Here's a rare complete photographic catalog of Uzay, the Turkish bootleg Star Wars figurines, which are delightfully shonky and off-model.

No line of unlicensed Star Wars figures is as sought after as the Turkish line known as Uzay. Produced sometime in the latter part of the 1980s, the primary charm of the Uzay figures lies in their blister card art; not only are the card images incredibly cheesy, at their best they border on the psychadelic. To some collectors, a figure like the Imperial Gunner, the blister card of which shows the figure standing beside a cleverly-photographed calculator, is just too goofy to resist. And don't get me started on the Chewbacca blister. Do you think they really have gourds on Kashyyyk?

Trying to complete a set of Uzay carded figures is a daunting task; it might even be impossible. For one thing, the figures are exceedingly rare. Although certain figures, such as the AT-AT Driver and Stormtrooper, have turned up on the collector's market with some degree of frequency, others, among them the mysterious Head Man figure, are thought to be one-of-a-kind pieces....and their owners are often not easily persuaded to sell. Additionally, the packages of these figures are quite fragile; their bubbles, for instance, are made from a very weak and brittle plastic, which often breaks given the slightest abuse. In short, if you're a collector who wants to start collecting Uzay figures, you'd better be prepared to 1) spend a lot of money, and 2) accept lesser-condition pieces when the situation necessitates it. But don't worry, such concessions are made in the interest of collecting high quality, beautiful merchandise, right? Um...right?

The Comprehensive Guide to Uzay Carded Figures (via IZ Reloaded) Discuss

25 Responses to “Turkish bootleg Star Wars figures of the 1980s”

  1. niktemadur says:

    So they did it twice in Turkey!  First there was the infamous “Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam” (Turkish Star Wars), now I find out about this.

    Edited for video link, take a gander at this beauty:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js6NqlAc29I

  2. bo1n6bo1n6 says:

    It is obviously figures from the Turkish megasmashblockbuster STARSWAR, (no relation to that other film.).

  3. goldenearth says:

    Darth Vader looks a little like a heaping mass of licorice

  4. Check out the Imperial Gunner manning the giant calculator!

  5. CognitiveDissident says:

    This would have been MUCH more collectible as:

    Arstay Arsway by Uzay!

    ArthdayAdervay!
    Tooarthay TooDehay!

  6. Anton Sirius says:

    My fave is the Time Tunnel crossover implied by the Stormtrooper card art.

  7. Orthodoxcaveman says:

    We’re clearly in the realms of the spoof bootleg. What next, Big Muff Tarquin and Jodhpur the Hut.? F@*k off.

  8. Shibi_SF says:

    STARSWAR!

  9. joe blough says:

    i like how chewbacca is called “wolf man”. he does look like the classic wolfman a bit, yes. also now i know what language c.s. lewis was plundering :)

    • JohnMc says:

       Actually, “aslan adam” means “lion man,” which is a funny way of referring to Chewy in my mind.  And did you notice that in the other Chewbacca action figure he’s referred to as “maymun adam,” which means “monkey man?”  (Yes, Lewis did grab bits of Turkish, didn’t he — so did his drinking buddy J.R.R.)

      • AlexG55 says:

         Also I think Darth Vader is called “Black Leader”, the stormtroopers are “Soldier” and “Imperial Soldier”, and the TIE fighter pilot is “War Pilot”.

  10. These are actually far more valuable than their licensed counterparts. While the card art suggests spoof, and I’m sure that there had to be a sense of humor involved in the art department at SB products. The figures themselves are the highest quality bootlegs that were made in the vintage era.

  11. JohnMc says:

    Fascinating phenomenon.  I especially love the creative use of the calculator, and the fact that these are sought-after collectibles makes this a whole new area of nerd meta-cool.

    One quibble I have: Both in Cory’s post and on the original website, these are called “Uzay” figures.  The actually brand name is “Uzay Savaşçıları” (you see it on all of the packages).  “Uzay” means “Space,” while “Uzay Savaşçıları” means “Space Warriors.”  It makes more sense, and it also makes it clear that these are not meant in any way to be derivative of “Star Wars” products, since “Star Wars” is clearly different from “Space Warriors” (right?).

  12. Well, it’s fairly obvious that they’re derivative of Star Wars products. The translation of ” Uzay Savaşçıları” can also mean Space War. If you look at the licensed posters for the film “Savaşçıları” is used in place of the word wars. I’m not Turkish, so I don’t know if that is a bastardized translation or not. Regardless, many bootleg lines use other names, or in the case of  the SB products, Uzay figures, intentional mispellings to attempt to seperate their product from SW, in name only. It’s near impossible to look at (almost) any figure from this line and not see that it’s clearly a Star Wars character.

    • JohnMc says:

       Well, yeah… I was being snarky there.  Clearly they’re obvious Star Wars ripoffs!  But the company’s little semantic game of changing the name slightly is sort of entertaining in its own right.

      On the translation issue:  The “çı” in “Savaşçıları” is a suffix denoting a profession, thus changing the meaning from “war” to “warrior.”  Analogously, “diş” means “tooth” and “dişçi” means “dentist.”  Sort of fun, the way that works, and more consistent than English with our “hunter” and “artist.”

      Very interesting to learn that these items are more valuable than their licensed counterparts.  That surprises me, but I suppose that on reflection it makes sense.  They’re much more interesting.

      • Sorry, sarcasm is sometimes lost in typed word,my bad,but you’d be amazed at some of the bootleg questions/comments that I do get from people that are being 100% serious.

        As for rarity and value, as with anything  it’s supply and demand.  You could easily find 1000+ Kenner carded examples of any of the characters to each 1 Turkish example.  Loose it’s even worse, more along the lines of 10,000+kenner figs for every one Uzay out there. And that’s just the average Uzay figures.
              
        Recently the rarest figure in the line, a carded Headman(an Emperors Royal Guard with a gold head) sold for more than ANY other SW toy related item (including unproduced/prototypes)ever has, at a whopping $30k. I’m just glad that I started collecting SW bootlegs before they gained their current popularity and price tag.

  13. Graysmith says:

    U zay these are fake, but I don’t believe a word u zay.

  14. avni says:

    Native Turkish speaker and proud owner of one actual Uzay Savaşçıları Darth Vader (Kara Lider) figurine, here. I remember “Kara Lider” (translates as The Dark Leader) as the main protagonist of all my childhood battles with fellow Starswar devotees. I lost interest in my extravagant collared Vader in time so probably it’s lost in one of my boxes. It’s a shame I threw away the package. In another note, it’s funny how Luke is not included in the product line. 

  15. Ozgur Calli says:

    I had both darth vader and the at-at driver :) And believe it or not the quality of those toys were pretty ok. I believe i still have that at-at driver somewhere in my parents house attic. 

  16. wegde says:

    Oh my god: ) I was listening to my car radio on my way to work and there was this program in which a gal was reading news from daily newspapers…She read this news that mentioned the turkish made bootleg star wars figures became collectors favorite…I had a couple of those as well as dozens of Kenner figures when i was a kid. I remember the cheesy covers and funny names. Darth Vader as Kara Lider (Black leader) and other funny names. But as a Turkish kid i was quite used to these things… cause…. i came from a generation that calls Knight Rider series as Kara Şimşek (Black Lightning) : ))) I remember the vehicles as well….Actually i had a MLC-3. Actually i had two…One was Kenner made the other one was a proud Uzay product. 

    A funny memory is, i watched my first SW movie a few days before i got circumcised. After the operation my dad took me to a toy store and told me “here son, take anything u want”…And thats how i got my first star wars figurine, a stormtrooper made by Uzay: )

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