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  1. #1

    How hard was it for you to find your figures - A travel back in time

    With all the threads on Hasbro/Wal-Mart/Distribution and Availability I've seen allot of aggrivation in many people over their collecting hobby. Today it is bad, but it was not always like this. So I have decided since I love studdying your thoughts as well as the history (besides my who's fan choice figs thread is now slowing down) of our respective hobbies I wanted us all to take a trip back in time to 1995 when SW was finally making a comeback. I want your story over what you couldn't find, how easy it was to find, or if you weren't collecting then. We're going to start out with the month of July 1995, and I will do following months as we go. Yes that's 8 years month by month we're going to cover on this thread so it should be sizeable. Tell us how much you got, and any other details. This isn't a vote, it's a cherishment of our stories about SW. I invite you all to take part, because looking back, SW is a wonderful hobby. I had a lot of fun, let's bath in that. So in 1995 the musclebound figures came out on their cards and the shelves were full and fresh. Here's what was released then.

    Luke Skywalker
    Darth Vader
    R2-D2
    Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi
    Han Solo
    Chewbacca
    Stormtrooper
    C-3PO
    Princess Leia Organa
    Millenium Falcon
    X-Wing Fighter
    Landspeeder
    TIE Fighter
    Imperial AT-ST
    Star Wars Official Collectors Case

    Although C-3PO and Leia were later releases (september I believe) I did enclose them on this list because our next month covered will be December of 1995.
    Last edited by Jaff; 07-26-2003 at 01:56 PM.
    After 11 months The BEST/WORST figure poll is still going strong.

  2. #2
    Luke Skywalker
    Darth Vader
    R2-D2
    Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi
    Han Solo
    Chewbacca
    Stormtrooper
    C-3PO
    Princess Leia Organa
    Millenium Falcon
    X-Wing Fighter
    Landspeeder
    TIE Fighter
    Imperial AT-ST
    Star Wars Official Collectors Case

    I had no problem finding any of this stuff. It was everywhere and it was exciting. I had a hard time finding Leia in the begginning, because she like 3PO was a shorted figure. I found her while someone was stocking, and it was a real treat even though she looked like a man!!!! The only thing in this list that I did not get was the Official Collectors Case. It was too bulky and cheesy looking.
    After 11 months The BEST/WORST figure poll is still going strong.

  3. #3
    I had no problem finding these figures because I worked in Caldor, which was like a Wal-Mart. SO I just went into the stockroom and opened the cases. Easy finds for me.
    thanks Chux Turbo LBC Bobafrett Mtriv73 Rjarvis JF96 JT JMG FB Rogue2 Tycho Slicker Deoxy Caesar JontheJedi JJReason Brandon Solo JMS UK for great deals.
    SSG Pro Football Pick em and Bowl Pick em Champ 2006. 2007 NCAA Bracket Champ
    #24 - Gone but not forgotten

  4. #4

    Forget 1995! Try 1978-85!

    Actually, the first wave of 1995 POTF2 figures weren't all that hard to find. I even managed to score at least one of every variation (long-saber vs. short-saber for Luke, Obi-Wan and Vader). Even the later POTF2 waves in the orange-carded series weren't that hard to find, except that stupid Lando figure! I think it took me almost a full year to find him on the shelves!

    But for real ease of collecting, you must go back to the "Golden Age" period of 1978-85! I lived in New Jersey, within walking distance of a Woolworth's, plus I got the first 4 figures (Luke, Leia, R2 and Chewbacca) in the "Early Bird Special" offer. So, I only had 8 more figures to buy in order to have the first set of 12! At $1.98 per figure, and receiving a $10/week allowance at the time, it only took me 2 weeks!

    Subsequent waves were pretty easy, too, although I never did manage to find a vinyl-caped Jawa. My high school was in walking distance from a huge Woolworth's main store (2 floors!), plus we had stores like Two-Guys, Valley Fair, Great Eastern, Child World, and Children's Bargaintown (which eventually became something with the rather silly name of ... Toys 'R' Us!). By the time I graduated high school in 1980 (yes, I'm that old!), I think I had every Star Wars figure that came out, plus the first wave of Empire Strikes Back figures, too!

    I spent my first two years of college in Boston, and had a pretty easy time of finding subsequent waves of ESB figures. While there were a few people who thought my hobby childish or even weird, most of my classmates thought it was pretty cool. I had a nice display of figures on my bookcases in my dorm room, and it was often the center of conversation--especially after a few beers! After deciding to move back to NJ to finish my education, I had an even easier time of finding figures, because I had most of my old stores to count on ... plus, the town where I was going to college at had it's own K-Mart, Toys 'R' Us, Bradlees, and a few comic book stores that carried the figures. When I made friends with a classmate that worked at Toys 'R' Us, he'd always phone me to let me know when they got in new cases! (He also helped me score a Cabbage Patch Kid for my mom, when those things were just about impossible to find without being on a waiting list!)

    By the time the last figure lines from Kenner were petering out (I guess those were the tri-logo packs at Kaybee Toys), a lot of my best stores for hunting had closed. Two-Guys was gone, Korvettes was history, Bradlees had filed Chapter 11, and a lot of the Mom'n'Pop stores had been run out by the emerging giant that was TRU. However, I never remember not eventually finding at least one of everything I wanted. I never got into collecting the "Droids" and "Ewoks" animated series figures--except for the C-3P0, R2-D2, and Boba Fett figures from "Droids," just because they were cool variations of established figures.

    I don't know what changed in the ten years that Kenner wasn't producing figures, but by the time POTF2 was launched in 1995, the ease of collecting figures became more difficult. After the initial launch of POTF2, I remember having to start driving further and further away from home to find figures. The TRU nearest me would have nothing, while the one out in the boonies over 30 miles away would get everything! Then, they finally opened a Wal-Mart in NJ, and that was figure Nirvana! (Funny how things have changed, huh?) But, I think the thing that effected collecting the most was the rise of the dreaded Toy Scalpers! (In NJ, we called them Toy Pirates, or usually just "loser @$$holes"!) At the time, these characters had plenty of flea markets to set up shop at on the weekends, while spending their weekdays haunting toy sections at the exact moments cases were being pulled out. Lots of money was changing hands so that these morons were getting figures before they ever even reached the pegs, so that a $5 figure at Wal-Mart was selling for $15-30 at the flea markets. Lots of other morons were paying those prices, too, which just seemed to validate the Toy Pirates! Worse yet, collecting magazines started printing "Price Guides" with secondary market values for current toys, instead of just the "Vintage" Kenner stuff! So, if you said to your local Toy Pirate, "$25 for a Lando? Are you nuts?!" they'd just pull out a "Price Guide" and say, "Well, I could get $40, but I'm just trying to be fair." Fair??? Like they ever even understood the meaning of the word!

    Anyone still collecting that started waaaaay back when I did knows that this hobby, while still having its rewards, is a very, very different animal than it was back in the "Golden Age."

    Thus endeth the lesson ...
    [FONT=Book Antiqua]"Bring me kittens and puppies to strangle ... I'm fresh out of Imperial officers!"[/FONT]

  5. #5
    I didn't start collecting in 1995. However, all that stuff is now easy to find.
    Come vote in my Best Figure thread this Preview Month.

  6. #6
    I got back into the SW hobby fulltime in '93 when I saw Heir To The Empire at Walden books while cruisin the mall for chicks with my friends.
    The book was great, I was once again hooked.

    I started picking up OT movie soundtracks, and playing the NES SW games I had. The books continued to be released, and I started to read the DH comics, as well as got into the SW PC games. Just Toys released Bend Ems, which game me my first carded figurees since '84. While now they look humorous, they got me through the 'Dark Ages' when there wasn't much to get at all.
    When I heard about Kenner releasing new SW toys I was psyched. Funny, at first people liked the new muscualr scultps. They were very 'unvintage'. I lucked out on a trip to TRU and found the first few figures (minus Leia, 3P0) and the AT-ST. Gradually the Falcon, Tie-fighter, X-wing, and Landspeeder made their way into stores, as well as the Vintage 4 pack rerelease at TRU.

    It wasn't too hard for me to find the first wave of figures. Although the publicity SW was starting to get, soon changed this...
    Hasbro, Wuher needs help, bring us Ackmena http://www.petitiononline.com/Ackmena/petition.html

    Kenobi must be the Smith or Johnson of Tatooine

  7. #7
    I started collecting SW figures in in 97, the year the special editions came out. I was able to get all the stuff at stores, the hardest figures to find were Leia, Vader and the Stormtrooper. I never had a computer then, so on-line buying wasn't even an option. Come to think of it. These thing's we're using right now have REVOLUTIONALZED toy collecting.
    Hating aurra sing since 1999.

  8. #8
    Thanks for your vintage tales Darthzirock. As for the Longsaber figures I had no luck in finding them or the transition trays on the main market. I got the whole lot later in 1999, but back then finding longsabers weren't that hard in the first month or so. However when September came around with the introduction of the C-3PO and Leia figure they were getting a bit rare.

    Also folks don't forget that we will be covering this topic on a chronological basis, so don't jump too ahead. Keep your eyes on this thread and we will get to the point where you started collecting if you weren't at this time. Try not to go ahead of the current posted month (going behind is great) so that we don't stray from the topic wave subject.

    Also Bosskman, your right, they have revolutionized the industry.
    After 11 months The BEST/WORST figure poll is still going strong.

  9. #9
    I had no trouble finding the first 8 figures, although I had ordered them from the Jawa Trader, so it was simply a matter of waiting an extra month for them to come in. Leia was out in the initial assortments, but I'll never forget one of the managers at TRU back then who seemed to always stock the SW section being very nasty about the figs - she seemed to revel in telling us that there was no Leia, and I constantly came in to see the only Leia in the hands of scalpers. Luckily, a much nicer employee brought out a few cases when I asked if there were any more, and I was able to get the Leia figure.

    As for the vehicles, I had no trouble finding them. I even found the X-Wing at TRU about a month before the figures came out, back when the bend-ems were still eating up a large section of pegs.

  10. #10
    Yes I seem to remember the store managers being very stringint towards us collectors back then esspecially during late 96 and 97 when Collecting was becoming cool again. I have a really cool story for Dec 96 about this paticular topic.
    After 11 months The BEST/WORST figure poll is still going strong.

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