March 5, 2015 at 8:37 pm #1600
Yak Face is one of the remaining Kenner Star Wars figures I do not own. (I’m down to 9 now, I think.) If you do not know who Yak Face is, here is his figure:
If you still don’t know who he is, you are forgiven. He was one of the background creatures in Jabba’s Palace. I scanned through Return of the Jedi and took this screenshot of Yak Face from the movie:
Yak Face appears on screen from 32:39 to 32:40 — right after Boba Fett falls into the Sarlaac and right before Leia chokes Jabba.
By the time Kenner released the Yak Face figure, Star Wars sales (and interest in the franchise in general) were down. In the early days we were willing to buy creatures from the cantina (there were only four) and sure, purchasing both white and black Twin Pod Cloud Car Pilots may have seemed a bit overkill, but by the time we got to Jedi and were buying not only multiple Ewoks but repurchasing the same characters over and over in new outfits started getting old, and giving a name to every single creature in Jabba’s Palace was a last ditch effort to squeeze a few remaining bucks out of Star Wars kids (and, more accurately, their parents). In fact, Yak Face was only originally released in Canada and Australia, and didn’t come to the US until they released the Tri-Logo cards.
So, Yak Face. First off, he’s stupid. He does nothing in the movie. He has no lines and no one refers to him by name. Historically, anyone whose name describes their physical appearance (ie: “Hammerhead”) is typically dumb. You would think that a figure with almost no screen time and no plot relevance would be relatively inexpensive, right?
Here’s a relatively average Yak Face figure on eBay. Starting bid, $190. The going rate for these figures is anywhere from $200 to $225. Loose. That’s for the Kenner version. If you want a Yak Face from the 1997 line, they’re worth about $3-$5. This isn’t a case of a particularly interesting or fun figure to own. It’s just a case of collectors driving up the price of a low-run figure.
I decided in my heart a long time ago that I can’t justify paying $200 for a 3 3/4″ tall action figure. Just can’t do it. But while browsing eBay recently, I saw a couple of new alternatives.
This is a resin replica of Yak Face. Someone made a mold from an original Yak face and is creating copies. This one is non-articulated (the arms and legs do not move), but it has been painted to look identical to the original. Sitting on a shelf, no one would ever know the difference.
Let me one up that. Here’s one with an original (looking) card and an original (looking) coin. But it has another surprise:
The arms, legs and head are all cast separately and held in place with magnets. This gives the figure a certain amount of articulation.
So no, they’re not original. They’re also somewhere between 1/10 and 1/20 the price, and look indistinguishable from the original. It’s a very tempting alternative.March 5, 2015 at 9:04 pm #7686
Earl’s previous regenerationSpectator
I like the carded one with the magnets. As a one-time collection-completer, the $30 price tag would be justifiable.
If you want one sitting on a shelf with its friends, the ten-buck resin repro is the way to go.
I went with an even cheaper alternative – Hasbro did the same figure under a new name, Saelt Marae. He’s even less than ten bucks, carded. Is it the Kenner original? No. But I was okay with that. (At the time I got – and opened – mine, it was a clearance item at three bucks. I remember getting it at a clearance sale with the Hasbro Jawa two-pack and Tarkin at KB Toys in Green Bay. Though not exactly like Yak Face, it’s a decent figure of the same character, and no more of a cop-out than either of the repros. The big difference between this and the Kenner original is really the cape/cloak/robe.)
The most I have ever paid for any action figures is as follows:
$72 for an original (but open) Kenner Amanaman (another glimpsed-for-three-frames-of-film ROTJ critter, also associated with Jabba – he was at the palace, not on the barge). All accessories included. After I got it, even though at the time I was able to afford such things, I felt incredibly silly about it. And then proceeded to get a three-buck Yak Face By Another Name. I had found the point at which I would go no further.
I don’t remember why he’s standing in front of a Tron screengrab. I took the picture in ’99, and probably used the backdrop for pictures of Tron action figures at roughly the same time.
$60 for a custom Star Trek figure, Ezri Dax. No such figure was ever officially made in the 4″ scale. Very nicely made; in this case, I knew that the money was going to someone with some talent.
$150 for a giant bundle of already-opened Babylon 5 figures – basically, the entire, full, complete collection. This gave me “openers” (well, already-openers) of ones I never intended to take off their cards, a few extra carded ones which I try to sell at conventions to this day, as well as a handful of rare figures from the last wave that were fetching up to $100 by themselves on eBay (Lochley, Bester, Gaim, Drazi, and the very rare Shadow). Considering that I still have carded ones from this lot, and have sold off the carded dupes as recently as some of last year’s con vendor tables (for as much as $20 a pop), this is a deal that I’m happy to label as A Good Investment. I’ve made the $150 back on it by now, and I have the Shadow, which is kinda like the ugliest spider scorpion thing in the universe. 😆
But $72.00 for Amanaman… that’s the line. “This far, and no further.” When I have two kids eating me out of house and home, I find myself backing away from $72.00, and passing up stuff that’ll cost me much more than $7.20.
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