Monday, March 31, 2008

The Reading Continues: Star Wars Vault

I paused my reading renaissance in the middle of Republic Commando: Triple Zero, to journey through 30 years of Star Wars glory with Steve Sansweet's The Star Wars Vault. The Vault contains ~150 pages of Star Wars goodness. Besides some background information on George Lucas and the start of the Saga, The Vault contains what you would expect a vault to contain: priceless items from Star Wars' illustrious history. Of course in The Vault these are reproductions of originals. But they are still marvelous. You will see blueprints, sketches, concept art, stationary from ILM, old stickers and decals, and many other marvelous items. The Vault also comes with 2 audio CDs to play added bonus features through the course of the book.

It really is a great collectible. It carries a hefty price tag at $80 in retail stores such as Border's but you can easily find it cheaper at Amazon, Deep Discount, or through There prices will be between $35-$55, still not cheap but much better than retail. I recommend this treasure to any Star Wars fan, especially die hard collectors.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Star Wars: Celebration 5 in 2009?

In the spring before each prequel (1999, 2002, and 2005) there was a massive Star Wars event held called Celebration. It was giant collection of Star Wars fans brought together to celebrate the upcoming release of the new film (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith). There was also a fourth Celebration last spring to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the debut of Star Wars. Fans love these events. It is a time to meet fellow fans, see the saga stars, and buy more merchandise. There was a Celebration Europe last year and there will be a Celebration Japan this summer. Fans want more. A Celebration, at the minimum, every three years. Better yet, every year. Or even better, EVERY YEAR. With the Star Wars universe continually growing (The Clone Wars debuts in August 2008 and the new live-action show is set for fall 2009) the chances of a Celebration happening every few years, at least for now, is a real possibility. Let the rumors begin. Steve Sansweet, resident Star Wars expert, mentioned a few things while at Jedi-Con in Germany last weekend. The Star Wars faithful and staff are looking into a second Celebration Europe (possibly in Berlin) and a Celebration Australia. But that's not all. He also said that Lucas is looking into a Celebration 5...and it WOULD NOT be held in Los Angeles this time! w00t! The rumored lead candidate city? Chicago. Less than 2 hours from my apartment in Indiana. Sweeeeet. Now, I plan on going to Celebration 5 regardless of city. However, the closer it is the cheaper it will be. Sansweet says that the Star Wars executives are looking for a midwestern or eastern city this time. Celebration 1 was in Denver, CO, 2 and 3 were in Indianapolis, IN (yeah, wish that would happen again), and 5 was in Los Angeles, CA. Reviews were negative for the LA Convention Center so Lucasfilm is all but guaranteed to be changing venues. Chicago is rumored to be in the lead. Celebration 5 in 2009? One can only hope.

Monday, March 24, 2008

COMING SOON: The Brent Behrenshausen Collection

In a month's time, besides the addition of pictures of my personal collection, I will be adding pictures of the biggest Star Wars collection I have seen in person. A collection that seizes an entire bedroom. A collection that has been built over more than 15 years. A collection that contains some original vintage items and a plethora of modern figures. I am talking about a page dedicated to Brent Behrenshausen's Star Wars Collection, exclusive to The Joey Mays Story. You'll see it here first! Check back at the end of April for the update with commentary from Brent along with exclusive pictures.

I Like Busts

Like I said in an earlier post, my figure collection has been brought up to speed and I really am no longer seeking many 3 3/4" Kenner/Hasbro figures. Sure there are a few exclusives or multipacks I don't have yet, but I have almost all of the basic carded line trooper figures from POTF2 through TAC. With that are caught up I thought it was best to look into other forms of memorabilia. I found Gentle Giant Ltd. and Sideshow Collectibles. They both produce magnificent busts and statues for many fictional series such as Star Wars and each has produced a veritable jungle of trooper items. After the Master Replicas helmets I turned my attention to Gentle Giant items (a little cheaper than the Sideshow things). Gentle Giant had this great line called "Bust-Ups" which were scaled down versions of their regular busts. These Bust-Ups were designed to be built by you and came with interchangeable parts, usually different arm poses and weapons. I have added some of the trooper Bust-Ups to my collection over the last few months.

Click on image to enlarge.

Bust-Ups are only a few inches in height and they will look great with my newly acquired helmet collection (I won my Utapau Shadow Trooper scaled helmet so I know own all seven .45 scale replicas). The Bust-Ups shown in the picture above I have purchased and there are a few others as well. As soon as I have them together and displayed I will take some pictures and add them to the collection pages.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Odds and Ends

I have been diligently working to bring the outline of my Star Wars collection up to date. All of the pages have been created but not all are yet published. The most important pages (overview, figure collections) are up and running. I have listed items that I own our would like to own eventually. When I return to Sinking Spring in April (25-28) I am going to attempt to photograph every individual item in my collection and place them online. Items I do not currently have in my collection will have a universal "missing from collection" image. I hope to have all the pictures taken on the 25th and 26th and possibly uploaded here by the 29th. Stay tuned for that.

I also have created a link for the Walt Disney World section. There isn't much there right now except links to pictures from my trip there in 2004 and 2006. Eventually I would like to post an exposition on Star Tours. I will be in Disney World
from May 11th-17th this year (unfortunately a month too soon for Star Wars Weekends).

Friday, March 21, 2008

High Risk, High Reward

Basic economics says that to make a lot of money you have to risk a lot of money. There is no such thing as a low risk, high reward situation; there is always a chance of it blowing up in your face. Or, you could come out on top and look like a genius. While this isn't quite the same thing it is similar. Overall, I have spent a lot of money over the years on Star Wars items. From 1995-2008 I'd say the average price of a standard Kenner/Hasbro Star Wars figure at retail would be ~$5.99. To make things simple, let's say the average between 1995-200 after tax is $6.25. I more than likely have over 100 figures purchased in the last decade (plus a few years). That's AT LEAST $625 on basic figures alone. Then there are the variants, deluxe, exclusives, multipacks, battle packs, vehicles, etc. all for a plastic man/woman/creature/alien. I'm definitely willing to estimate I've spent well over $1,500 (in ~13 years) on Star Wars "toys". And in reality, that number has really been spent over the course of five years AT MOST, since I really only have been collecting from about October 1996 through August 1999 and now August 2007 to present. I never strayed from the "toy" collectible items. After all my first dive into the world of Star Wars was around the age of 8 and I was 13 when the Special Editions were released. Toys (and video games) were all I knew and could (barely) afford. Things are different now.

I have a job for one. I don't get a lot but I get enough to live. And occasionally buy a few figures. OK, buy figures every week (a lot of times though I am buying them for someone who hasn't seen a certain item yet...that someone being Brent Behrenshausen...and I get my money back anyway so I didn't technically buy it per se). But now that the easy to find figures are mine and I have most of the recent stuff, things are getting more expensive. There are some hard to find items that have escalated in price and I just can't justify spending that kind of money at the moment. That is, for a battle pack or vehicle. However, since January I have been scouring the internet for a few items that, once I knew they existed, knew had to be a part of my collection. The things I speak of are Master Replicas Star Wars Trooper helmets.

I knew the 1:1 prop replicas existed. It's hard not to. They are beautifully designed, created, and articulated. I have seen pictures of the full scale standard Clone Trooper (ROTS), 501st Trooper, Shock Trooper, Stormtrooper, and Shadow Stormtrooper. These helmets retail for $399-$499 and were very limited. As you probably know, I'm a member of the PSWCS and receive email updates of posts by other members. A gracious member yesterday (Bradley Portnoy) posted about a sale going on through FAO Schwarz. He isted a few of the for sale items with their original and sale prices. One of the items was a Master Replicas helmet. The helmet of the 212th Attack Battalion that fought on Utapau under the guidance of Jed General Obi-Wan Kenobi and Clone Commander Cody! And it was on sale at 62.5% off their original asking price!!! I contemplated for a few minutes but had to get one. When else would I get an opportunity to buy an item that looks so good AND is of my favorite character in the movies (and the helmet makes the clones)? So I purchased one. And I am so excited to see it in April. April 25th to be exact. That's when I return to Sinking Spring, PA for a weekend visit. I have all of my Star Wars items sent there because there is very little room for my collection in the apartment. Hopefully over the coming years I will be able to purchase all of the Master Replica full scale Trooper Helmets (I think there are six or seven total). It will be pricey but now that I don't have to restock waves of figures I missed, I should be able to save enough to buy one/year. Note: Master Replicas no longer has the Star Wars license so no more helmets will be produced by them.

Master Replicas 1:1 scaled replica 212th Attack Battalion (Utapau) helmet

Besides the full scale helmets, Master Replicas also produced .45 scaled helmets. This line included the standard Clone Trooper (ROTS), 501st Legion, Shock Trooper (exclusive), Commander Gree, Utapau Shadow Trooper (exclusive), Stormtrooper, and Shadow Stormtrooper (exclusive). I am proud to report that, over the last few months, I have been able to secure six of these scaled helmets, with possibly the seventh in my hands by Monday (well actually not in my hands since they are going to Sinking Spring, but you understand). I have purchased/acquired all but the Utapau Shadow Trooper scaled helmet and currently am bidding on one through eBay (crosses fingers). This is a really amazing collection and I am going to be thrilled to display these eight helmets (seven .45 scaled, one full scale). I can't wait to see them!

All seven of the Master Replicas .45 scaled replica Trooper helmets.

A related story: to get a hold of the scaled Shock Trooper Helmet I had to buy it from Germany. Yeah, the country. And the store, Toy Palace Germany, required that any customer wanting an exclusive (an by exclusive they mean 500 WORLDWIDE!!!) Shock Trooper helmet must buy two other scaled helmets. D'oh! Well of course the Shock Trooper one was the last one I needed. So I had to bite the bullet and purchase two other helmets to get that glorious Shock Trooper helmet. I didn't want to duplicates of any of the trooper helmets I already had (I could have gotten a second ROTS Clone or Stormtrooper helmet). Instead, I decided to get a Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker's X-Wing helmet. Not in my "character focus" but still cool items. I'm not necessarily going to keep them (hint to Brent) but they were necessary to get the uberexclusive scaled Shock Trooper helmet.

Master Replicas .45 scaled replica Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot helmet

Master Replicas .45 scaled replica Boba Fett helmet

Spending a little more cash on less items feels good for now. These helmets look amazing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A New Hobby?

I'm not big into reading. Sure I enjoy flipping through my Star Wars Insider, Game Informer, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN The Magazine, but I just didn't find books captivating. Before this past summer I could count the number of books I read for pleasure on one hand. Well that changed - for a little - over the summer. I took my Star Wars: The Truce at Bakura with me to my family's vacation to Ocean City, MD the first week of July 2007. I had less than 100 pages to go and my goal was to finish it that week. It's important to know that I started the same book when I was at the beach...2 years ago. Well a long story short, I finished it. And amazingly, I had brought another book with me. What book? Ghostbusters: The Return by Sholly Fisch :-). I finished that at the shore too! I was on a roll. So I started another book. Kelly and I purchased a few books at the discount book store across the street. One of them was Riptide by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I LOVED IT. I didn't quite finish it at the beach but did within a few days of returning to State College. Unfortunately my new found hobby didn't last long after that. I started reading my next book, Republic Commando: Hard Contact at the end of July but only made it through one chapter before forgetting about it.

I brought Republic Commando: Hard Contact along with me on my trip to State College for THON at the end of February 2008. I needed something to do while waiting for the plane. I read a chapter or two and my interest was piqued again. I was rather busy after returning from THON (which was awesome) so I didn't pick up the book again until this past weekend. Tonight, I finished it.

I really enjoyed it and got attached to all of the main characters. Omega Squad kicks ass. As soon as I finished Republic Commando: Hard Contact I started on the sequel, Republic Commando: Triple Zero. I am only through the prologue and the first chapter but it already looks like a great installment. I really want to finish it so I can get to book three, True Colors.

I love special ops clones!

Under Construction

I have been spending most of my time outlining, creating, and editing my Star Wars collection pages. The background story page is now active so if you're interested in why I collect Star Wars figures, what I like to collect, and how I do it, click on 'In Depth Overview' under the 'My Star Wars Collection' located on the lower right. Or click here. Either way. Some of the collection lines have pages already but they simply outline what I want to have from each line. I will hopefully be uploading pictures of what I currently have soon!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Welcome to My Life

Hello readers. This site will serve as a means for me to talk/vent/archive my life. This blog will most likely not be updated daily (once I have updated it accordingly). I will spend most of my time discussing my growing Star Wars collection, Star Wars in general, Ghostbusters, and any life events I feel like writing about.