Every year I keep track of the first and last figures I get. I don't know why I do it, but it's fun to go back and see what I was doing toy-wise over the years (I also keep track of first and last movies and TV shows watched, food eaten, and video games played - just for fun). I get a lot of new figures throughout each year, but the first and last spots always have that extra little distinction, and I'm nothing if not one for tradition and needless celebrations.
This year ends with a 3-pack; one that I've had my eye on for a while and almost missed - the Star Wars: Clone Wars Republic Clone Troopers Battle Pack (isn't that a mouthful!). My favorite Clone Wars episodes are the ones that feature heavily on the Clones. They're not Jedi, they don't have any super powers, most don't even have names. They're just guys doing what they were created to do, the best that they can. I also have a soft spot for the Clones that die before they get the chance to turn on the Jedi and help create the Galactic Empire. It's like an elite club of heroes who don't stick around to become villains. On one hand it's always sad when another named Clone dies before their time, but I always root for the good guys, and the Clones that become Imperials don't have the same appeal for me (I'm looking at you, Commander Cody!). But even with a 3-pack, only one figure can be the last of the year!
The Bomb Squad Trooper was the first figure I removed from the package. I've always loved their look, and bomb disposal guys are always cool. They're unnamed troops though, so that edged them out as Last Figure material.
The next figure out of the package was Cutup in his cadet armor. Cutup gets his distinction points for standing up to his squads overbearing instructor, and for being the only Clone I can think of with an Irish accent instead of the usual New Zealand one. Cutup looks out for his team and laughs in the face of danger. Unfortunately, he also gets eaten by a giant eel - not the most noble of deaths for a loyal Clone trooper. He still gets to join the Clone Heroes Club, but his end is hardly epic. I guess it's still better than just getting blasted by a Battle Droid.
So that's two down. That can only mean one thing! The distinction of Last Figure Of The Year for 2012 goes to Hardcase! One of the more gung-ho Clone troopers, Hardcase stands out as one of the few bright spots in the otherwise dark and dour (and thoroughly entertaining) Pong Krell episodes of the Clone Wars. He's a droid blasting, rule breaking, alien spaceship flying mofo while still being just one of the guys. Maybe Cutup deserved some love after his less than stellar demise, but Hardcase is not only a member of the Clone Hero Squad, he inspired it! After witnessing his epic sacrifice on the show, I started going back over all the other named Clones who met their end before they could become villains. He might not chronologically be the first inductee into the Clone Hero Club (at least in terms of who died first on the show), he put the idea in my head, he made me want this set, and he's inspired me to collect the figures of the other Clones in the Hero Club. This is the stuff I think about and this is why Hardcase made the final grade!
I'll see you soon for more random thoughts and obscure decision making when I cover my first figure of 2013!