I was just 7 years old when Star Wars – A New Hope (or just Star Wars) was released in the US in 1977. By the time it reached the UK in 1978 I was about as giddy with excitement as a kid could possibly get.
Growing up in the 1970s was a wonderful time to be a kid with a big imagination. I loved TV shows like Thunderbirds, Doctor Who, Space 1999, Star Trek, Buck Rogers and the old Flash Gordon serials. So much escapism and so much wonder for a nerdy wide-eyed kid in his national health specs :-) I didn’t care one bit. Me and my mates were all the same. We devoured science fiction TV and cinema and it dominated our playground conversations.
One of the crew’s mother worked in a toy shop in town. He was a lucky kid, his mother got to bring home cool toys. Some time around the late 1970s he started turning up in the playground at primary school with these little figures from Star Wars – a film that none of us had actually seen yet.
We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. These things were just awesome. I’d go round to his house and see this wonderful array of toys like the Millenium Falcon, the Cantina from Mos Eisley and an X-Wing fighter. These cool little characters slotted into them perfectly and wow could we use our imaginations to fill in the rest.
We just took all these toys for granted. The action figures were a couple of quid each as I recall (£1.99) and the sort of thing you tugged at your parent’s arm for when you passed the shop window. I built up a steady collection over the two or three years that followed and between us all we recreated the scenes from Star Wars (and later The Empire Strikes Back).
I guess by the time Return of the Jedi had reached us we were just a bit too cool for playing with toys :-)
Now as we’ve all hit 50 and the regression to our perfect childhoods is well established we’ve occasionally asked where we might find some of these toys that fuelled our imagination so much as kids.
Where can I buy Star Wars figures?
Looking around the internet it looks as though eBay is a great place to start for buying Star Wars figures and vintage sci-fi toys. But there are also some dedicated niche sites such as scifitoys.co.uk which have a small range of perfectly preserved toys from 40 years ago. You can also check out Forbidden Planet’s range of Star Wars figures which includes some special edition characters from the original Star Wars trilogy.
Unsurprisingly some of these toys come at a cost. Especially the original items from 40 years ago, such as the Threepio figure above (which may well have been sold by the time you read this). They are collector’s items after all.
Toys are cool no matter how old you are. I’ve loved filling my son’s room with Star Wars toys and am always thrilled to see him getting excited about lightsabers, blasters, spaceships and action figures.
Embrace your inner nerd folks ;-)