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, July 6, 2016

Y-Wing Vehicle

Of all the different accessory products produced for the Kenner mini-action figure line, vehicles would have to be the type with the greatest play utility. Yes, playsets are great, but they are by their very nature limiting. Would using the Dagobah Action Playset in a play scenario set on Hoth make sense? Could you use the Imperial Attack Base with a bunch of Jabba's palace guards and pretend it's on Tatooine?

Vehicles, on the other hand, are pretty much setting-agnostic. An X-Wing fighter can be equally at home on Hoth, on Dagobah, on Tatooine, or attacking the Death Star. For this reason I have to believe that vehicles were considered by Kenner to be their go-to accessory for maximizing sales and profits. Which brings us to the focus of this post - the Y-Wing Fighter.

Viewers first encountered the Y-Wing in the climactic space battle near the end of Star Wars, where a rag-tag band of rebels attacked the Empire's invincible Death Star. We all know how that one turned out, but Y-Wing fighters made up a significant part of the rebel fleet too. In fact, the only space combat vehicles deployed by the Rebellion in the first movie were X-Wings and Y-Wings!  

We all know that the X-Wing fighter toy saw release in the first wave of Star Wars vehicles, and was even re-released for The Empire Strikes Back in "battle-damaged" form. The Y-Wing, on the other hand, had to wait until 1983 and Return of the Jedi to even get a toy. But as we will see, there is a LOT more going on with the Y-Wing toy than there ever was with the X-Wing... 

The Y-Wing is shown here in a Kenner RotJ box, the debut packaging for the toy in North America. The box sides illustrate some of the action features of the toy, including disassembly of the engine nacelles and the all-important bomb-dropping feature (!)

We'll discuss some more about the toy features in a minute, but let's get to the wacky box-art tableau first...

First off, we have Admiral Ackbar at the controls of the Y-Wing. Pardon? Isn't he supposed to be busy detecting traps and coordinating the Rebel fleet assault?? It's weird that while all of the other Rebel starfighter toys had appropriate pilots released in the mini-action figure line (Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot, B-Wing Pilot, A-Wing Pilot), the Y-Wing never had a pilot released for it. Too bad, as the Y-Wing Pilot in the films looked pretty cool:

It's a bit mystifying to me why there was no Y-Wing Pilot released. The Y-Wing appeared in all three films (Death Star assault, Echo Base evacuation, Death Star II space battle). The B- and A-Wings only appeared in RotJ, and the A-Wing was only ever released in Droids packaging, yet there's an A-Wing Pilot figure??? Makes no sense. 

In any case, Nien Nunb and General Madine are just standing around shooting the breeze. Perhaps discussing why the admiral of the Rebel fleet is hanging around pretending to be Top Gun. Lando's lurking in the background as only Lando can.

A good view here of some of the decals in the cockpit. Also visible are the often-lost nose cannons and the rotating turret cannon on top of the cockpit.

Another very cool feature of the Y-Wing over the X-Wing is that the former actually incorporates a droid socket to fit an astromech droid. Either R2-D2 (in any of his variants) or R5-D4 fit in there fine.

Here's the often-lost "bomb" that fits in a claw under the Y-Wing. It came in two pieces...

...and looks like this when assembled.

Rear view of the engine nacelles.

Operating controls. Bomb release button behind Artoo, landing gear locking switch in the middle, button activating laser sounds and cannon rotation at back. 

Here's the underside of the ship, showing the yellow bomb claw. The bomb just clips in there and pressing the button on top moves the claws apart, letting the bomb fall away.

Copyright information under the nose of the ship.

"Ummm... not to be disrespectful sir, but shouldn't you be on the bridge?"