Saturday, June 23, 2012

Star Wars Storm Trooper 15 inch bootleg from Mexico

(Star Wars: Episode Dos, Attack of the Hombres)

Mexico; land of great food, awesome professional wrestling and highly sought after bootleg toys. Star Wars bootlegs range from very shoddy constructed hunks of plastic to really well made toys that rival what Hasbro makes. Often these figures are considerably bigger than the originals they are molded from or modeled after. In the toy world, bigger isn't always better. Bigger figures sometimes feel kind of plain due to lack of details or paint applications. This particular figure may be big, but it doesn't disappoint in any way. Bigger than any Storm Trooper that came before it, I give you the Taco Trooper.

(Carmen Miranda meets a galaxy far, far away)

I had heard of this particular bootleg several years ago when I started getting into Jumbo Machinders (Shogun Warriors). On several of the message boards, a well known collector and forum contributor posted pictures of the same bootleg I'm talking about today in it's original packaging (a cellophane baggie with a cardboard header, fairly traditional for Mexican bootlegs) standing next to a 3 ¾ inch Storm Trooper from the vintage Kenner line. I was dead set on finding and buying this bootleg but never found it. Years passed by and even though I placed the acquisition of this bootleg very high on my list of must haves, I had never come across one. In the time it took me to find this one piece I moved, got married, bought over 25 collections, four Jumbo Shogun Warriors, a Blue Snaggletooth, 3 Dinosaucers, 3 Tiger Sharks, a whole set of Bandai Tick figures on the card, a complete set of Dune figures and fleshed out my sofubi collection from one shelf to half my living room. The day I received this piece was definitely a day for celebration.

Standing a full 3 inches taller than the 12 inch Storm Trooper, this bootleg is automatically impressive. The plastic used is a little thinner than what you'd find used in a Jumbo Shogun Warrior with a very unfinished, raw texture. The white plastic is detailed with black paint, sloppily spray painted in the right spots. The only other notable thing about the figure is the scaled reproduction blaster that comes rubber banned to the leg. Back when this figure came out, toys like the Gentle Giant large scale Kenner repros were merely a dream and now they are a reality. Was this figure the inspiration for a bigger company to come out with a superior product or was it just a great toy that was forgotten before it's time? I'm rather fond of it and if you found yourself desiring one for your own collection, I wish you lots of luck.

(the next three pics are from

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Star Wars: Imperial Sentinel from the Expanded Universe collection by Kenner

(Look into the eyes of your impending doom.)

Kenner's Expanded Universe series came too early in the Star Wars figure series. Kenner fully relaunched Star Wars in 1995 and this series only came out three years after that. Only fans that were seriously immersed in the saga would have had any clue who these eight figures were. Hell, most people's first introduction to the Expanded Universe was Shadows of the Empire for N64, which is still in my personal top 5 N64 games of all time. But even the figure series based on Shadows of the Empire didn't make it past the first wave of figures and ships. No Virago ship, no Skyhook space station and no figure of Dash Rendar's faithful co-pilot Leebo (LE-BO2D9). Also, Lucas says only what's in the movies should be considered canon and nothing else. So at any time he could completely debunk an entire continuity just on the whim of continuing the Star Wars Saga past episode 6 or before episode 1. In the end, the Expanded Universe exists by the good graces of George Lucas and no one else.

(care of

This series for me was so cool since I was always reading the novels and comic books. When I saw names like Admiral Thrawn or Mara Jade, it sent my mind racing into thinking about all the figures they could make out of my favorite characters. The only serious downside was the price of these figures was slightly more than the basic figure assortment on the shelves. All things considered, they were worth it to support a budding line but it didn't do it any good. Out of all eight, one figure stood out above anyone else, the Imperial Sentinel.

This figure was massive, filling the bubble top to bottom and left to right he was worth all the money. But there was something more about him, like I had seen him before but in an older picture and it wasn't the comic book. At this point it finally came to me, this was the original design for Atha Prime with a couple of color changes. Atha Prime was supposed to be the main villain after the fall of the emperor if Lucas had continued Star Wars past Return of the Jedi. His back story was that he was a genetics terrorist that had a falling out with the Emperor and had been banished into the most remote part of the galaxy with his clone warriors. His story was supposed to be able to bridge Obi-Wan's mention of the Clone Wars to the Star Wars saga, instead we got Jar Jar Binks, an Australian-accented precursor to Boba Fett and fairly cool ethnic cleansing of the Jedi Order. This made the figure even more desirable to me, like a small piece of Star Wars history that never was in physical form in front of me. One good thing about Lucas is that he never throws away an idea for a character, it will eventually be used or recycled into something else later down the line.

The Imperial Sentinel has only 4 points of articulation and no legs. His base is the similar, but not identical, as the late 90's Royal Guard figure which give the figure a strange salt and pepper shaker feeling. He comes packaged with an ax staff, which I'm sure is called something like a vibro-ax or force ax or something like that ( in the Star Wars universe you can't have something as simple as a plain old knife, it's gotta vibrate or something. Don't believe me, read one of the character guides.). An added bonus feature was the back of the card opened up into a pop up diorama to proudly display your figures, like they walked off the comic pages and into your hand.
(original design art of Atha Prime)

(not just one but two times the fun)

(actually a Star Wars mini of the Imperial Sentinel, like I said Lucas rarely shit cans a design.)
(excellent example of the instant diorama on the back of the package)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Anakin Skywalker on tri-logo card by Kenner 1983

(credit goes to Wizard of X for this amazing photo)

Power of the Force was the most unique series created by Kenner for the Star Wars figure line. The line was rich with characters that barely had more than 15 seconds of screen time, which was a rarity since Star Wars was a line driven by main characters instead of perifial characters. This line was a fanboy's dream come true because by this point we all had 5 different Lukes, 5 Leias, 4 Hans and (of all characters) 3 Landos! Each figure came with a alluminum collector's coin that corresponded to the character in the package. This was Kenner's attempt to breathe a little life into the license by adding some unqiue figures to the series, unfortunately this line came out in 1985 and it was Kenner's last time out with Star Wars till the mid 90's when they attempted to revive it with bendable rubber figures. Dubbed as the last 17 in many circles, the Power of the Force line was responsible for such great additions Han in Carbonite, Amanaman, Yak Face, Imperial Dignitary, Luke in Storm Trooper disguise, Imperial Gunner, Barada, EV-9D9 and today's topic; Anakin Skywalker.

(today's catch, it may be a little rough but it's seen things man.)

Anakin came to me on a Tri-logo card. Tri-logo cards were released overseas and displayed the title of the line in English, French and Spanish. Most of the time the back of the card was incomplete; either the figure count on the back wasn't consistent with the character that was attached to it or some of the figures were blacked out on the back. Some tri-logo figures did hit US stores near the end of Star Wars' run as the dominant force in the toy aisles, unfortunately a good portion of these figures hit clearance on damaged cards (card cut in half, the non-English phrases blacked out with magic marker or smashed bubbles). The one I picked up wasn't in too bad of condition, the buble is cracked and coming loose on the right side but the card is in perfect condition with no yellowing, wrinkling or warping. The figure inside is totally mint, without a single flaw and I doubt it's ever been touched since 1983.

(acted better than Hayden Christensen in 3 minutes, 'nuff said)

The ghost of Anakin Skywalker was one of my favorite scenes from Return of the Jedi because it made no sense at all. We all knew (before the prequels came out) that Darth Vader was “more machine than man” and probably looked nothing like Sebastian Shaw. But, if you suspended disbelief for a second you could imagine that if Anakin hadn't been corrupted by the Dark Side of the Force, this is what he may have looked like. A smiling old man in grey and white robes who brought balance to the force (which is true if you think about it. It went from 100's of Jedi vs 2 Sith to 2 Jedi vs 2 Sith, whatcha' think about that?). Anakin has the basic Kenner five points of articulation and even though it's a really monotone figure the colors are very rich.

(yub yub indeed!)