Whilst almost all of Kenner's 3 ¾ inch Star Wars action figures were pretty accurate movie-likenesses by the standards of the day, Walrus Man here – later revealed as being called Ponda Baba when secondary characters were issued with colorful back stories too - stands out from the crowd as being one of the least like his movie counterpart. Walrus Man's screen time may be brief, but it is certainly a memorable moment when Obi-Wan Kenobi slices off his arm with his light saber during the famous … [Read more...]
Vintage Star Wars (1977–1989)
Whilst George Lucas' surprise box office smash Star Wars movie may have reinvented the science fiction genre, the collection of Star Wars action figures also spawned its own sub-genre in the field.
Since the advent of the Star Wars prequel movies (which did not always thrill hard-core fans of the original series), the collection of Star Wars action figures has been subdivided into three distinct eras: Vintage (1977–1989), Neo-classic (1990–2000) and Prequels (1999–present). The vintage era covers the three original movies - Star Wars (aka A New Hope), The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Vintage action figure collectors have targeted Star Wars figures for investment purposes for many years, but many more choose to focus on them because of sheer nostalgia and a real love for the series of movies. It may seem strange today when every cinema release is preceded by a huge merchandising campaign, but when the Star Wars action figures first came out, giving fans the opportunity to recreate scenes from the films and even invent adventures of their own at home, it was an entirely new movie merchandising concept!
With the release of the J. J. Abrams' directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December 2015, a new era of Star Wars movies begins with a trilogy of sequels. And with it, a brand new generation of action figure collectors...!
Star Wars Variations: Sand People aka Tusken Raider
George Lucas just can't stop meddling with those Star Wars movies! Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace will be hitting cinema screens all over the world AGAIN this weekend - only this time in 3D. The 2D version was already bad enough, so I think I'll pass on that one...Instead, let's take a look back at a vintage Kenner Sand People action figure from the original trilogy, indeed from the very first Star Wars movie, which is nowadays known as the rather less catchy Star Wars Episode IV: A … [Read more...]
You better watch out…Darth Vader is coming to town!
'Tis the season to be jolly, so here's a look back at Hasbro's Holiday Edition Darth Vader action figure that was a StarWarsShop.com exclusive back in 2005. Essentially the same figure with eight points of articulation which had been issued as part of the Original Trilogy Collection in 2004 and earlier still as part of the Toys 'R' Us Star Wars Saga multipacks in 2003, this Darth Vader had one major difference which you may just have spotted – a head-to-toe Santa-style coat of red paint! … [Read more...]
Star Wars Variations: Han Solo on Bespin
The Internet has been abuzz with news of the Blu-ray edition of the original Star Wars trilogy which hit stores world wide recently, so I thought I'd stick with another vintage Star Wars action figure this post. Of course, I use the term “original” trilogy with some caution - as is well known, George Lucas has continued to mess with tweak the movies with every re-release to the exasperation of many fans. Probably the most controversial change occurred in the 1997 Star Wars Trilogy Special … [Read more...]
Star Wars Variations: Emperor’s Royal Guard
Whilst thinking about today's post I noticed that this blog has been rather light on vintage Star Wars action figures for a couple of months, so lets correct that situation right away with a look back at an absolute gem – the Emperor's Royal Guard. First appearing in 1983 on 65-back cards in conjunction with the release of Return of the Jedi, the Emperor's Royal Guard illustrates the attention to detail Kenner dedicated to each and every character in their 3 ¾ inch Star Wars series and is as … [Read more...]
Star Wars Variations: C-3PO (Removable Limbs)
I mentioned in an earlier post that I have recently been re-watching the original Star Wars Trilogy again on DVD. The Empire Strikes Back inspired me to dig out one of Kenner's major Star Wars 3 ¾ inch action figure variations, the C-3PO (or See-Threepio) Removable Limbs version, and display him just as he appears in the movie – disassembled and slung into a harness carried on Chewbacca's back. Remember the scene when Chewie is trying to fix 3PO? Oh, my! What have you done? I'm BACKWARDS. You … [Read more...]
Star Wars Variations: Black Bespin Security Guard
By the time that this classic 3 ¾-inch Star Wars action figure variation came out – first on a tie-in card for The Empire Strikes Back and then repackaged for The Return of the Jedi – it was already clear that toy manufacturers Kenner were happily set on helping kids re-enact all three movies using the entire cast, down to the smallest walk-on role! I actually watched The Empire Strikes Back again a few weeks ago on DVD and must have blinked at the wrong moment, because I could barely remember … [Read more...]