Friday, January 5, 2018

Spoils of Ebay Gift Cards

For those of you who remember, I got a few ebay gift cards for Christmas which I promptly utilized to nab up some long wanted toys which I simply couldn't take the plunge on when they would have resulted in a strain on the ole bank account.

Last year I used my ebay gift cards to finish my He-Man collection. This year I used them to start a collection which is actually the first toys I remember owning and playing with as a child a long time ago...

It was 1980, and I saw for the very first time a commercial which advertised Star Wars figures from Kenner. I immediately began hopping around the room asking my mom if she had seen the commercial, and more importantly if I could have them. I had been watching Star Wars on father's Super 8 projector via the Ken films reels for a little while at this point, so I was all too familiar with who the characters were.

By the time my birthday rolled around that year, my mom not only got me figures, but also made a cake which she put them around. I remember getting Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO and R2-D2. Additionally, my mom also goofed, and got me the Mego Star Trek figures from the first film...Yuk!

From there I was hooked. Every year for Christmas and birthdays it was Star Wars, Star Wars and more Star Wars. This would continue for the next few years before Star Wars inevitably "ended", and the figures were discontinued.

I had all the figures for the original Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi lines. However, by the time the original Power of the Force line launched I was well into G.I. Joe and He-Man. While I received a few here and there they weren't a high priority on my kid radar, so I never ended up with all of them.

As the tale goes for most of us, my toys inevitably disappeared for various reasons as I grew older and older. However, while I focused my efforts on collecting the various toys from my childhood, one I never returned to was the vintage Kenner Star Wars figures. Price wise they just weren't justifiable. Not only that, but I felt they would be fairly unobtainable.

I'm happy to report that while it did take a lot of searching, question asking, and finding the right dealers, I have been able to put together a set of all twenty-one of the original 1978 / 1979 Star Wars figures - My first set in what will hopefully become a complete collection of the vintage line.

Granted I'm not going for a 100% collection of all variants (for now). I really just want one of each, and I'm not too preferential about which versions those are (for now). Additionally I have no aspirations (or money) to own the expensive variants such as a telescoping saber Luke, Vader or Obi-Wan, nor the vinyl cape Jawa.

When diving into my collection I wasn't particular about the country of origin for the figures. Instead I focused on good paint applications and authentic vintage accessories / weapons. This proved to be the biggest challenge, and only set to prove the importance of finding only reputable dealers to buy from. I fared well with what I eventually came away with - With the exception of one figure.

Luke Skywalker was originally released with blonde hair which was switched to brown midway through the Empire Strikes Back series. I may go back and nab up the brown hair versions later, but for now since I am focusing on the original Star Wars line it was blonde hair all the way for me.

Luke Skywalker (blonde hair)

Princess Leia Organa was the only figure I got which I am going to need to replace. While I got the vintage cape and vintage blaster, I missed the part where the front collar of her clothes around her neck was broken.

This aspect really burned me up because for the price I paid (which wasn't cheap), the seller should have noted the figure was broken in the description. Granted the photo shows the damage, but if you don't know to look for it, it looks normal the way it is.

Fortunately since I have the vintage accessories with this one I can focus on finding an incomplete figure which will hopefully be relatively cheap. The problem is finding a cheap one which hasn't yellowed, and has eyebrows.

Princess Leia Organa

I ended up with the big head version of Han Solo because out of the two this one had the best paint application. The big head version was released right on the tail end of the 12 back cards, and replaced the small head version which was discontinued shortly after Empire's 31 back card made an appearance.

Han Solo (big head)

There aren't any variants of Chewbacca I know of which allowed me to simply focus on finding one with a good paint applicatoin. The back portion of the bandolier could have been better, but the selling point for this one was the bright blue eyes.


It's tough to find R2-D2 with not only a vibrant dome, but also a good sticker application. Many are in such a poor state, or worse with reproduction stickers. It took me quite a while to find this one out of the twenty-one in this series. Fortunately the search was worth it because I also found another difficult to find figure from the same seller (which I'll talk about a little further below).


C-3PO is another difficult figure to find with a solid and vibrant gold color to it. Because this figure had no accessories it was easier to focus on finding a great condition one - Which I feel I definitely did. The joints are tight, and the figure doesn't show a speck of "tarnish".


Obi-Wan was proving to be a difficult figure to find with a good condition vintage weapon. In fact, most of the lightsabers for all the figures with one tend to have the ends broken off. There weren't many to be found when I was initially looking.

Obi-Wan Kenobi  (white hair)

This was one of the more cheaper figures I was able to obtain - Once I remembered it was called Sand People and not Tusken Raider. Because I was focused on collecting the "Star Wars" run, I had to make sure not to get the hollow tubes version - Which was released on Return of the Jedi and Power of the Force cards.

Sand People

As I said above, I have no plans of ever obtaining a vinyl caped version of the Jawa. Truth be told I prefer the cloth caped one anyway. It looks better.

Jawa (cloth cape)

Want to see what a mysterious Jawa looks like without his hood? WOW! A plastic hood! Neat! Oh well. At least I got one with a really good eye paint.

Darth Vader seems to be the most common figure in the series to obtain. Kenner must have made a ton of these - Which would make sense considering he he was carded for all four series from 1978 - 1985 with no changes beyond the photograph on the package.

Darth Vader

In hindsight I wish I would have gone with a second Stormtrooper I was looking at as opposed to this one. This version I ended up with shows a tad more yellowing than the one I passed on - Of course I saved about ten bucks doing so. So perhaps it was worth it.


Death Squad Commander - Or, Star Destroyer Commander as his name was changed to when released on an Empire Strikes Back card is one you really have to be careful about when purchasing loose. Due to being played with, a lot of times the blue and red "rank" on his chest have rubbed off. I made sure to only pick up the best I could find. With how "cheap" the figure was as compared to others in the series it was easy to hold out while continuing my search. I fared well in this decision.

Death Squad Commander

Blue Snaggletooth is definitely a figure I'm considering picking up in the near future. For now, I'm happy with the standard carded red version - Made more appealing by the low price as compared to the blue version.


I probably could have been a little more selective about the Walrusman I ended up buying. Out of all of them, he seems to have the "worst" paint application. The green portion of his face / head is bleeding onto the mouth portion and the eyes are running into each other in terms of the yellow outside and green pupils. My main driving force for buying this particular one was I got it from the same seller I got five other figures from.


Whether you believe Han shot first or Greedo did, the bottom line is you can't play out the scene without this awesome Greedo figure! Look at all that detail in the sculpt and paint. All the bumps, ridges, the white pupils. Why can't figures these days have this kind of detail?


Speaking of detail...For being just brown and blue, Hammerhead has incredible detail in the sculpt to make him stand out as one of the best (if it is even possible to pick a "best") in this line.


For as simplistic as Power Droid is, I have to admit it has always been one of my favorites. With its clicking feet and fun shape, it's just pure coolness.

Power Droid

R5-D4 is the second figure I purchased from the dealer who I got R2-D2 from. This was another figure I was having a difficult time finding a good quality vintage sticker for.


Death Star Droid is the last droid in the first wave of twenty-one figures, and much like C-3PO is rather difficult to find in a shiny paint application with no sign of "tarnish".

 Death  Star Droid

Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing Flight Gear outfit holds a special place for me because I so vividly remember getting it as a kid. It was one of four figures in a Sears four pack which included R2-D2, R5-D4 and Yoda.

I love the paint application on this particular figure. It was really important for me to find one with a good chest plate and the Rebel symbols on the helmet.

Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Flight Gear)

The last figure released in the original Star Wars line was Boba Fett. Admittedly, he's not one of my favorite characters. I don't get the hype. 

Boba Fett

Believe it or not, I've already started my Empire Strikes Back collection, and even picked up a couple from the latter Power of the Force line - Which is ridiculous expensive. Thank goodness there are only fifteen in the final series of figures. Of course I still need to get about thirty Empire figures and thirty Return of the Jedi ones. This is definitely not an overnight collection, but it's certainly a fun one to be collecting. As I hold them and fidget with them I feel like a little kid again.

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  1. Now that's the way to start a collection!They all look so minty.Great finds :)

    1. With the exception of Leia's collar, I made out really well with these.

  2. That's too bad about the Leia but I actually kind of like the way it looks

    1. I bought a replacement today, so if you want it (without the cape and gun), drop me a comment with your e-mail and I will reach out to you to mail it to you when I get the other.


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