The Little Aussie Battlers!
It’s a pity when a great toy line goes out with a whimper and not a bang, but more often than not that’s exactly what happens. Kenner’s Star Wars line of 1977-85 was no different. After re-writing toy sale records and re-inventing action figures and film-licensed products the mighty Star Wars line sputtered out over the summer of 1985-86. After a rumoured 250 million figures were sold, the last few releases were dumped in Australia. Why did we get them? Well we’re not called the lucky country for nothing mate 🙂
Lets go back to Australia in the late seventies and eighties. We didn’t get the latest blockbuster Hollywood movies until months after the US, which of course caused a time lag in the wave of popularity for any given feature film. This was great for Star Wars in ’77, because by the time it opened in Australia (27 October 1977 – five months after the USA) the popularity was a ‘known quantity’. The toy stores were bursting with Star Wars items of all kinds (well not the figures yet, but all the other stuff!) , no empty boxes for Aussie kids! True as it was at the start of the Star Wars craze it was again so at the end. Aussie kids were still six months behind their US counterparts. When little Chuck and Randy grew tired of playing with their tiny space-movie men and moved on to wonderful transforming robots, little Darren and Shane still had a last spot left in their heart for just one (or two) more Star Wars figures.
Which brings me to the image above. Here we have a couple of Niktos on the “Power of The Force” card back. The under-performing sales of the “Power of the Force” line of figures lead to their inevitable demise in the US. But what to do with the left overs? Those last few figures and cardbacks sitting in the warehouse in Taiwan or Hong Kong or China, who will take them? Why Toltoys in Australia of course! Just pop them on a card back and give them a coin (Left over ‘Warok’ the Ewok coins in the case of the Nikto and At-At Driver) and send them down under, we hear they still love that stuff down there! Problem solved. Fast forward 30 years and you have the hardest to find figures in the entire Kenner star wars line. Power of the Force versions of Nikto, AT-AT Driver and Gammorean Guard. Let’s hear it for the tail-enders, the little Aussie battlers!
Have any Aussie toy memories? Post a comment or email me!