Starwars toys were rubbish

There was a time when the mere mention of the word 'Starwars' would send many a dysfunctional virgin all giddy with excitement. This was before George Lucas ruined what would have been his legacy with 3 dreadful prequels. I remember watching the Phantom Menace through my fingers and shaking my head a lot. Then after I watched Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith I realised that The Phantom Menace was actually the best of the trilogy by some distance. At least there were attempts at levity and humour rather that just a depressing and highly unlikely descent into evil, portrayed by one of the worst actors of all time. There are people in Hollyoaks who could have played Anakin with more conviction and gravitas.

The other unfortunate side effect of the prequels is that it got me thinking about what it was that I liked about the original 3 films. I mean if you detach yourself emotionally from the franchise, the first movie is pretty awful. Camp, hugely derivative and poorly acted (with the exception of Harrison Ford) No wonder Frank Herbert was pissed off about its level of success. The Empire Strikes Back is a great film, despite the title. One of my favourites. I really can't fault it. Return of the Jedi would be the worst conclusion to a trilogy were it not for The Matrix - Revolutions. So I was scratching my head about what endeared me so to Starwars. Surely only one excellent film out of 3 isn't enough. And then I remembered the inhabitants of my mum's loft. It's always been about the figures, or 'toys' as I like to call them.

Except, thinking about it now, the toys were rubbish too. At a time when Action Man even had moving eyes, the lack of articulation on the Starwars figures was staggering. They had 5 points of movement on the whole toy. You could move the arms and legs and head, although care had to be taken with the head as it was prone to falling off (more about that later). You could only make Starwars figures move around like Basil Fawlty doing his best impression of a Nazi. They had seats on some of the spacecraft but the figures couldn't use them properly, having to perch on the end of them, straight-legged, doing a bit of yoga. The vast majority of the figures looked awful, with massive heads. Han Solo in particular looked like the Elephant Man.

Even the better-looking figures were flawed. Darth Vader's and the Jedi lightsabers had a peculiar thin tip on the end of it, so it looked like one of those novelty balloons used to make animals which had been partially blown up by an asthmatic child. It also 'magically' appeared from the arm of the character, so was at a very odd angle which made duels a bit awkward really. Boba Fett, who should never have been killed off looked OK but even he suffered. I spent years of my youth trying to pry that rocket out from his back, only to later read that the Rocket would have been a spring-loaded missile, but for overzealous intervention from the heath and safety bods. I didn't realise health and safety even existed in the early '80s. My school certainly didn't seem to be aware of it.

Amongst the Starwars toys I have in my mum's loft a good proportion of them are headless. I remember dropping Han Solo and his head simply fell off. I didn't even drop him with any force, or so I told my brother. I have a lanky bounty hunter without a head, too. I don't even know how his head fell off - I just went to play with him one day, and his head was gone. Princess Leia lost her head during an incident in late '87. And I only have C3PO's leg, the rest of his torso lost along with all of the various weapons, capes and other accessories that would invariably break, or become forever entombed down the back of the sofa. I sound like such a careless child. But I have all the little weapons and stuff from my Transformers. But then Transformers were good and worth looking after.

I only had a few vehicles. I couldn't afford any with lights and sounds or anything like that, given that they costed the same as a family hatchback at the time. I wanted the walky thing with 4 legs, but got the little one with 2 legs. I wanted the Millennium Falcon and get the 'rebel transporter' which was basically a large shell with nothing inside it at all, just rows of studs to attach your hapless escaping rebels to. That's right, an interstellar vessel which apparently you have to stand up in during hyperspace. It looked vaguely like a beige turd. I did manage to get Boba Fett's ship (Slave1 I believe) which actually looked like an Iron.

Because the toys weren't great, they eventually became the whipping boys of my other toys. I had some He-Man figures which I used to terrorise the Starwars ones with. I had one called Fisto (really) with a 'bashing' action that I used to wreak havoc on them. Rows upon rows of demented-looking Starwars characters were felled in this manner. Others were simply blown to smithereens by Galvatron and his Transformer cronies. I even used to use my Hamster as some sort of pit monster who unfortunately would only look at them in a vaguely disinterested manner. Even he was unimpressed. That is because they were small, looked gay and some didn't even have heads.

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