Q&A: Star Wars Posters, Moving Toys, and New Toys from Old Footage in a New Movie

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, September 30, 2018

This week in Q&A - Moving your collection! Time shreds all toys. Posters - fake reproductions and real fakes! Also Episode IX Toys - let's speculate wildly in this answer I wrote a few weeks ago.

Be sure you send in your questions for next week. Read on!

1. I have been collecting Transformers and Star Wars 3.75 scale action figures for many years. I now have a very sizeable collection that includes modern and vintage figures in both lines, some in very nice shape for their age. I am now being transfered to Hawaii for work. My employer will pay to move my belongings to the island. I would like to take my collection with me but have a concern that the salt in the air from the ocean may cause rust in the screws and springs or carrode battery terminals. Have you heard of anything like this before? Would I be better off storing my collection in a climate controlled storage unit on the mainland? I hate to spend the money on a storage unit but would be heart broken to watch items like my vintage imperial troop transport that still plays the little records to cease working. Any advice you have or stories you have heard woyld be much appreciated.

I'm going to start with a rather pithy response - you're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't.

I've been setting up my Star Wars figures on display cabinets - digging through boxes to find them all has been time-consuming, but what's remarkable to me is discovering just how some of these aged when kept in a climate-controlled dry basement in the desert. Many are fine - some are horribly discolored. Figures like the Death Star Escape Cinema Scene Luke and Han have yellowing chests. I checked my open ones, and the boxed ones, kept in different environments, and both have spontaneously turned yellow. The Cruisemissile Trooper has a yellowish green oil on it like many white figures from 2002-2003, but it can be wiped off with a Magic Eraser. Figures in the packaging kept in boxes sometimes discolor, and sometimes don't - in the same box, some are pure white, and some are heavily yellowed. I have carded CommTech Stormtrooper figures I've owned since 1998 or 1999 with bubbles that look like a urine sample, while others are crystal clear in that very same box. My Millennium Mint Coin C-3PO seems to be shedding chrome.

In short, you can't turn back the clock - there's no magic storage method to keep everything perfect. You might have to replace screws, re-sticker a toy, clean it, or just accept that gold plastic syndrome is toy cancer. I've heard from car collectors that you can usually do well to keep your cars nicer, longer if you do so in a dry climate - even if it's hot. Climate Control Storage theoretically could be better than moving to Hawaii, but you can keep an eye on it there.

If you plan on storing it on the continental United States, might I suggest another solution - sell it. Sell it now. Collectibles change in popularity - as collectors age and die off, the best of the best items become even more valuable. Your Honus Wagners, your MOSC AFA-100+ 12-backs, your carded test shot second series Colorforms Outer Space Men/The World of Tomorrow. There are some things that will remain rare. Opened toys, common stuff, things with a ding - these will likely stagnate. If you've got grails, think about how mad you would be if they got water damaged. Think about how much money it costs to store things for a year, or five years. Aging, discoloration, peeling, corrosion, these things will happen eventually and a lot of it is going to be beyond your control. Stuff ages, things crumble, as a wiser man than I says "time shreds us all." If your toys are not a core part of your identity - and if you're considering leaving them behind, consider yourself potentially fortunate in that respect - it might be time to sell a bunch, take a few special ones, and move on. There is nothing you can do to keep things perfect forever. Moisture gets in sealed cases, spills happen, someone could smoke around your stuff and cause problems (smokes are bad for toys, kids!), and some stuff is just made of material that does not react well to time. It's life. I've seen collections carefully packed away in boxes with foam packing peanuts, only for the packing peanuts to melt and fuse to the toy. I've seen figure collections stored in Return of the Jedi collector cases - the ones with the red trays. The red plastic leeched into white Stormtrooper and Leia figures, ruining them. I've seen carded figures with dead bugs and mold inside them. There are things beyond our control.

If it's only for a few years, your stuff will probably be fine to join you in Hawaii. I don't know if anyone has done A/B testing to see how a boxed toy looks that spent 10 years in Tucson or 10 years on Maui, but I can say that the sun is bad, period, and that a lot of my well-cared-for-stuff has never seen the light of day and sometimes discolors. You can't win them all.



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2. I'm looking for some OT repro posters to display framed in my office. I'm not taking my originals there. Do you know of any high-quality repros out there?

While there are some good repros out there, I haven't really kept up on the world of poster collecting since the 1990s - in part because as of late, a lot of repros are bogus. Amazon doesn't police this sort of thing as much as they should, and nobody's bothering to even take down knock-off Masterpiece Edition Transformers on there. I'd probably nudge interested parties toward somewhere reputable - AllPosters, a Disney-owned retail outlet - or just give up and buy bootlegs from someone with a decent refund policy for fakes or low-quality items. Amazon in particular tends to side with buyers so if it's knockoff trash, well, send it back. I don't know how much of this kind of stuff is print-on-demand anymore online, and the same thing is an issue with t-shirts and even some CDs are burned as needed by the record label. (Having said that, it's the only way to get a physical CD copy of the utterly fantastic Slouching Toward Somerville. But I digress.)

Replica, licensed posters used to be a lot more common. Unfortunately the new guard at Lucasfilm is a lot more interested in putting out the new stuff, the glory days of the original trilogy - even as reruns - ended around the time The Phantom Menace hit theaters. We live in an era that's weirdly obsessed with looking forward to the future with their eyes on the rear view mirror, so you'll probably be able to get Star Wars posters at a store near you forever. Just not the ones you want.

There were a lot of reprints made in the 1980s and 1990s, but it might be difficult to find out if they're as good as you want online. There are numerous poster stores across the USA, I remember a great one from college in a mall that was otherwise largely abandoned, where you can flip through all sorts of things. This is the sort of thing we lost with the custom-made now - Suncoast and the like would have big vats of flat posters to flip through for nerds and dorms and whatnot, frequently incorporating reproductions of popular classic movie posters. Today, this sort of thing is a lot tougher to trip over. I would start with your Yellow Pages, see what's local, and odds are someone nearby has something that may suit your needs. That, or you've stumbled on a particularly choice possible new side hustle if you can scare up some money and get a proposal to Lucasfilm for classic posters.




3. Just wondering-do you think they will make toys of Carrie Fisher for Episode IX? Or will they pass due to her not being around? I still dont think Hasbro has quite nailed her likeness for the 6 inch Black Series line,and I would love to see more sequel-era Leia figures.....
--Jobacca The Wookiee

Totally! I would expect at least one or two more Leia figures. This is a scenario where Hasbro and Lucasfilm can really hit the ground running - if they're working from previously-shot footage of Carrie Fisher into the next film, odds are they're going to use existing costumes. They have reference for those, plus sculpts - so Hasbro could easily get them out tomorrow as a "classic" figure, or have a perfect one for a Sneak Preview wave, or just launch with it in 2019.

Really, this is a situation that couldn't be easier. I doubt they'll want to give her new hair and outfits via CG or a body double, although that's not impossible to imagine. If that's the case, they can have a do-over on existing figures or finally give us the costumes in each scale we have yet to receive - like the vest Resistance Leia as a 3 3/4-inch figure, or either of the dresses as 6-inch figures.

This sort of thing isn't entirely unprecedented - if you look at some of the Rogue One-era Darth Vader toys, the working names in the computers are "EPIV VADER." While there are elements distinct and unique to the Rogue One costume, both that movie and the toys were ultimately working from the 1976-1977 costume - and they got to skip having to worry about working from "top secret" costumes, even though the "top secret" costume was identical to something known and released.

Secrecy is another funky issue, in part because companies are increasingly using codenames in places where it makes a lot less sense - we had "Alien Sidekick" for Chewbacca, so a lot of us assumed we'd have a new alien character. (Nope.) Transformers movie dinosaurs shared code names with Rocky villains. Cyberverse toys are mostly code named for characters from Seinfeld, with nearly every character being a familiar face or a design leaked ages ago. Why the need for secrecy? Why hold back on things that we got in trailers a year before a movie came out? I have no idea - so hopefully Disney and Lucasfilm won't play coy with Carrie Fisher's costumes if they're coming from existing footage from movies we've seen already. I don't assume she has a stealth pilot or ninja outfit - but lordy, if she did!



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In the past week I've had great peeks at the future and horrible losses of the past. The look of things to come is both good and bad. Everything can change in a moment, with things ripped from your arms just when you think something might last forever. There is a lot more I'd love to discuss with you, but I'm feeling a little hollowed out due to some recent personal events. I'll just say stay close to those you care about, support the things you love, and for crying out loud - if you aren't single - stop what you're doing and get a will together.

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.