TVC Landspeeder - Target exclusive
It's $25, which is too much money for what you get. That's the price of a Starfighter-class toy, which is larger and has more features. Plus, this mold in different paint was $20 when it came out originally and that had a figure with it. But that TRU-exclusive set came and went without much fanfare and was lost to the ages, so if you've wanted Luke's iconic landspeeder since, this is your only avenue. And it comes in a nifty recreation of the 1970s Landspeeder packaging. Plus, this thing is like 3/4s the size of a starfighter-class toy, but there's no $18.75 pricepoint out there (though I do think they should have aimed for $20 instead of $25). I can't imagine how the set's case-mate, the new Tauntaun, fares in a similar box at this price as it's surely smaller and less product.
The Landspeeder toy itself has 2 features, a clip to hold the included rifle, and the spring-loaded "hover" suspension. The clip works in a basic manner, and both it and the rifle are thin enough to give play use some concern, but for display it's not too bad. The hover suspension is the same gag as the original '78 toy except the springs here are a bit more taut since this landspeeder is bigger and heavier, so it's not quite as floaty in that respect, but it retracts nicely and the wheels are clear. The floating height scales well to the figures and is close enough inside the body that it hides itself from most angles.
The styling is lightyears beyond the original Kenner toy. The first thing I noticed is that the body has a pleasant, accurate, subtle curve to the front half instead of just being entirely flat. Also, growing up before the Special Editions, the landspeeder always stopped fairly quickly below the midline, but after the SEs, it's been given more roundness to lead to the underside in the film, and this toy reflects that. The bubble canopy windshield is no longer a silly semi-sphere the way the Kenner model was, now it's a lower slope that reaches almost all the way back to the seats, though it's not quite as high as the movie. The vehicle seems fairly short top-to-bottom, but looking at the movie photo on the box, it's clear this thing is not inaccurate in that regard. The nose leading up to the canopy has been lengthened slightly from the movie prop, it's not really a bad thing as I think it gives the vehicle more of a sleek, significant look.
The sculpt enjoys a lot of dings and scrapes and dents, giving it that lived-in look. And the left engine is uncovered like in the film, with a nice sculpt piece of wires and engine parts raised off the main surface. I do secretly miss the button on the front that opened the original's hood though. ;) The one area that doesn't hold up quite as nicely is the cockpit, it has stuff going on and even some sculpted detailing, but not enough detail in general and what's there isn't sharp enough, the control yoke is acceptable but the control displays are simple and bland, and the seat and floor textures don't really pop.
The paint on this version is new, different from the Saga original, and more film-authentic. The old one wasn't inauthentic, but it was missing the dusty red tones, going entirely for the tan look of the VHS releases I suppose. This new paint job is much more of what is seen in the movie - that continues to the dark silver weathering. Where the '02 model had a bit of a first run attempt at weathering which was somewhat akin to cheetah spots, this one takes its cues more from the movie model, which is far more roughed up than I remember it (probably again thanks to the ultra clean look of the '78 toy). That said, the use of dark silver brush strokes looks like brushes rather than wear (especially the top of the nose), and the lack of an overall weathering is a missed detail that would have added a great deal. There's also a sense that paint apps were cut leading to missed opportunities to bring out the sculpting, like the blank cockpit displays and the ring of flaps around the right engine. The left exposed engine however is silver and has a very nice blackwash to it, not sure why it gets so much love and - aside from the nose - the rest of the weathering doesn't. The wrap-around flourish vent shape at the midline here is done in dark gray with just a hint of silver, it's not quite as movie-accurate as it should be, but it kinda gets away with that.
I put Luke Jedi from The Legacy Collection in here as it was the figure I had at hand, and it fits great. The figure makes great use of its mid-torso joint since the seats are curved quite a bit, but I don't know how straight-backed figures will handle this. The windshield isn't as close to the seat-backs as it was in the movie, but it's clear that was done to give you the best fighting chance to get figures inside the vehicle. The steering yoke on the right side reaches out far enough for figures to use comfortably, but can make putting figures in the driver's seat difficult.
The packaging is a fun recreation of the Kenner classic minus the "mini-action figures" terminology used on the original, but is it worth $7 or so on top of the value of the toy? I don't know about that. No matter what they did they were going to release it in a box anyway, so it's not like it cost them extra to make it a box that looked like the original (except maybe it cost them in sales, as the '78 packaging doesn't have the shelf-appeal of modern toys so it's going to have to work harder to compete). Also, this retro packaging hurts the toy by showing an amazing weathered prototype paint job compared to the halfassed brush strokes within; and it hurts in that it shows it displayed with figures that aren't available on shelves right now!
Bottom line, I like this thing, but it does feel like 3/4s of what it should be. The value, the paint weathering and cockpit sculpt don't quite live up to being all it could be, but what does work works pretty well, and it's a nice piece to have. Toss a few Jawas around a burning fire and your Luke figure can be pulling up to Obi-Wan and the droids in style.