I used to collect modern Star Wars toys. Well, I guess I still do to some extent. As a kid, I collected vintage, and then modern (POTF2, Episode I, Saga etc). But then at about fifteen, I sold the lot of modern. And then at about twenty-five, I started picking up modern again. And then I sold all of that as well. So now I have only my vintage, and the few “retro” style figures that Hasbro releases. I’m not the biggest fan of Hasbro, or their selling new Star Wars figures at a higher price as exclusives packaged in with shitty old boardgames or the Mandalorian monopoly. I don’t need yet another monopoly game.
In spite of Hasbro’s questionable selling techniques, I can’t help buy their retro Star Wars figures when they’re released. Vintage Star Wars toys mean the world to me, and even though I wasn’t born when they were originally releases, I spent many hours in the ’90s rummaging through boxes at markets and car boot sales in search of them.
Of all the modern Star Wars toys that I sold, I had a hard job parting with Ephant Mon of the Saga line. Fans of Return of the Jedi will recognise him as a background character in Jabba’s Palace, and in the lore he is supposedly Jabba’s head of security. The Saga figure was apparently a “fans choice” figure. I’m not sure if that means it was their choice it was made; as in it was “voted” for. Or if it was made and fans were like “this is bloody brilliant”. But the Ephant Mon figure was bloody brilliant. It was huge and chunky and you felt like you were getting your money’s worth with him.
Who doesn’t love a creature that looks like a hooded, tuskless-elephant with a walking stick. So despite not missing my modern Star Wars figure collection, I did miss this figure. If only the original vintage line had released an Ephant Mon figure. I wonder what it would have looked like?
Well I don’t have to wonder anymore! A new custom action figure maker is doing a line called “The Next 17”, which is supposedly going to be all new figures that were never made in the vintage line, but they retain all of the vintage style, with limited articulation and that simple, charming style that toys of the ’70s and ’80s had. And the first figure released is Ephant Mon. And saying that “I FUCKING LOVE IT!” is something of an understatement.
Despite being a character from ROTJ, the simple style of this figure feels a lot more like it was from the first wave of figures released for the Original Star Wars wave back in 1978. Kind of like how the “retro” Mandalorian figures came with PVC capes like the original Star Wars line, even though theoretically, as the series is set after ROTJ, they ought to be more like the ROTJ figures than the more basic designs of the Original Star Wars. But I really don’t care. The fact that someone has made one of the most interesting and unique background characters into a vintage style figure is phenomenal, and it’s one of my favourite Star Wars pickups this year.
Although quite a slim figure (at least compared to the modern version), this figure is extremely weighty and feels like it could kill a Hutt if used as a weapon.
From the back, the figure is also quite simple, and I like the idea that it could pass as an obese Jawa if I so desired. Ephant Mon only has articulation on his arms with the feet and head remaining fixed, but considering the original was a giant Jim Henson puppet, I’m not complaining. I just want Ephant Mon to stand around and look like a badass alien elephant, and he’ll do that nicely. This version of the figure also came with some cardboard artwork of Jabba’s Palace, to make a little diorama out of. But I haven’t cut or stuck the acompanying cardboard artwork together yet. Anyway, here is Ephant Mon next to a few figures from the Hasbro “retro” collection, as my vintage figures are all in the attic currently.
The quality of Ephant Mon feels a lot higher than anything from the Hasbro retro collection, and although it isn’t the cheapest of toys to pick up, (I paid around £40 through The Next 17’s Etsy account), the fact I’m supporting an independent toy maker as opposed to a billion dollar company that packages desirable figures inside crappy boardgames, just to try and get more money out of my pocket, makes it all worth while.
I’m not sure what the next figures released by The Next 17 will be, but for The Next 17, one thing is for sure-
Anyway, it’s October 22nd, and I’ve still yet to post anything spooky. So the next post will hopefully be something more spine-tingling-ly seasonal. But this Ephant Mon figure needed to be mentioned as it’s my current new favourite thing.