A regularly updated blog about my vintage Kenner Star Wars toy collection. Some stuff that I've recently acquired; some stuff that I've had since I was a kid. Some rare, some common, but all sharing the warmth, charm and character of the "first generation" of Star Wars toys - the ones we played with as kids in the late '70s and early '80s.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dagobah Action Playset (Kenner Canada)

The Star Wars movies are chock-full of exotic and evocative alien environments, but perhaps none moreso than The Empire Strikes Back. We're taken from a freezing ice planet, to a deadly asteroid field, to the steaming jungles of  Dagobah, home of the diminutive Jedi master, Yoda.

Kenner, for its part, immortalized Dagobah in plastic with the "Dagobah Action Playset", released in 1981. The playset incorporates multiple environments into its compact footprint. Let's explore them...   

The Spirit of Obi-Wan lurks in Yoda's Jedi training area. The two grey crates are loose items (often lost) that came with the playset - they mount on filaments extending from the base. Pushing the lumpy brown thing beside Ben "levitates" the crates with a lever action, evoking the training scenes with Yoda and Luke in the movie. The playset also came with a grey cylindrical plug that fits inside an Artoo figure's barrel-like body so he can "levitate" too.

Around the front we have Yoda's cave home. There isn't really any detail or play elements in there.

 The front of the playset also incorporates a foam "swamp" that Artoo can be submerged in. The foam tends to deteriorate over time so that to find a playset with foam in good shape (as this one is) can be rare.

Around the other side of the playset is the cave that Yoda tells Luke is "strong with the Dark Side." The box art shows Luke battling with Vader so that's what I've set up here too. The semi-circular lever that can be seen to the right of Vader is (I think) a gadget to allow Artoo to levitate. It's connected to a "branch" that sticks out the other side of the playset and can be moved "remotely" by working the branch up and down. looking at my playset in comparison to the box photos, it appears that mine was put together backwards - the forked branch bit should be on the same side as the Dark Side cave.

Luke and Vader are standing on pegs that can be moved by sliding the levers. This seems to be a recurring theme in playsets. Did kids really enjoy pushing levers and watching figures turn through a 45 degree angle? I don't recall this being a strong element of fun when I was a kid, but that's a long time ago...

Reverse of box shows its Kenner Canada origins with text en francais. French packaging is sometimes referred to in collector circles with the shorthand "GDE" which stands for "La Guerre des Etoiles", naturellement. Nice line drawing but it's essentially the same image as the box front photo. Did French kids feel ripped off that their language didn't get a pretty full colour image on the box??

Bilingual box end with English and French text, but French-only logo.

Well, that's the Dagobah playset! Stay tuned for another exciting installment coming soon - in the meantime feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts - did you have this set as a kid?


  1. I don't recall seeing this set but I was quite young as these came out. I would of love this set it was so cool.

  2. I loved this set. Wish I still had it.