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.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

"Battle Damaged" X-Wing Fighter

Continuing the last post's "battle damaged" theme, here is the Battle Damaged X-Wing Fighter. Unfortunately the box is pretty trashed (battle damaged?), but as you'll see, the toy itself is very nice, and the set even includes the cardboard insert. It's a good thing too, as without the insert the box would barely hold itself together without collapsing!

The box side has another nice tableau featuring some of the Hoth rebels, and a picture demonstrating the retractable landing gear.

Another side panel has a cool pic with Bespin Luke, Chewie and the droids.

Demonstration of S-foil deployment and retraction.

As noted above, this toy came with the cardboard insert. I'm always impressed with how cleverly designed these die-cut cardboard pieces were.

Here's how the X-Wing fits into the insert.

Tableau time! Bespin Luke waves a greeting to Chewbacca and the droids. Note the distinct lack of "battle damage" on the ship... I guess the original owner couldn't bring him- or herself to apply those stickers.

Luke popping up the canopy as in the tableau photo. Interesting that all of the tableaux show the X-Wing with S-foils deployed, even though the ship is sitting on the ground.

Here's the "Hoth" tableau, replicated. Nice usage of the Hoth-themed figures that by the Jedi era, had been in general release for awhile.

Close-up of Luke having a wave...

And of the rest seeing him off.

The box front tableau - Luke arrives on Dagobah, greeted by Yoda and the (ghost of?) Ben Kenobi. 

Interesting that while Yoda seems to have a plethora of variations (not only snake colour, but also eye colour, eye shape, etc. etc.), Ben only has three - grey hair, white hair, and double-telescoping saber. I have two out of the three variations in my collection, you can probably guess the one I'm missing :-)

A good look here at the main differences between the Battle Damaged X-Wing and the original - the BD version is cast in grey plastic (as opposed to the white of the original) and its canopy had a noticeable smoke tint, quite different from the clear (or more likely nowadays, yellowed) canopy of the original release ship.

I really enjoyed setting up the tableaux on this one, it seems like some boxed toys featured more "play images" than others and the BD X-Wing certainly does that. I've had this in my collection for awhile but have only just gotten around to featuring it, but despite not owning this toy myself as a child, I think I prefer it to the original, just for the more realistic grey colour and the cool smoked canopy. The battle-damage stickers would just be icing on the cake. An awesome toy all around!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

"Battle-Damaged" Imperial TIE Fighter Vehicle

I'm excited to post this vehicle as it just arrived on "Star Wars Day" (4 May) and it's one of the last items needed to complete my run of vintage vehicles and playsets. Also, I love TIE Fighters!

Strange combination of characters here... Vader piloting the TIE Fighter while Lando and Ackbar look on??? Perhaps Vader has defected to the Rebel Alliance along with his ship to collect a reward, like Munir Redfa did in Operation Diamond. We may never know the truth.

Demonstrating the pop-off wings and laser light.

Battle sounds and how to place a figure in the cockpit.

Opening up the box, we remove the cardboard insert housing the three parts of the toy. Note the "slots" on top of the hatch - apart from the blue colour of the ship, this is the only material difference between the battle-damaged TIE Fighter and the first molded-in-white version released in Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back packaging. The trademark information molded into the cockpit section is a bit different: "(c) LUCASFILM LTD. 1978 / MADE BY KENNER PROD. / CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202 / CAT. NO. 70990 OR 71392 / PAT. NO. D254,081".

It's really quite clever how this one piece of cardboard securely holds the wings and cockpit section securely in place, as well as keeps the box from collapsing!

The assembled TIE Fighter.

From another angle.

Here are the used sheets from the wing decals. I love that the original owner of the toy hung onto all this stuff!

Original sheet of "battle-damage" stickers. The instruction booklet notes that these are "not removable" once stuck onto the wings so evidently the original owner considered discretion the better part of valour and left them on the sticker sheet.
Original instruction booklet and catalog included with the toy.

The best part of the post - recreating the box art. Unfortunately unlike so many other Kenner toys there's only one tableau image on the box of the "Battle-Damaged" TIE Fighter, and it's a bit of a weird one...

The toy was first released in mid-1983 and only in "Return of the Jedi"-branded boxes. It stuck around for about a year before being replaced in the lineup by "Collectors Series" versions of the Darth Vader TIE Fighter and TIE Interceptor.

I really like this toy and not just because it's a cool TIE Fighter - it's also one of the most complete examples of vintage Kenner toys in my collection. Everything that came in the box is still here - not just the ship itself, but also the cardboard insert, the used sticker sheets, the instructions, and the unapplied battle damage stickers. A real time capsule!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

More Plush! Regal Toy Canada Chewbacca

More plush goodness! This time I'm featuring a rare Regal Toy (Canada) Chewbacca plush toy (at right) in a side-by-side comparison with the Kenner (USA) version (at left).

There's an interesting story about how this Regal Chewie came into my collection. A good friend of mine found a plush Chewbacca she'd been given as a child in the '70s. I wasn't that interested in adding it to my collection as it was missing its bandolier. I advised her to just put it up on Facebook Marketplace. A day or so later a collector friend of mine in Toronto messaged me to say he'd spotted a Regal Toy Chewbacca plush on FB Marketplace right here in Winnipeg - it was my friend's ad! 

Kenner tag at neck
"How do you know it's a Regal?" I asked. He said that the definitive "tell" is that the Kenner version has a tag on the back of the neck, while the Regal version has its tag at the waist. So needless to say, I messaged my friend immediately and picked up this Regal version from her. As noted, it was missing the bandolier but I lucked out and found one on eBay, albeit missing two of the ammo cartridges. I addressed that issue by having a friend 3D-print me some cartridges for display - don't worry, they are a slightly different shade of grey and are marked "Reproduction" on the backs :-)

Regal Toy tag remnant visible at waist

Remnant of Regal Toy waist tag

I love these two guys! The other key differences are that the Regal toy (right) is somewhat taller (1-2") and has a larger, higher forehead. These variations can be tough to judge if you don't see them side by side though - but the one sure sign is the waist tag on the Regal version as opposed to the neck tag on the Kenner.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and stay safe! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

A Different Kind of 12-Back Run

I've never really been a carded figure guy, but I certainly see the appeal. While loose figures are great because you can look at them from all angles and even (gasp) PLAY with them, carded figures hold a different attraction. For me it's mainly the packaging and cardback art, as well as the intricate advertisements ART DIRECTION on display on the backs of the cards.

At one point in my collecting journey I thought it would be cool to have some more MOCs, but to focus that part of the collection in some way... like maybe just stick to a run of 12-backs. HA! I guess if you're prepared to spend $30-50K on a run of 12-backs nowadays, this might be the thing for you... but it ain't for me. That's new-car money.

Which brings me to this alternative - a way to collect 12-backs without mortgaging your home. Just collect the cardbacks themselves! The added bonus is that they are easy to display this way and I think, look rather cool (sorry about the reflections).

The cardbacks are relatively easy to find and as noted, don't cost the Earth either. Most are available for $50 or less and very rarely up to $100. This means a nice run of 12-back cards can be had for well under a thousand bucks, and there's not much you get in 12-back-land for less than that (well maybe - I have another post in the works on that). 

And they're easy to display too. I got these Studio Decor 14x20" float frames at Michaels for $20 each (remember to use your 30% off coupon!) and they fit four cardbacks pretty well perfectly. 

The bonus of a float frame is that you can easily see the backs of the cards as well - just as cool as the fronts!

You'll notice a mix of Canadian and US Kenner cardbacks in this run, which actually reflects my own childhood collecting. While most of my figures were bought here in Canada, some were brought back from the States by my dad (who took summer courses at Purdue University) or were bought there on family vacations.

Six of the Canadian cardbacks were purchased in a lot from my friend Mike's store, 4th Moon Toys, in Toronto, and the Canadian Luke Skywalker cardback came from Ontario buddy Chris P. Thanks guys!

The others came in a lot of two and a lot of three from eBay sellers. The cards are all encased in plastic bags before mounting in the frames as I didn't want the cardboard touching the glass. So now I just have to find some wall space to hang them up.

I really enjoyed putting this run together - it was nice to have a deliberate objective and collecting target to achieve. I think they look pretty cool and are a fun way to feel the 12-back vibe without too outrageous an investment. Perhaps some further targeted card runs are in the future... bounty hunters perhaps - but staying mindful that the Fett Tax is still in effect, even on cardbacks ;-)

Stay safe everyone!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Plush Chewbacca and R2-D2

And now for something completely different... how about these vintage Kenner stuffies? First appearing in the Kenner retailer catalog in 1978, these plush toys were a cuddly way for young fans to express their enthusiasm for Star Wars. 

First up, R2D2... unfortunately, while it was unquestionably hard-wearing, the white cloth used to make R2 tended to stain and over 40 years, well... even after a good wash and spot-cleaning, it's gonna look like a 40-year old stuffie. The toy did have another cool feature though - a "squeaker" that made a noise when you press the red spot on his dome. This one still works!

R2's legs are on plastic swivels, and can turn around.
There's also a small velcro patch to keep each leg in place. Unfortunately the Kenner fabric tags are no longer with this piece. R2 is about 10" tall.
Isn't Chewbacca cute?? While there have been plenty of plush Chewbaccas over the years, few have come close to the charm of the original. He stands about 20" tall.

Kenner fabric tag is still present on this example...

... as well as the often-missing bandoleer and cartridges. I wanted to show some close-up details here - these three plastic pins hold the bandoleer in place on Chewie's shoulder.

The bandoleer itself is fastened together with a snap.

The bandoleer holds four plastic cartridges. It's not unusual to see tape (or tape residue) on the cartridges, as seen on this example.

"Wookies (sic) need love too!"

Thanks to Lantern Lad of the OG13 Forums for the image
Here's the page from the 1978 Kenner retailer catalog featuring the plush toys. They really are super-cute aren't they?

I love these two plush toys as a throwback to the earliest times of Kenner's Star Wars involvement. And the best part about them is that you can still pick them up for relatively little money, if you don't need to have an example with sale tags. Around $50USD should secure a decent complete Chewbacca or a really nice R2. But be sure your Chewie is complete, as the bandoleer was NOT meant to be removable, and they never seem to come up for sale separately!