02 September 2015

2015 Topps Star Wars 3D Widevision: Revenge of the Sith Boxed Set

Topps recently released a boxed set called Star Wars 3D Widevision: Revenge of the Sith. They released a similar set for Return of the Jedi last year, but I missed out on that one. I really should get on eBay and get the base set for that one, since most of them were busted just to get at the hits. I had planned to buy a box, but on the day I went to order mine it was already sold out. That was not the case with Revenge of the Sith, probably in part because the autograph list is much weaker in this set and the prequel trilogy is not as popular among fans.

The print run on the set is limited to 2,000, with my box being numbered # 0273 / 2000. I wonder if mine was really the 273rd box sold, or if they just grab a random box off the stack when they ship out? It seemed to take forever from the time my set shipped to the time it hit my doorstep, but that is always the case with Topps. It seems like FedEx tries to scan packages in every state between the origin and the destination. Although I hate it while it is happening, it can be kind of a good thing. In my experience the anticipation of opening a hit-heavy product like this is often a lot better than the actual opening of the box. When the box is unopened there could be anything inside, and so you can dream big. Once it's open you know what you got, whether it's good or bad, and you can't really repackage that Christmas morning feeling you get when you haven't yet cracked the seal on some new wax. 

The box itself is pretty fancy, with a big Darth Vader embossed on the lid. The production value on this is pretty nice, encouraging you to keep the whole package together.

When you open the box you are greeted by the first card in the set. The cards have a ridged plastic texture that helps to cause the 3D effect you can see when viewing the cards in-hand.

Looking at the stack from the side reveals that the hit cards are in the middle of the stack. Each boxed set promises 2 hits, which are made up of one sketch plus another hit which can be Medallion cards, Sketch Medallion cards, Autographs, Patch cards, or another sketch. I can see by the lack of a thicker card that I did not get a Medallion, Sketch Medallion, or Patch card.

The base cards feature scenes from the film in a 3D format. They are similar to any 3D card set you've seen in the last 40 years, with the ridged plastic and layered images. I've always liked R2-D2 and C-3PO. Their interactions with each other and the other characters in the films really add a lot to the story. My kids are almost as obsessed with LEGO as I am, and General Grievous is a favorite because his LEGO kit has so many lightsabers in it. Those are prized pieces, and my kids fight over them all the time.

The card backs on these are actually pretty decent. The main text box describes the scene on the front while offering a different photo from the scene depicted on the card. The right side of the card features a photo of a character from the film, and a little Movie Fact text box gives a nice little factoid about something related to the filming of the movie. There are several of these that I hadn't heard before, so that was a nice addition.

The base set has 44 cards in it, or one for every predictable line of dialogue in the film. Just kidding, you guys. I don't know why 44 was chosen as the magic number, but that's how many cards there are. I had to include some pictures of the main characters in the film, though. Anakin and Padme have the most wooden relationship this side of Edward and Bella, but I don't think the prequels were really as bad as people say they were. You just have to watch them with the right mindset.

Honestly, once Anakin killed those kids I was pretty well done with him. Darth Vader lost a lot of points with me with that little escapade. Even though I am trying to be kind to these films, it is kind of funny to me that they had a dialogue coach on set. Imagine what it would have been like without coaching!

One nifty little inclusion was this promo card for the upcoming Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. I had already seen this card in the digital Star Wars card trading app, but it's fun to have a physical copy of it as well. And now, the hits:

Not having a Patch or Medallion card meant that my second hit would be an autograph or a second sketch. It turned out to be an autograph of Nina Fallon, who is one of the actresses who played Jedi Stass Allie in the movie. Nina mostly works as a visual effects coordinator behind the scenes, but she was called on to play Stass Allie for her death scene, which takes up about five seconds of screen time. The shot shown here on the card is pretty much the only time you see her clearly. She's got an okay signature, though, and the sticker doesn't stand out too much from the rest of the card. Autographs were supposedly packed about 1 in 4 boxes, so this is an okay hit. I like it better than a patch or medallion manu-relic.

The back of the autograph card is pretty bare-bones, with a repeat of the front photo and information about the actor and character printed over some Darth Vader artwork.

The sketch from my box is a close-up of a Clone Trooper by Ken Knudtsen. This is done in his usual art style, which I would describe as rough and heavy on the ink. I've seen some really good sketches from this product and a few lower-end sketches from this set. This one kind of falls in the middle somewhere for me. I wish there was a little more distance from the Trooper, so that we could at least see the full helmet. It actually probably looks a little better on the scan than it does in-hand, probably because of the distance I have between me and the screen. In-hand it is just usually too close to my face and it's hard for my eyes to draw the elements together into a cohesive form.

Sometimes I feel like I am being too hard on the artists in my posts. From what I hear the card companies can be awful to work for and the payment usually isn't worth hardly enough to cover the cost of doing the work. I think it would be super-hard to be an artist. I guess the Artist Proofs / Artist Returns can sell for quite a bit, but there is a glut of cards on the market and those high prices usually only go to artists who have built up a loyal following through many sets of grinding out above-average sketches for peanuts. With so many sketch cards out on the market now from comic book, animation, and TV/movie sets, there are thousands and thousands of sketch cards on eBay/Etsy/Storenvy. A lot of them just sit out there as Buy It Now listings, and a lot of them go for pennies. As collectors we want to be wowed by everything that we pull out of packs, but we don't want to pay full price for any of it. It's a tough market for sellers and artists. This is a pretty good sketch in the artist's own recognizable style. I recognize the dilemma of the artists trying to balance hours worked versus dollars paid, and I appreciate their different ways of depicting the fictional universes I love. Sometimes I just let the build-up to a box break raise my expectations unrealistically to the point that pretty much anything short of a four-panel Glebe brothers sketch is a letdown. That's really on me as a collector. It's a weird dynamic, and it's something I think about quite a bit.

And that's it for the boxed set. The back of the card has the usual sketch card blurb, the artist's name and signature, and Darth Vader looking menacing with his lightsaber. Much like my experience with a box of Star Wars Masterwork I opened early in 2015, most of the excitement from this box came in the couple of weeks between ordering and receiving the package when I could freely speculate about what I might find after tearing the wrapper off. My box was definitely better than it could have been with an autograph and a decent sketch, but I still have a bit of the post-break blues as I sit here and type a blog post about it. It's still probably better than that blaster of Topps Chrome Baseball I opened a week ago.

One thing I am looking forward to, however, is going through all of the base cards and reading the backs of them. There are probably still several good bits of trivia to glean from the Movie Fact text boxes, and I haven't yet gone through and looked at the 3D effects on each card. That should add some entertainment value to the box and make me feel better about my purchase.


  1. Hey, I didn't get a Force Awakens promo! What gives, Topps? I just got mine in the mail on August 26th, too.

    The trivia on the back was a welcome touch. I learned stuff as well, and like you said, some of it was quite obscure.

    1. I saw that someone posted on Topps' Facebook page about the promo cards. All Topps said in response is that they are quite rare. It looks like they were inserted into the new Chrome: Jedi vs. Sith product, too.

  2. "The sketch from my box is a close-up of a Clone Trooper."

    From the looks of the helmet, it's Commander Cody.

    I like the first card in the box (which features the battle of Coruscant), that first space battle (as well as the battle that was happening on the Republic Capital's surface, was one of my favorites in the entire Clone Wars conflict (although the Christophsis, Umbara and Geonosis campaigns were a little better IMO).

    1. You are right. The visor set-up had me confused because I haven't watched much of the Clone Wars stuff, but it does appear to be Commander Cody. There is some good stuff all through the set.

  3. Cool set. If they're cheap enough, might need to grab one for my collection.

    1. Sets that people have cleared the hits out of aren't that pricey on eBay. Topps did a 25% off promotion on their site for the holiday weekend and people cleared them out of the remaining stock of this set within hours. I was trying to scrape together enough to pick up one more but I was much too late to the party.

    2. Bummer. I would have picked up a set for $75 too.