This thread will attempt to get to the psychological root of what the heck is going on with us. Invididual responses may very.
I'll start with some reasons.
1) When I was a kid, I enjoyed countless hours playing with these toys in mud, outdoors, making "bases" and set-ups for them to battle in. Writing my own "movies" with their continuing adventures.
Most of the things I like to do that give me this much distraction and satisfaction now are much more expensive or challenging:
ie - jet skiing requires it be daylight, the weather and traffic conditions within my taste and tolerance, food and drink preparation (or expenses), gas prices (yeah...), and I have to leave home and prepare for being away a long while.
by comparison - I can sort through my Star Wars collection or test-set dioramas without any preparation, and in any conditions.
I've attempted to recapture this satisfaction. Some circumstances are different though - the first time through I wasn't old enough to drive or buy a SeaDoo. I didn't have the opportunity to go most places without a parent driving me or giving me permission, and I didn't have the kind of money to sustain myself if I did take off. Now with more choices, it could be said that Star Wars is a less than completely perfect substitution for other things I can do with my time and money. The other choices did not exist for me when I was younger. Again though, the situation is that Star Wars is still satisfying, is very simple, and requires little planning or preparation to enjoy.
2) When I was younger, I did not have the room to create large standing "permanent" dioramas. I didn't have the funds for 100 troopers, nor the permission to set them up literally everywhere. I am single, live by myself, have no children, and for this part of my life, can finally do whatever I want within my own living space. This includes purchasing a large family home, and using it all for myself before one day when I may have a family. This is about "finally getting to do whatever I want." I'm able to be selfish living at home as I do not have to "get along with others and share my space." As an only child, and a quiet person, sort of artisitic or deeply thoughtful by nature, this is an ideal environment to express myself at peace.
3) Ironically, I like to express myself with control over chaotic battle sequences. I like my independence and I am medically unable to serve in the armed forces. Nevertheless, if there was a mission - like the hunt for Bin Laden, that I had the resources and control over undertaking, that'd be great. In the military, they might tell me to clean radio parts so that the people who were really hunting Bin Laden could call for backup - or just as likely, pizza. That is being part of the team, (the pizza team I suppose) but it is not the same as being Jango Fett in the Afghanistan wild country. Meanwhile, I do not have the resources to outfit a paramilitary organization at the present time, but $400 will buy you a lot of Clones so you can miniaturize your own adventure (hunting Grievous instead of Bin Laden). The fantasy seems simpler than reality. In reality, if my unit caught Bin Laden, our mission would be over and we'd have no more purpose. If we were killed, then we wouldn't have to worry about that. A soldier can generally stick to fighting, but finding something to do with oneself that one likes during peacetime might be far more difficult. Leaving the military to become a pizza chef for example, leaves you with stress (over getting orders out in 30 minutes or whatever), while you feel you are doing something far less important - perhaps even if you OWN the pizza franchise and make some good bucks doing it (and of course it's worse if you're just an employee).
But even if you are only setting up dioramas, you are the Supreme Chancellor over your own Star Wars universe. If you say the Wookiees should shred the Gungans to pieces, than so be it. You get to play God for something like $400.
4) The universe seems to have it's own improved rules. Right now, if you had the resources, I suppose you could move to Taiwan, and work for the mob (like the Hutt crimelords) and get false ID docs to enter the United States and do contract kills and then leave, living in high fashion like Jango Fett. Many of us might like our toys to fantasize about doing that, whereas we have too much to give up in our real lives to actually do it. You may have friends and family who will miss you if you disappear like that. You have an action figure collection you can't easily transport with you (or would want to) from country to country as you lived abroad so as to not be captured and tried for your crimes. If you are a killer, there's no gaurantee that your employers will pay you, since you can't take your contract to court and sue them. You might have to spend considerable resources to kill your employer's target, then only have revenge to get back from your employer. You need living satisfied customers in the Las Vegas underworld or wherever to help your reputation grow and command the fees that characters like Boba Fett did. By reverse, if you go vigilante and try to aide the police like a Jedi Knight would, you'll never get paid. You could be a legal bounty hunter - that's true. But you'll work paid on delivery. If you don't go to that trouble, you'll just be a vigilante like Batman - except that Bruce Wayne was independently wealthy. All in all, for $400 for a clone army or whatever you're buying from Star Wars, you can be anything you want, and command things to be however you desire. If you want Taun We to accept a contract hit on R4-G9 (for whatever reason) you can have her travel to Coruscant and sneak into the Jedi Temple to blow the droid to bits - or follow Obi-Wan to the moons of Bogdan to get a shot at his droid there. However ridiculous it may seem, it seems better than being arrested by the F.B.I. because you went into some Vegas gambling den and asked for wet work.
I don't collect carded figures and it doesn't interest me to have every single one, each variation, etc. When I see guys that do, I say "gee that's impressive. It's a curiosity. Let's see what that looks like. And I admire Hasbro's work on their products. And I think this guy had some persistance or luck in tracking it all down." No rare items really escape my grasp if I want them, but my thrill at getting them is marginal. I'm not really surprised by my obtaining rare or hard to get items. I have a strategy I've employed for years to do just that and I'd be more surprised if it didn't work. So I won't be impressed with your Toy Fair Vader / Anakin packet or whatever. I could obtain one if I wanted one -even if it meant e-Bay. I don't have that piece, so sure I'd come over to look at it as a curiosity. But I'm more interested in seeing what guys like NiubNiub do in their dioramas.
Now why do you think YOU buy Star Wars toys?