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Review : Star Wars Black Series Rebel Snowspeeder and Dak Ralter, The Empire Strikes Back


The Rebel Hoth Snowspeeder was released in 2020 in the 6 inch scale Star Wars Black Series, and was part of the 40th Anniversary celebration for The Empire Strikes Back. The set includes a scaled T-47 Speeder as well as a figure of Dak Ralter, the gunner from Empire who flew with Luke Skywalker at the Battle of Hoth.

Packaging 4/5


The Rebel Snowspeeder comes in the Phase 3 packaging which is black throughout, but with the red side spine. There is no numbering on this set, so it does not directly follow on as suspected as the #06 after the last vehicle release, Enfys Nest's speeder.


There is no window on the box at all, so the contents are fully hidden. We do not even get a cut out to show Dak as the included figure. Instead we have a grey lined Titus illustration taking up the front of the box with insert images top and bottom right to show off the actual item. The Black Series logo is top let, with an Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary logo in the top right. The name plate, in red, is bottom left and listed simply as "Snowspeeder" with "Dak Ralter" listed underneath as subheading.


The back of the box carries a better look at the product, with a large image from the back of the Speeder with its cockpit raised and Dak standing to one side. There are then a series of images of the cockpit, and a couple more angles of the Speeder and a closer look at Dak.


The final side spine has a very nice - and big - Titus illustration of Dak Ralter in his Snowspeeder flight gear and wearing his flight helmet with Rebel symbols.


We have the usual background text on the reverse of the box, with a section for the Snowspeeder and a section for Dak Ralter.


SNOWSPEEDER

When stationed on Hoth, the Rebel Alliance modified T-47 airspeeders to become snowspeeders. The snowspeeder was a two-man vessel, with a pilot and a rear facing tailgunner.


DAK RALTER

An eager young rebel pilot assigned to Hoth's Echo Base, Dak served as Luke Skywalker's tailgunner during the Battle of Hoth but was killed by Imperial fire that struck the back of the snowspeeder.



The size of the box is illustrated in these images - firstly with Dak stood next to the box, and the second against a standard Black Series figure release.



Unpacking & Assembly


The box opens by means of either side flap and a full cardboard tray slides out. This filled me with much nostalgia from unpacking the original Kenner Snowspeeder and other vehicles in this manner.


The figure is secured off to one side, and below him a bundle of items. On the opposite side wall are the two cannons. The speeder is not so much secured in place as boxed into place by the shaping of the tray and two overhanging packaging pieces.



If you strip everything out of the box you are left with Dak, the two front cannons and a baggie containing a couple more parts of the Speeder as well as Dak's accessories.


Interestingly there are no instructions? Now assembly is not rocket science, but the guns are left and right handed and the panel pieces for the left hand side as you look do have a specific way to get them to slot into place. The lack of instructions also may lead many to miss some of the opening panels and details for the ship as you will see shortly.



With the Snowspeeder unboxed you can now see the scale of the item. The overall dimensions of the Speeder are 18 inches back to front, 16 inches wide and 5 inches tall with the cockpit hatch closed.


The box measures 16.5 inches high, 18.5 inches wide and 5 inches deep.



Paint & Sculpt 5/5


The Speeder is a thing of beauty and very well proportioned to the original prop - neither under or oversized. The ship is cast in grey plastic with weathering and scoring added as paint effects. Decals are also used around the ship, predominantly in Aurebesh.


The cockpit is accessed via the opening cockpit door and inside is a fantastic replication of the interior we see during the Battle of Hoth. There are two control yokes in the front as well as individual painted controls in black, silver and red.


The rear seat also has control yokes for firing the rear gun and grappling hook and there is a similar level of detail - more so perhaps with a tactical screen and individual levers and buttons.



Onto Dak Ralter and he is presented in his Snowspeeder flight suit complete with flight hood. The face sculpt is excellent likeness to actor John Morton - even if we do not see his face too often in the film. Face print technology is used for the likeness making the eyes in particularly very lifelike.


The suit is presented in bright orange cast plastic, with survival vest and chest unit all very well painted. Slight strapping snakes around the legs and is flexible enough to move with the leg articulation. Boots are wrapped snow boots with some canisters in a bandoleer around the left leg.



Dak shares a body with Luke Skywalker Snowspeeder, also released in 2020. There is a difference in belts though with Luke retaining his brown belt with lightsaber hook, while Dak has a simpler grey belt in keeping with he rest of the suit.



Accessories 5/5


Dak comes with his flight helmet, a re-use from the original Luke X-Wing helmet - and as used on all Rebel pilots to date. it is painted white with blue rebel symbols and flight wings applied as decals. The visor is left as transparent yellow and the chin strap in a flexible plastic.


It fits perfectly, if not a little tightly, to the head - helped by the use of a flight hood rather than sculpted hair. The strap sits under the chin and the visor lines up with the eyes.



The other accessories included are more for Luke Skywalker, rather than Dak who never exited the Snowspeeder in the movie. We get the grappling gun that Luke uses to climb up to the belly of the AT-AT. This is black across the body with silver end and rear hose piece. It fits snugly in Dak's hand (and therefore by default into Luke's hand also).


The other two accessories are (I believe) the explosives that Luke uses to blow up the AT-AT. The are cast in grey with a gold painted tip and can fit in either hand ready to be thrown and deployed.



Articulation 5/5


The Snowspeeder articulates in a number of areas, notably the opening cockpit. We also have the braking flaps on each side of the reverse. These clip up and then pivot outward on a hinge.


Just down from these is the exposed workings as seen directly out of the box. They are covered by a grey panel that clips in place and then the engine piece that slots on top. These can be removed again if you want to display the Snowspeeder with these inner workings exposed - after all they are gloriously detailed.



Our Speeder does not have a stand, but does come with working landing gear. There are three panels on the reverse. The front opens by means of two doors and the ski gear pivots down and clicks into place. The two rear ski pieces are attached to one side of the opening doors. Once the first is open the second pivots out and engages the gear.



The Speeder is constructed for two 6 inch figures to sit in the cockpit, and the Snowspeeder flight body is articulated to allow both Luke and Dak to sit in their relative flight positions. The legs slide into the body of the ship positioning the body into the seat and with the hands able to grip the flight grips provided.


The strapping is attached at the seat top by a plug in piece, you unplug it to accommodate the figures then reattach it to secure the figures in place.



There are more goodies at the rear of the Snowspeeder with the Harpoon gun and tow cable. The gun rotates on its axis, while the tow cable is attached to the rear fins. The cable can be pulled out and clipped to the gun - and there is a fair bit of cable secured in the body of the ship.


To retract the cable there is no winding mechanism, just another hatch on the reverse through which you pull the cable back into the body of the ship.



Dak Ralter weighs in with a total of 19 points of articulation, including the newer butterfly shoulders. All of this does exactly what you need him to do in terms of sitting in the cockpit or posing with the Snowspeeder in a hangar diorama.


Head : ball joint neck, ball joint neck base

Body : ball joint waist

Arms : ball joint shoulders, butterfly shoulders, single joint rotating elbows, wrist pivot

Legs : ball joint hips, thigh swivel, single joint rotating knees, ankle rockers



Summary


The Snowspeeder is a wonderful piece of kit, executed brilliantly in the 6 inch scale. Not as big and display heavy as the Tie Fighter, yet of a scale to be a real centrepiece in any collection. The detailing is impressive, particularly the braking flaps and the cockpit controls.


Dak is a great inclusion, and while the accessories are not directly meant for him - they work well with Dak or you can hand them over to Snowspeeder Luke.



The Snowspeeder invokes real nostalgia from unboxing it to playing with it, the only thing it doesn't do is sound FX and light up guns - which would have been cool, but added quite a bit to the cost price I imagine.


I score the Star Wars Black Series Snowspeeder and Dak Ralter top mark of 5 out of 5.





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About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...

action figures, reviews, review, articulation, star wars, black series, the empire strikes back, 40th anniversary, snowspeeder, dak ralter, rebels, hasbro

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