What? Did you think it 5-POAPALOOSA was going to be all figures? Nope. If it’s 3 3/4-inch scale and I haven’t reviewed it, then it’s fair game for this weekend. And right now I’m about to open up the First Order Snowspeeder from The Force Awakens! A couple of these speeders were used in a chase sequence on the surface of Starkiller Base, which was never finished and cut from the film. It was, however, included as bonus content on the Blu-Ray release. I gotta be honest, I wasn’t terribly interested in the toy because it wasn’t featured in the actual the film. But when it was re-issued and clearanced for dirt cheap, I couldn’t resist.
The Snowspeeder comes in a fairly large box with some bitchin artwork of it in action and manned by a pair of First Order Snowtroopers. There’s also a window that shows the First Order Snowtrooper Officer that’s included inside. Note that the top strip of this re-issue box is branded for Rogue One and it simply says Star Wars. Inside the box, you get the vehicle, the figure, a bag of parts, and a folded instruction sheet. Assembly is very simple. You just snap in the tops of the seats and the two railings, peg the cannon onto the stand and place it in the vehicle. But before I get to the vehicle, let’s take a quick look at the figure.
As expected, the Snowtrooper Officer shares the exact same sculpt as the regular Snowtrooper, however, there are a few paint variations, mostly confined to his chest armor. The biggest difference here is his orange pauldron, which can be removed by popping off the head, if you’d rather have a regular rank-and-file trooper. He also comes with the same backpack and rifle as his squad-mates. This is a great looking figure, I really dig how glossy the helmets are, and I’m certainly happy to add him to my ranks. Moving on to the Snowspeeder…
Let me start out by saying that I think the design of this thing is very utilitarian and really lacks the iconic charm of the more familiar and fan favorite Star Wars vehicles. I don’t dislike it, but it’s not something that’s going to stick in my imagination like the Snowspeeders from The Empire Strikes Back. I just don’t feel like they poured a lot of love into the design. At the same time, the function over form here makes it look like a pretty credible and realistic vehicle. There’s a lot to like about what Hasbro did with it, but also some things that could have maybe been done better.
The overall sculpt is quite nice and there’s a good amount of detail on display. From the panel lines on the body, and the texturing on the seat cushions, to the molded supply containers stowed in the front of the cabin, there’s a lot of neat stuff to look at here. There’s grating on the floor panels, little hatches and rivets, and front and back of the engines look good.
What works against it is the feel of the plastic and the lack of paint. I don’t think the quality is poor here, it’s a pretty rugged little toy, but the Speeder has a light and insubstantial feel to it, as it basically just a hollow shell. The only moving part on the Speeder is the fold down landing gear, and while I’m not a big fan of play gimmicks, this thing really needed a couple more features. There’s a panel on the back that looks like it was meant to open at one time, but it doesn’t. That would have been neat to be able to store guns and backpacks back there.
I’m not usually a fan of this swirly gray plastic, but it works OK for this craft. Most of the coloring variations on the toy are subtle and achieved by using different colored plastic. The supply containers are teal, the seats are molded in a pale blue, the railings are cast in a paler gray, and some of the components of the hull are cast in a more coppery color. As for actual paint hits, there’s just a little bit of silver and black here and there. I’m not so sure that this is an instance of Hasbro being cheap, but maybe the design just not warranting it. Still, I would have liked some dry brush weathering, insignia, registry numbers, or anything to help it along.
The Snowspeeder is designed to carry two figures, one in the driver seat and one in the passenger seat, and I think it’s scaled very well. Hasbro has a habit of shrinking down vehicles, but in this case, I think they did good. Technically, the figures will sit OK with their backpacks still on, but it works much better if you take them off. One word of caution: There’s a hollow space under the steering column for the driver’s feet. Try not to loose any guns in there, because getting them out again can be a real bitch!
Of course, the passenger can also man the cannon. There’s a peg to hold him in place, but if you clip his hands onto the cannon handles, he should stay put pretty well. The cannon mounts by tucking the base into a slot. It stays in there pretty good, but the post can disconnect from it fairly easily. Of course, the cannon also features a firing missile. And if you want to set up a ground defense, you can remove the cannon and stand from the vehicle and set it up on the ground.
I like this vehicle, but I don’t love it. It’s kind of fun in a very simple way, and it looks great when it’s decked out with a couple of Snow-Stormies. At the same time, it feels kind of rushed and unfinished, or maybe like a Playmates vehicle from a franchise far less prominent than Star Wars. Keep in mind, I picked up the Snowspeeder for eight bucks and at that price it was worth the figure alone. But the original MSRP of this thing was $30. THIRTY DOLLARS!?! That feels outrageous to me for what you’re getting and if I had paid that I would have been pretty pissed off.
Hmmm…Star Wars vehicles often look like futuristic GI Joe vehicles these days. Not only in design,but in practice. It just feels like some leftover concept from the Joe line that got repurposed into the Star Wars line. Several of the vehicles from the past 4 years have that vibe. With this snowspeeder though,there is a bit of a throwback to something from the old school SW days. Probably not on purpose most likely. Do you recall the 1986 animated “Droids” series? If so, this vehicle is somewhat reminiscent of the hero’s speeder called “The White Witch”. Jord Dusat and Thall Joben’s race winning vehicle that was a big part of their early series arc with 3PO and R2. If you haven’t seen it, just Google some pics or hit YouTube. I think you’ll notice the similarities in design. Its not totally the same thing….but kinda close.
Yeah, it does actually look similar!