Posts Tagged ‘Last-17’
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.
Who do you call to lead a merry band of Rebels into battle?
Oh yeah: Admiral Ackbar and General Lando “Lady’s Choice” Calrissian.
That is of course if you want to kick some ass.
Also an outtake from an earlier shoot. I like how this one captures the quiet and regal side of a rare Star Wars classic.
Buying Notes for vintage Yak Face
Welcome to the top draw among Kenner’s Last 17 action figures. Hope you brought your wallet!
It’s a drag that Yak Face requires such a hefty buy in, but I’d have to say it’s worthwhile to have one in your collection. Nice thing is that bidding on a vintage Yak Face is a fairly straight forward affair.
First you don’t have to sift through a ton of nonsense in order to find him. It’s not like they were making Yak Face dixie cups and toothbrushes.
Second, Yak Face rarely saw heavy play among the kids of the 80s so when you do find him he tends to be in good condition. Still check for paint wear as his design does involve a good deal of paint ops (not much on the head but plenty on the hands).
And of course you’ll be sure to see that his weapon is included. There have been repro version of this staff spotted, but it’s the same weapon that was issued with some other plentiful ROTJ figures so in all likelihood it should be the real thing.
So best of luck. And please feel free to add any further thoughts in the comments section.
Essentially a man-sized leech featuring flaccid skin and absurdly-long atrophied arms, the Amanaman creature from Return of the Jedi is a double dog dare in the grotesque. Did I mention his knobby staff decorated with the skulls of his hapless victims? Yeah, well there’s that too. As you can see the vintage action figure in Amanaman’s name adds a nice touch, finishing the weirdness off with a devilish grin.
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time you already know that the Ree-Yees and Squid Head action figures are perennial favorites. As far as the vintage line of Star Wars toys goes, these two beauties came along at the high-water mark period. Demand was still peaking for Star Wars goodies at this point in 1983 and Kenner clearly sought to keep their end of the bargain, designing toys that offered greater detail and newer features than their predecessors.
But sadly nothing good lasts forever. The Kenner line of Star Wars action figures would be dead (or at least relegated to the 59-cent bin) within 18 months.
Buying Notes for Vintage Amanaman
Hunting down the vintage Amanaman is pretty straight forward affair. It’s just a figure and a staff, and one can predict with almost 100% certainty that any existing example that turns up on eBay will be in virtually mint condition. It’s true. Neither the figure itself or his staff were actually played with by anyone, ever. The downside is of course that as a member of the ‘Last 17′ crowd, he can be a bit pricey. Be patient. With a little luck and some determination you should be able to snag one for about 50 bucks.
Now there is one twist: Amanaman was originally packaged with a coin by Kenner. If that’s important to you it may add another $25 your total to make it happen. My advice would be to start with just the figure and add the coin later. If you’re unfamiliar with the Power of the Force coins try buying a more common and inexpensive one first. If you find it’s something to your liking then loop back around and get the coin for ol’ Amanaman.
Hard to imagine, but this photo represents the first proper portrait I’ve taken of the vintage R2-D2 and C-3PO action figures together. With chrome paint these two can be particularly hard to light. Worth the effort though as the results are spectacular when the stars finally do align.
Attention sports fans! If you want to dig deeper into the story of ‘Star Wars Action Figures Doing What They Do Best’, an interview has been published at the excellent Galactic Awesome blog. That blog has a terrific companion as well.
What better way to celebrate my first two years of obsessively lighting and photographing vintage Star Wars action figures than a greatest hits poster!
Need a print? Snap it up here.
Profound thanks to everyone that’s helped smooth the road: my wife, my daughter, my friends on tumblr (notably darthambiguous, samuraifrog, retrostarwars, geeklitist, and dbsw), my friends at Rebel Scum, and my friends at The Imperial Gunnery.
Thanks to Mike D as well for encouraging me to get printed works out there.
Enjoy! And here’s to the next two years…
This is a much-stewed-over rethink of a recent underachiever. Happy to finally have it off my chest and onto yours. Enjoy!
I’ve been itching to see a Millennium Falcon on these pages for quite a while. Now I’ll be the first to admit this shot doesn’t do the old scrap heap justice, but it’s definitely a start. Or if not a start, at least a hint as to where this might go from here.
So we chalk it up to research, and next time I vow to present something that shows a bit more… shall we say… commitment.
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.