Wednesday, April 25, 2012

STAR WARS Republic Attack Recon Fighter

Presenting the Star Wars Republic Attack Recon Fighter. Following my review of the Republic Attack Dropship, I thought that we could probably give some of the other freshly minted Star Wars 2012 vehicles a try.

And it just so happened that I had another vehicle associated with the Low Altitude Assault Transport/Carrier (LAAT/C): the Republic Attack Recon Fighter piloted by Anakin Skywalker.

However where the  Republic Attack Dropship  is meant to complement the LAAT/C by delivery crack (on Crack) troops to where the LAAT/C cannot go; the Republic Attack Recon Fighter is meant to be transported BY an LAAT/C and then deployed to serve as a forward observer.

This is actually where I have some issues with the design of the vehicle. Any military vehicle is a fine balancing act between armor, speed, and firepower - of course there are other factors such as capacity, sensor capabilities, etc... but those are auxiliary modifications that follow the first three. The Republic Attack Recon Fighter would seem to trade speed and armor in favor of overbearing firepower.

Which doesn't make any sense for a reconnaissance craft.

At first glance, it appears that the Attack Recon Fighter has one, two, three, six forward firing cannons - two of which can be re-positioned to swivel up, down, track left-to-right and fire backwards if need be. It's design makes it a mini-LAAT/C.  Either all six-cannons are relatively ineffective or the energy demands to fire all six would totally rob the ability of the Attack Recon Fighter to move quickly through the air - forget even having shields.

Speed and maneuverability are of import to a vehicle as small - and obviously lightly armored (non-existent?) as the Attack Recon Fighter. So there has to be a trade-off somewhere.

Happily the Hasbro Legacy Collection Millennium Falcon provides us with a similar vehicle with a similar profile that we can use to make the Attack Recon Fighter a bit more realistic.

Presenting the YT-XC mini-fighter - an armed single pilot exploration craft that accompanies YT-1300 Light freighters - like the Millennium Falcon.

With the YT-XC in mind we can reduce the firepower of the Attack Recon Fighter to two cannons.

This should provide the three sub-light engines of the Attack Recon Fighter with enough power to be quick and nimble in the atmosphere yet still give a significant sting to it's enemies.

 So what are the four prongs up front? I'd say that the bottom two are support struts meant to help cushion the Attack Recon Fighter's body when it lands - like those on a helicopter. The two front and middle "cannons" are really sensors.

The Republic Attack Recon Fighter's blister pack seems to support this as it only mentions two cannons in its blister card "A Republic recon fighter slices through space, piloted by Anakin Skywalker. The compack vehicle responds well to the Force-sensitive abilities of the Jedi. The attack fighter has fold-down wings so it can be transported in Republic gunships. Integrated cannons fully rotate for maximum attack potential in hostile engagements."

The bad news is, I don't have an LAAT/C (Yet), so I'm not sure if it's true that you can place one of these into the hold of an LAAT/C (Looks small enough, but you never know).

What's to like about the STAR WARS Republic Attack Recon Fighter? 

I have to say that I have mixed feeling about this vehicle's blatant lack of spring-loaded weapons. I actually appreciate that it doesn't have spring-loaded missiles, but a part of me feels that it's absence cheapens the toy - especially after purchasing a Republic Attack Dropship which not only has spring-loaded missiles up-top, it also has a spring mechanism that holds the troopers in place.

But I kinda do like it when toys don't come with spring-loaded weapons.

The biggest thing the Republic Attack Recon Fighter has going for itself are the position-able wings. Not only does it make the Republic Attack Recon Fighter compact and transportable, it should make it quite agile in the air - able to readjust it's wings to add speed, make sudden turns, or - if necessary - drop like a rock (Note the six-mini-missiles under the wings):

I'm still debating whether or not the wings can or should operate individually (Probably not though). 

What would be interesting though would be if the guns can operate independently. It certainly has the sensors to do it, so perhaps the guns can adjust or - at the very least - auto-correct pilot fire. Certainly something so flimsy would/should use all possible advantages that it can. 

What's NOT to like about the STAR WARS Republic Attack Recon Fighter? 

Anakin Skywalker. Not because I'm not a fan of Anakin Skywalker, but because I'm not a fan of the animated series look. For those who play the Star Wars Galactic Battle Game, Anakin Skywalker's stats are:

  • Force Agility - 12
  • Battle Skills - 11
  • Intelligence - 11 - Interestingly high. I always thought he was just mechanically gifted. This makes him a practical genius
  • Mechanical Skills - 12
  • Leadership  - 9 
  • Luck - 5 (Doesn't need it)

Note that the sensory-interface or comm-gear that he wears makes him look more Frankenstein than usual. Also he cannot grip the controls of the Republic Attack Recon Fighter with both hands - because his left hand is molded to be almost closed.

Articulation is so-so, and he tends to be a bit stiff which is common of Clone-Wars figures - what with their being so thin - and his tabard gets in the way of everything.

Simple solution: Dump Anakin Skywalker and replace him with a recon-ready Clone Trooper who can actually hold the controls. He sits a bit higher than Anakin Skywalker does, but you should still be able to close the cockpit hatch.

I still think that after the Republic Attack Dropship Hasbro should have given us something a little more than what we have here. Which probably explains why the Star Wars Republic Attack Recon Fighter is not that expensive on Amazon where it retails from between US$ 14.99 and US$ 20 (Roughly PhP 645 and PhP 860 plus shipping). This particular Republic Attack Recon Fighter was puchased at Toys R'Us in Eastwood City, Philippines at the retail price of PhP 1,119.75 (Roughly US$ 26).

Review by: Denis del Callar

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