BE­YOND PIX­ELS

Matt Hamm on his vin­tage Star Wars toys

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No­body can ever for­get the first time that they watched Star Wars. Aged only six years old, I re­mem­ber go­ing to the cin­ema with my older cousin Mike to watch The Em­pire Strikes Back. It blew my mind. I was hooked. Luck­ily, Mike al­ready had a few Star Wars toys, so we could im­me­di­ately re-en­act those epic bat­tles.

Now I wanted my own col­lec­tion of Star Wars toys. I used to reg­u­larly go to my lo­cal toy shop, Den­tons in Wit­ney, Ox­ford­shire and pore over the wall of Star Wars fig­ures on dis­play. As you can imag­ine, now top of my Christ­mas wish­list was the iconic Mil­len­nium Fal­con ship.

Af­ter Re­turn Of The Jedi was re­leased in 1983 and my cousin started to grow out of play­ing with toys, I in­her­ited his Star Wars fig­ures and ships. As a de­signer, Star Wars has al­ways been a ma­jor in­flu­ence on my aes­thetic taste. The de­sign of

Star Wars seems like an in­fin­itely deep rab­bit hole of su­perbly de­signed char­ac­ters, clothes, crea­tures, plan­ets, build­ings and ships.

I also grew out of play­ing with toys and passed on some of my fig­ures to my younger brother Nathan. But, the mem­ory of sell­ing my beloved Mil­len­nium Fal­con for £5 still haunts me.

A cou­ple of years ago, my wife, He­len came home with a bag full of old toy sol­diers. I opened the bag and star­ing right back at me was Yak Face – a well-known rarer Vin­tage Star Wars fig­ure. What a find! This lit­tle old piece of vin­tage plastic was worth about £150. We could have just sold it, but no, in­stead it kick-started the in­ner child within me and I de­cided to em­bark on a mis­sion to buy ev­ery sin­gle vin­tage Star Wars fig­ure that was re­leased be­tween 1977 to 1988.

I stum­bled upon an ad­dic­tive Face­book group called Echo Base UK, with a great com­mu­nity spirit, which en­ables col­lec­tors to trade vin­tage

Star Wars toys, avoid­ing eBay fees and scams. Since then I have man­aged to col­lect the full com­plete set of 96 loose vin­tage fig­ures, a cou­ple of ships and two MOCs (Mint On Card) fig­ures. I’m now start­ing to col­lect all the ma­jor vari­ants, which have mi­nor de­tail dif­fer­ences and can be harder to find. I can’t tell you how much hap­pi­ness col­lect­ing th­ese vin­tage fig­ures has brought me. I now ea­gerly await the post­man/post­women with my next de­liv­ery of plastic crack.

Matt lives in Wit­ney, Ox­ford­shire and is the Cre­ative Di­rec­tor of Su­pereight Stu­dio, a web de­sign, UX and brand­ing agency.

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