Let me start off by saying that this is by no means a list of the best Star Wars figures of all time. I wasn't a rich kid, so I didn't have every single Star Wars toy ever made. These are just a few of my favorite Star Wars figures from the ones that I did have. Action figures were expensive, and my pocket money had to cover my Starburst and Jolly Rancher expenditure as well. Violins, please, Mr. Music!
I should add that I only chose from the Power of the Force 2 line (which began in 1995), as this was the time of my Star Wars fandom's peak. I lost interest in the toys from about 1999 onwards, and I was still having my derriere diapered during the 80s when the original Power of the Force line was being released.
Are we ready? Hoh... whoa... here we go.
#1 Luke Skywalker in Dagobah Fatigues
This was the first Star Wars toy I ever bought, during my first few days of being a Star Wars fan in 1996. I remember walking to the Safeway store which was just around the corner from my house and buying this figure. Unfortunately, I lost the lightsaber that came with him in a trade gone sour (see below) but through state-of-the-art Industrial Light & Magic technology I have managed to reconstruct what it looked like.
Seriously, though, check out how buff Luke is. I wish I had the Yoda action figure which came with a backpack so that the little green Muppet could ride shotgun on Luke's back. I'd probably be making Yoda lean in close to Luke's ear and whisper stuff like 'Work out do you?' in his whacky syntax. That or ditching Yoda and pretending Luke was going on a hike on Endor, filling his little knapsack with berries and a handkerchief for him to use as a tent.
After a while I got tired of Luke Skywalker in Dagobah Fatigues, and as I couldn't afford another Star Wars figure without helping myself to the money in my mother's purse, I decided to trade with this kid Josh from my school, in return for...
Ah, Chewie. There is no really no way to describe what he means to so many of us, except with the verbal arts. Tenacious D tried to do this through song, and while it was an admirable attempt, it sadly fell short. I will now attempt to pay homage to Chewbacca through the higher art of haiku.
What is your bandolier for?
I think sandwiches.
I had a lot of fun with Chewbacca. I had to, as he was my only Star Wars figure for quite a while. Let me recount a typical play situation for you. I used to build secret bases for Chewbacca out of scrap wood in the backyard, cloistering the Wookiee deep within. Now, we know the Rebel Alliance was underfunded and constantly on the move, but I admit that they could have done better for their bases than building them out of planks of wood. Then again, Chewie was all alone, so maybe he was stranded on some planet, let's call it Bak'yarrd, and was putting his Wookiee carpentry skills to good use.
The really silly thing about this scenario is that I used to get my basketball and throw it as hard as I could at Chewbacca's house from a couple of meters away, totally demolishing it and usually sending poor Chewie flying halfway across Bak'yarrd. I pretended the basketball was fired from a new Imperial superweapon. Actually, a successor to the Death Star that fires giant orange orbs is not as stupid as some of the things they come up with in the Star Wars books. Seriously, check them out. Or don't. It's really up to you. The ball is in your court.
I should now bring the story of the Chewbacca-Luke Skywalker in Dagobah Fatigues trade fiasco to a close. In hindsight it may have been a foolish trade, because lightsabers trump Wookiees in coolness, but I was satisfied with the deal at the time. Chewie is a taller and broader figure, so I guess I just got greedy. I wanted a greater amount of plastic.
Quite a while after the initial trade, when I had a few more Star Wars figures, I got this really crappy one that I didn't like, so I traded it to Josh to get my Luke Skywalker in Dagobah Fatigues back. I'm glad I did, because it has a lot of sentimental value now, being my first Star Wars toy. Oh, and that rat-fink Josh told me he lost Luke's lightsaber, but I think he just said that so he could keep it. Also, somehow, I lost Chewbacca's bowcaster (the crossbow-shaped gun he has), thus leaving two of the Rebel Alliance's greatest heros without their primary weapons.
Oh, what the heck. Here's another Chewbacca play scenario, just to make sure Chewbacca has the longest damn entry in this list.
My step-dad used to know the guy who owned the corner store at the end of our street (they both played guitar, and often jammed together), so I used to hang out there hoping to get free candy. On one of those delinquent afternoons, Steve the store owner emptied his freezer of all the frost that had accumulated at the bottom. Maybe he needed to do this regularly to satisfy health department regulations. Maybe he just felt like doing it. At any rate, it made for good action figuring.
I ran home as fast as I could to get Chewbacca. I had to make things quick, as it was a hot Australian summer and the faux-snow was melting fast. It was time for the Wookiee to journey to the ice planet Hoth (as seen in 'The Empire Strikes Back'). I didn't have any other figures, so I couldn't re-enact any cool fight scenes (pun not intended, but aren't I clever for identifying it?!). I had to be satisfied with Chewbacca stomping around the snowfields endlessly, as if the Rebels had gone for a picnic and left him there when they flew back to base. A Wookiee is for life, man, not just for Life Day. (Star Wars in-joke there.)
#3 Boba Fett
Allow me to remonstrate. Boba Fett is undoubtedly one of the cooler characters in the Star Wars pantheon. He's the indie favourite, filling the grey area between the hardcore evil of Darth Vader and the sickly sweet heroism of Luke Skywalker. Unfortunately, like his father's shiny silver armour, Fett's sheen of coolness has become somewhat scuffed in recent years, with George Lucas choosing to cast an annoying little New Zealander who can't act to play the young bounty hunter. There was a lot of mystery surrounding the character before the prequel trilogy came along, and I almost wish that the mystery had remained... Alright, no I don't. I just wish George Lucas didn't ruin Star Wars.
Getting back on topic, Boba Fett was one of my earliest Star Wars figures. My little brother bought it not long after I started collecting Star Wars toys, and I subsequently appropriated it when he lost interest in copying everything I did. He had pretty good taste, though, for the Boba Fett figure is truly a beautiful piece of plastic. I always liked how the jetpack and cape could come off, so you could have Action Boba, or Boba At Home. I mean, after a hard day's work hunting down all manner of riff-raff, there's nothing the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy liked to do more than strip down to his skivvies (but never taking off the helmet, the helmet stays on... damn you George Lucas!) and watch a few Beverly Hills 90210 re-runs. I believe he had a thing for the ugly one.
Continuing the parade of lost accessories, I lost Boba Fett's trademark sawn-off blaster rifle, which is a real shame because he has a weird hand which was molded so that the sawn-off is the only weapon that can fit into it. I guess it's appropriate that I lost so many of my figures' weapons, as there is a motif running throughout the Star Wars saga of lost weapons (and lost limbs- but that's another story). Obi-Wan Kenobi's lightsaber was left in Darth Vader's clutches when he was killed on the Death Star, Luke Skywalker lost his lightsaber in his Bespin duel with Darth Vader, and so on.
That's enough of this skywalk down memory lane. Me, out!