The much maligned, derided, ridiculed, and disdained All Terrain Armored Cargo Transport is here. When announced that it would come with a $300 price tag, there was a disturbance in the Force, as if millions of hard-core collectors cried out in terror… Well, thousands anyway. Maybe hundreds? OK, perhaps scores if we’re being really honest as to our numbers.
The concern over the $300 price tag, while steep by any measure for a Hasbro toy, might have been somewhat mitigated if the features were to be awesome. As details emerged, the community was split into different factions of hate. Many were angered by Hasbro’s audacity to release a toy that was not to scale with the beloved BAT-AT. Others were affronted by Hasbro’s impudence to include a gimmicky remote feature that would leave prospective owners with an immobile hunk of plastic once support for the controller app expired. And a certain few felt burned by Hasbro’s callousness to release a vehicle which would be ruined aesthetically with the inclusion of the dreaded Nerf feature.
The four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:
Price: $300 for a Hasbro toy would make anyone wince, no matter how awesome it might be. However, almost instantly upon being first spotted online at the Disney shop, a 25% site-wide sale made the AT-ACT available for $225. Still, a pretty penny. A few collectors grumbled some stuff about the sale, perhaps an eyebrow or two went up. Soon after, it debuted on Walmart.com for an immediate discounted price of $209. Some more mumbling amongst a few of the more adventurous and open-minded, some perhaps even entertained the thought that maybe a purchase was conceivable. Very shortly thereafter, it dropped to $199. Some more murmurs within the community followed. Then, reports emerged that Target was blowing out this brand new item at $149. Now, possible mismanagement of product launch aside, it seemed this might tip the scales a bit. I, myself, caved and snagged one at a local Target. Yes, $150 is expensive, maybe still too much so, but it’s not maniacally outrageous. At least most collectors can wrap their arms around that price, even if unwilling or uninterested to make the purchase. At least it doesn’t make you want to ignite your collection on fire, run naked in the streets, and root for the Cowboys…(the second thing being the least unlikely of the bunch.) I have a theory that the $300 MSRP was a marketing scam to begin with, so that the reduced price of $150-$200 seems more reasonable. And Hasbro can now point to community sticker shock as reason to tell us we’ll never see a Death Star playset. Also, last time I checked, the Walmart stock seems to have sold through, and online availability is now through a third party for $290. Somebody, besides me, is buying the AT-ACT - and no, I’m not army building the thing.
Scale: True, this is a step backwards, from a certain point of view. It is not to scale with the BAT-AT, which is indeed a bummer. However, it is identical in size to the original AT-AT. While we would most certainly prefer the BAT-AT scale, I personally feel that as long as it is the same size as the original, it is acceptable, given Hasbro’s attempt to add other features (more on those in a bit). I never had a problem with the original AT-AT. (On the flip side, I never had a problem with the original 5POA figures, but I do now.) Back in the day, if you sprung for a BAT-AT to set up a Hoth display, did that suddenly reduce your Endor AT-AT scene to a bunch of laughable plastic mini-nonsense? I say, NO! To have this AT-ACT displayed on a shelf depicting the Scarif battle is perfectly fine in my opinion, even if a Hoth BAT-AT is mocking it from across the room. It makes for a perfectly fine display piece, should you be so inclined. Of note, Wookieepedia claims that the AT-ACT is a larger variation of the AT-AT, so to be technically fair, this IS slightly out of scale with the original AT-AT, as it should be a bit bigger. For the record, Banthapedia does not confirm this information, so do with it what you like.
Controller App: Sure it’s a gimmick. The Wi-Fi enabled AT-ACT will connect to your mobile device via Bluetooth, and you can control the vehicle’s functions via a downloadable app. I had actually downloaded it previously, as it is part of the kid-friendly (but still kinda neat) Hasbro Star Wars Studio FX app. This app allows you to take videos of your toys, and add some cute special effects. No, it’s not Adobe Premiere or even iMovie, but it’s simple and clever. You’ll have several minutes of fun with it. The AT-ACT controller is a function within this app. You connect via Bluetooth to your AT-ACT, and from there you can get it to walk, rotate its head (clockwise and counterclockwise), make cheek gun firing noises (which also light up on the vehicle itself), and release the nerfs! I had read some concerns that the app would lose support, and once this happened, the vehicle would become a statue. Fortunately, there are buttons on the back of the AT-ACT so you can activate all of these features without the app. No, it’s not remote-control, but you can still use the motor and sound features long after the app is gone. Some screenshots of the app are included in the pics above.
Nerf: A somewhat recent (and almost universally panned) change by Hasbro to their Star Wars vehicles has been the inclusion of Nerf launchers. As serious collectors, we scoff at the notion of adding a play feature that, at best, is unwanted, but at worst, horrifically mangles the aesthetic of the vehicle. We demand realism in our plastic toys, and Nerf missiles have become the bane of Hasbro’s most recent Star Wars cross-over attempt. The AT-ACT comes with 4 Nerf missiles that are loaded into a “magazine” that takes up the co-pilot seat in the cockpit. If you insist that your cockpit have 2 seats, then you already hate this. But the important thing to note is that the aesthetics of the exterior of the head of the AT-ACT are relatively unscathed by the launcher. There is a small hatch that opens upon launch, and then closes neatly. When looking it the closed hatch, it appears to be little more than a square greeble on the chin. In my opinion, it’s a non-issue. As for the “rapid firing” feature touted on the box: eh, not so much. It fires fairly weakly and for little distance, and even if you fire it 4 times in a row, there is a significant pause between each. It isn’t bothersome by itself, it just should not have been advertised as “rapid.” All in all, the launching feature is fine by me, and it can be ignored easily if you hate it.
Walking: The walking feature is certainly not mind-blowing, but it’s not bad, and I admit it brought a smile to my face as it moved to the requisite mechanical movie sound effects. It moves slowly, as it should, and it is steady and stable. My criticism would be that these beasts moved one leg at a time on screen, while the mechanics on the toy have it move two at a time, so it’s not really screen-accurate movement. I didn’t expect a ton out of this feature, but it works about as well as I could have reasonably expected. I do like it, and think Hasbro did pretty well here.
Play features: The body of the AT-ACT holds a removable cargo container. You could just call it a command post, because everyone knows command posts are way cooler than cargo containers. This would seem to be movie accurate. We do clearly see one of the AT-ACT’s maneuvering with an empty body. The toy has a rappelling feature, so you can connect a rope from the AT-ACT to the command post, and figures can slide down. It also comes with a missile launching cannon. There are some compartments inside the belly, but they seem to serve little play value, other than possible storage for the smaller items.
Figures: Three non-SA figures come with the set, all of which are unique to varying degrees. C2-B5, which I believe was left on the cutting room floor, is a crap figure. I haven’t opened any astromechs recently, so I don’t know if this is common now, but there is no middle foot, the other feet aren’t articulated, and there aren’t even pegholes in them. Jyn looks to be a slight repaint of the carded Jedha figure, with some dirt/sand on her boots and minus the shawl. The AT-ACT driver is the best looking figure of the bunch. We now know for certain that this was not a Hasbro invention, but straight out of Rogue One in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. The only problem is that the ammo pouches on the waist belt are sculpted in such a way as to hinder the figure from a complete 90 degree sitting position. Seems silly that when a figure only has 5POA, 2 of those should be restricted, and particularly so when the figure is meant to be sitting. This figure appears to be a retool/repaint of the Scarif Stormtrooper that comes in the two-pack with Moroff. Both Jyn and the driver come with weapons. C2-B5 comes with a very small thank you note for buying the AT-ACT.
Overall, I have to admit, I kinda like this toy. Not at $300. Not at $200. Maybe not even at $150. While I did spring for it at $150 because LunchBox made me, I don’t know that this is the appropriate price for most people. While we would all prefer the BAT-AT scale, I have no problem with this size. While the app is aimed at kids, it does the job. While the walking feature might not be screen accurate, it works well. While the Nerf launcher doesn’t fire strongly, it does not impact the aesthetics.
So what could make this toy “awesome” instead of simply “pretty nifty”? Nothing, because I wouldn’t want an “improvement” on this AT-ACT (other than another price drop). I’m good with this as the definitive AT-ACT for my collection.
However, maybe Hasbro could refine and expand upon what they have done here, and give us a walking BAT-AT, legs that move independently like the film, a small camera inside the cockpit so you can use the app to see what General Veers sees and accurately target your Echo Base Shield Generator with actual rapid firing nerf missiles that travel more than 12 inches, and an MSRP of $199 for it all. I can dream.
So, is the AT-ACT deserving of the pre-release hate? I would say not. Is it worth the MSRP? No. Is it worth picking up if you find it at a price acceptable to you? I believe so. I won’t say you need this for your collection, but it is definitely worth a look at the right price.
Here are a couple of videos.
The first shows off the mechanics:
The second shows the AT-ACT in action against a dangerous and unexpected Alliance counterattack: