Hurricane ‘Irene’ passed through the northeast US on a Saturday night. I didn’t expect much other than an excess of rain in my area. But I didn’t count on the sewer drain in my parking lot backing water up so high that it left an inch of water sitting inside my car, my biggest toy. As it turns out, no other tenants’ parking spots were as close to the drain as mine. Not a pleasant sight to wake up to.

After the usual arrangements with insurance and car rental, there was little to be done other than worry if my baby would be considered a loss, because I dreaded the thought of having to find a replacement car. So what to do to take my mind off car troubles? Toy hunting!

I was particularly interested in NECA’s RoboCop, especially after a buddy commented that “neca robocop SUX… mcfarlane’s robocop version is better.” He didn’t elaborate in his e-mail, but nevertheless I was intrigued to check it out myself. It was easy to find at my local Toys”R”Us, but after inspecting the stock I was bummed by one visible little detail: the nose. When Murphy has the cowl on, the nose is completely covered. It’s a wonder how the various actors and stuntmen were able to breathe, but it’s a detail that’s clearly captured on film. However, NECA went the route of making the cowl a separate piece with a notch allowing the nostrils to stick out into plain view. Everything else looked nice; it even includes the data spike fist as an alternate piece.

I habitually circle around the action figure shelves a few times to mull over whether I want to make a purchase or not, or at least double-check to see if there was something new that I may have missed the first time around. Yeah, I’ll hold off on RoboCop; a Japanese offering by Figma should be coming soon. But lo and behold, I spy with my little eye something that’s reportedly packed only one to a case: the Vintage Collection Star Wars Rebel Transport Speeder re-issue. Back in 2009 I never saw this on the shelves, which I attributed to local scalpers swiping them as soon as they were unpacked. I was ready to snag one off eBay for a decent price, but here it is now, a retail-priced TRU exclusive on the shelf for me to take. For that brief moment I forgot about my poor car sitting at the auto shop. I actually relaxed!

It seems an odd to fuss about a toy that doesn’t have firing missiles or electronic sound effects. Just free-rolling wheels, a small storage compartment, and a pilot action figure. But the speeder existed in the periphery of an exciting scene in Star Wars, ferrying rebel pilots to their fighters for the attack on the Death Star. It’s the kind of supporting detail that collectors obsess about for the sake of completeness, especially when setting up a diorama. For something that is priced high in the secondary market, you’d think Hasbro would want a piece of the action by making it more available with no worries about it ‘peg-warming.’ But I suppose the strategy is to sell to the bigger kids market with The Clone Wars toys.