If you are wondering what your vintage Star Wars toys are worth today, then this article probably isn't going to help you...
Star Wars Action Figure Galaxy
Some of the aliens in the Star Wars Universe had adventures that were just as interesting as those of Luke and Han!
Had I known about the hidden agenda of Tessek or the exile of Momaw Nadon, I would of gotten many more hours of play out of my action figures. But then again, I still have a bunch of figures lying around....
This article focuses not only on action figures lines but on the role the characters play in the Star Wars Universe. So, each figure is listed in order of release with an explanation of who the figure is, in reference to the Star Wars Universe, followed by a description of the figure itself.
In order to cash in on the Christmas rush, Kenner released an “Early Bird Figure Set” in December of 1977. This set included a cardboard stand for the first twelve action figures in 1978 and a mail in certificate to receive the first four action figures of the series. It is estimated that around 600,000 sets were shipped to stores. In 1978, Kenner offered its 33/r Star Wars action figures to toy stores. In the first year, Kenner sold an estimated 26,106,500 pieces!
The first alien that Kenner released was in its Early Bird package. This alien is from the enslaved planet Kashyyyk. This alien, better known as Chewbacca, is the friend of Han Solo and co-pilot of the famed Millennium Flacon. Chewie owed a life debt to Han Solo, because Solo released the Wookie from an Empire prison.
In the Early Bird package Chewbacca had a green bowcaster, a blaster rifle that hooked over his right arm. Every subsequent release has contained a black bowcaster.
The only two aliens released in the original twelve action figures were Chewbacca and a Jawa. The Jawas are small creatures native to the planet Tatooine. These creatures roam the wastelands in vehicles called Sand Crawlers.
The Jawa figure, one of the smallest in the line, went through some early production changes. The Jawa was first released with a reddish plastic cape that was worn like a coat. It was quickly changed to a dark brown pullover cloth cape. Both versions were released with a small blaster that was never reissued.
In 1979, Kenner released twelve new action figures. The four aliens included are from the cantina scene in Star Wars; Greedo, Hammerhead, Snaggletooth, and Walrus Man.
The green skinned Rodian, Greedo, worked for Jabba the Hutt.. Greedo had been banished from his planet, Rodia, for being an unscrupulous bounty hunter. Greedo was well known on the planet Tatooine for being greedy and ruthless.
Greedo is a simple figure. This green-skinned alien has a mouth slightly extended outward from his head and two head antennae. Greedo, for some reason, wears an all green flight suit and was released with a Han Solo blaster.
The next figure was the Hammerhead in the cantina in Star Wars. The Hammerhead’s, or Ithorian’s, real name is Momaw Nadon. Momaw had also been exiled from his homeworld. Momaw chose to trade Ithorian secrets with the Empire in exchange for the planet Ithor’s freedom. Exiled from his beloved world, Momaw began to aid the rebels in any way he could.
The figure crafted of Momaw Nadon portrays the Ithorian’s “T” shaped head which extends outward from the neck and then curves upwards, with eyes on the left and right side of the end. The figure is brown, with a blue jumpsuit, and equipped*with a Stormtrooper blaster.
The next figure is a biped of an unidentified species. Snaggletooth was so named because of a small fang-like tooth protruding from the left side of his mouth. Nothing is known about Snaggletooth; his life seems to be as much of a mystery as his species.
Snaggletooth was shown only briefly in the cantina scene in Star Wars, but gained popularity from a production error that resulted in two versions. The version that was sold on card was the accurate portrayal of Snaggletooth, in reference to the movie. This version was a gray-furred dwarf figure wearing a red
flightsuit and no shoes.
The second version of Snaggletooth was included in the Sears Exclusive Cantina Set. This version was a regular sized gray-furred biped wearing a blue flightsuit and gray boots. (Apparently the only photograph Sears received was a black and white picture cut off at the waist.) Although Snaggletooth was pictured as having been released with a Stormtrooper blaster, both versions actually came with a Han Solo blaster!
The last figure in the 1979 series is the Aqualish Ponda Baba, better known as Walrus Man. (Ponda Baba and his pug-faced friend are the ones who began to bother Luke in the Cantina.) Ponda Baba is currently searching the galaxy for a cheap bionic arm, to replace the arm he lost to Ben Kenobi’s light saber!
The Walrus Man figure has green head and hands, an orange torso and blue arms and legs, and was sold with a Stormtrooper blaster.
One of the accessories released in 1979 was the Death Star Playset. On the lowest level was the trash compactor and a Dianoga. The Dianoga are from the planet Vodran and they have infested the trash compactors of the galaxy. .
The trash compactor monster is a green piece of rubber that has four tentacles, a fin on its back and an open mouth on the bottom. The head snakes forward from the rest of the body and ends with a single eye on the tip.
EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
The second movie in the Star Wars trilogy is the Empire Strikes Back. Three series of action figures were released between 1980 and 1982; in these two years only three new alien figures were released.
The first series was released in 1980, and the only alien in this series is the bounty hunter Bossk, of the warlike Trandoshan race. Bossk’s specialty is capturing runaway Wookie slaves, and he has been after Chewbacca for some time.
The Bossk figure is an olive skinned reptilian alien wearing a mustard colored outfit, with bright red eyes and mouth. Bossk was sold with a laser rifle.
In 1981, the Jedi Master Yoda and an Ugnaught were released as part of the second series from Kenner.
When Yoda died, certain mysteries of the Force and the secrets of his species went to the grave with him. Yoda’s last trainee was Luke Skywalker.
The figure of the Jedi Master Yoda is about the size of a Jawa. The figure comes with a walking stick and a snake that you can wrap around Yoda’s neck. Yoda is wearing a beige Jedi Robe, held together by a small plastic belt that has a pouch on it. Underneath the robe Yoda is wearing a brown tunic. The Yoda figure was originally released in a light green version that came with an orange snake. Later, Yoda was released in a dark green version with a brown snake.
The Ugnaughts are small humanoid-porcines that work in Cloud City and on the planet Bespin mining Tibanna gas. The Ugnaughts are usually found doing manual labor in Cloud City.
The Ugnaught figure has a face that resembles the face of a wild boar, with the snout protruding over the fangs. The white haired figure comes with a purplish-blue apron, is wearing a gray work suit and was packaged with a small white tool case.
RETURN OF THE JEDI
George Lucas was never quite satisfied with the outcome of the cantina scene from Star Wars, so when it came time to begin scripting Return of the Jedi he decided to redo that scene. The outcome was Jabba the Hutt’s Palace.
The 1983-84 release of Return of the Jedi figures had the largest selection of aliens. The first release of Return of the Jedi figures in 1983 included; Nien Numb, Ree-Yees, Weequay, Chief Chirpa, Klaatu, Gamorrean “Pig” Guard, Logray, Squid Head, Admiral Ackabar, and Bib Fortuna.
Nien Numb became a hero in the Return of the Jedi as the co-pilot of the Millennium Flacon during the Battle for Endor. Before the battle, the Sullstan Nien Numb had an excellent history of piloting trade runs. When the Empire pushed him out of business, Numb became a smuggler, and eventually joined the Rebellion wholeheartedly.
The figure portrayed the Sullstan accurately, molding gills that began at his nose and extended all the way to his ears. Nien Numb is wearing a red flight suit and a blue vest, and a Bespin cloud car pilot gun was included.
Ree-Yees, a Gran from the planet Kinyen, was a member of Jabba’s Court. He was on the Sail Barge with Jabba, when the Heroes of Yavin blew it to bits. Ree-Yees was wanted on his home world for murder.
Ree-Yees wasn’t one of the most graceful aliens; he was actually kind of repulsive, which made him an interesting figure. Ree-Yees tan head and hands were quite large, he had three eyes snaking from his head, four large ears, and wore a dark brown body suit.
The figure was noteworthy in that his gold rifle was never re-released (there were four guns that were never re-released, the Jawas, Ree-Yees, Bossk, and the first Princess Leia), in the regular Star Wars figure line.
However, in the Droids series, Uncle Gundy was released with a black version of the Ree-Yees rifle.
Jabba the Hutt had many guards, but the Weequays were the fiercest skiff guards and enforcers on Tatooine. The two Weequays were identical, and to make things even more confusing, both were referred to as Weequay!
Weequay is the only Star Wars action figure that had a ponytail. The figures head is still fully moveable. The skiff guard outfit that Weequay is wearing has a dark brown torso with blue arms and tan pants. The weapon, a standard for skiff guards, is a futuristic bayo-, net staff called a force pike.
The first Ewok released in figure form was Chief Chirpa. It was Chief Chirpas’ decision to aid the Rebellion in the fight against the Empire. Chief Chirpa made this decision not only because it was honorable to aid tribe members, but also because the Imperials were destroying the trees. (Trees are sacred to Ewoks.)
Chief Chirpa carries a reptilian staff of office and wears animal pelts. This grayish Ewok came with a brown hood and top.
Klaatu was a skiff guard in Jabba’s Court. Very little is known about Klaatu; all Klaatooinans have olive-colored reptilian skin, and some have small horns on their faces.
The Klaatu figure has a horned face with an attached silver helmet which wraps around the back of the figures head. Klaatu also has a removable kilt made of a plush material. Two versions of this figure were released in 1983, with tan and gray limbs, respectively. Both variations were released with force pike as a weapon.
The Gamorrean (Pig) Guards, are nicknamed for their obvious resemblance to a pig. These fierce aliens are intelligent creatures but violent warring tendencies are deeply imbedded in the males of the species. Their planet Gamorr was enslaved; however, a few males have been able to sell their services on the open market as bounty hunters, soldiers, and guards.
The figure is quite large, fairly round, and has a brown outfit that leaves his limbs bare, except for some armor on his forearms. The Guard came with a short axe as a weapon.
Logray the Ewok Medicine Man, the shaman of the Ewok tribe, was the sole practitioner of all tribal rituals, including the Dark Rituals which involved sacrifices! Few opposed Logray before the Battle for Endor, because he had the authorization of Chief Chirpa to practice any rituals he so desired. However, during that battle Logray was shown to be a cowardly bully. Consequently, Logray was removed from his position and replaced by Paploo.
The Logray figure is easily identified by his tan and white stripped fur and his bird skull hood. The figure also came with a medicine pouch and a black staff.
The next alien figure was molded after one of the smartest members of Jabba’s Court, Squid Head. Squid Head’s real name is Tessek and he is a part of the Quarren race. The Quarren live with the Mon
Calamari on the water world of Calamari. Tessek may have been the only person in Jabba’s Palace who realized that the rebel prisoners were dangerous. Because of this realization, Tessek was able to escape Jabba’s Sail Barge before it blew up.
His head is in the shape of a squid, complete with four tentacles hanging from his chin. He also has a light beige kilt that is held up with an inch wide silver plastic belt, both of which are removable. Squid Head was packaged with a Bespin Gaurd blaster.
The next alien released in this series is Admiral Ackabar, a Mon Calamari. Currently, Admiral Ackabar has had some tough times in the New Republic, as detailed in the books of Timothy Zahn and Kevin J. Anderson.
Admiral Ackabar is a relatively simplistic figure. Most of the figures body is covered by his white and brown Admiral’s uniform, exposing only his red forearms and his red fish-shaped head. Ackabar came with a ringed black baton.
The last figure released in the 1983 Return of the Jedi series was the Twi’lek Bib Fortuna. Fortuna began as a spice smuggler on his home planet Ryloth and ascended in Jabba’s organization. Fortuna is currently fighting off small factions that are trying to gain control of pieces of Jabba’s (now Bib’s) empire.
The figure for Bib Fortuna has two head tails winding off a grayish head, common to Twi’leks. Because of these head tails, the figures head movement is seriously restricted. Bib Fortuna came with a removable brown robe made of a flimsy felt material, and a removable brown piece of plastic armor that encompassed the torso. The figure included a cork-screwed brown staff with a loop at the top.
Along with the Return of the Jedi figures was a Jabba the Hutt Playset. This playset included a move-able Jabba the Hutt and a Salicous Crumb.
The Hutts are large sentient slugs from the planet Varl. Jabba started out with a small smuggling operation based on Tatooine, and despite the fact that he became too fat to move around much, ended up with a huge crime empire.
The Jabba the Hutt figure.
When you move his head, his tail will move also.
Both arms are removable, for some unknown reason. -
No Jabba playset would be complete without a Salicous Crumb figure, a Kowakian Lizard Monkey.
When this race was first discovered, xenobiologists tried to determine if the Lizard Monkeys were sentient. They decided against this because no animal could be so obnoxious on purpose.
The Salicous Crumb figure has a grin on his gremlin-like face and is permanently fixed in a sitting position. However, the curled tail can be rotated.
The second release of Return of the Jedi figures, in 1984„ had more aliens in it than humans or droids. The second series included; Klaatu (skiff outfit), Nikto, Prune Face, Teebo, Wicket W. Warrick, Paploo, Lumat, and Sy Snootles and the Max Reebo Band.
This version of Klaatu is dressed in white and different shades of brown. There is an attached brown wrap-around helmet with a loose piece of plastic hanging off the back of Klaatu’s head. This Klaatu was sold with a long laser rifle that looks like a staff.
The Klaatu skiff guards were probably commanded by the humanoid species called the Nikto. These aliens have multiple nostrils and four smaH horns along the forehead of their rusty brown faces.
The action figure Nikto’s helmet has a separate plastic extension coming off the head of the figure. Although limited, you can still move the figures head. He has a blue torso with white arms and gray pants. Nikto came with a laser staff.
Most people familiar with Star Wars toys will tell you that not every toy in the accessory line was in the movies, and that most of the aliens were only shown on the screen for a few seconds. To my knowledge, the next figure was never in any of the movies.
Despite the lack of identity, Prune Face is an interesting figure. He has one beady yellow eye, a black eye patch, and came with a tan snap-together cloak, white shirt and green1 pants. The gun included resembled an M-16.
Teebo is a gray stripped Ewok with a removable halfhood that looks like the head of a wild boar. Teebo also came with a removable shoulder harness that has a pouch and a horn. Teebo’s weapon is a stone hatchet.
Wicket W. Warrick was always wandering the forest of Endor. After the war, Wicket, now the center of attention, was promoted to a warrior. Wicket is rumored to be next in line for chief.
Wicket is one of the cutest Star Wars figures. No bigger than the Yoda figure, Wicket is all brown except for his face and stomach, which are cream colored. He came with a removable brown hood and a spear.
Another daring Ewok was Paploo. Paploo was responsible for leading the biker scouts away from the Imperial bunker by stealing a speeder bike. Paploo has since replaced Logray as the Tribe Medicine Man.
This all-red Ewok came with a removable white tan hood that has a red feather and a spear that is notched in the shape of a V at the top.
The last Ewok that was released in the Return of the Jedi series was Lumat. He was a gray colored Ewok that is not only a warrior but a woodcutter as well. Lumat came with a bow and a removable shoulder quiver filled with arrows.
The last three figures that were released in the second series of Return of the Jedi in 1984 were Sy Snootles and the Max Reebo Band (these were packaged together).
Sy Snootles is the vocalist for the Max Reebo Band. This biped alien is yellow with blue splotches. Her red lipped mouth is at the end of a long protrusion from her face. This figure has a brown plastic removable skirt and a long plastic feather sticking out of her head. Included with the figure was a microphone.
Max Reebo is the leader of the band, and is an Ortolan organ player. The Max Reebo figure looks like a blue elephant with long ears that hang past his shoulders, a trunk for a nose, and black eyes. The figure came with a circular organ that Max can be placed in.
The last member of the Max Reebo Band is the Kitonak, Droopy McCool.
The Droopy figure is a cream colored pot-bellied alien with two fingers and two toes.
Oddly, Droopy appears to have no eyes. All there is on his face are puffy cheeks and a long snout nose. The only clothes that Droopy is wearing are gray pants. He came with a silver wind instrument and a microphone.
As an accessory to the series, Kenner released the Rancor figure in 1984.
The Rancor was a large beast that Jabba kept in a dungeon. The Rancor accessory is almost 10" tall.
This brown figure has large claws that are able to grip the 33A inch Star Wars figures. There is a lever that will open the Rancors fanged mouth so that you can stick a Star Wars figure inside.
In 1985, Kenner introduced the Power of the Force line. The Power of the Force line has become the most popular of all the figure lines because it includes coins, which gives a little biography about the character, and also features a brand new logo. This line, which ended up being the last to date, includes 17 figures.
The aliens included in the Power of the Force line are; Yak Face, Warok, Romba, Barada, PaploOj, Amanaman, and Lumat.
Both Paploo and Lumat are reprints from the Return of the Jedi series.
The first alien figure, Yak Face is a biped that is characterized by his long snout. To my knowledge, Yak Face was never released in the United States, only in parts of Europe and Australia. The figure, seen briefly in Return of the Jedi, is a hot collectible because of its scarcity. Yak Face is tan and blue, with a face that looks like Joe Camel!
The Ewoks Warok and Romba are Ewok warriors that fought gallantly alongside the rebels in the Battle for Endor. Fortunately, these two Ewoks survived the battle.
The figure for Warok is a gray Ewok that has a dark red removable hood. Warok also came with a removable shoulder quiver full of arrows and a bow.
• The figure for Romba is a deep red. Romba came with a dark brown hood and a light colored spear.
Yet another Klatooinan working for Jabba the Hutt was Barada. The Barada figure is a muscular alien. He is wearing a yellow vest with a white shirt and red pants, with a red bandanna on his head. The figure included a laser staff.
The last alien to be released in this line was the bounty hunter Amanaman. Amanaman is a serpentine creature that appeared briefly in Return of the Jedi as a member of Jabba’s Court. The Amanaman has long arms and a small tail that curls up between the figures legs. The yellow and green figure has a cobrashaped head. The figure was packaged with a brown staff with three shrunken heads.
As you can see, the alien action figures add a certain diversity to the Star Wars Universe; the movies would have hardly been believable without them. The faces of these aliens added a whole different level to the massive line of Star Wars toys. This difference, among others, makes the Star Wars line one of the most impressive figure lines to date.
Star Wars Ceramics
As the doors opened, stunned moviegoers exited theaters, forever touched by the phenomenon of Star Wars. George Lucas introduced us to the adventures of a villain named Darth Vader and a young farm boy, Luke Skywalker.
Kenner, a toy company from Cincinnati, presented us with a large selection of plastic figurines and toys based on the Star Wars movie. Both children and adults collected anything they could get their hands on. But fans were not satisfied; they moved ahead to collect other articles from Star Wars.
In 1977, the demand for Star Wars collectibles was better than expected. This forced companies to view this phenomenon as a definite money-maker. The expanded view of manufacturers brings us to the world of Star Wars ceramics.
At the time, many people passed ceramics by, but they are now widely collected. The Roman Ceramics Company was one of the first to manufacture a line of ceramic banks. Each bank was hand painted and came in a white box. Darth Vader was the smallest of the three banks; it was only 7" tall. The R2-D2 and C3-PO were both approximately 12" tall. All banks are currently priced at about $125.00 or more when mint in the box. Roman also made a series of hand painted cookie jars, including C3-PO, painted gold and white, and a blue R2-D2. Each of these are highly collectible. The value of these two pieces is about $300.00 when mint in the box, and $185.00 when loose.
Another company, Sigma, released a line of ceramic bisque statues. Each one was about 7" tall and hand painted. The following were available and came individually boxed; Han Solo, Boba Fett, Leia, Luke, C3-PO, R2-D2, Darth Vader, Klattu, Bib Fortuna, Wicket, Gammorean Guard, Lando as a General Pilot, and the Emperor.
The next items released were a collection of miscellaneous office and household items. Each item was molded after a character or vehicle from Star Wars. Character picture frames, a Yoda flower vase, a Snowspeeder toothbrush holder, a Landspeeder soap dish, a R2-D2 string dispenser (with scissors) and a set of Darth Vader/Chewbacca book-ends (which are the better pieces from this collection). Lastly, the prize piece from this collection is the Taun Taun Teapot, which is highly collectible. The top of the teapot resembles Luke Skywalker in Hoth gear, and the bottom piece is the Taun Taun. This is valued around $175.00, and the C3-PO cookie jar is valued at approximately $100.00.
Sigma also produced a line of drinking mugs. Each one featured a character’s facial profile. The mugs included Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, C3-PO, Darth Vader, Lando, Yoda, Gammorean Guard, Klattu, Stormtrooper, Wicket and the Biker Scout. These were also all hand painted. This company also produced a couple of music boxes, which portrayed Ewoks and the Sny Snootles Band. Again, each were hand painted and valued around $100.00.
Along with these two companies, Adam Joseph Industries also released a collection of plastic character banks in 1983. Although they were not ceramic, each was very detailed and ranged from 7-9" tall. Character banks available were the Gammorean Guard, Emperor’s Royal Guard, Darth Vader, R2-D2, Wicket and Kennesa. Each came individually boxed with an open front for viewing.
(I must briefly mention that although they are unlicensed products, there are a lot of white, unpainted copies floating around. So please shop carefully because most of these items are not worth much at all.)
The Hamilton Company released a series of 11 plates. Ten of these plates were geared towards different characters from the Star Wars film. The remaining plate was made to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the movie. Plates included Han Solo, Leia, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Yoda, Wicket, R2-D2, C3-PO, Darth Vader, Ben, a scene of the “Light Saber Battle,” and the Anniversary Plate, which is a group portrait, featuring Luke in the center, surrounded by Leia, Ben, Han, Chewbacca, Darth Vader and the Droids. Each plate is valued at approximately $50.00.
As we reflect upon our personal collections of figures, toys or ceramics from Star Wars, we know that if it wasn’t for George Lucas sharing his vision of “a galaxy far away,” we would not be reminded of a time of innocence.
I would like to give special thanks to my wife, Lori, and those who helped obtain information on ceramics: John DiCicco and Tom Tumbusch (experts on Star Wars field). Anyone interested in receiving a free Star Wars catalog may write to Andrew J. Howard, 5 Cedar Court, Lakewood, NJ 08701.
[Source: Collectible Toys & Values, #35, May 1995.]