The Good: Durable, Well detailed (enough), Cool
The Bad: Doesn't look very Star Wars, Light articulation.
The Basics: A good toy from the Shadows Of The Empire project, the Swoop Vehicle is still worth picking up for Star Wars fans!
If you blink during the Special Edition of Star Wars: A New Hope (click here for my review of the film!), you'll miss the addition of a Swoop Bike in the streets of Mos Eisley, but it is there to be seen. Ironically, when it came to the big toy push which preceded the Special Editions, the Swoop Bike was not included as a promotional tool, but rather as part of the hype which surrounded the multimedia project Shadows Of The Empire. For that, there was a storyline which put Luke Skywalker back on Tatooine amidst a Swoop gang as he sought to rebuild his lightsaber and come up with a plan to rescue his friends from Jabba The Hutt.
As such, the Swoop vehicle was actually presented first in the comic books from that story and they made it into the action figure line as a Swoop vehicle with pilot boxed set. And while the bright colorscheme and detailed, helmeted rider might work well in the comic books, it looks very incongruent beside the other legions of Star Wars figures. Even so, this is a cool enough toy to recommend, largely because of its play value.
The Swoop Bike is an open vehicle with a single seat to hold a driver, much like a hovering motorcycle. Unlike, however, the Imperial Speeder Bikes (click here for my review of those toys!), these are heavier, more durable and used by gang in the criminal underbelly of the Empire. The Swoop Bike is a red and gray vehicle that has more mass to it than the Speeder Bike and totes some more serious firepower as well.
The Swoop Bike features aft jets which swing down to act as landing gear. The vehicle, which is 8" long, 2" wide and roughly three inches tall features an elongated neck which ends in a head with steering vanes for balance. As well, there are two aft wings which lift up to transform the Swoop Bike into "battle mode." This makes it look like it may engage in more complex maneuvers as well as aim the right side cannon which has a proton torpedo! A single pilot may sit on the Swoop vehicle and the toy comes with one pilot.
The detailing on the Swoop Bike is very average. Primarily colored dark red, the Swoop Bike features smoke "wear lines" which make it look like exhaust has colored the main body of the vehicle. As well, consumers are required to apply decal stickers for more symbols and detailing and these are problematic because they are translucent against a much darker hull of the vehicle. One comes to wish Kenner had had the details painted on. On the Swoop Bike, the decals stand out only because the ship is molded in a matte-finish plastic while the stickers are glossy and they look like irregular splotches on the vehicle's surface.
Assembly of the Swoop vehicle is simply a matter of popping the front head onto the assembly. Those parts snap in easily and the directions are quite clear on how to assemble the vehicle. As well, the instructions show the proper placement of the ship's few decals that must be applied by the consumer.
In the case of the Swoop Bike, there is only one real accessories (outside the 3" long missile which launches from the cannon): the Swoop Bike pilot. The Swoop Bike pilot is based upon the original sketches for the comic book. It is an inscrutable (thanks to a helmet) figure in a tan, black and brown outfit that looks very padded and very much assembled. The 4" concept figure is very light on the details, save that is has panels all over it which look like padding and armor and the toy company made its way around having to deal with human fleshtones by not revealing any skin.
As for the figure's coloring, the figure looks cleaner than the Swoop vehicle! The figure comes with seven points of articulation - groin socket, knees, shoulders and neck. The knees are hinge joints and the head is on a hinge that only allows it to move up and down (nodding) as opposed to side to side. The figure fits on the Swoop Bike and stands awkwardly when off the vehicle.
The four inch toy line was designed for play and the Swoop Bike is excellent in that regard. The wing deployment feature, which is tactically baffling as it exposes more surface area to enemy fire, makes for a pretty cool feature.
The Swoop Bike also has one of the best missile functions from a Kenner Star Wars toy. After over thirteen years, the missile in mine can be loaded and with a touch of a button, the little plastic dart launches two feet! This makes for an impressive little toy with very playable features. As well, the fact that the pilot is removable enhances the play experience. However, because of the straddling position, almost no figures outside this specific pilot will fit on the Swoop vehicle.
The Swoop Bike is part of the Expanded Universe collection, a series of Star Wars toys that was wildly erratic in its reception. The action figures were split between exceptionally popular figures from novels with popular and original characters and pegwarmer figures for alternate versions of established Trilogy characters from their post-film experiences. The Swoop Bike was only marginally successful at the time and most only sold at clearance prices. This was a pegwarmer at the time, largely because it was massively overproduced and fans were still not sure about the concept toy. Still, the playability of the Swoop Bike has proven its worth over time and become coveted in the secondary market. As a result, it turned into a decent investment for fans of the Star Wars figures and has appreciated to about twice its original price.
The Swoop Bike is one of the stronger concept toys in the Star Wars line, despite not looking like it fits when placed beside other Star Wars toys. Those who enjoy a broad view of the Star Wars universe will enjoy adding this to their collection, though.
For other Star Wars concept figures and deluxe toys, please check out my reviews of:
Shadows Of The Empire Dash Rendar's Outrider
Attack Of The Clones Hailfire Droid
Mynock Hunt 3-pack
For other toy reviews, please visit my index page for organized listings of all my toy reviews, by clicking here!
© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.