Toy Wizards Review: ‘The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures’ by Mark Bellomo

The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures is the fourth and final installment of books by Mark Bellomo that I’ve reviewed. Previously, I reviewed:

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Next to come is the interview Mark and I conducted, which really, was like a fantastic conversation with an old friend. I’m so excited to share it with Toy Wizards readers and I know that if you don’t already, you’re going to adore this incredibly smart, witty, charming and sarcastic human just as much as I do.

All right– gushing complete. Let’s move onto the review.

Because of the level of detail and warmth Mark uses when writing about the things he loves, The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures is another tome that reads somewhere between a collector’s guide book, and a historical reference book. That’s not to say the writing isn’t approachable and conversational; it is. But it’s also highly detailed and written with authoritative expertise.

Mark includes a ‘how to read this book’ in all of his guides and The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures doesn’t stray from that. He defines all of the different aspects of toy condition (Mint on Card, Mint in Box, etc.), gives a general breakdown on pricing (based on eBay sales at the time the book was written, as well a little bit of history about each toy or playset. One thing that’s a little different in this book versus the G.I. Joe or Transformers book is that the ‘Easily Lost Accessories” aren’t photographed for every toy and the reporting of them seems a little inconsistent. Some toys have text describing the tiny bits and trinkets that come with an item that are easily lost, but for others, it seems this piece is skipped over entirely. That might simply be because that specific item didn’t come with additional accessories, but I’m not entirely sure.

Now, because I wasn’t personally around in the late 70s and early 80s, I never played with any early Star Wars action figures and play sets. But holy mother of science, some of these are stunning. Those Kenner action figures are so detailed and so beautiful that I can’t believe they came out of the 70s. In my opinion, they really set the bar not only for future Star Wars toys to come, but for action figures in general and what we can realistically expect from quality toy production.

Another thing that I loved about The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures is really getting to understand how immersed Star Wars was, from the beginning, in making sure that there were toys GALORE for this movie. This movie was going to sell toys– end of story. Guys…listen…there’s a DAGOBAH PLAYSET.

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A Dagobah….PLAYSET. Where you can hang Luke upside down to levitate. That’s how precise and on the nose these playsets, rather, these reenacted moments from the film were. R2D2 SINKS INTO THE FAKE SWAMP. This is absolute GENIUS and without Mark and his guides I never would have known the majesty of these creations!

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Now I want to redecorate my whole room as Dagobah.

The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures is another fantastic book by the stellar Mark Bellomo. From the quality of research, clarity of voice, approachability of writing, quality of photography, and brilliance of layout, this is a book at all toy collectors, Star Wars fans, and lovers of Mark’s writing need to own.

I give The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures by Mark Bellomo 5/5 Light Sabers.

The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures Gallery:

 

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