17 Aug 2009
Last week our friend Bob announced that he was going to sell a few old Star Wars toys he had laying around his house. This of course piqued my interest, as I’m one of those millions of children who were imprinted with the plans for the Death Star back in the summer of 1977. Like many of those kids, my formative years were spent poring over pre-production illustrations by Ralph McQuarrie and building my own models of the ships out of balsa wood and styrene. Looking back, I thought that I had a pretty great collection of lovingly-used, carefully-protected toys and memorabilia packed away into boxes and sent off for storage.
I was so wrong.
What I’m leaving out is that “our friend Bob” is better known in Star Wars fan circles as “VaderPainter“; one of the premiere Darth Vader costumers in the nation. His Darth Vader costume has its own custom-made road case… something you’d expect to see during a load-in for a KISS concert. It has custom-cut foam receivers for Vader’s helmet. It has casters. It has reinforced sides and custom silkscreened artwork on the outside. It’s totally Rock-n-Roll, and it’s totally ready for tour… which is exactly what Bob uses if for because he has appeared all over the place as Vader and has more Imperial Stormtrooper friends than you can shake a gaffi stick at.
Knowing how seriously he takes his costuming it should have come as no surprise that his Star Wars collection might be “above average”.
What it turned out to be though is “beyond imagination“.
Bob’s house is a realization of every Star Wars toy collector’s dream: shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves filled with figures and spaceships and books and models and replica costumes and helmets and…….. there were so many toys and figures on hand that I honestly had a difficult time focusing on any one item because there were five more things right beside it that I wanted to see. I kept finding myself staring with my mouth open at things I’d only ever seen in magazines, like an art student walking through the Louvre admiring the care given to each piece of art on display. Just incredible.
The video I’ve posted here is of Captain Matt of ThePirateShip.com being given a personal tour of the collection by VaderPainter himself. Enjoy!
After yesterday’s visit to Bob’s sale I have to tell you: my collection is a joke. And I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m more than a bit relieved because now I won’t have to build a Star Wars museum of my own. As we were driving away my 78 year old Dad said “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a toy store in a house.”