Friday, June 15, 2012

Despite Some Discoloring Over The Years, The Star Wars Detention Block Rescue Playset Remains Worthwhile!

The Good: Good detailing, Fun, Generally good playability.
The Bad: Terrible collectible value, Some discoloring of plastic over the years, Cell size is pretty small.
The Basics: The Power Of The Force Collection Detention Block Rescue playset is a decent Star Wars toy that largely holds up as a worthwhile playset.

Recently, while digging through a box of Star Wars toys, I came across the Death Star Escape playset (which I then reviewed here!). It seems only natural that I would also review the Detention Block Rescue playset and between the two, these represent all of the Death Star components Kenner produced for the modern Star Wars toy line.

The Detention Block Rescue is a key scene in A New Hope (reviewed here!) that features Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker breaking Princess Leia out of her cell. Pinned down by enemy fire in a corridor, they shoot out a panel and leap down into the garbage chute!

While the Death Star detention block may have only been seen briefly in A New Hope, it is an important part of the movie and a reasonable playset for Kenner to create merchandise around. The 1996 Kenner Detention Block Rescue toy represents one of the first attempts to make a Star Wars playset for the 3.75” scale toy line!


The Detention Block Rescue playset is an all-plastic representation of a part of the interior and exterior of the Death Star. At its most basic, the playset is a doorway, prison cell, and cannon station (pointed outward) all connected by a cool plastic floor section that represents the grate flooring seen in A New Hope! There is also a door that one can open and close to gain access to the cell and a flap that represents the grate that the Rebels shoot through in order to escape the detention level and get down into the trash compactor.

Measuring 9” – 10” long (depending on how the guns on the sensors on the doorway are oriented) by 9 1/2" wide (with the cannon facing perpendicular, add another 1 1/2” when the missile is in the cannon) by 5 7/8” tall, the Detention Block Rescue playset, when properly assembled, is a solid playset with the wall and floor fitting snugly into the doorway section. While it is exceptionally solid in its construction, the plastic on the gray sections has aged poorly; I’ve noticed severe yellowing along the top of my playset.

The Power Of The Force Detention Block Rescue playset has only three decals to apply; unlike the photograph on the box, there are no decals for the top of the playset. The decals all go on the door area and they are easy enough to apply and make look good there. These are pretty unsophisticated stickers which show a little wear, given how they are on the moving door.

On the stable doorway, there are three sensor nodes that push right into fitted holes on the doorway. They have gray guns that attach to them. Interestingly, the sensors show yellowing, but the guns that attach to them do not.

The Detention Block Rescue playset is cast in monotonal colors – mostly gray and black. The floor does have a pretty cool pearlescent copper color to it.


The Detention Block Rescue comes with only one real accessory, the missiles fired by the two spring-loaded missile launchers. Even after all these years, the launcher fires the 3 1/8” white plastic missiles over four feet! This missile launcher delivers a force sufficient to knock over action figures or menace vehicle toys in play! The missiles are identical and easily fit into the cannon.


The Detention Block Rescue is remarkably fun, despite its age and the weathering issue. In addition to fitting three to five figures (there are five foot pegs, but their orientation can make fitting some figures difficult), the attached cell fits a figure laying down or two standing up (very tight). The blow-away flap is a neat touch and newer action figures fit through it better than the old Power Of The Force figures did, whatwith those figures having very broad shoulders. The door easily slides open or closed, even after all of these years and the rotating cannon is on a ball joint, so it has a pretty incredible field of fire!

This playset, despite the coloring issue, is enough to make one wish that Hasbro would build a full Trash Compactor playset so figures could jump down from this corridor into that!


The Detention Block Rescue was introduced as part of the Kenner Power Of The Force Star Wars toy line in the 1996 as one of two playsets. These were drastically overproduced and were largely sold at clearance prices. This one, probably because it is all plastic, has fared far better in the marketplace and remains sought-after by collectors because it fits even the current quality level of Hasbro Star Wars playsets.


The Detention Block Rescue is one that is easy to recommend, given its firepower and decent coloring. One only wishes there were more like it to connect it to to make into a more complete Death Star!

For other Star Wars playset and vehicle reviews, please check out my takes on:
Jango Fett’s Slave I
Power Of The Force Final Jedi Duel 3-Pack
Saga Collection AT-AT Imperial Walker


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

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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