Sunday, May 27, 2007

Star Wars 30th Anniversary Special - part 27

I don't know who created this thing, but when I saw it in my mother's copy of the November 20, 1978 "Women's Day" I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen.

As the article points out, while there were action figures and vehicles, there weren't really any playsets to put them in. I think acrylic was pretty new then, since it was used heavily in the "Superman" movie which was just about to premiere, so it probably did seem futuristic at the time.

Three of my favorite things about this:

The little narrative they created using (what would now be a fortune in vinyl caped jawas, one of the most expensive of the vintage "Star Wars" action figures) the jawas invading the city.

The implication that it was okay to mix "Star Wars" toys and Micronauts, which I did.

That Leia, Luke, and Han have a little beagle.

I had my parents send for the plans, which, sadly, are way too cumbersome to scan. When they arrived, my father who worked in the construction industry determined that it would be a pretty expensive playset to construct. Looking at the plans now, I can see that he was right. I never ended up with one (and now wonder if there are any of them out there), but was inspired enough to make my own out of lumber scraps, plaster over sculpted window screen, styrofoam, cardboard and so forth, which I did on a 4' x 6' table in our basement. As toys such as the Death Star Playset, and various vehicles fell into my hands, they'd be incorporated into my own spaceport. I even had to use a card table, with a ramp leading to the main table as an annex to house my Millennium Falcon. There was a power station, a transporter (like on "Star Trek"), housing, guard towers, a seedy part of town, an underground sewer (built in under the table, but fully accessible), a prison, caves, a small mountain, a radioactive wasteland, and junk yard.

Sadly, and shockingly, given how much time I spent playing with this, I don't have a single photo, nor do I think that one was ever taken. I've wanted to try and recreate it from memory, but I think the table itself is gone, and certainly, all of the home built structures no longer exist.

Looking at the "Women's Day" playset, I'm stunned at the sheer size of it. If I built it for my kids, we'd have no place to put it. It's nearly half the size of their playroom here. My own son has been grumbling about the lack of playsets to put his "guys" as he calls them, so I'm thinking of making him something more compact.

"Women's Day" must have had some success with these plans, because two years later they published pictures and plans for a Hoth playset and a Dagobah playset, which are of a more manageable scale. You'll have to wait until May 2010 for me to post them though, during the 30th Anniversary for "The Empire Strikes Back."

I don't know if they did it a third time for "Return of the Jedi."


Erick Monsterama2000 said...

That outer-space station is pretty awesome. My brother and I used to mix our Star Wars guys and Micronauts also.

blogsurfer said...

Cool. They were so nice. I had an updated list of most expensive action figures here. You might want to look at them. Thank you.

Most Expensive Action Figures