This volume we will look at the crazy old wizard Ben (Obi Wan) Kenobi.
But before that we have the first part of what is a collectors dream or is it nightmare? And as Ben was the only character I got from France here's a history of Meccano.
France were one of the very first countries that had Star Wars product at retail. Meccano was the agent for Star Wars toys distribution in that country during the original trilogy marketing era, retailing the action figure line from 1978 to 1986. The company is world widely known for its metal construction sets, and for many other successful toy lines; some benefited from General Mills and Palitoy, as being one of their ancillary. Several mergers occurred in the late 1970s/ early 1980s, from Meccano, Miro-Meccano to General Mills (GMJ) and Kenner-Parker, causing the company logo and notifications to change on the cards.
Meccano was one of the few foreign to Kenner licensee to use specific domestic packaging matching the original movies, until 1983. It's "Guerre des Etoiles" line is characterized by the characteristic square card format used from the second wave of figures, (which is the card I bought a Ben Kenobi on my school trip to France) the intensive distribution of imported vehicles and accessories bearing the mandated French product safety warnings on a sticker applied to the box, and the high-standard blister packaging at the beginning of the trilogo line. Unlike some foreign action variants (Eg. PBP Spanish action figures) made their way onto French (essentially trilogo) packaging.
The size of French retail market was no comparison with the US and UK markets in terms of volumes produced and amount of items available. In addition, the line wasn't always well sustained to retailers. Already rare in the 80s, those products have become very scant and hard to find, and it takes more than patience and bags of cash to put together even one series of the line. This challenge, combined with the low condition of the items that survived, is often a demotivation factor to building a collection.
Continued next volume.
Unlike the myriad sculpts we see in the modern line, there was only one version of Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi made in the Kenner line. And even though the figure did end up having a couple of small variations, this was all the original Star Wars Generation needed to have fun during playtime.
This figure first appeared on the Star Wars 12 back card. During the Return Of The Jedi 65 back releases, the image on this figure's card was replaced with a new image. Though known examples indicate that the switch took place during the 65C production run, It is possible that earlier examples could exist. The original photo made its last appearance on the Return Of The Jedi 65C back. Note that the distinction of 65D and 65E cards is the Anakin figure offer stickers, the 65C was the last printed 65 back variation. The new image was used on all other cards after including The Power Of The Force and Tri-Logo cards.
This figure was packed a blue telescope Lightsaber and a brown vinyl cape.
Though all vintage figures have minor variations, the Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi figure's only major variation in the figure itself is the hair color. It was available with either white or gray hair.
There are two versions of the Lightsaber. The first version (available scarcely on the Star Wars 12 back card only) was made of two pieces and featured a double telescoping action. Very early on in the figure's initial production run the double telescoping version was replaced by the much more common single telescoping Lightsaber. The second version was also shipped in much greater quantities than the first version on the Star Wars 12 back card.
Thank you for your time and May the figures be with you.