Everyone's favourite 'walking carpet' will be this volumes focus but let's talk about why we're here.
Collecting these vintage figure falls into two categories - loose figure collecting and carded figure collecting. Loose figures are much more common today (since most kids ripped their figures open and played with them) and a lot cheaper. As with any other collecting, the condition of the figures is of paramount importance.
Loose figures with tight joints, complete accessories and perfect paint applications obviously command much more on the secondary market than those with damage, defects or missing parts. Action figures are commonly "graded" (or judged) on a condition scale as follows:
C-10 Gem Mint - No flaws.
C-9Mint - Near flawless.
C-8Excellent - No play wear. Tight joints.
C-7Very Fine - Very minor flaws and/or play wear.
C-6Fine - Noticable flaws and/or play wear.
C-5Very Good - Significant flaws and/or play wear. All accessories intact.
C-4Good - Heavy damage. Missing accessories.
C-3Poor - Totally destroyed. Parts missing
There are professional services (such as Action Figure Authority - AFA) who grade figures for a fee. This rises the price significantly but to in my opinion you know how good your figures are. Why risk sending them off for someone to tell you what you already know.
In carded collecting, grading is even more particular. The card, the plastic bubble and the figure itself are all graded. Any yellowing (caused by plastic degradation), denting or scratching of the bubble makes a figure less desirable. Cards that are torn, stained, bent etc are less desirable. Also, cards that did not have the small "punch-out" removed at the top to be hung on store shelves are considered most desirable. These are called "unpunched" and command a premium.
Collectors today preserve figures in various ways. Many place figures in special acrylic cases. GW Acrylic are very good. Some use softer plastic cases often called "Star Cases" (named after the manufacturer) or clam shells. Professional services such as AFA offer various products as well, including professional options for protecting figures, including UV protected cases.
Some collecting terminology that you should know:
LOOSE - Removed from package
VHTF - Very Hard to Find
NRFB - Never Removed From Box
MIB - Mint in Box
MIMB - Mint in Mint Box
MIP - Mint in Package
MIMP - Mint in Mint Package
MINMP -Mint in Near Mint Package
MOC - Mint on Card
MONMC - Mint on Near Mint Card
FS: Factory Sealed
I have merely scratched the surface to "Star Wars" action figure collecting. As well as these standard action figures, Kenner released many vehicles, playsets, creatures and mini-rigs for kids to play with over the life of the three films - not to mention a separate line of 12" figures.
These we will talk about in future volumes.
Kenner also offered 3 3/4" action figure multi-packs which have become very scarce on the secondary market today. In 1985 Kenner attempted two brief lines (less than 20 figures total) of figures based on the "Star Wars" television shows - "Droids" and "Ewoks".
The original line is called 'vintage' exclusivelybecause in 1995, Hasbro (who purchased Kenner) began an entirely new, modern line of 3 3/4" "Star Wars" figures as popularity has once again soared with the latest cinematic additions to the "Star Wars" franchise.
WHAT TO COLLECT
The most important thing to remember in collecting is: collect what you like. While scarcity and value are what drive the market, don't let money values guide your purchases. Some of my favorite figures are "common" figures. For me, "Star Wars" collecting began when I was seven years old. When I look at the action figures from my childhood, I remember countless hours of fun playing with Vader and Luke. These toys will forever evoke the nostalgia of my youth, and for that... they are priceless.
So have fun and enjoy collecting.
Again this figure was a part of the four that came with the Early Bird package.
Very sought after with its translucent green bowcaster and greenish limbs.
The only variant is the early bird as this is (along with Darth Vader) the only two main characters who's figure never changed over the whole line. The main line Chewbacca came with a black bowcaster.
He apeared on the following Kenner cardbacks;
Star Wars-12A to D
Empire Strikes Back-21A
Return of the Jedi-48
ROTJ-65A to D
Power of the Force-92
And Palitoy Card Backs
There wasn't a lot they could of changed on Chewy as he didn't wear his lederhosen and was naked the whole trilogy.
Even if you weren't lucky enough to get the early bird this was an early must figure to get to play as the rebels and for your collection.
Next time R2D2.
Thank you for reading,