Thursday 1 December 2022

Micro Galaxy: A Star Wars Toy Story

In this edition of A Star Wars Toy Story, Nick Smith, our US-based collecting connoisseur, goes on a toy hunt to Walmart in search of micro-sized bounties for the holiday season.

Guest post by Nick Smith

Like many kids of the Star Wars generation, collecting Star Wars toys was an obsession for me. That was part of their allure – completing a set of cantina creatures or bounty hunters was a quest worthy of any nascent Jedi Knight.

I had the Millennium Falcon. I had a Star Destroyer. I had everything, it seemed, except Yoda’s Kitchen Swamp Sink. Still, I wanted more. I wanted to get exotic.

I wanted to go micro.

Somehow I got my greedy little hands on a small, colourful brochure. It showed all the toys I could buy in the Star Wars Micro Collection, a 1982 series of pint-sized playsets with tiny die-cast metal figures from Kenner. You could re-enact the Battle of Hoth (my favourite), the escape from the Death Star, or the Cloud City duel.

The sets, or ‘worlds,’ could be combined to make a bigger playset. With the dramatic backdrops of the brochure, they looked amazing and there was something about their sheer dinkiness that kept me coming back to those glossy pages.

Alas, this Bristol-born boy never got to see those sets in the flesh – not the retail toys, the mail-away ‘Build Your Army’ set or the unproduced Bespin torture scene (fun for all the family!). These days we get merchandise in various sizes; in the early '80s, li’l versions of movie tie-in toys were not de rigueur. The Micro Collection didn't catch on, cancelled by the time Star Wars: Return of the Jedi hit cinema screens in 1983.

I had to wait until 1994 when Galoob gave us Micro Machines Star Wars Action Fleet to fuel my fascination for tiny toys. These were infinitely more popular than Kenner's ill-fated Micro Collection, with spaceships, land vehicles, figurines and ‘figure heads’ – literally, just characters’ heads. My must-haves were the playsets that folded into a wee carry case – Jabba’s Palace transformed into a squished-up R2-D2; the Mos Eisley Cantina could tuck its scum inside C-3PO’s head.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who missed these minis. Hasbro's Star Wars Mission Fleet and Jazwares’ Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron reprise the Micro Machines with plenty of collectable attention to detail. Some of the pieces are minuscule; The Mandalorian’s Grogu is the size of a pigeon’s fingernail. No amount of midi-chlorians will help you if you lose that sucker.

The Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron series covers the original trilogy, the prequels and the Disney+ series. There’s a Stormtrooper carrier, a Ginivex Starfighter, an AT-ST and the Razor Crest. I’ve got my eyes on a Starfighter Class X-Wing, which is a whopping five inches and comes with its own little Luke.

Packaged in dark, glossy boxes, some of the toys have a Black Series vibe, and the minutiae make them seem aimed at serious collectors (the 7-inch Millennium Falcon costs $45). Those with more sense than money might baulk at paying so much for so little. My advice: take Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced (affiliate link) for a spin, stick it in your pocket and keep an eye on your Grogu.

Personally, I’m content admiring the toys on their store shelves. And reading the brochures.

Are you collecting Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron? What are your memories of the Micro Collection and Micro Machines Action Fleet? Let me know in the comments below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated for spam. Stay on topic and do not embed links. Keep it family-friendly.

Thank you.