I was looking at the list of reviews on the website the other day and noticed I was really lacking in a few different areas. When I look over at my display shelves, I can see a an area for vintage figures, a number of vehicles, and a large section of WOS figures. So I decided to make an effort to bulk up those areas. Armed with a can of duster, I went to peruse my collection. That’s when I spied this little gem. One of the Mini Rigs from the Kenner’s Empire Strikes Back line. The Mini Rigs plugged a hole in the Star Wars product line. Small vehicles that were more affordable and were easier for a kid to manipulate than say, a Millennium Falcon.
The idea behind the Mini Rigs was that they were styled like pieces of equipment from the Star War universe. For the younger crowd, Mini Rigs were Expanded Universe before there was an Expanded Universe. There were 3 or 4 of these initially. I remember kids back in the day either liked them or didn’t. I remember getting this one because the store was sold out of the cool one. The coolest Mini Rig had a bubble top, and two guns. Every kid wanted that one. The MTV-7 was probably the second most popular in my memory. It had wheels, which were always cool for kids. And this one man vehicle existed before the music video channel that doesn’t play music videos anymore. At first glance, I can see two sources of inspiration for this rig. The first is the AT-AT head. That might be a bit of a stretch, but it’s what it reminds me of. The second is the AT-AT concept art of what became the Turbo Tank in the prequels. While it’s been Kennerized, it’s still a pretty cool little piece of machinery. There’s tread on the wheels and little detail all over. Just like most of the vintage vehicles, the deco is done with kid applied decals. There’s just a few here. Two lights, a grill, stripes and a control panel. Again, they’re all done in that vintage Kenner style. There are three areas where I think the MTV-7 could be slightly improved. The first is the detail on the “legs” compared to the body. The sculpt on the legs seems a bit soft. It’s not that it’s not there, there just should be a tiny bit more. The hood mounted cannon suffers from a similar issue, but it’s really generic. It reminds me of something that’s a knock off, rather than an actual Kenner product. The third thing that could be improved is the wheels. While they look pretty cool, the seam is very unsightly. If they’d made them in Rubber they would have been even better.
The Mini Rigs were made completely for play. They weren’t made for any other reason. As such, they are meant to be played with. The MTV-7 has an action feature where the wheels are spring loaded. This is to allow it to be a Multi Terrain Vehicle. See, the initials do mean something. More frequently, the spring loaded wheels allowed a Snowtrooper to steam roll over Rebel Commander. Or pave side walk. Which ever you prefer.
You know I really wish there were more things like this in the current Star Wars line. While I typically fall into the more realism camp of collectors, I can see the value here. While there have been some cool deluxe figures over the past decade, I don’t think any of them match the playability and fun of the original Mini Rigs. Little vehicles for little hands makes them naturally fun. And really shouldn’t some toys be fun for kids first, collectors second?