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Star Wednesday: Chewbacca Bandolier Strap

Kenner was truly a marketing genius, realizing early on that kids buying action figures would also need things to hold, store, and transport action figures. In the late 70s and early 80s, Kenner made several different types and styles of carrying cases for kids. The earliest cases were essentially little vinyl briefcases that held two dozen action figures. Then there were those large plastic sculpted busts of Darth Vader and C-3P0 that opened up and held even more figures. Kenner made lots of different storage cases, some more successful than others. One of the oddest ones they produced was this one, based on the bandolier strap Chewbacca wore in Star Wars.

Some of the issues with this toy are immediately obvious. The biggest one is, it only held ten action figures. I suppose that’s enough if you only used the strap to carry a few figures over to a friend’s house for an afternoon of Star Wars-ing, but even then some hard decisions would have to be made as to which figures would make the trip. Keep in mind that every other Kenner carrying case held between 20 and 40 figures.

Another problem with the Chewbacca Bandolier Strap is that the figures are held in place by foam. It looks like it worked in the pictures well enough, but no kid worth his weight in Bantha poo doo would have trusted his most valuable figures to stay put in that strap. Imagine riding your bike with this bandolier strap fully populated, only to discover half the figures had fallen out by the time you reached your pal’s house!

And, about that foam — over time, it has disintegrated. Kenner used foam on several of their playsets (bits of foam were used to simulate trash in their Death Star toy and quicksand in the Dagobah playset) and it just didn’t last. In their defense, I doubt very much Kenner expected people to still have these toys 40 years later and never intended for the foam to last this long. On almost every one of these Chewbacca Bandolier Straps, the foam has either completely disappeared, or become so brittle that it turns into a black, gritty dust upon touch.

I didn’t own one of these in the 1980s. By the time the Chewbacca Bandolier Strap was released I already had one of the vinyl carrying cases (which held 24 figures), a Darth Vader case (which held 31 figures), and a Rebel Troop Transport (which held 24 figures). And while the kid on the box looks really happy standing around wearing that thing, in my world it would have screamed “here’s a nerd’s ass that could use some kicking.” No thanks.

Kenner marketed the Chewbacca Bandolier Strap as both a carrying case and a play toy for kids, and at only $4.91 it was probably a good deal, but it never really resonated with me. It held fewer figures than any other carrying case released and didn’t protect your figures at all. And as far as play toys go… no offense to Wookies, but I can’t imagine a lot of kids clamoring to be Chewbacca.

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2 comments to Star Wednesday: Chewbacca Bandolier Strap

  • I had one of these! I want to say I got it and the Darth Vader case at the same time. I actually ended up wearing the silly thing a lot as kid and putting figures in it.. but never really used it to transport figures. The little coffin looking things on the end opened up to hold weapons, but I recall it not wanting to stay snapped close.

    Mine lasted for years until yup, it started disintegrating. Mice finished the job and it was thrown away.

  • AArdvark

    Second gayest Star Wars toy besides the Grand Moff Tarkin butt plug

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