Sunday, October 23, 2011

7130 Snowspeeder

One of the major paradigm shifts in my view of the LEGO universe took place in late 1999 when I became a Star Wars fan. Star Wars sets had been out for most of the year, in anticipation of Episode I: The Phantom Menace's release in May. I didn't see Episode I until September that year, in the cheap theatre after friends introduced me and my brother to the original trilogy for the first time.

As a loyal recipient of the LEGO Mania Magazine, I was aware of the existence of Star Wars before this, and particular of Star Wars LEGO, and although I was had little enough interest in Star Wars LEGO prior to seeing the movies and becoming a fan, I still spent a good chunk of time looking at those magazines, because I can still remember my overall impression of what the Star Wars story must have been, on the basis of those original five sets.

7130 was one of those original five sets. The above picture is slightly incomplete, as it lacks the Rebel trooper minifig that rounds out the set, who does not seem to be travelling in the boxes that have made it back to Boston.

My original impression of the Star Wars story aside, which coupled with the original run of Episode I sets left me with a rather different idea of what the story included, the original five Original Trilogy sets have a special place in my heart. Admittedly, they are not as sleek as later sets, which introduced a whole host of rounded pieces into LEGO's inventory, nor all as accurate to the original source, but they have a preeminent place in the my nostalgic memory, not least as a tie to that original misconceived story.

Snowspeeder was the mid-most, size-wise of the original five, and I would argue that it was the least exciting of the five. TIE-Fighter and Y-wing had Darth Vader; the X-wing had the eponymous fighter and R2-D2; Speeder Bikes had two Scouttroopers, the closest thing we had to Stormtroopers; and the Landspeeder had Obi-wan Kenobi. Snowspeeder would seem a bit ill-equipped to compete with these, though it was a solid set in its own right. Its selling features, as I see them, are that it was cheaper than the X-wing or Y-wing/TIE, but was still a solid, fighter-sized, famous ship that let the buyer get a copy of Luke Skywalker (with blue lightsabre). The attractions for the buyer of the full collection, in addition to the snowspeeder itself, was the second pilot, Dack, and his unique helmet, and the rebel snow-geared trooper.

Of the original five sets, this would be the last that I would acquire. I got the other four in the early years, when they were all still available in stores (though two of them were gifts), but I only acquired Snowspeeder years later, when a collector friend in university was looking to unload it, and knew of my LEGO habit. I couldn't pass it up, of course--not least because his price was less than Bricklink's, and that is the main reason that it is still built today, able to be photographed. The rest of my Star Wars originals had been taken apart, like everything else, in the Great Take-Apart of 2004, and because of their high ratio of useful parts have never been put back together.

Though they might, one of these days... I mighty nostalgic about them, especially the Landspeeder...

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