As I have said before, this all started whilst decorating the bathroom. Now I understand this is an unusual start to a Star Wars inspired piece, but these are just the facts. Idle tweets between myself and my fellow Talk Star Wars friends inspired me to buy a few little Star Wars figures to decorate some spare space on the shelves in there. My idea was to buy the figures I used to own as a kid. Well it seems I owned a lot of figures as a kid (thanks Mum and Dad). This was going to be no mean feat.
So I sat down with a cup of tea and had a quick look on eBay to see what was available. Have you ever done this? Looked at Star Wars figures from your youth? Before I knew it my tea was cold and I had wasted an unknown amount of time wandering along a digital memory lane. I saw so many of the toys I had loved for years. Even more toys I had never owned, I never did get that AT-AT. It was hypnotic. Every new click would have me gasping with awe as another Millennium Falcon swept into view. I remembered vividly owning my own Falcon and the hours of play I enjoyed. I was getting addicted to just looking.
So I took the plunge and bid on a job lot of figures. Why these particular figures? I can’t honestly say. They were Teebo, Bib Fortuna, Weequay (2 of), Ree-Yees and Boosk. I had only ever own 2 of these. Ree-Yees and Boosk. Boosk was one of the Bounty Hunters from Empire Strikes Back. He was one of my favourite figures, so I am guessing he is the reason I bid on this particular group. Amazingly I won my first Star Wars bid. I was so excited, I spent the next week watching out of the window for the postman, like I did as a kid waiting for Father Christmas to bring me my Star Wars toys.
When they finally arrived I couldn’t open the package fast enough. There they were. These perfect little figures, all of them over 30 years old. I sat there, turning each one over and over in my hands, admiring the details and the 70’s simplicity of the figures. My son has many Star Wars figures, each of them more moveable, more detailed and less fun. I stood them on my desk and grinned like a Cheshire Cat, all smug and pleased with myself.
However, where were the ones that I had owned? Not here that’s for sure. Obviously I needed to address this, immediately. So I made myself some more tea (it’s all part of the process you see) and sat down to look again. Once more I was transported to a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. I was a kid again, I could pick things up from the floor without making involuntary pained noises, I could jump and run. I had the imagination that is so often lacking in today’s kids. I looked for something special, something I remember I really liked as a kid. I found him. Han Solo in his Hoth costume. This was a great figure. I bid, spat out my freezing cold tea and crossed my fingers. I won! Han Solo would be mine, and I wasn’t going to let Kylo Ren anywhere near him.
A few, long, long days later he arrived. Perfectly packaged in a little bag, his blaster at his side. Now we were talking. Let’s be fair, Han Solo was our favourite in Star Wars, we all loved him. The cheeky little scamp. Now I had a problem you see. Han had his blaster, none of the other figures did. Instantly I knew I would have to get the weapons for the other figures. So the kettle went on and I sat down to see if it were at all possible to get them. A whole new world opened up before me. There were arms dealers all over eBay (other auction sites are available!). You could get just about everything. My Bib Fortuna was naked, you could buy his cloak and staff on there. You could buy real weapons and replica weapons. It seemed you could totally recreate my poster, the one with all the figures on. Well obviously this was what I had to do. There was no two ways about it. My long term goal was now to own every figure.
What I failed to realise once I had made up my mind was the minefield of choices I would have to make. There are so many variations of figures, ones with different coloured faces and hair, factory mistakes and figures made in Mexico. Some people were just collecting carded figures, ones that had never even been opened. Even then you could get recarded figures where people had produced reproduction cards and repackaged the figures. None of this was for me. I wanted my figures to have ‘lived’. To have been toys. Like Toy Story I wanted them to have been somebody’s best friend, favourite hero or worst villain. The slightly beaten up, unloved ones were the ones I wanted. They had a better feel to them. Oh, and I could actually afford some of them.
So I looked into getting the weapons for the guys I had, and maybe some clothes for poor old Bib Fortuna. My search for Bib Fortuna instead found me bidding on a fully clothed, complete with staff and everything Bib. He stands there now with his naked twin, probably mocking him. By this time I was hooked but I had no idea. I had already bought a duplicate figure. I bid without thinking. I sat myself down (with a cup of tea) and told myself off. This was not the plan; the plan was to buy the figures I had owned already. Not to buy 2 figures I had never liked enough to buy as a kid. Thoroughly told off I once again returned to eBay. With tea.
Looking through the lists of figures I noticed a few calling themselves the Last 17. These were the ones I didn’t know anything about. So, I learned as much as I could about them. In my previous articles I have listed and spoken about them. These were the ‘rare’ ones, the ones that real collectors collected. These were the expensive ones. So without a moment’s hesitation I started trying to buy one. Once again ‘the plan’ was out the window. I need one of these special ones. Just one, that’s all I needed.
There sat Lumat. In a job lot of figures sat one of the 17 I was after. He was there with a Darth Vader, Nien Numb, Walrus Man, Leia in Boushh costume, A Stormtrooper, another Weequay, a Gamorean Guard and Logray. Now this little selection ticked a few boxes, I had owned all the figures except the Ewoks. So that was good, but also one of the 17 I so wanted. Once again I bid, tea in hand. When I got the notification I had won I was ecstatic. I was the proud owner of a last 17 figure. I was part of an exclusive, at least in my head, club.
When finally, they arrived I carefully unwrapped my parcel, savouring the moment. There they were, my figures. Some very nearly 40 years old, looking better than I did at their age. Pleased as punch I went through my ritual of inspecting them, each one slowly, admiring the details. Noting the evolution from the 1977 figures to the more detailed 1983 figures. All of them perfect.
And this is where I should have stopped. Maybe I should have looked every now and again to see if I could nab a bargain. I should have stepped away, happy and content. But no. I had a cup of tea in my hand, the process started again. Time to bid, but what to bid on next…...