STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
“It is a period of civil war. The Rebel Alliance struggles to free the galaxy from the clutches of the evil Galactic Empire. Discovering that Imperial forces have begun developing a new type of stormtrooper, the Rebels call on mercenary Kyle Katarn. His mission: seek out and destroy the secret Imperial project called Dark Trooper. A rogue mercenary loyal to no one, Kyle Katarn has accepted a near-impossible mission to destroy the Empire’s ability to develop an army of unstoppable stormtroopers known as Dark Troopers.”
Remember two years ago when I looked at two figures from the Expanded Universe sub-line of Power of the Force? Well, would you look at that? I’ve finally made my way back to the rest of them. For their first real go at Expanded Universe offerings, Kenner aimed to diversify, focusing on several different EU tales. Included among those was the 1996 video game Dark Forces, which covers the (original version of the) acquisition of the Death Star plans, before delving a bit into its own lore. The player plays as Kyle Katarn, a Rebellion-hired mercenary, who would make his action figure debut in the EU line. I’ll be looking at said figure today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Kyle Katarn is the first of the two Dark Forces-themed figures released in the Expanded Universe sub-line. He hit shelves in 1998 and, like all of the EU figures, was a little bit scarce. Though his bio is definitely referencing Dark Forces, and all reference material points to him being based on that game, Kyle’s design is actually a fair bit closer to the game’s sequel, Jedi Knight. There are definitely some merged elements, and you can be a little bit forgiving with the ’90s graphics, the biggest giveaway is Kyle’s beard, since he didn’t have that in the first game. They’ve even edited the illustration of him from the first game in order to make him closer to the figure. Why did they decide to go with the second game’s look? Well, there are a few possible reasons, but my main guess is that giving him the beard made him more immediately distinguishable from Han, as well as the other EU Han-stand-in Dash Rendar. You wouldn’t want to confuse the fans, would you? The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation. He sports a unique sculpt, which, while pre-posed, is still fairly manageable. By this point, the proportions issues of the PotF2 were essentially gone. Kyle’s still definitely a product of his time, but that’s more because Kyle, the character, is a product of his time. The face on this figure does seem a little friendlier than I’d expect from a supposed mercenary, but it’s still quite a nice offering. I also like some of the liberties they’ve taken with some of the costume elements; in particular, I really dig his chest armor. Kyle’s colors are a little bit brighter than the usual Star Wars fair, which works pretty well for him. The application is pretty clean, and there’s even a little bit of weathering on the boots. Kyle was packed with two different styles of blaster, allowing him to swap between them as he would in the game. And, since I got him still in-package, he also has a 3D-fold-out display base, which places him in front of an Imperial Shuttle. I really love these things.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Back in the day, the only EU figures I had were Luke and the Emporer, due to how hard the line-up was to find at retail. When I started filling in holes in my PotF collection, these guys were all very near the top of my list, but they don’t show up super often, and I was insistent that they still be packaged. I ended up getting fairly lucky with these, as a complete set was traded into All Time Toys a few months back, and they let me take (most) of them, for a pretty good deal at that. Having not played the Dark Forces games personally, my interaction with Kyle is peripheral at best, but I still have fond memories of staring at his prototype all those years ago in a Star War fan magazine. The figure’s pretty typical for the line, which is to say he’s pretty fun.
*Kyle is also notable for another reason: he’s the 5000th unique figure to be added to my collection! That’s way too many, right? Or is it not enough?