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.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Imperial Troop Transporter

One of the ways to keep a hobby like this under control is to try and focus. Some people focus on a character (Han Solo?) or setting (Hoth? Bespin?) or even a group of characters (Bounty Hunters?)

Me, I've tried to focus by excluding things that I see no need to collect. In particular, these are toys that, although part of the vintage line proper, represent things that never appeared onscreen in the original trilogy. So things like mini-rigs, Ewok Villages, and Assault Catapults don't really have a place in my Star Wars corner.

By all rights, then, the Imperial Troop Transporter should have no place in my collection. It never appeared onscreen - it's 100% purely a creation of the marketers and toy designers at Kenner. Speaking of marketing, what's up with the ESB branding on this toy??
So why get one? Well, it came with a collection of other stuff |I picked up - otherwise I probably wouldn't have sought one out. But now that I have it, I guess it's pretty cool. Take the "sound feature", for example. The box panel sets out the six sounds the toy makes (or in my example's case, "made"). Of course this was all well before microchip technology, so the sounds had to be produced by something more akin to a miniature phonograph player inside the toy. Groovy!

One thing that always wound me up as a kid was the number of Stormtrooper figures the box-front models seemed to have at their disposal. I only ever had ONE Stormtrooper as a kid, I thought my parents would have thought I was out of my mind if I'd asked for a figure I already had! (Of course now I have about 20 of 'em!)

The toy also came with some accessories - the vaguely S&M-like "prisoner immobilization units." In the shot above, the Stormtroopers appear to be congratulating themselves over capturing Princess Leia. Threepio is probably trying to (unsuccessfully) negotiate her release...

Sounds are activated by buttons on the top of the hull. I love the little pictograms representing the different sounds.

Death Squad Commander gets to drive this sweet whip.

Here's a better shot of all of the sound pictograms. Laser dish rotates on a gear with the mounted blasters.

Artoo puzzles out the situation. On-off switch right behind him inside the compartment.

Front view of the vehicle.

One of the great things with this toy are the inserts. The instruction sheet is only just the beginning (click for larger view)

I can TOTALLY imagine Darth Vader saying that.

This story is great, I especially like the derision in which the Dewback troopers are held by the others. Can totally see that, too.

I also never knew that Stormtroopers had problems sitting down...! Armor designed by the lowest bidder, no doubt.

Light up that 'crawler boys!!!

Your caption here
Who am I kidding? I'm a sucker for anything Kenner in that classic black box. I just hope nobody ever gives me a mini-rig or my self-imposed restraint might just be out the window...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Display Limelight

I wanted to post a few photos of my "Star Wars Corner" where I display my stuff. I know many collectors are interested in how others display their collections (I am) and it's fun to see what ideas people have for display. In the photo above, my loose figures are displayed in a glass case from JYSK that's similar to the IKEA "Detolf" case. From top shelf to bottom, I have the last wave of POTF figures (and boxed Landspeeder); the last nine SW figures along with the ESB wave; the ROTJ wave; and on the bottom, the boxed Cloud Car with my two MOCs (Toy Fair Leia and Leia
Endor) and some variants (matte grey IG-88, Taiwan Fett, one-stripe Death Squad Commander, smiling Lando, large head Han, cloth cape Jawa) and bootlegs (Mark Poon Rocket Fett and new Stormtrooper set). On the top is the box for my Palitoy Death Star, a recent acquisition that I'm very excited about!

Between the wall and the basement stairs, I've constructed a wall of three IKEA "Besta" shelf units. The doors at the bottom of the units conceal more storage - cases of loose figures, some loose vehicles (including two AT-ATs), etc. At lower left you can see the top of my Gentle Giant Vader, a present from my wife that re-sparked my vintage collecting hobby. Both the glass case and the Bestas are lit with LED strip lighting, which I really like. It's easy on the collectibles as well.
Opposite that on the far wall, there's another IKEA case with ships and models displayed on top. At centre there's a French copy of Stephane Faucourt's great new book, "La French Touch", which I helped him with. On the shelves at left are my other Star Wars reference books.
Upstairs in my office, behind the desk at which I'm typing this, I keep my ALIEN stuff. The curio cabinet I've had forever and I keep the modern stuff from Super7 in there. Below that there's the awesome original Kenner ALIEN figure, a copy of Giger's book, and two "eggs" from Super7 that a colleague picked up for me at SDCC 2014 (thanks Victor!)

The new vintage MOCs just fit in crosswise. I also have the "clear Alien" but he stays in the shipping case as there isn't room in the cabinet. On the lower shelf there's the "Early Bird Kit" and the two "salesman samples" from SDCC 2013, as well as two egg figures from this year's Comicon. I've written a lengthy blog post on the new vintage ALIEN stuff from Super7 - you can find it here.

I just love the Big Chap; if you want to read more about him click here. Giger's art books are frightening works of genius...

Well, there's the quick tour of my collection. The Star Wars stuff is in the basement with minimal natural light incursion so I'm not overly worried about degradation. The ALIEN stuff, however, is upstairs in my office with a large south-facing window. I've addressed this issue by having UV film professionally applied to the window. It looks great (that is to say, you don't notice it at all) and does the job - blocks almost all UV as well as reducing heat considerably. I recommend that everybody look into a solution like this if you have to store stuff where natural light abounds.

I hope it's inspirational!