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Fast Through the Forest

Star Wars Adventures
by yo go re

Star Wars movies have always really been for kids. Sure, most of the hardcore geeks are well over the legal drinking age now, but the films were aimed at the 8-year-old inside all of us. Though fans might have forgotten that, Lucas never has.

In order to cater to that young crowd, Lucasfilm Ltd has joined forces with Playskool to release a line of Star Wars Adventures aimed at preschoolers. The characters, creatures and vehicles are all smooshed down to kid-friendly sizes.

The sets are so cute and yet such nice representations of the films that the sets are also being picked up by folks old enough to remember seeing Star Wars in the theatre. So far there's at least one set available from each film.

Deep in the forest of the planet Endor, our hero Luke Skywalker and Wicket the Ewok pursue an Imperial scout trooper in a dangerous game of chase on speeder bikes!

If the fanboy complaint about Return of the Jedi was that the Ewoks were too cute, Playskool has cranked the "adorable" knob to 11 for this set. Tiny little Wicket is 1½" tall, with a spear that's an inch taller than him. He's one solid molded piece, with paint apps to bring out the detail of the sculpt. He's wearing his orange leather hood and carrying a dark brown spear with a metal tip. Wicket's got a smile on his face and his arms are open wide, ready to hug anyone who comes near.

The Scout Troopers have always been my favorite Imperials. Their armor has the best design and they get to ride those cool bikes. What's not to like? This little Trooper stands just over 2" tall, in the squat position shared by all the figures. His huge, brown-soled boots give him stability, and he's got that familiar helmet. He moves at the shoulders and waist, and holds his tiny blaster pistol in his right hand. The sculptors captured all the detail you could hope for in this style of figure, right down to the holster on his leg.

Luke is wearing his black Jedi outfit beneath the forest gear the Rebels donned when they arrived on Endor. His poncho is made from real cloth and is held down by a large plastic belt buckle. He's molded with his helmet on his head and a stern look on his face. His gloved right hand clutches his green lightsaber and his left hand is open. There's a magnet in his palm, for Jedi Force action: put his left hand near the Scout Trooper's chest and Luke knocks him over.

"Fast Through the Forest" includes two Speeder Bikes to recreate Jedi's chase scene. 4" long by 1¾" wide and 1" tall, the bikes are designed so that the figures can ride them (that squatting position of theirs comes in handy). Each of the bikes has a surprising amount of detail, from the ridged handlebars to the buttons on the control panel, from the engine and undercarriage to the rivets and bolts holding it together. Very nice!

These Playskool sets came out in 2002, but were so popular that they've been extremely hard to find. Between parents buying them for their little geeks-in-training and fans buying them for themselves, Playskool might be the first Star Wars manufacturer since 1977 to underestimate demand for their toys.

-- 03/28/03

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