Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A (seriously) Long Time Ago...

Here I am, blogging about Star Wars. No I didn't know it was coming to this either. The phenomenon was HUGE with me as I was just the right age - seven or eight - for the franchise, and my interest lasted until the onset of my teenage years and Return of the Jedi arrived. Okay, there may have been some slight and lively lingering between Lucas' vision and my hormones around Jabba's Palace, but I believe I wasn't alone there.

Anyway here I am, with my best friend Derek on Bushy Beach, a little somewhat south of Kakanui (where the spuds come from) re-enacting Tatooine' sandy expanses some time in the dying days of the 1970s or early 80s.

We inevitably had double-ups in our collection of figures, hence Derek's demonstration of our no longer solo Han figures.

The 'story' begins here, with the crashed escape pod. Eagle/old eyed readers will detect the retro stylings of a 1970s plastic mug and 'Leggs' egg top adding to the verisimilitude.

Meanwhile on another sand dune tragedy has unfurled, with a stray Imperial missile casing causing a poor Playmobil-finger puppet hybrid some grief. Lord Vader looks on (story may not be canonical) and a weird green eraser alien watches from the dunes.

But that doesn't mean it's not the time to party! Several androids of the Lucasverse engage in a desert 'happening', joined by an old school Cylon. That Jawa to right looks suspicious...

And we're suddenly back on track! Some Playmobil flooring doubles effortlessly for a Sandcrawler as that Jawa brings out his wares. Young master Luke at front looks slightly less authentic - the genuine article was as rare as hen's teeth in Oamaru - I made do with the X-Wing version, but Derek was more industrious, fashioning his from a to-scale Superman figure, masking tape and marker pen.

A wretched hive of scum and villainy and ice cream containers. That Playmobil Wild West General Store (mine) doubles for the Cantina, and we could have made a reasonable fist of populating it, as we both had Hammerheads (Ithorians, apparently), a Rodian (Greedo) and Derek had the allegedy quite rare Walrus Man - though it's likely he was easier to come by than Luke in those days.

I have one last photo from this set not scanned - Obi Wan's infamous decapitation scene of the Rodian-finger puppet*. Even blurrier than the other shots, you're better off imagining it, really.

Photos were taken by me (I think) with the aid of my Mum who drove us there. It was a hot day, despite the photo and I recall squinting and blinking into the sun for the first shot. Derek and I discussed continuing the photo story with our Death Star playsets and, later, a hosed-up part of his garden for Dagobah (so these may have been taken later than I remember), but for the moment history records only these.

*Yes, I had to look this up. Derek's Greedo lost his head and we were recycling even then.


  1. "Sand people! Or worse..."

    Aw BLESS!!!
    Wonderful stuff, although it did bring back a still painful memory of losing my stormtroopers blaster in the sands of Marlborough's Whites Bay (oh, get over it Hughes!) while staging a similar recreation. A stormtrooper without a weapon! He was useless forever more, particularly after I tried to wipe the sand off him afterwards with a damp red face cloth and he took on a permanent pink tinge.
    The Star Wars geek in me is bound to point out (although other more learned souls may prove this to be apocryphal) that your Leggs packaging adds more versimilitude than first apparent - ILM also used them as 'exhaust pods' on one of their Imperial Star Destroyer models. Or so I've read.... (note 4 ellipses)


  2. Nostalgia detector on high alert. I was a little younger, so missed the Star Wars thing at the time, although friends did have a few of the figures incl. Han Solo, circa 1985. I was fully a Transformers kid (damn, I hated that movie, no not the cartoon one, the one with Fox and Indy Jones Junior).

    On another note, have you seen the 'why the Phantom Menace sucks' videos? Absolutely. Fantastic. If not, I can post a link.