Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection: 35 Years of Characters Paperback – Nov 7 2012
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About the Author
Stephen J. Sansweet is a world-renowned Star Wars collector and authority. He lives in Petaluma, California.
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Top Customer Reviews
Overall very well done..
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
First, this is a reference book and not a price guide (so, it contains tons of timeless information, but no prices that are quickly outdated). Second, it shows a picture of every figure released as off the time the book was set to the publisher, including most variations and many more obscure figures (with nearly 340 pages containing 6 or more photos each, I have no doubt the author covers at lest the 2300 figures mentioned in the intro). On a related note, all of the pictures are nicely sized so you can easily see the detail for each figure. For example, there are 54 Darth Vader figures covered over eight pages, and 89 Luke Skywalker figures covered over 11 pages. Second (at least for the vintage figures and probably for the rest, too, though I can't say for sure because I don't collect those), it shows each figure holding/wearing all of the weapons/accessories it originally came with. Third, it shows at least one still photo for a vast majority of the figures from the movies, TV shows, and/or comics (this is a wonderful way to see how the figures compare to the character they represent). Fourth, there is a brief commentary on every figure, and a slightly more in depth commentary on more important figures. Fifth, everything is in full color and on high quality semi-gloss paper (the book is an inch thick and weighs over 3.5 pounds). Finally, on p. 10 it shows a sample photo of the card/packaging from each of the 29 production lines included in the book (I mention this as it was one of my favorite features of the book).
That said, this book is a reference guide for the figures themselves and therefore does not deal with packaging of each figure in any meaningful way (so, if that is what you are looking for this may not be the book for you). This is too bad as it was a great feature in the original book (and my primary reason for giving it 4.5 rather than 5 stars). But, it does what it set out to do exceptionally well, is very fun to go through, and contains a lot of useful information that is not readily available elsewhere (especially all in one place), and I'm happy to round up to 5 stars. So, I think most Star Wars action figure collectors will find it to be a worthwhile reference for their library.
For starters, almost every figure is represented but many entries don't show all the accessories that came with the figure - this is painfully apparent in the "clones" section. You get one picture of each figure, no multiple angles and some of the special features aren't properly called out. Also, some figures that came packed together are never pictured on the same page making it difficult to grasp which figures came in a set - have I mentioned the "clones" section yet?.
The introduction section shows an example of the packaging for each figure series covered, but following sections never show the packaging for individual entries let alone the packaging of sets. None of the vehicles, playsets, or other toys that are part of the Star Wars action figure line are shown or properly discussed to help give context to certain figures - see "Snaggletooth (blue)" for example, it would have been nice to show a picture of the Cantina Playset the infamous figure came in. Also, some figures come with accessories that work with vehicles and playsets but that is never discussed because a lot of accessories aren't shown and vehicles and playsets are absent.
I also don't understand the book's logic for what qualifies as a figure for inclusion. Imperial Probe Droid from the 1980's Hoth playset qualifies but not the Dianoga trash compactor monster that came with the Death Star playset, let alone a Rancor or a Wampa.
Despite my negative review I recommend this book because it is a great reference guide and fun to browse, but it lacks the level of detail necessary to be truly helpful to the collector community.