WOLF retro REVIEW. 8th Dec 2023
By Tida Dao
From a time when only handful of Star Wars Merchandise were produced per year.
You could literally count the number of Star Wars Merchandise available from 1992 on one hand.
The 1992 Takara Star Wars soft toys were released nine years after the Return of the Jedi (1993), a time when many considered the Star Wars Universe to be a thing of the past, which may be surprising for modern-day fans to imagine that the Star Wars Universe would wane in popularity. No one was interested in purchasing anything associated with the franchise, resulting in these soft toys being one of the very few merchandises in the early 90s. The lack of interest to buy any Star Wars related products resulted in little to no information on these soft toys in both print and online.
The set includes five characters, Luke, R2-D2, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and C-3PO. The soft toys in the set range from thirteen to eighteen centimeters in length, with each individual having two tags, a cloth one sown to the side of the character featuring the Takara logo and a double-sided paper tag. The paper tag is attached to the top with a golden thread with one side displaying an Iconic Star Wars graphic and the other side featuring four main characters alongside some Japanese writing and symbols. To our knowledge, the soft toys do not have distinct packaging when new excluding the occasional clear plastic bag.
Design and craftmanship
Each soft toy is crafted with a variety of materials including felt, faux fur, vinyl, plastic, and stuffed with presumably cotton or some polyester stuffing. The toys are designed in a more animated or cartoon style, with large sized head by comparison to the body. Takara also decided to take a more minimalistic approach, with some characters like Darth Vader, who seems to be scarce of the knobs and switches on his suit. Being made in China in 1992, the toys in our opinion are not of particularly high quality, and many are often missing parts where the glue has dried with age.
Cross eyed Luke was arguably the least favorite of the set and displays careless stitching on his robe with a rather oddly shaped head that skews to the side. C-3PO lacks robot-like details, specifically the pit of wires located on his lower body. He looks like a baby wearing a diaper. Our favorite of the set is R2-D2, who is the only one that can stand on its own. Made predominantly in vinyl he is easy to clean and the outcome of the character is the most realistic to its movie counterpart.
Collectability and desirability
Considering they are of the very few collectibles released during the quietest period of the Star Wars franchise, these Takara soft toys aren’t very popular and don’t hold much value in comparison to other collectibles in the franchise. At the time of this review these dolls are readily available on eBay with prices starting from seventeen dollars per doll. Despite being over 30 years old, many of the characters have remained in good condition with original tags. C-3PO is the most available on eBay alongside Darth Vadar and R2-D2, while Luke and Chewbacca are rarer. It is interesting that Luke was not represented on the tag which indicates that he may have been a late arrival, or start of a second series that was obviously discontinued.
World of the Wolf
The Takara plush doll set is an easy one to complete and won’t break the bank. They are probably best sourced from Japan where they are more plentiful. If you like Star Wars and soft toys, these don’t take up a lot of space and come from a quiet and curious time in the Star Wars universe.
Original Written Article and Photos by Tida Dao
edited by WOLF Architects
The information in this review is intended for informational or educational purposes to provide readers an understanding of how something may be seen from a certain design perspective. In this case it is from the view point of WOLF DESIGNS. As design is subjective this review should only be considered as an independent opinion. Information further to being of an opinion is provided to the best of our knowledge based on our own research at the time of doing the review. We cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or inconsistencies and reserve the right to change or update any content as appropriate.
The final responsibility of the design resides with the original manufacturer.