Vintage Kenner Power of the Force Tatooine Skiff
I recently posted a YouTube video I made about the Vintage Tatooine Skiff that covers it fairly comprehensively, but I also wanted to do an entry on the site. My conclusion in the video (SPOILER ALERT!) was essentially that the Tatooine Skiff is great, but way too expensive on the secondary market. It’s hard to justify for many since Hasbro’s later reissues are actually slightly superior in a number of ways. The expense and the existence of alternative versions like these reissues was the main reason I spent years collecting Jabba the Hutt items and never had a vintage Tatooine Skiff.
However, I was able to do a trade with a fellow collector to get one of these, and I’m glad I did. For me, the box is about 60% of the appeal, since the toy itself is very similar to the reissues. It’s definitely nice to fill that hole in my collection.
Although the toy itself is also great, it’s a little hard to believe that they went with this design, since it seems unreasonably fragile for a toy. There are lots of thin plastic parts and mechanical features that have a tendency to break. That’s one reason that this toy is so expensive these days — just finding one that’s complete and in working condition can be a challenge.
That said, I love the design as an adult collector. It displays really well and has action features that are actually fun. Who wouldn’t love making their figures walk the plank?
The “ejecting” floor panel is also cool, although I think the fold-down railings might be even more fun, since you can have figures hang from them.
These features did come at a cost, of course, and that’s the fragility I mentioned above. These things often break, or at least their parts can become dislodged inside, which has similar results. When I was working on the video, I noticed that my 1999 POTF2 skiff’s landing gear was no longer working, so I disassembled it. I haven’t opened up the vintage skiff and have no intention of doing so, since it can be hard to get everything put back together. But I think it’s pretty much identical to this:
In my case, it turned out that the connector at the end of one of the rods connected to the landing gear (A in the photo below) had come out of the hole in the rod connected to the lever (B). The rod that keeps the other rods in place had also come out of its slot (C). I imagine this is a fairly common issue. It was a simple matter to fix, since nothing was actually broken. I just had to snap it back in. But I found that once I had it back together, the ejector floor panel feature didn’t work right. The spring in it was either bent or in the wrong place. I did manage to fix it by inserting something so that the spring functioned again, but it was all very fiddly and frustrating.
It’s definitely a good looking vehicle. It’s too bad that the vintage version is so expensive, but at least there are alternative versions available.
It’s a shame that they never made a Sail Barge vehicle. It looked a little bit like it might happen when Hasbro was releasing things like its “big” Millennium Falcon and AT-AT (both of which are awesome), but I think the days of those big vehicles may be behind us. Of course, this does open the door for customizers. I’ve seen some pretty impressive custom Sail Barges, but unfortunately they can be quite expensive (and big!).