Can Luke Skywalker rescue Princess Leia before being captured by Imperial stormtroopers? Or will they be blasted from the air by the firing "laser" cannon!
Kenner/Hasbro released two playsets in 1996 based on events that took place in succession during Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The Detention Block Rescue and the Death Star Escape playsets each have their plusses and minuses, but the Detention Block Rescue was far superior to the Death Star Escape set. As kids, we all wanted to recreate the “swing to freedom” that Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa in the Death Star Space Station playset created in the late seventies. (Kenner provided a rope accessory specifically for this purpose!) So modern Kenner/Hasbro wanted to take that scene and take it to the next level. They produced the Death Star Escape playset in The Power Of The Force “2” line, and it allows you to recreate the grappling hook swing from one side of the Death Star chasm to the other. Sadly, the final product isn’t anything we expected, and ultimately it’s a disappointing attempt that would probably have been better not executed at all. It’s one of the few Kenner/Hasbro Star Wars products we find challenging to praise in any capacity.
The Death Star Escape playset is problematic from top to bottom. It’s structurally awkward, and there is too much “height” above the main bridge and doors. There is a significant portion of wasted “dead space” from so many perspectives. It might have been best if Kenner/Hasbro tooled a power generator so that you could interchange it in the center and recreate the scene of Obi-Wan Kenobi shutting down the Death Star’s tractor beam. Instead, we have nothing but dead air, and it makes the playset looks cheap and unproductive. Kenner/Hasbro did add a platform at the top to place a Stormtrooper action figure and fire the missile projectile gun there. Still, again, there is too much distance between levels, and the play features are incredibly juvenile here. At the center of the top beam is some strange device that we’re not sure what it represents, but the grappling hook string hangs from it so you can swing the heroes to the other side as desired. Again, this feels cheap and silly, instead of something that would excite you to recreate from the Star Wars universe.
The base of the Death Star Escape playset is nothing more than a cardboard drawing of the deep Death Star chasm. It’s a two-dimensional sketch intended to looks three-dimensional. There’s a nice bit of detail drawn on it, but it’s also too close below the main bridge deck, and you don’t get the proper perspective you should, and you don’t sense the deepness of it because it’s too close to the play area. Unless you’re looking at it from an aerial view, you don’t get the proper effect, and we find that to be a significant setback here. Unfortunately, the Death Star Escape playset is not that enthralling or exciting. It perplexes us that Kenner/Hasbro could recreate the Detention Block Rescue with so many relevant and essential features, yet the Death Star Escape playset feels incomplete leaves you wanting a lot more. Whatever you decide, we hope that these playsets serve as evidence to Kenner/Hasbro that there is a market for them. Collectors want backgrounds to display their action figures. And if made practically, Kenner/Hasbro has a limitless selection from which to choose.
Death Star Escape
Status: Death Star Escape is an all-new playset.
Features Count: 4
Feature Details: positionable cannon with firing "laser," sliding blast shield door, removable bridge, figures duel on the removable bridge
Accessory Count: 1
Accessory Details: projectile
Date Stamp: 1995
Assortment Number: 27599/27597
Retail: $9.99 USD
Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on listings.