#2025: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA

STAR WARS (KENNER)

On this May the Fourth, it’s with a heavy heart that we bid adieu to Peter Mayhew, the man behind Chewbacca for four decades.  The people behind these masks can sometimes easily be forgotten, but Peter was beloved by his fellow cast members.  And, fortunately, his legacy will live on through his replacement Joonas Suotamo, who took over the role from Peter in The Last Jedi.  In honor of Peter, today I’m going to look at the very first Chewbacca, which feels kinda right.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chewbacca was one of the first four figures offered in the original Star Wars line, initially shipping in early 1978 as part of the fulfillment for the Early Bird set, before finding his way to a standard carded release shortly thereafter.  Chewbacca was one of the few characters not to get a new version during the three-film run, and as such this figure was in production until the end of the line in the ’80s.  This one came from the ’78 release, a fact I know based on how I acquired him.  That said, there were no notable changes to the main figure during the vintage line.  The figure stands 4 inches tall (the largest of the initial figures) and has 4 points of articulation.  He loses out on the neck articulation due to the nature of his furry design.  Chewbacca’s sculpt was totally unique to him, and it’s certainly a product of its time.  Action figure sculpting wasn’t quite yet up to the level of being able to convincingly translate a walking furball into plastic form, so this guy ends up looking…surprisingly polished?  It’s like somebody really thoroughly shellacked him, or maybe like he’s Cousin It’s much taller brother.  He’s definitely not as intimidating as later versions of the character would be.  Of course, in its own way, perhaps that’s more appropriate to the character, who was generally pretty lovable in the film.  Maybe Kenner was onto something there.  The figure’s paint work is pretty simple.  Mostly, he’s just molded in brown plastic, with a little paint here and there for the eyes, mouth, and bandolier.  It gets the job done, but it’s certainly not extensive.  Chewbacca was originally packed with his bowcaster, which my figure no longer has.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve touched on a few times before here, my vintage Star Wars collection was kind of jump-started by my Dad giving me his old figures when I was growing up.  Chewbacca was amongst those figures, and, since I’ve established here on the site that my first Chewbacca wasn’t a default one, this guy was kind of my go-to Chewbacca for a good long while.  Like a lot of the vintage figures, he’s goofy and dated, but he’s also a really nifty little figure.

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#1310: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS (KENNER)

Luke Skywalker has over 100 action figures, which is quite a few.  More than just about any other main character from the franchise, in fact.  There was a time, however, when he had just one.  His very first figure was released by Kenner in 1978, and that’s the one I’m looking at today.  There’s your intro.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke is one of the very earliest entries in Kenner’s Star Wars line.  He was initially released in the Early Bird set, alongside Leia, Chewbacca, and R2, and later saw regular release as one of the line’s first 12 figures.  He was also consistently carried throughout the run of the original trilogy’s line.  My figure comes from the earliest of the single releases, or at least that’s what I’ve been told.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation (or at least he did; my figure had his head snap off, necessitating it being glued back in place).  The figure sported a unique sculpt at the time (though the head would later see reuse on the Bespin figure from the Empire line), which is decent enough, at least in the context of the rest of the line.  He’s not super detailed, nor is he the spitting image of Mark Hamill as Luke, but the main elements of the character have been conveyed pretty well, and he’s certainly not awful.  His design has also been graced with very few real compromises, which wasn’t completely unheard of in this line, but it was pretty rare.  As one of the three lightsaber wielding characters in the first film, he got one of the retractible blades that Kenner was experimenting with early in the line.  The hilt of the saber is molded in Luke’s hand, and the majority of his right arm has been hollowed out.  There was then a separate blade, which could be pushed up or down, as if he were igniting the saber.  It’s not a particularly accurate rendition of the saber, and it requires Luke to hold his weapon in a way he never does in the film.  Luke’s saber was molded in yellow, because, umm, reasons, I guess?  Of course, you can’t see that from my figure, because they were also really easy to lose, which isn’t ideal.  Still, it wasn’t the worst concept ever.  In terms of paint, Luke is fairly simple; he’s got al the basic colors, and that’s about it.  There were a number of variants on the hair color; mine has the more common bright yellow.  Not super lifelike, but it’s about right for the time.  Luke included no accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was growing up, I had access to a lot of my dad’s old toys.  His collection of Star Wars figures was one of the sets that was given to me to keep.  Luke was by far my favorite of the set, and saw a lot of play time.  His head broke off at some point, and there was a good five years in there where I never seemed to be able to hang on to both pieces at the same time.  I eventually did find both pieces and get him put back together, so that was a small victory.  The figure’s not perfect, but he’s a pretty good starting point, and he’d remain one of the better Luke figures out there for quite a while.

#0925: Jawa

JAWA

STAR WARS (KENNER)

JawaVint1

You guys know what day it is, right? It’s May 4th, otherwise known as Star Wars Day! Clearly, I have to review something Star Wars-related.

Star Wars is populated by a plethora of fascinating creatures; some are big, and some are quite small. Today’s focus is an example of the small: the Jawas. Yes, those tiny, little hooded guys, whose actual appearance will forever be shrouded in mystery. The Jawas have been with the franchise from the very beginning, even in action figure form, being one of three alien races to find their way into the original line-up of twelve figures. I’ll be looking at that very first Jawa figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

JawaVint2The Jawa was part of the first retail assortment of Star Wars figures from Kenner, released back in 1978. Unlike later Jawas, which were released in pairs or with smaller droids, this guy was released all by himself. The figure stands about 2 inches tall and he has 4 points of articulation. There were two distinct versions of the Jawa available: one with a cloth robe (the one seen here), and one with a plastic cape (similar to those seen on Princess Leia, Ben Kenobi, and Darth Vader). The end result is two very different looking figures that are fundamentally the same figure at the end of the day. The cloth robe is a bit thick and cumbersome, truth be told, and it really doesn’t fit the figure all that well. When placed on the figure, the actual figure might as well not be there, since you can’t see it at all for all the fabric. It’s a good idea in theory, but doesn’t work so well in practice. What’s under the robe is a whole different story; the underlying figure is fully sculpted, and actually does a pretty decent job of capturing the look of the Jawas seen in the movie. It even has the two bandoliers, which are unseen with the robe in place. Sure, the sculpt isn’t on par with the level of detail seen on more recent Jawas. It has a much more cartoony appearance, proportions that would be more appropriate on a figure twice the size, and those strange pantsuit legs that plagued all of the robed characters in the vintage line, but the general look is definitely there. There’s no denying that this is a Jawa. The Jawa’s paintwork is rather basic: he’s mostly just molded in the appropriate brown, with paint for his face and eyes, hands, and the bandoliers. What’s there is relatively clean, apart from the obvious wear that the figure has taken over time. The Jawa originally included a small blaster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was a kid, my dad gave me his collection of Star Wars figures. It consisted of eleven of the original twelve figures. Care to guess which of the twelve he didn’t have? It was the Jawa (in recent years, I’ve asked him why he never got the Jawa, to which he had no real answer beyond a vague sort of a shrug). Over the holidays, I found this figure at an antique store, and Super Awesome Girlfriend insisted on buying it for me. So, 37 years later, my dad’s first assortment of Star Wars figures is complete. That’s pretty nifty.

#0875: Princess Leia Organa

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA

STAR WARS (KENNER)

LeiaVint1

Amazingly enough, in all 874 of the preceding reviews, I’ve only looked at one single figure from Kenner’s run on the vintage Star Wars line. And that was review #0052! 822 days ago! Wow, that’s weird. Well, I guess I’m breaking the trend a bit, looking at another vintage figure today. This one’s even more vintage than the last, being one of the very first Star Wars figures Kenner ever offered! Also, it’s a Princess Leia, and #0052 was ALSO a Princess Leia, meaning she’s still 100% of the vintage figures reviewed on this site. That’s pretty cool for her!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

LeiaVint2Princess Leia was one of the first four figures in Kenner’s Star Wars line, offered as part of the historic “Early Bird” set, alongside Luke, R2-D2, and Chewbacca. She was also, by extension, one of the original 12 figures from the main line, released in the first 1978 assortment. The figure measures a little over 3 ½ inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. As a figure from 1978, Leia is not blessed with the high level of sculpted detail that we’ve come to expect, but that’s not to say she’s at all a bad sculpt. The head is fairly decent, and the hair has some pretty cool texture work. The face is fairly generic, but not unreasonable. The top half of the body is a passable translation of Leia’s look (though she’s missing her hood), but the lower half is…different. In the film, Leia wears a dress, but the figure has sort of reworked that into this sort of leisure suit looking thing, in order to give her leg articulation. It’s a little weird looking. Also, like every other caped or robed character in the vintage line, she gets a rounded piece of vinyl with holes for her arms, which I guess is meant to look like her dress? Spot-on recreation, it is not. The paint on Leia is pretty simple; she’s mostly just molded in white, with only her hands, belt, hair, and eyes getting actual paint. It’s actually pretty well applied, though my figure has taken a bit of a beating, as you can see. Leia was originally packed with a small blaster pistol, but as a second hand acquisition, mine does not have that piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was growing up, my earliest Star Wars toys were actually my dad’s old collection from when he was a kid. He had a Leia, but he didn’t like the silly cinnamon buns hair, so he had sculpted her a new ‘do. As a kid, I never realized this wasn’t how she originally looked, so I was surprised to later see pictures of an un-modded Leia. While on vacation over the holidays, I came across a few vintage figures at a nearby antique store, which included the Leia seen in this review. Super Awesome Girlfriend was with me and insisted on getting it for me, so here she is. She’s fairly standard for the line; she shows her age, but certainly not in a bad way (not unlike the real Carrie Fisher).

#0653: Misty Knight

MISTY KNIGHT – HEROES FOR HIRE

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

MistyKnight1

Not everyone will agree, but I think the 70s may be one of the best eras of comics. It’s a decade that gets a lot of crap for being dated, and perhaps rightfully so, but it it’s also the decade that gave us All New All Different X-Men, Denny O’Niel and Neal Adams on Batman, and even some of the hokier series, such as Luke Cage and Iron Fist, Heroes For Hire. The 70s (at Marvel at least) also gave us some tremendous supporting casts, including a few who were passed back and forth between different series. One such character is today’s focus, Misty Knight, who began her comics career as Jean Grey’s roommate, before hooking up with Iron Fist, got a robot arm, and became a spy. She’s also very 70s, but in a cool way.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

MistyKnight2Misty Knight was released as part of the latest series of Spider-Man Marvel Legends Infinite Series. Officially, she’s named Heroes For Hire, a name she shares with Ghost Rider, though the two don’t share anything but the name. Given her association with Iron Fist and Luke Cage, the name fits. The figure is 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation. She looks to be based on one of Misty’s more recent designs. I myself am still partial to the black turtleneck look she sported in the 70s, but a) this look is more sensible in a reuse heavy line and b) I’m just thrilled to have gotten a Misty Knight action figure at all. The figure uses the most recent female base (seen on Scarlet Witch, Hellcat, and Wasp) as a starting point. I still don’t like the pelvis piece, but other than that, it’s a good starting point. Misty gets an all-new head, hands, and upper torso, as well as an add-on piece for her belt and holster. All of the new parts a nicely handled. The hair is a tad on the ridiculous side, size wise, but not terribly so. On the plus side, it’s very well textured, which is always nice. The face seems a bit on the gaunt side for Misty, but it’s passable. The new torso gives Misty an unzipped zipper, as well as a shoulder strap with pouches. I can definitely see Hasbro repurposing this for another figure down the road. For her hands, her left has a trigger finger, so she can hold her gun, and the right is robotic, so as to showcase her bionic arm. Both are well sculpted, but the robotic piece definitely steals the show. Paint wise, Misty is, at the very least, vibrant. The reds and golds are nice and bright and give her a nice warm look. The face is definitely the weak point, though; the eyes are just a touch out of sync, so she looks like she has a lazy eye, and the lips seem way too bright a red. Other than that, her paintwork is nice and clean. Misty is packed with a pretty cool golden revolver, as well as the torso of Rhino.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Misty is definitely the figure from this series that excited me the most. I honestly never thought I’d ever see a figure of her, given her relative obscurity and somewhat out of date design. She ended up being one of my main reasons for ordering a set right off the bat, as I was anxious to get her. The figure isn’t perfect. The paint on the face could stand to be better. And, if I’m petty, it’s not my preferred design for the character. That said, she’s still really well put together, and this is likely to be the only time we see her in action figure form. That fact alone warrants the purchase.

*Want a Misty Knight figure of your own?  She’s currently in-stock with our sponsors over at All Time Toys!  Click here to check her out!

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#0432: Time Traveler

TIME TRAVELER

MICRONAUTS (MEGO)

It might seem odd that I, someone born 15 years after the line’s release, would be such a big fan of Micronauts. Like with so many things, I blame my dad. I used to stay at my grandparents’ house a lot when I was younger, and he pulled out some of his old toys for me to play with while I was there. My interest in superheroes, Star Wars, and Star Trek can pretty much be directly tied to that. However, there was one figure in particular that intrigued me. Only his top remained, but he was translucent yellow and he had this really cool chrome head. He was a Time Traveler, generally considered the signature figure of the Micronauts line. And thus, a monster was born.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Time Traveler actually saw two separate releases in Mego’s Micronauts line. This is one of the ones released in the first series of figures. It’s easy to distinguish: the original releases were all translucent, while the later ones were opaque. The Time Traveler was initially released in four colors: Clear, Yellow, Orange, and Blue. This one is the blue one. The Time Traveler is roughly 3 ¾ inches in height and he features 18 points of articulation. Unlike his space-faring friend, the Time Traveler is all plastic. The Time Traveler was based on Microman’s Microman M10X, although he has shoes in place of the M10X’s bare feet. That’s just how we roll in America, I guess. Like the Space Glider, the sculpt shows its age, but it definitely has a certain charm about it. The Time Traveler is definitely the more simplistic of the two, but his sculpt is still pretty fun. His chrome chest plate is a removable piece, and there were four possible variations of it. This figure has what is commonly called the “radio dial” plate, due to its resemblance of an old-time radio. It’s not my favorite of the possible options, but it’s still pretty good. Plus, chrome, so…you know. The Time Traveler actually features no paint work. His head and chest plate are vac-metalized, and the rest of his parts are molded in the appropriate colors. The figure originally included an L-port which could hook into his back to allow him to be attached to vehicles, but mine doesn’t have this piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the Space Glider, the Time Traveler was purchased from the Antique Depot during Ellicott City’s annual Midnight Madness event. The Space Glider’s my favorite, but the Time Traveler is old faithful when it comes to Micronauts. The figure has a definite style about him and he’s instantly distinctive.

#0431: Space Glider

SPACE GLIDER

MICRONAUTS (MEGO)

So, yes, it’s the day after Christmas, and yes, I have tons of new toys to review.  However, I am away from my usual photo shooting set-up, so the Christmas stuff won’t actually be reviewed until the 31st.  Bear with me.  In the mean time, here’s our regularly scheduled programming!

One line that I am surprised I haven’t talked about more on this site is Micronauts. Before I was firmly on the Minimates train, there were few lines that filled me with as much joy as Micronauts. For those of you that don’t know, Micronauts began its life as a Japanese toyline called Henshin Cyborg, which were actually the Japanese equivalent of the original GI Joes. Toymaker Takara decided to make a line of smaller scale figures, called Microman. In 1976, US toymaker Mego decided to import the line under the title Micronauts. The figures are some of the earliest 3 ¾ inch figures, and they ended up having quite a few lasting contributions to toys in general, even if the Micronauts themselves may not be as widely remembered. Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of the line’s heroic characters, the Space Glider!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Space Glider was released in the first series of Mego’s Micronauts line. He was available in three different colors: Blue, Green, and Yellow. In case you couldn’t tell from the pictures, the one being reviewed is blue. The Space Glider is about 3 ¾ inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation. It’s also worth noting that, aside from the head and hands, the whole figure is made from die cast metal. It means the figure is pretty darn sturdy, and he has quite a bit of heft to him. Space Glider was an import of the Super Steel Microman M21X, from the Microman line. His sculpt is essentially the same. While the sculpt does show its age a bit, it’s certainly well done for the time. The torso and arms have lots of hard angles, which look really good. His head is a great, generic “70s space hero” look, although the vac-metalizing has made some of the details a little soft. This figure has some definite style to it, which really makes it stand out. The paint work on the Space Glider is fairly basic, but well done. All of the blue areas are done with a very nice metallic sheen, and the color is nice and evenly applied. Everything else is pretty much just molded in the proper color, but it looks good. The Space Glider included a helmet and a wingpack, both of which are sadly missing from mine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got the Space Glider from the Antique Depot, an antique store not far from where I live. I saw him while walking through during Ellicott City’s annual Midnight Madness event. The Space Glider has long been my favorite of Micronauts figure, but I had never had one of the originals. With some light prodding from my friends Tim and Jill, I purchased the figure. The Space Glider really holds up. He’s a really strong figure, and he’s just a lot of fun!