How can redecorating your bathroom lead to a new Star Wars addiction? Well you ask the guys at Talk Star Wars what to do to man-cave it up a bit. This leads to Rob saying I should get an Admiral Ackbar toilet decoration reading “It’s a Crap” (yes, I did get one) and Marc suggesting a Han Solo in carbonite (which in a roundabout way I got by means of a poster). This lead to me getting a poster of all the vintage figures, and this is where my problem began.
I would consider myself one of the original Star Wars fans. I had bought the figures before the movie even came out in the UK. I had no idea who was what, who was good and who was bad. I didn’t care, I just loved my figures. I collected them with a furious passion. Every week I would traipse down to Gillingham High Street and along to Blundell’s, the brilliant local toy shop. I would spend ages looking at the wondrous figures in their plastic coffins, just waiting for me to choose them and bring them home, like small intergalactic puppies at a rescue shelter. When I finally made my selection I would race back as fast as my little legs would carry me to rip open the packaging and play with my new toy.
This went on for years, and so my knowledge of the figures and ships that went with them was quite expansive. I knew the figures I wanted, no, needed to get. The ones I would get eventually when I had bought all the cool ones. I had Walrus Man not a Ponda Baba and my Tusken Raider was called a Sandman when I bought him. So when my lovely new poster from eBay arrived showing me all the vintage Star Wars figures I was slightly taken aback by the last row of figures staring back at me. I did not recognise any of them!
Who were these infiltrators? My first instinct was to think I had a dodgy poster, that somehow fake figures had appeared on it. I didn’t like the look of any of them. They couldn’t be real as I had never heard of them. I had to look them up. How could 17 figures possibly have been released without my knowledge?
To my surprise, they were real. In 1985, as hard as it is the believe, the interest in Star Wars figures was on the wane. Even my beloved Blundell’s was selling bags of them for £5, that meant they were £1 each! So Kenner brought out a Power of the Force range of figures. These were still based on the classic characters of Star Wars, but also some more obscure ones. And some of everybody’s favourite man eating, Stormtrooper beating teddy bears, the Ewoks.
I will list them for you all. Do not worry if you have no idea who some of them are, I have done the research for you. It may take some time and few more articles but together we can get through them all.
They are as follows:
1. Han in carbonite, 2. EV-9D9, 3.Yak Face, 4. Amanaman, 5. Imperial gunner, 6. Imperial Dignitary, 7. A-wing pilot. 8. Barada, 9. Anakin Skywalker, 10. Lando Calrissian general , 11. Endor Luke Battle poncho, 12. Luke in Stormtrooper disguise, 13. Warok, 14. Romba, 15.Lumat, 16. Paploo, 17. R2-D2 with pop up lightsaber,
Now there are some on this list we would all know, and then there are Yak Face and Amanaman. The thing about those two is that they are very hard to get and the most expensive. Yak Face was never even distributed in America so it worth a lot of money to collectors. My only problem is that I am now one of them.
I thought I would just get a few figures, you know, the ones I had as a kid. But no, this doesn’t end there. Now I want ALL the figures. The Blue Snaggletooth and the Last 17. I watch them on eBay as the prices rocket and the hard core collectors snap them up. I stare at the Millennium Falcons and wonder what on earth happened to mine. I converse with fellow collectors on Twitter and learn all I can from them. How to sort out the cape on a Jawa (the vinyl, not the cloth, although I have both) and the slight differences in colour that the true experts collect, we discuss what a collection of Lobots is called. I look at their collections in awe. Then I get straight on eBay and look for hours on end at the endless stream of figures that appear on there. Just one last bid I tell myself, oh, maybe one more. OK, this is definitely my last bid. And it goes on.
And so now I have started I know it will not end. Even though I say to myself I don’t need both the fat head Han Solo and the one everyone else had, I don’t doubt I will get both sooner or later. My quest for the Last 17 is already well under way. And you know what? I love my new addiction. Let’s be honest it could be a lot worse. So what if I’m a 44-year-old collecting toys, there are millions of us out there. In our own small way, we are preserving a little bit of Star Wars history. People will have been collecting the new toys and carefully preserving them in their packaging. But these nearly 40-year-old toys are much rarer. Mostly unpackaged and played with. Beaten and worn out, and loved. I am glad I played with my figures as a kid, they brought me more joy than the money they would be worth now could ever have done.
And so, my introduction to The Last 17 has begun, who wants to know more?