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.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Imperial Attack Base

With temperatures here in Winnipeg hovering around -25C it seems like a great time to showcase another of the fantastic Hoth-themed playsets from The Empire Strikes Back. This time it's the turn of the Imperial Attack Base.

I always wondered why the playset was called the "Imperial Attack Base" when it would have made so much more sense to theme it as a "Rebel Snow Bunker" or something like that. The Rebels were the guys who dug all those trenches around their base, set up defence turrets, etc. so why wouldn't Kenner have brought this toy out as part of the Rebel defences? All we saw of the Imperials in the Hoth assault was giant walkers and snowtroopers flooding into Echo Base. It didn't seem like the Imperials would have had the time or inclination to set up "Attack Bases" with a certain Dark Lord so eager to Force-choke anybody who didn't step to it with sufficient alacrity. But Imperial Attack Base it is, nonetheless...

Lots of play features in this set. Action levers, land mine, snow bridge, command post and cannon!

Box sides illustrate some play scenarios...

The dreaded "Laser machine gun"! (sic)

"Heavy Laser", sure. "Laser Cannon", makes sense. But "Laser machine gun"???

And here we see a snowtrooper about to step on a land mine presumably laid by his own side, in their own Attack Base. No wonder the Rebels all escaped Hoth...


Blow the roof off that bridge!

Cool production still of a snowtrooper with a tri-pod laser cannon.

Now on to the fun part, setting up the tableaux! Here we re-create the box front with Vader and his snowtrooper squad preparing to repel the Rebel cavalry led by Han and Chewie.

"Laser machine gun" brought into action.

"Pretend you detonate the snow bridge!"

Box side photo - two snowtroopers about to beat a retreat in the face of the Rebel assault???


Command post blows sky-high.



Some close-up shots of the toy's details. Just some great sculpting apparent in the snow textures here.

The business end of the LMG.


Defending the Base.

Vader stands out a bit against the snow, no? Maybe a white cape would have been a better choice, just this once.

Detail of the snow bridge.

The command post. Note two roof pieces that fit on top.

Assembled toy.

The toy with all of its component parts: base, command post structure and two roof pieces, snow wall, two-part snow bridge, Laser machine gun. You'll find that many loose Attack Bases are missing one or more of these pieces - the roof parts to the command post can be especially tough to find.

Copyright info on the bottom of the base. Note reference to "Lucas Film Ltd" and "Rev 10". Unlike parts like the bases from the Land of the Jawas playset, the Creature Cantina playset, and the Droid Factory, though, the Attack Base parts were not re-used in other released toys.



Handy instructions for assembling and using the action features on your Attack Base :-)

The Imperial Attack Base has to be one of the most feature-packed playsets released in the ESB wave and I'm happy to have a complete one in nice shape. I still think it a shame that the movie connection wasn't made stronger by branding this as a "Rebel Defence Base" or similar, though - just imagine how cool the box art might have been. By this time the Kenner packaging designers were losing their inhibitions about limiting illustrations to collections that kids might realistically have had - witness the five snowtroopers, four Rebel soldiers and two Tauntauns here. How cool would it have been to see a box front with swarms of attacking snowtroopers and an AT-AT or AT-ST or two!

3 comments:

  1. Everything about Hoth rocks! This was a great playset, and once again, like the Snowspeeder, I didn't have it as a kid. I bought one for a friend for his birthday, hoping someone would reciprocate. But no. Thank goodness for the internet and ebay. Nice post.

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  2. Thanks for the comment GI! I didn't have this one as a kid either - maybe my parents thought it would be silly to pay for plastic snow when there's tons of the real stuff outside for free :-)

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