For 40 years we have loved and watched Star Wars, but from the comics in 1977 and the figures from 1978 we played out the movies through our toys.
Here are 40 toys and Star Wars merchandise from the last 40 years.
1, EARLY BIRD KIT
Kenner toy company had scored big time when they won the rights to produce Star Wars related toys. Unfortunately, at the time, they didn't realize it. It wasn't until after the contract was signed and the movie came out that everyone realized how big a hit Star Wars going to be. Kenner may not have even planned to create an action figure line based upon the movie but once it started selling out at theaters across the nation Kenner made the decision to create one. The downside was that the company did not have enough time to design, test, and manufacture the figures before the Christmas selling season. They could have just waited and released the toy line later but someone at Kenner came up with the idea to sell the figures before they were actually made.
Kenner designed what was essentially a cardboard envelope that contained nothing but a cardboard display stand, a few stickers, and the all-important certificate which kids could mail in to later receive the actual action figures. So, now parents had something to put under the Christmas tree for their kids. Even though the figures weren't actually included the excitement for most kids must have been palpable.
Once the certificate was mailed in Kenner would, when the figures were ready, send out the early bird kit which included Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and Artoo-Detoo. The figures were sealed in plastic and placed in a plastic tray.
There was also a small plastic bag of plastic pegs which could be used to affix the action figures to the cardboard display from the original envelope, a catalog and a card you could mail in to get the 12 figure display stand.
This along with the Millennium Falcon was the most wanted Star Wars toy for every boy at Christmas. With light up, moving chin guns, opening cockpit and side door, rotating side guns and poseable legs it had endless play value. Still sought after now even though numerous updates have been released.
Star Wars is a current licensed theme introduced in 1999. The theme is based on material from the Star Wars franchise of films, cartoon series, comic books, video games, and other media. The theme covers all eight main films, along with The Clone Wars movie and TV series, the Star Wars: Rebels TV series, and anthology films such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Also, some Expanded Universe sets have been released, with four The Old Republic sets released in the second wave of 2012 and the first and second wave of 2013, and one The Force Unleashed set released in 2008.
The Ultimate Collection Series (ULC) has been very popular with adult builders. A Millennium Falcon can go for around £3000.
The current licence for LEGO Star Wars will end in 2022.
4, STAR WARS ARCADE
Star Wars Arcade (also known simply as Star Wars) is a video released in 1983 to arcades. It is set during A New Hope.
The game is a first person space combat game, simulating the attack on the Death Star.
The game is composed of 3D color vector graphics.
The player assumes the role of Luke Skywalker ("Red Five"), as he pilots an X-Wing fighter from a first-person perspective.
The player's ultimate goal is to destroy the Death Star through three attack phases, a dog fight with Tie Fighters, skimming the surface of the Death Star, destroying towers and then into the trench until finally firing a proton torpedo at the correct time for a direct hit on the exhaust port target. If the player is successful, the Death Star explodes.
The game features several digitized samples of voices from the movie, including Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, the mechanized beeps of R2-D2, and the growls of Chewbacca.
5, BOBA FETT
Considering Boba Fett is one of the more popular characters, it’s not surprising that one of his figures is one of the rarest and most collectible. Boba, as a figure, started out as the first Star Wars mail away figure, in the now infamous “rocket firing” figure. They couldn't get a stable mechanism and when that was done, as Kenner was gearing up for Empire Strikes Back, they decided to release Boba on a card for anyone that didn’t get the mail away figure. What’s interesting is that they released Boba on one of the last releases of the Star Wars cards. Boba wasn’t even in Star Wars and he got released on a Star Wars card. His next release would, obviously, be on an Empire Strikes Back card. So it’s easy to see how having a vintage Boba Fett carded, on the original Star Wars card (which he wasn’t even in) is highly collectible. Also, this is one of only three Star Wars figures that used original artwork instead of a still from the movie. Also, the Boba Fett released on a Tri Logo European card was cast in a lighter shade of gray, which makes it also collectible.
Pictured is a “rocket firing” Boba Fett. it was a prototype and never “officially” released as a figure. All of the vintage “rocket firing” Bobas you see are prototypes and not intended to be an official product.
6, MILLENIUM FALCON
Kenner’s Millennium Falcon was one of the spaceships that was designed early for the 3.75”-line of action figures. The Star Wars Collectors Archive website mentions that Kenner employees had to work pretty hard to finish the wooden patterns that were used to create the steel production molds so that the ship could be sold on time at Christmas, 1979.
Since the ship could almost be regarded as a character and continued to play an important role in the sequels, almost every kid wanted this toy. It measured about 53 centimeters long, and compared to a figure of Han Solo (about 10 centimeters tall) was almost four times too small. If Kenner had built the Falcon on a 1:1 scale with the figures, it would have been about 190 centimeters long. Hasbro almost achieved this with their “big” edition of the Falcon in 2008 which measured about 82 centimeters. Of course the cost of such a behemoth would have been unthinkable in the late ’70s, and despite her smaller size Kenner’s toy turned out to be a superb rendition of the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.
It will take any fan just a few moments to notice that the toy is based on the Falcon’s appearance in A New Hope. The ship stands on three landing gears, and while all three are retractable, the forward gear can be used when simulating flight or it can be hinged into an opening. The cockpit is where one can easily see the repercussions of a scaled-down toy. It can only hold two figures instead of the four we saw in the movies, and it isn’t even an easy fit. The canopy can also be removed, something we advise against doing.
The biggest asset of the toy is a large living area that can hold a lot of action figures. Although Kenner misplaced this area compared to its location in the movies, it was the only place that offered enough room and playability for the figures. There were several pegs to position your figures, and Luke Skywalker could train with the remote — which was a black ball hanging on a cord and a support arm. This particular place could also be covered up by a false floor in order to hide your figures or weapons from Imperial inspection, and the floor could be attached to the removable roof cover of the living area when not in use (a neat feature that personally took me years to discover).
Another compartment had the holographic table where you could play an imaginary game of Dejarik (though there were no holo figures). The gunner station for the top quad gun was also situated in the play area, and it connected to a rotating chair that seated figures and made clicking sounds.
The rest of the ship remained fairly consistent with the version seen in the film. On top of the ship was the dish-shaped (well at least until the Battle of Endor) rotating rectenna radar. A small opening rested between the forward mandibles, and on the side of the toy was a compartment for the large “C” batteries that produced a weird “battle alert” sound. Putting the Falcon together was (at least according to my grandparents) not an easy task, since many parts still had to be assembled and a lot of stickers (described as “really exciting” on the instruction sheet) had to be attached.
Perhaps the greatest asset of the Falcon is that the toy combined both ship and playset. Since the Falcon herself was never updated, additional features from other movies (top hatch, medical bunk) weren’t included with the ship. It’s a classic toy that can still be found because a lot of kids used to have one. But finding a complete piece (remote, ramp struts, and support arm) in good condition (without discolored plastic and stickers) will be more difficult.
7, SPEEDER BIKE
The incredibly fast speeder bike chase through the forests of the moon of Endor was one of the most thrilling segments of Return of the Jedi. As the official Star Wars toy licensee, Kenner must have loved it. After all, it allowed them to produce a fairly cheap action figure toy based on what was a key vehicle in the film.
If you were a kid who was into Star Wars, you had to love this toy. Not only was it authentically detailed, it featured the virtually patented Kenner "blow apart" feature. Press a button on the toy's rear end and its entire top portion flipped forward, along with any action figure that might have been sitting on top of it. Speaking of figures, Kenner gave kids three that served as perfect Speeder Bike pilots: the Biker Scout (1983), Leia in Combat Poncho (1984) and Luke in Battle Poncho (1985).
The Speeder Bike has always been fairly easy to find in unused, boxed condition. Thus, it isn't worth a whole lot. Collectors in search of a loose example of this toy should be aware that the two small flaps that clip onto its back are often missing. During the '90s, Hasbro issued three new Speeder Bike toys, all of which were based on the Kenner original. They can be distinguished from their vintage counterparts by their complicated paint schemes, decals and modified handle bars.
First Issued: 1983
8, PALITOY DEATH STAR
Only the US and Canada released the big Death Star Space Station playset. Other countries choose to create another Death Star. This cardboard playset was published by Palitoy (UK), Meccano (France), Irwin Toys (Kenner Canada through Sears), and Toltoys (Australia and New Zealand). The cardboard Death Star was packaged in a rather flat box, resembling a boardgame. The box showed the rare vinyl caped Jawa. The backside had several features of the playset, including the trash compactor, escape chute and laser cannon. The Palitoy set was made of cardboard, while the one from Toltoys was made from a sturdier chipboard.
The cardboard Death Star is a large semi-sphere. It nearly has ten different rooms, a ladder, a bridge and a long chasm, build in the center of two levels of play value. On top is a seat with two (X-wing) laser cannons and a transparent canopy to seat a figure. The only other true action feature is an escape chute that leads into the trash compactor that can be opened and closed, simulating the moving walls and the heroes who are escaping. The cardboard walls are beautifully illustrated and you can easily recognize what rooms are represented. There is a large docking bay, the control room, and even Princess Leia’s cell. Although it looks like a rather simple playset, it certainly is one of the best Star Wars playsets ever. The Death Star Space Station had more specific features from the movie, but it offered more room for imagination.
Of course the Cardboard Death Star isn’t an easy playset to find and certainly not in good condition. It’s got many plastic pegs that hold the cardboard walls into place, parts of the laser cannon are often missing and the cardboard itself needs to be in good condition as well. A similar looking playset was also developed for Action Force, a range of European action figures initially based on Action Man and later used to introduce G.I. Joe toys to European markets.
In 1994, Sideshow embarked on a mission of connecting people with their favorite characters and icons from the worlds of film, television, comic books and popular culture. Today, they are a specialty manufacturer and distributor of the most highly sought-after licensed and original collectible products, sustained by a passionate worldwide community that is committed to the lifestyle of collecting figural art.
Their products are a unique offering of limited edition statues and busts, articulated figures, film prop replicas and fine art pieces in a wide range of scales. The development team consists of expert artists, sculptors, model makers, painters and costumers whose combined efforts result in the creation of outstanding original designs and intricately detailed likenesses of popular characters from highly recognized brands such as Star Wars, Marvel, DC Comics, Alien & Predator, Terminator, The Lord of the Rings, G.I. Joe and many more.Sideshow is regularly distinguished for achieving a level of authenticity seldom seen in the figure collectible arena. We have been highlighted in national trade and specialty toy publications, where our Sixth Scale collectible figures, statues and packaging have been regularly awarded 'Best of the Year.'
Established in 2000, Hot Toys Limited is a high-end collectible brand, devoted to designing, developing and producing high quality and highly detailed collectibles with authentic likeness. Initially started the business from producing 1/6th scale military action figures, Hot Toys has since expanded its product scope to specialize in 1/6th scale collectible figures from popular movies, video games, comics as well as world renowned celebrities.
Since 2003, Hot Toys has acquired the official merchandising rights in producing collectibles from international movies which includes Iron Man, The Avengers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Batman, The Dark Knight, Superman, Terminator Series, Aliens & Predator franchises as well as world famous celebrities such as King of Pop Michael Jackson, martial artist Bruce Lee, two-time Oscar winner for Best Actor Award Marlon Brando, American film icon James Dean, renowned movie actor and musician Leslie Cheung and Wong Ka Kui, the founding member of the Hong Kong rock band – Beyond. Hot Toys’ collectibles have been sought after by movie, figure, and pop culture fans and also appreciated by celebrities including Sylvester Stallone, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg, Byung-hun Lee, Naoto Takenaka, Mari Yaguchi and more.
Hot Toys is the leader in the 1/6th collectible industry and has led the quality of collectible figures development to another climax over the past years. Moreover, Hot Toys has obtained the patent for its innovation of Parallel Eyeball Rolling System (PERS) and Interchangeable Faces Techniques (IFT) for its DX series, which has further increased the likeness of the collectible figures.
In addition to 1/6th scale collectible figures, Hot Toys also focuses on product diversity by introducing highly detailed 1/4th scale collectible figures, 1/6th scale collectible vehicles. 1/4th scale collectible busts, as well as 3” and 6” Cosbaby series.
Adding to the popular Movie Masterpiece Series (MMS) and Deluxe Series (DX), Hot Toys has expanded its collection series in recent years to include the 1/6th scale MMS Diecast Series, Power Pose (PPS), and Diorama Series.
The Hot Toys brand is widely acclaimed in different parts of the world with products sold by our strategic worldwide distributors to over 30 countries including the United States, Europe, Greater China, South East Asia, Japan, Korea and the Middle East.
10, TAKARA R2D2
The Takara Wind-up R2-D2 was made in Japan in 1978. It was an unliscenesed item at first, but was later liscensed by Kenner. George Lucas liked it so much he gave out loose ones at Lucasfilm to employee's. He wanted Kenner to bring these R2's out in United States, but it never happened. The closes they got was to be released in Canada, but for a extremely short period. At the bottom of the back of the card, there is a sticker that Kenner had put on all the carded R2 wind-ups for liscensing reasons.
In Japan the wind-ups came new only in baggies that were available in a store in displays of about 30. However, the R2-D2 wind-up did make it to Canada. Only in Canada did the R2-D2 come on card. It might have also come bagged in Canada, but I'm not sure.
A carded wind-up R2-D2 is very rare. Mint specimens can fetch up to $2,800. Unfortunatly this one is not mint, actually about C-6. In the picture it looks like there is dirt across the picture of R2-D2 walking, but it is actually something that came up in the scanning process.
11, VINYL CAPE JAWA
Of the original 12 vintage Kenner Star Wars figures in 1978, the very last one issued to retail was the Jawa. He first appeared as you see him on the left, wearing a plastic (vinyl) cape. As the line of Star Wars figures proved to be hugely popular, Kenner switched the Jawa to a cloth cape because it made the figure look better quality. By doing this, it created a situation in which the vinyl cape Jawa is now an extremely rare collectible. This one is not as well known as the Blue Snaggletooth to people outside the Star Wars collecting community, but Star Wars collectors know the specifics of this VERY well. Vinyl cape Jawa is one of the most faked vintage figures of all time due to it’s high price on the secondary market. All you have to do is take a vintage Obi-Wan, remove the cloak, cut it to size then place it on a Jawa. If you are good enough (and have zero scruples), you can affix the figure to a used Star Wars 12 back card and you have something that may get you thousands of pounds from a collector that doesn’t know any better. However, someone willing to pay thousands for this figure variation WILL know better.
Even loose, this figure can reach over £1000.
The Black Series is an ongoing Star Wars toy line produced by the Hasbro company. The toy line includes action figures, vehicles, Force FX lightsabers, and collectable items. Many of the actions figures are based off characters from the movies, shows, books, comics, and video games from both the Expanded Universe and canon.
Star Wars TBS was first announced by Hasbro in January 2013 in an article by USA Today written by Brian Truitt. Although this was not Hasbro's first foray into collectible 6" action figures it is the most recent. The line of toys was released in response to the hype revolved around the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in an order to monetize on the renewed interest in the brand. Before the release of this toy line, it was difficult to find Star Wars action figures for purchase through retail. The figures typically start at MSRP of £19.99.
6" Action Figures
The first wave of 6" figures was released on August 1, 2013 and included four characters: Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot), Darth Maul, R2-D2 and a Sandtrooper (Squad Leader). This was only the first wave of many to come, with no end currently in sight. The line continues to remain popular, with many of the harder to find characters selling out quickly.
Deluxe 6" Action Figures
These figures were released with a vehicle or animal companion set.
Exclusive 6" Action Figures
Hasbro has partnered with many companies like Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Entertainment Earth, Kmart, Walgreens, and Toys'R'Us in order to provide exclusive 6" TBS figures to collectors. Hasbro has also released a number of exclusive figures only available at events like San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) and Star Wars Celebration.
3 3/4" Action Figures
The 3 3/4' Scale figures were released in conjunction with the 6" figures. However, on September 4, 2015 Wal-Mart was announced as the exclusive provider for the 3 3/4" scale action figures. The first wave of Wal-Mart exclusive action figures was available in stores beginning October 2015, with pre-orders available for upcoming releases available that same month. There are still a limited amount of exclusives that are available outside of the U.S. based retailer.
13, SCOUT WALKER
For those who couldn't afford the AT-AT or had to wait till Christmas, you usually got this. Not that its in any way inferior to the walking camel, not at all. In fact this is an amazing vehicle.
Released in 1982 on an Empire box it had a button on the back that made it "walk", side and front guns, opening canopy to put your Chewy figure in and a oft lost top gun.
Also known as the chicken walker, hours of endless Ewok killing could be achieved.
14, DOUBLE TELECOPING LIGHTSABER
Double Telescoping lightsabers or "DT" sabers are one of the most widely known, sought-after, and often misunderstood elements of vintage Star Wars collecting. Originally planned to give the lightsaber accessory a more realistic look and feel, a double telescoping design was implimented. Functioning like a sectional radio antenna, the saber was made from two parts; an outer saber body or handle, and a thinner straight section which resided inside the saber body. Once the saber body was extended from the arm of the figure, the thinner second section could pulled out to mimic the extending lightsaber blade look or effect seen in the movie. It is a two stage process, hence the term
A very early prototype DT saber design featured a small, round tip at the end of the inner saber to make the telescoping action a little easier, also known as a "Mushroom Tip" DT saber.
This is the illustration found on earlier Star Wars card-backs, which shows how to use the double telescoping saber. It is interesting to note that by this stage of production, the Mushroom Tip feature had already been dropped. In reality, the production costs, time and general wear and tear on test examples proved to be too much for mass distribution. The saber was changed to a single telescoping unit (being the saber body) with only a thin .5" projection remaining at the end. (and you always wondered why they looked like that)
An authentic DT saber is a truly rare piece, and most collectors will never own, let alone see a genuine specimen. The Luke DT is the most commonly found example, with Darth Vader and Obi-Wan being exceptionally rare. (Less than 30 to 15 examples, respectively). To put this in perspective, there are more known examples of Rocket-Firing Boba Fett prototypes, than there are production or sample level DT Darth Vader or Ben figures. The majority of these examples are found loose, with a few carded samples and test market pieces documented. Luke is the only example which can be found baggied, however these are very easy to fake, so you must know your source. (The most common source being early examples of the Mail-Away 4-pack box set.
As a final note; as with any rare, high-demand and valuable item there are going to be numerous fakes and reproductions. In over 20+ years of collecting Darth Vader items, roughly 95% of the DT sabers I have looked at have been fakes. With numbers like this, you owe it to yourself to do as much homework as possible, and work with a known source and/or dealers.
15, BESPIN LUKE
Here is a figure that marked a new age of sculpted detail awareness. When Kenner released new figures on The Empire Strikes Back 31 back cards, they offered better, more accurate sculpts, and in the case of the Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) figure a new much improved –though still incorrectly coloured- Lightsaber. Gone was the eternally-classic, however ill-conceived, telescoping blade with the little tip that seemed to be designed strictly to break off and annoy. This figure, and the assortment in which it was released, is the real reason there are still Star Wars action figures on the shelf. To the casual observer these figures may seem lackluster, but to the original Star Wars Generation they were the best example of hyper-detailing. Though all vintage figures have minor variations, the Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) figure has a couple of notable variations. The figure is available with different hair colors. Basically it shipped with either yellow or brown hair. Beyond the generalized description, there are a few minor variations in the shades of yellow and brown. Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) was also manufactured using slightly different sculpts, but nothing drastically different from one to another. To spot the sculpt variations, pay close attention to the details on Lightsaber molded onto the figure's left leg.
One variation worth mentioning though is the Tri-logo variations, which can be spotted by the excessively dark brown spray opts on the boots. This variation is tough to find, and only a small handful have been documented to exist. At this point it is hard to say how scarce this variation truly is.
There are three known Lightsaber sculpts. Two of them were released domestically, but the third has only shown up with Lili Ledy figures. It is extremely important to keep in mind the vast quantities of reproduction Lightsabers. In the photo comparison of the authentic and repro Lightsabers, examine the portion where the hilt meets the blade. Kenner has never produced this style of Lightsaber (in any colour) with this portion rounded as found in almost all known reproductions.
16, CANTINA ADVENTURE SET
This cardboard set was sold through Sears in the Christmas catalogs of 1978 and 1979. The set is infamous for including the blue Snaggletooth figure (which was soon replaced by the smaller, regular Snaggletooth). It didn’t just include the tall Snivvian, but the other cantina aliens as well (Walrus Man, Hammerhead, and Greedo). The Cantina Adventure Set is nothing more than a cardboard backdrop and base of Mos Eisley. It comes with several plastic pegs to pose your action figures. The backdrop shows a Sandtrooper, a weird droid, an alien resembling Garindan, and possibly, the entrance to the Cantina. The Cantina Adventure Set was produced to sell new Cantina figures and while it offers a very cool environment for Tatooine, it’s not that spectacular. Today it’s one of the most difficult playsets to find in unused condition.
17, TAUN TAUN
Was there anybody who doubted that Kenner would make a Tauntaun toy? Since Kenner had already invented the riding-mechanism for the Dewback, the Tauntaun shared a similar “trapdoor in the back” feature. It came in a rather smallish box that showed Han riding a Tauntaun. You can also see Princess Leia with her Senatorial gown from A New Hope on the box since “Leia in Hoth Outfit” wasn’t released yet.
The back of the box shows different play options for the snow-creature, which were very similar to the Dewback. The Tauntaun had moving limbs, as well as a removable saddle and a removable rein — two items which Kenner didn’t properly make. The plastic was too thin and the saddle were prone to breakage.
Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to find a loose Tauntaun with undamaged saddle and rein. The creature itself looked pretty neat. It had a great balance (thanks to the tail) and it was a perfect asset for your Hoth adventures. Each Kenner figure from the Alliance on Hoth could use the reptomammal to patrol the borders of the Echo Base. (Except in France where the regular Tauntaun was unavailable.)
Tauntaun with open belly rescue feature (1982): Kenner did release yet another Tauntaun. The second Tauntaun came in a different box showing Han rescuing Luke (Hoth) by putting him in the belly of his dead Tauntaun. The play options of the toy are shown on the side of the box and the back shows several scenes with Tauntauns. The major difference is that this creature came with a soft rubber belly that you could use to put a figure inside. This scene was already pretty awkward in the movie, but releasing it as a toy? Luckily the Tauntaun didn’t include any intestines (the modern Hasbro one did). Another difference was that Kenner made the saddle straps a bit thicker than with the previous Tauntaun.
18, SUPER STAR WARS
Super Star Wars is a 1992 video game for the Super NES based on the 1977 film Star Wars. It is the SNES equivalent of the Star Wars NES game. Super Star Wars features mostly run and gun gameplay, although it has stages which feature other challenges, such as driving a landspeeder or piloting an X-wing. It also features multiple playable characters with different abilities.
The game was followed by two sequels based on the subsequent Star Wars films, Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Super Star Wars generally follows the plot of Star Wars, although some allowances were made to adapt the story to suit an action game. For example, instead of simply buying C-3PO and R2-D2 from the Jawas, Luke Skywalker must fight his way to the top of a Jawa sandcrawler while leaping from a series of moving conveyor belts. Brief cutscenes between levels tell an abbreviated version of the film's story. Later stages allow the player to control smuggler and pilot Han Solo or Chewbacca the Wookiee. The game also features several vehicle-based levels in which the player takes control of an X-Wing or a landspeeder.
Most of the stages consist of run and gun and platforming gameplay, with several different upgrades available to the standard blaster weapon. Luke can also wield a lightsaber after acquiring it from Obi Wan Kenobi. The end of the game has players reenacting Luke's Death Star trench run to destroy the Death Star, with Darth Vader confronting the player in his TIE Advanced x1.
19, DROID FACTORY
This playset looked like nothing at all from the movies and it was a combination between a playset and a construction set. For a change, there was no child featured on the main photo art of the box (instead, he was seen on the smaller photos on the side). The base consists of a ramp and a large movable crane. The Droid Factory comes with 33 interchangeable parts, used to create myriad different droids. The most important one is Artoo Detoo with three legs. This playset was the only way to get Artoo with his central, smaller leg. A booklet was included with blueprints for building all the Jawa Monster Droids. The Droid Factory is very difficult to find complete in loose condition, because there are many different and small parts, including orange tubes, thin metal rods, and plastic pegs. The base and crane would be used later for Jabba’s Dungeon playset.
Fans in the UK had their own Droid Factory Playset thanks to Palitoy. This Droid Factory looked completely different from Kenner’s. It doesn’t feature a crane or a ramp, but instead has a conveyor belt. The plastic base comes in dark blue or in orange/yellow. The different parts are nearly the same as the parts that came with the Kenner set.
20, TOPPS CARDS
What humbly began as a family gum business in Brooklyn has evolved into a classic American sports company. Throughout its remarkable history, Topps has proudly fostered an enduring connection between fans and their heroes, not only in baseball but also in football, hockey, entertainment, and pop culture. Join us to hear about 75 years of creating products inspired by the sports, teams, and movies you love.
The vintage Star Wars cards were released from 1977 to 1983
- Star Wars Series 1 (Blue)
- Star Wars Series 2 (Red)
- Star Wars Series 3 (Yellow)
- Star Wars Series 4 (Green)
- Star Wars Series 5 (Orange)
- Star Wars Topps Sugar Free Gum Wrappers
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- The Empire Strikes Back Series 1 (Red)
- The Empire Strikes Back Series 2 (Blue)
- The Empire Strikes Back Series 3 (Yellow/Green)
- The Empire Strikes Back Giant Photo Cards
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Return of the Jedi Series 1 (Red)
- Return of the Jedi Series 2 (Blue)
Topps continue to produce Star Wars cards and even have an app where you can collect digital cards.
It wouldn't be a history of Star Wars Topps cards without mentioning the C3PO card that was said to be a factory error and a card that Anthony Daniels will not sign to this day.
Judge for yourselves.
21, MARVEL COMICS
Marvel Comics is one of the largest companies in the world of comic books. They were the company to first release comic books for the Star Wars saga, with their Star Wars series.
Marvel began in 1939 as Timely Comics, publishing popular superhero titles. In the 1950s, as Atlas Comics they published mainly other genres such as romance, crime, western, and war stories. By the 1960s, the superhero genre was becoming popular again, and the newly named Marvel Comics started creating a number of new superhero titles written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby. During the 1970s Marvel's sales were declining and the company was in trouble caused, in part, by poor distribution.
In the late 1970s the company's fortunes turned around with the smash success of the Star Wars film adaptation, which it began publishing in 1977 after prodding by Roy Thomas, as well as burgeoning successes like The Uncanny X-Men and Daredevil. Jim Shooter, editor-in-chief of Marvel from 1978 to 1987, would later say in an interview regarding the importance of Star Wars to the plight of the company, "Star Wars single-handedly saved Marvel... And that kept us alive."
The cover of the first issue of Marvel Star Wars.
I remember getting this a an almost 8 year old, getting the cardboard X-wing and in issue 2 a Tie fighter. Hoping to get it every week, 10p was a lot back then.
Marvel also published stories in Britain under the imprint Marvel UK. In addition to reprinting the American Star Wars comics, the UK series produced a number of original stories.
Marvel continued to publish Star Wars comics until 1986, and the Droids and Ewoks series until 1987. The comic-book license for Star Wars was later picked up by Dark Horse Comics, which began producing Star Wars comics in 1991 with the publication of Dark Empire. Dark Horse would later reprint much of the Marvel-produced Star Wars material under the title Classic Star Wars.
In 2009, Marvel was bought by The Walt Disney Company. Their former collaborator, Lucasfilm Ltd., followed suit three years later, when George Lucas sold the rights to his company to Disney.
On January 3, 2014, an announcement was made that the Star Wars comics license was moving from Dark Horse back to Marvel in 2015.
22, IMPERIAL SHUTTLE
One of the largest and most expensive of Kenner's Star Wars toys, the Imperial Shuttle was also one of the best designed. It came with a nifty action feature, which allowed the two wings to be lowered slowly when a trigger on the underside handle was activated. Loose and boxed, the toy fetches a high price on today's collectors market. Unused boxed examples fetch a hefty premium. Although it was shown in Kenner's 1985 Toy Fair catalog in a mock-up Power of the Force box, it was never released in non-ROTJ packaging.
We made it to Endor, but we'll have to look out for Speeder Bikes (5) chasing Rebels on land. Meanwhile, battles are raging in space. A Y-Wing Fighter (6), with R2-D2 in his compartment, shoots its laser cannons. He's chasing one of the Empire's Tie Interceptors (7). His lasers are blasting, but his wings are ejecting. The Rebels got him! More Rebels approach in B-Wing fighters (8) that have a gyro-gravity effect in the cockpit. The craft spins, but the pilot stays upright as he speeds on to beat the Empire! The Emperor, the evil leader, arrives in the Imperial Shuttle. What's next? It's up to you from now on!
Imperial Shuttle has laser sounds, open side panels. Automatic wings. Unassem. Needs 2 "AA" batt., sold below.
49N59152 7 lbs...37.99
Source: 1984 Sears Wish Book
The X-wing debuted in 1978 with an approximate retail price of £14.99. The ship measures 35 cm x 31 cm x 9 cm and, of course, that makes it way too small compared to the figures. But if the X-wing would have been on scale (1:1) with a Luke X-wing pilot figure, it would have measured more than 69 cm. The X-wing is made of white plastic and features red and yellow stickers. The ship can hold one figure in its rather small cockpit, so some larger figures will not fit (comfortably) in the cockpit. R2-D2 is not removable and is in fact a disguised action button. The X-wing has three action features. It has a retractable forward landing gear and an electronic laser light and battle sound (works with two “AA” batteries). It can also lock its S-foils in attack position by pressing R2-D2’s head. The wings can be returned to their normal position by pressing another button. The X-wing has five loose parts: one transparent canopy and four KX9 Laser Cannons that are to be attached to the wings. The box also includes instruction sheets and a booklet of Star Wars toys. When the ship was first sold, a Luke X-wing pilot figure wasn’t yet released, so original Luke was the best choice to pilot the starfighter. Interesting to note is that the vintage X-wing is actually the one from Biggs Darklighter since it has three red stripes on its wings (Red 3). The original X-wing box shows the toy in front of a red background. The initial release can be recognized by the LP (Long Playing Toy) logo. A “Special Offer” version of the toy, that came with free Han Solo and Luke Skywalker figures, was released in 1979. The box was updated in the same year with a Luke X-wing pilot figure. The red background was used once more in 1980 during The Empire Strikes Back. A totally different photo was finally used in 1981 and it showed a diorama on Dagobah with figures of Yoda and R2-D2 standing by.
“Battle Damaged” X-wing Fighter (1982)
In 1982 the “Battle Damaged” X-wing was released in the 3.75” line. Though the same mold was used for the ship, there are a few major differences. This version comes with extra damage sticker labels so you could either display your X-wing without or with battle damage. Another difference is that this X-wing is molded in gray instead of white plastic and its canopy is much darker. The inlets of the ship’s engines are now black, instead of white in the original release. But the S-foils can still be locked into position and the electronics are still present. The “Battle Damaged” X-wing was released in a box featuring Luke X-wing who (probably) says goodbye to Yoda and (the spirit of) Obi-Wan on Dagobah. This great photo even features mist and almost looks like it has been taken on the set itself. This toy was released during the lines of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Many non-US variations
Both the regular and the “Battle Damaged” X-wing were released around the globe, which resulted in more variations. In a lot of countries the electronics were removed and the R2-D2-button received a chrome color. Apart from the US, an electronic X-wing was only available in Brazil, Canada, and, also briefly, in France. Another difference is that most non-electronic variations feature a sticker at the back, instead of the molded back of the electronic version. The first boxes in the UK and France show a photo with a sandy surface and the Spanish box utilizes the 1981 Dagobah photo. The non-electronic “Battle Damaged” X-wing Fighter was released in a European Bilogo box (except for one particular UK release). A rare European Trilogo box does exist, but only a handful examples are known to exist. The X-wing Fighter was even produced in 1988 by Glasslite (Brazil) as the ASA-X. This rare electronic (lights only) variation features different stickers and has the name ASA-X printed on its side. The box uses the photo from the Kenner “Battle Damaged” X-wing.
Kenner still intended to include the X-wing in its plans if the line had continued. A Power of the Force box for the X-wing was already developed and Kenner was even planning to release a black tandem X-wing Fighter, but this toy was never made.
24, DARTH VADERS TIE FIGHTER
Kenner originally released the Darth Vader TIE Fighter Vehicle in 1979 along with the Millennium Falcon Spaceship, the Land Of The Jawas playset, the Creature Cantina playset, the Droid Factory playset, the Patrol Dewback, and the Imperial Troop Transporter.
Even though there are three distinct packaging variations on the Kenner version of this vehicle, it was only released with the Star Wars logo. When it was released in 1980, the second version of the package matched the 1979 version, but featured a Special Offer sticker and came with a cardboard diorama. The Darth Vader TIE Fighter hit the shelves once more in 1984 as part of Kenner's short-lived Collector Series, which featured what was essentially the same box art. Two notable differences: The toy was slightly renamed "Darth Vader TIE Fighter Vehicle" (adding the word 'vehicle') and the Collector Series starburst printed on the top right corner. The Darth Vader TIE Fighter was basically a recycled version of Kenner's original TIE Fighter vehicle. They simply took the molds for the body portion of that original TIE and shot the parts in a darker color of plastic-- an "evil grey" color according to the above quoted Kenner description. The distinctive wings, however, were specially-created for this toy.
25, AIRFIX STAR WARS MODEL SCENES
These kits were one of my first models and it is still one of my favorite Star Wars items. The Hoth diorama has tons of soldiers to have fun with. I decided what would be the most logical place for all of them to be and put them there. I watched the Hoth battle scene a ton of times to get the right colors in the right spots. It is mostly varying shades of medium browns. I put the leaders on Tauntauns in the back where they would most likely be. Of course this whole thing is chronologically inaccurate; because by the time the Walkers got this close to the trench, all the soldiers had retreated already. But who cares, it looks good! There were two places where the terrain looked like a crashed Snowspeeder landed, so that's where I put two of them. I made a huge hit on each one and weathered the area behind them to show where they went down. Weathering the crashed AT-AT was nice as well. There were molded blast points on it that made it much easier. The scales on this model are all over the place! I think the 1/156 is on the AT-ATs. The rebel base could be placed beside Hoth to expand the battle. I remember the bases came blue, so plenty of white paint was needed. I collected all of the Star Wars models and even took my Dagobah scene to show and tell at school.
Rebel Base, Dagobah, Battle on ice planet Hoth and Jabbas Palace were the most popular but all the ships and even the Death Star were available.
Judging by the number of loose examples of the Landspeeder that still turn up on the collectors market, Kenner made and sold a ton of this low price-point action figure toy. It's a pretty faithful rendition of the prop used in the film and the unique suspension system was a simple yet effective feature-- from the right angle, the toy really does appear to hover.
Having been one of the first three vehicles Kenner brought to market, the Landspeeder was available throughout 1978, 1979 and part of 1980. In '78, Kenner offered their larger clients a "Special Offer" version of the toy. It included free R2-D2 and C-3PO figures, as well as a yellow box sticker advertising this bonus. Then, in 1979, the "LP" logo (short for "long play"), which had appeared on all of Kenner's 1978 products, was removed from the package.
In 1984, Kenner brought the item back to market, as part of their "Collectors Series" of older Star Wars toys. Although this version of the Landspeeder was unmodified, the box underwent slight revisions, the most noticeable of which was the addition of a red-and-yellow "Collectors Series" starburst to the upper right corner. In addition, the Star Wars toy licensees of several other countries--among them Australia and the U.K.--issued a slightly altered version of the Landspeeder. Most notably, the "hoods" of these foreign versions, which could be opened on the U.S. toy, were immovable. In 1995, Hasbro re-used the molds for the Kenner Landspeeder for their updated version of the vehicle. However, the revisions made to the molds, as well as the toy's more sophisticated paint job, make the '90s Landspeeder easily distinguishable from its vintage counterpart.
First Issued: 1978 (SW packaging, with "LP" logo)
Re-issues: 1978 (SW packaging, with R2-D2, C-3PO and "Special Offer" sticker), 1979 (SW packaging, without "LP" logo), 1984 (Collectors Series)
27, LAND OF THE JAWAS
This surely is the Star Wars playset with the most exciting name. The set consists of a plastic base, a cardboard backdrop of the Jawa Sandcrawler, and an exclusive Class-6 Escape Pod, jettisoned by R2-D2 from the Tantive IV. The base features an action spot where you can launch figures, simulating combat (or Datcha ambushing Artoo). There are tracks of the Sandcrawler and there is also a small cave that can be used to hide smaller figures, like R2-D2 or the Jawas. The Sandcrawler fits into the base and though it is made from cardboard, it has a crude elevator and some kind of shelf where a couple of figures can be stored. The Escape Pod is unique to this set and has an opening hatch so you can make sure that Threepio regrets his mission time and time again. The base of this playset would later be reused for two other Star Wars playsets.
Important to know is that Palitoy (UK) released its own Land of the Jawas with a few differences. It doesn’t feature the Escape Pod, the plastic base has a brighter color, and it is made from a thinner plastic, which is supported by a sturdy cardboard. It also comes with two circular stands and one weird looking action feature, replacing the missing action feature on the plastic base. Though the Palitoy set comes with less accessories, it succeeds in capturing the desolate landscape of Tatooine.
28, LAST 17
The "last 17" were the very last 17 Kenner Power of the Force Star Wars line and up until 1995 were the very last ones made of the entire Star Wars line.
These figures are very expensive and a complete opened set can sell for over £1,000.
The last 17 POTF are...
2. A-wing pilot
6. Han in carbonite
7. Imperial Dignitary
8. Imperial gunner
9. Lando general
10. Luke Battle poncho
11. Luke in Stormtrooper disguise
14. R2-D2 w/ pop up lightsaber
17. Yak Face
29, SPHERO BB8
Meet BB-8™ - the app-enabled Droid™ that's as authentic as it is advanced. BB-8 has something unlike any other robot - an adaptive personality that changes as you play. Based on your interactions, BB-8 will show a range of expressions and even perk up when you give voice commands. Set it to patrol and watch your Droid explore autonomously, make up your own adventure and guide BB-8 yourself, or create and view holographic recordings.
It’s now possible to explore the galaxy with your own trusty Astromech Droid by your side. BB-8 is more than a toy - it’s your companion.
- Authentic Movement // Guide your BB-8 with a smartphone or tablet
- Listens & Responds // BB-8 recognizes and reacts to your voice
- Holographic Communication // Record and view virtual holographic videos with BB-8
- Autonomous Behavior // BB-8 has a mind of its own - explore the Star Wars™ galaxy together
- Adaptive Personality // Your BB-8’s unique attitude and actions evolve as you interact
- The Watch With Me feature allows your Droid to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with you. Select this option when BB-8 is in his charging base, start the movie, and watch his reactions along with the film.
30, PATROL DEWBACK
This omnivorous reptile from Tatooine was hardly noticeable in the original edition of A New Hope, but Kenner decided to make a toy of it. The mannequin, used for the Dewback during the production, was nearly immobile and therefor the creature wasn’t really up to anything except being visible in the background. Since Kenner had decided to limit the articulation of the figures to five points, the Dewback presented the designers with a major problem. How was a figure going to sit on its back in a more or less realistic manner since Star Wars toys did not bend at the knees? The designers came up with a brilliant idea: They made a hole in the back of the Patrol Dewback so the figure would actually be standing inside the toy. A saddle was molded so it seemed to include the legs of the figure, sitting on the creature.
The Dewback came in a rectangular box that showed the reptile on patrol with some Stormtroopers (Kenner never made a proper Sandtrooper). Luke, Ben Kenobi, and the droids are lurking in the background behind some rocks. The side of the box shows a kid playing with the Dewback and lists its action features, including a removable saddle, moving legs, the ability to position a figure on the creature and the possibility to move its head when moving its tail. A photo of the Dewback from the movies, which was never seen this close in the final film, was also printed on the box.
The Dewback is a very plain item, but its simplicity makes it remarkable and unique. Kenner had no immediate plans to create the Bantha, so the Dewback was the only creature you could buy separately during the first years of Star Wars toys. In loose condition, the creature’s rein and saddle are sometimes missing or they have been damaged. In 1984, the Patrol Dewback was reissued as a Collector Series. Many fans in Europe had no clue that this toy existed during the vintage years.
31, HAN SOLO LASER PISTOL
Back in the 70's and 80's, children were able to clearly establish between reality and fantasy, or rather, most of the friends we knew could. As a result we lucky kids were able to have toy guns. Be it cap guns, water guns or simply sticks that we fashioned in our minds as guns, many a child found hours of entertainment running around their parents backyards with their friends (GASP) shooting at each other. It was good clean fun, and with the exception of the occasional tripping and falling nobody got hurt.
In this era of non violent children, well, with the exception of the occasional fist fight with your "enemy" who shortly after became your best friend, Kenner lobbed at us our first real opportunity to be Han Solo or Luke Skywalker when they produced the amazing Star Wars Laser Pistol and 3 Position Laser Rifle.
What made these toy guns absolutely the best to every kid on the block who longed to play out scenes from Star Wars was the inclusion of movie accurate sound effects. No longer did we have to run around the yard shouting, "pew, pew, pew." No, sir. Now the guns did all the work for us - If you had the required "C" and "D" batteries that is.
With the success of their toy guns, when it came time for toys based on the next chapter in the Star Wars Saga, Kenner followed up with a re-release of the Laser Pistol and 3 Position Rifle.
The Laser Pistol was given a complete overhaul of the packaging, incorporating the new film's logo on not only the box, but also a sticker which was adhered to the guns, much like the original Star Wars logo was adhered via sticker to the prior releases. Sadly, the 3 Position Rifle only got an updated sticker, while the box used remained the same.
32, RADIO CONTROLLED JAWA SANDCRAWLER
Released in 1979 along with the Millennium Falcon Spaceship, the Land Of The Jawas playset, the Darth Vader TIE Fighter Vehicle, the Creature Cantina playset, the Droid Factory playset, the Patrol Dewback, and the Imperial Troop Transporter, Kenner’s Remote Controlled Jawa Sandcrawler is still one of the most sought after pieces in the vintage collection.
This vehicle was released in the U.S. in only packaging sporting the Star Wars logo and a printed Rebate Offer starburst. The Kenner Canada version, however, featured The Empire Strikes Back logo on the packaging, as well as TESB logoed stickers that went over the Star Wars logoed stickers on the remote control itself. It featured bi-lingual text (English and French) on both its box and controller sticker.
Radio-Controlled Jawa Sandcrawler. The mysterious Jawas ride this combination tank and scrapyard across the Tatooine desert, selling (and kidnapping) used droids. Radio-controlled, 2-channel unit operates from up to 20 ft. away-- moves crawler in almost any direction. Roof hatch opens, and side panels become a step ramp. Scaled for figures  to  sold on opposite page. Figures shown not included. Plastic. 16 1/2x5 1/4x8 in . high. Uses two "D" and two 9-volt batteries. For ages 5 and up.
XU 924-0821 A--Delivery weight 2.50 lbs. ...29.88
Source: 1980 JC Penney Christmas Catalog
I don't think anyone could deny that the B-Wing Fighter was one of the greatest vintage Star Wars vehicles: it was big, fabulously detailed and packed with neat features. It debuted in 1984, the sophomore year of the ROTJ line, and for a time was planned for release in the Power of the Force line of 1985. While it's most notable feature was its cockpit, which rotated into an upright position regardless of what position the toy was held in, it also had electronic "laser battle sounds," as well as wings that folded into attack position when one of the exhaust ports was rotated. I don't believe the B-Wing sold incredibly well; like it's 1984-release counterpart, the Imperial Shuttle, it was released at a time when Star Wars mania was dying down, and it was a fairly expensive toy. But collectors have always admired it, and it's become quite expensive in unused, packaged condition.
It's an authentic replica of the REBEL vehicle that fought off THE EMPIRE'S ships in STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI. Our B-WING FIGHTER has a unique gravity-controlled cockpit. So, even if you "fly" the B-WING upside-down, the cockpit (and the Action Figure you put inside it) will always be "right side up." The B-WING is well equipped for battle--with laser cannons and sounds. To operate the side wings, just turn one of the rear engine pods. You can even raise and lower the landing gear. Two "AA" batteries, not included. Action Figures sold separately. Ages 4 and up.
Image Source: 1985 Power of the Force Planetary Map
Description Source: 1984 Kenner Toy Fair Catalog
Like the Tatooine Skiff, the A-Wing fighter was released late in the vintage Star Wars era and wasn't produced in huge numbers. It has therefore become something of a collector favorite. As the vehicle was seen briefly in the short-lived Droids animated series, Kenner opted to issue it under the banner of their Droids line. Most collectors, however, consider it part of the standard Kenner collection, as the vehicle was featured prominently in Return of the Jedi and the toy is virtually free from cartoonish design elements. As the front of its box states, the A-Wing came with a special "Planetary Map." This was basically a folded sheet of paper, which featured a painted collage on one of its sides and a catalog on the other. During the mid 1990s, the A-Wing and Tatooine Skiff ruled the vintage collecting roost: They were difficult to find, attractive and sold for huge prices in unused condition. Since that time, the demand for both toys has decreased considerably, in large part because Hasbro has re-issued both in slightly modified forms. The Hasbro version of the A-Wing debuted in the late '90s. It is easily distinguishable from its vintage counterpart by virtue of its complicated deco scheme.
35, MINI RIGS
With inflation and the price of plastic had pushed up the price of Kenner’s vehicles and ships by the time of The Empire Strikes Back. The Kenner department decided to design smaller vehicles for the action figures that could have appeared in the movies, but were just out of sight. Kenner designer Mark Boudreaux started to design a series of Mini-Rigs and the first wave was released in spring 1981. The MLC-3 (Mobile Laser Cannon) was a small, one-man tank used on Hoth by the Rebel Alliance. The MLC-3 featured classic treads, two medium repeating blaster cannons and a removable transparent dome. It was often used for perimeter defense to patrol terrain surrounding large buildings or facilities. The MLC-3 has appeared in the Star Wars Marvel comic “Hoth Stuff” where Wes Janson used the tank to escape from Arns Grimraker’s band of scavengers. This tale was later retconned as a tall tale told to new recruits by Wedge Antilles to explain the “death” of Wes Janson in the comic. The vehicle also got an entry in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia. The second Mini-Rig in the first wave was the MTV-7 (Multi-Terrain Vehicle). This tracked and open vehicle was used by General Veers’ Blizzard Force to attack Echo Base. The MTV-7 was armed with a Blaster Cannon and had thick, double wheels to provide an excellent tracking on Hoth’s icy landscape. It was also able to configure itself into a lower position to adapt to different environments. It wasn’t until May 2013 that the MTV-7 made another appearance since the initial release of the toy. In Fantasy Flight Games’ expansion Star Wars: The Card Game — A Dark Time, the MTV-7 got its own card. Both the MTV-7 and the MLC-3 were also produced by the infamous Turkish Uzay bootleg line. The final vehicle in the first wave was the PDT-8 (Personnel Deployment Transport). Originally envisioned as a transport vehicle for droids, the PDT-8 was used by the Rebels on Hoth. This often automated open repulsorlift speeder had two large thrusters and two open spaces for transporting people or cargo from one installation to another. The PDT-8 did receive an entry in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia.
Kenner released two more Mini-Rigs in 1982. The INT-4 (Interceptor) was a repulsorlift scouting craft used by the Galactic Empire on Hoth. The (more or less) enclosed INT-4 had a single laser cannon and stabilizer wings. AT-AT walkers were capable of transporting an INT-4 into battle. Similar looking vehicles appeared on the cover of Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka, but those were based on the cockpit of Kenner’s Scout Walker and not on the INT-4. CAP-2 (Captivator) was the last Mini-Rig to be produced during the era of The Empire Strikes Back. This weird looking walker/repulsorlift vehicle had two grappling arms, a small blaster cannon, and a transparent dome. It was often used by bounty hunters (especially by Bossk) to capture their bounties. The CAP-2 featured a large claw at the back to capture prisoners. It also had two special ‘suction’ feet for spying on its victims.
Kenner continued the tradition of Mini-Rigs during the release of Return of the Jedi. In the first wave we find the AST-5 (Armored Sentinel Transport), a scouting vehicle from Jabba’s fleet used to defend the perimeters of his Palace. The AST-5 had two fully rotating laser cannons and an enclosed cockpit. It also had the capability to place itself into an upright sentinel position. Since the screens inside the AST-5 showed ships in outer space, it’s quite possible that the AST-5 was able to enter the exosphere of a planet or that it was able to travel through space for a short amount of time. One of Jabba’s best pilots, Wooof, was known to fly an AST-5 occasionally. The second Mini-Rig in the first wave was the ISP-6 (Imperial Shuttle Pod). This single-seat Imperial Shuttle with two laser cannons was obviously based on its larger cousin, the Lambda-class T-4a Shuttle (which Kenner released in 1984). It would be a safe bet to assume that the ISP-6 was also manufactured by Cygnus Spaceworks and Sienar Fleet Systems.
The second wave of Return of the Jedi Mini-Rigs was released in 1984. The first vehicle was the Endor Forest Ranger, a rather strange looking repulsorlift vehicle used by the Rebel Alliance on Endor. It featured gyroscopic wings and had one large blaster cannon on each side. This vehicle made a totally unexpected appearance in a comic from Marvel’s X-Men / New Mutants (“The Asgardian Wars”). The Desert Sail Skiff was a one-man scaled down version of Jabba’s Luxury Sail Barge. It featured a sail, a rotating driver’s seat, two steering fins, and a small gangplank to launch prisoners to their doom. The vehicle was later named Desert Sail-20 Skiff in Geonosis and the Outer Rim by Wizards of the Coast. This Skiff didn’t appear in Episode VI, but its spin-off model, the Floater-935 (with no sail), was present in the episode ofDroids called The New King. Return of the Jedi marked the end of the Mini-Rigs, but in 1985 Kenner released three Body-Rigs (Single Body Transport Vehicles). Body-Rigs were vehicles even more compact than their predecessors. The Body-Rigs were released on a blister in the US, but boxed (Tri-logo) in Europe. The Security Scout was a light and open repulsorlift vehicle with a large rudder and two rotating blaster cannons. It was used on Endor by the Rebel Alliance. The (One-Man) Sand Skimmer was another small repulsorlift used by Jabba’s Skiff Guards. It was seen in “The New King,” an episode in the second story arc of Droids. The Sand Skimmer was used in a hilarious skirmish on Tammuz-an between the goons of Ko Zatec-Cha and the allies of Mon Julpa, including R2-D2, C-3PO, Jann Tosh, and Jessica Meade. It even made a second appearance in Droids. In the episode “The Frozen Citadel” the Sand Skimmer was used by Gaff, the Kobok henchman of Governor Bisad Koong. The last Body-Rig was called the Imperial Sniper. This vehicle had an open seat, two small blaster cannons, and a grappling hook. It was used by the Imperial troops on Endor. Although it was named Imperial Sniper, the same vehicle was already in use on Tammuz-an in 15 BBY. Just like the Sand Skimmer, it was present in the repulsorlift scuffle in The New King.
36, MICRO COLLECTION
Kenner's Micro Collection line of toys was both revolutionary and short-lived. Whereas today, nearly every major toy line has a micro-scale division, in 1982, when the Micro Collection was introduced, it received a rather tepid response at retail, and was cancelled after only one year. The Micro Collection playsets were based on key action sequences from Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. Each set came with a varying number of posed metal figures, as well as a sort of plastic stage, which served as a miniature "environment" in which kids could play out their favorite Star Wars moments. The figures' lack of posability is often cited as a key factor in the demise of the line; but this is a somewhat simplistic explanation for why the Micro Collection never really took off. By 1982, the ESB line was fast drawing to a close; more importantly, kids' interests were increasingly being drawn away from Star Wars towards competing action figure brands, such as Masters of the Universe and the 33/4" incarnation of G.I. Joe. It was simply a poor time to introduce such an extensive and unfamiliar product line. Had it been launched more conservatively, and amidst the rush of hype surrounding the 1983 release of Return of the Jedi, the Micro Collection might have fared much better. But as it turned out, the line was cancelled, and Star Wars collectors had to wait until 1994, the year that Galoob introduced their popular line of Star Wars Micro Machines, before they could again buy micro-scale toy products. In all, 70 die-cast metal figures were released, each coming as part of either a retail playset or the one mail-away premium attached to the line, the so-called "Build Your Armies" figure set. However, 10 additional figures were prototyped by Kenner in preparation for a 1983 release, and these reached a stage of development comparable to that of the standard production figures. Planned for the never-released Hoth Bacta Chamber and Bespin Torture Chamber playsets, these figures are quite difficult to find, and, by far, are the most expensive Micro figures available. It is indeed quite a challenge to find all 10. Two plastic pieces exist as well, which can reasonably be considered "figures," and thus parts of the Micro figure set. These are 1) a gray probe droid from the Hoth Wampa Cave set, and 2) a black pouch from the unproduced Bespin Torture Chamber, which was intended to allow the set's Chewbacca figure to hold a dismembered C-3PO on its back. One other rather anamolous Micro Collection figure deserves mention in these paragraphs, for it too exists in production-scale, metal form. This is the alternate sculpting of Luke, posed lunging with his saber, from the Bespin Gantry (258-002). The figure is, in fact, the earliest production test for the Micro Collection figure line. It was made by an outside vendor, and was likely sent back to Kenner as a sample of sorts, intended to represent the process that would eventually be used to produce the figures released to stores. Surprisingly, the figure is relatively common, and can be found readily for a fair price. It is identified by its odd quality of sculpting and its total lack of a number on the bottom of its base. Speaking of numbers, any collector seeking out Micro Collection figures should familiarize himself with their system of numbering. Every Micro figure bears a 6-digit code, which is stamped onto the bottom of its base (or elsewhere on the figure if it does not have a base). The 3-digit prefix of this code refers to the playset to which each figure belongs, while the 3-digit suffix identifies the figure itself. The system makes for a convenient checklist, allowing collectors to determine exactly which figures they still need, and aiding in identification, particularly where similar-looking figures (Hoth Stormtroopers, for instance) are concerned.
For the benefit of easy reference, the 3-digit prefixes for the playsets are as follows:
008 - "Build Your Armies" Mail-Away Set (6 figures)
116 - Bespin Torture Chamber (6 figures + pouch)
153 - Hoth Bacta Chamber (4 figures)
256 - Bespin Control Room (4 figures)
258 - Bespin Gantry (4 figures)
261 - Snowspeeder (2 figures)
269 - Hoth Wampa Cave (4 figures + probe droid)
270 - TIE Fighter (1 figure)
283 - X-Wing Fighter (1 figure)
460 - Bespin Freeze Chamber (8 figures)
463 - Hoth Turret Defense (6 figures)
517 - Death Star Trash Compactor (8 figures)
583 - Death Star Escape (6 figures)
668 - Hoth Generator Attack (6 figures)
692 - Hoth Ion Cannon (8 figures)
733 - Millennium Falcon (6 figures)
The figures on the following charts are unpainted--they are either "first shots," produced to test the production molds and then sent back to Kenner for approval, or (more likely) excess stock, left unfinished when the line was cancelled and subsequently sold into the collector's market. The figures that shipped with the playsets, of course, were fully-painted. And indeed, the figures that collectors most often choose to pursue are these fully-painted production versions. However, collecting painted figures presents its own challenge--it is quite difficult finding painted Micro figures that have not at some point been seriously chipped or abraded. But whether its the painted, the unpainted, or both that you choose to collect, Micro Collection figures remain fairly easy to find, and they can still be had cheaply: most can be found with little difficulty for under £5 each.
37, TAKARA X-WING
In 1977 Japanese toy manufacturer Takara was licensed to produce and distribute toys and merchandise from the first Star Wars film up until Popy took over for The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Takara Star Wars toys often came with cool action features such as Missile Firing R2-D2s and C-3POs, a wind-up walking R2-D2 (often rumoured to be George Lucas’ favourite toy) and many other interesting and quirky items such as the Transforming X-Wing Fighter which is the subject of this post. The Transforming X-Wing Fighter was released in 1978 in Japan by Takara. The vehicle came in kit form and included fuselage, four wing sections, a sprue tree containing the smaller parts, a decal sheet, instuctions/catalogue and Luke Skywalker Pilot and R2-D2 figures. Working features included cockpit and landing gear, open/closed wings and spring-loaded missile-firing laser cannons! But that’s not all… Takara also held the license for Microman which was later rebranded as Transformers for the western market. What could make better sense than to fuse the two lines together to create a super-cool X-Wing Fighter that transformed? There are a few suggestion examples on the box to try out but essentially this toy is ideal to let your imagination fly. For me the Takara is a winner. One of my favourite retro toy collectables is the vintage Star Wars line – in particular Kenner’s original X-Wing Fighter and its foreign variants. So hats off to Takara for not only producing a version of this iconic space vehicle but for taking it to a completely different level. And finally, some collectors wonder about the scale of the Takara Transforming X-Wing in relation to the original Kenner model. The Takara version is almost the same size although the Luke and R2-D2 figures are significantly smaller than their 3 3/4 inch Kenner counterparts.
Of all the different accessory products produced for the Kenner mini-action figure line, vehicles would have to be the type with the greatest play utility. Yes, playsets are great, but they are by their very nature limiting. Would using the Dagobah Action Playset in a play scenario set on Hoth make sense? Could you use the Imperial Attack Base with a bunch of Jabba's palace guards and pretend it's on Tatooine? Vehicles, on the other hand, are pretty much setting-agnostic. An X-Wing fighter can be equally at home on Hoth, on Dagobah, on Tatooine, or attacking the Death Star. For this reason I have to believe that vehicles were considered by Kenner to be their go-to accessory for maximizing sales and profits. Which brings us to the focus of this post - the Y-Wing Fighter. Viewers first encountered the Y-Wing in the climactic space battle near the end of Star Wars, where a rag-tag band of rebels attacked the Empire's invincible Death Star. We all know how that one turned out, but Y-Wing fighters made up a significant part of the rebel fleet too. In fact, the only space combat vehicles deployed by the Rebellion in the first movie were X-Wings and Y-Wings! We all know that the X-Wing fighter toy saw release in the first wave of Star Wars vehicles, and was even re-released for The Empire Strikes Back in "battle-damaged" form. The Y-Wing, on the other hand, had to wait until 1983 and Return of the Jedi to even get a toy. But as we will see, there is a LOT more going on with the Y-Wing toy than there ever was with the X-Wing...
First off, we have Admiral Ackbar at the controls of the Y-Wing. Pardon? Isn't he supposed to be busy detecting traps and coordinating the Rebel fleet assault?? It's weird that while all of the other Rebel starfighter toys had appropriate pilots released in the mini-action figure line (Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot, B-Wing Pilot, A-Wing Pilot), the Y-Wing never had a pilot released for it. Too bad, as the Y-Wing Pilot in the films looked pretty cool It's a bit mystifying to me why there was no Y-Wing Pilot released. The Y-Wing appeared in all three films (Death Star assault, Echo Base evacuation, Death Star II space battle). The B- and A-Wings only appeared in RotJ, and the A-Wing was only ever released in Droids packaging, yet there's an A-Wing Pilot figure??? Makes no sense. In any case, Nien Nunb and General Madine are just standing around shooting the breeze. Perhaps discussing why the admiral of the Rebel fleet is hanging around pretending to be Top Gun. Lando's lurking in the background as only Lando can. Another very cool feature of the Y-Wing over the X-Wing is that the former actually incorporates a droid socket to fit an astromech droid. Either R2-D2 (in any of his variants) or R5-D4 fit in there fine Operating controls. Bomb release button behind Artoo, landing gear locking switch in the middle, button activating laser sounds and cannon rotation at back.
39, TATOOINE SKIFF
Long a collector favorite, the Tatooine Skiff was doomed by lagging interest in Star Wars. It was one of two larger vehicle toys in the Power of the Force line (the other being the Ewok Battle Wagon), and when that line failed to extend past 1985, the Skiff died with it. Although it was planned for release in Kenner's 1986 Droids line, the Skiff never made it to retail stores in Droids packaging. Apparently, not many of the toys were sold while they were available, as Skiffs have always been a tough find on the secondary collector market. Part of the attraction collectors have to this item certainly stems from its rarity. But it's also just a really cool toy: Not only is its detailing very accurate with respect to the vehicle seen in the film, it's packed with neat action features. Each of the two levers located towards the back of the Skiff controls a different feature. One lowers the landing gear while the other activates the gang plank, which has a flap at its end, allowing figures to be convincingly dumped into an imaginary Sarlaac. Another cool feature of the toy was the "planetary map" that it came packaged with, a sort of catalog cum poster with attractive graphics. Unfortunately, the Skiff is also quite fragile-- I seriously can't imagine it staying intact for long in the hands of enthusiastic youngsters. But, to collectors, its delicacy only serves to make it more attractive. It should be noted that, in 2000, Hasbro re-issued the Skiff using the tooling developed for the original toy. However, the newer version differs from its vintage counterpart in obvious ways, including the presence of a newer copyright date.
40, DAGOBAH PLAYSET
One of the many playsets Kenner developed for their Empire Strikes Back line, the Dagobah Action Playset recreated the boggy habitat of Yoda's home planet. It incorporated a number of action features, all of which are described above in the provided catalog write-up. The "levitating" feature was particularly nifty. It allowed kids to simulate Luke's levitation of R2-D2 and assorted cargo trunks through his manipulation of the Force. To this end, two different silver "trunks" were provided, as well as a cylindrical component, which allowed the R2-D2 figure to be lifted upwards atop one of the movable filaments located in the playset's base. Kenner released several different versions of this toy's box over the years of 1981 and 1982. The earliest issue featured a black-and-white ESB logo printed on its white reverse; this was later changed to a flashier red logo. The quality of the line art used on this area of the package was also modified slightly between these two packaging incarnations. Then, in 1982, Kenner included a bonus "Jedi Training Back Pack" with the toy, an accessory that was borrowed from the Survival Kit mail-away. The earliest playsets to contain this bonus utilized the 1981 box, onto which were affixed two stickers advertising a rebate offer and the free backpack, respectively. But the entire frontal photo was soon changed to show the Luke figure wearing the backpack accessory, as well as the later "sensor scope" version of R2-D2. Additionally, a circular graphic was printed on the package's front mentioning the inclusion of the back pack. Loose, the set is common, but it should be noted that the silver "levitation" parts are often missing and the foam "quicksand" has a tendency to deteriorate.
Well there you go, hope you enjoyed that look at the great products that make up he Star Wars legend. I hope you favourite items were there, if not let me know.
Follow my toy runs and posts on:
Thanks for reading and May the Toys be with you.