Star Wars Saturday, Part 1: Attack Shuttle!

London and I are big fans of The Clone Wars, and we especially groove on some of the ships and vehicles of that era. We salivated over the big Nu-class Attack Shuttle toy when it came out last year, but it originally retailed for something like $80 and we weren’t going to part with that much for it. However, last night we found it on clearance at Target for $39.98 so we snapped one up.

One thing to bear in mind in all the over-the-top action to come: when all the doo-dads are packed away, this thing is a pretty darned accurate rendition of the Attack Shuttle from the Clone Wars show.

With the wings in flight mode–or S-foils in attack position, if you prefer–it looks like it could have flown right out of the television screen.

But then you deploy the pop-up guns…

…and land the thing, raise the crow’s nest/fighting platform, and open the defense stations in the wings…

…and it transforms into a full-on base, with room for approximately a zillion action figures. There are no fewer than five guns that fire little plastic missiles: one on each side of the cockpit, one on each of the spring-loaded pop-up guns (London is playing with one of these in the above photo, with Ahsoka standing on the platform for the gunner), and one in the stubby dorsal fin. There are also “secret” non-firing guns on top of the cockpit, on the defensive walls that pop up out of the wings, and facing backward on either side of the engines. It really seems as though the thought process of the designers was, “Hey, we have a couple of cubic centimeters here that aren’t doing anything–let’s make  a secret compartment with spring-loaded guns that really fire!”

And I am totally cool with that. In toy-industry lingo, this thing has tons of play value. It has play value tangled in its hair and hanging out of its pockets. I want to go play with it right now.

And yes, the cockpit can detach, deploy stubby wings and a double blaster for a top-hatch gunner, and fly off as a ‘recon fighter’. There’s even a little spring-loaded engine that folds down automatically once the cockpit detaches to give this idea a gloss of verisimilitude.

I suspect that the detachable cockpit-fighter may be the point for some people where this toy jumps the shark, but I love it. It reminds me of the old ‘mini-rig’ vehicles that Kenner made for the Star Wars toy lines after Empire and Return, and captures the same spirit of gonzo-stupid-awesome–a mix that I think is an important part of Star Wars, period.

In sum, the Attack Shuttle is a new toy that reminds me of my favorite things about the old toys, without being imitative and without sacrificing the accuracy of the vehicle when all the secret bits are stowed. I’m glad we finally got one, and if you have a Target nearby you should at least go check. (I’m assuming you’re into Star Wars or you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place!)

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