Star Wars Month
The Death Star playset
Play-value. Great toy-makers have always known it’s the secret of a successful toy.
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.
I had a friend when I was a kid who had this playset, I can remember playing Star Wars endlessly on it. It really was a great playset, you have done a good job with all these pictures. Do you own one of these sets?
Thanks for your comment, it is an awesome set isn’t it? Drop me a line will(at)toltoys(dot)com for a chat.
I had one of these when Iwas 8 years old, I remember I had to save up forever to be able to buy it. I think it cost $25 or $50.
I have no idea what happened to it though, I still have all the figures.
I still have a complete Toltoys Death Star playset including the original box – all in very good condition (very minimal wear on the playset/no sticky tape on the box). I’d be intersted to know what you think it might be worth in today’s collectors market.
Thanks for the questions, the one pictured is from my collection, they do turn up fairly regularly on Ebay Australia though.
I’ve seen boxed ones sell for as low as $200 and very nice examples $500+.
If you’d like to send some pics I could give you a more accurate estimate.
If anybody has one boxed set for sale i would be interested. Depending on the state we can always discuss a price which works out for both parties.
Read over that you were interested in knowing the value. Does this mean you would be interested in selling?
It looks like Mousedroid Aussie Star Wars Forums are about to add a Vintage Marketplace section, I think that would be a good place to put the word out that you're after one.
Thanks for the tip will have a look and leave a post here.
Cheers and thank you
I finally had a Tolyoys Death Star off the shelf and into my hands in early 1981. One had sat in a local toy shop for almost a year (It was an expensive toy, but I still say worth every cent), and I convinced my mum to buy it for me.
It came about in a strange way. I was in Perth with mum for the day and we were leaving to drive home to our country town when above the south eastern horizon, an almost full moon was hanging in the twilight sky.
It was the most beautiful sight and it really looked like the Death Star. Mum and I began talking and negotiating a deal involving additional chores. About a month later I had my Toltoys Death Star.
I put it together and played with it all weekend. Come Monday afternoon when I arrived home from school, I discovered my little brother had found it during the day and somehow rolled off the couch ontop of it, and although it was made from some very tough stuff indeed, squashed it like a pancake.
So, after a year of wanting it and a month of extra chores to get it, I had it a whole two days.
I nicknamed my little brother 'Luke Skywalker Death Star Assault Outfit'.
The end result, 28 years later, was another Toltoys Death Star from ebay which I won for $300.00.from Melbourne. It is missing Trash Compactor chute and Turrent canopy but is otherwise in excellent condition.
With original figures placed inside it looks great and is the flagship of my Star Wars collectables past and present…
Northam, Western Australia
OHHHH i just loved this playset. Can you imagine the look on my face wen (years later) i went back to my parents house to get it and had found that my mum had thrown it in the bin :O She figured i had grown out of doll houses as she called it lol.
RE: the collect all 19 figures on the box, i figure it may be due to one of the following 3 reasons
1- Toltoys had received word that, that particular Jawa on the box (vinyl cape) was being discontinued, and were not informed of the replacement “cloth” caped Jawa… leaving the list at 19 instead of 20.(the original 12 plus 8 new ones/this set would have been made before any mention of the 21st figure ;boba-fett imo.
2- We all know how Snaggletooth started out tall and blue, then was re-tooled to be red and short. Its possible imo that the company may have been informed that that particular figure is “in-correct” and wont be available for single carded release. (the blue snags that were made ended up in that sears cardboard cantina set) This information would have let the company making this box, to believe only 19 figures would be available, again.. NOT counting Boba-fett, as he was a later release than the first 20.
just my opinion, but id love for this question to be answered by Hasbro in a Q+A one day.
Thanks soooo much for posting these images etc WILL, it is sooo appreciated– JAMIE (melb.oz)
Does anyone know where I can get the two top guns and the turret canopy? I need them to complete my newly acquired Star Wars Death Star playset (Toltoys).
re Andrews question above. The 2 guns on this Death Star were exactly the same as the guns that came on Lukes X-Wing Fighter, so its possible other X-wings, released since (potf2 1995) have the same guns, as i think the same mold was used to make both the original 1978 x-wing and the 1995 x-wing. So shouldnt be too hard to track some of those down.
The canopy might be a bit harder to get. Id just get some strong clear plastic (or dark brown like orig if yu can find some), like used on many toy packages, and cut out a shape like this–
I____I Then use clear tape on the inside to tape the corners together,
and then cut the bottom of the plastic, so that it ends up
“sloping” like the canopy of an X-wing, like the orig
D/Star canopy did.
PS Sorry, my shape above came out screwed up after i posted it. im sure you can figure out the canopy shape needed, by looking at pics etc. Good Luck