27th Nov2012

Book Review: Star Wars – The Ultimate Action Figure Collection

by Paul Metcalf

Written by Stephen J. Sansweet | Published by Titan Books | Format: Paperback, 352pp


Star Wars is known to be one of the most merchandised franchises in the movie world, it was the one that started it all. Starting one of the most lucrative businesses connected to the movie making world it created products not only children but adults wanted to collect. Children used the action figures that were released to play with and to re-create the famous battles and adults started to collect each variation of the figures and started an obsession that still grows to this day.

Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection by Stephen J. Sansweet is one of the most comprehensive catalogues of all action figures that have been made available from not only the films, but comic books, video games cartoons and novels. Star Wars has a whole universe of characters, some barely even touched in the films, and these have been added into the merchandise machine to become some of the most collectable models.

The phenomenon that became the Star Wars action figure merchandise machine was started in 1978 when empty boxes were sold promising “early bird” buyers the action figures that were to come. When fans finally got their figures they were finally able to create the epic battles that they had seen on the screen. From these initial figures came adaptions to the originals that provided the ability to create other scenes and it grew from there. As an example of how much this idea grew you just have to look at the huge number of Anakin Skywalker figures, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and others that are can hold different poses or have different scars based on the story-lines of the movies. A notable example of this is the macabre version of Anakin as he is found before his transformation to the more iconic Darth Vader.

The most impressive thing about Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection is that it’s so comprehensive. Stephen J. Sansweet has shown just about every variation of the action figures available, something that not only action figure fans but Star Wars fans will find interesting too. Whether it’s the ultra-rare version of Bobba Fett with the fire-able rocket (that was never actually released due to safety reasons) or the many versions of Salacious Crumb (the insane little laughing sidekick of Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi) there is plenty to be discovered in this book, including the rare cameos of George Lucas in action figure form and on actual screen. One thing to note though is this book only catalogues action figures, not the vehicles that were also made available. I would have been interested to see these, but maybe they will be in another book.

When thinking about who to recommend Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection to it is quite a tough call really. It really is for fans of Star Wars and the universe that has been created around it. For some Star Wars fans though it may not be enough to keep them interested, this after all is a catalogue of actual action figures and not the characters themselves. As a fan though (and one with casual interest in figures such as this) I found it very interesting, and I’m sure many others will too, just don’t buy it though thinking that it’s an encyclopedia of everything Star Wars, more of a look into the world of Star Wars merchandising and it’s history, something that is very interesting indeed.

Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection is available now from Titan Books.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.com

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