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.
This post marks a potential sea change in this blog.
See, about 9 months ago I was given an extraordinary camera for my 40th birthday. The Lumix DMC-LX5 captures our toddler’s every movement with piercing clarity and speed. But I’ve been reluctant to introduce it into these pages of action figure photography for fear that the results would be at odds with the existing body of work. The older camera with it’s inferior performance somehow seems the appropriate match for these ancient toys.
But lately I’ve been tempted to experiment and compare results. There’ve been tight races, but today for the first time I felt that the Lumix just couldn’t be denied. Mind you the old Panasonic came close. Really close. If you want to check out that image, you can have a peek right here.
What I like about the older Panasonic in this case is that it has a more narrow lens that shows exactly what’s in front of the camera, as it appears. That Imperial Shuttle really looks like the Imperial Shuttle. The Lumix on the other hand has a much wider lens, so imagery quickly becomes distorted, especially towards the edges of the frame. In this situation the shuttle has a distorted and dramatic perspective that unfortunately takes away it’s immediate toyness.
So what do you think? With me or against me?
Every so often the urge to do some housekeeping kicks in and I focus on re-shooting an earlier photo that doesn’t quite stack up. This is a good example of that. The version I did of these figures last November started rubbing me the wrong way from day one. This version I can finally say makes me happy.
The Imperial Gunner was somehow passed over in the production line until 1984 or 1985 when Kenner finally released him post-Return of the Jedi. Considering the masked gunner’s abundant (and awesome) screen time in the original 1977 Star Wars film, it’s hard to believe they didn’t package him sooner.