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.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Tatooine Skiff Vehicle

People in collecting hobbies talk all the time about "Holy Grail" items... meaning the type of item that comes along extremely rarely, is usually very expensive, and is highly desirable as a centrepiece of a collection. This piece, for me, is a Grail item. The Tatooine Skiff was produced at the very tail end of the vintage era, was released only in "Power of the Force" packaging, is rare, is expensive, and (just look at it!) is amazingly cool.

I obtained this item is several transactions earlier this year. The vehicle was acquired from one dealer, an original spare part to replace a damaged bit of the vehicle from another person, the box from a third, and the original vintage Planetary Map from yet another!


The package design on this box is just wonderful. The play features are great, including retractable landing gear, movable thruster vanes, collapsing side rails, and of course the extending gangplank!



Great pic here of some figures on the Skiff. We can clearly see the "lateness of the hour" in terms of the vintage era from the inclusion of Barada, one of the last 17 POTF figures.

$14.97 pricetag... ha!!

Before we get to the ship itself, let's have a look at another inclusion with the toy - the Planetary Map. Interestingly, the Planetary Map wasn't referenced on the box as an inclusion, and probably made a nice surprise for the original purchaser who found it in the box.

The obverse of the Map has all sorts of interesting information about the planet Tatooine.

The reverse contains promotion for other toys in the later range, including the awesome Droids A-Wing Fighter!

And speaking of Droids... how about this strange description of the Skiff: "DROID DESERT SKIFF VEHICLE" (?)

Perhaps a Droids cartoon aficionado can weigh in as to whether the vehicle appeared in the cartoon, but we know that there was unproduced art for a Droids-branded box.

Here's the box photo...


... and my tableau. Barada is about to push Luke off the gangplank... 

Luke, for his part, looks around nonchalantly, waiting for his lightsaber to come flying towards him, no doubt.

A disarmed Chewbacca is guarded by Boba Fett while Weequay mans the controls of the Skiff.

"Now where's that lightsaber...?"


Luke takes a tumble as pictured on the box.

Followed by Boba Fett... unfortunately the railings aren't strong enough to support a "halfway down" shot like on the box.

Copyright info confirms this example as a 1984 PotF item as opposed to a reissue. Unfortunately the original vehicles were comprised of some very fragile parts - notably the side rails and landing gear struts. I believe that those parts on this ship have been replaced by identical parts from the reissue - not "reproduction" per se as the parts are from an identical toy, but not 1984 production.

Weequay demonstrates the operation of the Skiff's controls. Lever at the left of the picture operates the landing gear. Careful operation is a must as you can feel the delicate nature of the gears inside as you move the lever - yikes! Lever at right works the "drop-down" function on the gangplank.

Operator's eye view of the Skiff controls.


I also picked up a very nice laser-cut acrylic stand for the Skiff from an eBay seller. Great if you want to display the item as it saves stress on the landing gear.

Well there you have it. Grail acquired. I have to say it's great to finally have picked this one up. Not an insignificant investment either... although acquiring a toy, box, and insert separately usually costs more than buying them all together, I think I did OK with this transaction and didn't significantly overpay. The problem with the Skiff is that so few seem to have survived either in box or completely original. I'm happy with this one and it's satisfying to have added it to my modest collection. 

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