Today fans I am going to put some useless knowledge to work. Most of this is from straight memory so I bet mistakes will crop up. If you catch one let me know!
Today I will be doing a write up on one of my favorite vintage toy lines that feel is wrongly over looked. This is lucky for me though because I have had a easy time collecting it when I can find it. The line in question is the Star Wars Micro Collection. I feel that most people have no idea what this line is so I will hit some back story on it first.
The Micro Collection was one of many ideas Kenner had in expanding the Star Wars licence and merchandising phenomenon they had started in 1977 with the infamous Early Bird pack. Flash forward to The Empire Strikes Back and Kenner owned the toy isle and felt like slapping Star Wars on everything. Out of this comes many ideas and mostly flops all them. The Micro Collection was one of these, but I love it anyways. The idea is simple. Offer small plastic playsets and ships with small painted metal figurines. These playsets must be small but can be combined for added play. It is a neat gimmick and they really put the time in on it but I feel one thing really held it back and I think you can guess it as I continue.
The first thing I will explain is some terminology for this line. The combined playsets of a certain group are called a world. So when I mention a world that means all the sets in one group. Here is a run down of what was available.
Death Star World
Imperial TIE Fighter
Rebel Snowspeeder (Sears Exclusive)
Millennium Falcon (J. C. Penny Exclusive)
Build Your Armies (mail away from the boxes for additional Hoth troops)
Some Return of The Jedi sets had been planed but never made it very far. Some unproduced sets for TESB though got very close to release and as such these items can pop up for sale from time to time. I just don’t have the money for them! The biggest let down for me is the final ship they never made, slave I.
As you may notice they had good coverage and trust me they are very fun to play with. The problems from this line though really hold it back. First I do not care how gentle you are from time to time you will chip paint. This will happen as the paint is old and brittle and that is if you can find them with good paint to start with. You have to remember that back in 1982 these were toys not a collectable. The next nail in the coffin so to speak is the fact that Bespin world is more or less only populated by Darth Vader and Luke from their duel. Fun for a moment but what about everyone else? Well at least Boba Fett got a nice figurine in the freezing chamber. The next big issue is that the ships everyone wanted could only be had from store exclusives. Hoth seems to be the best selling set yet the snowspeeder could only be had from Sears! Who the heck got that idea? This makes the snowspeeder by far the rarest production piece. I was very lucky to pick it up and at the price I did. But wait it gets better, the signature ship of Star Wars was also an exclusive. The Millennium Falcon could only be got at a J. C. Penny store. What! Really! The most important toy for this line and I can’t go to my local toy store and get it! This is a good idea gone bad.
So the line ended and I bet you think that was all Kenner ever did with it. Well, you are wrong. Very wrong. Anyone who is familiar with Kenner knows that they like to recycle toys. This is why Star Wars toys can be found hanging out with Robin Hood and why Green Arrow can be found with him too. Heck you can find some cowboys hanging out in a rather familiar looking cantina also. Everyone thinks being green is new, no I think Kenner had it way before it was cool. Now back to the Micro Collection as I can cover the green initiative at Kenner later. The idea behind Micro Collection never died but it never would see toy selves again. Notable ideas would surface often but never would they get any farther then the drawing board. The first was Indiana Jones. Every great blue moon one can find some of the prototypes from this line. The second time this line got looked at was with the next hottest line after Star Wars died. Super Powers! This one is also well known for trying to stick Batman on everything and they tried it here with a micro playset of Batman and the Riddler with a roof top battle set. The last time any of the Micro Collection was seen was a few years ago when Hasbro decided to use the playsets to display a new set of plastic micro figures. The figures came out but sorry to say no playsets.
Well, I hope you all learned something and of course these photos aren’t mine as I really don’t feel like digging my stuff out of dry storage.