TR Review: The New AT-AT

By Rob Bricken in Movies, Toys
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm
Short version: Holy @#$% this is the best Star Wars toy ever. I'm not even kidding. I think it even beats the massive Millennium Falcon Hasbro released two years ago, although I might be biased since I'm a bigger fan of the AT-AT than the Falcon. Point is, when this thing comes out in August, if you see it, you buy it.

If you're some kind of soulless nerds who needs actual reasons to buy a giant AT-AT toy, well, here's some brief stats:

• It stands over two feet tall
• It holds up to 20 figures
• It comes with an AT-AT Driver
• It has emits dozens of sounds and Star Wars quotes from both the movie and Clone Wars
• It fires two missile projectiles
• It has an improved head-movement system over the original
• It comes with a speederbike
• And more

No seriously, there's more. A lot more. Hit the jump for more details and plenty of pics, only one of which has my foot in it.

Okay, first off, this thing is huge. I'll show you a pic in a minute, but it towers over the old AT-AT vehicle. The sculpt is infinitely better and more detailed, and instead of the open windows on the sides in the old version, it actually has small hatches which can be opened and close at your preference. On the top of the main body there are three very subtle buttons which play the appropriate laser fire sounds, walking noises, and more. The vehicle also comes with stickers for laser blasts and damage, if you don't like your AT-AT factory new like I do.

The cockpit has room for two drivers (that's the included AT-AT-Driver in there, chilling) and several places for the AT-AT Commander to monitor the... er, monitor. There's a button by the screen that plays all the quotes, Including ones from Veers, Darth Vader and various Clone Wars clones. And yes, the screen lights up blue when the button is hit, too, revealing the Eebel base's shield generators. Outside the cockpit, the higher guns fire the missiles, and the lower chin guns have a small, hidden lever which "fires" them back and forth, with accompanying lights and sounds.

The main inside of the AT-AT is enormous, with room for tons of figures. Both sides can be opened up as shown. And see that key-shaped doohickey near the bottom? Well, that's a retractable landing platform, which two Snowtroopers can hang on to while they're being lowered to the ground. There's one of those on both sides, and they each have a well-hidden gear which can be spun to retract either platform. Very nice.

Press the button on the top of the AT-AT's keister, and the back pops to down and a Speederbike platform pops out. The Speederbike is clearly adapted to cold weather environments, because it has white highlights instead of brown; it also fits snugly on the launching pad so it doesn't fly off or anything. It's pretty awesome, although I do wish it had come with a Snow/Scout Trooper, because I can't find any.

Much like the old AT-AT vehicle, the new AT-AT comes with a small grappling hook pre-attached that Luke Skywalker can use to climb up and blow the hell out of it. But unlike the old AT-AT, it's not just a string hanging out of the bottom of the torso. No, this grappling hook is easily stored away out of sight (and out of my cat's mouth) by the hinged door you see in the pic. But even better, once the line is extended all the way and Luke's ready to roll, there's another button inside the main torso which makes the line retract automatically, so Luke zip up just like he does in Empire. It's so @#$%ing great.

Finally, if you had the old AT-AT, you know that you had to stick your arm into the AT-AT's body to reach the handle to control/move the head. I'm not knocking it; it was a great feature. But the new AT-AT beats it soundly with a handle that pops up from the top, so it can stay completely out of sight when you don't want to use it. I have no idea how Hasbro did it, but the system actually makes the head move in that odd fashion like the AT-ATs did in the movies -- slightly more lurching than natural -- and it's just unbelievable. And if you we were worried that the handle would still be noticeable when it's retracted, don't worry. I mean, you'll know it's there, but it's ingeniously designed so the barest minimum is visible.

As I said, the AT-AT is my favorite Star Wars vehicle period, so I've kept one of the 1997 versions (which used the original '80s Kenner mold with a few extra features) on display for... well, 13 years now. As you can see, the new AT-AT towers over it, crushes its self-esteem, takes its lunch money, and then makes out its girlfriend while it watches. That's how awesome the new AT-AT is. Right now, it can be pre-ordered for $109 over at Entertainment Earth, which is a goddamn steal -- kids, adults, collectors, whatever, this is an awesome toy for anybody. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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