Important Note: I apologize for the lack of original images in this article. I use a separate computer for my photo editing and I don’t have reasonable access to it at the moment. So in lieu of waiting around for my computer issues, I’m publishing this anyway. I’ll post an update once I get this (and any possible future) articles all fancied up with pics! Thanks!
I knew these were coming a couple of weeks ago as per Mattel’s website and though I had every intention of writing a piece on them, time got away from me. But now we can kill 2 birds with 1 stone; late Friday night / early Saturday morning I walked into Walmart. Honestly I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, though I have seen a new Star Wars “tribute” series of 1:64 cars that I thought might pop up. I didn’t find those, but I was lucky enough to run across the latest run of Starships in conjunction with Solo: A Star Wars Story.
We’ve got a few re-issues like Fett’s Slave I, Vader’s TIE, and the Naboo N-1 Starfighter, but perhaps the “best” would be Darth Maul’s Sith Infiltrator which was never an easy piece to find (and who knows, it may not become any easier to find this time either). There are a few others as well, but I mainly want to focus on the new ones, which Hot Wheels has started designating First Appearance to stave off any potential confusion. In no particular order…
- First Order AT-ST (With partial removal of “head” and driven/piloted by BB-8.)
- Imperial Patrol Speeder (Previously with the word “Mimban” sometimes attached, as in “Mimban Speeder;” this seems to have been dropped on official packaging.)
- B-Wing Fighter
Very little of this has anything to do with Solo, but it is very cool to have diecast versions of them nonetheless. The “Mimban Speeder” or Imperial Patrol Speeder as it has now officially been dubbed is the only vehicle from the new film. I might’ve missed it in the film if I hadn’t already been familiar with the LEGO version, but the speeder makes a brief appearance during the chase between Han and Moloch on Corellia early on. The First Order AT-ST, commandeered by BB-8, is of course from The Last Jedi, while the criminally underused B-Wing makes a very brief appearance in Return of the Jedi, despite having a large-ish role in the battle canonically. (If I recall correctly, the thinness of the fighter (thin like a blade, hence B-Wing) created visibility issues with the greenscreen and ultimately most shots of the B-Wing were scrapped.)
And finally we have the very freakin’ cool AT-TE or All-Terrain Tactical Enforcer, a Clone Wars-era “tank” seen in Episodes II and III (I think) and used by the Republic against the Separatist Droid Army. If you’ve been reading these entries of mine long enough it probably goes without saying, but I’m very glad to see the prequel trilogy continue to receive some degree of recognition / acknowledgement. The AT-TE also appears to be fairly prolific in the Clone Wars animated TV series as well, though I wouldn’t know first hand. (I’d love to know the content of these stories, but I just don’t know if I can sit through that basic-ass, oddly disproportionate, CG animation! I prefer that sort of hyper-detailed stuff from the 80’s and the early half of the 90’s to an extent…you know, lots of forgettable space cartoons (Sectaurs, InHumans, Blackstar), even stuff like G.I. Joe, Captain Planet, or The Real Ghostbusters. But alas, it looks like I’m missing out on a lot of stuff, more and more of which is being referenced in the sequel trilogy and anthology films. Bring back SHADOWS of the EMPIRE!)
I owned several of these ships as plastic models from MicroMachines as pre-teen (this was the massive merchandising wave that surrounded the “new” Special Editions of the original trilogy), though obviously I was relegated to only the first 3 films. They were wonderfully detailed, but the plastic was often thin due to the small size of the models and prone to deformation, even within the package itself. Not sure if MicroMachines proper is around anymore, but I do remember as recently as Rogue One Hasbro released small, plastic models of vehicles, and I daresay the quality of the plastic in these is even worse than the old MicroMachines. Anyway, I just wanted to hit on the fact that in general these pieces are nice and heavy for their size though many do make a liberal use of plastic. Articulation is limited, i.e. the B-Wing doesn’t fold flat, the AT-TE’s middle set of legs move about 1/8″ in each direction, and the legs of the AT-ST are locked in place, but this doesn’t bother me a whole lot. Ideally it’d be nice to have slightly larger models sans plastic wherever possible, and very basic articulation such as legs, S-foils, wings, and turrets where applicable. I guess I should note that Hasbro’s Titanium Series fit this bill pretty well until they inexplicably changed this come The Force Awakens.
And that’s all I got for you for on the Starships front. I’d like to think these will continue to trickle out during the series’ down time between now and probably the Fall of 2019, but I won’t be holding my breath. I suppose a 3rd wave is possible, and Hot Wheels should definitely consider Moloch’s Speeder; other than that I think Solo is well-represented. They could take the time to fill in some gaps from Episode VII ’til now, like the Supremacy, the Raddus, the Quadjumper, Starkiller Base (I realize the scale would be off, but if you consider starfighters versus capital ships scale just isn’t something that can always be taken into consideration in this format), Krennic’s Shuttle (I think we only have a Titanium Series version of this), and probably half a dozen others I can’t think of at the moment. And naturally I wouldn’t mind ’em reaching back in time for beauts like the Naboo Royal Starship, the V-Wing, the Jedi Interceptors, Droid Tri-Fighters, The Invisible Hand, Dooku’s weird “solar sail” thing, and that giant space station-like thing above Naboo that housed Nute Gunray and the Trade Federation (it’s called the Saak’ak apparently and classified as a ship, not some sort of space station…alrighty).