Friday, January 18, 2008

B-Wing Fighter Vehicle (ROTJ)



Despite its unusual design (as were many Star Wars ships), this was an awesome toy. Let’s just spell out the features, shall we? We’ll go right into the five reasons to own for this one:

Why should you own this vehicle? Five reasons:

1. Rotating cockpit. Always stayed level with the horizon – unless you locked it into one position.

2. Guns under the cockpit. Guns at the end of every single wing too.

3. Wings could fold in and out, just like (well, not just like) an X-Wing, by rotating one of the back engines.

4. Laser battle sounds! This required batteries of course.

5. You even get pop-out landing gear. All that and a kickstand!

The B-Wing Fighter only came in an ROTJ box, because, well, that was the last movie. Maybe if the POTF line had stayed popular it would have been reissued in another box, but that’s all conjecture. The toy itself is also very accurate to the actual movie prop.

Backstory:

The B-Wing was developed under Admiral (then Commander) Ackbar and the manufacturer Slayn & Korpil under Project Shantipole. It was intended as a replacement for the Y-Wing, but due to the difficulty in flying it, Y-Wings stayed in service for a while. The standard weapons configuration was 3 light ion cannons (to disable, not destroy), 1 heavy laser, 1 set of twin blasters, and 2 proton torpedo launchers with 8 torpedoes apiece.

The B-Wing rotating cockpit would freeze in one position sometimes, a problem inherent in the design. After the Battle of Endor, some B-Wings were fitted with firefighting equipment to handle blazes from debris on the forest moon. Some B-Wings were also later modified to have a two-person cockpit for a gunner and pilot.

Due to the shape of the ship, some planned sequences were not filmed for ROTJ, so we actually see precious little of it in the film. Its name was also not quite derived from its shape, but more because the film crew referred to the new ships as ship “A” (the A-Wing) and ship “B” (the B-Wing). While it takes a stretch of the imagination to say the B-Wing resembles a lowercase “b,” the backstory was created that the “B” stood for “Blade,” since the Fighter was so streamlined.

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