Archive for October 2009
I guess it’s well established that if you’re not lucky enough to have been born human on planet Tatooine, then you are likely really effing strange looking.
Two cases in point: Jabba’s drinking buddies Yak Face and Ree-Yees.
Now no one can contest that these creeps were both turned into great Star Wars action figures. But if pressed to choose I’d say that vintage Ree-Yees is the stronger effort. Color palate, sculpt detail, weapon (ooh – gold!)… all of it stacks up higher with li’l three eyes. So it’s astounding to me that the vintage POTF Yak Face figure remains one of the hottest vintage buys, typically trading at 20 times the dollar amount of the vintage Ree-Yees action figure. There’s rumor that the Yak Face is scarce in number, packaged only in Canada, etc. Yeah, that may be so. But 20 times the dough? Collectors are a spirited lot to be sure.
Well what do we have we here? Looks like Lando Calrissian in shades of pink and lavender!
Say what you will about the color palate. When Kenner released the excellent General Lando Calrissian action figure in 1985, all crimes related to 1980′s not-altogether-awesome Lando action figure were instantly forgiven.
Buying Notes on Vintage Darth Vader
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!
I remember as a kid really loving the Bossk figure. I don’t actually recall noticing the Bossk character on-screen when I saw Empire Strikes Back in the theater. After all he has no spoken lines and probably enjoys only about 3.2 seconds of screen time. But no matter. For me a Star Wars action figure was a Star Wars action figure, and this one was particularly nice. The 4-LOM character came out shortly after I stopped collecting as a kid, so this p’ugly bounty hunter’s a new-comer for me. I love the irony of his human-fly head finished with a mouthpiece that looks to be straight out of a pesticide respirator. Too funny. And you say you’re looking for a naugahyde cloak? 4-LOM’s got it!
If you’ve been keeping score for a while, you’ll recognize that this comes just a moment or two before this.
I like to spend as little time as possible on these shots, and pretty often that means I’ll rush to post photos that at the time look good but later really start to bug me. The original Yoda post is definitely one of those. Finally (with the shot you see here) I believe I’ve gotten this one right.