DIORAMA WORKSHOP: ECHO BASE BACTA TANK DIORAMA FEATURE

Big thanks to Diorama Workshop for featuring my Echo Base-Bacta Tank diorama! Diorama Workshop is an indispensable resource for Star Wars diorama builders. I’ve been using Frank’s FREE templates and print outs for years and it’s a thrill to be featured!

CLICK the image below to visit the gallery:

MCM LONDON COMIC CON: HASBRO STAR WARS THE VINTAGE COLLECTION REVEALS

Details for each figure can be found beneath the photos. Pre-orders begin November 1!

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION PAZ VIZSLA  

(HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $27.99 / Available: Summer 2023) 

Fans can celebrate the legacy of STAR WARS, the action-and-adventure-packed space saga from a galaxy far, far away, with premium 3.75-inch scale STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION PAZ VIZSLA figure. This Paz Vizsla action figure is inspired by the character in THE MANDALORIAN live-action series on Disney+. Paz Vizsla is a brawny warrior encased in the strongest beskar armor. A descendant of the esteemed House Vizsla, he comes from a long line of leaders spanning the centuries. The figure features premium detail and design across product and packaging inspired by the original Kenner line, as well as the entertainment-inspired collector grade deco. Includes figure and 1 entertainment-inspired accessory. Available for pre-order 11/1 at 1PM ET at Hasbro Pulse and other major retailers. 

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION SPEEDER BIKE  

(HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $44.99 / Available: Spring 2023) 

Fans can celebrate the legacy of STAR WARS, the action-and-adventure-packed space saga from a galaxy far, far away, with premium 3.75-inch scale STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION SPEEDER BIKE vehicle and scout trooper figure. This Speeder Bike vehicle and Scout Trooper action figure is inspired by the speeder bikes and trooper seen in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Speeder Bikes are common throughout the galaxy, with manufacturers turning out both civilian and military models. Scout Troopers were lightly armored compared with other Stormtroopers, which allowed them to move more quickly and easily in a range of environments. The vehicle and figure feature premium detail and design across product and packaging inspired by the original Kenner line, as well as the entertainment-inspired collector grade deco. Includes figure, vehicle and stand.  Available for pre-order 11/1 at 1PM ET at Hasbro Pulse and other major retailers. 

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION WOOOF  

(HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $16.99 / Available: Spring 2023) 

Fans can celebrate the legacy of STAR WARS, the action-and-adventure-packed space saga from a galaxy far, far away, with premium 3.75-inch scale STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION WOOOF figure. This Wooof action figure is inspired by the character in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. One of Jabba the Hutt’s most adept pilots, Wooof was a smuggler on Tatooine. The figure features premium detail and design across product and packaging inspired by the original Kenner line, as well as the entertainment-inspired collector grade deco. Includes figure and 4 entertainment-inspired accessories.  Available for pre-order 11/1 at 1PM ET at Hasbro Pulse and other major retailers. 

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION SAELT-MARAE  

(HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $16.99 / Available: Summer 2023) 

Fans can celebrate the legacy of STAR WARS, the action-and-adventure-packed space saga from a galaxy far, far away, with premium 3.75-inch scale STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION SAELT-MARAE figure. This Salt-Marae action figure is inspired by the character in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Also known as Yak Face, Saelt-Marae was a centuries-old Yarkora who fed information to both the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance before aligning himself with Jabba the Hutt and his criminal empire. The figure features premium detail and design across product and packaging inspired by the original Kenner line, as well as the entertainment-inspired collector grade deco. Includes figure and 1 entertainment-inspired accessory.  Available for pre-order 11/1 at 1PM ET at Hasbro Pulse and other major retailers. 

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION NIKTO (SKIFF GUARD)  

(HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $16.99 / Available: Summer 2023) 

Fans can celebrate the legacy of STAR WARS, the action-and-adventure-packed space saga from a galaxy far, far away, with premium 3.75-inch scale STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION NIKTO (SKIFF GUARD) figure. This Nikto action figure is inspired by the character in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. The red Nikto were a humanoid alien species hailing from the planet Kintan. While they were found from world to world, several were in the employ of Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine. The figure features premium detail and design across product and packaging inspired by the original Kenner line, as well as the entertainment-inspired collector grade deco. Includes figure and 3 entertainment-inspired accessories.  Available for pre-order 11/1 at 1PM ET at Hasbro Pulse and other major retailers. 

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION KITHABA (SKIFF GUARD)  

(HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $16.99 / Available: Summer 2023) 

Fans can celebrate the legacy of STAR WARS, the action-and-adventure-packed space saga from a galaxy far, far away, with premium 3.75-inch scale STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION KITHABA (SKIFF GUARD) figure. This Kithaba action figure is inspired by the character in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Kithaba, a Klatoonian servant of Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine, escorted the Rebels to meet their fate at the Great Pit of Carkoon. The figure features premium detail and design across product and packaging inspired by the original Kenner line, as well as the entertainment-inspired collector grade deco. Includes figure and 3 entertainment-inspired accessories.  Available for pre-order 11/1 at 1PM ET at Hasbro Pulse and other major retailers. 

HASBRO 1027 LIVESTREAM – STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION ARTILLERY STORMTROOPER

Hasbro’s 1027 livestream revealed a bunch of new figures but only one for The Vintage Collection:

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION ARTILLERY STORMTROOPER


(HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $14.99 / Available: Summer 2023)
Fans can celebrate the legacy of STAR WARS, the action-and-adventure-packed space saga from a galaxy far, far away, with premium 3.75-inch scale STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION ARTILLERY STORMTROOPER figure. This Artillery Stormtrooper action figure is inspired by the character in the STAR WARS: THE MANDALORIAN live-action series on Disney+. Specialized soldiers in the Imperial forces, artillery stormtroopers carry specialized indirect fire weapons like mortars onto the battlefield. The figure features premium detail and design across product and packaging inspired by the original Kenner line, as well as the entertainment-inspired collector grade deco. Includes figure and 1 entertainment-inspired accessory. Available for pre-order now at HasbroPulse.com.

HASBRO PULSECON 2022 HAS BEGUN!

Head over to Hasbro Pulse’s YouTube page for the start of PULSECON 2022!

Join us for #HasbroPulseCon! Hasbro Pulse Con promises YOU a one-of-a-kind experience, celebrating ALL our iconic brands through engaging brand panels, exclusive content drops, over 55 new product reveals, celebrity appearances, the long awaited launch of Selfie Series, and much more!

Custom Clone Wars Turbo Tank


In the past few years I have been able to pick up, on separate occasions, two massive Clone Wars Turbo Tank vehicles. Both of them are incomplete and I only paid maybe $20 for each of them. I couldn’t resist the price and it is a truly impresive vehicle. But I had never come up with any plan for one of them, let alone two. Apart from using one as a background for taking some action figure photos I basically brought them home and parked them under a “garage” at the bottom of one of my Star Wars room displays. I was actually considering selling at least one of them when a completely different project suddenly occupied my brain.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 000.jpeg


A few years ago I had painted a custom Mon Calamari officer using a Power of the Force 2 Admiral Ackbar. Now the Mon Cal was one of Admiral Raddus’ staff as seen in Rogue One. Recently I had an extra Ackbar figure on hand and thought I would paint a second officer for Admiral Raddus. But as I began setting my desk up for some painting I suddenly lost interest in the project. I dont love painting entire figures and I’m not that great at doing it. Wethering, yes. Full repaints, not so much. The thought of starting this new figure was just not interesting to me so I put the figure aside and looked at my “Star Wars room to do list” that I keep on hand. I had a note that just said, “more Endor soldiers.” Hmmmm….I started rummaging through my greeblies and accessories and found a spare cloth Endor soldier trenchcoat. I put it on the Ackbar figure, thought it looked pretty cool and came up with a big idea:

Finally do something with the Turbo Tank AND assemble a team for it.

So that’s what I did.

This turned out to be one of the biggest custom projects I had ever tried as the plan was to paint the tank, customize it’s overall look by removing the rear section from it, add a bunch of greeblies to it and as I said, create a crew for it. I was worried about how the painting would turn out but since I had two vehicles I could afford to ruin one of them.

After removing the tires (They’re designed to be removed and reinstalled, a fun little add on feature for when your Clonetroopers need to change a flat tire) I taped off the chassis and bare wheel axles with painter’s tape. I also covered some of the more interesting sections of plating so that they would contrast with the green paint I would use. I think I ended up using a hunter green mixed with a little black.

I used an orange/brown mix of paint for the bottom portion of the tank to give a similar appearance as seen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with the AT-ACT and cargo ship. Next I added various shades of weathering. In fact, except for some silver and red paint pens the entire project was done with regular dollar store acrylic paint.

I wanted the Turbo Tank to be more than just a new paint job so the next plan was to begin adding accessories and greeblies. A friend who used to collect GI Joe and Jurassic Park toys gave me a ton of parts he didn’t need and this is where I went to town, adding all sorts of accessories.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 004.jpeg

I added sections of handrails that fit just perfect along the top of the vehicle.I drilled holes into the tank for the handrails to fit into. I added more railings and a few search lights in a few other spots too. It gave it a nice, junky look, much like the AT-TE that “old Captain Rex” and his fellow clones used in Star Wars Rebels.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 008.jpeg
It’s all about the greeblies

Continuing on the outside of the vehicle I added extra laser cannons, a Kenner Millennium Falcon radar dish and two different action figure versions of the red tank that Baze Malbus has slung onto his back in Rogue One.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 011a.jpeg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 017.jpeg

The rear of the Turbo Tank has a removable module that can act as a sort of shelter. I removed this in order to add some extra firepower. I have had in my collection the quad guns and gunner’s chair from the Kenner Millennium Falcon and really wanted to use it so I glued it in place where the module would have been. I then added some paint and weathering to it. The new green colour of the tank had me thinking of “camoflague” so I added a few pieces of weathered “netting” to cover the gun turret. The material is actually anti-slip padding for carpets.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 019.jpeg
Vintage Kenner Quad Cannon & Gunner’s Chair

Inside I added various data pads, laptops and even a clip board and coffee mug to help fill in the fairly empty interiors. These various accessories were usually grey and monotone so I added red, green and yellow paint for buttons and lights.

The last bit of customizing was to add a few Rebel Alliance stickers I bought on eBay.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 012.jpeg

It was daunting to take on a job this big but I’m very happy with how things turned out, especially when I took it outside for some photos.

Next step: put together some teammates to go along with my new Endor Mon Cal figure.

Stay tuned!

Hasbro Clarifies Its ‘No-Plastic’ Packaging Stance

Star Wars carded collectors were shocked, stunned and angry when Hasbro first announced months ago that they planned on doing away with all plastic packaging. The assumption was that action figure lines that rely on a plastic window for carded display purposes, like the Star Wars The Vintage Collection line, would be discontinued.

Luckily for Star Wars carded collectors, Hasbro clarified things while at San Diego Comic Con 2022:

Thank you for being a continued fan of Hasbro and its iconic brands. With more exciting reveals to come with this week’s San Diego Comic-Con, we wanted to reach out to share a little more information on Hasbro’s transition to plastic-free packaging.

At Hasbro, we have set a goal to eliminate virtually all plastic from new, single-use product packaging by the end of 2022. The company is currently on track to meet its industry-leading goal, reducing the use of virgin plastic by an estimated 19.5 million pounds annually.  

What does this mean for products from fan-favorite Hasbro brands? You may have already noticed the transition to new plastic-free packaging within some kid-focused figures, and most 6-inch figures will transition to plastic-free packaging by early 2023. Today, we wanted to give you an early look at what to expect.

We’ve included a few examples here of what the new plastic-free packaging will look like across several brands. This includes an example of a Stormtrooper figure from the 2020 Star Wars: The Black Series line, as well as the G.I. JOE Classified Series Kamakura, Marvel Legends Series 6 Inch X-Men 90s Animated Series, and Marvel Legends Series Spider-Man Beyond Amazing: Iron Spider & Amazing Fantasy #15, all available now for order or pre-order. The Power Rangers Lightning Collection lines will reveal new plastic-free packaging in the coming weeks.

As part of the shift away from window boxes, you’ll see highly detailed artwork and exciting new imagery on each package featuring iconic characters and their figures inside. This includes new packaging art that will showcase the articulation and poseability of each figure. 

Our goal does not include packaging for fan collectible products like 3.75″ action figures, where packaging is part of the product experience and typically retained intact for fan display and collections. Those lines include Star Wars Vintage and Retro, as well as other collectible brands such as Marvel Retro and the G.I. JOE Retro. In support of Hasbro’s lower carbon strategy and upcoming science-based targets, our fan collectible blister packaging will continue to be made with either plant-based or recycled PET content. Hasbro, with the support of its collaborators, is committed to doing what’s right for the future of the planet and looks forward to having its fans along for the journey.

Thank you again for the continued support!

Hasbro also announced a new plastic free look for The Black Series line while also mentioning that the upcoming 40th Anniversary Black Series collection for Return of the Jedi would continue to be faithful to the original Kenner cardbacks and windows.

The Star Wars Room Timeline

July 6, 2022

If you listened to the Sandcrawler podcast we spent a lot of time talking about our Star Wars rooms and in my case that included getting into diorama building and dabbling in customizing Star Wars figures. We posted alot of those discussions in blog form on our website and I’m happy to report that I have finally moved those articles over to this site.

What you’ll find in The Star Wars Room (which you can also access from the home page) are articles on various decisions I’ve made over the years in my room. From replacing mismatched furniture to painting the walls to building dioramas to expanding my Rebel base from one tabletop to a multi-level monstrosity you can follow along in my journey as a Star Wars collector.

I’m by no means an expert collector, customizer or diorama builder but I have discovered that taking those next steps in collecting and displaying Star Wars toys is often quite easy and it doesn’t take much to see cool and fun results. With that in mind, I hope you’ll find some inspiration as you follow along with the progress of my Star Wars passion.

Changing As A Collector

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!

Mike Tarkin

May 4, 2022

Return to main Star Wars room article