Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Collectible of the Week: Star Wars Death Star Playset (Kenner; 1978)

This giant play-set representation of the Star Wars (1977) Death Star -- a literal "pie slice" of the space sphere -- remains one of the greatest and most impressive toys of the late 1970s space craze.

Released by Kenner in 1978, The Death Star Playset recreates the central location of Star Wars, the Imperial battle station, with four different levels of intricacy and detail.

The promotion material describes the toy in detail:

"Kenner's exciting play environment simulates the Death Star space station with manual elevator to take the Star Wars figures to any of the action play floors."

"TOP FLOOR: Laser cannon that swivels, emitting "clicking" sounds; it explodes from housing when hit by X-wing fighter.  Also has ledge for Ben Kenobi."

THIRD FLOOR: Manually operated "light bridge" that opens and closes, and an escape rope swing for Luke and Leia.

SECOND FLOOR: Control room for piloting Death Star and escape hatch to trash compactor.

FIRST FLOOR: Trash compactor complete with removable foam garbage; has turn-screw to close end of compactor, which stops in in time for Star Wars hero to escape."

This description doesn't indicate one of the coolest aspects of this great toy, however: the Death Star comes complete with a figure of the Dia Noga -- or trash-compactor monster -- thus allowing us to see its full body shape for the first time.

I received this impressive toy for Christmas as a nine year old, I believe, and I loved it.  I was disappointed that the station was not in the familiar sphere aspect from the movie, but the "pie slice" structure allows for easy access on all sides, and makes playing Star Wars easy.

I kept my Star Wars Death Star for years and years, but eventually all the pieces either got lost or destroyed.  I now have another I bought on E-Bay, and it's just as fun to play with as I remember.

Finally, you can see a toy commercial for the Death Star below.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this playset, one of the best of the era, that's for sure. I don't remember all the particulars, but somehow my parents got a gift certificate to a local toy store. They took me there and I could pick a bike or something from the toy section. Well, by this time Star Wars was on the decline and GI Joe and Transformers were all the rage. In the corner was a discounted Star Wars toy section, and there was a Death Star playset. My parents really tried to steer me toward the bike, but nothing doing. :) When I got home, I put this sucker together and pulled out my old Star Wars figures and it was a blast.

    Like you I had this for the longest time, up into the 1990s at least. It was in pretty rough shape by then, but when the action figures were resurrected for the Special Edition in 1997, I used that to display the newer figures. But it didn't last too much longer after that.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. :)