Let’s be clear about one thing right off the bat: I’m living vicariously through my five-year-old son. Not every minute of every day, mind you, but at the very least I’m reliving my own childhood with him. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that my young apprentice received a few Star Wars-themed Christmas presents.
- Twin-Pod Cloud Cars — When I was a kid, the Star Wars vehicle I most wanted was the All-Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT): the lumbering mechanical walkers that assaulted the Rebel base on Hoth at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. Second on my list of “Most Wanted Star Wars Vehicle Toys” was the Millennium Falcon. The twin-pod cloud cars that patrolled Bespin (AKA Cloud City) were right at the bottom of the list, just below Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder. Perhaps someone who owns or owned the original toy can tell me whether or not it had a second, hidden set of missile launchers revealed when the cars were pushed together. It’s a simple thing, but definitely kicked the toy up the list several notches.
- Galactic Heroes AT-AT — The Galactic Heroes toys are short, cute, manga-influenced versions of regular action figures; perfect for the younger Star Wars fan. The Imperial walker playset ay not have all of the moving parts of the “full-sized” AT-AT, but it’s still pretty cool. It comes with a speederbike that can be stowed in the main cargo compartment, as well as a driver figure. For reasons I can’t explain, the latter is holding a blaster, making it rather difficult to fit him into the walker’s cockpit. ((As you might imagine, this is not something that Kyle is bothered by; he has yet to say “Why does the AT-AT pilot have a blaster? Not only is it terribly impractical, I question whether it’s canon!” )) The walker also features light-up blaster cannons, blasting and walking sound effects, and a “cable” that allows you to recreate the scene in which Luke Skywalker destroys an AT-AT using a thermal detonator (not included) and the tow cable salvaged from his snowspeeder. Though it was designed for the Galactic Heroes sets, the AT-AT is also a reasonable size to crush some smaller LEGO vehicles, which leads to…
- LEGO Star Wars Snow Trooper Army Pack and LEGO Star Wars Rebel Trooper Battle Pack — I’m not sure whether the focus on The Empire Strikes Back was intentional or mere serendipity, but there are LEGO Rebels aplenty upon which the Galactic Heroes AT-AT can tread, not to mention Rogue Two, ((AKA Zev Senesca. “Echo Base, this is Rogue Two. I’ve found them. Repeat: I’ve found them.”)) a Rebel “ice cutter,” ((AKA Vehicle Not Appearing in The Film.)) a couple of Imperial snowtroopers, an AT-AT driver (( Sans AT-AT, sadly.)) an Imperial speederbike (which the Empire appears to have had no trouble adapting to the cold) and an Imperial “battle station.” ((“Station” as in “stationary” as in “not moving or intending to be moved.” Call me a nit-picker, but I don’t see how this could play into the Empire’s assault on the Hoth base.)) One of the Rebel troopers has a mustache, and when Kyle and I were watching the Hoth assault (for reference purposes) he spotted similarly-‘stached Rebel on-screen and excitedly declared that he’s “got that guy!” Each of the sets has between 70 and 80 pieces, and it took me the better part of an hour to assemble everything on Christmas Day. I’ve heard some criticism about how specialized LEGOs have become, and claims that the majority of pieces in the sets can only be used to build the vehicle (or battle station) pictured on the box. That doesn’t appear to be the case with these sets; the only piece (apart from the various weapons and equipment held by the minifigs) that an imaginative child would likey have trouble repurposing is the chassis of the speederbike.
- R2-D2 is in Trouble, Star Wars Mighty Muggs and Star Wars Mighty Beanz — There’s really not too much to be said about these, except that I really, really hope Kyle doesn’t decide that he wants more Mighty Beanz because they are, in a word, dumb.