October 9, 2016 – With its sleek arrowhead shape, the A-Wing starfighter has burned its image in our consciousness ever since its first appearance in Return of the Jedi (1983).
The first toy version was released in 1985 in the hard-to-find Star Wars Droids packaging. Several more versions have been released since then, including the 1997 Power of the Force 2 A-Wing; the 2002 Star Wars “Saga” A-Wing Fighter vehicle (a Target exclusive); and the 2008 Legacy Collection “Green Leader’s A-Wing” (a Walmart exclusive).
As the fastest of the Rebels’ light vessels, the A-Wing appears again in the animated Star Wars Rebels. And so it is no surprise that Hasbro has released its fifth and newest iteration: Hera Syndulla’s A-Wing, released Sept. 30, 2016.
With a retail price somewhere between $31.99 and $39.99 (depending on the vendor), this latest version of the A-Wing comes with:
● a Nerf-firing spring-loaded mechanism screwed into the bottom of the vehicle, which fires two red foam Nerf projectiles
● a 3.75-inch Hera Syndulla figure wearing a visored helmet with a translucent visor and holding a loose blaster
● a smoke-colored barely-translucent hinged canopy, which allows you to comfortably seat Hera in the roomy cockpit
And that’s it.
Aren’t You a Little Short for an A-Wing?
The classic arrowhead or “A” body design is compressed in Hera’s ship, turning the vessel into a subcompact mini-Cooper of a ship.
Despite the more compact design, Hera’s ship has some strengths that merit a closer look:
● The paint scheme is very well done using a combination of rust-red, mustard-yellow, white and gray on the light-beige plastic. Paint lines are clean and crisp and, thankfully, no decals or stickers have to be applied.
● The twin tail fins are slightly angled inward toward one another, which is truer in form to the A-Wings we see in both the movie and the animated series.
● There is no danger of drooping plastic parts in the long run. Unlike some of the toy vehicles from The Force Awakens (e.g., warped wings on the TIE fighters or bendy, melting parts on the X-Wing’s laser canon), all parts of Hera’s A-Wing feel solid.
● If you love Nerf projectiles, the single-firing spring-loaded mechanism will surprise you with its punch and range. In addition, two plastic clips beneath the wings conveniently hold both projectiles when not in use.
● The ship comes with a 3.75-inch Hera Syndulla with five points of articulation (head, shoulders, legs at hip joints). While the limited articulation is disappointing, fans will appreciate the inclusion of this Hera. She wears a pilot’s helmet with a semi-translucent visor and she is armed with a loose blaster.
Reasons Why Some Collectors Might Skip This Ship
● The higher price point for a smaller ship might turn off some consumers. On the other hand, after factoring inflation over the last decade and the inclusion of Hera (perhaps an $8.00 value), you might justify purchasing this A-Wing.
● The dreaded Nerf gun: This is the big elephant many have been talking about. Does the Nerf mechanism at least retract into the ship’s belly, similar to Hasbro’s U-Wing? (No.) Are the firing mechanism and the projectiles visible? (Yes, very much – from the sides, front, and below.) Can they be removed? (Probably, we see four small screws but haven’t tried to tinker with them.) Should you care? (Some will; some won’t.)
● No landing gear: The ship rests stably on a plastic stub beneath the Nerf mechanism and on the bottom of the twin tails. The lack of landing gear takes away from the screen-accuracy of the A-Wing’s appearance.
To Buy or Not to Buy?
This would be a fun toy for children not concerned with movie accuracy. Hera Syndulla’s A-Wing is sturdy, easy for small hands to handle, and the Nerf firing mechanism shoots surprisingly far. Moreover, we finally have a female pilot in a boy-centric universe, which both genders might appreciate.
For older collectors concerned about aesthetics, rest assured that this is still a beautiful ship. The price point is still on the high side, so buyers might take advantage of a sale (ToysRUs.com has a current sale price of $26.99) or take a chance and wait for a future clearance.
The inclusion of a unique Hera Syndulla figure (with helmet’s pilot and visor!), and the popularity of the animated Star Wars Rebels, might just seal the deal.
Rebel U-Wing Fighter (Sept. 30, 2016)
Green Leader’s A-Wing Fighter (2008 Legacy Collection) (Oct. 12, 2016)