In honour of the 30th anniversary of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Hasbro has released two versions of the movie’s most iconic vehicle: the AT-AT.
As Hasbro says in their press release for the Star Wars Imperial AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport), “in space, size does matter”. Everyone who sees the deluxe AT-AT for the first time is struck by the sheer enormity of it. While it isn’t fully to scale with the 3.75” action figures that man it, it does currently hold the title of largest AT-AT toy ever made, fitting a crew of 20 action figures, six of those in the head’s command cockpit alone. The yellow starburst on the packaging, proclaiming the 2010 AT-AT to be “Over 2 Feet Tall!”, doesn’t really manage to convey just how big this behemoth is out of the box. It has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Unpacked and assembled, the deluxe AT-AT stands approximately 24 inches tall, 28 inches long, and 12 inches wide, about the size of a medium-sized dog, and, loaded to full capacity with action figures and a speederbike, weighs nearly as much as one, too. It’s instantly the focal point of a room, even if, in the absence of a sizable enough table or display case, it’s relegated to the floor.
Despite dominating the average Star Wars collection, bigness isn’t the deluxe AT-AT’s only selling point. A gorgeously crafted toy, it quite faithfully recreates the stop-motion models used in The Empire Strikes Back, putting it closer to being a studio scale model than simply a plaything. The attention to detail is impressive, particularly in the interiors. Also contributing to the high-end air of the piece is Hasbro’s meticulous paint job. Applied with model maker precision, the paintwork capably matches the appearance of metal, with dark, rusty stains weathering the vehicle, and panels painted in mismatched shades giving it the realistic look of a patched-up war machine. As an optional bonus, a sheet of battle damage stickers is provided to further age the AT-AT’s armor. (These stickers are permanent ones, rather than the reusable peel-and-stick kind, so choose carefully how you place them.) Seven more stickers fill in the AT-AT’s viewscreens, and there are three Imperial markings to apply to the included speeder bike.
Most importantly, the deluxe AT-AT is huge fun to play with, as it’s loaded with features. It emits vehicle, walking, and laser firing sounds, accompanied by 27 random-play Darth Vader, General Veers, Imperial Officer, and Clone Trooper sound clips from The Empire Strikes Back (three 1.5VAA/R6 batteries required; the American version speaks phrases in English, but the mainline product in Canada is sound-effects-only to accommodate the French market). More than one sound can be active at once, permitting Imperial commanders to bark orders while the AT-AT is in motion. LEDs light up the cockpit viewscreen and forward laser guns, which move by means of slider buttons under the chin, and the guns on the cheeks shoot projectiles quite a distance when buttons are pressed on them. A pull-up handle behind the head pops up hidden laser cannons, and enables you to lift and swivel the head. The deluxe AT-AT has a multitude of hatches to explore, as well. The top of the head opens to access the cockpit, where the included AT-AT driver action figure sits, and double hatches open on both sides of the body. A zip-line pulls through the trapdoor in the floor of the main compartment, then winds back up with the press of a button on the upper deck. At the rear of the AT-AT, a large hatch drops down to reveal the speeder bike bay. A speeder bike is included, and snaps onto a launch/landing pad that extends when a button is pressed (there are a lot of buttons on this AT-AT). There are even a couple of tiny hatches on the sides of the docking bay that let you peek in at the parked bike when the hanger is closed. Inside the two-level main compartment are a pair of repelling platforms that swing out, each capable of holding two figures. They’re lowered by pressing a button, and retracted by turning a thumbwheel. The AT-AT’s articulated legs have ratcheting joints at the hip and knees that securely lock poses into place with a loud, satisfying click, providing extra stability. Adjustable at the ankle, the feet are bigger than those on the original Kenner AT-AT, raising the Imperials’ chances of stomping a Rebel snowspeeder.
The instruction sheet warns against knocking the AT-AT over, but after watching it tip over numerous times, it didn’t seem to be any the worse for wear. The thick plastic is sturdy enough to take a pretty heavy beating, and the doors are designed to release when too much pressure is put on them, then snap right back on. As long as kids don’t lean their weight on the head or try to use the AT-AT as a riding pony, it should hold up to many years of enthusiastic play.
Need another reason to want Hasbro’s Star Wars Imperial AT-AT? Fans of the nostalgic short film AT-AT Day Afternoon, who missed out on getting the vintage Kenner AT-AT, now have the opportunity to adopt their very own robotic dog from a galaxy far, far away!
For children (ages 3 and up) who aren’t old enough yet to play with a Super Deluxe AT-AT, Hasbro offers the Star Wars Galactic Heroes: AT-AT Walker. This junior edition AT-AT is a little over knee-high to the deluxe AT-AT, and looks absolutely adorable when displayed next to its towering big brother. Like the rest of the toys in the Galactic Heroes line, it has a chunky, stylized look that will appeal to kids and/or fans of the Japanese “chibi” style made popular in anime and manga.
The Galactic Heroes: AT-AT Walker is basically a “training wheels” for the deluxe AT-AT. It has the same features, but in a more stripped-down form. Electronic lights, weapons, and walking sounds (two 1.5VAA/R6 batteries required) are activated by a single button on the head, but don’t play concurrently, and sound bytes aren’t part of the package, so children are free to do their own movie quoting. There are two hatches, one for the cockpit and another on the left side of the body. The AT-AT Walker is completely in scale with other Galactic Heroes toys, though the bulky blaster wielded by the included AT-AT driver necessitates a bit of wiggling to fit him into the driver’s seat in such a way that the cockpit will close. A speeder bike, also included, clips onto the main compartment’s hatch, and inside the compartment is a trapdoor and simple zip-line that’s manually operated by pulling a plastic tab in the roof that the cord is tied to. The legs and hips are labeled with numbers for quick, easy assembly, and articulation is limited to the hips and ankles. This small AT-AT won’t be achieving any deep knee bends, but its range of movement still allows for multiple action poses.
Both of the AT-ATs have screw-on battery compartment covers, with the screw safely attached to prevent loss or a choking hazard. (Note: These toys are not recommended for lolcats!)
Order now at Amazon.com:
Star Wars Imperial AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport)
Star Wars Galactic Heroes: AT-AT Walker
The Star Wars Imperial AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport) and Star Wars Galactic Heroes: AT-AT Walker are distributed by Hasbro and Hasbro Canada. For more Star Wars information, please visit the official Star Wars website.