With only a days to go before the #ForceFridayCountdown, I thought would I bounce around and cover some of my favorite Star Wars toy items. After all, there has never been anything in movies or television that has endured longer, for me, than Star Wars. I played with the original figures as a kid, but it wasn’t until the rebirth of the Star Wars action figure line back in 1995 that the collection/ obsession had really taken hold. Now the obsession is about to go full throttle again. Hopefully, what is contained below is not an unfamiliar story, but one that we all share. Here are just a few things from now glorious years of Star Wars toys.
Darth Vader’s Death Star DestroyerThere was another company releasing Star Wars toys besides Kenner. Palitoy was their British equivalent and they made two of my favorite playsets. The first was by far one of the craziest and best playsets out of the entire plethora of The Empire Strike Back toys. Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer (in the film known as the Executor) was the only flying play set for the Imperials. Sure they had the Death Star, but you couldn’t really zoom that around the room. It was also the only way, at the time, to get Darth Vader to sit in his isolation chamber.
The Death Star (Cardboard Version)
The other great play set that Palitoy put out would become known as the British version of the Death Star. Kenner’s Death Star is still an impressive sight as toys go and the fact that it comes with a rubber Dianoga tops the Palitoy version. The Palitoy version has that crazy appeal for me because I never had it growing up. With amazing background details, it is visually more pleasing than the wall-less Kenner Death Star. It probably was cheaper too.
Star Wars Comic Book Advertisements
They populated comic books for years. Advertisements stuck in there that would drive us to beg our parents to buy us the latest figures. Finding them now, outside of opening our sealed comics, is something one can only do on the Internet. They are a little harder to come by than one would think but they are a great window into the past. More importantly, they give us an early look at what would later become known as a series or wave of figures.
Mail-Away Figures and Star Wars Survival Pack Sheet
Just as rare are the tiny instruction sheets or new figure announcements that came crammed into the tiny box you received with a mail away Star Wars item. Figures such as Admiral Ackbar, Boba Fett, Bossk, the Emperor and 4-LOM were often announced as stickers on action figure packages. Some of them were even announced with tiny flyers accompanying another figure. The unique artwork and blatantly obvious instructions on the tiny instruction sheets will make any older fan feel five years old again.
Commander Jorg SculThere came a time when I had to have every Star Wars figure. In 1995 this was totally obtainable. I worked at a store that sold them and when that first wave hit my boss set aside the entire line for me. I thought I had collecting this new era of Star Wars figures under control. I would even journey to the 24 hours Wal-Mart and raid the pallets for all the new figures before they even hit the shelves. Then Hasbro released Commander Jorg Scul (the George Lucas rebel pilot figure), a Star Wars Celebration exclusive that you could only buy at the Star Wars Celebration 2. He was unobtainable unless I wanted to shell out big bucks on eBay. Now I love Star Wars, but when an action figure costs more than twenty dollars that is where I drew the line, especially for one that is so small. My attitude has changed since then especially with figures being a bit more expensive but their details have improved so that twenty dollar ban has been lifted (still a case by case situation though). It was the first time, and certainly not the last, that I found myself identifying with Harvey Pekar. His story “How I Quit Collecting Records and Put Out A Comic Book With the Money I Saved” resonated with me like a great sermon. You can’t get them all. It’s impossible and life is too short to waste it trying to collect such things that really don’t matter. Amen, Mr. Pekar.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
In the same vein as Shadows of the Empire, The Force Unleashed has their collection of action figures. After reading the novel and the comic book Juno Eclipse and Rahm Kota are two characters that gained a lot of attention in the Star Wars Universe. A fallen Jedi and Vader’s apprentice’s pilot both fit into the story perfectly and their figures are worthy of joining the collection. One of the nice re-issue figures that came out because The Force Unleashed is the repainted Rancor. If you failed to pick one up from the Power of the Force collection here is your chance to get one of the biggest Star Wars action figures. Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, originally, did not come in a solo pack. He was featured in Darth Vader’s Secret Apprentice Evolution set (which came in two different color boxes, so variant collectors beware). It is a great evolution of the character and a bit of spoiler for the book, the comic and for the game.
The #ForceFridayCountdown is on September 4th, 2015. Are you ready?