A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Actually, it was just a few months ago that I wrote a blog about my collection of original Star Wars figures. Last time I looked at the initial run of 12 figures; this time here’s a piece about the next wave to come along.
I hadn’t managed to collect all of the first twelve before the next batch of figures were released (sadly, this would be a recurring situation in my figure collecting).
After the phenomenal success of the first toys in the Star Wars line, additional figures were introduced to provide fanatics like me with further material for our mini universe. This development would introduce hours more fun recreating classic scenes from the movie, or indeed inventing your own.
Most exciting was the introduction of four creatures from the Mos Eisley cantina – always my favourite scene from all of the movies. Although in those pre-home video days, I can remember having trouble recalling where some of these characters actually appeared…
Greedo – who was sometimes referred to as “Green Greedo” on some card backs (I always found that a bit daft) was easily recognisable. Scouring my Star Wars story book revealed an image of Hammerhead, and repeated rewinds when the video finally materialised revealed Snaggletooth too. Though this was a real challenge when watching the cropped for television version.
Walrus Man was a bit of a mystery, however. Who was this strange, orange swimsuit wearing individual? It wasn’t until years later that the chief suspect was confirmed, he was supposed to be the cantina bully who picked on Luke (later named Ponda Baba).
The detail of these aliens was variable – Greedo was, and still is, awesome. Hammerhead and Snag were also very cool. Walrus Man, on the other hand…
No matter, I was a sucker then for obscure alien characters and I probably always will be!
I can clearly remember that the first figure that I got from this set was R5-D4. He was from the Toy and Hobby shop in Chester. The last one was Power Droid, who took me ages to find. I think that figure finally turned up on a family trip to Skegness around 1982.
Death Star Droid was another nice replication, though repeated video viewings revealed that this silver version of the droid was seen on the Jawa Sandcrawler; a shiny black version appeared on the battle station.
Luke in his X-Wing Pilot outfit was the first time a character was re-released in a new outfit. A great figure, I collected a few over the years to be additional Rebel pilots. Like a lot of fans, my original Luke X-Wing was often recast as Wedge.
The great thing about this wave of figures was that it added minor character to my collection. This went a small way towards recreating the world of Star Wars, with its hugely imaginative population of droids and creatures. Populating my own mini scenes from the film was a major reason I kept collecting.
Finally, I must mention Blue Snaggletooth. For those not n the know, the blue variation of this character was the first version produced and included in a US Sears exclusive set. The toy manufacturer, Kenner, had scant resources to refer to (no lower body reference) and so produced a regular height figure, with kitsch silver space boots. Lucasfilm then decreed that Snag was short and had hairy feet, so the version produced for the mass market was somewhat different.
To my knowledge, the blue variant was never released in the UK; I was unaware that this toy even existed till I started collecting again in the mid 90s. I found this version in a comic shop in Rhyl, and after some soul searching, spent my savings and snapped him up for £90. This is the most I have ever spent on a Star Wars figure, even the ultra rare toys were fortuitously bought for a couple of quid whilst still in the shops, years earlier.
I’m so, so glad I got him though!
A nice coincidence: the red Snaggletooth, always a favourite, was bought from a toy shop in Rhyl around 1979. His blue cousin came from the same town twenty years later.
Never, ever, underestimate the wonder of Rhyl.