All speeder bikes in the history of the line have been a bit of a chore for me. You have to fight with the figure to get it into position. The foot holes never line up with the intended pegs. The position of the rider is never natural. It’s a host of compromises. With this release of the Episode VI Speeder Bike, those issues are resolved. Instead of two supposedly compatible items that feel like they were developed in a vacuum, the Speeder Bike and accompanying Scout were definitely made so that they interact perfectly. Sometimes taking the photographs ends up feeling like a true (unpaid) job. I actually had fun posing the bike and rider because they work so naturally together and allow you to achieve poses that are direct from the film without turning your figure into a contortionist.
Many of the frivolities of the vintage mold have been eliminated. Gone are the spring loaded feet which also raised and lowered the flaps that would stay attached for all of seven seconds. The feet are static and the flaps are now raised or lowered by hand (and securely attached). It’s a much nicer execution. The exploding feature has also been jettisoned. Instead you can now raise the hood of the speeder bike to expose the engine. I think this is a much better play feature. Whenever I’d get a hot wheel car as a kid that had an opening hood or lifting body, as in the case of the funny cars, I thought it was the neatest thing. I think kids will similarly enjoy this feature.
Having said that, as a toy, this isn’t the most rugged of playthings. Portions are quite thin and frail looking and will lead to easily being bent or broken. The forks that hold the nose in place on my sample are mildly warped into a slightly twisted stance right out of the package. As a toy, this could lead to Hasbro receiving some parent complaints (or maybe you should teach Johnny not to play with his toys like a goldarned caveman). As a display piece, it excels. The clear stand lets you pose the bike as if it were flying through the forest of Endor. I do have to say I’m not thrilled with how high off the ground it holds the speeder. You have the option of displaying the bike on the ground with a removable kickstand or placing it on the clear stand which has a relative height of about 6 feet. That’s obviously much higher than the speeder bikes flew in the film. Minor complaint.
The neck joint on the biker scout is a revelation. The range of motion achieved for the head is unprecedented in the line. Bravo, Hasbro. It allows the Scout to still be looking forward when he is angled while riding the speeder. I love it. You’re going to want all of you figures to have this type of articulation. I would gladly buy the Vintage Collection Darth Maul again if they simply added this type of neck joint. By now, you’re well aware of the increased number of poses that can be achieved by virtue of ball jointed hips. If in fact this is the figure that is released in wave 1 of the Legacy Collection in 2013, I’m going to want to add a few more of these to my collection.
The tripod cannon is a neat, but unremarkable inclusion. It can be broken down and attached to the speeder bike to make it appear like a more aggressive toy, or it can be used as is. The legs don’t want to fully cooperate, so using it as a tripod cannon takes a degree of patience. The intent was clearly to make the speeder bike a more formidable looking fighting vehicle for kids, while not disrupting the aesthetic for adult collectors (as we’ve seen with the alternate weapon pods on the AT-ST). As such, it doesn’t sway my opinion of the set in either direction.
Overall, I give this set 9 out of 10 with the deduction being for the lack of ruggedness described above.
9/10 Bantha Skulls