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Universe Expanded is a hardcover guide to Kenner's 1998 Star Wars Expanded Universe subline of action figures and vehicles.
150 backers pledged $8,311 to help bring this project to life.

About

$8,311

150

I love books. Over the last few years I've used Kickstarter to produce four hardcover books about toys, and each time the supporters have been wonderful to work with and have made it possible for the books to be top quality and wonderfully printed. I've had so much fun creating books about toys that I'm doing it again. Universe Expanded is for all of you who have an interest in the Kenner Star Wars Expanded Universe subline of 1998.

Layout work in progress. The pages are constructed in InDesign CC and feature photos, scans, and my own thoughts on each figure and vehicle in the line.
Layout work in progress. The pages are constructed in InDesign CC and feature photos, scans, and my own thoughts on each figure and vehicle in the line.

96-Page Hardcover Book

Universe Expanded will follow the same physical format as my two recent books about action figure marketing -- Each Sold Separately (Kickstarter page) and Action Figures Not Included (Kickstarter page) -- because holding those finished books in my hands felt very rewarding. The landscape format, hardcover binding, and colors in those two books were all wonderful and I look forward to shelving the finished copy of Universe Expanded right beside those books.

In addition to photos of the toys I'm also scanning in old magazine articles, snapping screenshots where appropriate, and touching on the figures and vehicles in the larger Star Wars universe.
In addition to photos of the toys I'm also scanning in old magazine articles, snapping screenshots where appropriate, and touching on the figures and vehicles in the larger Star Wars universe.

What's Inside?

The snapshots showing the book in progress give you an idea of what you can expect, but rather than leave any questions I thought it best to list all twelve of the 1998 Expanded Universe toys that will be featured in the finished book.

Nine carded action figures:

  • Luke Skywalker (From the Dark Empire comic series.)
  • Imperial Sentinel (From the Dark Empire comic series.)
  • Grand Admiral Thrawn (From the Heir to the Empire comic adaptation.)
  • Leia Organa Solo (From the Dark Empire comic series.)
  • Clone Emperor (From the Dark Empire comic series.)
  • Mara Jade (From the Heir to the Empire comic adaptation.)
  • Kyle Katarn (From the Dark Forces video game.)
  • Spacetrooper (From the Heir to the Empire comic adaptation.)
  • Dark Trooper (From the Dark Forces video game.)

Three boxed vehicles (with action figures):

  • Expanded Universe Cloud Car (Ralph McQuarrie concept art.)
  • Expanded Universe Speeder Bike (Joe Johnston concept art.)
  • Expanded Universe Airspeeder (Ralph McQuarrie concept art.)

I purchased sealed copies of all twelve toys so that I could snap packaging shots and then open each one. Working from freshly-opened toys means that I don't have to worry about years of abuse affecting the toys. Fortunately, many of the late nineties Kenner Star Wars action figures and vehicles are still relatively inexpensive and easy to find these days.

In assembling this book I dug deep into magazine articles from when the toys were first released. There's a lot of great info out there; with Universe Expanded I hope to give Star Wars fans a complete look at this 1998 subline.
In assembling this book I dug deep into magazine articles from when the toys were first released. There's a lot of great info out there; with Universe Expanded I hope to give Star Wars fans a complete look at this 1998 subline.

PDF Free!

Part of the goal with Universe Expanded is to release the entire book online as a free PDF, making this a reference work that anyone will be able to download and enjoy. With my previous projects the PDFs have been distributed to backers only. I want to try opening the PDF to the world; as with all of my personal projects on Kickstarter this entire process is as much about experimentation as it is getting me a hardcover book for my library.

Your support at any level helps us reach our goal, and if the $4,000 project goal is met then the entire world will get access to this book in PDF. 

Thanks for your support!

Only together can Universe Expanded go from a digital format to a printed hardcover book. I can design, photograph, write, and create all day long, but it is through your support that the InDesign and Photoshop files go from images on my screen to a physical item that we can enjoy forever.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all about the project. Watch this Kickstarter project for updates, or visit my toy website -- www.battlegrip.com -- to learn about this and many other things.

Imperial Sentinel pages WIP shot.
Imperial Sentinel pages WIP shot.

Empire of Shadows Companion Book

The 1996 Kenner Shadows of the Empire action figures and vehicles were an important part of why the 1998 Expanded Universe line was even created. In a 1998 issue of Topps' Star Wars Galaxy Collector magazine Kenner's Star Wars team leader Rick Ruskin stated: 

“We started thinking about the Expanded Universe line soon after we launched the Shadows line and saw how successful it was.”

Now you can enjoy a sneak peek at the Shadows of the Empire subline from 1996 in this hardcover companion to Universe Expanded. Simply add to your pledge to receive this book in hardcover. Empire of Shadows is a 48-page full-color hardcover sized to shelf neatly beside Universe Expanded. Offer open only to supporters who are backing at the $20 reward level or higher.

United States Supporters - Add $10 or more to your pledge to receive one Empire of Shadows in hardcover along with your copy of Universe Expanded.

Outside of US Supporters - Add $15 or more to your pledge to receive one Empire of Shadows in hardcover along with your copy of Universe Expanded.

Pay What You Want Add-On? Empire of Shadows in hardcover is a "pay what you want" add-on item. The $10 (US) and $15 (outside of US) price covers printing costs and some of shipping.  

Universe Expanded and Empire of Shadows Stretch Goals

The Empire of Shadows hardcover is open now to supporters of the project. If we bring in additional funding then:

SUCCESS! $6,000 - Empire of Shadows is now 64-pages! This gives each toy a bit more space for photos and commentary.

$8,000 - Universe Expanded increases to 112-pages. With the addition of unedited packaging photography by The Man Who Shot Luke Skywalker (see update #6) the extra space allows us to enjoy those unedited photos at a larger size.

$10,000 - Empire of Shadows increases in size to 80-pages!

$12,500 - Empire of Shadows increases in size to 96-pages! The Man Who Shot Luke Skywalker has also provided me with his 1996 Shadows of the Empire package photographs in unedited form. At this size we can see those pics nice and big.

All original photographs and text in Universe Expanded and Empire of Shadows is copyright 2015 Philip Reed. All scans, photographs of books, and screenshots of existing materials are copyright their respective owners, used herein for reference purposes only. Star Wars is copyright and trademark Lucasfilm Ltd and is used without permission. Universe Expanded and Empire of Shadows are unauthorized guides to two specific subline of action figures and toys, and it is the author's wish that the finished books be both entertaining and a useful reference for future collectors and fans.

Risks and challenges

This book is not yet finished. I have roughly sixty pages roughed out, but it will take a month or more to go from the book's current state to a finished project. Meeting the August delivery should be possible, but life can (and does!) surprise us at times so we will need to keep an eye on the calendar and progress of the book.

Between us we can make this happen! Thanks for all of your support and encouragement.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    SUPPORTER. Thank you for your support! You will receive access to backer only updates and the thanks of action figure fans everywhere.

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    PDF. Receive copies of Each Sold Separately and Action Figures Not Included in PDF as downloadable files. Delivery through Dropbox. Additionally, you will receive the free Universe Expanded PFG.

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    PDF ROBOTS. Receive copies of Transforming Collections and Transforming Expectations in PDF as downloadable files. Delivery through Dropbox. Additionally, you will receive the free Universe Expanded PFG.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    ONE BOOK. You will receive one printed hardcover copy of Universe Expanded, a 9" x 6" 96-page book devoted to the 1998 Kenner Star Wars Expanded Universe subline of action figures and vehicles.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    PDF BUNDLE. Receive copies of Each Sold Separately, Action Figures Not Included, Transforming Collections, and Transforming Expectations in PDF as downloadable files. Delivery through Dropbox. Additionally, you will receive the free Universe Expanded PFG.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    ONE OF EACH. You will receive one printed hardcover copy of Universe Expanded, a 9" x 6" 96-page book devoted to the 1998 Kenner Star Wars Expanded Universe subline of action figures and vehicles AND one hardcover copy of Empire of Shadows, a 48-page hardcover covering the Kenner 1996 Shadows of the Empire action figures and vehicles.

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    Pledge $36 or more About $36

    TWO BOOKS. You will receive two printed hardcover copies of Universe Expanded, a 9" x 6" 96-page book devoted to the 1998 Kenner Star Wars Expanded Universe subline of action figures and vehicles.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    COMBO PACK. You will receive one copy each of Universe Expanded, Each Sold Separately, and Action Figures Not Included . . . all in hardcover!

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    TRANSFORMING COMBO PACK. You will receive one copy each of Universe Expanded, Transforming Collections, and Transforming Expectations . . . all in hardcover!

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    CONTENT SPONSOR. You receive two copies of Universe Expanded in hardcover AND three page spreads in the finished book will be flagged with your logo and website address. Your support sponsors these specific pages in the book.

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    RETAIL SUPPORTER. Ten copies of Universe Expanded in hardcover. This level is for retailers who wish to offer the book for sale after the project has ended.

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    CONTENT COMBO SPONSOR. You receive two copies of Universe Expanded in hardcover, one copy each of Each Sold Separately, and Action Figures Not Included AND three page spreads in the finished book will be flagged with your logo and website address. Your support sponsors these specific pages in the book.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    ULTIMATE COMBO PACK. You will receive one copy each of Universe Expanded, Transforming Collections, Transforming Expectations, Each Sold Separately, and Action Figures Not Included . . . all in hardcover!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    ADVERTISER SPONSOR. You receive two copies of Universe Expanded in hardcover AND you may place a full-page ad at the end of the book. This ad is due within one week of the close of this Kickstarter project; if you need assistance with design please contact me. The finished ad size is 9" wide x 6" tall.

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    Pledge $170 or more About $170

    ADVERTISER SPONSOR EMPIRE OF SHADOWS. You receive two copies each of Universe Expanded and Empire of Shadows in hardcover AND you may place a full-page ad at the end of Empire of Shadows. This ad is due within one week of the close of this Kickstarter project; if you need assistance with design please contact me. The finished ad size is 9" wide x 6" tall.

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Funding period

- (31 days)