My love of miniature spaceships is probably rooted in growing up with FASA’s old tabletop Star Trek game. While I could only find a handful of people willing to play it I was able to keep myself more than entertained by pouring over all those great books full of ship statistics and collecting the tiny pewter ships from The Complete Strategist, a destination store in the local mall that specialized in RPG supplies. God, what I wouldn’t give to be able to go back to that now long defunct store with my adult monies and clean the place out. Anyway, I’m not here today to talk about FASA or Star Trek, but rather Mattel’s new line of little Star Wars ships branded under their Hot Wheels line.
And here they are in the package! It’s so weird seeing the Star Wars license on a Mattel package, but this isn’t an isolated incident. Mattel is also releasing a number of Star Wars themed Hot Wheels cars onto the pegs right now. The card deco keeps the spirit of the Hot Wheels brand, advertises the use of die-cast metal, and I’m rather impressed that the cards feature artwork specific to eachs hip, rather than a generic card and bubble insert.
I found these hanging not amongst the 10,000 pegs of proper Hot Wheels cars, but along with the rather dead pegs of the Star Wars action figure aisle. The Episode 7 stuff can’t come soon enough, because the only things hanging on the figure pegs now are are a bunch of 6-inch Han Solos and Obi-Wans and the shelves are creammed with that Deluxe Jabba that no one seems to want. Anywho… the initial case assortment of these vehicles includes The Millenium Falcon, Snowspeeder, Y-Wing, Slave-1, and The Ghost from the Rebels series. I left The Ghost and Slave-1 but one of these days I may pick them up. Let’s start off with The Millenium Falcon!
There’s some really impressive detail sculpted into this little ship. All the little bits and texturing on the hull is present, both top and bottom. It looks like the top half is the die-cast with the bottom half plastic. There’s definitely more detail sculpted into the die-cast, but that might just be because it’s what’s going to be most visible when the ship is on display. The top cannon is just molded in as part of the ship and as such isn’t terribly well defined, but the radar dish is, and while it is a tad oversized it does indeed rotate 360-degrees.
The paintwork on this little ship is rather sparing, but what’s here includes applications on the five black discs on the top as well as black paint on the cockpit windows. There are some maroon hull markings, and the thrusters are painted blue. I wish I still had my Hasbro Titanium Falcon to do a comparison, but just going from memory, I think I rather prefer this one.
Moving on, next up we have the Gold Leader Y-Wing. I’ve been playing a lot of the Enhanced Edition of the X-Wing PC game on Steam and thus spending a fair amount inside the cockpit of one of these babies. This has always been one of my favorite smaller ships of the Star Wars universe and oddly enough one that I never owned as a 3 3/4″ scale toy. In fact, this may be my very first toy version of the Y-Wing ever. Crazy! At this point, i should also point out the obvious that these ships are not in scale with one another. The Y-Wing is a much simpler sculpt than the Falcon. It does feature a lot of great detail molded into the hull, but it doesn’t look as detailed as the Falcon. I suppose that could be an issue of size, where the Falcon is in much smaller scale so the detail is packed in a lot tighter. Either way, it’s not to say this isn’t a great little recreation of the Koensayr wishbone bomber. I particularly like the use of clear plastic for the skeletal engine pylons and the pronounced front guns.
The paint on this one is again sparse, but well placed. The cockpit is painted a light grey with black painted windows and there are yellow hull markings denoting this as the Gold Leader Y-Wing. No doubt Mattel has plans to double dip on these molds via the wonderful world of repaints and I’m just the scruffy-looking nerfherder that will probably be first to open my wallet when I see them.
Last, but not least, we have the Snowspeeder and this one is perhaps my favorite of this trio. I’m a little biased because I love the design of these things so much, but I really think that while all three ships are solid, the Snowspeeder is just particularly spot on. This ship just looks fantastic and is such a huge improvement over Hasbro’s Titanium version. The guns are really well defined as are the panel lines and the rear grill complete with the little area where the harpoon detatches.
Following the trend of the other two ships, the Snowspeeder gets by with minimal paint hits, and yet it has all that it needs. The rear grill is painted dark gray, the cockpit windows are black, and you get some maroon hull markings, including the “ZZ” on the rear of the cockpit. While the paint is solid on all three ships, the Snowspeeder just seems a bit sharper and more impressively done. I love this little guy!
All three of these ships include a rather clever clear plastic stand that plugs securely into the bottom of the ship. The stands are embossed with the Hot Wheels and Star Wars logos. These plastic bases support the ships very well and also have a ring so you can put it on your finger and fly your ships around the room. How cool is that!!!
It’s the sad truth that I don’t have all that many cheap toy lines to collect any more. Part of that is probably due to the nature of the industry and a lot is due to my changing tastes. But that makes it all the more refreshing when I can pull a $5 toy off the peg and be genuinely impressed with it. Sure, I’ll concede that the first wave of five ships only got me to pony up for three of them, but I am still genuinely excited to collect this line and I can think of so many ships that I want to see from the obvious X-Wing and Tie Fighter, to admitted long shots like the Ebon Hawk or the Moldy Crow maybe???