Tonight we get half way through the preliminary matches with Fight 8: the Mobquet Flare-S Swoop Bike versus the Aratech 74-Z Military Speeder Bike.

This is a light weight match up, but we are pitting just about every Hasbro Star Wars vehicle there is against each other to fight for the ultimate title of the SSG Battle of the Machines Champion!

With that in mind, the Flare-S Swoop Bike was a brand new vehicle never seen before until introduced for the Shadows of the Empire toy line. However, the vehicle had been referred to in the Expanded Universe novels before, as it pertained to the young Han Solo racing these kinds of Swoop Bikes in the professional circuit. The bike then appeared in the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition movies, seen briefly in Mos Eisley, when a rider startles a Ronto that dumps its frightened Jawa passengers. Another Swoop gang rides by in The Phantom Menace, as the heroes first enter Mos Espa. The Swoop fans got as a toy is somewhat modified from what we've seen in the films or read of in the EU. This Swoop carries one heck of an extra punch in the form of an onboard cannon that can be modified to fire a heat-seeking missle! The weapon swings up into an "attack position" while the craft is balanced by another stabalizer wing on the opposite side of the bike. The thrusters may also be pivoted underneath the bike to act as a kickstand. Finally, the vehicle includes a very interesting pack-in figure of the Swoop Biker whos almost cyborg mercenary gear has never been seen before.

The Aratech 74-Z Military Speeder Bike is extremely more recognizeable from its unforgettable scenes in Return of the Jedi. This vehicle has been packed with every known movie pilot which today includes its standard pilot, the Imperial Scout Trooper, as well as Princess Leia of the Rebel Alliance (shown), Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker, and Ewok Scout Paploo (most recently released). All of the pack-in figures are available in other venues (save for Paploo) be it a carded figure, or a Millennium Minted Coin box figure. Meanwhile, the speeder bike features a pivoting blaster cannon, braking flaps that operate remotely when the foot pedals are moved, and an explosive battle damage feature that causes the craft to blow apart when the camouflage jacket is pressed down on the rear of the craft.

One of these fast babies is going to speed to the finish line and make it to the next race for the quarterfinals!

You pick the best machine! Vote now!