Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

A Grander Grand Moff: Gentle Giant’s Cushing Kenner Counterpart

It’s Sci-Fi Friday !

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures
Peter Cushing’s Star Wars character gets a belated but super-sized facsimile.
(All images courtesy of Diamond Select Toys/Gentle Giant Ltd.)

Fun City…

Spring 1977. Manhattan Island. 
6 friends emerge from their subway trip smack dab into a purse snatching in progress. Instinctively they give chase to the thief and corner him in a dead-end out-door parking lot. Police arrive and the boys quickly head for their destination, the Loews Astor Plaza movie theater. 

Yeah, that happened. It was a memorable real life adventure to have on the way to viewing Star Wars, which turned out to be the defining fictional adventure of the 20th Century.

Detour aside, we managed to get seated in time to read the serial inspired crawl and feel the imperial cruiser roar from the back of the theater and over our heads.

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth

Who to my wondering eyes did appear…
As the tale unfolded, I remember how surprised I was to see my favorite Hammer Films actor, Peter Cushing, turn up on the screen. Cushing had long ago established himself as a determined Dr. Frankenstein and agile Van Helsing in Hammer’s reinventions of monster movie classics. By 1977 he had also played Doctor Who in two films (Dr. Who and the Daleks, Dalek Invasion Earth 2150) and was an icon of the horror and science fiction genres. So, even his smattering of screen time in Stars Wars added an air of class and extra level of menace to the narrative. This was a serious bad guy, willing to obliterate the innocent “blue marble” Alderaan just for sport.

Therefore, it’s hard to believe that in the avalanche of nearly 100 Star Wars action figures released by Kenner in the ensuing decade, Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin character never got his turn as a collectible toy.

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth

Super Size Me…
Enter Gentle Giant Ltd. to remedy that oversight in a big way. The company, known for their high quality product sculpts for Diamond Select Toys, has its own line of Star Wars figures. They’ve previously released a The Empire Strikes Back styled DarthVader, and Cloud City based Leia Organa. Although based on the beloved 3.75 inch originals Gentle Giant’s Jumbo Kenner counterparts stand an impressive 12 inches tall.

This grander Grand Moff will be released in January 2022 but is available to pre-order as a limited edition exclusive from Entertainment Earth, or directly from Gentle Giant for members of their 2021 Premier Guild. It comes in a classic blister card display, with collector friendly resealable casing.

Other Jumbo Star Wars figure preorders include a beskar and cape clad Mandalorian, and an SDCC 2021 exclusive Return of the Jedi 4oth Anniversary Boba Fett.

Gentle Giant Jumbo Figures come in classic style, collector friendly, resealable cases.

SkeletonPete Says…
I later learned that the Hammer and genre film cast connections went even deeper than Mr. Cushing. Though voiced by James Earl Jones, it was former Frankenstein Monster David Prowse physically portraying uber villain Darth Vader, and Peter Mayhew, the automaton minotaur in Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was in the Wookie suit. Well… the only thing that could have made it better was if Michael Ripper was underneath the Greedo mask.

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth
diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth
Toys & Collectibles

Universally Hammered: Monsters Abound @ Toy Fair 2012

Mezco's Creepy Lagoon Creature

Monsters of all kinds were certainly in the mix at The Toy Association’s 109th Industry Conference, simply known as Toy Fair. Always of particular interest to collectors are upcoming licensed figures of their favorite horror characters like the Universal Monsters series from Diamond Select I reported on earlier.

This year toy manufacturer Mezco, who are well known for their “Living Dead Dolls”, are adding classic Universal Films Monsters to their line. As one would expect the company will offer the countenances of The Frankenstein Monster and Count Dracula, rendered in the dead dolls cherubic style. Those are slated for September 2013.

In addition Mezco has shown prototypes for a quirky, set of figures sculpted in an expressionist or Caligari-esque mode that we haven’t seen before. Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Creature From The Black Lagoon are presented in skewed proportions that bring out a menace previously unseen in action figures. I really like this concept and particularly love the gangly look of The Creature; think I might have to own this one even with the limited display space I have. Mezco also has a “Big Frankie” style monster, they’re calling the Mega Deluxe Frankenstein, set for November 2012. This 2 foot bruiser has a dead pan demeanor I really like. “Black and White” variants were on display for all the figures.

Click Any Image to Launch Mezco Gallery

Titan Merchandise Adds Hammer Icons to the Collection

Also at Toy Fair 2012 were Titan Merchandise’s newest 3/4 busts, of Hammer horror films characters. Represented are Christopher Lee in his most famous role as Count Dracula, Ingrid Pitt as the sanguinely rejuvenated Elizabeth Bathory (Countess Dracula, 1971) and Peter Cushing as the intrepid Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Dracula / aka Horror of Dracula, 1958.) These missed their originally listed Fall 2011 release dates, and are now scheduled to hit the shelves in mid April 2012, right around even scarier Income Tax time. They are limited to editions of 1000.

Click Any Image to Launch Titan Merchandise Gallery