Thursday, July 31, 2008

Zero-G Troopers (Part 2)

I made a post a while back about the elusive "holy grail" of Stormtrooper costumes, the Zero-G or Space Trooper as seen outside the Death Star docking bay in 1977's A New Hope. Hasbro's presentation at San Diego Comic-Con 2008 revealed that they will be releasing a 3 3/4"-scale figure of this very character which they are calling a "Space Trooper." Not a lot of detail on this image, but I have to say it does look like Joe Johnston!

Now Anyone Can Join the 501st!

If you buy the new Clone Wars 501st Legion Clone Trooper action figure you will get an instant membership in the famed 501st Legion costuming group! Well...not really. This is another case of the fictional 501st Legion being potentially confused with the real-life costuming organization which was honored by Lucasfilm's inclusion of their name into Star Wars canon back in 2004. The confusion is understandable. After all, the Wal-Mart-exclusive figure does come packaged with a "Republic Army Identification Card" that clearly implies 501st membership. In fact, the card back reads "With your very own Republic Army Identification Card, you can become a member of the most elite fighting force in the galaxy," and is emblazoned with the 501st name (several times). Not wanting to disappoint fans with misleading membership requirements, the Legion contacted toy manufacturer Hasbro (with whom we have a great relationship) and they kindly agreed to post a disclaimer on their website.

I was thinking of ways to turn lemons into lemonade and we may work out a special giveaway or contest for kids and fans who show up at 501st events with their Hasbro 501st ID card. Hasbro sells toys. The 501st gets booth traffic. Kids get prizes. That's a win-win-win situation in my book.

Trivia: Wal-Mart just recently updated their logo, but it looks like they were just a bit too late to include it on this new figure.

Monday, July 28, 2008

On Collecting

I stopped collecting Star Wars toys twice. Once around 1985 when I thought I was getting "too old" to play with toys, and then again around 2002 after a 7-year resurgence of collecting. The toys from my childhood are pretty much all gone, but I still have a ridiculous amount of items from the second coming of my Star Wars fandom. Being an adult collector meant that I had disposable income and the power to spend it frivolously. I won't lie, they were good times. Dropping by Target, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us on a daily basis and scanning collecting news sites like Yakface's Realm and Sir Steve's Guide religiously. I always told myself that selective toy purchases would be a great investment, but the thrill of the hunt was addictive and I have duplicates of common peghangers to prove it!

However, it was through my early-Internet toy-bartering site called "The Tusken Trader" that I met another fan named Tom Fisk who happened to have a full-size TIE Fighter pilot costume among his collectibles. I asked where he got it, he gave me some contact information, and that's how I began my tenure with the Fighting 501st Legion. I put a stop to collecting the toys and pooled my finite resources toward costuming. Sure, costumes are individually more expensive, but they take up less storage space, help you develop skills like vacuforming, sewing, mold-making, and painting, and---most importantly---they are not static items like an action figure or statuette. Costumes encourage you to put them on and go out into the world and interact with others to celebrate your fandom, to promote the art of costumes and props, and to contribute to your community through charity and volunteerism. Now that's a good investment.

P.S. I still have a ton of Star Wars collectibles from around 1995-2002, so drop me an e-mail if you're looking for something from that era. It's all for sale!