Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

More Entirely Unasked For Thoughts On Star Wars #2

This one may or may not turn into another tale of a lonely child and his imagination, so let’s get the stuff that never got made into toys out of the way.

This is Home-1, the flagship of the Mon Calamari, who were famously led by Admiral Ackbar. Its curves and bulges stand in opposition to the sharp Star Destroyers, but doesn’t have much else to offer. Also, after you look at it for a minute, you realize it’s just a tube with a bunch of model boat hulls stuck on it.

The Mon Calamari (who were undoubtedly named by George Lucas after eating seafood) were some sort of amphibian people and, like the design of their ships, their very presence stood in opposition to the Empire, which was fiercely human-only.The blue one on the left is Home One and that’s another Mon Cal cruiser on the right. Their species–renowned in all the galaxy for their shipbuilding skills–bristled under Imperial rule after Darth Vader blew up a couple of their floating cities and signed up with the rebellion. Which brings up a question.

We’re all for diversity at TotD, and that the Rebellion was a shared effort of many species was admirable and an easy shorthand for its inherent righteousness, but wouldn’t multiple species sharing a spaceship be tough? Just in a plumbing sense: Admiral Ackbar was a lobster man. Who the hell knows what kind of bathroom he needs.

Toys were never made of these ships because: A, they were enormous capital ships and would be too expensive for a ship with such limited appeal; and B, no kid wanted to pretend to be Admiral Ackbar and his army of fish people.

“I get to be Han!”

“I’m Luke!”

“I’m a squid-type deal. My people are renowned in all the galaxy for their shipbuilding skills. And I am named generally after lunch, or specifically after some Muslim shit George Lucas heard one time.”

“I don’t want to play with you anymore.”

“You’re weird.”

“Yeah. Mommy drinks.”

You can see another ship from Jedi that never got a toy in that shot: the Nebulon-B.

Used to iconic effect as a hospital ship in the closing shots of Empire, this frigate was pressed into military service during the Battle of Endor, and is one of the only asymmetrical ships in the SWU; it also looks the spaciest: that thing couldn’t survive an atmosphere and must have been built in an orbital dock somewhere. There was no toy because that toy could not be made by humans for less than a thousand bucks that a kid wouldn’t break instantly. That thing would break in the box. No toy.

The coelacanth on the right is a Rebel transport ship; it did get a toy and it might have been the shittiest thing produced in the whole line:

This whole picture is a lie. Those cheap zip-ties? They were “backpacks” or somesuch accessory and even had you wanted them (you didn’t; they sucked), they would get lost the first day. Plus, no kid had that many fucking snow troopers. It was only the kids in the commercials and on the box that had, like, squadrons of Stormtroopers. The rest of us had one Stormtrooper and just pretended. We were happy to have one and to not have lost its blaster. They could have included some extra blasters: no, bullshit backpacks.

Furthermore, how is that prisoner being handled? Why wasn’t he shackled before he got on board? Have you even checked him for bombs? Jesus, man: the Princess is right there.

Finally: why is Chewbacca in charge of anything? Does he have a rank? Hasn’t someone been trained for this job, or do we always go with a “let the Wookie figure it out” approach when it comes to defending out troop transports?

The last–and most famous–ship to not receive a toy back in the day was the Tantive IV, which is a Corellian Corvette. I knew that without looking it up and am writing about it for free at 1:30 in the morning.

You okay, champ?

Gotta get a second wind after that one.


Anyway, even though some big scenes take place on the ship, she was too big to make with the 3.75″ scale figures and was relegated to models and figurines for your desk: strictly second-string.

(I have also now arbitrarily decided that “Rebel ships” and “personal ships owned by people allied with the Rebels” are two different things and also I forgot Slave One, so all personal ships get discussed later, or maybe not. Who can tell the future?)

The Empire had much better capital ships than the Rebels, but the scrappy Orange Suits won the day with their fighters, which were varied and beat-up and stuck together with scavenged panels and circuits. They all (eventually) got toys because they were awesome and awesome things get to be toys.

Muhammad Ali is awesome: he was made into many toys. Garcia, too. Also a toy. I rest my case.

This is the A-Wing, which is clearly the cockpit of a Y-Wing they had left over and painted. A pilot who looked like Tim Blake Nelson crashed one into a Star Destroyer and killed it. Other than that, there’s not much to recommend the A-Wing. It’s like a SmartCar with proton torpedos.

The B-Wing isn’t seen much in Jedi‘s final space battle, mostly because they couldn’t get the wings to film right, but the mutant fighter might be the most Star Wars of all the fleet: completely impractical, needlessly complicated, but designed and executed in a way that made it feel like a real object. The cockpit was a gyroscope and the wings opened and closed for landing and shooting and they were supposedly so complicated that only a Sullustan (the species Lando’s co-pilot for the Death Star attack belonged to) could pilot them.

They are named B-Wings because Lucas wanted to stick with the letter theme set by the X and Y, so he sat at his desk for a moment going through the alphabet until he go to B and said, “B-Wing. It’s called a B-Wing.” And so it was.

The Y-Wing was the workhorse of the Rebel Fleet. It was a space-A10 Thunderbolt: not as maneuverable as the X, but she could take a beating and at least it wasn’t an A-Wing.

“Hey! What you got against A-Wings?”

Who are you?

“An A-Wing pilot!”

How’d you get in here?

“Never mind that.”

Shoo, shoo.

The Y was the Bobby to the X’s Garcia. The Rocky to the X’s Apollo Creed. The Jackie Chan to the X’s Chris Tucker, or perhaps his Owen Wilson: that one’s up to you.

The toy was excellent, and surpassed the X-Wing in that you could insert your R2 figure into the slot, instead of a button being painted like R2. I did not own the Y-Wing, but my friend Phil Dornfeld did; I hated him deeply for this.

I love that the photographers had no idea or interest in what they were shooting, just getting the lighting right.

“Who’s the hermit crab? Admiral Abbadabba? Great, he’s the pilot, jam him in there, who gives a shit?”

Lando is also a dracula and standing in the wrong place. I don’t know a lot about spaceships and spaceship engines, but feel secure in saying that Lando should not be standing there.

Finally, the Bitchin’ Camaro of the SWU:

The T-65 from the Incom Corporation was the star of the show, for both the fictional fleet and the actual movie. They were fast and tumescent and you got to take your droid buddy along with you: it was the space version of a motorcycle with a sidecar for your dog. The ships were also capable of locking their S-foils in attack position, which seems a tactical blunder: keep the S-foils in non-attack position. Then, your opponent will think he’s not going to be attacked, and let down his guard. And then you can attack him.

The only way X-Wings could be cooler would be if Steve McQueen owned one, or James Dean died in one. Check this out.


This was the best toy of all, even better than the Falcon, in my estimation. The Falcon was too big and heavy to swoop around the house for very long, but the X-Wing would fly all day. You would press Artoo’s (annoyingly attached) head and the wings would separate with a KLack! and there was a button to make laser sounds, with a light that lit up. The cockpit glass opened up to let you put Luke in. I suppose you could put someone else in that seat, but not me. That was Luke’s ship.

The best toy of all.

When the stickers began to peel up, your mother would glue them back down with spirit gum and she would fly as good as new.


  1. PaulCHebert

    “…completely impractical, needlessly complicated, but designed and executed in a way that made it feel like a real object.”

    Kinda like Garcia’s guitars, you mean?

  2. ChadB


  3. Hh

    Now the kids have 10000 piece Lego atats and vans, i couldn’t build a 4 brick house back in the day.

  4. spencer

  5. Luther Von Baconson

    failing spirit gum, Mom spit.

  6. mrcompletely


    1) the A-Wing and Y-Wing are 1st generation rebel fighters. The Y-Wing is a weapons platform as you note; the A-Wing is an interceptor, designed for maneuverability for fighting TIEs

    2) The B-Wing is essentially the upgrade to the Y-Wing if I understand correctly; it occupies a similar function but is actually better at it, carrying more firepower and at least as durable

    3) X-Wing is the most modern and balanced fighter design, with a small heavy weapons payload (a couple torpedoes)

    4) why the fuck does no one put a weapon that fires backwards on any of these things

    5) seriously, the SW universe designers were brilliant at visual design but awful at military engineering. Is it possible to design a worse land attack vehicle than an AT-AT? Probably, but you’d have to work at it. But very cool looking!

    6) there apparently are no ship to ship weapons in the SW universe larger than the equivalent of an AA gun but smaller than the Death Star planet destroying thing. Those Star Destroyers and all the other capital ships never fire a single weapon that seems to be designed to attack other capital ships. WTF.

    7) at least the Star Trek weapon and defensive systems are thought out in a way that kinda makes sense. Assuming that warp drive and hyperspace are approximately equivalent this answers the “which would win” geek argument quite definitively: Star Trek ships are relatively intelligent, integrated warship designs aside from the fragile hull shapes, while SW ships were build by graphic designers.

    8) If two decades of programming experience has taught me anything, it’s that you never let graphic designers control anything about functionality.

    9) The Tantive was named after the most Pynchonian of all Gravity’s Rainbow characters, Tantivy Muffer-Maffick

    10) Naming an aquatic race “Mon Calamari” helpfully marks the exact point when George Lucas ran out of fucks while filming Jedi

    • mrcompletely

      BTW this is on my desk at work right now

      direct link for one pic to see if it’ll show here:

      • mrcompletely

        o hai it shows the gallery! Nicely done, WordPress!

    • FreedomHaul

      And point of order: the A wing had concussion missiles, not proton torpedoes.

      If I remember correctly w/r/t point 4, the A wing’s blasters were on swivel mounts so they could fire backwards (at least in the books).

      • thoughtsonthedead

        We got ourselves a good ol’ Mexican Nerd-Off.

        And thank you for the kind words.

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