Hi! I’m not Jim-I’m John. This is still his Toy Box but he’s allowing me to play in it for a while. Lets see what Santa left me under the X-Mas tree!
Star Wars The Force Awakens X-Wing Fighters. Die-cast metal par excellence` from Hot Wheels! Although Hasbro is releasing their own line of vehicles under the Titanium line for some reason they let Hot Wheels release vehicles form the new film as well. The Hot Wheels ships are slightly larger than their Titanium counterparts depending which ships you buy, and seem more durable. I managed to get the White X-Wing with blue marking and Poe Dameron’s Black X-Wing with orange markings. Interesting that for these toys and in a Star Wars film this is the first time we’ve seen these color combinations for the “good guy” ships.
Most models in the films avoid using any sort of blue colors because it interferes with the matte process combining models with backgrounds. You might hear mention of a “Blue” squadron fighter but likely won’t see them or a pilot bearing a blue insignia in the old films because of this. However in todays digital realm the blue color does not interfere with CGI so they can have it and show it off. I’m trying to remember if there actually was an X-Wing with blue markings in the film but honestly I can’t recall; they move so damn fast onscreen.
Poe Dameron’s black X-wing is quite striking with it’s orange markings and twice as hard to photograph even in outdoor light and with a camera that has a good macro feature. I also have to wonder if this color scheme foreshadowing a dark turn for the character? That would be an interesting twist.
Looking over these ships you have to notice that the X-Wing has got a makeover for the new film, (or a facelift and a nose-job would be more accurate). There are a variety of reasons why the design might have changed. The intakes are now 1/2 circles like in the original paintings Ralph McQuarrie did so many years ago, (when George Lucas was trying to sell the concept to 20th Century Fox). Hasbro actually released just such a toy a few years back with their Star Wars Alpha – X-Wing Concept series in the late `90’s/early 2000’s. I don’t have it handy as I type this article but I’m sure I can dig it out for a comparison in the near future.
The half & half interlocking wing design is probably a cool feature but these ships are static; the wings do not retract or extend and I’ve not seen this interlocking wing feature in any old trilogy concept drawings that I can recall. There is a blue and white Hot Wheels X-Wing with the wings folded up as well. That’s probably a nice variant for the completist but I’m on a budget and I like the X-foils extended for battle. Tho it has been shown on screen that an X-Wing can only land when the wings are in the folded position. The laser cannon mounts are made of a durable rubbery/plastic so they may bend out of shape a bit but not too badly.
Also the fuselage nose is much shorter now. While the first 2 changes can be attributed to a cool design I have to wonder if the shorter nose was budgetary, (because it’s cheaper to build a shorter full-size prop), or was J.J. Abrams thinking of the Kenner X-Wing design from when he was a kid? To fit the action figures Kenner fudged on the scale a bit and shortened the nose of their toy all those years ago. In the the late 1990’s they released a larger and more accurate X-Wing toy that held action figures and boasted a lot more sound effects too! If you compare the two ships you can see the difference. I wonder if the new X-Wing that fits action figures is the old Kenner X-Wing fighter body with new wings and intakes. Something we can investigate in a future Toybox if Jim is willing.
I also noticed that of the four engines in back the two bottom ones are shorter in length than the top ones. I’m really not sure why this is. I also have a die cast Titanium X-Wing and it has the same odd feature. Again, something I’ll have to dig up for a follow-up.
I was unable to get the white & blue X-Wing on it’s own so I had to settle for a 2-pack where it’s packaged with the First Order Transporter. This is a simple but nonetheless, cool ship as well. Not unlike the transports that delivered troops to Normandy Beach on D-Day it is a practical ship which we should have seen in many of the other films. No screen-time has been given to show how they get their soldiers from location to location from the Star Destroyer and this addresses that question. The design is sleek and the details liven up what would otherwise be a plain, rectangular ship.
The ships no longer have the old style, display stand the Titanium series used in the past but instead come with these new finger mounts named a “Flight Navigator Accessory”. You mount the ships on this clear piece of plastic and slide the other end on your finger and run around the house like your holding a pair of scissors to act out dogfights and other adventures. It’s probably a neat idea but being an adult I couldn’t fit it on any finger but my pinky. Rather than look foolish sticking my pinky out with a die cast vehicle I will probably just hold it in my hand and run through the house-and still look foolish! It also indicates these are geared towards kids and not adults with nothing better to do than buy toys. Heresey I say! I will have my Star Wars toys! For their price and size these are a great value and well worth having. They’re great for the shelf at home and probably for keeping on your desk at work.
Now, Go Play!
John Michaels 01/XX/16
Editor’s Note: John has been a longtime friend of Jim;s and the Toy Box an I’m truly thrilled to have him taking a more active role in the play days around here. He’s far to humble to boast on himself so I’ll so it for him. He’s a great artist and model designer / builder and more importantly a guy that has encouraged me to play in so many wonderful ways! You’ll easily see why I’m thrilled to have him hanging with me in the Toy Box. – Jim