All hail Kenner’s Return of the Jedi Y-Wing Fighter! Quickly approaching it’s 30th anniversary of toy magic.
The vintage Y-Wing Fighter has some tremendous upsides. First, the battery-operated rooftop cannon is unmatched for taking out the enemy. Sweeping left to right at manic speed, it just can’t miss. And just in case you’ve sprayed a few too many turbo lasers, the chin cannons are there for backup! You could literally jab your target into submission with those two badboys. Also the vintage Y-Wing actually allowed you to insert your own droid as opposed to the X-Wing Fighter that used an artificial R2 substitute.
Downsides? A few. The rear engine extensions broke about as easily as eggshells. Also, while brilliantly conceived, the landing gear mechanism suffered from poor construction. Kenner tended to use plastic throughout their vehicles, even where a little metal would’ve really hit the spot. So even back in the day the wings of the Emperor’s Shuttle, the wings of the X-Wings, and the landing gear on this lovely Y-Wing all tended to stop doing what they were supposed to do once that plastic gave out.
The Y-Wing has one other peculiar design flaw. You see, the vehicle’s hull is put together kind of like a sandwich. There’s a top half and a lower half and when screwed together they keep in all the good stuff that controls the landing gear and electronics. What’s troublesome is that some of the decals need to go over the seam between the top and bottom halves, so that if you ever needed to open that sucker up you’d actually have to tear or otherwise remove the decals. As far as I know it’s the only vintage Kenner vehicle that can boast this.
So there you have it.
“Hey, where’s his light saber!?”
I know that this borders on heresy, but I’m just not a fan of the light sabers that came with the vintage Luke Bespin and vintage Luke Jedi Knight action figures. I’d have preferred that Kenner just keep the geeky telescoping magic of the original 1978 Luke Skywalker ‘farm boy’ figure. That small gaff aside, this Luke Skwalker figure is pure 1980 gold and maybe one of my favorite figures that Kenner released for the original Star Wars films.
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Congratulations to Chiktabba of Paris, France, for the landslide win! It’s a great achievement and one that’s clearly deserved. I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say that this photo is one of my favorite vintage action figure pics of all time.
If you didn’t get around to participating this time, fear not my friends. Planning for the 2014 Contest is already underway and there’s a surprise twist already in the works that will rock your peaceful planet. I’d love to spill more details but I will refrain. So I’ll just say this: mark your calendars and start scheming your masterpiece!
The call was made and the call was answered! My profound thanks to all that entered this year’s contest. I’m proud to know that I inspired each of you to show off your own vision of vintage Star Wars love. And whether or not you made it to this stage: keep up the great work.
So it gives me great pleasure to present the eight finalists below. Please take some time to enjoy them and then register a vote for your favorite using the ballot at the bottom of this post. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section as well.
Voting ends Friday, February 8, at 5pm PST. The winner will be announced shortly after!
They’ve done their hard work, now it’s time for you to do yours: pick a favorite. Good luck with that, ’cause I sure can’t decide. Please don’t forget the winner walks with a vintage 1983 Emperor’s Royal Guard, still sealed to his original card. Fate is in your hands my friend!
Detection of vote tampering is easier than you might think and will result in instant disqualification of any affected parties.
It’s that time of year again! Last year’s contest was a lot of fun and this year’s promises to be a kick in the Han Solo as well. The way it works will be a little different this time but I think these changes will be for the better. Let’s go over the details.
1. This contest is for photos of vintage Star Wars toys only.
2. Unlike last year (we had a cumbersome vehicle requirement) there’s no theme or structure to where you go with the subject matter. Freestyle all the way.
3. There’s no limit to the number of people that may enter, however there will only be 8 slots available in the voting competition. I will select from all the entries which 8 will qualify to compete for votes. Criteria for selection are simple: A) proficiency in lighting and composition, and B) vintage awesomeness.
4. One winner will be decided from among my 8 selections by votes cast by the website’s audience at large. Unlike last year, a person will be able to vote only once for the duration of the contest.
And the exciting news: this year’s winner will receive the 1983 carded Emperor’s Royal Guard action figure pictured here. It’s not an AFA goldmine but hey it’s a sweet piece of Star Wars history nonetheless.
Entries will be accepted now through January 31, 2013. The competition will be posted morning of February 4 with voting finalized by 5pm PST on February 8. When you’re ready with your entry, drop me a line here and I’ll get you hooked up with further instructions.
My childhood toy collecting days were all but done by the time Return of the Jedi was released (I bought only one figure: the awesome Biker Scout) so it smarts a bit to look back now and see all that I missed. Why? For Return of the Jedi, Kenner went into overdrive and released nearly 50 action figures, almost as many as they released for the first two Star Wars films combined. And with their craft honed over the course of the previous five years, Kenner was designing and producing some of their best and most ambitious work.
For the film’s main cast there was the stunning Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight, Princess Leia in Boushh Disguise, and a convertible Han Solo with his very own semi-translucent Carbon Freeze unit. For background characters there was an army of Jabba’s flunkies including the otherworldly Amanaman, the all-business Squidhead, and the under appreciated Ree-Yees to name a few. Naturally the Empire had their share of smash hits with the Biker Scout, the Emperor’s Royal Guard, and mean ol’ The Emperor himself.
The only missteps were arguably in Anakin Skywalker, General Madine, and Nien Nunb. But hey, 3 or 4 stinkers out of over 40. That’s not a bad batting average.
Anyway, we’re rapidly approaching the 30th anniversary of the release of Return of the Jedi. So crack open a cold one and crank up “Lapti Nek”, it’s time to celebrate!
Buying Notes on Vintage Princess Leia in Combat Poncho
The Princess Leia Organa in Combat Poncho is easily one of the better efforts by Kenner during the Return of the Jedi push. Be careful when scoping one out on eBay to account for all accessories before committing to a bid or purchase. There are four cool accessories: the soft-goods camouflage cape, a black utility belt, a tiny Endor blaster, and an unattached helmet. Full coverage on each is here. As always try to ensure tight joints and minimal or no paint loss/scratches.
Buying Notes on Vintage Romba
If you’re into Ewoks (hey, I am), Romba is a great choice to invest in. As one of the Last 17 released by Kenner in 1984-85, Romba’s considered to be more scarce in numbers and tends to fetch somewhat elevated prices. Two accessories to be concerned with: an Ewok hood and pointed Ewok spear. Some sellers will interchange Ewok hoods just to give the appearance of a complete figure, so keep a sharp eye out. Romba’s hood is the only one that’s meant to appear ‘tied’ under the chin. As always try to ensure tight joints and minimal or no paint loss/scratches.
Would someone please wake me when it’s 1978 again?
Buying Notes on the Vintage Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot
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!