Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It's only a model...May 4th Vintage Gathering

"Camelot...Camelot....CAMELOT!...." err, wrong film. Sorry, sorry everyone! 

An interesting MPC banner from Return of the Jedi

Continuing the May 4th tradition from last year, we had a great get-together hosted by Mark Enright this past Sunday in sunny La Crescenta. Beyond the delicious BBQ and brews, the group got a first-hand glimpse at the "Mortar Heads" workshop and of one of the coolest and most unique focus collections out there. Mark's model kit collection has everything that a vintage Star Wars enthusiast could want -- multiple toy companies represented, international flavor,  kitsch advertisements, displays...essentially, stuff you just don't see every day and most likely wouldn't find unless you knew how and where to look.

Here we go with a photo re-cap of the afternoon....

The man behind "Mortar Heads" poses with one of his recent molds.
4-LOM from concept.... incredible sculpture.

Tessa and Ara enjoy the spread (while Steve chugs).
The traditional cardback swap-meet (with two ESB carded figures that have made their way to every meeting thus far!)
Ara brought along a great stash of vintage Marvel comics.
Several of which made it back to West Hollywood -- thanks Ara!
Mark's extensive run of R2 & 3PO model kits.
Jedi kits and other model gems.

This ROTJ Airfix 4-Kit Set was sold through the 1983 Sears Wish Book in the United States, even though Airfix kits came from the UK.
Meccano Millennium Falcon Kit - Canadian Parker Box with English and French text and a Meccano sticker.
Phidias acquires a neat addition to his Bib Fortuna focus -- a snap kit Bib from Mark.

Thanks again to Mark for being such an awesome host and for sharing his killer collection. Hope to see more members at the next gathering -- stay tuned for details!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

May the Fourth Be With You...(Rain Delay)

Hey guys -- it has been an extreme delay since the club's last dispatch, but I've finally squared things up with the blog and wanted to share a post that I had prepared shortly after our last SoCal meeting on May 4th, 2013. Here it is as it was composed:

The club’s recent meeting in Orange, CA was small in scale, but fun beyond measure. Member David Carr graciously took the helm, organizing and hosting a great event that completely captured the spirit of this awesome holiday that Star Wars has created. It was a day that saw incredibly rare special offer boxed items, a fantastic Vintage Kenobi run, and even a couple of unloved items. Even more fascinating were a handful of photo albums featuring the beginnings of Sansweet’s museum-filled collection, set photos from Return of the Jedi, and...this?!

This insane clipping was one of many phenomenal pieces of history which came from the collection of a newcomer to our gatherings, Lisa Cowan. Lisa was a former Lucasfilm employee who also ran the Mark Hamill Fan Club and edited its associated magazine, On the Mark, during the heyday of the original trilogy. Her personal mementos and incredible stories were major highlights, but it was Lisa’s personality as a true fan (and collector) that made them all the more enjoyable. Here are some more gems from Lisa's albums that she shared with us:

Gary Kurtz's familiar beard on the left - a man named Sansweet on the right
A sample page from On the Mark

Phidias, Marty N., and Mark E. represented the rest of the group, though unfortunately Mark and I missed each other by a couple of hours due to my early exit. The reason for this was an amazing opportunity to see Jedi on the big screen in the same theater it premiered in May of 1983 – Grauman’s Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. Vintage Kenner commercials for the ROTJ line flickered on the big screen as the theater filled to capacity. Fittingly enough, none other than Mark Hammill was among the spectators. Thus, it was a Star Wars Day through and through. Thanks again to David and his family for being such welcoming hosts!

Here are the rest of the photos from the day:

The crew sets up shop in the "club house"
Marty with a Special Offer Radio Controlled R2-D2
More Special Offer boxed specialties
Lisa's stall full of vintage goodness
I was lucky enough to not only see one "unloved" item...
But take a second one home!
David's Blue Snaggletooth...
Complete with head pin.
David stands by his awesome vintage collection.
Lisa adds her autograph to the flag.
Group Shot #1
Mark E. joins the fray later in the day.

Darth Vader guards the entry to the historic Grauman's Egyptian Theater 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A double Chubby-Chuck, a chili-barb, two orders of French fries and...

...the largest privately held Star Wars collection in the world.

A fitting crossroads...
 Though the California Vintage Star Wars Collectors Club doesn’t get a chance to meet all that often, the get-togethers always seem to pan out pretty well.  Our second meeting of 2012 set the bar much higher with a personal tour of Stephen Sansweet’s Rancho Obi-Wan – a 9,000 square-foot non-profit museum located on the borders of wine country in Sonoma County.  The road to the ranch proved symbolic on several fronts, beginning with a stop in Modesto (perhaps the point of genesis), a drive past Lucas Valley in San Rafael (the hidden fortress), ultimately ending in the small town of Petaluma (where American Graffiti was filmed in the summer of 1972).  As our van full of vintage collectors drove into town and into the path of a Veteran’s Day parade, I got an uplifting feeling that this place really hadn’t changed much since young Terry Fields placed his order at Mel’s drive-in (though the real location for the scene happened to be in San Francisco, I could easily imagine such a place on a street corner in Petaluma).

The Petaluma Veteran's Day Parade
What CAVSWCC road trip wouldn’t be complete without a slight detour?  In an attempt to bypass the hustle and bustle of the parade route, our van somehow ended up in an industrial yard complete with run-down warehouses, train cars, trucks, and a dead end.  As one of us described it, we were on the set of RoboCop.  Luckily, everything had been going so smoothly beforehand and we still managed to arrive at Rancho Obi-Wan within minutes of the other Northern California constituents.  Two new club members were in attendance – Keita of the 501st (who also brought his awesome gear for photo ops) and Dwayne along with fellow Petaluma resident Dan.

Rather than trying to recount the overwhelmingly incredible Rancho experience, I’ve compiled the following slideshow from our 4+ hour tour hosted by a collector whose passion truly has no bounds.

After the official tour was complete, the group embarked on a series of double-takes and deeper investigations with additional commentary from Steve. 
Main Exhibit Hall

Trevor on a quest for bootlegs.
Marty and Keita

Will and a sage

The flag signing ritual and group photo signaled the end of the main event, and what an event it was. 

For a post-game wrap up, the group enjoyed a late-night round of brews and grub at McNear’s – a funky yet classy joint adjacent to the charming Mystic Theater.   

Thus, another successful meeting was adjourned.  Huge thanks must be passed along to Will for getting this event rolling, to Phidias for providing transport, and to Mark H. for offering a much needed place to sleep before the long ride home.

Thanks to Steve, Anne, and the rest of the Rancho Obi-Wan staff for an amazing experience – and hopefully the first of many to come. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Santa Barbara, Born and Raised

Though a few weeks late as far as getting in a second meeting in 2011, the club’s recent Southern CA get-together in Santa Barbara was a very good time. Over the summer, I had the opportunity to start a new collection room completely from scratch (transforming my old bedroom in the home I grew up in), resulting in a real dream come true. This was my first opportunity to share my displayed collection with other collectors in person – people who can appreciate it on an entirely different level from family and friends who understand and support my passion, but probably think that I’ve gone a bit crazy.

A troop from the Los Angeles area carpooled up the coast (thanks for the van service, Phidias!) and Trevor W. (the most recent Northern CA host) made it all the way down from Oakland. Mark E. has been a steadfast attendee and Marty N. attended his third meeting. We also had a first-time attendee in David Carr from Orange County, who has been an active fan and collector for many years. Glad to have you!

Several varieties of beer went along with some fine Rusty’s Pizza, but the appetite was much more focused on Vintage Star Wars throughout the day and into the evening. I have to say it was awesome to see Star Wars take over the house. Several great trades were made, with everyone coming home with something new. From the largest of all store displays and lovely first shots to gorgeous German carded figures and funky Topps cards, the whole gamut of the Vintage Star Wars universe was represented.

On to the photos….

Trevor unpacks his wares.

Some of Mark's vintage model kits.

Bootlegs galore.

Mark, David, and Marty enjoying the growing madness.

Phidias and David converse.

First shots adorn the mantle place.

As does the Micro Collection.

Trevor is intrigued by the ROTJ Space Battle Display...

David and Mark take a look at a vintage poster.

Coins, cards, and other goods.

Some Uzay delights....that calculator's operational!

The blockbuster trade of the day...Trevor's 12" AT-AT Driver for the first item in his hands. (which happened to be a small Lego set from Mark)

Vintage's too bad that Julie bailed from the cardback and the party.

ROTJ and Trilogo MOCs for the second course.

An interesting item Trevor picked up from a recent find.....

Ugliest figures of the day, courtesy of Mexico. Who knew that Yoda and Prune Face were related?

Steve's "Show and Tell" table (just like elementary school).

Steve's new acquisitions. Thanks David and Mark!

A closer look at some truly priceless trading cards.

The Rejects Hall of Fame.

The B-Wing Pilot collection and curator.