I think everyone who played with Lego as a kid loved it. I was no exception to this. I remember my first sets I got that weren’t just one of those buckets of bricks, one was a wizard tree house ‘shop’ and one was an ambulance so the wizard was always making trips to the hospital on all manor of various wizarding related ailments.
In 1999 I was flicking through a comic and I saw this printed advertisement which I think almost made me shit a Lego brick.
Though the advertisement I remember also had the sets available at the bottom of the page, this was just seeing Darth Vader with Lego swirling around his hands and the logo that said Star Wars with the minifigures above. I loved Lego and I loved Star Wars. But never did I imagine the two would entwine.
I was given £2.50 a week off my parents as an allowance, so it took a couple of weeks for me to have enough pocket money for me to be able to afford a set. But it was with a huuuuuge amount of excitement when eventually I was on my way to the model store to see if they had any Lego Star Wars available. They did, and without much deliberation I chose the Landspeeder, as it was affordable and it had Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi.
By today’s standards it definitely is not very impressive and they have released many better versions of the Landspeeder over the years. But this was the first and when I was a nine year old it was brilliant. I couldn’t afford an action figure sized Landspeeder and two action figures for the same price as this Lego version which I think was around £5.00.
I remember looking at the other models on offer as there was a set with Darth Vader’s TIE fighter and a Y-wing, and another set with scout troopers and Speederbikes, and another that was a Snowspeeder. There was also an X-wing fighter set, which I picked up and was looking at longingly. I was not a spoilt child, most of my toys purchased shops back then were from holidays or occasions. But my Mum must have realised how I loved Star Wars and Lego, and made me a deal, providing that I tidy my bedroom from top to bottom as soon as we got home, Mum and Dad would buy it for me. I couldn’t refuse this deal. It was one of the few occasions that I can remember that I actually worked hard to tidy my room.
It must have been around 11pm by the time my room had some semblance of tidiness, and I remember asking if it was okay for me to start building my new sets. I was told no, it was too late and I would have to do it in the morning. I woke up ridiculously early, around 5am the next day, and lay in bed looking at both the sets on my table in my room. For some reason in my head I needed to wait for my parents to wake up to check it was okay to start building them. I don’t know if it was because to me it was a momentous occasion or something and I thought that they should be a part of it, but I felt that I should wait. Impatience made it impossible to wait until my parents were up though, and I was soon tearing open the boxes.
I love how old Lego sets used to show alternate builds on the boxes.You don’t get that now, the boxes on modern sets just show pictures of the intended model but no others. The picture on the left it looks like Luke has crashed the speeder and Ben is pissed at him and is brandishing his lightsaber angrily. The second picture it looks like they have cobbled together a vehicle of sorts from the scraps of the Landspeeder but Ben has decided that there is no chance in hell he is letting Luke at the wheel again, and has taken over driving duties.
Putting the set together years later really took me back, and I had a lot of fun building it to take pictures. It is definitely one of the easier builds I have ever done but it does have that ‘swooshability’. You cannot help but make it zoom along the floor after you have built it. Or on the sofa in this case.
The Landspeeder looks very off colour-wise. In the original film it is a kinda rusty reddish brown colour but Lego decided to make it a sandy colour, with red on the sides. It doesn’t look too much like the Landspeeder on screen, but it does look enough like it for it to still be identifiable as Luke’s Landspeeder. It is only small but it is a fun little set.
The minifigures are pretty basic. Ben Kenobi doesn’t come with a cape like most Jedi figures do nowadays, and both figures have printing on the front. But although simplistic, both are pretty identifiable I think. Luke probably more so, as his outfit looks a little more iconic and recognisable.
The one thing I did dislike as a kid was that there was only one lightsaber between the two of them, meaning they had to share. It wasn’t too bad as I had the X-wing as well which came with another lightsaber, but if I just had this set I wouldn’t have been impressed.
So is this set that great? Probably not. But with my nostalgia goggles on, I love it. I prefer this one to the many other incarnations of this set. When I first became aware and wanted to be a part of Star Wars, and own some toys from it, there weren’t any toys in the shop. there was a dark age, a period of about ten years after Return of the Jedi when Star Wars merchandise wasn’t being made. I had to trawl flea markets and carboot sales to find what has now been called the “vintage” line of Star Wars toys. Then around 1996 they released the POTF2 action figure line, which looked ridiculous.All of the characters I knew and loved looked like they had been using steroids and were absurdly muscular. I guess it was the style at the time but they did look stupid and I had no real interest in them, so when the Lego Star Wars line started, I devoured it. Figuratively of course, it was my younger sister who had to go to hospital for ingesting Lego, not me.
I will be taking a look at other Lego sets in the near future, including the X-wing fighter set that I got at the same time as this Landspeeder and also more Star Wars toys in general. I still buy Lego from time to time to this day but don’t really touch the modern Star Wars line. Lego can be an expensive hobby, (but I guess it so can any hobby) but if you like sitting on the living room floor clipping bricks together like you did as a kid, I can see why people spend a lot of money on some of the sets.
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