I feel like I should insert a Simpson’s Troy McClure joke here: “Hi, I’m Mike MacDonald (Mike Tarkin, Mac….). You may know me from such podcasts as The Sandcrawler.” Why is that important for you to know? Well, from 2016 to around September 2021 the Sandcrawler podcast and website was a very big part of who I was as a Star Wars collector. It was where I talked with my friend, Dengar Dan, about recent purchases and to bounce ideas off of each other and generally screw around while recording. I would like to thank everyone (on behalf of myself and Dan) that supported The Sandcrawler, either by listening to the podcast or helping to contribute to the website. We never expected much from our show when we started yet we ended up with a pretty good-sized audience and made friends with more than a few of you and for that we will always be grateful.
Throughout the first half of 2021 we both began to feel that something was wrong either in the Star Wars collecting world in general or within ourselves as collectors. We also both had to deal with how busy we became after the first Covid pandemic and worldwide lockdown in 2021. The decision to end The Sandcrawler was pretty much based on the fact that we were both becoming busier in our real lives and that lack of product, distribution issues and higher prices were causing us to feel “less than enthused” about Star Wars collecting. We closed things down and I’ve spent the past six months or so trying to come to terms with my Star Wars fandom and my Star Wars collecting.
We all know about the crazy wait times and higher costs for Star Wars figures these days. Reporting on Hasbro announcements and their multi-months release schedule became depressing for me. Also, I’m Canadian and prices have become nearly impossible to rationalize. A single carded Star Wars The Vintage Collection figure currently costs anywhere from $19.99 to #21.99 (pre-tax). Vehicles and play sets are equally expensive (Tantive IV Corridor=$69.99, General Merrick’s X-wing-$185). I understand that prices for virtually EVERYTHING have been rising over the past two years but buying an action figure has always taken second place to real life expenses and I found myself simply not buying as many figures as I used to. When you’re doing a podcast and can’t comment on a particular Star Wars figure because it was too expensive to buy or too far down the road for it’s release date, the podcast suddenly becomes a, excuse the phrase, bitch-fest. Star Wars collecting has always been fun and through most of 2021 it stopped being fun.
After we ended the podcast the first thing I did was to go through my checklist of multiple pre-orders and began cancelling. I also made a few general collecting decisions. I was determined to get back that feeling of joy I had when buying action figures. The first pre-order I cancelled was for the reissued Rogue One figures from The Black Series. Rogue One is probably my favourite Star Wars movie and I planned on getting the entire crew in one big order. Instead I decided that Black Series had never been a priority for me (I have some, less than 15) and I would whenever possible focus on my scale of choice: 3.75 inch. I then cancelled the “Bad Batch” themed 4-pack of clone troopers since none of the figures were actual members of the Bad Batch team. The 4-pack was basically repaints of existing clone figures and I have a ton of clone troopers already. There were other figures that I would normally have bought multiples of for army building like the Offworld Jawa, Hoth Rebel Soldier and Remnant Stormtrooper but because of the cost I either settled for a few extras or in some cases passed on the figure altogether.
I also decided that whenever possible I would stop collecting carded figures and only buy figures that I could find use for in my collection. I was already primarily an opener and I felt that the expense of keeping a carded figure seemed a luxury and wasteful. At the time I had roughly 100 carded figures so I began opening and/or selling off ones that I felt were no longer worthy of staying on the card. Since The Vintage Collection first hit in 2010 I had wanted to have modern carded versions of the first 21 figures released during the original Kenner run of figures. After twelve years there were still holes in that collection of Original 21 and as I’ve said because of the cost I couldn’t justify continuing to buy carded figures. This was a tough decision as Hasbro released an updated Tusken Raider and two droids; Power Droid and Death Star Droid. All Original 21 figures and all candidates for multiple purchases since I could easily army build the Tusken Raider and as a big fan of droids I would have at least bought one carded and one opener of both. Instead I cancelled my Tusken Raider pre order and opened both droids. I’m glad I did as I really love that new take on the Power Droid. Another focus I had was to have at least one carded version of each line or sub-line. That focus went out the window after buying a few of the Gaming Greats line. I decided they weren’t worth keeping carded and stored in a closet so i donated them to my company’s Christmas toy drive. I’ve probably reduced my carded collection to about 60 now and will reduce it further. It’s not easy to always stick to this new approach and I’ve already broken my new rule when I picked up the Droids TV show versions of R2D2 and C3P0. What can I say? I collect with my heart first. I never owned figures from this line back in the 80’s and I really love how colourful and bright the artwork is. They look great in my Kenner display.
It’s disappointing to have to make these decisions but in the long run it helped me to realize that I’ve never been a completist collector and that it would be more than ok to have holes in the collection.
With no podcast and website to maintain I thought what I needed to do was to basically scale back (BIG TIME), my Star Wars fandom. And it was a good thing for a little while as I had more time for just chilling in the Star Wars room with no agenda or schedule. I did a few projects like expanding my rebel base display (pics of my room are available here and I plan on adding more) and creating a custom Kenner Star Wars wall display. At the same time I was posting photos on social media as usual. What also began to happen is I would hear from people that they missed The Sandcrawler and a lot of the content from the accompanying website so I decided to basically make a scaled down version of that. Sort of a “same great taste, half the calories” sort of thing.
I’ve returned to posting Hasbro/Star Wars news and even live tweeted their May the Fourth event. Hasbro’s new PR team, Rogers & Cowan PMK was kind enough to add my new site to their list of Star Wars sites so folks can expect to find glam shots and product information in the News section.
I’ll also continue the tradition we started at TheSandcrawler.net of full-sized photo-based reviews of Star Wars figure collectibles (an epic saga should be viewed WIDESCREEN whenever possible, not in a little Instagram square) and will slowly add posts about the goings on in my Star Wars room.
So thanks for visiting my corner of the galaxy, I’m excited to see what the future brings!
May 4, 2022