I have a passion for collecting vintage Star Wars merchandise from the late 70's. Action figures, comics, trading cards etc - anything related to the first Star Wars movie. But why only until 1980? It's not that I don't love The Empire Strikes Back and beyond (I really do), but there is something about that first wave of Star Wars mania that really grips me, back when it was all fresh and exciting...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kenner 3-31/4 " Action Figures - The Wild Cards

 





Well, I've finally done it. I've collected every figure from Kenner's Star Wars run, that is, both the '78 and the '79 line. Here's the Class of '79 above. It's a much more colorful line up than the whites, blacks and greys of the original twelve. It's mostly robots and aliens, being mainly background characters as the main dudes were all done in the previous line. In fact the only ones with 'proper names' are the final three I got hold of which are featured in this post. 




The first 'alternate costume' figure in Kenner's line, Luke in his X-wing gear was a natural choice seeing that the X-wing Fighter was released back in 1978. You had to have someone to fly it! That doesn't explain why a TIE Fighter figure wasn't released until the Empire Strikes Back line though. This figure's a pretty colorful one with his orange jumpsuit and the helmet is neat (but not removable). The red rebel insignias are pretty tricky to find un-rubbed off.










Greedo is more than just a 'cantina alien' in that he had a proper name, a speaking part and he even took a shot at Han Solo (or did he? Let's not get into that...). His lime green jumpsuit is a clashing complement to Luke's orange and doesn't really reflect his 'bodywarmer' getup in the movie. Nice detail on the head sculpt though.













What's this? The mysterious bounty hunter from the Empire Strikes Back in a 1979 toy line from the first movie? As most of you are no doubt aware, Boba Fett made his first appearance in the hilariously bad Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978. Toted as a major bad guy in the upcoming sequel, Kenner joined in the hype by releasing this figure in both their 3-31/4" and 12" lines in 1979. The big whoop about the smaller version was that it was a mail-away special and was going to have a 'rocket-firing' feature. Unfortunately due to a lawsuit resulting from a tragic mishap with a similar feature on the Battlestar Galactica toys, the plan was scrapped and the Boba Fett figures were sent out with their rockets glued firmly in place.







Just for fun, here's the complete collection showing both lines. Obviously this is minus the many variations like the blue Snaggletooth and the vinyl-cape Jawa as those are far beyond my budget. But we live in hope... 


    

5 comments:

EJK said...

Nice collection you've got there...mine have been rode hard through a sandbox I played in back in the day.

I still remember getting my Boba Fett in the mail, in a thin, white carton. Seemed like it took years before that bounty hunter arrived through my front door.

I was always disappointed a Gov. Tarkin wasn't in the line. Vader needed someone holding his leash in my Death Star playset.

'77 - '80 Collector said...

Man it must have been an agonizing wait for that bounty hunter!

I agree about the lack of a Tarkin figure. It's weird they never did one considering what an important bad guy he was. Amanaman we got. Tarkin, no.

EJK said...

Yep, 5 year-old me didn't have much patience for a 6-8 week wait.

And I still want figures based on the Marvel Comics original characters by Goodwin and Infantino...

Kirk said...

6 to 8 week wait? Seems like I remember waiting and waiting and after about 10 weeks just getting a letter saying it was delayed, and then another month. Wish I still had my stuff, packed away and lost when my parents split up. I had most everything from '77-'80 (started high school in '80 and feeling too old for the stuff), empty box figures, cantina set with blue snagglepus, vinyl Jawa. Cool to find this blog and see this old stuff!

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