Forum thread of the month – November 2014: Tiggy the TIG (Travelling Imperial Gunner)

Welcome to the third installment of our segment – ‘Forum thread of the month’, where we scan the three main English speaking forums, Rebelscum, The Imperial Gunnery (TIG) and Star Wars Forum UK (SWFUK) to pick out the most interesting collector related thread for the month.

Yep I do realise that I’m months behind with this segment but I’ll fast track the next few months and get back on schedule.

This month I’m cheating a bit because I really want to give an awesome thread some well deserved exposure. This thread is from The Imperial Gunnery Forum (TIG) and is named ‘Tiggy the TIG (Travelling Imperial Gunner)’.

In May 2012, my mate Dennis Vleugels (aka ‘Stargeezer’ (see our interview with him here – had the great idea for TIG members to take a photo of a beater Imperial Gunner (Tiggy) in their part of the world and then to send it on to the next willing participant. What ensues is 48 pages of absolutely golden entertainment and some of the photos are the funniest I’ve seen on the forums. Not only is it hilarious but it highlights the global community that forums have helped to establish and foster. I for one am proud to be part of this community, warts and all.

Here’s one pic just to give you guys a bit of a taste of what goes on in the thread. Marco hope you don’t mind me sharing this pic again!


Sci-Fi Scarborough convention 14-15 March 2015

Guys just a quick post to flag the upcoming Sci-Fi Scarborough convention on 14-15 March 2015. From a Star Wars point of view there will be a bunch of guests worth seeing, including Darth Vader himself (no not vintage collector Bill McBride, David Prowse!) and various actors who played characters in the original trilogy.


Check out the full guest list here:

There will also be comic book artists (I’m a comic collector as well so pumped about this), prop displays, cosplay and loads of games and entertainment. What I’m looking most forward to though is the big piss up on the Saturday night!

For those who don’t know Scarborough, it’s a lovely seaside town sitting on the North Sea in the north of England and definitely looks like a place worth checking out and I’m sure it will be a unique experience.

I’m probably going and I know a bunch of collectors from the Imperial Gunnery Forum are also attending. If you are there, feel free to give us a shout. We’d love to share a beer with any vintage collector.

Check out the link if you’d like more information:

Hope to see you all there!


Forum thread of the month – September 2014: Fragmentation of vintage collecting chat (via Rebelscum)

Hi guys,

This month we’re introducing another new segment – ‘Forum thread of the month. We plan to scan the three main English speaking forums, Rebelscum, The Imperial Gunnery (TIG) and Star Wars Forum UK (SWFUK) to pick out the most interesting collector related thread for the month. It will be tough as some months are busy as hell with a multitude of fascinating threads, while some months are a bit quiet. The reasoning behind this new series is to expose vintage collecting forums to collectors who love their vintage but aren’t on the forums. For example I know there are a huge amount of people on the SW vintage Facebook groups who aren’t forum members; some consider the forums “snobby”, some find them too cumbersome to navigate, while others simply aren’t aware of their existence. While there is some truth to these views, I’m adamant the advantages far outweigh any negatives and I encourage every Star Wars vintage fan to sign up.

The thread that will kick of this series is from the forum that I consider my home – Rebelscum. This thread has actually had quite a bit exposure already on Facebook and was discussed almost exhaustively on Rebelscum so I’m not expecting this post to really generate much discussion on the blog or on our Facebook page. But the fact is that this was by far the most engaging thread of last month so I’ve chosen it to keep the spirit of this series intact.

On 9th September 2014, Chris Georgoulias  (a well known collector and major contributor to posted his opinion that the Facebook vintage Star Wars collector groups are driving collectors away from forum and scattering and diluting vintage discussions. I found Chris’ post extremely thought provoking and while I am a huge user of Facebook, I agreed with a lot of his sentiment. There were some really fantastic responses, both in support of and in opposition to Chris’ thesis. I’m not going to summarise these but will let you guys read them yourself at this thread:

And here’s Chris’ full post. Enjoy!

I hope Chris doesn’t mind me reposting his thread…

So I didn’t want to derail the Wealthy thread, but the FB comments urged me to talk about something I’ve been dealing with for awhile. As much as people love FB groups (and creating them for so many sub-genres of collecting) I grow to despise them day by day. Yes, it’s easier to post images get instant responses, but at what cost?

13k people might be on one group, but the quality of much of the commentary is worthless. Lots of one-liner replies and people giving answers who should be in learn mode, not speak mode. How many people “View Previous Comments” before they write? And often even when you expand it’s pages of commentary that often never needed to be stated. It’s noise. Unlike forums, there’s no threading and every single post piles on top of other posts. Everything is a culmination of every day’s talk and it’s absolutely not searchable. You are doomed to repeat the same topics over and over. It’s Groundhog Day.

FB makes it too easy for people to create a little world to discuss things, but it spreads things out very thinly. And it’s so easily wiped out if the creator chooses to delete it. FB wasn’t intended to be a resource for organized thoughts, it’s a way to share your day to day musings with friends. Joke of the day? Video of the day? Post some photo of your food? Sure, nobody cares a week later. But with a collecting forum you need to be able go to back and see what’s been discussed, to be able to link to discussions and, for the love of Pete, ORGANIZE it.

When the USENET discussions migrated to Web forums like this one we lost the legacy of searching. We gained threading rather than creating separate groups so that was a plus, and certainly hyperlinks are incredibly helpful. Searching this site is difficult and Philip himself wiped out years of old discussions years back that was never archived. The SWCA forums wiped out a lot of good discussion. All of that was good info wasted and wasted info is missing history and experience. The search functions are critical for that to work and without a good way to search, it still makes it a bit difficult to find what you want. But hey, at least you CAN search a forum like this. You can’t do that with a FB group.

I just fear that FB groups will drive people away from organized forums and continue to scatter and dilute the discussions. I thought it was hard enough when SWF UK and TIG started growing, but at least they’re just 2 more searchable and threaded places to keep up with. But with so many FB groups, you can’t keep up with them all and there’s no way to have great discussions that go on for pages. It’s all based around the mobile here and now. Snap a photo, use your thumbs to scribble out a comment and move on. But what is the result?

As this continues we’ll move into an era where the chatter has to be repeated time and again on a near weekly basis. We should be using those groups to drive people to places where they can learn from experienced collectors and see the benefit of creating searchable history. Being so decentralized and “day to day” doesn’t help promote a long term bond with the hobby IMO. You need to have places where the beginner can come to learn, not be thrust into a spot where they can’t figure out how to interact or take the time to learn.

I see a lot of participation in FB groups by people who could be just as active on this forum. It’s hard not to sound like the old man who doesn’t want change, but making things faster and more accessible will come at a price.


Collector Interview #4 : Wolff aka ‘Wbobafett’

I’m pumped to present an interview with a collector who I sincerely look up to – Wolff aka ‘Wbobafett on Rebelscum, The Imperial Gunnery and Star Wars Forum UK. Wolff is one of the hobby’s leading variant collectors and when I decided to create this blog, he was one of the first people that popped into my mind as potential interviewees. The work he has undertaken on the COO guide is phenomenal, so good in fact that I voted him as one of the Scummers of the year of 2013 (the entire Rebelscum thread is here – Not only is this outstanding work but he also seems to me to be very modest about it. I’m a variant collector myself so obviously I appreciate the work he has done and hopefully will continue into the distant future

If you haven’t seen Wolff’s COO guide or his amazing website, don’t wait one second longer!

COO Guide 3.0

Now to the questions!

1. Hi Wolff. Welcome to the blog and thanks for joining us. I know you’re a busy man, especially these days, so I appreciate your time. So you’re German right? Germany is one of my favourite places in the world. Where are you from exactly?

W: Yes I am from Germany. I come from “Baden-Württemberg” and was born near Stuttgart. I still live near  Stuttgart…well at least kind of 😀

 2. Is there much of a collecting community there?

W: Oh… sadly not. I guess you have much better chances of finding collecting buddies in the far north of Germany. In the far south of Germany the collectors seem to be more shy and do collect more “off the radar”. Some are on the forums but never post, most are just out there…staying unknown. I met a handful of those collectors in Stuttgart once. All of them mostly collect MOC stuff, AFA and have their loose set but no-one has what “we” call the “variant bug”…hahahaha….pity though.

 The internet is my (only) way to talk to persons with the very same interest :D. So actually only one of the “variant guys” out there  has seen my collection in person: Kenneth_B.

3. Did you get the chance to go to CE2 (Star Wars Celebration Europe 2)?

W: Yes I was at CE2. Only for one day, but it was worth it. I think because I rarely see collectors in person I was a bit too shy to talk to everyone that was there. I just couldn’t do it: Hey Gus Lopez…I am Wbobafett (Wolff) the variant “idiot” from Germany….nahh…that wasn’t really my thing, but I stood next to a lot of the famous guys and listened to them talking to other scummers….great fun though 😀

4.What do you do for work? 

I am an art restorer, mainly paintings and sculptures. I am a freelancer, so I am often on the road. I still don’t have “internet” when I am away from home…no smartphone etc. I can assure you that makes people go crazy….”How can you bid on ebay stuff, read the forums, etc. ???….well it is simple: I just miss it! All the time! LOL!

5. I’ve seen photos of the star wars dioramas that you made. They really are a sight to behold and I don’t think I’ve seen a better collection set up. Is this is a skill you’ve acquired during your professional career or did you just learn as you went along? 

W: Thanks for the kudos. 😀

I would say it is kind of both reasons. I am of course not bad with my hands, otherwise I wouldn’t have studied restoration of art. On the other hand I was never shy to try things and I love to “solve problems” (manual problems of course). I built lots of stuff as a kid and my father built great stuff for me too…always. So it’s kind of a tradition. We both have very messy hobby rooms with lots of stuff laying around that should be repaired, built or just is exploited.

VSWC: Some of Wolff’s amazing dioramas. Take a deep breath before you open these thumbnails!

tat2DSDS2   DS3DS4Hoth1   Hoth2larslars2   jutl jut2 tat

W (continued): I really hope that one day every diorama is finished like I want them to be. But it is very similar to my collection. You are always close…but never finished. My current project is building the Khetanna (Jabba’s Sailbarge) for 3 3/4″ of course. I really got this going on but then I was missing some spare time and it was laying around for …hmm…nine months or so. I am now back trying to finish this project….sometimes frustrating but mostly lots of fun and a real challenge.

6. You also seem to be a master at identifying paint discolouration, issues with plastic degradation etc on vintage figures. Where did you pick up this skill?

W: Uhmm…wow…okay….I think master is a bit too much. I do my best!

In general it is a mixture of common sense and decades of experience. I grew up in a family of collectors. I’ve been going to flea markets and  toy markets almost every weekend since I was born. I am very familiar with every kind of damage to tin toys, celluloid dolls, wind-ups toys, trains, action figures, comics etc.

I also started collecting “Kinder-Ferrero” figures when I was a kid. There were lots of high priced accessories that were nearly perfectly faked in the 90s. People started to use the UV light for those already in the 90s.

And of course it is again my profession that helps me a lot. You need to know every chemical process on colors, adhesives and other materials before you start restoring a painting. I am very good with colors on paintings therefore, but most of the theoretical and chemical reactions can be transferred on the figures’ paint as well.

8. Do you get much time for other hobbies?

Other hobbies?? I don’t have other hobbies. Well I have my own family now and I like to watch movies and television series. All my spare time I have I spend with my daughter right now….and sometimes sneak out to quickly check what’s going on in the SW-universe 😀

9. You are the one of a handful of people that really are active on the three main forums – RS, TIG and SWFUK. Do you have a favourite? 

W: Aren’t there more people active on all three forums?? If I think this through you might be right. Well there are some “issues” between TIG and SWFUK so most people choose only one of those….just a guess though.

I personally do not have a favorite and when I do have one it can change any time.

TIG is known for its variant guys and experts on loose weapons. Rebelscum just has gathered the largest wisdom on all stuff surrounding the SW vintage collecting. SWFUK is the most “honest” forum out there. You can meet nice people and friends in all three forums so why not be a member on all three….and honestly I am member on quite a few other forums… 😉

VSWC: You’re right. There are many other forums, I should have said ‘English speaking forums.’ From what I know there is a pretty popular German SW forum and also a big Spanish one, not sure about languages. I would have also mentioned Joe’s fantastic forum but this is more of a niche forum. 

I’ve always been curious why there is so much discussion about variants on TIG. Is there a reason why so many variant collectors are so active on that forum? I mean why not on RS for example? 

W: The discussions on RS were pretty much “useless” when it came to variants. It mostly got out of hand and the majority of the variant hunters didn’t post anything anymore. The newly formed and published TIG was a kind of a collecting pond for frustrated variant hunters I think?

10.  I haven’t seen you around the Facebook groups though? Have you given them a try?

 W: I am not on Facebook…not even private. I quit Facebook eight years ago or so for several reasons. I have no interest at all joining it again. It might be fun but from what I am hearing it is even worse with all the hassle and stuff?!?!?

VSWC: I can’t argue about there being a lot of dramas on Facebook. Something definitely has to be done to improve the experience but I guess these groups are all quite nascent so hopefully they will improve over time. Facebook is a great way to meet other collectors though. Maybe we’ll see you back one day 🙂

11. I have a few questions about your variant collecting now. How long have you been doing it and how did you get so utterly deep into it in the first place?

W: That is a good question. I have been asked this a lot of times and the answer can’t be given exactly.

I am way too young so I actually only had one figure from the stores: Klaatu. The rest of my childhood figures came from my father who bought them at flea markets and gifted me one from time to time, you know…for washing the bicycle or dusting his collection etc.

When I was older I started to recognize variants on those. I had a Trilogo Fett and I was able to buy a vinyl cape Jawa at the flea market myself. So I was always looking for Stormtroopers and variants.

I started to collect online around 2000. I already had a big collection with about 200 figures and several ships from flea markets. First mistake: I bought repro weapons to complete my childhood collection…..just to burn them all five years later….Dooooohhhhh.

From then on I collected on ebay, always looking for variants. I browsed webshots for pictures to learn about variants. In 2008 I joined RS and from then on I really learned a lot and it took me to a much higher level.

So over all you can say:

1986-1999: Trying to build a complete set (only missing Blue Snag and Luke Stromtrooper)

2000-2008:  Buying main variants and foreign variants (GL, TT, LL)

2008-today:  Research research, research. Trying to bring light to several collecting areas: weapons, coos, Lili Ledy, PBP, Poch etc

12. So how many variants do you actually own then? 

W: Hahaha…good I just updated my Excel-file! 😀

But the answer isn’t that simple after all. Coo-research is done for me. I am trying to downsize and I am sorting out many figures, back to the roots if you will. I am trying to build a variant collection again with the bonus of what I have learned by doing the coo research. What is left is making those final Coo-sheets. Some are done…some not. So being in the middle of a change I have exactly 1003 figures plus 55 bootlegs and of course fodder box and spares. Most of them are complete. I am guessing that 250-300 figures will need to go….though. The more interesting question is what is really left??

VSWC: Wow that is amazing! You have a couple more variants than me…So can you make a guestimate about how many are left for you to find?

W:  There will be always figures I urgently need to upgrade, but really missing is only one figure at the moment. 😀 Well maybe five or six more minor ones but mainly one. What is missing mostly here is some of the rare accessories I really would like to add, i.e. my second pair of LL CCP (Cloud Car Pilot) accessories and a lot of PBP weapons. And of course I am still missing a few grail pieces bootleg wise….if I only could find that Polish Leia.

VSWC: Some of Wolff’s breathtaking collection!

shelf_display_09shelf_display_08shelf_display_16   shelf_display_15shelf_display_14shelf_display_13   shelf_display_12 shelf_display_11 shelf_display_10

13. To your mind what is the hardest to find variant?

 W: Depends what you call a variant 😉

Coo-wise and variant wise it should be the scarred out PBP Luke Farmboy. There are lots of figures out there that are extremely rare but to be honest 99 percent are just mass produced. Some are rare but can always be found, most are just common. But as said: some you have one chance in your lifetime to get them….better be there 😉

VSWC: How many scarred out PBP Luke Farmboys are confirmed to actually be out there?  

W: Difficult question because rumours and people claiming to have one are out there from time to time! Uncracked with original PBP saber – there is only one IMO and it is mine. But there must be more in collections still in the dark. I have seen pictures of three loose ones in collections. There are many more MOC figures especially because this variant is a) very unknown and b) seemed to have appeared on several cardbacks (PBP, German and Palitoy) but thanks to TT (Toy Toni) we will never know for sure….

To make it short: I have seen three confirmed loose ones and I have seen about 10 MOCs (only two are PBP MOCs)….the figures are confirmed whereas the seals (some are “ironed”) are not….sadly

14. I know that variant prices have dropped in the last couple of years. In your opinion will this trend continue?

W: This is not completely true in my opinion. It always depends on what you are looking for.

PBP, POCH and Lili Ledy went down. Some more, some less. Common variants also went down, maybe because they are really common?? Glasslite and TopToys took a huge step upwards in the last few years. Similarly for bootlegs – Mexican and Polish went down, Uzay and Polish originals went up. It is and will always be the “taste of the month”. I can see why many people are a bit fed up with the things that went down. Many, many important people turned their back on variant collecting. Very new ones are filling these gaps. In my opinion there is a lot of information that was lost between these two generations. There are a few guides and webshots albums that are not known these days, this information is lost forever if you will. Newer collectors are confused because of that lack of information. I can see that especially with Spanish figures: the overall view and the developments made since 2008 can’t be seen…which is kind of sad.

But on the other hand I cannot see why some of the PBP figures that are clearly different have dropped that much. Seems like most collectors do not appreciate those figures that much anymore. Kind of sad, because I would have killed (nearly.. 😉 ) for some of those a few years back.

15. Thanks for that market analysis Wolff! Very informative. So now to your COO guide. When did you first start working on it?

 W: Must have been in the early part of 2008. I noticed that combining my finds with Rog’s guide was already huge and wondered what more would be out there.

16. Is the COO Guide 3.0 finished yet? 

 W: It isn’t finished yet…sadly. For me personally it is very boring to do those COO sheets. I have examined COOs for nearly a decade and I know them all. The first guide was a journey, and with the help of fellow collectors there were lots of new things that were discovered. The COO guide 3.0 is simply writing down what’s in my collection and head. But never say never…..especially Patrick (pattejan) and Alex (General Kahn) could find a few minor variants I didn’t know about. So especially ANH was great fun to finish.

VSWC: Do you think you’ll continue producing these guides? I hope so, as I’ve pretty much learnt most of what I know about COO variants from your site.

W: I am not sure if I will make further guides. With the COO guide 2.0 I just wanted too much. It should include 1) COO variants 2) side by side comparison 3) mold comparison 4) color comparisons etc. I simply gave up, especially because the templates were horrible to change if something new popped up. I can see now a few guides that are in the making I always wanted to do, and I think they are in good hands.

I always made guides for my own fun, not to manifest an investment. With my family growing and me being finished with my collection (nearly) I think I won’t start new guides in future. the younger ones are faster anyway 😀 😉

17. Do you feel that your work on the guide is appreciated in the collecting world?

W: Depends. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I get lots of positive feedback, mostly in private via PM. On RS I always missed the support from the “inner circle”. On TIG I was never asked to be in the Dev Team ….etc. I know I have my outs here and there and I won’t complain…..but I would have wished for more support from time to time. I cannot thank enough Shawn_K for the possibility he gave me. Also Joe_O and Chris_B always supported me, even though none of them has the variant bug or collect COOs. A few of the guides wouldn’t have been possible without them!

18. You are arguably one of the variant collecting masters, which I’m sure you’re too modest to admit but who are the other big variant collectors out there? 

W: Hahahaha…oh well. First of all: I am not the only variant collector out there. There are lots of great collections out there and by far better ones as well. I personally love focus collectors, they do know their stuff much better. So General_Kahn (Luke Bespin), psybertech (Leia Bespin), cocofstar (Yoda), M4K3R1 (Vader) and many more have great collections!

Some of the variant guy’s collections are known (mostly), like Kenneth_B, Mike_Skywalker and some stay unknown, but I can assure you “just wow” like Lee_M, Ilseeker (Carlos) or Javiswspain and Sergio.  I am sure there are many people out there with incredible collections…..not sure how many grails DrDengar and Walkie already have hoarded…though.

I personally think HWR (Henrik) is going the best way. He is patient….god is he patient…..he only collects true and significant variants (whatever that means)…is slowly building and never gets tired! I like this way of collecting….he takes his time….whilst all the new guys always seem to be in a rush….and you never know when someone is selling it all again looking for new goals…..Henrik will keep his collection forever I am guessing… will I hopefully!!

19. Before we finish I have to congratulate you on your latest hard to find variant. Do you want to tell us a bit about that?

Oooooohhhh… must mean my little babygirl…not that Palitoy three-legged R2 I just found….. 😀 😀 😀

Kidding aside, she is the love of my life! It is great to be a dad, and especially a girl I am guessing. I never understood other parents reporting every little step their kids do, but I do understand now….”WOHOOO….she turned around the first time!!! “..”Wohooo….finally the diapers are…..” well… guess you do not wanna hear this, but it is correct: You are happy with every little step your miracle does. It never gets boring!

VSWC: Well thanks Wolff for joining us. Has been great to pick your brain a bit and to learn more about you, your collection and your views on the hobby. 

W: It was a pleasure and an honour Christian. I have to thank you for giving me this opportunity. Thank you and thanks for reading everyone.

Check out my interview on the TIG forum!

Hey guys just a quick shout out to the awesome guys at The Imperial Gunnery Forum (TIG) for having me on their forum for a quick interview. It was a lot of fun doing it and to be honest the interviewer’s edits were a hell of lot funnier and more interesting than my answers. I love TIG and I’m always astounded at how smooth their forum runs; no dramas barely any scammers and zero love for hobby damaging practices. Those guys run a tight ship. If you love SW vintage then you should all join up!

Anyway here is my interview. Please no comments on my hair style that day…..The majority of my Luke focus is there as well but I will be posting a detailed limelight here in a couple of months.


The Imperial Gunnery Forum (TIG) reproduction guide – get on it!

Newer collectors on Facebook and the forums often ask how to spot a reproduction figure, accessories etc etc. Well The Imperial Gunnery Forum (TIG) is really a one stop shop for all your repro questions and you can compare your items with their database of both real and repro. This is a massive effort from those guys, especially from the owner John Paul RAGUSA, and it’s easy to forget that TIG is a non-profit page.

There are more and more repros coming onto the market lately so you better educate yourselves before you wreck yourselves!