Thursday, December 2, 2010

Toy Review – Star Wars: Republic Swamp Speeder By Hasbro

Finding this Swamp Speeder was one of those happy surprises. I had planned on buying it when I first saw a production picture on RebelScum a couple of months ago, I just didn’t know when it was hitting. I lucked into it at the shittiest Walmart in my area, the one none of us bothers to check out anymore because they don’t seem to stock anything. Ever. But my toy sense was tingling as I passed by the other morning and I decided to drop in. I had just started to look for the Zatanna from DC Universe Wave 14 and figured it was worth checking . Not only did I pick up a Zatanna, this normally crappy Walmart also had the newest series of Star Wars vehicles – a new AT-(something) deco, the Separatist Hyena Bomber and this Swamp Speeder.

I bought the Speeder and Zatanna, but I kind of wish I’d gotten the Hyena Bomber, too.
I don’t plan on reviewing Zatanna. She’s comics-accurate, her top hat does come off and I’m fine with the yellow vest since that’s how Dan Brereton drew her in his latest art book. As for the Swamp Speeder, check it out:
First Glance: Walmart is charging slightly less for this size vehicle. IT was 23 something-or-other, which is about a buck less than Target and four less than Toys-R-Us, who has become the new Kaybee Toys price-wise. Remember when you’d only buy stuff at Kaybee if it was on clearance or if you couldn’t find it anywhere else because their prices were so high? Well TRU is like that now, only without the clearance.
As far as the Swamp Speeder (oh, was I supposed to be doing a review?) goes, the box compelled me to pick it up. I initially looked at it and didn’t want to spend the money just then, but a closer inspection sold me on this planet-bound vehicle; something that’s a rarity in the Star Wars toy line these days. I’m not sure exactly where this thing comes from. I don’t remember seeing it in the movies or on the show, but stuff pops up all the time that I’ve never noticed before. Whatever its origins, you can be sure the media-oriented folks at Hasbro didn’t just make it up.
Speaking of Hasbro’s decision-making, I’d like to take a moment to say how disappointed I am in their decision regarding Duchess Satine of Mandalore; as in they’re not making her. Despite the fact that she was (and continues to be) a central character in some of the most important episodes of The Clone Wars (I would argue that she was one of four main characters in the most important episode thus far), Hasbro has claimed that she is a non-action-oriented female and will not sell. I think that’s pretty lame and would argue that she is another strong female character who is playing a big part in the story, right alongside Padme Amidala and Asohka Tano. I would go so far as to say that she should have gotten a figure before Shaak Ti; and I am a big fan of Shaak Ti.
Sculpt: This is a great design because it is familiar and strange at the same time. It looks like a cross between your typical Star Wars landpeeder and one of the big fan boats like the one that blew Wee Man across the swamp. The Clone Wars people should really remake that stunt with this vehicle and Yoda.
What we have here is a half circle platform with a turbine motor, a central brace and two seats bolted on. Honestly, you’d have to be some kind of lunatic to ride on this thing. It looks about as safe as a swoop bike, but can carry more potential victims. But I dig it. The fact that Hasbro has clearly designated The Clone Wars as a kids’ line does not mean the toys from it are any less detailed than the movie-inspired vehicles. There are all kinds of panels and hull details. There are wheels on the bottom and two rocket launchers on the front. The wheels work fine, but the rocket launchers look kind of crappy because they use those rockets that you push the end down to fire rather than having a button. I really dislike that mechanism, as it severely diminishes the aesthetic quality of whatever it is being used on. Aside from that, though, everything looks good. The rocket launchers themselves could stand to attach a little more securely, but when something actually has working seatbelts you kind of give minor things a pass. That’s right, Diamond Select. Your high-dollar DeLorean couldn’t manage functional seatbelts, but Hasbro’s middle-of-the-line vehicle that I can’t even place in a particular show or movie did. And well.
Design: The paint is very nice. Remember when I said the Swamp Speeder looks kind of dangerous? Well the paint apps just add to that effect. Hasbro has gotten very good at recreating that signature Star Wars look of wear and tear. The Republic Red portions look nice and have the appropriate amount of scratches and smudges. The consoles and seats are well done, as is the central brace and turbine.
Accessories: (figures certainly not included) Four crappy missiles which may be slightly bent when you open your Speeder.
Packaging: I love the new packaging. I think it looks much nicer than the old all-white Clone stuff. I’m glad they’re still doing the diorama backgrounds, too because I just used all of mine to wallpaper my stairway.
Overall: I’m glad I got the Republic Swamp Speeder, but I’m not so sure I’ll be loving it three or more years from now. It’s exciting right now because it is new and it’s not a starship, but in all honesty it isn’t that special of a vehicle. It just occurred to me to wonder if it floats…
3 out of 5
It’s neat, and if you find it on sale during the holidays for twenty bucks I’d say get it. You should also get the Flamethrower Clone Trooper in the picture because he is awesome. Except for his tiny hands.

Until next time, stay creepy
-Phantom

3 comments:

  1. after a quick search on wookiepedia, here's where the swamp speeder has been seen:

    * Star Wars The Clone Wars Volume 2: Crash Course
    * Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (First appearance)
    * Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
    * Star Wars: Empire at War
    * Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
    * Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided

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