Toy Review: Starspeeder 1000 Vehicle Playset
A long time ago, in a theme park far, far away, The Walt Disney Company and George Lucas teamed up to bring guests into the Star Wars universe. We wouldn’t get to shake hands with Han Solo, but would make a scheduled space flight aboard a ship known as the Starspeeder 3000, visiting worlds and places many of us had only seen on movie and television screens.
However, our intrepid pilot REX instead goes the wrong way, and very soon, sends us careening through a comet, and even sends us down the famed Death Star trench.
For many years, fans eagerly hoped that Kenner/Hasbro would make a toy based on the ride vehicle. When Star Tours was revamped in the year 2011, that wish was (kind of) granted that fall, with the release of the Starspeeder 1000 Vehicle Playset, courtesy of the Disney Parks merchandising division.
Why 1000? Well, the revamped Star Tours is (somewhat) a prequel. The ships are the same design as the 3000, albeit with a cleaner paint job, and some added accoutrements. Instead of the same journey as the previous ride, your ride journey is based on random choices from a computer system. So, you could ride Star Tours 5 different times, and never have the same experience twice. One journey may take you to the ice planet Hoth, another will put you in the center of a podrace on Tatooine, and so-on.
When it comes to the Starspeeder 1000, there’s quite a bit to cover in regards to this playset. So, let’s start on the outside.
The Starspeeder 1000 is a cool playset, and one can see that the designers wanted to make something that kids would find plenty of things to play with.
In the upper-right of the Starspeeder, is a little square button that when pressed, flips open a pair of hidden blasters under the main viewport. This also activates the blue lights on the front, and some side-blasters light up with red lights too! The button also activates sound effects, that simulate the flipping open of the hidden blasters, and blaster sounds synchronized to flash along with the side-blaster lights.
The ship also comes with its own R2-D2, though this one is little more than a stand-in/statue for the piece. Above, you can see it on the right, next to the Original Vintage Trilogy Collection R2-D2 from my collection.
Just like the Starspeeder 3000, the 1000 model has a slot for an Astromech Droid (aka an R2-unit) to fit, and help navigate perilous Star Tours journeys. The best part is that the slot can fit almost any Astromech Droid that you have! Plus, when you press down on the figure in the slot, several R2-D2 sound effects play, and the front lights on the Starspeeder turn on!
Behind the R2 port, is a small area with the designation, IC360. The compartment opens, to reveal a removable camera-droid (similar to the kind that were seen hovering around the Galactic Senate in the prequels). The camera here comes with no stand, so kids can just take it out, and ‘hover’ it around with their fingers and imaginations, as if it’s filming things around the ship.
On the rear of the vehicle, there are four action buttons, conveniently hidden on the rear gray compartment. In case you can’t find them, they are the little rectangles with two smaller rectangles on each.
The top two buttons activate the left and right rows of doors. Not only do they all open in unison, but small lights go on, and the ‘welcome’ chime from the ride plays!
The lower buttons activate voice features, with Anthony Daniels (aka C-3PO) providing the same vocals as he does on the ride.
The lower right button has C-3PO’s voice going, “Lightspeed, Artoo! Now!” This is followed by a burst of sound effects that we’ve come to know when we see lightspeed in the Star Wars universe.
The lower-left button is dependent on a couple features inside the vehicle. When you take the top off the vehicle and look behind the rear seats,
you will find a stack of 4 grey plastic cards, with several images, and little square slots along the bottoms of them.
These actually fit into a small slot at the front of the ship. Inserting a card into a slot in front of the windshield protector, the playset then adds some bravado to our Star Tours adventure. The differences in each of the slots on the bottom of each card, activates a different voice/sound effect just like on the ride! Pressing the lower-left button gives the following sounds:
For the Podracer card – (in C-3PO’s voice) “Oh my, a Podrace! I’ve always wanted to do this!”
For the Planet Hoth card – (in C-3PO’s voice) “Hold onto your circuits!”
For the Yoda hologram card – (in Yoda’s voice) “May the Force, be with you.”
For the Death Star card – (in C-3PO’s voice) “I have a bad feeling about this.”
For no card in the slot – (in C-3PO’s voice) “Thank you for flying Star Tours!”
It should also be noted that the sounds emitting from the Starspeeder are pretty loud. The speaker for the sounds is located near the rear of the ship, and may shock you the first time you press one of the buttons. This is one toy you’ll be able to hear your child playing with down the hall.
Now that we’ve blown the lid off the Starspeeder, let’s take a closer look inside.
A captain’s chair is provided, just like in the ride. However, you’ll need to provide your own pilot (whether it’s C-3PO, depends on you). The chair’s circular base also hides a hole, that can also be used for the Captain Rex figure that was released some years ago in the Star Tours action figure line. Captain Rex was the old pilot for the original Star Tours, and it’s a great touch that his figure can also be used in this set.
The front of the ship’s interior contains pre-applied decals, based on the interior of the actual ride vehicle.
Of course, some compromises will need to be made in toy designs, and the amount of seats inside the Starspeeder is one of them. The original ride vehicle seats 40 passengers, while the playset here can only seat 9.
One item that is rather annoying, is the 3-passenger seatbelts on each row. I found these to be a pain to fasten, for an adult like me who has larger hands. I think if a kid attempts to fasten the straps, it will work much easier. Two pegs/two holes fasten each of the straps, but the size of them helps make the situation more difficult.
When I was little, I remember going to a garage sale, and being in awe of a used Millenium Falcon toy the family there was selling. To me, it was a huge toy compared to a lot of the other items I had. With the Starspeeder 1000, we have a toy that is pretty big, ranking up there with the Falcon, and the AT-AT for size and fun features.
Yes, those measurements are correct: this toy is over a foot-and-a-half long.
One of the greatest things to see, is a toy that was made with the kind of care by adults who longed for a super-awesome toy themselves. The Starspeeder 1000 is the fanboy’s dream of a ship from this attraction, that definitely feels like the best ideas for a toy brought forward. There’s very little here to criticize, with the exception of the pricetag. This baby will run you upwards of $75, which I’m sure will have some thinking twice before pulling out their wallets. Originally when released, it ran with a price tag that seemed more reasonable: $55. Even so, one can imagine the upsurge in pricing due to this being a Disney Parks merchandise exclusive. Though keep in mind that this playset can only be bought in the stores on the Disneyland and Walt Disney World property, as well as through the special hotline to order Disney Parks merchandise. Bottom line: you won’t find this in stock at your local Disney Store or Target.
The Disney Parks merchandising division handles much of the Star Tours/Wars-related merchandising that one encounters inside the park. I am very happy with the amount of detail and attention they paid to the Starspeeder 1000 playset. Though one thing I think would make for a great exclusive, would be to repaint the ship, and sell it as the Starspeeder 3000 from the original ride, with its less-colorful paint job, and Captain Rex piloting us into all sorts of catastrophes.