AIRSPEEDER with Airspeeder Pilot
Power of the Force Expanded Universe Vehicle Assortment
Item No.: Asst. 69620 No. 69774
Includes: Figure, Projectile
Action Feature: Firing projectile, pop-out wings, opening cockpit
Availability: Spring 1998
Column Notes: It's vehicle week! This week, we focus on the hardware created for our action figures, which gets too little attention. From giant space freighters to tiny bikes, there's quite a large variety of vehicles to be had, and we look at seven random examples over the next week.
Bio: A series of publications called The Art of Star Wars unveiled how a group of artists whose talent for intricacies revealed a far-away galaxy that continues to capture the imagination of Star Wars fans everywhere. Several versions of the Incom T-47 airspeeder, also known as the snowspeeder, were created before deciding on the definitive model seen in The Empire Strikes Back. This vehicle was designed and built based on several production sketches by artist Ralph McQuarrie. (Taken from the toy's box.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' toy room.
Commentary: Last year when the McQuarrie figures started to hit, some fans said "why don't they do vehicles?" Well, they did, ten years ago. Vehicles like this Airspeeder (a concept Snowspeeder) were a great idea that unfortunately didn't go anywhere after the first series. They were small and managed to satisfy appetites for smaller vehicles, concept toys, and that oh-so-popular $15 "birthday" price point. As a "mini" Snowspeeder, it's pretty cool, but it's even cooler as a concept vehicle. The design looks like it came right out of the art books, and the Kenner engineers managed to shoehorn in some fun play features as well. You know, back when they tended to do more of that sort of thing. Even though the vehicle has only seating for one, it's a great little ship and feels right at home in any Hoth display.
This vehicle's main gimmick is a pair of pop-up wings. The panels on the side behind the cockpit jump up to give the vehicle... well, we're not sure. Perhaps it's for enhanced maneuvering, or just to simply look cool. But it does have some pop-up wing action going on there. On the bottom is a firing rocket, as what vehicle is complete without a giant spring-loaded projectile these days? The gimmicks aren't super-fun, but they're neat and it's fun to have a vehicle where part of the ship just kind of moves. You can pretend it's for battle damage, or maybe maintenance. Whatever, it's just neat and it works.
Like the Mini-Rigs of old, this ship sports a very Star Wars-y feel and it's essentially at home in the Kenner toybox. It's not going to appeal to those looking for authenticity to the movies, but it's well-made and has a nifty opening canopy to seat any of a number of figures. The paint job is great, the damage is certainly good for its day, and it shows that Hasbro could indeed go and make new, low-cost vehicles if they wanted to. Here's hoping they'll want to again some day soon, and that one of those vehicles is the Y-wing cockpit version of the Snowspeeder. (Man, that'd be sweet.)
Collector's Notes: This vehicle, and its pilot, have never been reissued. The original can be had fairly cheaply, and it's a worthy addition to any collection.
Day 728: May 3, 2008