The Walkman. THE Walkman.

Star-Lord cosplayers have found various ways to deal with Peter Quill’s Walkman. Although it seems like an ancillary prop, it is definitely part of what makes Star-Lord…well, Star-Lord and most people have been loathe to ignore it.

You might ask (as I did), “Aren’t Walkmans obsolete? They should be easy to find and cheap to buy, right?”

Wrong.

Well, depends. Depends on the Walkman.

I’m sure there are plenty of cheap, portable cassette players which one could find on eBay for pennies. But Star-Lord’s Walkman was no cheap player.

When Peter Quill was snatched by the Ravagers, he brought with him his Sony TPS-L2, one of Sony’s earliest models. The first Sony Walkman, actually. Made in 1979, the TPS-L2 was sought by audiophiles long before Guardians of the Galaxy was even pitched.

Moderately expensive even before Guardians, screenshots of Chris Pratt wearing the TPS-L2 drove prices through the roof. Guardians fans and Star-Lord cosplayers were desperate to get their hands on it. Prices on eBay ranged from $200 (for broken devices) to $800 (for working versions). Wow. (check this article: Price for “Guardians of the Galaxy” Walkman Skyrockets on eBay).

This is a graphic from http://www.80sretrotoys.com. It's a cool site. You should check it out.

This is a graphic from http://www.80sretrotoys.com. It’s a cool site. You should check it out.

This was a quandary. I wanted an accurate prop, but didn’t want to sell a major organ to get it. After doing much research, here were the options:

  1. Get a cheap Walkman and go with it. Trust that no one would know the difference.
  1. Stickers. Fans have created stickers which can make a box of the appropriate size look like Peter Quill’s Walkman. I actually received some stickers with the headphones I ordered.
  1. 3D printing. I could order a 3D printed Walkman (available on Etsy) and paint it the appropriate colors. Fun. Maybe.
  1. Buy an actual 1979 Walkman. A broken one would set me back about $180 and a working one, well, probably around $400 minimum.

So, which way did I go? I bought an actual Walkman. Yes, yes, it was expensive. Before you judge me, here’s how it happened…

At first, I had decided to go with a 3D printed model for the costume. It would have cost about $30. Just for fun, though, I decided to keep my eye on eBay to see what the actual models were going for. Many working Walkmans (Walkmen?) were selling for $300+. A few sellers had listed theirs for around $500 or “best offer.” I annoyed a few of them by throwing some $100 best offers out there and crossing my fingers. No dice.

These are a few TPS-L2s that sold within the last 90 days on eBay. If you see one of these in a thrift store, buy it.

These are a few TPS-L2s that sold within the last 90 days on eBay. If you see one of these in a thrift store, buy it.

However, last week, I got lucky. A gentleman from Florida listed a working 1979 TPS-L2 for $195. I saw the listing 30 minutes after it went up. Hmm. I looked the listing over…

Most sellers realize that their device is not only a collectible piece of audio history but a highly sought after prop necessary to produce screen accurate Star-Lord costumes. Consequently, they list “Guardians of the Galaxy” somewhere in the title or subtitle. This seller didn’t have “Guardians of the Galaxy” anywhere on his listing. Maybe he didn’t know what he had? Anyway, I bought it.

I know what a lot of you are thinking. $195 for a prop? For a piece of a costume? Seriously? I know, I know…but consider this:

This was a deal. Honestly, I could turn around and list this device for double what I paid for it on my eBay store…and it would sell. Fast. Yes, it is expensive. But it’s also an investment. With the release of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 coming, the value is not going down any time soon. I figure, if I need the money, I can sell this, make a profit, and donate the profit to CASA.

So, after a few days of waiting, I received the Walkman. Today. You can check it out in the video below.

Unfortunately, it isn’t working perfectly, at the moment. I tested it with one tape and the sound is coming out a little warped. I’m really hoping it’s just the tape.  I’ll keep you posted!

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10 thoughts on “The Walkman. THE Walkman.

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  3. Jeff Stringer

    I got a pretty good deal myself on one. I found an auction for $400. Informed the seller that it was beyond my reach and would he be so kind as to give me the dimensions so I could replicate it as a costume prop. “Well, if that’s all you’re after,” he said. “I can put together a non-working unit from spare parts and you can have it for the shipping cost.” So, $25 later I had a TPS-L2 of my own. Later, tater! 🙂

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    1. Liam Post author

      That’s so awesome, Jeff. Awesome of the seller to hook you up like that. Having he real thing really makes the outfit pop! Congrats and thanks for stopping by the site!

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      Reply
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