Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Star Wars Speeder Bike with Scout Trooper Toys R Us Exclusive

If you’re like me, you’ve been a huge fan of the Speeder Bike ever since you first saw Luke and Leia ripping through the forest moon of Endor trying to track down those pesky Biker Scouts. The 1983 Kenner version of the Speeder Bike was great when I was six, but since then my toy pallet has been refined. Since 1995, fans have been crying for a better Speeder Bike. Have we finally been giving something better? Read the review to find out!

I would have loved to see this on vintage packaging. Not that the version we got isn’t good, it just seemed like all the elements are there for the vintage packaging. Store exclusive, check. Appropriate toys included, check. Ah well. While the packaging isn’t necessarily dazzling, the window gives us a nice view of the toy with a nice background element Other than that, it’s fairly standard fare for toy packaging. The back highlights a few of the features of the Speeder Bike, and the bottom gives directions for the cannon. Overall, it looks nice, I’m just a big proponent of the vintage style, so I can’t help but see a missed opportunity. On the plus side, with the vintage packaging, I would feel compelled to keep a sealed version, so this way I save some money.

When you slide everything out, you see that you get a fair amount of toy for your toy dollar. The obligatory Speeder Bike and Scout Trooper, two guns for the trooper, a cannon that comes with a tri-pod or attaches to the bottom of the bike, a stand for the front of the bike and a nice two-piece clear display stand. If anything, it seems like we’re given extra accessories. I’ll take too much over too little any day.

The Scout Trooper is clearly designed to go with the bike, as it should be. The sculpt is fairly similar to what we got last time around, but with clear differences that help him mount his trusty Speeder Bike. The ball jointed hips are helped out by a wide stance that allow him to straddle the bike well. The shoulders have a wide range of motion, and the articulated wrists allow for proper gripping of the Speeder Bike handles.

The pistol fits fairly well in the Scout Trooper’s hand. With a little effort, you can also jam it into the holster on his leg. The previous Trooper’s holster was a lot more utilitarian, but this guy has a bike, so there you go. The double jointed head makes this the first Scout Trooper that can actually look where he’s going while he’s on the Speeder Bike. What a novel idea!

Away from the bike, this Scout Trooper looks a little lackluster compared to the previous one. He’s a little hunched over, he has an unnaturally wide stance, etc. But if you didn’t notice, this guy comes with a cannon… and a Speeder Bike! You shouldn’t be buying this set for the Scout Trooper on his own.


Although it’s an odd accessory (never seen on-screen), the cannon is actually a fairly nice addition. The legs are a little spindly and flimsy, but once you get them coordinated, the trooper and his wide stance can dig in behind the cannon and start frying ewoks. The cannon legs can attach to the back, allowing the cannon to snap into place under the bike. Again, while it doesn’t necessarily make “sense”, the cannon adds some good play value. Remember, this is a toy, so play value still counts.

The Speeder Bike itself is hands down the best version we’ve received to date. The included stand can snap on the front bars, allowing the bike to stand on its own without the need for hand support. Or, if you’re feeling saucy, you can use the clear display stand, which attaches to the rear of the bike. Total Hasbro win on the inclusion of a display stand. I wish we got more of them.

No exploding features this time, but the front of the bike flips up to reveal a fairly well detailed engine. Again, unnecessary, but definitely cool. The bottom features the standard cannon, or the tri-pod cannon can be folded up and snapped on underneath. Personally, I prefer the more screen accurate smaller gun, but the folding cannon looks nice as well.

For me, the greatest improvement on the Speeder Bike is something that fans have been requesting for years, accurate handlebars. Finally, we have the horizontal handles that we saw in Return of the Jedi. I don’t know why it took so long, but I’m glad they’re finally here. Thanks to swivel wrists, the Scout Trooper can finally hold those handle grips the way he was meant to. Long overdue.

The Scout Trooper has significant articulation in the legs that allow his feet to step right into the foot holds, where they fit snuggly on the pegs, allowing your Trooper to stay on the bike to the best of his ability. The double-articulated neck allows him to look ahead, look to the side, or look behind him, all in a relatively natural fashion. While he’s not a great stand-alone, this Scout Trooper is perfect for the Speeder Bike.

Initially, I thought this was a little overpriced. Par for the course, as far as Toys R Us exclusives go. But then I saw him and thought, “Yea, he’s worth the near $25 (after tax)”. Then I opened it up and thought, “money well spent”. Seriously, this is about the most excited I’ve been about a Star Wars toy since the BMF. I really hope these aren’t difficult to track down, because you will want at least one. Even if you’re not a big Star Wars fan, this is a great toy from an iconic scene.

I’m hoping that this sells well, and will lead to an Endor Luke and Leia with Speeder Bike, either individually or as a two-pack. Seriously, if you don’t like this set, you don’t like toys. Head out to your local Toys R Us and demand one, or head to ToysRUs.com and refresh until this is in stock.