Jul 17, 2009

Devil in the detail

When I was a kid, I was a geeky, Star Wars loving geek king of kid.

Sure I played with death constructing the jump of doom for my trusty BMX. I lobbed my self up and down cliff faces occasionally using a rope and some semblance of safety gear.

I always wandered way too deep into the local bushland to see just where the creek went - and all of this before the days of GPS, mobile phones and parents bubble wrapping their children.

But after all of this fun there were still action figures play war games with in the pile of dirt that was on it's way to being a four car garage.

Unfortunately it was in the home made trenches that my little problem with attention to detail came to the fore.

You see even in the pre computer enhanced, original Star Wars movie there were hundreds of Storm Troopers. Their numbers were obviously a direct response to their inability to shoot straight and see where they were going under those funky helmets.

But Storm Troopers were cool. At least they were cool until you only had one of them in your arsenal of action figures.

You could get away with one Han Solo, one Luke, one Darth Vader, one R3D2 and even one C3P0 - despite the fact that for some reason you had ended up with the 12" high version of the slightly camp gold android when the rest of the cast were only 2.5 inches tall.

All of that was forgivable because after all, there was only ever one of each character in the movie. Storm Troopers however, when all alone are as useful as tits on a bull.

So began the long cycle of paper rounds, begging, borrowing and I have to admit stealing, to build a proper army of Storm Troopers.

I would hate to think how many kids started their life of petty crime at the hands of George Lucas and the seemingly impossible task of getting enough Storm Troopers to have a proper battle.

It got the point that anyone with more than one Storm Trooper was an instant best friend for life if they could bring them over to play. Even the kid with warts and a perpetual sniffle was allowed to join in because he had three.

It was at about the critical mass of four Storm Troopers in my personal collection that disaster struck.

The second Star Wars movie was released, which we now know to be the fifth in the series because George has a problem with time dyslexia and forgot where to start the story...but I digress.

With the Empire Strikes back came a new round of characters and a re-issue of the originals. The problem was that on screen Luke was still a weedy nerd with puppy dog eyes but the action figure looked like he had been on steroids and punching out sets at the gym.

Indeed you only had to look closely to see that everyone had been cast with a six pack and biceps that would be better suited to GI Joe or Conan the Barbarian. It was just wrong. These were not our screen heroes, they were impostors.

Added to that, there were even more Storm Troopers. There were even Storm Troopers fitted out for battle in the snow. It just was not viable to build another platoon and we don't get snow in Sydney. I had to admit defeat.

I did the only thing that a young boy knows how to do best. I destroyed the lot.

Fire works were still being sold in these good old days and one by one my action figures became victims of fire, smoke and acceleration that put them into backyards far from their original home.

Only the over sized C3P0 survived. Too big to launch with all but the most expensive model rocket engines and even to my young mind, sporting the aerodynamics and mass required to randomly to kill anyone within 100 meters once in flight. He had been relegated to be bottom of the toy box long before the purge began.

I found him this week while looking through old stuff I had stored away.

Amazing how one thing can take you back.