Friday, June 22, 2012

Yellowing To Boot! Why The Shadows Of The Empire Boba Fett’s Slave I Can Be Passed By (And Should Be!).

The Good: Good basic coloring, Decent basic design
The Bad: Not at all to scale, Yellowing plastic, Decals hold it together, Low playability.
The Basics: The Shadows Of The Empire Boba Fett’s Slave I has long since started showing it’s age; it’s pretty much junk now.

Despite how professional I try to be with my analysis of various Star Wars toys, there is an emotional context to some of them for me. Indeed, as I looked over the Shadows Of The Empire Boba Fett’s Slave I toy, I was actually overcome with sadness as I thought that almost everything that was once a treasure is now junk. It’s a little more sad for me because I believe that Boba Fett’s Slave I is the last toy my father bought for me. Despite that, it’s hard to want to hang onto it now.

If that seems like a surprising stance for a toy of Boba Fett’s very cool vehicle, it might be more comprehensible once one learns that the construction of the old toy is pretty poor and the materials are worse. Like many of the Kenner toys that utilized white plastic, many elements of the Slave I are now terribly yellowing, making the toy look aged and cheap. It is sad

Boba Fett’s Slave I was introduced in The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!) as the vehicle the notorious bounty hunter used to hunt Han Solo. While the Slave I was utilized in both Shadows Of The Empire and The Empire Strikes Back, the first Kenner release in the reboot was for the multimedia project, Shadows Of The Empire. The Boba Fett’s Slave I toy represents the Shadows Of The Empire (reviewed here!) version and that is essentially identical to the one seen in The Empire Strikes Back, soaring away from Cloud City!

Unfortunately, it also is identical to the original Kenner release from the early 1980s. As a result, this version of Boba Fett’s Slave I is actually designed to interface with figures that have an entirely different shape and quality level. This remains, unfortunately, one of the worst ship toys as a result, especially because many of the elements illustrate severe weathering in ways that look just plain horrible.


Boba Fett’s Slave I is a full-sized (but not in scale) vehicle playset from Hasbro’s 1996 Shadows Of The Empire toy line. It can hold three figures, though the inside space is actually adequate for more. The ship, made entirely of hard plastic, utilized the mold from the original (early-80’s) Slave I toy. As a result, Boba Fett’s Slave I is small, dependent upon decals and has surprisingly shoddy construction.

Measuring out at 15 1/4” long by 12 1/2” wide by 6 3/4" tall, Boba Fett’s Slave I is an unfortunately shoddy toy. Cast in mottled white and gray plastic, Boba Fett’s Slave I looks basically like what most people will remember from The Empire Strikes Back; a mechanical snail with side fins. The sculpt is essentially accurate, including the jets on the bottom/back and the clear plastic dome for the cockpit. The side fins turn or may be held in place by a trigger that is on the handle that is molded into the underside of the ship. The vehicle playset features a table that rotates on the inside to move the pilot into the cockpit of the vehicle.

Boba Fett’s Slave I is very easy to assemble; the fins slide right onto the side supports and are marked L and R. The clear plastic dome clicks easily into place. And the back portion of the ship that opens up to allow access includes a pull-away door and a ramp, both of which may only be applied one was to get them attached. This is a very easy toy to assemble. It does, however, have many decals that must be applied (they are stickers, honestly) and they add a little more detailing that was neither molded or painted on. Unfortunately, the construction of Boba Fett’s Slave I was uncharacteristically sloppy of Kenner. I’ve noticed that the sticker on the top ridge of my Slave I was torn, which surprised me. It surprised me a whole lot less when I observed that the dorsal fin was actually separating! The ship is warping as it ages (and mine has been stored in a good, climate-controlled environment!) and it is basically do so with a force that can tear the stickers that previously held it together! This has also led to a gap between the main body of the ship and the cockpit.

This version of Boba Fett’s Slave I features a rotating pair of turrets on the aft stalk of the vehicle. These are cast in monotonal gray plastic and are disproportionately large.

Boba Fett’s Slave I also features a clear plastic cockpit cover, so one may easily access Slave I’s command center, though removing the door in back is actually an easier way to get figures in.

Boba Fett’s Slave I is colored fairly accurately . . . initially. All around the bottom edge of the ship, the Slave I is rust-colored. The sides and top have blue-gray mottling and are otherwise a cream color . . .or, rather, they were. Now, they are a sickly yellow and what makes it worse is that many of the other elements of the ship were cast, apparently, using a different type of plastic! As a result, the back door, the gun turrets and the fins all look brighter and cleaner than the actual ship and the translucent (now also yellowing) cockpit cover!


Unlike some of the later versions of Boba Fett’s Slave I, the Shadows Of The Empire Boba Fett’s Slave I does not come with any action figures for accessories. All the Boba Fett’s Slave I comes with is the Han Solo In Carbonite Block accessory. This inaction figure is even just a shell of a figure! Measuring 4” long by 1 15/16” wide and 5/8” high, the Han Solo in Carbonite block is a rough approximation of Han Solo as he appeared at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. Cast in montonal gray plastic, it is augmented by stickers on the side that represent the control panels. It fits under the ramp in the toy.


Playability is another area where the Shadows Of The Empire Boba Fett’s Slave I falls down. Boba Fett’s Slave I features a handle on the underside of the vehicle. The handle gives one greater control over the vehicle for flying it in its natural “upright” position, which would leave the characters in the cockpit standing, as opposed to laying down. The handle is a firm plastic handle that is molded into the base of the vehicle. For play, this is real handy as it allows great control with one hand.

The side fins turn up or down in unison. They are held in place by a trigger on the handle.

The aft turrets rotate in unison.

The “bed” inside the vehicle rotates based on the location of a lever on the left side of the ship. Sliding it up rotates the bed in the cockpit into a more accurate position for the pilot. The “bed” holds a single figure.

The door removes to give access to the inside of the ship and the ramp on the back may be slid up or down.


At the time of its release, the Boba Fett’s Slave I toy seemed reasonably priced in the $20 - $25 range. Now, that seems pricy for something that aged so poorly, especially given that there are vastly better versions of this iconic ship on the market now. Given the improved quality of subsequent Slave I vehicles (like Jango Fett's Slave I, reviewed here!), the Shadows Of The Empire Slave I has continued to decline in price. I imagine it will only continue to sink, expecially as people discover theirs are yellowing. They are likely to upgrade to a better version as opposed to re-buy the one with the obvious faults.

This is a poor investment toy.


While the low playability of the Boba Fett’s Slave I toy never really bothered me, the longterm quality problems with this ship toy do and that makes it impossible for me to recommend it!

For other Shadows Of The Empire toys, check out my reviews of:
Dash Rendar’s Outrider
Swoop Vehicle
Princess Leia As Boushh
Chewbacca As Snoova
Prince Xizor


For other toy reviews, be sure to visit my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the toys I have reviewed!

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