Vintage Star Wars on the magazine cover

Archvillain Darth Vader, cover of TIME Magazine, May 19, 1980. Artwork by M. Arisman.

As fans around the world prepare themselves for yet another Star Wars feature film that will hopefully delight, thrill and amaze, TVTA digs into the archives to find a selection of old-school Star Wars as seen on the covers of various magazines throughout the late 70s and early 80s.

US. National Doll World. Aug 1984. Contains a feature on the large size action figure range from Kenner.

US. Fine Scale Modeler. Jan / Feb 1986. Model diorama special for Speederbike and Scout.

US. Starlog Covers various.

US. More Starlog various covers.

France. Lecran Fantastique. Return of the Jedi 100 page special. Oct 1983.

Titans. France. 1984. Jean Frisano cover.

France. Pif Gadget. Empire Strikes Back cover and features. 1980.

France. Pif Gadget. Return of the Jedi cover and features. 1983.

UK. Starburst. 1980.

UK. Photo Play. 1983.

US. Starlog 74. 1983.

Thank you for browsing with us!

Never mind the adverts Pt10 – Takara Die Cast Darth Vader

Welcome to another Never Mind The Adverts… Here Are The Toys! This time we take a look at the 1978 Die Cast Darth Vader figure made by the Takara company, Japan.

Japanese toy company Takara has never been shy of infusing its love of the quirky into the toys and merchandise it was licensed to produce and distribute for the first Star Wars film. The transforming X Wing Fighter and missile launching R2-D2 are just two examples. It’s no great surprise to see their die cast Darth Vader receiving similar treatment with a ‘robot-look’ makeover, and the issue of not just his trusty lightsaber but a full-on missile-firing crossbow!

Features: This cool die cast Darth Vader measures in at around 7 inches tall (17.78 cm) has articulated legs and arms, and can turn his head to the left and right via a lever located on his back.

Accessories: lightsaber, crossbow, two shots, removable vinyl cape, stand.

Packaging: the partially bilingual box comes with the typical Takara graphics and includes the ST logo belonging to the company responsible for checking the safety standards of the toy. Line drawings on the back of the box indicate the action features. The bottom right insert picture on the back appears to show the C-3PO die cast figure that was released along with Vader.

If you want to discover other cool Japanese vintage Star Wars collectables check out my guide over on The Imperial Gunnery Forum

That’s all for now. Thanks for looking, and join us again soon for another Never Mind The Adverts!


Latest vintage Star Wars ads

Representing merchandise as advertised in Italy, France, Germany, UK and the US.

Radio Control R2-D2. Italy.

Italy. 1979. Radio controlled R2-D2. In Italy this droid was called C1P8.

Star Wars toys. France.

France. Castors Juniors. 1979. Featuring models and action figures from both the small and large size lines. Plus… how often do you see a vinyl and cloth cape Jawa pictured together?

Star Wars Palitoy catalogue page from Hamleys. UK.

UK. Hamleys. 1983. Featuring vehicles for the 3.75 inch action figure line.

Star Wars model kits. Germany.

This 1979 Kenner Germany ad reads “Hello model fans”. It features Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter, the X-Wing Fighter, and our two favourite droids. The photo of the X-Wing vehicle appears to be the electronic toy meant for the 3.75 inch action figures and not the model kit version. It is not uncommon to see vintage Star Wars toy ads substituting certain products with others. My idea is that sometimes the foreign (to US) license holder had to make do with whatever images or products were sent over by parent company Kenner from the US. In other cases we may also catch sight of prototype versions, which were the only images available at the time prior to a toy’s actual release.

In the case of French license holder Miro-Meccano, which in 1981 ran a spectacular “saynettes” ad series, a mixture of toys were used to create perspective. Here we see a small scale die cast X-Wing in the background, with the bigger 3.75 inch action figure Landspeeder in the foreground.

Star Wars Denys Fisher model kits competition. UK.

Star Wars Weekly. 1978. This UK competition offered the chance to win one of 40 prizes for Denys Fisher licensed Star Wars models.

Return of the Jedi SnapFix models. Airfix. UK.

UK. Hamleys Christmas Book. 1983.

Boots stores model kit products. Airfix. UK.

UK. Eagle. 1983. I remember Star Wars toys being on sale in UK toys shops and newsagents but not in Boots – which is a high street chemist that still exists today. This ad from 1983 shows that Boots did indeed stock some toys, and gives mention to Star Wars.

School stationery prize competition, Helix. UK.

UK. Star Wars Weekly. 1978. The Star Wars Helix brand has always been popular in the UK collecting world, and items can command high prices. One of the most popular and perhaps rarest of Helix items is the Death Star Pencil Sharpener – which is mentioned here as a lowly “runners up prize”.  If only we knew back then how desirable those little pencil sharpeners would one day become!

Eagle comics Return of the Jedi sticker album offer. UK.

Eagle comics. UK. 1983.

Eagle comics Return of the Jedi free stickers. UK.

Eagle comics. UK. 1983.

Atari Return of the Jedi Death Star Battle. Parker Brothers. US.

US. Alpha Flight. 1983.

Intellivision and Atari cartridges by Parker Brothers. UK.

UK. Hamleys Christmas Book. 1983.

That’s all for now. Please check out our Star Wars section beneath the banner for the best international Star Wars vintage advertising this side of the galaxy! Thanks for looking!

The legend of black Wampa

Black Wampa… urban myth or reality? Only you can decide as TVTA takes you on a journey tracing the origins and adventures of this infamous toy in our special report.

1. Of the Unicorn. Woodcut illustration from the book The History of four-footed Beasts and Serpents by Edward Topsell. 2. Black Wampa by TVTA. 3. Hoaxed photo of Loch Ness Monster. 4. Patterson–Gimlin film frame N°352 of Bigfoot. 5. Ivan Bilibin, 065, Zmey Gorynych, the Russian three-headed dragon. 6. E.T.

1. Of the Unicorn. Woodcut illustration from the book The History of four-footed Beasts and Serpents by Edward Topsell. 2. Black Wampa by Artoo-Detour. 3. Hoaxed photo of Loch Ness Monster. 4. Patterson–Gimlin film frame N°352 of Bigfoot. 5. Ivan Bilibin, 065, Zmey Gorynych, the Russian three-headed dragon. 6. E.T.


Is this a Lili Ledy black Wampa or a cruel hoax?

The black Wampa (‘Wampa Oscuro’) has been the subject of much debate over the years as to its authenticity as a genuine Star Wars toy produced by the Mexican toy company Lili Ledy.

Forum tomfoolery?
Sources cite that it all began back in early 1980 just before the film release of The Empire Strikes Back, when a failed communication directive between Lili Ledy and Lucas Film Ltd led to the birth of the black Wampa.

Doctor Dengar's TIG guides gave us our first glimpse of the elusive black Wampa VS its Kenner brother.

Doctor Dengar’s superb TIG guides gave us our first glimpse of the elusive black Wampa VS its Kenner brother.










Other sources cite the 1983 ‘Mas crédulous fan de la Guerra de las Galaxias’ competition held by Lili Ledy to win one of ten black Wampas specially produced to coincide with the film release of Return of the Jedi.

Were you one of the ten lucky winners?

Were you one of the ten lucky winners? Mr Tree-Ent’s wonderful limelight holds some unexpected surprises!

So, facts? Or simply evil plots hatched by Star Wars internet forum geeks to fool the collecting community into believing in the existence of black Wampas?

What if TVTA was to tell you that we have been given a translated transcript of a completely unverifiable but exclusive 18 second interview recorded on a dictaphone in 1983 with a Lili Ledy mailing department employee who managed to talk briefly about the mail-away exclusive before being tragically shot dead by what we can only imagine as a sniper on a roof ?


Pretty chilling eh? But, maybe this is just another example of an elaborate hoax fuelled by elements from the dark side of vintage toy collecting. You thought scammers were bad enough, right? Repro-makers, shill bidders and back-doorers? Surely nothing in the history of Star Wars collecting will ever compare to being shafted by an imaginary toy… if indeed this turns out to be the case! For now, TVTA cannot say for certain if the black Wampa exists or not. Like you, we can only look at the evidence available in the darkest corners of vintage Star Wars collecting forums, and try to pick out the facts from fiction.

It’s on the cover of a licensed book!!!

Proof at last? No, this beast is only related to the Wampa family, and is in fact a Trompa.

Proof at last? No, this beast is only related to the Wampa family, and is in fact a Trompa. Look it up. It’s real. But is anything ever real?

Black Wampa ate my Lili Ledy Han Bespin…

LL Han Bespin prepare to meet your shaker-maker.

Lili Ledy Han Bespin, prepare to meet your shaker-maker!

Video killed the radio star!

BW: I just can't seem to get this damn TV set to work!

Black Wampa: “I just can’t get this damn TV set to work!” Power Droid: “Put me down, or else I’ll tune into the Holiday Special!”

A design for life

A design for life.

Danger. Have you seen this black Wampa design aimed at the clothing market? Do not approach. Keep Tauntauns and young Jedis safely indoors.

Waiter, there’s a black Wampa in my soup!

Here are 10 facts / fictions about black Wampa. Award yourself 4 points for a correct answer; deduct 2 points for an incorrect answer; do not collect £200 (unless you’re selling a relatively hard-to-find loose variation of a figure which under normal circumstances would cost £35 tops, but in today’s FBooky-driven BS market makes you want to puke because it has gone right through the roof; miss one turn if an old man performs a jedi mind trick on you; and finally, for 3 points – make the opponent on your left perform an impression of Chewbacca.

  1. Black Wampa has appeared in a published Lili Ledy reference book – so he must be real, right?
  2. Black Wampa has been spotted in many vintage-looking photos on the interweb.
  3. A black Wampa can be briefly seen in the distance behind Luke as Luke grapples up an AT-AT in The Empire Strikes Back.
  4. Black Wampa is rumoured to be George Lucas’ favouite Star Wars toy.
  5. The black Wampa paint spray masks were found in a wheelie-bin on the car park and site where Richard III’s bones were discovered in Leicester.
  6. The black Wampa paint spray masks were found on the car park of the Walkers Crisps factory in Leicester.
  7. The black Wampa paint spray masks were found on the car park of a Doritos Crisps factory in Mexico.
  8. Music star Rick Springfield owns 3 black Wampas!
  9. In Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette, a black Wampa figure is partially hidden under a pair of Converse sneakers.
  10. Bonus COO question! (award yourself 100 points). The correct Country Of Origin mark for the Lili Ledy black Wampa is: (a) family IIIa, second cousin, twice removed, 29g, deep scar, Vader factory. Or (b) family IIc, father-in-law, 42c, very messy scar, Made In Honduras.

Answers next week!! Good luck!


Black Wampa: a true Mexican toy or a monstrous myth? A Lili Ledy legend or a rock-solid reality? Only you can decide. The truth is out there, partially frozen in the wastelands of Hoth, covered in pizza sauce and Tauntaun entrails. May the force be with you. Graarrk! (Always let the Wookie have the last word).

discoclaimer: TVTA has done it's best to seek accurate info and cannot be held responsible for anything. If you know of any black Wampas please report them to your local collecting community group. No Tauntauns were harmed in the making of this special report.