Welcome all to the eighteenth episode of our collector snapshot, where a vintage collector answers 10 short questions. The same questions will be given to every collector appearing in this segment.
I’m a bit embarrassed that it has been four months since our last collector snapshot. Things have been busy but I’ve resolved to produce these interviews more regularly again. Anyone I’m making up for it with this cracker of an interview. I’m very excited to welcome Dwayne Smith onto the blog! Dwayne is born and raised in Northern California, married with four kids and works as a school maintenance supervisor.
Dwayne is actually responsible for the most popular photo ever posted by us – yes that’s right – he was the man inside that fantastic vintage Hammerhead costume at Celebration Anaheim. I was lucky enough to see Dwayne and his costume in action at the Chive Cast Party.
While the Hammerhead costume is great, you’ll see in this interview that Dwayne is not a one trick pony. He has an awesome Star Wars collection and is heavily involved in the Star Wars and vintage communities. He’s a life long Star Wars fan and is a member of the California Vintage Collectors Club, Stormtrooper Ranch and the 501st.
To the questions!
1. How long have you been collecting?
I’m part of the original generation of fans who got to see Star Wars in theaters in 1977. That following year I can remember being in Kindergarten when Kenner action figures starting showing up on the play ground. I recognized the Han Solo and the Stormtrooper my friends were playing with in the sand box. I was hooked right away and in no time I had my mom take me to K-Mart to get my own figures. So I started pretty young.
2. What do you collect?
Great memories, is the best way I can sum it up, I love all things Star Wars but the items I treasure most coincide with great memories of how they came to be part of my collection. When I look at my vintage figures I’m reminded of how I received them as gifts for birthdays, Christmas and being brave at the doctor’s office. Nostalgically I’m drawn to vintage era collectibles like The Kenner Action figures, Topps cards, Marvel comics, promotional items and 8 track cassette tapes. I enjoy the adventure of discovering items here and there and if I’m able to bring one home once and a while that’s great.
VSWC. We’ve had some outstanding collectors/individuals answer this question but this is hands down the best answer I’ve seen so far. The SW vintage community would be a much better place if we all focussed on collecting “great memories.”
Check out some of Dwayne’s collection. Damn……..
3. What’s your grail?
It’s so hard to narrow my wish list down to just one grail. I’d love to get myself a DT (Double Telescoping Saber) Vader action figure someday. Realistically and much more within my budget. I’m trying to track down a copy of the 1983 UK Return of the Jedi Weekly No. 28 comic book. The cover features Vader wearing a Santa Claus hat, it’s just so weird I love it
4. What collectors inspire you?
Doesn’t everybody answer with Steve Sansweet? I guess I will too. I’ve been friends with Steve Sansweet for a few years now. He’s been a mentor to many fans and collectors like me. I admire his passion for collecting and his vast knowledge of all things Star Wars. It’s also reassuring to know that I don’t have to collect everything. I can let Steve do all the work and I get to see the items when I visit the Rancho Obi-Wan Museum.
VSWC: The big fella in the centre of the photo below; book-ended by his friends and fellow 501st troops – Elton Hom, Jon Farmer, Steve Sansweet and Ed DaSilva. This great shot was from last October’s annual “Gallloween” gala event at Rancho Obi-Wan.
5. What is your most embarrassing moment as a collector?
I’m prone to sarcasm so I’m sure I’ve said something ridiculous at some point that someone in the community took seriously, no doubt embarrassing myself and being oblivious to it.
6. What is your favorite Star Wars film?
That’s tough. It’s definitely one of the original trilogy films. Some days it’s Star Wars because it was the first film to inspire my imagination, Some days its Empire Strikes Back because it’s has the best story (Dark Side wins and all) and some days it’s Return of the Jedi, because 10 year old me went absolutely nuts watching it in 1983.
7. What would you change about the collecting community?
I don’t know what I’d change about the community, I love it the way it is. I would however encourage other collectors to understand this is all supposed to be fun. If collecting stresses you out you’re doing it wrong. The world is full of problems, collecting and Star Wars fandom in general should be an outlet to just enjoy and have fun with.
8. Forums or Facebook groups?
They’re both great and have their pros and cons. Lately I prefer the Facebook groups. I guess scrolling is just too easy.
9. What Star Wars character do you most resemble?
Well, I’m 6’3″ and I have a pretty good Darth Vader costume. I troop as Darth Vader as a member the 501st, Golden Gate Garrison, so I guess I most resemble the dark lord. But I’ve also been known to resemble a certain cantina patron, who just happens to be my favorite obscure Star Wars character, Hammerhead.
VSWC: No caption needed to explain these….
10. Is there one thing that collectors may not know about you?
I’ve been a volunteer with Rancho Obi-Wan for a few years now. I’ve helped with various projects and events. And I have just recently become a volunteer docent / tour guide. It has been awesome to share Steve’s amazing collection with other fans.
VSWC. Great answers Dwayne! Very inspiring. Thank you so much for taking the time out to join us and please continue to do what you’re doing because you’re doing a fantastic job!