|Character Design||Ralph McQuarrie|
Review by VF5SS
Like most children in the first world, I was a consumer of Star Wars products. While I never went out of my way to pursue Star Wars toys, I was a heavy reader of the novels as the local library had a generous selection of books. I also loved playing the video games (especially Tie Fighter) or catching the movies on TV. As time wore on I got out of Star Wars as I proceeded down the dark path to weeaboo-ism. Most of what I have left are things I got as holiday presents over the years.
Micro Machines were also a huge part of my childhood. I had dozens of sets and even the mighty RV playset that as the name implies, was a giant super tacky RV that unfolded into a vast Micro Machine city. As one of the many Star Wars licensees, Galoob was no stranger to product synergy. As such there were dozens of Star Wars Micro Machine merchandise from the venerable Action Fleet to these goofy playsets.
One of the most quintessential 90's toy line was Mighty Max with its quaint skull faced or mountain shaped elaborate lunchboxes that opened up into a miniature playset for tiny figures. Galoob knew a good thing when they saw it and adapted the idea into familiar Star Wars characters and locales.
So here is everyone's favorite lovable walking rug, Chewbacca. While not the most accurate or flattering rendition of the character, he is still very recognizable despite looking like Lon Cheney's lovechild.
There is something eerie about the completely flat back of the toy coupled with the pronounced muzzle of the front.
The rear isn't too interesting save for the usual copyright information and some obvious switches for gimmicks.
Always keep your Wookie's teeth nice and clean.
He will see the tears of time...
Simply open up Chewie's face like in some Nicolas Cage movie to reveal the goodies inside. The best place to store all the figures is in a disorganized pile on the upper level of the interior as there is no other storage space. I'm sure many Bothans broke into tiny pieces when some child accidentally bent a Wookie with their feet.
Naturally this set includes a miniature Chewie so you can have your Wookie inside your Wookie. I actually forgot this came with the playset but it would be kind of silly to not have one included. The sculpting and paint is decent for a jellybean sized figure of Chewbacca with his bowcaster at the ready.
Toys of people in chairs (wheeled or unwise) are always a fascinating subject for some of my friends. This fairly detailed little C-3PO sits worriedly in his little wooden throne with his arms permanently flailed so one can pretend to float him around using Jedi magic. Sadly there is no mount or stand you can prop him up on so he just has to sit there like a golden lump.
No Endor battle would be complete without a few Ewoks. This unblinking critter has his totally unrealistic little hang glider with a rock in hand to wipe out the Empire's finest battle armored troops. It doesn't quite stand up on its own so C-3PO is helping out behind the scenes. As a child I found myself wanting a little zip line or something to hang this little guy on like some of my Batman figures but alas Galoob wasn't that ambitious.
You also get another little blankly staring Ewok who is readying a deadly anti-armor sling. I presume this is meant to be Wicket as in the film he proceeds to whack himself in the face like a idiot.
At the time I was extremely excited to see that this set included my favorite bounty hunter, Wolven Netars. After debuting in Return of the Jedi, Netars only appeared a scant few times in Michael Stackpole's Extra Tales of Corran Horn and the Bounty Hunters as one of Boba Fett's temporary partners. After an epic twelve page struggle, Netars was done in by Fett's handy flamethrower in a tragic double-cross.
For some extra funk, the set includes an AT-ST driver who is really partying. This dude is frozen in permanent party position with an invisible Nattie Ice in hand.
With a whopping two Ewoks running around, we need some pest control in the form an AT-ST. While definitely not a candidate for scale parties, this little guy is a decent figure that suffers from some mushy sculpting around the cabin area and on the feet. In all fairness, it is just barely the size of two jellybeans.
Despite the rough sculpt, most of the important AT-ST features are faithfully replicated on this figure. I always liked the weird tech details on the rear of the head turret.
The AT-ST is even semi-articulated with one leg escaping the common "paint gluing disease" that afflicted many a Kaiyodo toy. C-3PO once again provides support for his fellow set mates in a time of need so the AT-ST can keep on trucking.
While it may not look it, this Scout Trooper on his Speeder bike is actually the star of the set. This cool, calm, and collected soldier boy is the pride of the Empire and the bane of any Super Return of the Jedi player's existence.
There is a rather nifty matte painting style backdrop for the interior of the playset. Despite the featured AT-ST having a weird leg on the left with more joints than the right, I appreciate the charming old school artwork approach to detailing this toy.
The upper deck is less interesting with just images of teddy bears and boring gigantic trees. On either side of that suspicious log are little huts you can attempt to shove a figure inside.
The main play area for the figures (made out of Chewie's face mind you) is kind of poorly matched for any of the little dudes. The uneven surface and molded on bushes really limit where you can place stuff. Chewie's narrow visage just isn't suited for fake plastic Endor landscapes.
The reason I forgot this set has a little Wookie is because he normally sits inside this little sliding platform. You can install any of the regular figures in here to move it in and out from behind the molded tree cover. It really only makes sense with Chewie as he's the only character with a sensible techno crossbow weapon.
Netars has his own dedicated action feature in this playset. Just snap him in underneath the inconspicuous log on the upper deck...
...and he's ready to rebel assault a partying Imperial.
Netars is skilled in submission holds to bring his bounties back alive.
With the help of a Di:stage, the flying Ewok can look a little more authentic.
It is on the main play area of the set that the Scout Trooper takes center stage. He mounts on a funny little log centrifuge for some quality toy gimmickry. He can only be pegged on one way so no flying backwards. Oddly enough, this centrifuge style mount is how movie makers did the scenes involving Luke's landspeeder.
This flip up action log is another key component in this groundbreaking gimmick.
The pull switch cleverly disguised as a rock inside a channel activates...
Spinning Speeder bike action! ™
In maybe two times out of a thousand, the action log will cause the Scout Trooper to lean off his bike. Remember, dangerous high-speed vehicular accidents are quality children's entertainment.
As is running down the elderly.
And man this guy is partying.
In end, this Chewbacca/Endor set is another oddity in my childhood toy collection. Too weird to fit and too rare to get rid of. It's probably still in such good shape because I had no idea what to do with it after spinning the Speeder guy a billion times.
|Posted 16 April, 2012 - 13:23 by VF5SS|