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...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kenner 3-3/4" Action Figures - Han and Chewie

Another couple of figures from the original '78 line here. These guys must have been near the top of most kids' lists back in the day. Other than the fact that having anybody else piloting the Millenium Falcon is some kind of blasphemy, these guys are just pretty cool figures on their own merits.

This is the original 'Small Head' Han Solo. With the release of the Empire Strikes Back line, Kenner repackaged the figure with a newly sculpted (and butt-ugly) head that was significantly larger than this one. The 'Large Head' Han stuck around for the duration of the line but kids who got into the figures in the late 70's would have had the much nicer one featured here.

I love Kenner's Chewbacca figure. Sure, he features the same limited articulation as the Stormtrooper (i.e. rigid head and shoulders), but he's a great looking guy with nice detail on the eyes and teeth. His big-ass gun is pretty cool too, even though it's not exactly his trademark bowcaster as featured in the movie.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Mystery of the Rebellious Robot

In 1979, Random House put out three storybooks aimed at younger readers. Here we have 'The Mystery of the Rebellious Robot' and it's a hoot. I absolutely adore the illustrations. They have a great 70's borderline-surreal charm to them and I've never seen anything like them in relation to Star Wars before.

That's one scary looking Chewbacca! He's an absolute monster in this book and I wouldn't be surprised if he gave a few kids reading this nightmares. Anyway, the story revolves around Han, Chewie and R2 aboard the Falcon, heading to Tatooine with some supplies for Luke who is leading a team of scientists to build 'super-vaporators' to combat the drought there. Chewie gives R2 some oil and the little droid promptly goes berserk and takes control of the Falcon.

Ha ha! Another great image of Chewie. He's certainly having a hair-raising experience here! Han sends a distress signal to Luke down on Tatooine and soon the Jedi-in-training sets off in his X-Wing (called simply a 'plane' here) to help.

Luke guides the Falcon down to the planet and reveals to Han that computers and machines have been breaking down all over the planet. Stuff's been going missing too and it looks like somebody is trying to sabotage the project. Whilst discussing this in the conference room, there is a tremendous explosion. Luckily nobody is injured but 3-PO is taken off to maintenance for some repairs. After an oil bath, 3-PO's systems shut down. A handy R5-unit discovers that contaminated oil it the problem.

It is discovered that the Jawas are at the bottom of all the trouble. They've been contaminating the oil in order to get their hands on droids and machinery. Chewie chases them around for a bit and catches them all up in one swoop.

Chewie finally gets his medal!