View Full Version : Weekly Review: Death Star Space Station

04-11-2005, 12:49 AM
Ok last week was a bit of a dud, but this week should pack a bit more fire power. The Death Star Space Station (http://photos.sirstevesguide.com/showphoto.php?photo=8976&cat=3383&page=1). The mere mention of this playset gets most fans, collectors, or people who had or wanted it as a kid drooling. The first and largest of the playsets, the Death Star was first released in 1978 and discontinued in 1980. The only variation is in the box. '78 box had the LP logo on them, later ones didn't.

I think most people's opinions of the Death Star are really bias one way or the other. Either they love the set or they don't. I fall in the "they don't" category, primarily because I didn't even about the playset as a kid. So I don't have any strong childhood feeling or memories about it and am viewing it with very adult eyes. Therefore its impossible for me to talk about it fairly.

I will say that it has some good elements, like the trash compactor, elevator, and gunner's station. Some bad elements, like it flimsy construction and non spherical shape (hey the European version had it). And it was missing items, most notable a jail cell for Leia.

Fluke Skywalker
04-11-2005, 02:26 AM
I had the Death Star playset as a kid and it was amazing! Lots of play value too. The trash compactor was awesome. It even included the compactor beast (Dianoga I think). You could turn a knob and collapse the walls and the "Trash" which was just foam bits.

I was so happy when I got this. I know it had to be expensive (Wonder what it retailed for? I'd guess $49.99 or so) so that made me appreciate it that much more. That was a big sacrifice for my Mother at the time.

**** 4 Stars :D

04-11-2005, 07:10 AM
I was so happy when I got this. I know it had to be expensive (Wonder what it retailed for? I'd guess $49.99 or so)
Try $17.87! http://www.toysrgus.com/images-toys/figuretoys/deathstar.html

The death star was a truly great toy. For those of us who had it in our childhoods, just the size of the thing was amazing. I must have been about 3 feet tall when I got one from a yard sale in 1980, and it wasn't much shorter than me.

The design was pretty awesome as well. While large, it was mostly hollow and fit into a small box, which kept it affordable. You could just about play any scene from the movie on it (Lucifer Sam is right, no cell block, but there is a trap door into the compactor, and who can forget seeing what the dianoga (back then simply known as the trash compactor monster- way before everything in SW had a formal name) looked like.

The only downside was that it could not take a beating. For every complete death star out there, there are many more with broken turbolasers, busted level supports, and missing ropes. Regardless, a great toy.

04-11-2005, 10:39 AM
Loved It As A Kid And Love It Now As An Adult. I Now Have Four Of Them To Stand In The Four Corners Of My Table.to Make My Death Star Complete.

04-11-2005, 10:58 AM
I received the Death Star for Christmas 1978 (see photo - the Star Wars box on the floor next to the DS is a Darth Vader inflatable bop-bag). I loved the playset since it was so big and was fun to put together. It was fairly sturdy but the cardboard surface panels just weren't meant to last in mint condition. I hate that toy companys often still use cardboard backdrops instead of plastic even today. The cannon mechanism on my original broke as did one or two of the girder tips, but the levels still hold together. The tiny rope used to swing figures across the chasm always seemed to disappear. I later removed the trash compactor and used it as a conference room for my figures. I had the toy for years before I discovered that the elevator has a sliding door that rotates to close.

I used the Death Star and my figures to recreate scenes from the movies but eventually used it as a base for an imagined Empire-Rebel Alliance. [(This was a drawn-out fantasy involving a dastardly plot by the Jupiterrinneans to take over the galaxy. It involved other toy lines including, but not limited to: plastic 1:24 Dukes of Hazzard General Lee and police car, some Fisher-Price vehicles, and my 3 person contingent of Bespin Security Guards, who were endowed with superpowers similar to General Zod and his cohorts from Superman II. (Boba Fett was the Superman to these villains)]. Can you imagine Bespin Luke and Han tooling around in the General Lee, chased by Bespin Guards in a Fisher-Price safari truck? Well, let me tell you folks, it happened with surprising regularity at my house.

I ended up buying another DS from a neighborhood friend after he lost interest in the toys in the mid-80s or so. It was in much better condition than mine and is complete with a nice box. I use that one now when I display this toy.

In May 2002, I discovered that the box I used to store my vintage toy boxes had sustained major insect damage. I was lucky: I only lost my original Death Star box (see photo) and some GI Joe boxes. It was tough to have to burn those boxes after having them for so long. I still have my second DS box though. After that incident I decided to toss out all cardboard boxes used for storage and move everything into plastic containers.

04-11-2005, 02:30 PM
Great pics, J'dai. I never really played crossover that way, but it sounds fun... :)

04-11-2005, 02:33 PM
The only downside was that it could not take a beating.
That's what blows me away with this playset. The thing could have a habit of spontaneously combusting and you guys would still love it. Its a cool playset, I won't deny that, but its far from great in my mind.

Bel-Cam Jos
04-11-2005, 06:47 PM
This was quite possibly, aside from the AT-AT, the one SW toy I never had but always desired. I have not bought it, since storing it would be difficult (I'm running out of room). I knew a few friends who had it, and I just adored it.

I often did the "crossover" playing, especially when GI Joe (and to a lesser extent, Transformers) came out, it was easy. The guns could be used for both, the GIJ helmets (sometimes) fit the SW heads, and the land vehicles that were so rare in the SW galaxy were a-plenty in the army.

I did have dreams that Kenner made a huge sphere-shaped DS. I deparately tried to fall back to sleep quickly to keep hope alive!

04-11-2005, 07:04 PM
I never had one, but a friend did. ANd it p***ed me off. Like BCJ, I wanted it, but never got it. Same with the AT-AT

Fluke Skywalker
04-12-2005, 03:59 AM
by JON9000 Try $17.87!

Wow! Of course, in 1978 or whenever, that was about the same as $50.00. I was adjusting for inflation. ;)

04-12-2005, 10:38 AM
I got mine as a birthday gift I think sometime in the 78-80 year range.
I loved it and used it often but mostly as a base for the empire and not much for actual battle play because there were no sides. A major flaw in protecting yourself. Worked well for displaying figures.

I did the crossover thing a lot and used it later as a Cobra base and would put the A.S.P. in the bottom opening where the trash compactor goes. It fit there very well. Never got the Terror Dome so the Death Star had to suffice as the Cobra base.