Thursday, September 3, 2009

Land Speeder / Sonic Land Speeder (SW)

Okay, so technically this is two different vehicles, but I like to think of them as two versions of the same thing: the original and the "Sonic Controlled" one. So, when we get down to the "S's," maybe I owe you one. You ungrateful bas...but I digress.

One of the first vehicles released in the original line, the Land Speeder (later releases made it one word: Landspeeder) represented the finest in Tatooine luxury and comfort. In other words, it was the used car you gave to your son or daughter learning to drive - a beater. Not like your dad's car with the Bantha-hide seats.

The toy was actually a bit more luxurious than the movie vehicle, because most of the vehicles in the movie were supposed to be from Lucas' "used" universe. It wasn't until manufacturing processes caught up in the 1990's that the vehicles got a more weathered look. The 90's version of the Landspeeder even had wrecked engine plating like the movie.

The toys glided on wheels that could be retracted using the "stick shift" between the seats. The engine hood also lifted up to engine decal. The British version did not have an opening hood, apparently because British children would have been too traumatized by the site of a sticker.

A little later Kenner came out with a "Sonic Controlled Land Speeder." If you're a child of the 80's you may remember this kind of "remote" control. Basically, the vehicle "heard" the audible click of the remote, there was no actual signal. When it heard the click it would make a J-turn in reverse. I had another toy like this from the Starriors line (Deadeye and Cricket - but I don't expect anyone but me to remember that). The only other differences from the original toy was that the engine cover didn't open, there were pegs behind the seats for figures to stand, and it was slightly larger. The Sonic version was only available through J.C. Penney, back when they used to be a big cheese in retail.

The landspeeder was released again in 1983 with a "classic" label on the box, distinguishing it from the 1978 release.

Why should you own this vehicle? Five reasons:

1. As Billy Dee would say, the wheels gave a smooth ride, like a Colt 45 Malt Liquor.

2. This was the one vehicle you didn't mind your younger sibling playing with. It was fun to watch them try to recreate the picture on the box only to figure out that there was no way R2-D2 and C-3PO actually stayed on.

3. It was like a Hot Wheels, it glided across the floor pretty well and didn't need you holding it up in the air the whole time.

4. No other vehicle felt as enjoyable while mowing down Jawas and Sand People.

5. Kenner tricked you into thinking it was a four-figure vehicle, when the only way the droids were staying on is if you didn't move it and no heavy trucks passed by your house.


Luke's landspeeder was an X-34 built by the Sorusuub Corporation (a popular manufacturer in the galaxy). Its popularity waned once Sorusuub came out with the XP-38 landspeeder, which looked similar except for more rectangular engines (never shown in the movies), much like the engines on the V-35 Courier landspeeder, shown in the Lars garage.

Landspeeders work using repulsorlifts that support it whether in motion or not. Turbine engines give it forward momentum. Sources say that the X-34 had a top speed of 250 kph, or 155 mph. The cockpit could be closed, but obviously Luke liked the wind whipping through his blond, feathered hair and sand in his eyes.

Want more? Its Wookieepedia article

97th in alphabetical order


Cap'n Carrot said...

When I was in Kindergarten a girl broke the little shifter which put the wheels up and down in my land speeder.

I still haven't forgiven her.

Ben said...

Find one at any garage sale and you'll see the same thing.