Friday, April 16, 2010

Stuff I Want Back

As you may or may not know, one of the things I do to stay afloat in these lean times other than some occasional freelance work (got a gig right now that is awesome...I'm totally freaking out over it), is sell stuff on the Internet.

You see, I've been a collector of toys, action figures, statues and the like for as long as I can remember, though never quite as much as after I got out of graduate school. Then I went berserk. I used to have rooms and rooms of the stuff, as you can see in this blog I wrote last October.

The philosophy about collecting nowadays is as true this morning as it was the last time I wrote about it. I purchase nothing unless I believe it will increase in value and I have to be able to, if necessary, let it go if I have to when times are tough.

Reason I thought about this today is because this week I spent a lot of time photographing my Kubrick collection. Not the Kubrick figures I sometimes buy to re-sell, I'm talking about my pride and joy collection. The ones all bagged and in a bin down in the basement marked 'KUBRICK COLLECTION: NOT FOR SALE'.

Well, if necessary, they will go on the auction block as well, and though I am far, far from that place right now, I had some time and thought it would be good to get a lot of them photographed and stored in my computer.

So this got me to thinking...what have I let go of in the past five years that I really, truly, wish I didn't have to? What are those things that I would REALLY try to get back if I ever ended up in a situation where I had the means? And so...a new segment, 'The Stuff I Want Back', is born.

And this one today is a no-brainer. The original Kenner Star Wars Death Star Playset. Here is a description from a website called Star Wars: The Power of Collecting - The Archive Database, one of many websites devoted to all things Star Wars Merchandise.

The first and greatest of Kenner's Star Wars playsets, the Death Star Space Station was any kid's dream. It was a full 20 inches tall, with four floors on which one could recreate a whole range of exciting Star Wars scenes. It had a really cool looking gun mount on its top level, a retractable bridge in its middle portion, even a working trash compactor component, which, of course, was located in its inner depths. But best of all was the Dianoga, a creature so great that multiple mini-series should be filmed about its life dwelling within the murky depths of the trash compactor. In the film, kids only got to see its single beady eye, peeking up out of the trash at Luke and his counterparts. But Kenner took us one step further. Once you saw their toy version of the thing, you realized that not only did it possess a single eye extending upwards on a periscope-like neck, it had a freakin' mouth in its chest. Cool, huh? Well, ok, the thing was ridiculous. But ridiculous is cool.

The Death Star has always been popular with collectors. However, piecing together a loose example can be quite a challenge, as several of its parts are small and easily lost. The plastic "rope," which hung over the gap spanned by the bridge, is particularly hard to locate. The set also came with blocks of foam, which kids were supposed to cut up into mock "trash" for the compactor, as well as two flimsy cardboard inserts, intended to represent either the inner walls of the space station or its detailed exterior, depending on which of their sides you looked at.

In unused, packaged condition, the toy is downright rare, and the values of examples in this state can extend into the area of four figures.

I loved mine. LOVED it. If it had been a woman I'd have done it. I protected it, I nurtured it, I treated it with the respect it so richly deserved. They simply do not make playsets this cool for Star Wars these days. But one day, there was a need, and I let it go. Drink in the photos I took of one of the few surviving toys from my childhood.

Would I have liked to have given this to one of my boys? Well, yeah. But shit happens, and like I've said, it's just a thing...expendable. I know that the month I sold this we really needed the scratch, and you certainly can't beat that.



  1. The Death Star... Awesome.

    The fact that you used a tool of the Evil Empire to help your family out... Awesomer.

  2. I still have mine, no swinging rope-I use a stirrup off a toy horse saddle, the stormtroopers don't seem to notice.

    I actually have one whole Death Star and part of another and combined the nerf trash into one compactor.

    My kids still won't sit through the original trilogy so they don't get the story points right. They don't understand why I won't let Princess Leia shoot the cannon.

    I've toyed around with Photoshopping new cardstock inserts for the two background panels. I would like to take actual shots from the movie and make them more authentic.

    I feel your pain, that would be a hard one to let go.


  3. I have been looking for years for a Colorforms set that I had in the late sixties, I think -- it was a spaceship, I believe, with a living room and a kitchen and I loved it so much and don't know what happened to it. I've never found it on ebay or anywhere else and have sort of resigned myself to thinking that I imagined it? I know this has nothing to do with your post, other than I get it.

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  5. Carolyn:
    And it did help...a LOT. I think I got something like 800 for it.

    Carter doesn't dig the original trilogy much either. He wants to watch the prequel trilogy. It makes me wonder who his father REALLY is...

    Yeah...I wonder when you are gonna have to start cutting into your GG collection. The time will come. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow...but someday.

    A spaceship with a living room and a kitchen? Did it have aliens or humans? If you can give me any more info maybe I can figure out what it was.

    And as for you, Mr. Asian Porn SpamBot, would you PLEASE leave me alone? I do not want to do the thing where I have to moderate posts. That would suck.

  6. I remember the Ewok village from when I was growing up. . . Star Wars had some good toys back in the day.

  7. I can't remember if my Colorforms had aliens or humans, but I'm tilting toward humans -- perhaps like the Jetsons or something? I'm forty-six years old, if that helps.

  8. Elizabeth- that reminds me a great deal of the "lost in space" colorforms set from the sixties.

  9. Mike, that was my first thought too. Right time period, spaceship but with living quarters and a kitchen? Lost in Space was a primary suspect.


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