Sunday, September 23, 2012
Nerd Rant: Gentle Giant's Jumbo Star Wars Action Figures Jumbo-Size Kenner's Toy Gaffes
Last April, I posted a rant about Gentle Giant's line of Jumbo Vintage Star Wars Action Figures, wondering how this line could keep going when all it is is a series of expensive enlarged action figures--no extra details, no extra points of articulation, nothing.
Then again, what do I know? The line is still running strong, with recent releases including jumbo versions of the Lando Calrissian and Yoda figures from Kenner's Empire Strikes Back line and a jumbo Gamorrean Guard figure from Kenner's Return of the Jedi line. I kept thinking that there has to be something more to what Gentle Giant is doing other than just making small things bigger, and I think I finally figured out what it is. Gentle Giant is not only re-releasing Kenner's original figures on a larger scale, they are also re-releasing every variation that's possible for those figures as well. Read on....
Anyone who grew up with Kenner's line of Star Wars toys like I did knows that there are plenty of goofs and inconsistencies hidden within the products. I still remember being baffled over how some of the Star Wars toys pictured in Kenner's mini-catalogs would look different than what was actually released on the toy store shelves, completely unaware at the time that Kenner was putting pictures of the toys' prototypes in their promotional materials instead of pictures of the finished products. (I still have no idea why they did this--time constraints, perhaps?) Thus, Gentle Giant is taking advantage of Kenner's quirks by reproducing them in a larger, more expensive scale. Here are some examples of which quirks Gentle Giant has jumbo-sized so far:
* Vinyl caped and cloth caped Jawa figures:
* Large-headed and small-headed Han Solo figures:
* Large blue and small red Snaggletooth figures:
Along those lines, Gentle Giant has recently reproduced one of Kenner's most notorious goofs: a Boba Fett action figure with a rocket-launching jet pack. Boba Fett was the first mail order figure that Kenner sold as part of its Star Wars line, and kids everywhere were disappointed to get a figure that didn't have the rocket launching feature that Kenner promised in its mail order ad. Kenner pulled the feature due to safety concerns, but that isn't stopping Gentle Giant--it even includes Kenner's original ad as part of their jumbo figure's card back.
It should also be noted that if nostalgia is enough to get Star Wars toy collectors to pay for over-sized, over-priced replicas of Kenner's goofs, then Gentle Giant is also applying the nostalgia effect to over-sized, over-priced replicas of what was originally very cheap Star Wars merchandise. Case in point: the Cantina Adventure Set, a flimsy, cardboard-only playset that was a Sears exclusive back in the late 70s. The difference is that even though both sets are made out of cardboard, the original Sears set cost $8.77 and came with four action figures while the Gentle Giant version of the set doesn't come with any figures but costs $89.00.
Obviously, there's a market for these kinds of Star Wars collectibles. The only question is: How much is nostalgia worth to you?