In today’s world, when communication is conducted largely by the tapping of a keyboard and the click of a mouse and deletions are executed by the pressing of the backspace button, excitement over erasers — or rubbers, as we commonly call them here in the UK — may seem odd. But back in the day, when rubbers were among the many cool branded items you could grab at a cheap price that had the characters and vehicles of Star Wars on them, they were an essential purchase. And importantly, they were a great way of showing your love of the movie to your fellow fans at school while pretending to focus on the teacher at the front of the class. We had pencil cases, pens, pencils, rulers, sharpeners, stationary sets, and more, but back in the days when fragrant erasers were still allowed to be sold in the UK, Star Wars erasers were an essential tool in one’s school supplies pouch.
Archive for ‘Collecting’
In the first part of this series, I discussed the playsets of A New Hope. Onto the next batch!
Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer Action Playset (1980): This one has always been a bit of an ugly Nuna. Not because it’s a bad playset, but because personally I’ve always considered this to be a ship and not a playset. And the Star Destroyer doesn’t look like the Executor at all. The toy can roughly be interpreted as the bridge of Vader’s Super Star Destroyer. The box has an ominous reddish hue and it shows Boba Fett, Bossk, and IG-88 standing on the ship/playset. A picture on the side of box does the same (and even adds Dengar). On the back of the box you can spot a lot of the action features of the set, explained by black and white artwork. Another issue that makes this set rather odd is that most of its features never appear in The Empire Strikes Back.
The International Toy Fair in New York wrapped up last Wednesday, and the team from StarWars.com was there to ensure we brought you all the latest news on what you can expect from the industry over the upcoming months. There were lots of new products to see, including new items from Star Wars Rebels as well as products from the original and prequel trilogies.
In addition to the galleries already presented by Hasbro and LEGO, we present new images of some of the products on display. The first LEGO gallery didn’t include any of the summer product line, which includes a new Imperial Star Destroyer which opens up fully with some great new play features and comes with fix new minifigures (2 x Strormtrooper, Imperial Officer, Imperial Navy Trooper, Imperial Crew, and Darth Vader) as well as a stunning brand new holographic Emperor micro figure. For all fans of The Empire Strikes Back we look forward to new sets of the AT-AT featuring four new minifigures (General Veers, Snowtrooper Commander, AT-AT Driver, and 2 x Snowtroopers). In a new take on one of the first sets released 15 years ago, the snowspeeder which comes with three new minifigures (Sandtrooper, Luke Skywalker, and Dak Ralter) and a new firing harpoon mechanism.
Back in the ’70s, when kids still played outside with their frisbees and space hoppers, rolling in the dirt and generally causing all kinds of havoc, there were a nation of moms and dads despairing at the daily grind of coaxing little Janet or John into the bath. So whichever marketing executive came up with the grand idea of launching a range of Star Wars related bubble baths and shampoos — starting a chain reaction that launched a plethora of brands and hygiene related products – would no doubt have the undying gratitude of the parents of the first Star Wars generation, because after Princess Leia and her GFFA pals entered the bathroom you couldn’t keep kids away.
We’re going to take a dive into the bubblicious waters of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi shampoo, soaps, and bubble baths, scrubbing away the grime of time and taking a look at some of the fantastic releases that hit the UK and US during the original trilogy era.
The Force is strong — with action figures and plastic lightsabers — at Toy Fair 2014. Hasbro has unveiled new toys and vehicles for several major Star Wars lines, including Star Wars Rebels, the Black Series (including deluxe-size creatures and vehicles in the 6-inch collector’s line!), the brand-new Star Wars Command, and lots more. Check out our gallery after the jump!
LEGO Star Wars celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, and some of my next few Collecting the Galaxy blog posts will be devoted to looking back at the history of the mashup franchise. In the first of these LEGO Star Wars-inspired blogs we look at the period between 1999 and 2005, which takes in the releases of the prequels and the first original trilogy sets, too.
Bernard Loomis, president of Kenner, decided to make the Star Wars action figures 3 ¾” tall. That decision caused a revolution in the toy industry, as action figures were usually made 12” or 8” tall. The new size meant that the figures could be offered for a reasonable price and that the line could also include spaceships, vehicles, and playsets. Playsets have always been an important part of the toy industry, from those in the Louis Marx Toy line to the Mego sets in the ’70s. With Star Wars, Kenner produced some of the most memorable playsets ever, rivaling classics like Castle Grayskull from Masters of the Universe and G.I. Joe’s USS Flagg.
The holiday season is over and a new year has begun, which means that by now you’re probably back at work, college, or school and the thoughts of this year’s festivities couldn’t be further from your mind.
That may be the reality for most, but for toy and collectibles companies around the world this is actually one of the most important times of the year. Over six weeks they will take their new products around the world — the Toy Fair in Hong Kong took place January 6-9, followed by the Japanese Toy Fair which takes place this week, from January 12-15. Next week, from January 21-23, Toy Fair arrives in the UK, followed by Germany from January 29-February 3, and then to North America for the International Toy Fair in New York from February 16-19.
Being a kid in the ’70s here in the UK was, in a word, brilliant. We had Grange Hill, Chopper bikes, flares, and Green Flashes, 8-tracks in the car, Judge Dredd in 2000 AD and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on the radio. ELO and Wings toured the world while the Sex Pistols caused scandal wherever they went, and the Bee Gees notched up what was then the biggest selling album in music history with Saturday Night Fever. Oh, and Ipswich Town won the FA Cup, beating Arsenal 1-0 (and my beloved West Bromwich Albion in the semi-finals), and the nation was still buzzing after the Silver Jubilee celebrations of ’77. But being a kid, and a hungry one at that, one of the best things about the late ’70s was the food. Monster Munch, Secret Agents, Pacers, Space Invaders, Spangles, and of course, Lyons Maid ice cream. And being a Star Wars kid in ’77 who was hungry for anything to do with the galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars tie-in with Lyons Maid ice cream was a scoop.