The Hunting Party.

The Hunting Party. (Vintage Nikto, Vintage Boba Fett, Vintage Weequay)

The Hunting Party. (Vintage Nikto, Vintage Boba Fett, Vintage Weequay)

Yes, yes… I know Weequay and Nikto aren’t bounty hunters. It felt like a cool title just the same. And by the way, hauling out the vintage Nikto and Weequay figures for this reminded me of just how underrated those two ROTJ guys really are. You’ll be seeing more of them in the very near future.

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Il Imperatore.

Il Imperatore.  (Vintage Emperor's Royal Guard, Vintage The Emperor)

Il Imperatore.
(Vintage Emperor’s Royal Guard, Vintage The Emperor)

The sculpt of the vintage ‘The Emperor’ action figure kind of gives me the creeps. Compared to most other vintage Kenner action figures, it’s remarkably detailed. Under normal light and with the naked eye, you don’t really notice it. But turn out the lights and get up in his grill with a magnifying camera lens? He really looks like he’s staring me down and ready to wipe that smirk clean off my face. Another excellent example of Kenner doing extraordinary work in the later years of the original Star Wars toys.

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The Speeder Has Landed

The Speeder Has Landed. (Vintage Snowspeeder, Vintage Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot)

The Speeder Has Landed.
(Vintage Snowspeeder, Vintage Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot)

Buying Notes on the Vintage Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot

Check out the current vintage Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot listings here.

Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot was a toy sold by Kenner from 1978 to about 1985. So there were (and still are) great numbers in circulation, and a fair number of these are still in excellent shape. But keep a few things in mind when tracking one down on eBay.

The Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot action figure probably had more paint applied to it in the production process than any other vintage Star Wars action figure. Face color, facial features, helmet details, vest, chest panel, hands, leg straps, boots. The guy has paint details everywhere. Be sure to see plenty of photos showing that the paint all looks good.

This was an action figure in the true sense of the word. Luke Skwyalker X-Wing Pilot was played with extensively by little kids in the 70s and 80s. If the seller hasn’t already declared that the joints are tight in the auction description, you definitely want to ask before bidding.

Lastly, the figure’s weapon is the Han Solo pistol type of Kenner blaster. Don’t forget: repro accessories suck. Make certain that it’s authentic if possible. You can check out the Imperial Gunnery for some excellent reference on the topic.

Feel free to add any more thoughts on this in the comments section and drop me a line if you get into trouble!

Buying Notes on the Vintage Snowspeeder

Check out the current vintage Snowspeeder listings here.

If you’re a collector of loose Kenner vehicles from the vintage Star Wars run and you don’t own the vintage Snowspeeder yet, it’s time to turn that ship around. Ounce for ounce, this is my favorite vehicle for the whole ’78 to ’85 period.

For overall look the Snowspeeder’s got it where it counts. Add on the awesome lights and sound and you can see why we’ve got gold medal material. The harpoon and cool kickstand are icing on the cake.

Ready to climb aboard? Just keep in mind this checklist before going off half cocked on eBay:

1. The Snowspeeder’s lights and sounds are integral to your enjoyment factor. Make sure they both work before bidding. Sure you could take it apart and horse around with fixing the electronics, but that’s something to avoid unless you’ve really got the feel for it.

2. This vehicle has a ton of stickers applied to it. Something like 27 to be exact. Try to get a good feel that they’re all there and not peeling up. For this reason you might want to focus on the Snowspeeders that have clearly been kept over the years with their original box. I’ve seen a strong correlation between a present original box and nice looking stickers.

3. The rear harpoon with its black tether are a MUST. Make sure its there!

Best of luck, and if you have any other thoughts feel free to add them in the comments below.

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The Rescue Plan, Step 3.

Rescue Plan, Step 3 (Vintage Gamorrean Guard, Vintage Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight Outfit)

Rescue Plan, Step 3
(Vintage Gamorrean Guard, Vintage Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight Outfit)

Last night my two year old daughter pointed to a vintage action figure and asked “Dada, this one?”

I said, “That’s Gamorrean Guard”.

She paused and replied in her best sing-song voice: “HI ‘GOOD MORNING’ GUARD!!”.

This one’s for you, kiddo.

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Dark Side of the Vader.

Dark Side of the Vader. (Vintage Darth Vader, Vintage Darth Vader's Tie Fighter)

Dark Side of the Vader. (Vintage Darth Vader, Vintage Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter)

I normally don’t do grainy and obscure for these action figure shots, I’m more of the crisp and shimmering guy. But who’s more deserving of this treatment than Darth Vader?

Casting him in this light helps to underscore what’s been at stake from the very beginning: Darth Vader is not a Saturday morning, fall-on-his-ass-for-a-gag type of villain. He is frightening.

For better or worse (well definitely worse) we seem to be losing sight of that. Darth Vader can now be seen breakdancing at Disneyland and shilling for Volkswagen at the Super Bowl. Oh, how I long for the day when my worst nightmare couldn’t be so easily swapped with the likes of Ronald McDonald or Mickey Mouse!

[Longtime fans of this site will recognize that this is a companion piece to the Tie Fighter interior shot from a couple years back.]

Buying Notes on Vintage Darth Vader

Check out the current vintage Darth Vader listings here.

A nice vintage Darth Vader action figure is pretty much the alpha and omega of any collection. This is true for the beginner and advanced collector alike. A classic toy reaching back to 1978, the vintage Darth Vader has spun countless revisions and imitations but really has never been improved upon.

So I can’t blame you for thinking about picking one up. But because this item is so popular, it can be rough seas acquiring a good (and authentic) example for a reasonable price. Let’s go over some of the main points to consider before pulling the trigger on a vintage Darth Vader.

Once you’re on board at eBay the first thing you’ll notice is that the key words “Darth Vader” are used and abused ad nauseum to get your attention to buy other stuff. Don’t be discouraged and whatever you do don’t be distracted or tricked into buying something else. Your eyes will quickly learn to ignore all of the nonsense and aim strictly for the vintage gold. The links I’ve provided already do it to some extent, but you may also want to play around with the search engine’s advanced function on eBay to filter out the unhelpful stuff. Be especially aware of the new Hasbro toys labelled as “Vintage Collection”, “Original Trilogy”, etc. Their packaging is cleverly retro and aims to steer the newcomer off course.

Important to keep in mind with the vintage Darth Vader is that you’ve got two accessories to contend with: the vinyl cape and the light saber. Both were easily lost and/or damaged by their original owners so it’s common to see reproductions in the marketplace being passed off as original. There are excellent resources to read through at the Imperial Gunnery forum that will help you avoid pitfalls. Read them carefully. Go here for the light saber and here for the cape. This is also a good time to correlate a seller’s claims of authenticity with their feedback score. Have they sold a ton of toys? Do they score 100% with their buyers? If not, you can think twice about believing their claims. Don’t forget to double check the photos closely. Does the cape look torn anywhere? Do the arm-holes look distressed or sharp? How about that saber tip. Does it look straight and strong or does it like a toddler might have chomped on it for a snack once or twice?

As much as any other vintage figure, Darth Vader was a character that saw heavy play at the hands of us grubby kids in the 70s and 80s. If it’s not mentioned in the auction be sure to ask the seller in a message if the figure’s limbs and head are loose or stiff. Let the loose limbed Vaders go to the diorama builders. You want the guy that’s as close to package fresh as possible. The vintage Darth Vader had very little paint applied by Kenner so not much to worry about there. And chances are if you’re buying a figure with loose limbs there won’t be paint loss.

Feel free to add any thoughts in the comments and drop me a line if you run into any trouble!

Check out the current Darth Vader listings here.

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Vehicle of Choice.

Vehicle of Choice. (Vintage Landspeeder, Vintage C-3PO, Vintage Ben Obi Wan Kenobi)

Vehicle of Choice. (Vintage Landspeeder, Vintage C-3PO, Vintage Ben Obi Wan Kenobi)

You know, a lot of ink gets spilled about the significance of the first 12 (or 12-back) Star Wars action figures that hit toy store shelves in the Spring of 1978. But rarely given the same respect are the vehicles that were available at the same time.

If you consult the back of a 12-back action figure package you’ll see that Kenner was promoting a Tie Fighter, an X-Wing Fighter, and a Landspeeder. What a feast, right?

Personally I’m not certain that anything more than the Landspeeder was actually available at first. But in truth it was enough. As a kid of 7 years, playing with my new Star Wars guys was a heady experience to be sure. But it was the Landspeeder that provided the glue. With the Landspeeder, the action figures could live out their adventures rolling together as a team, no droid left behind!

Check out the Landspeeder here, slightly abstracted, but ready to whisk Ben and Threepio (you guessed it, 12-backs) into their next cosmic adventure.

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