Looking back on my childhood, I realize now that my parents (and family in general) were actually rather indulgent when it came to toys. I had an awful lot of them. And yet, at the time—and caught up in the 'frenzy' of Star Wars' original release—I always felt that other kids had more than I did. To an extent, this was true. In my tiny hometown in South Dakota, Bobby Claussen easily had the best Star Wars collection around—including his crown jewel: an actual AT-AT walker. We were friends, so we played together quite a bit, but still, there was that very selfish kid thing in me that when I went home /I/ didn't have the AT-AT!
Adding to my kid frustration was my parents' inability to understand why I needed more than one Stormtrooper or Hoth Rebel Trooper. At the time (being 9 or so) I couldn't properly articulate the fact that Stormtroopers were 'cool' because there were a lot of them—that it would feel more like the movies if I had several Stormtroopers fighting against Luke and Han rather than just one. No, to them, I 'already had one of those', so I didn't need another.
Over the years, through play, theft and loss from moving around, my collection of Star Wars toys dwindled and what remained finally just languished in my Mother's garage. During my college and post-college years I was much, much too poor to even think about spending money on toys. I scrimped and saved to buy Star Wars RPG books, but that was about it. Sometimes I would still walk through the toy isles and see what it was that people were coming out with, but I just couldn't justify spending the money (damn my responsibility, such as it was).
In any case, it was not until well after I landed my first real job (and moved on to the more stable one I have now—knock on wood) that I was even in a position to think about a 'disposable income'. But then several things converged. First: I had a disposable income. Second: I had a house. Third: I discovered eBay.
It began small enough. I re-claimed my toys from my Mother's garage—including MY prized toy: My original 1980 Snowspeeder. Somehow, it had survived my childhood. Only it was still missing one of its engine-nozzle parts that I had lost long ago. I looked on eBay, and what do you know—someone had one of those parts! That got me looking around at what else they had...
At first, I resolved to keep a modest collection—and to focus only on the classic Empire and Rebellions figures from the original trilogy. But as my collection of Stormtroopers grew in proportion to the rebels, that old childhood urge resurfaced. Why not make a squad of Stormtroopers? As the figures got better and better (more articulated), I found myself more and getting more and more.
As it stands now, in about 6 years of avid collecting, I'd say I have close to 300 figures and quite a few vehicles and critters. Is it geeky and childish? Maybe. But then, I AM geeky and childish, so why go against my nature? And before you ask: No, I'm not one of those guys who keeps everything 'MIB' (mint in box). I'm a visual and tactile person. I like to play wi- err... appreciate my toys. I don't want them to be sad and hanging out in their original packaging like Stinky Pete from Toy Story 2.
So, what was the point of this post? Heck. I don't know. I guess just to say that I loved Star Wars toys as a kid, and I still love them.
p.s. And no matter what anyone tells you, I was NOT playing with Boba Fett in the bathtub...I have no idea how he showed up there... nope. None.
p.p.s. And no, 'playing with Boba Fett' is not a euphemism.