Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Support For One's Growing Empire: The AT-AP Walker Is A Good Alternative To The AT-AT!

The Good: Less expensive/takes up less space than the AT-AT, Good detailing, Fun, Collectible value
The Bad: Not as articulated as it could be, Cannon does not fire missile that far.
The Basics: More advanced than an AT-ST Walker and less expensive than the full AT-AT, the 30th Anniversary AT-AP Walker is a wonderful support Star Wars toy!

Every now and then, I am faced with what I see as a Herculean reviewing task and I want to do the review right, so I have to make a practice pass at it. As one who has so little time in their life, I am hesitant to write a practice review and then fine tune. So, usually what I do is find a product close to what I want to review and I review that to make a template toward the product that is similar, but more complicated, that I want to focus on. For our two year wedding anniversary, my wife purchased the brand new Star Wars Saga Collection AT-AT toy, which is an absolutely perfect play vehicle and one that every Star Wars fan ought to have. But, it's a giant toy, which is over two feet tall, holds forty figures (I'm working to confirm that now!) and deserves the most thorough review possible to truly sell readers on how great the toy is.

Which is why, today, I am reviewing the Star Wars 30th Anniversary AT-AP Walker. Smooth segue, huh? The AT-AP is a smaller walker in the Star Wars universe, but it has many of the similar properties to the AT-AT on a smaller scale, which makes it far less intimidating to review.

The AT-AP Walker is seen briefly in Revenge Of The Sith (reviewed here!), as one of many assault vehicles on Kashyyyk. First seen as Yoda aided the Wookies in fighting the Separatist droids, the AT-AP Walkers were seen walking the treeline and on the beachfront on Kashyyyk. The All Terrain Attack Pod was a mid-size vehicle used to fortify the Republic armies on rough terrain.

While the AT-AP Walkers may have only been seen briefly in Revenge Of The Sith, but in Hasbro's quest to create toys of virtually every vehicle in the Star Wars Universe, the AT-AP comes as a welcome and solid addition for Star Wars toy enthusiasts.


The All Terrain Attack Pod - AT-AP - is a mobile cannon and the toy of it is one of Hasbro's most solid successes of recent toy lines. In addition to being appropriately colored and detailed, the AT-AP Walker is authentic in its scale and it rocks in the playability department. The AT-AP Walker might be a force used by the Republic, but it gels well with the Empire as a tactical enforcer, so those looking for a broader Star Wars play experience will find this fits. Thus, unlike something like the Shadows Of The Empire Swoop Vehicle (reviewed here!) which didn't quite fit the color schemes and look of other Star Wars toys, the AT-AP blend right in as an authentic machine in the Star Wars Universe.

Hasbro's 30th Anniversary AT-AP Walker is essentially a command pod that is 5 3/4" high by 5 1/2" wide by 12" cannon tip to back. That chunky pod which houses three figures is attached to three legs, two of which raise the pod so it stands over a foot high! These legs snap back into a more stable position and at that lower height, the center leg swivels down so the AT-AP becomes a three-legged walker. The design is pretty clever; in the three-legged stance, the AT-AP may not be mobile, but it operates effectively as a cannon that has a more solid ability to practically attack or defend!

The AT-AP is essentially a series of cannons on legs. The command pod houses both the cannons and the pilots. The pod features three swiveling turrets, one of which is a cannon with a launching missile. Below the pod is the smallest turret, a simple 3 1/4" gun which is molded to look like a standard Republic blaster weapon. It swivels almost 270 degrees, until it is stopped by the pod's descending armor near the back. This is practical design work; the AT-AP can never be made to shoot out its own legs! The front center of the pod features a larger, more solid looking cannon that only has about 45 degrees for its range of motion. Atop the AT-AP Walker is a swiveling seat-mounted cannon and this has a full 360 degree firing field! The seat houses a single figure and every Clone Trooper I've yet tried in the seat has fit it just fine. That top turret is the one with the launching missile.

The AT-AP is cast entirely in gray plastic and it is a very clean vehicle. There are no battle lines, exhaust stains or even extensive markings indicating battalions or other allegiances. This clean look is accented by one or two racing stripes, which are mercifully painted on (as opposed to decals). There are, however, two stickers that need to be applied for the console inside the pod and one for the display terminal of the seated cannon. Both of these are fairly easy to apply and it is hard to screw them up, though I found it helped to use an unwound paper clip to get the sticker into the cockpit terminal.

The Pod is a solid device and it is a cockpit with the cannons on it which attaches to the three legs. The AT-AP comes disassembled, with the two upper cannons and three legs needing to be attached. They snap on easily and the pictures on the box make it pretty much idiotproof for putting them on correctly.

The AT-AP Walker's command pod features two doors that swing up, like a Delorean. When the door is swung up, the seats inside are revealed and there are the two seats - like benches or beach chairs in that they are designed to have the occupants sitting straight-legged. The cockpit thus holds two action figures and as long as the figure is not overly tall or inhibited at the groin socket joint, the cockpit can hold pretty much any two figures. The doors swing down and after hours of play, I have not found them to loosen excessively.


The AT-AP Walker does not come with any action figures or accessories, though there is the missile for the upper cannon. The missile is 5 3/8" long and it slides into the cannon. It clicks in place and there is a small button on the left side of the turret just below the foot pad for the figure that sits in the cannon's seat. Pressing that button launches the missile. The missile fires a little over two feet in the air away from the AT-AP and it may slide up to six inches more. This was one of the few drawbacks with the AT-AP Walker; the spring strength for the cannon is not at all impressive. As a result, it does not have the exceptional playability one might have hoped for.


That said, the AT-AP is pretty incredible and has above average playability. Despite the missile not firing very far, the AT-AP has a lot to recommend it for play enthusiasts. First, it has a great sense of balance. Even with the two legged approach to the weapon, the AT-AP is a lot of fun to play with and it stays balanced remarkably well.

It is not, however, exceptionally articulated. The AT-AP Walker's legs have four joints - on the "actual" vehicle. The digital models have three legs each with four points of articulation, best analogized as the groin socket, knee, shin and ankle. The casting of the Hasbro AT-AP captures that nicely, but the vehicle is far less articulated for the toy. Only the two upper joints actually work and this means most of the vehicle's movement is designed around transforming it from a three to two legged Walker and back. The fact that the ankles are not articulated prevents the legs from realistically being moved too far because the vehicle cannot stand flatfooted outside two positions. This lowers the realism for those looking to use the AT-AP in displays and lessens the impact for the playability.

The central leg is only articulated at the swivel joint second from the top, which allows it to swing up when the vehicle transforms into a two-legged walker. This makes it somewhat baffling, then, that the joint near the ankle has a screw in it. In other words, Hasbro manufactured the smaller leg and could have added a functional joint here and even left it with the appearance that it was a functional joint like the one above it, yet it is a solid, immobile, piece. Even with the leg issues not being as articulated as they ideally could, the AT-AP Walker is still pretty cool.


The AT-AP Walker was first introduced as part of the Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection back in 2007. That collection was designed to reinvigorate the entire Star Wars play line by both creating better castings and more articulated versions of older figures and by offering new vehicle toys which had not yet appeared in the Hasbro toy line. The AT-AP Walker was part of the latter push and it was a highlight of the line. Its value remained quite high until 2010 when the identical casting was used for the 2010 Saga Collection vehicle toy line. Despite it being somewhat shortpacked there, it was available and demand for it was still met.

Even so, because the AT-AP is a generic tool of the late Republic and early Empire, there is no harm in getting more than one and it is very cool for play or display and one suspects that with the current falloff in making vehicle toys, Star Wars enthusiasts will quickly gobble up the remaining few that can be easily found in the principle market (from the Saga Collection) and then the secondary market price will once again begin to inflate. Given that it is unlikely Hasbro will revamp this toy in the near future to fix the leg issue, this looks to be a strong investment toy for Star Wars toy investors.


Ultimately, the AT-AP is a solid play piece and one that looks great mowing down Jedi or Wookies! It looks great taking on smaller Star Wars vehicles and its primary cannon is great for knocking over some of the smaller weaponry, even if it has to be at an uncomfortably close range. It can even try to make a heroic stand against the AT-AT. It'll lose, but it's cool to see!

For other Star Wars playset and vehicle reviews, please check out my takes on:
2010 Saga Collection Bespin Cloud Car
Attack Of The Clones Geonosian Starfighter
Shadows Of The Empire Dash Rendar's Outrider


For other Star Wars toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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