A regularly updated blog about my vintage Kenner Star Wars toy collection. Some stuff that I've recently acquired; some stuff that I've had since I was a kid. Some rare, some common, but all sharing the warmth, charm and character of the "first generation" of Star Wars toys - the ones we played with as kids in the late '70s and early '80s.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Star Wars Action Display Stand

The Action Display Stand has a sad place in my collecting history. As we all know, the ADS was originally available as a mail-in premium. Kids (or their parents) sent in Proofs of Purchase along with a cheque for shipping and handling, and Kenner supplied the Action Display Stand by return post.I can vividly recall collecting the Proofs of Purchase required and having my Mum send them away with the cheque, and then... nothing. Of course this was in the days of outrageous long-distance charges, and of course no internet or email, so there was no economical way to contact Kenner Canada in Erin Mills (or was it Don Mills?) Ontario - that was in another province!! - so I never got my Action Display Stand. Boo-hoo.

Of course today with the magical intarwebs anything is available, just add money... I picked up this Action Display Stand in around 1995-6 by mail order from someone in Saskatchewan. Again, it took a long time coming, but after a nasty email from me a package arrived... it was the Action Display Stand I'd waited over 15 years to get ;-)

Of course, everyone is familiar with the figures that live on the ADS - the first twelve Star Wars Mini-Action Figures. The ADS came with a decal to stick on the front that labels each spot on the stand for a particular figure. Later versions of the Stand came with individual name labels so collectors (kids) could label each spot as they liked, for any of the 21 figures then released.

Above we see the Stormtrooper, Death Squad Commander (note, NOT the "Star Destroyer Commander") and the infamous "vinyl cape" Jawa. The VC Jawa was the first release for this figure but was changed early on by Kenner to have a richer-looking cloth cape accessory to "add value" to a figure half the size of the others but selling for the same price. This is a figure I've had since I was a kid, and back then I agreed with Kenner in feeling a bit ripped off to have a tiny figure with a cheesy plastic cape. Glad I hung onto him though!

Threepio and Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi. Hard to find Threepios with tight limbs nowadays and mine is no exception, they're looser than... a very loose thing (keeping it PG). Apparently something to do with the plating process on plastic, once the limbs are "snapped" (moved) they'll always be loose. Ben is the grey-haired version. A bit of tearing on his cape, unfortunately.

Darth Vader, Sand People (sic), Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca. I've had all of these since new, too. Nothing too interesting about the first three here but the Han Solo is the "small head" variation, changed mid-run to a version with a larger head. Like the VC Jawa, the small head Han is sought after but is not nearly as rare. My original Chewbacca came with a greenish bowcaster accessory that used to be prized as an "early-bird" variation, but I think that the advent of Internet info-sharing has somewhat debunked this. In the mid-'90s I came across another Chewie with the same green bowcaster and sold the weapon on for $35 - which was a lot of money for a gun, especially then. 

Princess Leia Organa and good old R2-D2. Artoo has had a replacement decal (boo! hiss! yes I'm working on getting another original) but he's also been owned by me since new. Decals were fragile and lots of play wore them off - and they didn't take well to water either. Working on obtaining another one with a better original decal.

Have to add just a word about the name of this item. Yes, there is one word that's out of place, and that is "action". Turn a lever and the four figures connected to it by gears under the stand will pivot in place. WOW! This must have really got kids revved up back in the day. It's a wonder so many of these survived in working condition rather than being smashed by tykes outraged at what Kenner called an "action" feature ;-)

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