A Force For Christmas
♦ As expected, it’s happened again. We wait and wait, and it’s crept up on us. We’re mere weeks away from that wondrous time when everyone comes together to celebrate an internationally joyous occasion. That’s right, there’s a new Star Wars film out at the end of December. And that Christmas thing, obviously.
So we here at Tripwire thought we’d help you with some ideas for the adult Star Wars fan in your life. Because let’s face it, kids get all the fun with those Disney Store hoodies. We’ll try and keep our recommendations at a reasonable price point too. Words: Matt Zitron…
1.Pop Vinyls.These ubiquitous swollen cranium bobble-heads have been a fixture of the Star Wars collector’s life for a while now. Covering every film (so far) and even Rebels, one’s choice of characters is vast and never-ending. They’ve gotten so big that even Asda (https://tinyurl.com/SWASDA) and Tesco (https://tinyurl.com/SWTESCO) have them on their shelves.
It’s easy to go crazy here and overpay on items, with sellers inflating demand. Forbidden Planet is probably the best retailer for these, even though they are available nearly everywhere at the moment. But who doesn’t want a Porg sitting on the dashboard of their car?
2. Tsum Tsums
I can just imagine the meeting at Disney HQ. “We need a product that’s part cuddly toy, part phone wipe, that sort of looks like the cross between a Hamster and a sausage.” These reasonably inexpensive little guys are halfway between cute and disturbing. Disney do a massive range and have done a few for Star Wars. The key characters are fairly easy to get, and they come in small, medium and large. My personal favourite is the Jabba the Hut, who, for no apparent reason, has a glob of drool stitched onto a corner of his mouth.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without novelty socks and of course, there’s plenty on offer. If you want quantity over quality look in the supermarkets who are all doing their own lines. Being a sock snob I prefer Marks and Spencer’s quality, and as it turns out they’ve got a cool BB-8 pair for £3.50 in a classy package. Nice for Office Secret Santa.
COST £3.50 to £8.00.
4. Star Wars from a Certain Point of View
This is probably the most exciting book to have been released since Disney took over the license. This collection of 40 short stories (to celebrate 40 years of Star Wars) features an array of great authors, all of them providing their own unique spin on the franchise. There’s a load of comics writers in there like Greg Rucka, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kieron Gillen, Paul Dini, Charles Soule and Chuck Wendig, to name but a few. This is a great gateway book, because it’s a collection of brief tales, and isn’t as daunting as trying to enter into the world of Star Wars novels.
COST: £10 to £20
Since the beginning of licensing, Hasbo (originally Kenner/Palitoy) have made Star Wars figures. Whether a character has been in one of the movies for a split second or featured extensively in all 7 films, they’ve probably been immortalised in plastic. And it’s easy to become overwhelmed at the choice.
Regular sized figures are 3.75 inches (worth noting for eBay searches) but you can get larger or even smaller. If you want new figures, check the major retailers before Amazon (the giant often has inflated prices.) They do turn up in sales all the time. Obviously with collectibles some things are going to get expensive, so caution is advised.
The best bet is to try and pick up bundles on eBay, either boxed or not. When looking at loose figures online, try RebelScum’s (http://rebelscum.com) fantastic photo archive to see if they’re missing anything. And if you pick up models with no weapons, people will often sell bundles of them on eBay.
COST £1 – £100
Since 1977 people have been producing artwork based on the holy heptalogy. From Etsy to All Posters, you can find a welter of different pieces to grace a wall. Whether it’s travel posters, movie one sheets or comedy action figure photos, the choice is considerable. Again, caution is advised on eBay as there are sellers flogging desk jet copies as the genuine article.
There are expensive collectibles out there like Mondo Tees, or Acme Archives; all of these are beautifully made. Nevertheless if you want to work within a budget you can still get some really nice pieces. It may also be worth checking local markets as some artists sell originals.
COST £5 to £50
7. Star Wars Carcassonne
Sometimes when you take a beloved board game like Carcassonne and slap on a license it’s done in a boring and lacklustre way (I’m looking at you Monopoly). With Star Wars Carcassonne they’ve taken the beloved tile placing game and tweaked it enough to make it worth owning, even if you have the original.
You place tiles on the table to score points for owning trade routes (roads in the original), asteroid fields (castles) and planets (Abbeys) with each scoring differently. The big difference in this version (bar the loss of farms) is they’ve added a combat element. Depending on placement of your tile you can fight an opponent for control of a planet or asteroid belt using dice rolls. While Carcassonne devotees might balk at this change, it adds considerably to the competitive edge of the game and I like it.
This is such an easy game to learn and plays quickly, so it’s good for anyone. Available nearly everywhere but Chaos Cards (https://www.chaoscards.co.uk/board-games-c800/all-board-games-c550/carcassonne-star-wars-p130120/s131407) are one of the best (and have other Star Wars board games.)
Cost: £23 to £30
We wouldn’t be Tripwire without mentioning the four colour medium. Since Marvel regained the rights to the franchise they’ve provided some brilliant books for most eras.
The main Star Wars series (initially by Jason Aaron) is superb but has had quite a few GNs so far. It also crossed over with Kieron Gillen’s superb Darth Vader series (which finished after 5 GNs, or one big Omnibus.)
If I had to choose one, I’d say Gillen’s Darth Vader mainly for Triple Zero and BeeTee (his homicidal versions of R2-D2 and C3P0).
If you prefer standalone books there have been some great GNs on Lando, Princess Leia and Darth Maul. Marvel also did a book set directly after Return of the Jedi called Shattered Empire. It features Poe Dameron’s parents, and is an interesting read.
Probably my favourite floppy Star Wars comic of the past year was Duane Swierczynski and Fernando Blanco’s Cassian and K-2SO one shot. It tells how the Rogue One heroes met and was both well written and beautifully drawn. It’s a $4.99 book, so it’s perfect as a small present. See if your local retailer still has, or can get you a copy.
COST: £4 to £90
This is a more general entry as there is so much in the market. You can get Ice Cube trays that make Vader, Stormtroopers, Han in Carbonite, or even full sphere Death stars. Not to mention pizza rollers, bottle openers and myriad other merchandise.
For the booze hound in your life, why not treat them to a glass Stormtrooper head decanter with matching glasses?
Or if that isn’t subtle enough, there’s also a Darth Vader Toaster for the hardcore fan. You too can enjoy breakfast from the head of a cyborg.
Just remember not to be offended when you go round to the receiver’s house and the stuff is hidden at the back of the cupboard.
COST: £5 to £50
I remember in 1999 when the first Lego Star Wars came out, I was more excited at the prospect of them than the then new Star Wars movies.
The sets are everywhere, and if you were feeling extravagant I would recommend the Ultimate Collectors Millenium Falcon, retailing at a hefty £500. A set so big they have to give it to you on wheels at the Lego store.
For the less expensive gifts, there are rules that one must apply – usually a set costs £10 for every minifigure within (barring massive sets that add on more for big piece counts.) They often do go on sale, and older sets are easily picked up at discount.
For small gifts your best bet are the small Microfighter sets. For around £9 you get a minifigure with a weapon and a little ship to sit them in. These are shrunk down versions of fighters from the movies. They’re fun to build and look good on a desk.
COST: £9 to £500
Obviously there’s so much Star Wars stuff out there that we could do a Star Wars gift day for the rest of our lives. We even left out things like the amazing Sphero droids because they’re so easily available, but there’s also lots of great mugs, Hot Wheels Cars, Making Of books and even cook books to choose from.
The best bit of advice when buying for a fan is this. Don’t just get it because it has Darth Vader on the box. There’s such a selection that you can tailor a gift that suits their love of the movies, as well as their personality. Just remember a Porg is for life, not just for Christmas.