Anakin Skywalker's Jedi Starfighter
Released November, 2003
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on November 19, 2003
The final new vehicle of 2003 is Anakin Skywalker's Jedi Starfighter, a new design that's making an appearance in the Clone Wars cartoons but is full of features courtesy of the Hasbro Star Wars Team. (Kudos to Andy for having pointed them out.)
The set includes one vehicle and a firing rocket. The Anakin figure is shown merely for scale.
This variant of the Jedi Starfighter was intended to recall two other vehicles. The first is obvious-- Anakin's Pod Racer. There are also a few subtle design references to Anakin's son's vehicle of choice.
It appears this is a new, or at least mostly new, sculpt.
The toy is a pretty neat one and the appearance was described by Hasbro as Anakin having tricked out a normal vehicle for his use, as he is a tinkerer. Even though the Jedi supposedly eschew personal belongings, this seems to make sense because he does like to fix things up, a Hyperdrive makes sense as an addition, and he entered the Jedi Order late in life. So, for the purposes of storyline, this is a customization job that actually fits in pretty well.
The addition of weapons to the outside of the ship was a necessary one, as the original craft wasn't exactly a craft designed for battle. Four cannons and some very small s-foils were added to both foreshadow the X-Wing fighter and give Anakin a little more bang. After all, it's not like you can lead a Grand Army of the Republic to victory without a little firepower.
One of the biggest concerns about this toy, aside from a rumor orders wouldn't be high enough for it to have seen production, was if the figure can fit inside or not. I'm happy to report that with a lot of squeezing, he does fit inside. In the old days, you could just slide Luke into the X-Wing without a single problem... those days are long over. It would have been great if Hasbro designed either Anakin or his vehicle with its counterpart in mind, but he fits. If you're one of the many fans who is buying or bought extra Clone Wars Bonus Clone Packs you might have a spare that can simply serve as a pilot to your vehicle while the other one doesn't have to be bent in any serious way.
The paint job shows a lot of damage which, while neat, doesn't seem entirely intentional. There are areas that look damaged on the craft, but upon opening mine there seemed to be a few scrapes that were all to realistic and seemed like a sloppy job on Hasbro's part, but at the same time, it's battle damage and looks nifty. If you can look at this vehicle and dig the look, it has enough features to make the purchase worth your while.
Weapons & Features
The vehicle has a firing proton torpedo as well as retractable landing gear and moving s-foils.
In addition to the s-foils, you can also see the wings flip out a little on the edges. I presume this is for enhanced control over movement or something, but hey, it's cool to have a little something extra to futz around with after the original design was relatively free of action features.
The firing rocket doesn't go especially far, but Hasbro managed to do something they haven't done since the old days. To fire the rocket, you have to turn the droid's dome... this is a great feature and a marvelous way of integrating the toyetic qualities of the design into actual play value. It's too bad they didn't do something similar for the blast-off panel of previous versions.
There's this thing. The box says it's a "positionable vectored thruster." I'm not exactly a hardcore sci-fi fan (at least as far as the vocabulary goes), so it's Greek to me. It doesn't seem to do anything but move up and down, and while it's a nice extra in terms of design I don't believe it really adds any "zing" to the vehicle.
Lastly, the landing gear is neat but not necessary. The giant Hyperdrive Engines more than support this vehicle, and the folding-down leg is a nice thing to have included but doesn't add anything to the ship. As Hasbro is known for skimping on rear landing gear on many of their toy designs, this toy did not have retractable rear landing gear included.
This one has the same gold one we've seen used by Hasbro and other companies since the Luke Stormtrooper/Greedo waves shipped in 1996. It fits the template and doesn't offer any surprises.
And for kicks, here's the manual and labels.
There's a little bit of "OK, so where the heck does this label go?" even after looking at the manual, but thankfully most of that is on the inside of the vehicle. It appears some weren't cut properly, which is a little inexcusable in 2003. Since most of the details on this toy are prepainted, though, it's easy to let it slide.
Many stores have started to stock this, but it seems to actually be selling out quickly since it's still a new toy. This could change as the season goes on, but there are numerous vendors both on the Web and off who can get you one of these. $20-$30 well spent, this is.
If you don't have any of the previous Jedi Starfighters, you need this. If you bought the previous two, snag this one to bolster your Republic's Armed Forces. It's a big enough departure from the previous two in terms of sculpt, color, and toy features to make it seem like a brand-new toy, and it's a lot more fun to futz with than the other two.
This is also the first completely new vehicle to have appeared in the entire Clone Wars line and is one of only two original designs, the other being the super-spiffy Durge's Swoop. If you crack one of these babies open, odds are you won't regret it.
Our sample was obtained from Entertainment Earth in November 2003.