Back in the eighties, Star Wars gave a big step not only in the way movies were done and experienced; thanks to KENNER, the toy company that introduced the toy line, Star Wars left a mark deep in the heart of thousands of children around the world.
The Kenner action figures, vehicles and playsets were a key part of the “Star Wars” phenomenon. Some will say the relationship kids of those days had with Star Wars was through the Kenner Action Figures. We would agree.
No other toy line in those years had the appeal these little toys had. But the attraction was not only residing in the toy itself, a considerable part of the magic was in their presentation, the Magic was in the packages. When you had a carded action figure in your hands, you could make a lightspeed
connection with the movies.
Kenner SW toys were a way to take the movie home.
When we were kids nothing compared to the joy feeling of being in a toyshop and
admire full hangers of Kenner Star Wars toys, it was just awesome.
We, at the Vintage Studio, know and remember the historic value of these boxes and thats is why we seek to preserve that heritage in our packaging.
When we reached professional level quality, we started to ask ourselves about the presentation of the figure.
Were we going to offer it loose or was is going to have some kind of packaging?
How would it look like?
Would it be vintage or modern look?
We knew we wanted to run the extra mile, but we still needed to define what that extra mile meant in our project.
Thinking deeply about the issue, we realized the importance of the package if we were going to succeed in our quest. One of our basic premises for the project since the begining, if not the most important, was to grant fellow fans the chance to relive memories from their past, from their childhood, to make them feel as they felt so long ago. With that in mind, it was determined very easily that a modern package will not be adequate for our main purpose.
First Twelve Kenner SW Action Figures
When Kenner was finally able to release its first assortment of SW Action Figures back in 1978 they assembled a nice set of 12 that one way or another allowed children to recreate almost the entire movie in a very basic way.
Kenner knew they were introducing a new line in the market and probably a new concept in the toy industry, because back in those days the idea of a toy line based in a movie franchise was something new, somehow unexplored and was considered very risky by industry standards. So, in order to minimize risks and grant visual impact to this line in the toy shops, they designed a fantastic package for the Action Figures based in a direct tie to the movie. A big 15 cm x 23 cm card was the frame where the figures were presented. In this card, the toy occupied less than the 20% of the entire space, the rest consisted in a frame of the film showing the
character in which the figure was based, surrounded with a beautiful simulated chrome border crowned gloriusly by the name of the new kid in town, STAR WARS. This design produced several effects:
It drew attention on the line over other products in toys aisles.
Allowed kids to instantly recognize the character from the movie, it didnt matter that the figure actually didnt look as the real character (example R2-D2), customers knew in seconds what character they were being offered.
Allowed kids to instantly make a connection with the movie and as said earlier, to own and take the movie home.
The chrome simulation border somehow introduced in your mind the idea of a premium product, making them more attractive than other toys presented as....just toys.
This newly styled toy packaging turned out to be very succesfull.
The attention to detail was felt in every aspect, the cardback depicted the entire available collection PAINTED in some kind of artistic presentation. What kid in the world would not be looking for these toys with true fascination? Even when the Action Figure actually did not look as the real character. the Magic was done. You had to own all of them, you had to Collect them all.
Also, we are sure we were not alone in collecting not only the figures, but figures AND packages.
This trend has survived until these days, a lot of collectors have special interest in owning packed Vintage SW Kenner toys.
The origin of that trend?
The great job Kenner did presenting their SW line back in 1978.
About the Playsets and Vehicles, Kenner altered the formula and instead of presenting us pictures of the movie depicting the vehicles, they showed us the PLAYABILITY of their toys with pictures of happy kids enjoying their toys and using their features.
Who of us would not have wanted to be one of those kids and take those wonderful ships home!
The chrome border remained, so the spirit of the package was present in the entire line.
These packages changed the way in which toy aisles and toy shops were back in those days.
That is why so much people around the world keep their own personal museums fully loaded of pristine Kenner Vintage SW toys that are nothing else than a TIME MACHINE that take them instantly to their childhood days, where these toys were for a lot of us nothing less than the symbol of better happy days, and nowadays the memento of another era.
For 1980 and 1983, the dates of the release of the next two Episodes of the saga, EMPIRE and JEDI, the formula remained the same, except for the crown name in the border, It was altered respectivelly for each of the launching dates of the new figures of each episode. Almost all of the already released figures, vehicles and playsets returned in the new cards:
And of course, new state of the art pictures and renders were created for the vehicles and playsets, this time, from the hand of MR. KIM SIMMONS, expert photographer, who created a new standard of quality and imagination about how to display toys. Some of us, grew up dreaming in Star Wars Kenner toys watching Mr. Simmons´photographs in the Catalog Booklets included in every toy package. To him, our generation owes a debt of gratitude for letting us dream. You can admire his work, be in contact with him and get some first quality prints at his website:
The Empire Strikes Back
1981 Battle Damage X Wing Fighter
Package diorama art
The Empire Strikes Back
1981 AT-AT All Terrain Armoured Transport Vehicle
Package diorama art
Return of the Jedi
1983 Millenium Falcon
Package diorama art
No Kenner Star Wars review that prides to be serious can forget to mention Mr. Kim Simmons contributions to the hobby. The Kenner Vintage Collection without Kim Simmons contribution is only comparable to the Star Wars Saga without John Williams´ music.
For 1984, and in what I consider an unnecessary and bold move,
Kenner changed the succesful original presentation for a new
line format called POWER OF THE FORCE in order to recover
the decaying interest in the line and recover its health.
The last new Action Figures and Vehicles saw the light under this
new presentation; for 1985 the entire line was retired from the
Non produced examples of POWER OF THE FORCE action figure and vehicle.
At this point the Kenner Collection had 93 different Action figures released, but if we count discontinued updated models (R2-D2 and C3po), Pack in exclusives and the Rebo Band, the line reached 101 Action Figures.
It is here, in this point in the timeline, where in THE VINTAGE STUDIO parallel universe the line was never cancelled, and where we want to situate our follow up to the original Kenner Collection.
Since the very inception of our project, we wanted to connect all our followers with their roots, with those memories in their souls. You dont collect vintage Star Wars Action Figures because of economical value or because it is popular right now. That is the wrong aproach, you do it because of what these figures meant in our lifes. If you experienced the joy of finding an SW Kenner toy at the foot of your Christmas Tree, as a Birthday present, or as a gift from that dear relative in an special ocassion or just because he or she loved you, you have developed an strong bond between this figures and that cherished moments and feelings. An the package was the first contact you had with the toy of your memories. So our figures should evoque that same feeling in you, this is our main goal.
With that in mind we started the endeavour of packaging our Custom Action Figures in the right package style.
For those fans who prefer to see and enjoy their figures carded in the same classic vintage style card we have been talking about, and preserve the integrity of the presentation of the line, we have developed 2 single Cardbacks, soon available, with 92 Kenner action figures in the back.
This is the aproach we are going to follow in all our next entries, each figure will be presented in the right classic vintage design cardback from the movie it belongs. As if Kenner would have introduced each character in its proper and right era.
However, the Sandtrooper as character, presented us a fantastic oportunity, the chance to explore in our parallel universe the inclusion of Troop Builders in the line. The single carded presentation has one problem, to take the figure out of the card implies to destroy the card, as always has been. We know there are fans that have all their figures carded in fantastic showrooms, that is their aproach. But there are other fans that need to display their figures, so we designed a presentation that, being as beautiful as the single card, allow fans to take out the figures, touch them, experience them, and then if they want to, pack them again and
return the package to their showroom shelves. In our experience, an important part of the vintage collecting is to touch the action figures and display them. We needed a package that gave the fan the joy of playing with our action figures from an adult point of view and at the same time remained pristine as a collectible.
With the advice of an expert in creating packages and having in mind all the details that made stronger and important the original vintage Kenner packaging details, we developed a cross between the single action figure cardback and the vehicles and playsets box that present the new figure in a window in the same style and position of the cardback and with the characteristics of a playset box. It was very important to imagine how these new packs would have been displayed among real Kenner product if they would have had the chance to be released in those days.
Did our package blend-in well?
Does it look fake?
Does it pollute in any way the entire collection display image?
We think not.
We inspired in this original Kenner release, not much common in those days:
With that original and not so known precedent as model, we started the creation of our own version of the pack, several tests were made, including a diorama aproach as regular Kenner vehicles and playset used to do:
Finally we decided to keep the single carded style, a capture of the movie frame depicting the fearsome Sandtrooper Patrol in all their glory:
The box is intended to contain all 4 different Sandtroopers that form the Patrol, with the four different pauldron colors: orange, grey, black and white.
It has a tray intended to hold all three troopers together and at the same time create a separate colored chamber for the one who is placed behind the window. When you open the box, you can slide the tray to release your troopers without damaging the exterior box, and if you wish, you can slide them back into the package, and keep the package mint.
Always thinking in the best way to give extra value to our set, and since this is a very limited exclusive run, we gave a numbering to each package. In one side of each box we have printed the number pack, so each package is unique, no two different boxes have the same run number, and these number is impossible to be faked without damaging the box.
Aware of the concerns of a vocal group in the hobby community about preservation of the legitimacy of the vintage Kenner products for future generations of collectors to come, and since the spirit of these project is not, never was and never will be, to cheat other fans inducing them to believe our creations were released by Kenner 30+ years ago, we created a new image for the back of the box intended to explain the true nature of the figures included. A packaged custom set from The Vintage Studio will never be used to cheat other fans, the box explains very clearly it contains HIGH QUALITY CUSTOM limited Action Figures, made by fans for fans with the best intentions.
Although I strongly believe every fan, now and in the future, should do his/her own homework and has the responsability to research the world in which he/she plans to introduce before making any investment in order to avoid scams, as everyone should do with every aspect of life, we at The Vintage Studio are making a great effort to announce to the community what we are doing, so every vintage fan and collector be aware of the existance of our creations and its truly spirit and origin so no mistakes be ever made.
With the design finally approved, we made the first tests using a regular Stormtrooper with the package prototype, with outstanding results.
We had to wait until the first shot examples were available to finally see how our new Sandtrooper fits in the new Vintage styled package. We were very happy with the quality in these final steps of the process.
As we shared all the progress of our project through The Vintage Studio Facebook Page, we exchanged information and received feedback from our friends in the page. Once we shared the first pictures of the newly designed and created box for the 4-pack, some voices claimed that a follow up of the collection, to be chronologically correct, should be done in the format and logos of the POWER OF THE FORCE LINE. Although we are not so fond of that style, we understood they had a point there.
In The Vintage Studio parallel universe, the collection continued with the classic vintage style; but we are not here to impose our ideas, we are here to bring joy, so we designed with the help of an enthusiast POTF fan, Mr. Brad Baranet, who almost did the art- job alone, a new altern box in POTF design for all fans that prefer that aproach.
These new POTF styled packages will also be available to order in a very short time, now you can choose what aproach you prefer for your own personal parallel time line.
As you can see, in The Vintage Studio nothing happens by accident, we make a great effort to attend all details, so we can bring you only the best.
If you feel all your expectations were satisfied about our project when you get in your hands our Custom Action Figures we will be rewarded.
Remember, this is not about toys, this is about your most cherised memories from your childhood, memories that take physical form in
this tiny but beautiful Action Figures.
It is not over yet,
Remember the Joy,
re-experience the Magic
and once again feel The Force
just as you did it,
Carded REBEL TROOPER, authentically designed in realistic Star Wars costume, fully articulated, Movable Head, Arms and Legs, Removable Helmet. Weapon included. 3 3/4 Scale. Professional quality, factory injected. Not only to display as with regular customs, you can play with them as you did with the Original Kenner Action Figures
Carded Sandtrooper (Sergeant) with Black pauldron, authentically designed in realistic Star Wars costume, fully articulated, Movable Arms and Legs, Torso sculpted Pauldron, Torso sculpted Survival Backpack. Weapon included. 3 3/4 Scale. Professional quality, factory injected. You can display it with the Original Kenner Action Figures, it matchs perfectly. Professional high quality made Cardback and Bubble
Have you ever thought about how things would have been if Kenner would have continued the Vintage Star Wars Action Figures line instead of cancelling it in 1985?