I Had That! #51: Kenner Star Wars Toys

I could have pieced this entry out more. It could have been all 52 entries by itself. As we’ve seen, Star Wars can’t be overemphasized in my youth, and Kenner’s line of toys played an enormous part of that. They were always around. They were always available as Christmas and Birthday gifts. Everyone had some.

The image above encapsulates my memories. I recall the Star Wars figure aisle at Lionel Playworld as a giant, sprawling expanse 14 feet high and a mile long, and while that’s the subject of some exaggeration, it’s still fairly accurate in the ways that count. If the nerd religion is consumerism, this was its Mecca, Vatican, and Parthenon all rolled up into one.

Thanks to this thread I was able to piece together all of the Kenner toys I had. The complete, as far as I can tell, list, is

Landspeeder – I don’t think I actually bought this or had it bought for me. I’m pretty sure I got one as part of a trade or something.

Vinyl Figure Carrying Case – as in, the carrying case was made of vinyl. Absolutely essential. I had several of these, as the number of figures I owned would outgrow them and also they weren’t made that well and came apart pretty easily.

Droid Factory – This was one of the cooler toys, featuring all kind of neat bits that almost immediately started getting lost.

Imperial Troop Transporter – This weird thing is apparently now a “real” object in one of the cartoons, I guess. I thought it was kind of cool and intended to try to make it in Lego, but many people have beaten me to that idea, including, now, Lego itself.

Dewback – It’s a big giant lizard; of course I had this.

Creature Cantina – Not the cardboard one, the plastic one with the opening doors and thing in the floor so figures could get shot and die.

Tauntaun – I didn’t have the “open belly” variant that I believe came later.

Millennium Falcon – This was the gem of my collection, as I didn’t have the famed Death Star playset. I even took some model paints to it to make it even more “realistic” looking.

Radio Controlled Sandcrawler – I’ve always loved the look of the Sandcrawler. The “radio controlled” business was actually kind of lame — it went forward or backed up in a curve, and made an awful racket doing so — but just being a Sandcrawler excited me.

Escape From Death Star Game – my friends and I played the hell out of this.

12″ Jawa – The only one of the 12″ figures I had. I liked the Jawas but I’m not sure why I needed a 12″ one.

Jigsaw Puzzles – I had a bunch of these, and I should have done an entry on all the jigsaw puzzles I had.

Darth Vader Carrying Case – eventually I “upgraded” to this, but still needed the vinyl ones for overflow.

Gun Turret And Probot – already discussed here.

Twin-Pod Cloud Car – Another goofy design I loved.

Slave 1 – I am pretty sure I had this, though not 100%.

Star Destroyer Bridge – I thought this was the coolest thing, though having Darth Vader’s “meditation chamber” on the bridge is hilarious. Did they have to keep their voices down when he was in there? “So help me god if one of you wakes up Vader I will be so angry!”

Those were all the vehicles and playsets and such that I had.

As for the action figures, Wikipedia can tell me exactly when I stopped buying them. The last wave of them I had was Wave F, which was on sale in 1981. I had no one following that. That means I stopped getting Star Wars toys by 1982, which, even though I was 14 then, still seems early to me. By 1982 I didn’t have my computer yet, but I was going gangbusters on Doctor Who, so that could explain it. What’s strange to me is how I went straight to zero; I had everything before that point and nothing after it.

A lot of my Star Wars toys were unloaded when I did get my computer. I traded them to my friend for disks of pirated games, and he gave them to his little brother.

Next week is the final entry in this series, and it’s appropriate. Any ideas on what it will be?

When did I get it? 1977-1982

Do I still have it? I still have some Star Wars figures but I’m not sure if they were the ones I personally had or if I picked them up elsewhere afterwards. I don’t still have any of the other stuff. I know for a fact that the “Bespin Han” I still have is my original.

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