Star Wars Month
The Death Star playset
In my opinion the best example of play value in the vintage Star Wars line is the Death Star playset created by UK company Palitoy, and adapted around the world by Kenner Canada, Meccano France, Toltoys New Zealand and Toltoys Australia.
A brilliant playset of semi-spherical design, this cardboard toy fits together like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, creating a multi-room and multi-level environment.
Wonderful graphics and sections such as a gun turret and canopy, a trash compactor (with shute) and bridge saw kids the world over recreate some of the most memorable scenes from the original film.
All the playsets have subtle differences; the original Palitoy version is a true cardboard item, whereas the Aussie version is made of a tougher chip-board like material.
One thing they all have in common though is the ability to deconstruct and stow away in a box about the size of a regular board game. Simple storage means there are probably many sets still out there stored in cupboards and attics worldwide, unlike the Kenner USA Death Star Playset, which is a behemoth to store.
Somehow I think today’s kids would think this playset is beyond quaint, but I bet if they put down their Wii and PS3 controllers for a moment and staged a shoot–out between Han, Chewy and the Stormtroopers they would get lost in this toy in a flash! Or maybe not.
One interesting aspect of the Toltoys Australia box is the text on the side that talks of the 19 figures that are currently available. I had thought that the “second eight” figures were released as one, with Fett bringing up the total to 21, so I would be interested in people’s thoughts on this.
Finally here are the instructions for this toy, note the nod to the original Palitoy release.