After watching Adam Savage’s video (see bottom of article) where he does some weathering on the Razor Crest (Hasbro Star Wars The Mandalorian Razor Crest Haslab Crowd Funded Project) I decided to give it a go. I probably watched the video 5 times before I got enough courage to start. I’m not as concerned about modding a one of a kind Star Wars vehicle as I am about just screwing it up. But, Adam’s video is very straightforward and there looked to be little chance of me making a mistake since I’ve been doing simple weathering to my Star Wars toys for awhile now.
Adam uses Rub n Buff paint, Vallejo Black Wash and air brushing throughout the video but I tried doing just the Rub n Buff portion of the video. When I move on to other areas of the ship I’ll try out the Vallejo Black Wash. You may be asking yourself, “why would this guy modify an expensive and limited edition collectible????” Well, as amazing as the Razor Crest is it’s lacking in paint apps in a few spots, namely: -engine compartments -landing struts -chin guns and rear cannon -side ramp
Here is a look at two engine compartments on one of the Razor Crest’s rockets. There is zero weathering done to these areas and they look very plasticy. I tackled the engine compartments for this article and will weather the other sections at some point.
I used two different colours of Rub n Buff – Silver Leaf and European Gold. It was super easy to do; all that’s required are a few long crafting cotton swabs and a tiny amount of Rub n Buff.
In the video Adam uses only silver but I had the gold colour on hand as well so I would apply that in different areas. The result was a multi-coloured, multi-shaded engine compartment instead of one boring dark grey colour: It made things POP. The Silver Leaf brought out the details in the area and adding some of the European Gold , which has a dark, almost rusty appearance, added some “age” to the area. It now has a sort of three tone effect and it looks great.
This is a look at one of the two compartments: the left compartment is unpainted.
Here are some close up shots of the compartments after painting them. I love how the gold paint looks worn or even rusted in spots.
The second job I tackled was to use silver Rub n Buff on one of the included carbon freeze blocks, as Adam also did in the video. Again, this was super easy to do. I used a sponge paintbrush and a small amount of the paint and just dabbed it all over the carbonite block. The results were instantly apparent as you can see. After letting the paint dry I then buffed the entire block with a paper towel to bring out some shine. I really like how much brighter and metallic it looks now.
I may or may not paint the other blocks because I realized just how different the paint apps have been over the years on carbonite blocks and rather than have them all look the same a little variety could be nice too. Here’s a look at six different carbonite blocks, the last two being from the Razor Crest.
You can watch the entire Adam Savage: Tested video below, not only to see the techniques I tried out but he goes into alot of detail as he discusses model making and shooting models for movies. It’s super interesting just on it’s own.
It has been a very long time since I did this much writing about my Star Wars room or Star Wars collecting in general (although my podcasting mic is always ready to go). I’ve put together a series of articles highlighting changes I’ve made in my room over the past year. It’s kind of a time capsule about what was important to me last year as a collector. Tons of changes but not necessarily a ton of new action figures is what 2022 meant to me. Thanks for taking a look!
As 2023 begins and with prices climbing steadily for Star Wars figures it almost feels like when I was collecting in the period after Revenge of the Sith in 2005 but before The Vintage Collection 1.0 in 2010. Back then I was buying mainly favourite characters or certain focuses and leaving many figures and vehicles on the store shelf. I have never been a completist collector and I can recall passing on many figures mainly because I had a previous version of it. Once The Vintage Collection hit in 2011 I was buying more than usual because the figures in most cases were a much better quality. When you’re paying $10 or less for one 3.75 inch action figure it’s obviously easier to justify buying more. Now that a single 3.75 Star Wars figure costs anywhere from $17.99 to $22.99 CDN I am back to cherrypicking which figures to buy because it’s just become too expensive to justify anymore.
What does this mean for me as a Star Wars collector in 2023? It means I will be focusing more and more on the large collection I have already and continue to experiment with customizing and building dioramas. Have I hit that ceiling where I’ll just say NO to new Star Wars figures? I don’t think so but I have to believe that I will soon.
Either way I intend on continuing to enjoy my Star Wars figure collection for years to come and as I write this in mid-February I’ve already made some fun changes in the Star Wars room.
2022 was a very strange time for me in the Star Wars room and as a Star Wars collector in general. It was the first time since I started collecting in the 1990’s that I actually felt like something was wrong in my collecting world. In retrospect I can blame it on one big reason: way too much time off from work. I work in the automotive industry in Canada on the assembly line. Since 2021 thanks to COVID and the worldwide microchip shortage I have faced a ton of layoffs on a week to week basis. What this has meant is that I have had all the time I could possibly want to spend in my Star Wars room. Add to this the fact that I’m not bringing home a regular paycheque week to week which means buying less figures and supplies for dioramas. All of this downtime should be a dream come true, right? Well, like Bruce Springsteen once sang, “with every wish there comes a curse.”
The Star Wars room should be a place of fun, a place of refuge even. It should be a place where I can forget about my troubles and the real world and have some fun with my Star Wars figures. But what happens when you literally NOTHING BUT TIME on your hands? Your hobby becomes boring. Yes, it’s true. I discovered that I could spend too much time in the Star Wars room, to the point where I didn’t WANT to go near it. For weeks I would walk past the room, on my way to the laundry room, give it a cursory glance and continue on. I was discovering that having unlimited access to it was taking the fun out of it altogether because I couldn’t think of anything to do in it. Of course there is always cleaning, dusting, reorganizing, cataloguing and building to do but for me I need to feel inspired to do these things and I found that inspiration usually hit me while working on the assembly line. The monotony of my job means I have ALOT of time spent in my own head. When I would come up with a new idea or project for the Star Wars room I couldn’t wait to get home and try it out. When you are home as much as I have been you discover a lot less opportunity for inspiration.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t do anything with my Star Wars room in 2022 but on a day to day basis things had changed for me. It wasn’t until I had a decent stretch of constant work beginning in the middle of October did I begin to re-appreciate my hobby. I needed a regular routine where the Star Wars room once again became a source of fun. That’s what the rest of this article is going to be about: new pickups and new changes in my Star Wars room.
Hasbro Pulse “Haslab” Razor Crest Talk about the elephant in the room! The enormous vehicle from The Mandalorian arrived on my doorstep on February 24, 2022. It is gorgeous, absolutely beautiful! You can check out my review of it HERE. I can’t believe I own one! The detailing on it is incredible and yet I find myself actually wary of doing much with it. There’s the practical reason of the vehicle’s interior being too small for adult hands but more than that I sometimes feel like (read in Will Smith’s MIB voice) I’m gonna break this damn thing! As you can see below I have it displayed prominantly in the center of my room, perched on a small IKEA glass table. So maybe that’s on me for using glass as a load bearing weight but I had to display it somewhere! I have had one encounter where I stepped off of a foot stool, pivoted and nearly fell right on top of it, my one hand actually resting on an engine for support. I also find the removable panels to be flimsy so I use an incredible amount of care when i remove them. Having this albatross stare at me from the centre of my collection as I walk past definitely gave me an Anakin “what have I done” feeling from time to time. Whining aside though, I love it.
Vintage Kenner Display Project You have to love when you have a spouse who is always looking out for you, even when it comes to collecting Star Wars figures. Mrs Tarkin spotted a nice looking shelf while we were at an antique mall and thought it could work in the Star Wars room. When I suggested I could move my vintage Kenner figures to it she said she would paint it for me. We agreed that giving it a vintage Kenner card back look would be just the thing. I love how it turned out. The yellow is super bright and stands out great in the room. I rearranged two IKEA Billy bookcases in order to create basically a vintage Kenner corner, all thanks to a cheap antique find! I also managed to knock 4 or 5 more figures off of my Kenner list in 2022. I’m by no means a completist with the old Kenner line so it’s always fun to add something to the display.
Star Wars “Research Library” In another case of “Star Wars spousal support” I wanted a way to pull all of my Star Wars book together for easier access. My books were scattered in multiple locations in our house; some on our large bookshelf, inside the TV stand, under an end table in the bedroom and in the Star Wars room itself. The trouble with this was having to search for what I was looking for. You know what it’s like, you suddenly think to yourself, “what was that box thing Chirrut Imwe wears in Rogue One?” Then you have to think about where the book is stored and whether or not there are other books to move to get to it. And make sure when you pull the book out that there aren’t any chochkis that could get knocked over. Just a pain. (BTW,the box Chirrut wears is an “Echo-box transmitter.” – Source: Star Wars Rogue One The Ultimate Visual Guide – Page91. Thanks, Pablo:) )
So my wife and I decided on moving some furniture around and I picked up a bookcase that complemented the one we already have. Now my books are in one place with only a few pieces of Star Wars “stuff” to accent things including a vintage flashlight that looks very much like a lightsaber; my first adult LEGO set, the Trench Run and an MPG model display of R2D2/C3P0 (Mrs Tarkin knows when I really LOVE something from my childhood).
“The Arrowhead” Turbo Tank I had managed to pick up two incomplete Clone Wars-era Turbo Tanks in the past few years. The prices on them were so good I had to have them. After realizing that the second one was more of a “couldn’t resist the price” rather than than a “had to have two” sort of thing I decided to modify one of them. I had never tackled a project involving painting of this size before but since I had paid next to nothing for the second tank I thought it was a good way to test my ideas. I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out and have even come up with a crew and backstory for this huge vehicle. Now the Turbo Tank is “The Arrowhead” and is part of a Rebel strike team known as “Boreal Squad.” As an avid camper and action figure outdoor photographer I can’t wait to bring this beast on vacation and show it off in the woods of Northern Ontario.
CLICK the image below to see the steps of the project:
Expanded Rebel Base As long as we’re talking about customizing, the pride of my Star Wars room is my huge rebel base diorama. I have added to this diorama over the years and I have to admit that I was running out of expansion ideas. My buddy Ryan helped with the first expansion step: Add another section on the floor. I had used a wooden crate to support the display above this area because it seemed like any set up directly on the floor would be hard to see. I decided that I would be able to figure out some way to display things there so Ryan helped me add legs to the display and pull the wooden crate out. This turned out to be a good spot for the Legacy Millennium Falcon which is enormous. I treated it like it was a movie set piece where only part of it would need to be visible and added a couple of styrofoam walls to either side. It looked great.
In July 2022 I picked up my second of two Antoch Merrick Blue Leader X-wing Fighters and once again space was an issue. I could have hung one of these X-wings from the ceiling as I have many fighters up there already but I really wanted to have both on display in the rebel base. Buying the glass table for the Razor Crest turned out to be part of the solution to my space problem. I was able to move my Legacy Collection Millennium Falcon to the bottom shelf of the glass table (having the two largest Star Wars vehicles together looks amazing) and after a few more moves I was able to add all three of my new X-wing fighters to the top shelf of the display. I even took it a step further and made a small garage that I could park an A-wing fighter inside while parking a B-wing fighter on top. Check out more details on my Rebel Base by clicking the image below.
With new vehicle releases from Hasbro becoming less and less frequent I ‘should’ be ok for the next while. But I’ve said that before….
GI Joe Accessories A friend gave me a huge amount of accessories from his GI Joe collection. I have always resisted going outside of the Star Wars universe when it comes to action figures but there were so many accessories and greeblies that he kindly gifted me that I couldn’t resist. Suddenly I had tool boxes, walkie-talkies, search lights, ladders and spare heads for customizing figures. Much of it went into the projects you have just read about and really took things to the next level. Thanks, Eddie!
New Action Figures I had originally intended on doing a seperate article on some of my favourite action figure releases of 2022 but most of these are on everone’s favourites lists anyway so I’ll just list them briefly here:
The Vintage Collection Deluxe Boba Fett (Tatooine): I can’t believe I paid $42.99CDN for this figure but it is a beautiful thing. Great articulation, an awesome head sculpt, and some fun accessories are what makes this figure just a joy to interact with.
The Vintage Collection Scarif Trooper: I never had a chance to pick this up when it was originally released so it was great to get the Hasbro Pulse 4-Pack set. It’s my favourite Imperial trooper and it’s great to finally get super-articulated versions of it.
Officially it’s called the Star Wars The Vintage Collection Gaming Greats Lando Calrissian (Star Wars Battlefront II) but it will always be “Hawaiian Shirt Lando from Solo” to me. I don’t care if it’s just a repaint, the fact that this figure was even released is a miracle. Just look at that shirt! As someone who loves Solo: A Star Wars Story it is great to have a Lando figure looking just like he did when he lost the Falcon to Han, “fair and square.” Time to start a Sabbac diorama, I think.
Answering the question, “can you ever have too many Darth Vader figures” comes Star Wars The Vintage Collection Darth Vader (The Dark Times). I was going to easily pass on this figure because what could they do that would make getting one essential? But after looking at one a friend had picked up I knew I had to have it. The neck articulation is amazing and allows for so many more expressive poses from Vader.
So that’s how things went for me, Star Wars collecting-wise last year. I know for 2023 and onward that I’ll be buying less figures as prices continue to sky rocket and I’ve come to terms with the reality that the hobby has changed. What hasn’t changed is my love for collecting and displaying Star Wars figures and I’m excited to see what the future holds.
To see a gallery of my Star Wars room CLICK the image below:
In a word, the best way for me to describe my Star Wars Rebel Base diorama goal in 2022 would be: EXPANSIOIN. At the end of 2021 I found myself with two new X-wing fighters that I needed to find room for. By mid-2022 that total became 4 as I added another X-wing and decided on displaying a B-wing fighter as well. In order to do this I had to expand things: I did so by adding an entirely new section and a second, smaller “building.”
Here’s a look at the diorama in mid-2022:
You’ll notice that grey crate in the bottom right of the photo. This crate is holding up the display “shelf” above it. In the past I had decided that any display that was set up directly on the floor in that spot would be wasted there because the sightlines are bad unless you’re looking at it from floor level. I also set it up this way to sort of reign in any more expansion; I always try to feel like “less is more.” I also always never stick to this motto for very long.
So the plan was to replace the crate with legs to support the “shelf” that was resting on it. My buddy Ryan came over to give me a hand. He cut some legs (that I’lll have to paint someday) that kept the same amount of height as the crate. Then I created a “garage” space with a piece of thin plywood and some styrofoam walls that I could slide in and out of the legs. First thing to do was to move my Legacy Collection Millennium Falcon to this new space.
I treated it like it was a movie set piece where only part of the Falcon would need to be visible and added a couple of styrofoam walls to either side. It looked great (even better when not at eye level). Then it was just a matter of moving the rest of my vehicles around until I was happy with the layout.
As it turns out I couldn’t get the layout of the vehicles in a way that I liked and the problem was that the B-wing fighter has a giant footprint; it takes up alot of room because it’s basically the same length as an X-wing but much wider. Standing it on end wasn’t really an option since I don’t have that kind of height on the rebel base so I came up with a mini garage that I quickly threw together using pink insulation and paint. I sat the B-wing on top of it as if the “roof” of the structure was a landing pad and moved an A-wing fighter inside. This freed up a ton of space and I was able to set up the three new X-wings easily.
Here’s a look at the entire setup with the B-wing pad/A-wing garage in the top left and the new home for the Falcon, bottom right:
But of course “always in motion is the Star Wars room” and I decided a few months later to move the Millennium Falcon completely out of the Rebel Base so it could be displayed with my Haslab Razor Crest. This also allowed me to juggle things around again and hopefully create a little less clutter and chaos for the Rebels.
Here’s a look at the entire rebel base:
This set up lasted me until the end of 2022. And as I write this in February 2023 I’ve already made more changes: Stay Tuned!
The centrepiece of my Star Wars room is my rebel base. It’s amazing to think that every time I think that it’s finished or that “I can’t find anymore room” I end up coming up with another way to add more X-wing fighters. The base started as a single tabletop display featuring the original Kenner Millennium Falcon and a two Target exclusive vehicles: a Y-wing fighter and an X-wing fighter. Little by little as my collection grew I would find ways to expand things just enough to fit whatever new vehicles I ended up with.
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.
The Power of the Force Jawa action figure from the 1995 Star Wars line has a cool feature where there is a “window” on top of the figures head. When light is shone into the window the Jawa’s eyes light up just like their onscreen versions. In this video we show you how to add LED lights to the figure so that they can light up instantly