Monday, August 8, 2016

'Chive Cast 75 - Sunset on the Empire


Skye and Steve celebrate their diamond jubilee episode with Elling Haug and Tracey Hamilton who discuss Sensorscope R2-D2 and Removable Limbs C-3PO respectively. Plus, Chrisses Fawcett and Georgoulias report back to the states from Celebration Europe 3 and Skye reports from Yehuda's collection room. It is a big 75th 'Chive Cast that "Gargan Largans" its way through foreign variations, 48-Bs, has a knock-down-throw-down MarketWatch, a bunch of haikus, unloved Switcheroos, room sales, Peeping Tom droids, first shots, mock-ups, Diet Pepsi holders and two performances from Kenner Vintage Commercial Players. One last episode before the onslaught of Return of the Jedi characters start their reign on the Vintage Pod.

 

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Resculpt Redux

Ron writes:

Back here I wrote about repurposed action figure sculpts -- that is, sculpts for action figures in the vintage line that were reworked into sculpts for later figures. I also asked readers to speculate as to which figures might have been reworked.

The best suggestion came from our friend Bruce White: He believes that Princess Leia in her Bespin gown was created over the wax sculpt for the original Leia figure. I've long suspected the same, but Bruce's photos and observations are too good not to share.


As the above photo attests, the poses of the two figures are very similar. The similarity is most evident in the hands and arms.


In fact, the arms of the original and Bespin Leia figures are so similar that it's hard to believe they aren't related in some intimate way.


The similarity extends to the figures' shoulders. That long crease extending down from the top of Leia Bespin's left shoulder looks to be an amplification of a much subtler crease that is present on the corresponding area of the original figure.


Nerdlinger that you are, you've no doubt stared at the breasts of these figures on countless occasions, all the while wishing that AFA could grade your innermost fantasies, sealing them tightly in a box designed to keep out reality.

But while doing so, did you notice that the exact same crease traverses the cleavage area of both figures? If we're right about what happened here, the other creases adorning the torso of the original Leia figure were smoothed out during the sculpting of Leia Bespin, leaving that one horizontal boob valley as evidence of a potential common origin.


The details of the figures' waists are quite different; however, I think it's easy to see how a sculptor might have developed one from the other. Hints of the long creases that decorate the later figure are evident below the waist of the earlier one.


In examining photos of the original wax sculpt, which you can read about here, Bruce's sharp eyes noticed that the wax on the inner thigh of the Bespin figure is colored differently from the surrounding wax. Though it's hard to determine whether this apparent modification dates from the revising of the original Leia sculpt or a later revision, it's an interesting detail that speaks to the continual manner in which these pieces were resculpted.

Bruce even has a theory regarding the missing arms of the Leia Bespin sculpt: He thinks they may have been reworked into arms for Leia Boussh.



Sculpted garments aside, it's hard to deny the similarity.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Parade of Premiums: Star Wars in the Big Easy

Ron writes:

Our friend Yehuda Kleinman has more Mardis Gras collectibles that anyone I know. Since I am mostly ignorant of this stuff, I asked him to write an overview for the blog. I may not be able to tell a doubloon from a macaroon, but Yehuda certainly can, and here he is to tell you all about it.

Yehuda writes:

New Orleans, Louisiana never misses a chance to have a good time.

No matter what time of year or what occasion there is always an opportunity for a parade and a celebration. The frequent parades occur in honor of memorable occasions or holidays. The well-orchestrated parades, which are usually along specific routes, consist caravans of multiple floats and trucks, all of them heavily decorated in accordance with various themes.

The annual culmination of all celebration occurs at the Mardi Gras parades, which originate from the city's rich French heritage.


The parades are organized by well-established Krewes, each of which makes its own float, often based on a theme. Throughout the years themes have tended to reflect the social interests and personalities of the time.

Fortunately, New Orleans also understands that swag is a must at any celebration! And the swag often reflects those same themes!

Historically, the various Krewes have given out tokens to parade-goers. The Krewes create the tokens to celebrate the Mardis Gras parades and the post-parade private events held by the individual Krewes. 

The most well-known tokens thrown at New Orleans celebrations are strands of multicolored beads. They can be seen by the thousands lining the routes of the parades, trapped in the branches of the trees lining the paths which the parades follow.


Anyone who attends a parade can easily go home with as many strands of beads as he or she can carry. Some beads are even designed with a Star Wars bent.

R2-D2 beads dating from 2002

However, the more fortunate parade-goer will come home with the more impressive "doubloons" that are distributed at Mardi Gras. The doubloons are coins, typically of the same circumference as a Spanish doubloon. Their size is also reminiscent of the American silver dollar, poker chips, and vintage Kenner collector coins!


Krewe members throw the doubloons from the parade floats as well as hand them out as they walk among the parade goers.


The doubloons themselves are made out of varying types of metal and can be found in multiple colors and variations. The vast majority are struck from aluminum, many by Osborne Coinage, the outfit that, in 1985, struck approximately half of Kenner's Star Wars collector coins. The doubloons can also be found in a variety of colors, created by anodizing the aluminum. The most common color is silver, though may were anodized into purple, green, and gold variants -- the signature colors of Mardi Gras. Rarer are those doubloons anodized in red or blue. Some even feature multiple colors. Doubloons that are made out of metals of heavier gauge are known as "heavies." Still others are made of metals such as pewter, bronze, and even pure silver.



The design used for the doubloon typically also appears on a badge, which is the same size as the doubloon and has a small ring at the top, allowing the badge to be worn on a ribbon.

The aluminum doubloons are the type that are most often thrown from floats and given out at parades. The variants made from finer metals are usually given out at the balls and private Krewe celebrations that take place after the parade. The badges, like the doubloons made from metals other than aluminum, are not distributed to the public; they are internal items reserved for the individual Krewes.

When Star Wars took the world by storm in 1977, its impact was reflected on the Mardi Gras doubloons. Many were created bearing Star Wars imagery on their reserve sides.

The earliest Mardi Gras doubloons to show a Star Wars influence were handed out in 1979. (The lag time between the movie's release and the appearance of the images on the Mardi Gras doubloons is consistent with the amount of time required to design and produce the doubloons.)

Aside from the very recent doubloons issued by garrisons of the 501st Legion, the most recent doubloon bearing Star Wars imagery dates to 2002.

The Star Wars imagery that appears on the reverse of the doubloon can constitute either a part of the design or the entire design. The designs reflecting current social themes often show a mix of characters from many entertainment genres on the same doubloon, making for interesting and eclectic images. In fact, one of the 1979 doubloons features both a representation of Mickey Mouse and an X-Wing fighter, likely the first time that Disney and Star Wars were seen together on the same product!

If that's not enough to discombobulate your licensing sensors, many doubloons commit the sin of mixing Star Wars and Star Trek imagery; some even pull in imagery from properties whose titles don't include the word "star," like the Transformers.

The doubloon designs vary from cartoonish mashups to very detailed and accurate portraits.

Below is a list of all of the Star Wars-themed Mardis Gras doubloons which I have confirmed or believe to exist. If anyone knows of any others, please feel free to mention them in the comments.

Key:

? - likely exists, but unconfirmed
a - aluminum uncolored
b - aluminum blue anodized
g - aluminum gold anodized
gr - aluminum green anodized
p - aluminum purple anodized
s - aluminum red anodized
os - aluminum with an antique oxidized silver finish
H - heavy (thick coin)
B - bronze
D - dual colored
M- multicolored
BA - badge
S - .999 silver

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:          1979
Krewe:       Bards of Bohemia
Slogan:      "Conquerors All"
Star Wars:  Vader, full body, on left of side 1
Variations:  a, g, p, D, B, S

Side 1:
Side 2:
_______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:          1979
Krewe:      Mystic Stripers Society
Slogan:      Thursday Night at the Movies
Star Wars:  X-Wing featured along with King Kong, Mickey Mouse, etc. on side 1
Variations:  a, g(?), os(?), B(?), S(?)


Side 1 (Left) / Side 2 (Right)
_______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:         1981
Krewe:      Truck No. 3
Slogan:      "Confused Couples Carnival Club"
Star Wars:  Satirical take on R2-D2 on side 1
Variations:  a, g, gr, p, B(?), M(?), S(?)

 Side 1:


Side 2:
_______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:           1981
Krewe:       Janus
Slogan:       "In the Seventies"
Star Wars:  R2-D2 featured with and Richard Nixon and others on side 1
Variations:  g, b, BA, B(?), H(?), M(?), os(?), S(?)

 Side 1:
Side 2:
_______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:          1982
Krewe:       Le Krewe Mystique de la Capitale
Slogan:       N/A
Star Wars:  X-Wing fighter and Death Star on side 1
Variations:  a, g, gr, p, r, S, H(?)

Side 1:
Side 2:
_______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:           1983
Krewe:        Janus
Slogan:       "35th Anniversary"
Star Wars:  R2-D2 featured on right of side 1
Variations:  g, gr, os, BA, B, S(?)

Side 1:
Side 2:
 _______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:          1983
Krewe:       Krewe of Carroliton
Slogan:      "Cinema Classics"
Star Wars:  Star Wars mentioned on film strips along with other notable films on side 1
Variations:  a, g, gr, B, M, BA, Hg, Hb

Side 1:
Side 2:
 _______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:          1986
Krewe:       Krewe of Houmas
Slogan:      "Space Fantasies"
Star Wars:  Yoda and R2-D2 featured with the Starship Enterprise on side 1
Variations:  g, gr, p, M, B(?), S(?)

Side 1:
Side 2:
_______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:         1986
Krewe:      The Krewe of Little Rascals
Slogan:      "Little Rascals Salute Space Adventures"
Star Wars:  R2-D2 on left beside Han Solo-like figure on side 1
Variations:  a, g, gr, p

Side 1:
Side 2:
_______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:          1986
Krewe:       Krewe of Mid-City New Orleans
Slogan:      "Space Fantasies"
Star Wars:  Yoda is featured beside Optimus Prime and the Starship Enterprise on side 1
Variations:  a, g, gr, p, os, B, M, S

Side 1:
Side 2:
 _______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:          1992
Krewe:       Nereids
Slogan:       Nereids Cinema Classics
Star Wars:  Darth Vader with Rocky, Batman symbol, etc. on side 1
Variations:  g, gr, p, H(?)

Side 1:
Side 1 (Left) / Side 2  (Right)
 _______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:          2002
Krewe:       Krewe of Aladdin
Slogan:      "Movies of the 20th Century"
Star Wars:  R2-D2 featured along with Lawrence of Arabia, Moses, etc. on side 1
Variations:  a, g, Hg with M reverse

Side 1:
Side 2:
 _______________________________________________________________________________________

Year:         2015-2016
Krewe:      501st Bast Alpha Garrison
Slogan:      N/A
Star Wars:  Stormtrooper riding alligator on side 1
Variations: 2015 - a, 2016 - a

Side 1:
Side 2: