Sunday, December 1, 2019

[YouTube] Star Wars: Five 1990's Action Figure Promotions

Fan club magazine with the cantina band
member offer.
Once the original Star Wars trilogy ended its run in theaters Kenner continued to release toys through 1985 though Star Wars fever was on the decline. Its last series based on the movies, before producing toys based on Star Wars cartoons, was called The Power of the Force and are among the rarest of the original trilogy's action figures. In 1991 Hasbro acquired Kenner and brought Star Wars toys back in 1995 with anticipation building toward the return of the film series. The new Star Wars toy line was also called The Power of the Force and it includes more detailed versions of many of the characters and vehicles from the first three films. It also made toys based on other Star Wars media, such as novels, comic books, and a video game.

Using as a reference, I believe there were eight figures released in the '90s that were only available through mail-away promotions, five of which I am showing here. The three I do not own -- Oola & Salacious Crumb (two-pack) and Wuher -- were exclusive to the Star Wars Fan Club. Those three never received any kind of standard release within that time period but the five I have did later receive retail releases though they aren't exactly the same as the special order versions.

Han Solo - Stormtrooper Disguise (1995) 
While Luke Skywalker had a Stormtrooper disguise action figure back in 1985, Han never did. To get this figure fans had to purchase select boxes of Kellogg's Froot Loops cereal to get the order form and mail that in along with two proofs of purchase from any Froot Loops cereal. The action figure's only accessory is the Stormtrooper helmet as no weapon was included. In 1997 a Toys "R" Us exclusive version of Han in disguise was released in a three-pack with Luke and Chewbacca. I added some photo comparisons to other Stormtrooper figures.

Spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi (1997)
This action figure is meant to represent the spirit or ghost version of Obi-Wan Kenobi that appears on Dagobah when Luke is training with Yoda. It could be had for $1.99 plus two proofs of purchase from specialty marked bags of regular Lay's potato chips. The figure is translucent so it really doesn't look like the glowing version of Alec Guinness in the movie series and it doesn't seem like the head or arms are meant to move. Hasbro released a better looking (color is more ghost-like) spirit of Obi-Wan as part of a three-pack with Yoda and Anakin spirits in 1998. In the last photo I stuck a flashlight under Obi-Wan to light him up.

Cantina Band Member (1997)
Cantina band Figrin D'An and the Modal Nodes appears in the Mos Eisley Cantina as seen in the first film, A New Hope. This figure was available to members of the Star Wars Fan Club for the rather high price of $9 plus $1.50 for shipping. The Fan Club's Insider magazine suggested buying five to have a complete band though it was later confirmed the band actually has seven members. Only one version of the figure was made but each one is packaged with five different instruments. A similar figure called Barquin D'An was released in a Walmart exclusive two-pack with Droopy McCool in 1998.

B'omarr Monk (1997)
Are you asking who is B'omarr Monk? I certainly wouldn't know who or what it is if I didn't own this toy. It's one of the strangest Star Wars action figures ever made because, well, it's definitely strange looking and most probably don't recall seeing the character in the movies (you can see it in Return of the Jedi during Jabba the Hutt's palace scenes). At Wookiepedia I learned this is not a character's name but an order of monks, and they preserved their brains after death. To get one kids and collectors had to grab the order form from the Kenner website and according to, it cost $7.98. It comes with a small instruction sheet as it actually has to be assembled. Hasbro released a B'omarr Monk in stores seven years later with the only difference being the color of the bowl.

Mace Windu (1998)
One year before The Phantom Menace movie hit theaters, Hasbro allowed fans to purchase a preview of the toy line in the form of Jedi Master Mace Windu. Whereas all of the previous figures I've mentioned were packaged in plastic bags stuffed inside a nondescript white box for shipping, Windu has a box with a design similar to the retail toys. This one cost $2.99 plus six action figure proofs of purchase and a dated receipt. Apparently Hasbro didn't know Mace's lightsaber color when it produced this one or even the early retail figures as they both come with a blue lightsaber rather than the purple one he wields in the films. In fact, since the character does not use his lightsaber in The Phantom Menace I don't believe the color was chosen until before Attack of the Clones. I included a comparison to one of his Phantom Menace action figures. 

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