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, February 20, 2013

Speeder Bike Vehicle

One of my best Star Wars memories is from 1983 - seeing Return of the Jedi in the theatre for the first time. The movie hadn't yet opened in our hometown here in Canada, but was already playing in theatres about three hours away in Minot, North Dakota. Our family (Dad, Mum, me and my four-year-old sister) made the drive down to Minot for the weekend to see the movie. Needless to say we were blown away! Not only by the movie, but by the plethora of tie-in toys already lining store shelves...

We did buy a bunch of toys (Ewoks mainly) but of course one of the coolest scenes in the movie features the Speeder Bike chase through the trees on the Forest Moon. I never did get a Speeder Bike at the time but one came up on eBay a couple weeks ago for a great price so I pulled the trigger.

The box design is pretty cool but of course the flap-style boxes that Kenner used for this toy (and for others like the Hoth Wampa and mini-rigs) often do not age well... as the flaps often get smushed down and creased as on this example.

Box top illustrates the various play features. One of the genius features of the toy is the spring loaded "T-bar" that holds the rider to the bike, by pressing down on the tops of the legs of the figure in the seat.

Inside the box, the toy parts have never been removed from their bags. With loose examples, the "speed flaps" at the back of the bike have often been lost over time as they are small and easily detached from the body. On this example, of course, they are present as the toy has never been opened.

Brochure included in the box.

Biker Scouts check out the contents of the box... obviously checking to make sure all parts are present...

"It's got the speed flaps - high five!!"

I love the Speeder Bike toy so I'm kind of sad that this one will never get taken out of its packing. The "blow-apart" feature is pretty cool and I'm sure a ton of these toys were catastrophically destroyed after impacts with backyard giant redwoods.

Kenner also continues to amaze me with the clever ways they designed toys to accommodate the barely-articulated action figures of the era. I mean, have you ever thought about what life would be like if you couldn't bend your knees? Think about riding a bike, or driving a car, or even sitting in a chair... practically impossible! On the other hand, Kenner designed some amazing toy features taking this into account... the Tauntaun/Dewback trapdoors and the spring-loaded Speeder Bike T-bar, just to name two. The subject of future blog musings, no doubt.

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