poses. I don’t like Hasbro making this decision for me for a couple of reasons. First, Hasbro doesn’t always get the essence of a character. Even though the obvious on screen evidence might not call for a lot of articulation, back story or retconning might bestow more dynamism on a character than is immediately obvious. Second, it takes away some of the imagination for the kids 8 trough 80 who might be “playing” with the figure. If Hasbro decides a character is inert, the play value is reduced. In this case I can’t make a convincing argument about the decision. It’s hard to imaging the snow capped general in the trenches battling Imperial Stormtroopers. Premium articulation always makes a figure better, but the lack of lower body articulation and the swivel elbows don’t condemn this figure they way it would a more action oriented character.
The star of this figure and its reason for existence is the head sculpt. The resemblance is uncanny for this scale. It also manages to be highly expressive which is a hugely commendable task in a 3.75” scale head sculpt. The face is at once concerned, thoughtful, kind and fatherly. This decidedly un-warlike expression further cements the figure’s non-action status. I don’t want to make a political statement here, but just state my personality. While I am not a dove, I am certainly far from a hawk. Part of the reason why I loved the rebellion in the Original Trilogy is that it was comprised of mostly reluctant warriors and this figure fits with that theme. In a recent Figure of the Day post, Adam Pawlus states that the “word on the street had it that a new head is about 30% of a figure’s tooling budget”. If that is true, this figure’s head sculpt makes up for the lack of articulation. This head sculpt feels like a tribute to an artists by an artist. For that reason, this figure earns a 7 out of 10 score which is disproportionate with its articulation. Additionally, more figures from the “Purina Corps” is a good thing. Rebel command is still an underrepresented subset of figures.