All Things Boba Fett

ANY exposure to HtF will tell you that we’re big fans of Boba Fett. More specifically, big fans of the vintage 3 3/4″ Kenner action figure. Kate and I started collecting them several years ago as a way to archive our experiences meeting people, buying collections, going to flea markets and antique shops and all the rest. If we’re out of town we’re always looking for a vintage toy store or a new antique shop or some place we haven’t been to try to find some interesting stuff and get a sense for what people are collecting.

To see the collection and hear a bit more about The Boba Sett check out the documentary on our youtube channel Toy Galaxy.

You can also stop by The Boba Sett Facebook page where we have juuuuust started a catalog of the individual figures in greater detail.

Toy Galaxy: Subscribe today… or regret it later today.

Toy Galaxy has been going strong for nearly 6 months and in that time we’ve reviewed a lot of figures. If you’re a fan of Transformers, Star Wars, GI Joe, Marvel or just action figures in general then make sure you head over to the channel and subscribe today.

HtFBlog Presents…. Toy Galaxy

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Starting today HtFblog is making the leap from text to video on all your screens. In the same tone of the articles here on the blog, our new Youtube Channel “Toy Galaxy” will feature bite-sized segments about toys, their history and various toys that we love and REALLY love.

The first segment (and likely the first several segments) are reviews of newer figures but over time the show will move into other areas including ebay tips and experiences, previews, news, how-to and more (maybe things will get crazy and I’ll live-stream a Littlest Pet Shop listing. The possibilities!).

So if you’ve ever enjoyed the blog, if you’ve follow our instagram, if you like toys, if you want to keep track of how much gray Dan has in his hair, please subscribe to the channel, “like” the videos and leave a comment.

TOY SHOW! (at a comic book show).

A sampling of what will be available for sale.

A sampling of what will be available for sale.

This Sunday HtF will be setting up at the Halfway-to-Granitecon Comic Show at the Holiday Inn in Concord, NH from 10:00AM to 3:00PM. We’re stocked with all kinds of vintage toys loose, complete, boxed, carded… all varieties for all tastes. Star Wars, GI Joe, Transformers, He-Man, TMNT, Thundercats, Voltron, M.A.S.K., Centurions, Mega Force, Batman, Marvel Legends, Shogun Warriors and more. Come by the show and buy some comics, some toys and some original art from one of the artists that will be doing sketches or selling prints. Free business card with every purchase!

A funny story that is also COMPLETELY TRUE

beef

I was scrolling through Instagram and one of the people I follow had a collage of various vintage Star Wars figures that he was looking to buy or trade for. Based on the description of what he needed off those figures (2 arms off this guy, a head off that guy, this guy’s torso and legs etc.) it occurred to me that he might be trying to make a custom figure that I had seen before… but whose name I could not remember and I had completely forgotten even existed until that moment.

I racked my brain until I remembered that I don’t have to actually remember these kinds of trivial things anymore as long as the internet access is active. I pulled out my phone, opened Google and typed in the keywords that I could think of that would be related to the figure I was trying to remember.

See there’s this thing that the corporate toy makers do where they try to get more life out of existing molds by mixing and matching parts until they come up with a new character. Someone puts together this “kitbash”, they paint it up and marketing gives it the thumbs up or thumbs down and they print money. An obvious example of this would be the original Masters of the Universe line where there are only like 4 different body molds used to make 150 different characters. Sometimes it’s the same body AND head (Merman/Stinkor, Moss Man/Beastman, He-Man/Faker). That was kitbashing that was designed into the business model of the line itself. The original concept for Boba Fett was, in fact, just a C-3P0 body, Stormtrooper arms, Death Squad Commander legs and a bunch of putty.

This particular kitbash had actually been included in some of the marketing materials for the Star Wars line further into its run and it had actually been given a name! BUT I COULDN’T REMEMBER HIS NAME. So I plugged in the keywords that I could think of that would be related to it.

“VINTAGE STAR WARS BEEF FIGURE”

Why BEEF? Well, now that I found the information about the figure I was looking for I remember that the character was named “Mongo Beefhead.” Who cares right? Well that’s not why I’m telling the story and that’s not why this story is funny.

It’s funny because if you search for “VINTAGE STAR WARS BEEF FIGURE” and scroll down the page… the fifth web result is this very website: htfblog.com! And if you toggle over to images you will find that the FIRST result (an several others) is from an article on this very website… htfblog.com!

That’s funny. AND ALSO COMPLETELY TRUE.

The Unimpressed Bridesmaid

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We spend a lot of time at auctions, flea markets, antique stores looking at toys. LOTS of toys. Dan may not want to admit it, but there are other cool old things out there that weren’t made in the 1980’s by Kenner, Hasbro or Mattel (blasphemy, I know). See, Dan and I approach the flea market differently. He makes a bee-line for certain vendor-friends he wants to check in with first and then sprints through the whole thing before I’ve made it two rows. I know it’s incredibly frustrating for him, but I’m more of a “poker”.  I smile and say hello to folks (no, I don’t necessarily KNOW them. So what? It never hurts to be nice) I look under and behind tables, dig through boxes and consider things I’ve never seen before. I spend a couple extra minutes taking in my surroundings.

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It could have been any morning strolling through the tables of old rusty tools, VHS tapes and knock-off Coach bags that I saw my first one. Actually, I’m sure I had seen them before, but never really took the time to realize what I was looking at: boxes of antique photographs; old pictures of people I don’t know; homes I’ve never been in and places I’ve never visited.

I have always loved the smell of old paper (doesn’t everyone?). You know: that slightly musty “I’ve been in the basement for decades” smell? Old book store? Yes, please. Yellowed newspaper? Perfect. So a box of old photos has that going for them. I started thinking about who these people were. There were black and white baby photos, sepia toned wedding pictures, and lots of what looked like senior portraits for the cast of “Grease”. How had this entire banana box of family history made it to the flea market?

I asked the vendor where he had picked them up and he replied that they were being thrown away and didn’t know any more than that. Huh. He saw that I was more than passingly interested in them and threw out a price (wait, what? I thought you just said these were trash). Luckily, we made a deal for the whole box and I was the new owner of someone else’s family tree.

“What are you going to do with them?” was Dan’s immediate question. He had every right to wonder, because I didn’t have a real “plan” I just thought it was interesting and sad that these images and memories weren’t going to be loved by the family they belonged to any longer. Maybe the descendants didn’t even know these existed. Maybe there was no heir to continue caring for them. Maybe these were the copies that a long estranged branch of the family had in their possession and the oral history had been lost therefore they had no value even of a sentimental kind.  I personally have many generations of professional photographs and snapshots that belong to my family. I feel a connection more than kinship with many great-greats that I never met because of them. As I began sorting this box, I started to feel connected to this new family too. It was neat.

Over time I continued to find old boxes of photos sometimes in my price range, many times not.  I found that I was really drawn to and struck by the elaborately decorated folders that some of the oldest and fanciest photos were presented in. The baby photos and wedding portraits in particular were in these matted folios which both served to protect the images but also to enhance the formality. They were stunning. Beautiful cream, tri-folded, with gold art-deco styled lines. Opulent nouveau mats in khaki and olive green with embossed fleur-de-lis. Deckled edges, elegant tissue paper inserts and built in easel backs. UGH, superfluous beauty from a day gone by and certainly thought of as secondary in importance to the images that they so perfectly matched. These folios began to be my passion and what I was looking at entirely when I would scour the boxes.

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Soon, I had collected maybe 2 dozen of these photos and folios which Dan also appreciated for their beauty and we had an idea. We had just begun planning for our own wedding and how cool would it be to use the folio parts for our invitations? Very cool, we thought. Over the next (we’ll just say it was a while) we started looking for the folios in earnest. We even purchased some online! Eventually we had enough to hand-make an individual invitation for each of our guests.

our invits

Our wedding day has come and gone and now I find myself with a pile of antique photographs (most are folio-less, of course). I certainly can’t just dispose of them. Yes, they served my purpose but now I feel as though I owe them a little something more. Dignity? Posterity? A story? Hopefully this little blog of mine will serve as some, if not all of those things. Give back a little to these faces that I’ve been looking at for a while now and maybe tell a bit of their story again…

 

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The Unimpressed Bridesmaid-

Upon first glance a lovely, 1930’s (ish) wedding portrait of the Bride and Groom and their attendants. What a simply stunning Bride. That dress is so timeless that something very similar can certainly be found in bridal salons today.

Everyone is looking dapper in their formalwear, and smiles for miles. They are a happy group celebrating the future of their loved ones. However, looking more closely you’ll probably see something else… 33% of the folks in this shot actually don’t look all that joyous. In fact, Ms. Bridesmaid to the Left looks like she just ate a bug. Her counterpart groomsman doesn’t look all that excited to be there either.

I’m left wondering what the back story here is. Without knowing exactly when this photo is from, (I am NOT a fashion expert by any stretch of the imagination… please forgive me for that!) and no other context clues to give a hand, I’m left guessing. Is there depression related financial unhappiness here or perhaps wartime resentment because someone else’s beloved is across the sea? Perhaps the pair on the left don’t particularly care for each other, or is it just the normal pettiness that can come from blending even the most stable of families?

I’ll never know, I suppose. What I’m hoping is that it’s not that Ms. Bridesmaid to the Left is unhappy with anything that is going on; it’s just that at this second she realized that her shoes were incredibly uncomfortable and her toes are hurting.  She’s TRYING to smile! We’ve all been there, right?

 

 

How about a nice cup of [REDACTED]?

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Recently I posted a batch of 32 vintage G.I.Joe action figures on ebay. It was a 3-day listing starting Thursday night running through Sunday night (the 3 days are consecutive). I started the auction at $74.99 + shipping which breaks down to just over $2.00 per figure (not including the cost of shipping). One might argue that this is the top end of what to expect for this batch of figures, but that’s not for me to decide. We (Kate and I) try to price our listings fairly based on market values but with an eye toward actually selling them. We try to be just under market value to attract more interest, make buyers feel like they just might be getting a “deal” and hopefully, ultimately, the buyers will agree with us and while we won’t see A LOT of bidding activity… the listing will sell for the price we asked.

Includes one of the worst Storm Shadow designs EVER.

Includes one of the worst Storm Shadow designs EVER.

There were some weapons included in this lot and yes, many of them were from accessory packs which means they were NOT the weapons the figures originally came with but recolored versions that were sold later in the life of the line to replace the ones that kids inevitably lost. They are still Hasbro, they are still G.I.Joe but they are molded in different colors to distinguish them from the original ones. Anyone who is in the business of buying and selling Joes (especially someone like ME, who obsesses over Joes) knows this and can recognize the accessory pack weapons at a glance. Real collectors don’t want accessory pack weapons because they are cheap, offensive imitations (the weapons, not the collectors). I was fully aware of what I was listing and how coy I was being with my description of the included weapons (heavens, I’m just “not sure how many figures are complete”).

LEFT: Original GIJoe weapons. RIGHT: Abominations.

LEFT: Original GIJoe weapons. RIGHT: Abominations.

That said, this was still a very strong lot of figures; prominent, desirable characters, very good to excellent condition, tight joints, new o-rings, several that were complete or near-complete (Blowtorch just needs his helmet)… an excellent starter collection. At no point did I ever misrepresent what I was selling.

One day into the 3-day period I received a message from a potential buyer. As always, this is the actual, unedited email. The sender’s name has been redacted to protect their identity.

Dear htfblog,

IM not trying to be rude in any way, just being honest..

From your photos, you have about 6 complete figures… Unfortunately, 95% of the weapons in the plastic bag are repos/non-original weapons.. These most likely came from weapon packs that were released later on..

In all honesty, you won’t get anywhere close to what you are asking for these. Im really only interested in 12 of these guys. I’ll give you 40 (including shipping) when this lot doesn’t sell..

Thanks
[REDACTED]

I’m not sure which part burned me the most, the absolute assertion that I was not going to sell this lot for “anywhere near” what I was asking, the “I’m only interested in [38%] of these figures [so I’m going to offer you 53% of your asking price and you get to pay my shipping cost AS A FAVOR],” or the finality of the “when this lot doesn’t sell” statement. I assume this was a bargaining tactic. I assume this person uses it with sellers all the time. I assume he expected me to take him at his word, at the depth of his G.I.Joe knowledge. I assume I was expected to accept his $40 guaranteed handout in exchange for sparing me the disappointment, nay EMBARRASSMENT, of not making a sale 2 days later.

While I wanted to reply “GO [REDACTED] yourself” and block [REDACTED] as a future buyer, Kate suggested that discretion was the better part of customer service. I swallowed my pride (pride is what cobras inject from their fangs, right?) and responded with a polite, standard:

Dear [REDACTED],

Hello,

Thank you for the offer, but there are several watchers on this listing right now and I would prefer to let the auction run its course.

-Dan Larson

Then I crossed my fingers and prayed to my original 1982 straight-arm Snake Eyes that the listing would get a bid before it lapsed Sunday night. WHICH IT DID. In fact, it got 5 bids from a total of 4 different bidders one of whom was located in Spain. The final sale price was $92.00 PLUS SHIPPING. In your [REDACTED] FACE!

Not only did I get well above what I originally listed the item for, the final sale price was 230% more than the $40 offer that I was guaranteed was the best deal I was going to get for my paltry batch of undesirable figures. To say that I felt validated is an understatement.

I originally wrote this as an email message that I was going to send directly to [REDACTED] but ebay’s messaging system only allows for 2000 characters. It gets cut off around “At no point did I misrepr-.” It didn’t quite have the punch that I intended.

So, [REDACTED] if you happen to be reading this, I wanted to be a mature adult about this but, with all due respect, you started it. I won. Ha, ha, stick it up your butt.

Straight-arm Snake Eyes and Boba Fett #26 celebrate with a hi-five.

Straight-arm Snake Eyes and Boba Fett #26 celebrate with a hi-five.

At Least the Listing is Honest

***SPOILER ALERT***

 

If you have not seen the Marvel Studios film “Guardians of the Galaxy” and don’t want anything spoiled, proceed no further.

 

If you have (or don’t care)… read on.

First, check out this ebay listing: Groot Plotted Plant – Guardians of the Galaxy- Baby Groot in Pot – Dancing Groot

Absurd. This seller just took a Funko Groot figure (MSRP $9.99) and LITERALLY just put it in a pot with some soil (although that might be potpourri). I’m guessing you can pick a comparable pot up at your local big-box chain store for around $.49 and, I don’t know, dirt is free in most places. His asking price is $47.00 (+ an additional $23.00 in shipping charges for me on the east coast) and it says he has sold *2* OF THE *3* THAT HE MADE!! (I’m shocked that he was as transparent as he was in his description of the item, although I would consider this “new” or “unused”).

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Please don’t encourage this kind of behavior. This is the kind of thing that made potato salad into a $55,000 kickstarter

UPDATE: Looks like the item was ended early by the seller because “the item is no longer available.” I’m guessing that someone flagged him for listing it as “new” but it still looks like he sold 2 of them. Perhaps people complained once they received the item and realized they had just been duped.

The Continuing Saga of 2 Boba Fett Enthusiasts

You've got some 'splaining to do.

You’ve got some ‘splaining to do.

Last September, HtF introduced you to an ebay listing featuring 36 vintage Slave 1 vehicles and 36 vintage Boba Fett figures. At that time, The Boba Sett (my personal collection of vintage Boba Fett action figures) was at 35. We followed up by reporting in March of this year that the number of Slave 1’s and Fett had increased to *44* for an additional $700. At THAT time, The Boba Sett was at 48. 5 months later and no.1stewie’s ebay listing is still at 44 but the price has increased to $4400 (or best offer). Guys… this thing ends Saturday at 12:17PM PST. You gotta move on this thing before it gets too large. What are you going to do when this lot is at 54? 67? Where are you going to keep 86 Slave 1’s?

Meanwhile, The Boba Sett has increased its lead by growing to *50* total pieces. The game continues.

50 Mandalorians strong.

50 Mandalorians strong.

Hasbro Customer Service Part 2: Couptopia

I got mail!

I got mail!

And then the day finally came when I got an envelope in the mail (the kind the mailman delivers). It was from Hasbro and inside… a letter from Customer Service and a coupon attached. (My inner monologue in blue):

“Dear Mr. Daniel Larson,

Call me Dan. My FATHER is Mr. Daniel Larson

Thank you for contacting Hasbro, Inc. We do appreciate that you have taken the time to share your experience and observations with us.

I literally had nothing else going on that day.

Hasbro, Inc.’s number one concern is to make quality toys that are fun, safe and rewarding for all children. And adults. I suppose that’s implied. Continue… That’s why we maintain extensive testing procedures during the development, production, assembly and packaging of all out toys.

I do not believe you. If that was a real thing I would be working in the Hasbro action figure testing department. My resume more than qualifies me.

Please be assured that we have shared your comments with those who work closest with that aspect of our operation. And, since customer satisfaction is our goal, we are enclosing a coupon to use towards your next Hasbro purchase.

Again, thank you for contacting us.

Sincerely,
Michael Affonso
Hasbro Customer Care Lead Representative
140325-000109-71082-9901-154870″

I don’t know what all those numbers are, but I assume it means that “Michael” is a computer in an office somewhere that autogenerates responses to concerns like mine. The important part is that Michael DID include a coupon for $10 that I was more than happy to spend on…

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ANOTHER CAPTAIN AMERICA!

All things considered I would have to admit that my experience with Hasbro Customer Service was a very positive one. Despite the amount of time between these blog posts, it was only about a week between the online chat I had with Custom Service and the day the $10 coupon arrived. Of course, at the time, I couldn’t find another S.T.I.K.E. suit Captain America, so I settled for the above pictured Marvel NOW Captain America costume figure (this is the suit he is currently wearing in the comics). Had I waited until NOW… well there’s plenty of correctly footed (feeted?) S.T.R.I.K.E. suit Cap’s out there.

Oh well, I have my figure and we’ll always have this story (and another Captain America!).

Captain all of the Americas.

Captain all of the Americas.