Posts Tagged ‘R2-D2’
All hail Kenner’s Return of the Jedi Y-Wing Fighter! Quickly approaching it’s 30th anniversary of toy magic.
The vintage Y-Wing Fighter has some tremendous upsides. First, the battery-operated rooftop cannon is unmatched for taking out the enemy. Sweeping left to right at manic speed, it just can’t miss. And just in case you’ve sprayed a few too many turbo lasers, the chin cannons are there for backup! You could literally jab your target into submission with those two badboys. Also the vintage Y-Wing actually allowed you to insert your own droid as opposed to the X-Wing Fighter that used an artificial R2 substitute.
Downsides? A few. The rear engine extensions broke about as easily as eggshells. Also, while brilliantly conceived, the landing gear mechanism suffered from poor construction. Kenner tended to use plastic throughout their vehicles, even where a little metal would’ve really hit the spot. So even back in the day the wings of the Emperor’s Shuttle, the wings of the X-Wings, and the landing gear on this lovely Y-Wing all tended to stop doing what they were supposed to do once that plastic gave out.
The Y-Wing has one other peculiar design flaw. You see, the vehicle’s hull is put together kind of like a sandwich. There’s a top half and a lower half and when screwed together they keep in all the good stuff that controls the landing gear and electronics. What’s troublesome is that some of the decals need to go over the seam between the top and bottom halves, so that if you ever needed to open that sucker up you’d actually have to tear or otherwise remove the decals. As far as I know it’s the only vintage Kenner vehicle that can boast this.
So there you have it.
It’s become clear to me that the Star Wars action figures I enjoyed most as a kid were the really little guys. R2-D2, Jawa, Snaggletooth, Yoda, Ugnaught (I never played with the Ewoks — I was too cool for school by ’83). These were the action figures that could be stashed anywhere with total stealth. And any fool knows that when it’s one kid against the Empire, maintaining a low, secret profile is key!
The vintage Snowspeeder easily makes it among my top three vehicles that Kenner made for its 1977-1985 vintage line of Star Wars toys.
The Snowspeeder picks up points over it’s hottest competition (Millennium Falcon and the X-Wing Fighter) in its winning light & sound action. When you press the secret button beneath the Snowspeeder’s chassis, the long front cannons pulse with what appears to be moving light bursts, advancing from base to tip. And the accompanying sound is spot on with its own gyrating rhythm.
It’s a charming truth that the instructions included with the long-ago Kenner Star Wars toys boasted in large, bold, all-caps type this motto: WE REALLY DO CARE. And you know something? Judging by their Snowspeeder’s awesome design and construction, I really believe they did.
Buying Notes on the Vintage Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot
Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot was a toy sold by Kenner from 1978 to about 1985. So there were (and still are) great numbers in circulation, and a fair number of these are still in excellent shape. But keep a few things in mind when tracking one down on eBay.
The Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot action figure probably had more paint applied to it in the production process than any other vintage Star Wars action figure. Face color, facial features, helmet details, vest, chest panel, hands, leg straps, boots. The guy has paint details everywhere. Be sure to see plenty of photos showing that the paint all looks good.
This was an action figure in the true sense of the word. Luke Skwyalker X-Wing Pilot was played with extensively by little kids in the 70s and 80s. If the seller hasn’t already declared that the joints are tight in the auction description, you definitely want to ask before bidding.
Lastly, the figure’s weapon is the Han Solo pistol type of Kenner blaster. Don’t forget: repro accessories suck. Make certain that it’s authentic if possible. You can check out the Imperial Gunnery for some excellent reference on the topic.
Feel free to add any more thoughts on this in the comments section and drop me a line if you get into trouble!
I think it was actually late in 1981 before I went full tilt collecting Empire Strikes Back action figures. Teaming in my basement playroom were various Hoth rebel guys, a gnarly snowtrooper, bounty hunters (that looked cool but who I couldn’t really place in the storyline), a Bespin Guard or two… not to mention a Snowspeeder, a Twin-Pod Cloud Car, a couple of awesome mini rigs… plus the gigantic and epic Millenium Falcon. It was an embarassment of riches.
But for all that blasting, menacing, and soaring there was one quiet little action figure that I held in highest esteem. Smaller even than the tiny Jawa figure from 1978, it was Yoda that managed to keep my (limited) attention.
This is a close-up cropping of a popular entry from this blog, first published almost 2 years ago.
Why bother with a whole new entry? Well first off I’m actually not so nutty about the composition of that earlier posting. Also the tighter crop gives R2′s details the focus they deserve. Now you can really see the glory of that sticker… now you can almost smell that coat of dust and grime accumulated over three+ decades. Viva la vintage, baby.
(Friends, I promise this is the last of the lazy summer re-treads. New material is coming!)
Hard to imagine, but this photo represents the first proper portrait I’ve taken of the vintage R2-D2 and C-3PO action figures together. With chrome paint these two can be particularly hard to light. Worth the effort though as the results are spectacular when the stars finally do align.
Attention sports fans! If you want to dig deeper into the story of ‘Star Wars Action Figures Doing What They Do Best’, an interview has been published at the excellent Galactic Awesome blog. That blog has a terrific companion as well.
This is a Part 2 in a rethink of an earlier post. Second of two shots in the installment.
Buying Notes on the Vintage Snowspeeder
If you’re a collector of loose Kenner vehicles from the vintage Star Wars run and you don’t own the vintage Snowspeeder yet, it’s time to turn that ship around. Ounce for ounce, this is my favorite vehicle for the whole ’78 to ’85 period.
For overall look the Snowspeeder’s got it where it counts. Add on the awesome lights and sound and you can see why we’ve got gold medal material. The harpoon and cool kickstand are icing on the cake.
Ready to climb aboard? Just keep in mind this checklist before going off half cocked on eBay:
1. The Snowspeeder’s lights and sounds are integral to your enjoyment factor. Make sure they both work before bidding. Sure you could take it apart and horse around with fixing the electronics, but that’s something to avoid unless you’ve really got the feel for it.
2. This vehicle has a ton of stickers applied to it. Something like 27 to be exact. Try to get a good feel that they’re all there and not peeling up. For this reason you might want to focus on the Snowspeeders that have clearly been kept over the years with their original box. I’ve seen a strong correlation between a present original box and nice looking stickers.
3. The rear harpoon with its black tether are a MUST. Make sure its there!
Best of luck, and if you have any other thoughts feel free to add them in the comments below.