About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

L is for Landspeeder

According to the predictions of the 1950's we'd have had anti-gravity vehicles by the year 2000, if not the 1980's, yet we are still waiting! And despite various 'mag-lev' train systems (some of them dating back to the 1950's - I think? 1970's?) and the recent announcement of a floating skateboard; there's still not much sign of Landspeeders, or plain-old 'Speeders' any time soon...

 ...luckily George Lucas took care of it in 1977..sort of! On the left of each pair above is the original Kenner toy which although dated 1978, is probably based on pre-production artwork, as it's not exactly accurate.

On the right is the Galoob 'Action Fleet' version, a much better rendition, which although almost the same length is a smaller scale. I'd say the Kenner effort is about 1:48, the Action Fleet model being around 1:56?

A few comparison shots, it's interesting to see Kenner described as a division of General Mills (who went on to buy the rump of Airfix), what might have been huh? And Kenner went on to give Hasbro a run for their money...for a while, only to be swallowed by them!

Quite a traffic jam of Speeders in down-town Coruscant, the plastic Galoob being joined by a later die-cast - technically from the same range - of a Royal Naboo Security Force patrol/staff car (?) and two Tiger Electronics 'Real Sound' models of the opening chase scene's vehicles in the 2/5  movie.

The Naboo machine is scaled more toward the MicroMachine end of the spectrum, and a small part of Kenner's problems was likely the clear failure to control the brand franchise when the three new movies came out. If they hadn't had two similar yet partially incompatible ranges (MicroMachines and Action Fleet), if they hadn't had various sub-contractors and subsidiaries producing bits and bobs (like the solid-window Tiger Electonics car), if they hadn't experimented with die-casts (twice), pre-production prototypes and other nonsense, if, if, if.

If - instead - they'd stuck to one range and expanded it into a gaming system (before Wizards of the Coast did exactly that with a third scale and few vehicles) at toy prices with a broader range of figures and vehicles, the range might still be with us, even though; under Hasbro's name. With the subsequent demise of the Wizards range, we are still waiting for a decent set of small scale Star Wars figures and accessories from the expanded universe!

As a postscript...the 54mm people are also still waiting, as Paul Stadinger was saying the other day; new range of figures in that size is being scaled-back after less than a year! It was the same with Horrible Histories...the manufacturers don't give them a chance, like Spartan babies - if they don't turn an immediate profit, they get the chop!

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