Thursday, July 29, 2010

Toy Review – Star Wars: AT-AT By Hasbro



Toy good! Me love!

Honestly, that could be the whole review. But then I’d feel like I’d ripped of the fine people who visit my little blog every day, so I think I can come up with a few more things to say.

Having bought two out of three of Hasbro’s last big-ticket offerings, I was pretty damned excited about this AT-AT. The Millennium Falcon and the AT-TE are both intricate and outstanding examples of toy engineering, so I’ve been dying to see what Hasbro was going to do with this new AT-AT ever since the first vague confirmations on the project were reported last Fall.

Since then, we’ve been getting bits and pieces from Hasbro’s creative team, who really know how to build anticipation. Just a few months ago, the first pictures started leaking out. And then, earlier this month, I found the first items from the new star Wars line for this Fall at Toys R Us. No AT-AT, though. Until this past Friday.

I actually went into my regular TRU with the intention of buying a couple of the new WWE figures – they were on sale and I kind of want a Mickie James and a Chris Jericho. I stood there for a while looking at the little plastic grapplers and decided I just don’t care about WWE enough anymore to blow money on wrestling toys. I hit the Star Wars section just because and almost fell over when I saw a single, solitary AT-AT sitting there on the shelf. 

After talking to some of the employees there a few days before, I had determined that the initial toys had just been sort of an early fluke and that no more was likely to show up before August 1st.

But there it was, and now I’ve got an AT-AT to review for you.

First Glance: I knew this thing is extremely huge from the reviews I’ve already seen online, but Hasbro has managed to pack it very economically. While the box is still fairly gigantic, it should have no problem fitting on shelves in Walmart, Target, wherever. The speeder bike draws my eye by looking different from other speeder bikes. The pilot is clearly not the same amazing sculpt as the Legacy one that came out recently, but it really doesn’t matter – he’s going to spend pretty much his whole life sitting in a cockpit.

Sculpt: I don’t know where to begin. Trying to review this thing is almost overwhelming. I’m going to start with the head and work my way back.

You could probably fit about six figures inside the cockpit. There are two pilot seats in the front with space behind them for officers, then the view screen with more space behind that. The screen lights up blue when activated and has several different sound bites to accompany it. The forward view port is actually red-tinted translucent plastic, presumably so the figures you choose to put in this massive beast’s control area can look out upon your other toys and laugh. The whole interior of the cockpit is sculpted with amazing detail, from all of the controls and surfaces to the view screen; which actually has Imperial lettering on it (a bigger nerd than me would not only know the name of the Imperial font but would be able to tell you what it says. I read online that one of the groupings of letters actually says something to the effect of, “Thanks for buying this huge toy! Enjoy!”). There are also several pegs to stand the commanding officers on. The exterior of the head is just about perfect. It has the chin-mounted cannons that light up and move when you slide a lever, just like the vintage AT-AT. It also features the side cannons, which fire missiles.

The neck has a rubber housing to simulate the look of the movies. It looks great, but I’m a little concerned it might deteriorate over the years.

The main housing is brutally huge, so I’m going to cover it in three different sections: the front, the middle and the rear. At the very front – just behind the neck – is a cleverly concealed handle. This handle pops up out of the top of the body and allows you to control the movement of the head. It moves up and down and side to side, but the side to side is a little clunky. Regardless, the mechanism is nothing short of brilliant and keeps you from having to stick your hand in the troop hold to move the head. I always hated that when I was a kid. I really felt it spoiled the illusion to have the bay door open while fighting Rebels on Hoth. Plus, you couldn’t keep as many troops in there with your giant, stupid kid hand inside.

The middle of the chassis is where most of the goodies are. In addition to the beautifully sculpted interior – panels, controls, the all-important foot pegs – there are enough gadgets to keep you busy for a while. First of all, both sides open and require two panels to do it. Once you’re inside you see that the AT-AT is actually a fricking split-level! With a basement! 
There are three levels inside this thing, all connected by a ladder that I am unreasonably impressed by. The bottom is sort of a crawlspace that we’ll get to in a minute. The middle is a staging area where your troops can hang out before they deploy to the surface, which they do by descending from one of the two working winches! The top level is a command center with a view screen and a large console. There is a button on the console that activates a sound bite and an interior light that happens to be red. The sound bite is, “Red light!” which cracks me up. There is one more feature here if you can believe it. There is a panel underneath the chassis just like the one Luke Skywalker sliced open in Empire

When you open the panel, it reveals a clamp that attaches to a figure. The clamp is on a line that is attached to a motorized unit that pulls the line up into the belly of the AT-AT, so the figure can throw a thermal detonator (or a penguin or something, whatever) into the aforementioned crawlspace that is the bottom level of the interior. I have probably spent no less than half an hour just reeling figures up into the AT-AT so far. It is awesome.

Lastly, there is the AT-ASS. There is a cargo bay in the back of the chassis that deploys a redesigned cold weather speeder bike. And it is truly awesome and amazing that they managed to fit this into an already astounding vehicle; but it is truly hilarious that the AT-AT basically shits out a speeder bike. I love it.

The legs are as articulated as they need to be. You can position them in pretty much any way an AT-AT might need to stand.

Design: This is probably one of the most movie-accurate paint apps I have seen. All of the wear and stains just look great. I’ve got several photographs of the one in front of the Star Wars ride at Disney/MGM Studios and this thing looks just like it. Many of the control panels inside the AT-AT have stickers pre-applied, which is great because I don’t know how I would’ve gotten in there. There is also a label sheet, but I didn’t use any of those. It’s a combination of “damage” stickers and images from Empire to put on the various view screens. I don’t like battle damage and I don’t want to limit where my AT-AT might be. What if mine is on Endor’s moon? Or Dantooine? How stupid is the view screen going to look if the Hoth shield generator is showing up when the vehicle is on Ord Mantell? That’s not going to say much for Imperial technology.

Captain Schlongus, we believe we’ve come upon a Rebel encampment!”
Bring it up on the view screen, Lieutenant Velcro.”
Here you go.”
Lieutenant Velcro, I can’t help but notice all the ice in this image.”
Yes, sir. It’s all over that shield generator, isn’t it?”
Lieutenant Velcro, we’re on Tatooine. Tatooine is a desert planet.”
Then I wonder where they got all that ice…”
Lieutenant Velcro, you’re fired.”

So you see where those Hoth images might not be appropriate. I like them and they look very nice, I’m just not going to use them.

Accessories: The AT-AT comes with missiles for the launchers, a speeder bike and an AT-AT driver.

The speeder bike is slightly different from past releases. It has different handlebars and doesn’t explode. It also just looks a bit sleeker and more real. It fits into clamps on a platform in the rear of the AT-AT.

While I would have preferred the newer, recently released AT-AT driver sculpt (he's on the right); it really doesn’t matter. This guy may be slightly inferior due to his non-removable helmet and crappy swivel elbows, but it doesn’t matter. He’s going to be largely unseen inside of a cockpit. I’m glad the thing came with a figure at all.

The missiles do what toy missiles are supposed to do.

Packaging: I love the new packaging. I think it looks much nicer than the old all-white Clone stuff. This one didn’t come with a diorama, but I really can’t complain.

Overall: I can’t believe you get this much toy for a hundred bucks. I can’t complain about anything. If I were being ridiculous I could say that it should have included a Hoth Scout Trooper for the speeder bike, but come on.

5 out of 5
I mean, I like it so much I made a freakin' video. That's a lot of effort for me.

This is the best toy Hasbro has ever made. It barely edges out the Millennium Falcon, but it does. I’m a little surprised to say that, but the AT-AT just seems to have more bang for the buck. Speaking of bucks, you might want to get one soon if you plan to. I noticed when the young lady at Toys R Us rang me up, the word “PROMO” appeared in front of the price. I don’t know for sure, but that suggests to me that the $99.99 price tag might not last forever; as well it shouldn’t. This is easily a $150 item.

You should also note that Toys R Us will be offering an exclusive version in the Vintage style packaging. I don’t know if there are any other differences, but if that sort of thing is important to you, you might want to wait.

And yes, that's Otis preparing to perform the classic "Butt Sniff" maneuver.

Until next time, stay creepy


  1. Great review. I bought this new AT-AT here in Ireland for €150, but it was really well worth it. It also blow away the old Kenner version in every respect. Did you know you can actually fit two speeder bikes in the back garage side by side? At the moment I have the one that you get with it, and my much older Kenner 1983 version in there, along with two stormtroopers standing in between them.

  2. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. This might just be the best toy I've ever owned. Thanks for the tip about the speeder bikes, too. I happen to have the Hoth set of two Hasbro released a couple of years ago and they fit in nicely, plus have pilots. Hope you continue to enjoy the blog!

  3. Great Review! Very nice toy.