The vintage TIE Fighter vehicle by Kenner is awfully sweet. The wings pop off in distress when you press secret buttons and another button lights up a chin gun and makes a cool laser sound to boot. I didn’t have one of these as a kid but was always deeply envious of my little buddies that did.
Archives: Imperial Commander
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!
As a wee lad I wasn’t all that hot for the IG-88 figure. His rail-thin body, buoy-shaped head, and little pincer hands didn’t add up to a whole lot for me. But these days I’m kind of dumbfounded at how amazing this guy is. First, the detail of the sculpt is totally excellent. (Be warned though, there are two different sculpts for the vintage IG-88. One has a lot of fine detail and is easily recognized by hollow eye sockets. The other has fairly poor detail and has filled-in eye sockets. The one shown above is the more detailed version.) Second, I’m pretty sure that the IG-88 figure marked the first time Kenner experimented with using plastic mixed with a trace of metallic. To great effect. The sculpt is a really convincing dark matte silver that looks awesome when lit. And last, who could possibly argue with a second weapon? Two fists of firepower fury, IG-88 clears the room every time!
IG-88 Buying Notes
Check out the current listings here.
Happily, picking up a loose IG-88 is a snap thanks to eBay. On any given day there’s several dozen to choose from either in an auction or with a Buy It Now button. Let me offer a few tips though to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.
First of all, IG-88 comes with two guns not one. One is the standard-issue Stormtrooper rifle, and the other is a long-barreled sniper type affair with one handle (not two like the vintage Snowtrooper). See this if you’re unsure. As mentioned above, the vintage IG-88 came in two different colors of plastic molds. One color is a light grey plastic and the other is very similar but with a metallic sparkle mixed in with the plastic. The metallic I think is a nicer look so I’d recommend aiming for that one first. It’s rare that IG-88 saw a lot of aggressive play by kids in the ’80s, so you almost never have to worry about loose limbs. Just to be on the safe side, drop a note to the seller to inquire. You don’t want a figure that can’t stand or hold up his rifle!
How much should you expect to pay? Luckily large supply and cool demand is still where we’re at with vintage IG. I’d say you could have him delivered for well under $10. Just be patient and you’re bound to find a killer deal. As always, be careful not to buy anything that’s labeled ‘vintage collection’ or ‘original trilogy’. These are remakes from the past 10 years and they will seriously disappoint anyone with a pining for that good ol’ Kenner goodness. Best of luck and drop me a line if you get stuck.