Expanded Universe Airspeeder (1997)

I’m amazed that the 90s Star Wars series started dipping into pre-production sources for inspiration so early in its life.

The Airspeeder is based on designs by Ralph McQuarrie, and the toy is a bear-perfect representation of its two-dimensional counterpart. The lines and deco are pure McQuarrie, and one can spot the future Snowspeeder throughout the vehicle. I’m particularly reminded of a painting I first spotted in the Empire Strikes Back trading cards, which featured prototype-speeders whose profile was much taller than the final ships.

90s Kenner being 90s Kenner, we can’t get away from action features. Thankfully they’re well integrated and don’t intrude on the look of the vehicle. Flip-up wings are activated via a small button on the top rear, and a missile launcher is tucked away in the underside. This thing reminds me of the lower engine-block launcher from the T-16 Skyhopper toy. I wonder if this is a deliberate choice, since they’re both made by Incom within the SW mythos. If so, that’s a pretty cool cool and super nerdy inclusion.

If the speeder wasn’t enough, the pilot was also included. For me, the vintage line missed the boat when it came to driver figures. After I started collecting GI Joes, I missed the specific drivers that Hasbro often packed in. The 90s era rectified the issue in some cases, and I’m glad these McQuarrie sets got such attention.

One thought on “Expanded Universe Airspeeder (1997)

  1. I never realized the wings on this flip up! The McQuarrie imagery was so amazing to preview scenes of ESB. I prefer the final Snowspeeder design, but as a generic airspeeder, this is pretty cool.

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