I grew up under the preconceived notion that I only needed two things out of life: a complete set of Star Wars action figures, and a vanity plate that gave praise to Bill Cosby. Well, my license plate reads like a Game Genie code, and I still don't have the elusive 'Han in Carbonite' figure, so it looks like I should be dissapointed on a few fronts.
Not withstanding that, the vintage Star Wars figures played a prominent role in my childhood to an almost scary degree. I used to have dreams that I was hanging out with Mark Hamill, and wouldn't let my friends come join in our Jedi fun just to spite them. I used to spend hours trying to convince my mother that Boba Fett's rocket really would come out if she pulled on it hard enough. I used to think that, if I really concentrated, I could shoot lightning out of my hands just like the Emperor.
In other words, mom did lots of LSD while I was in the womb. With that, I present to you...my twelve favorite Star Wars action figures...of all time!
Emperor's Royal Guard: My personal, all-time favorite. These guys were mysterious. They didn't say anything and only carried a big stick...but you knew that you were in some serious shit if you tried fucking with them. The figures came dressed in cloth - always a plus. Plus, the had one of the coolest helmets I've ever seen. It's the only helmet in the world that could look so deadly and masculine while being so phallic-shaped.
Boba Fett: Obviously! Deemed the 'man' by Star Wars fans, punk rock kids, and grandmothers everywhere, no top Star Wars list would be complete without the known universe's most cunning, ruthless bounty hunter. Boba Fett is the only guy in the Star Wars universe who could get away with questioning Darth Vader. Why? Cuz he's that cool. Even Vader wears bootlegged t-shirts with Fett iron-ons on 'em.
Luke (In Jedi Outfit): I don't know why, but when I was a kid, Luke was my hero. I look back on the movies now with a little disdain for Luke. He got really whiny by Return of the Jedi. But we let that slide because his figure has a removable cloak! It's interesting. I've got a nephew who watches the old Star Wars movies now constantly, and he's a big fan of Luke too. Luckily for him, it won't take him 20 years to realize Mark Hamill's sinister follies. I can just point him in the direction of the Star Wars Holiday Special or the infamous Hamill appearance on The Muppet Show and save his soul before it's too late.
R5-D4: Know what the good thing about owning an R5 figure was? Nobody knew who the hell he was. Your friends would pull out their R2-D2 figures, and you'd show up with this mysterious, dangerous Droid figure. Everyone would look at you with newfound respect. Soon, you were the most popular kid in school. Little girls would ask to play 'I'll show you mine if you show me your R5'. Later in life, you'd be the president of a huge banking firm because the previous owner decided to trade places with you so he could be the only one who had the R5 figure. Seriously, that's how it worked. If only I had an R5. My neighbor across the street did...he owns Yahoo! now.
Leia (in Boushh Disguise): This was a great figure on a lot of levels. First, you'd be getting a Princess Leia out of the deal. Now all your other toys had something worth fighting over. But when you put on the mask, you had one of the coolest looking action figures of all time! Boushh also came with a staff that was about 50% taller than the figure. Meaning Leia was also the only Star Wars figure with pole-vaulting capabilities. And, as if you needed more reason to buy it, Boushh's helmet was extremely, extremely fun to chew on when you were a child. They really should've marketed plastic with strawberry flavoring. If I personally was able to dig up the amount of plastic that I've either chewed or accidentally ingested in my life, I'd be able to make an extremely scary statue of that guy who played Frank on Murphy Brown.
Jesus, where the fuck did that come from?
Darth Vader: Ha, like I'd leave him out. There's no reason to explain why Vader was a great figure. So I'll tell you a little story that takes us back to 1984. Picture it. Toys R Us. It's one of those character meet-and-greets they used to do for publicity. The guest stars? Geoffrey and Darth Vader. Well, I had no interest in meeting the giraffe...but a vested interest in Vader. So my brother takes me to see him...he looks great. Top notch costume, breathing effects, the whole nine yards. Then, the inevitable happens. Vader makes a sinister pointing gesture towards my brother. It took five years for me to believe that Vader wasn't going to kill my poor brother. Five long years. So, while Vader was one evil bastard, his action figure was more fun than jellybeans after you suck the hard shell off 'em and are left with edible silicone. Really. He had a removable lightsaber. Removable in the sense that if you did remove it, you'd lose it four seconds later and never get it back, thus rendering your Vader 'stupid looking', holding a handle that did absolutely nothing.
Yoda: The little guy. The Jedi master. The action figure! I absolutely adored Yoda. I used to fast-forward past his death scene in Return of the Jedi, because it was just too damn painful. Now that I'm older and more mature, I watch it all the time just to see Luke make his crosseyed face when Yoda dissapears. But we're getting off track - this figure packed more accessories into an inch that you could imagine: removable coat, walking stick, and snake necklace! Awww sit.
Gamorrean Guard: Now, you're probably asking yourself: 'Huh? That figure sucks! Why would he pick that one?!' You've gotta dig a little deeper. This fat pig alien guy was really handy to have around. If your friend told you that you weren't allowed to play with his brother's new Nintendo? Just hold up the Gamorrean Guard figure and say 'Oh yeah? Well you look like this guy!' Dad wants you to take out the garbage? 'Here Dad, they made you an action figure!' The possibilities were endless. And while the Gamorrean Guard lacked the...class...of most of the other figures, he had one thing going for him -- he was pretty easy to stand up. So while all your other figures were toppling over themselves at the slightest hint of movement, your fat, stupid Gamorrean Guard would just sit there, smiling, waiting for the day where you found matches for the first time and elected him the candidate for fire experiments.
R2-D2: I can't possibly make this list without including ol' R2. For whatever reason, whenever we were going to a relative's house, this was the figure I took along for the ride. There was something so simplisticly wonderful about him. Also, and for whatever reason, nobody in my family realized that, with me being more obsessed with Star Wars than a priest with Jesus, I would likely already have an R2 figure. So when Christmas or my birthday rolled around, I ended up with more R2 units than a Jawa Sandcrawler. Which was okay, because I didn't feel so bad not fighting the irresistable urge to rip off his electronics sticker. Mmm.
Jawa: Another little guy, no Star Wars collection was really a Star Wars collection until you had a Jawa. They really tricked you with these though. The endless debate while watching Star Wars is what a Jawa actually looks like under that hood. I figured that the figure, which had a removable cloak, would fill me in. So what do a I find under the removable cloth cloak? A non-removable plastic cloak. Lousy fucks. Still, Jawas were fun. They were one of the only figures that you could literally get so far down the Rancor Monster toy's throat that he'd be stuck there forever. I think my Rancor still has about four Jawas sitting inside it. I should sell it on eBay as a 'special Star Wars Rancor treasure chest'. Sure, people might complain when the 'treasure' ends up being a bunch of beaten-up Jawas, but as eBay says...'cavaet emptor'.
C-3P0: And why not? My favorite Droid and one of the most well-known robots around, you absolutely needed as many C-3P0s as you could get your hands on. Mainly because all the other ones you had were missing an arm or both legs by the end of a few days. C-3P0 was gold in color, shiny enough consider more 'valuable' than the rest of your toys. Later additions also came with a net so you could take him apart and let Chewbacca carry him around like the slave-laborer he was.
Prune Face: And finally...Prune Face. An ugly figure for sure, but a welcome one. Shit, I think I just revamped one of Palpatine's quotes just now. I should get some bonus points for the coincidence. Anyway, here's why Prune Face was a great Star Wars figure: he never appeared in any of the films. Don't bullshit me, either. I don't care what they tell you, or how many computer-generated Prune Faces they threw into the Rebel meeting scene in Return of the Jedi to make the figure make sense. Let's put it this way. If he was in the original film, you'd have to still frame a scene that lasted about two seconds, then enlarge it 50 times over to see him. If that's the case, we could probably make a Star Wars figure for Jaleel White and Estelle Getty. If you look hard enough, I'm sure you'll find them too. So, because of that, and because we was a weird Rebel alien who wore an eye-patch, he's our final pick for the best Star Wars action figure of all time.
Circa, 1998. I, having not much else to do, decide to create one of the vastest, most ridiculous vintage toy collections on the planet. A year later, I'd sell it all so I had enough money to buy alcohol for the summer. Sweet.