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 Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985

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finestcomics
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PostSubject: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeWed Dec 31, 2014 10:11 am

Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 SW_AF_Guide_zps46e3ce42

There are few things which make hobbies like collecting toys more fun and enjoyable than good quality reference material. Being able to use them as indispensable resources to identify genuine product, for past sales pricing reference, or even just to enjoy a good read on the history and lore brings us to some of the reasons why I feel Mark Bellomo's The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 hits the mark.

Right from go, the guide does a great job of organizing the toy classifications by waves, movie, and accessories. Before we get into the pertinent details, I should immediately mention that Mark captures a lot of the new entrant sentiment and concern traversing our hobby with a polite nudge and awareness on the subject of reproductions. The guide doesn't delve too deeply on the subject, but defers instead to the great work and service The Imperial Gunnery (TIG) forum provides to the collecting community in identifying reproduction toys, weapons and accessories. Top marks for addressing the topic within the first few pages, and directing new entrants to TIG’s website address where they can learn more on the subject for themselves.

Moving into the layout of each section, the reader is allowed a brief interlude with the history and lore trickling from the films successes to its merchandising, breaking down figures released in waves for Star Wars, then for ESB, ROTJ, POTF, Droids, Ewoks and the 12" action figures.  It paces nicely through each, leading the reader through important facts, a callout of each item with a description, which includes the name, production number, as well as breakdowns on character appearances, debuts, and original retail price (averaged). Starting from the Early Bird Certificate Package, and moving through the first wave of 12/20/21 figures, each item provides a wonderful photographic representation of the figure or toy, and includes values for mint in package, as well as loose toys. There are value considerations for completeness, which becomes more important with items where missing contents have a greater impact on value.

Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 Yoda_2pgs_zps15009add

The one thing that needs to be touched on is that the pricing incorporated into each item is a suggestion, and I considered it to be on  the conservative end for certain figures, especially rarer figures like the DT Luke, Ben and Vader. But this isn't across the board, as certain variants such as the Brown Snake Yoda, Blue Snaggletooth and last 17 figures like Yak Face, seemed to be very close, if not right on the money with it's values.  Serving as an advisor to several price guides, I recognize the gap between published values and values realized in real time to be unavoidable. I believe an advisory model where select people in the industry provide regular input on valuation to be one of the more reliable methods to achieve balance, and from my conversations with Mark on the subject, he demonstrates a willingness and commitment to provide the everyday collector with a guide that is as accurate as possible. My views on the pricing aspect of Mark’s Star Wars Action Figure guide are quite simple: I think it serves well as a value baseline and as a conversation starter for collectors and toy buyers who prefer having a printed source on hand when acquiring pieces to add to their collection.

The books format is user-friendly to carry around with you to shows, or with you on toy hunts. As an appraiser of a wide range of antiquities and collectibles, it's important for me to be able to demonstrate to the heirs of an inheritance that I am using current reference material to assist in evaluating their family heirlooms and personal contents.

The current edition aspect is unparalleled and has been sorely lacking in the area of SW toy collecting. I understand seasoned collectors of the SW toy hobby have their preferences, but I see little to no value in reference material unless its current, can be flipped through easily without worrying about the information being outdated, and can be carried around and read without worrying how a few scuffs and bind cracks from using it for its intended purpose will impact it's future collectible resale value.

Apart from being a useful pricing reference, the guide doubles as a great visual reference, covering figures, vehicles, ships, playsets, accessories, and can't forget the highly collectible POTF/Droids/Ewoks coins!. The book serves both loose toy and still in original package toy collectors, and not only displays great on the coffee table, but can also lead into some great conversation when company is peering into your home office, family room or man cave, seeming intrigued with a few of your childhood "space toys" sitting on the shelf.

If a current reference guide to vintage Star Wars action figures, vehicles, ships and playsets is on your want list, I recommend The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985. The book retails for $27.99 ($31 in Canada). If you're relatively new to the hobby and being a well informed collector is a New Years resolution of yours, the research and information contained can easily pay for itself on several loose figure purchases, or a single mint in package toy purchase.

- Joe


Last edited by finestcomics on Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Commander Clint
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeWed Dec 31, 2014 12:17 pm

This looks like a great book.  I will have to see if I can find it and give it a read.
Thanks for posting. Very Happy

edit.  I just bought it off of Amazon.ca for $19.44 CDN. it scheduled to arrive next week.


Last edited by Commander Clint on Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ArtooDetour
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeWed Dec 31, 2014 1:07 pm

This looks like a very useful book for the newer collector and a nice addition to the bookshelves of more seasoned collectors. Kudos to Mark for mentioning the pitfalls of repros in the hobby and for linking to Imperial Gunnery website and mentioning the forum here. Nice work!

_________________________________________________
Paul F,

thevintagetoyadvertiser.org 1970s and 80s vintage toy ads and other retro paperworks

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arohk
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeWed Dec 31, 2014 3:13 pm

I will have to check this book out I would like one that only covers the vintage items it would be very useful.
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Commander Clint
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 06, 2015 9:15 am

I just received my copy in the mail yesterday.  I just started reading it, when I was interrupted by the World Hockey Junior championship gold medal game (Canada vs. Russia).

Not only was the gunnery mentioned and referenced (pg 7), but Paul (Artoo_Detour) was singled out by name, for his articles.  Well done Paul. cheers

I will have to continue reading the book when I have some more time. Very Happy


Last edited by Commander Clint on Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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arohk
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 06, 2015 10:20 am

I also just picked this book up and but a quick glans through it is very well done and has good reference to the different variations. It is also priced good both online and in stores I got mine for less then $35 Canadian at the store. I recommend this to any SW collector
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ArtooDetour
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 06, 2015 12:21 pm

@Commander Clint wrote:


Not only was the gunnery mentioned and referenced (pg 7), but Paul (Artoo_Detour) was singled out by name, for his articles.  Well done Paul. cheers


Awesome! I spoke to Mark (the author) recently in PM. He said tons of nice things about the website. I didn't know that he mentioned me in the book. Good bloke cheers

_________________________________________________
Paul F,

thevintagetoyadvertiser.org 1970s and 80s vintage toy ads and other retro paperworks

imperialgunnery.com Vintage Star Wars action figure weapons and accessories guide
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arohk
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 06, 2015 1:08 pm

I am now wondering how many more got mentioned lol
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Dr Dengar
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 07, 2015 5:09 am



Thanks for your extended review, Joe. Much appreciated. Very Happy
After reading your review, I will certainly buy the book now.

Great that TIG and Paul are mentioned explicitely. cheers
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jared007
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeSun Jan 11, 2015 4:01 am

Hi,

I recently got my copy last week and have been skimming through it. If you don't have a reference book on vintage figures, then seriously consider this one. It looks great, goes into a bit of detail on variations and as was already mentioned is excellent in summing up the landscape in the first few pages with regards to repro accessories. Clearly a lot of attention and effort has gone into it.

If you don't have the Kellerman book, then this is a good substitute at a no-brainer price. Even if you do have the Kellerman book, you will enjoy this one.

For a balanced view, I do have the following to point out:

1. The luke jedi page shows a grey palace blaster without the bump on the barrel. I was curious about the status of that one -- is this now a confirmed original blaster? I wrote a post about the same one last year for reference: https://www.imperialgunneryforum.com/t7237-palace-blasters-challenge?highlight=palace+blaster

2. The Lando general pilot figure is shown as coming with the rare mail away cloud city coin, not the common one with the falcon (perhaps if someone is in contact with the author, they could feed this back for the next edition)

3. A price guide is always a risky thing to do in print, but I do get the reasons. But I would be really interested to know where he got his "averaged 1 year pricing from" for some of the items, especially the POTF coins. Some just don't make sense for any time in this decade ... $100 Luke Hoth coin anyone?  Very Happy

Those points aside, it's still a great book.

Cheers, Jared.
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Richard_H
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeSun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 am

For the price you can't complain about this book. In particular I like the volume of coverage and the fact that the playsets and vehicles are photographed with their accessories separate.

However, there are many typos in this book which is annoying. Possibly a sentence which is unfinished and appears to be hidden by an image. The prices, I understand how this is difficult but if someone has a DT Ben for $600 I'll take 3. They've not been that price for a long time.

If you're wanting a flick through book then this is for you. If you are wanting info on variants etc then it is not aimed at you.
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Jedi Blueberry
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeMon Jan 12, 2015 4:18 am

I ordered it on Amazon....

its important to buy books as it encourages people to write them. study
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chris.75
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeMon Jan 12, 2015 9:30 am

good point Alex Smile

I purchased mine from Amazon U.K yesterday, but they are temporarily out of stock, so it won't be dispatched (and payment taken) until more come in.


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arohk
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeMon Jan 12, 2015 10:06 am

I got mine from Chapters they have lots in stock here is the link to the site for anyone who would like to check out the site.
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/home/
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dj121
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 22, 2015 9:02 pm

I got my copy from amazon a couple days ago. Imagine my surprise when I see both Paul and TIG mentioned in the book! Can't beat the price, it was 11.94 for a brand new copy from F+W Media. So far I like what I have seen. Instead of the in universe info for each character, I would have preferred to read more information about the specific figure. Prototypes, variations and such. I'm happy with the purchase overall. Let's face it, it's a reference book about Vintage Star Wars figures. How can you NOT have a copy on your book self?
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeSat Jan 24, 2015 5:15 am

@Jedi Blueberry wrote:
its important to buy books as it encourages people to write them. study

Well said! The more we support the authors, the more others will try to write their own book.

I'm going to order one, it'll be nice to have a visual guide to figures with their weapons and playsets with their accessories.
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arohk
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PostSubject: Re: Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985   Review: The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 I_icon_minitimeSat Jan 24, 2015 1:49 pm

I agree with the above mentioned info I would have liked to read more about the figure then the in universe info they have and the prices are somewhat off. I do like the fact they show the separate items for the vehicles and the variants of the figures I wish there was stuff mentioned on die cast items as there are more then just ships in the line but over all a good book and well worth it. I combine the info in this one and my Star Wars Collector's Wishbook to get a pretty good combo for collecting.
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