The Podrace scenes in The Phantom Menace offered the most diverse collection of Star Wars vehicles ever assembled in one place and weren't just a highlight of the film, they also represented one of the more popular Galoob Action Fleet lines. Unfortunately not every pod managed to cross the finish line before production was shut down...

Continuing a general focus on the Podracing scenes from The Phantom Menace, Galoob was well on their way to releasing their fourth and fifth podracers for the 2000 Action Fleet line. Among them, the wily Boles Roor and his BIN GASSI QUADRIJET 940E. Roor's racer features the same spinning energy binder effect seen on other racers in the line. In addition, the nose cones on both engines pop out to reveal their inner mechanics. As with other pods of the same design, Roor's pod features an adjustable cockpit and cables, and articulated mini figure. With the return of the Action Fleet line, and primary tooling completed, odds that this vehicle could finally see production are good.

 


Rounding out Galoob’s know plans for Action Fleet Podracers, Neva Kee's FARWAN & GLOTT FG 8T8 stands out as one of the most unorthodox racers seen in the Boota Eve Challenge. Aside from it’s terrific detail and shocking metallic blue deco, the podracer’s main feature would have been the adjustable thrust vents, operated by turning a ring behind each engines cowling. The same mechanism opens two small vents, or air brakes, located on top of the engines. As with many of Galoob’s landspeeder models, this Podracer sports drop down (clear) "landing" gear, to give the racer a hovering effect when put on display. A Neva Kee mini-figure and Action Fleet stand would have rounded out the package.


Both of the Podracers above made it as far a test package samples, as witnessed here in their white “test” boxes. According to our information, tooling for both Boles Roor’s and Neva Kee’s racers was completed and each could be put back into production fairly easily if Hasbro so chooses. When asked, Hasbro simply states that each remain a strong possibility for the future. With a slight alteration in how the Action Fleet is marketed, the question now is what differences, if any, would new/updated versions of these Podracers offer? While the pods themselves stand a decent chance, it’s unknown if the Boles Roor or Neva Kee mini-figures will accompany them.

 

Seen fleetingly in The Phantom Menace as Nute Gunray and Rune Haako first step foot on Naboo soil, the Neimoidian Shuttle is probably one of the least known vehicles in the Star Wars saga. By the final version of the film, only the main hatch, boarding ramp, and one landing claw are visible, but that didn't stop Galoob in choosing it for their Action Fleet line. Seen here are images of the last intact prototype of what would have become the Action Fleet Neimoidian (or Trade Federation) Shuttle. Based on information from the Art of Episode I, the shuttle derives much of its design from another Federation ship, the Trade Federation Landing Craft. The sleek alien vessel embodies a very utilitarian feel, common to all Trade Federation vehicles, and reflects a strong 'destroyer droid' influence in its landing claws.

Had it gone to production as is, the vehicle would have featured an opening cockpit with room for one pilot, a firing projectile activated by a button behind the main fin, an extendable egress ramp with working main hatches, and retractable landing gear. The deco and detail on this model is top notch and most likely would have transferred very well to the final production model.


It's interesting to note that this prototype apparently has no engines. Might these have been added along the way? Unfortunately, we may never know. Aside from the fact that this is not a highly recognizable Star Wars vehicle, tooling for the manufacture of this ship was never started. According to our source, this is the last remaining prototype, and as such will most certainly remain one of the lost toys of Star Wars for some time to come.

 

In addition to the Imperial Star Destroyer shown at Comic Con 2000, Galoob toys was also working on this model of the second Death Star. Classic Action Fleet styling and features would have made this a must have for any Star Wars fan. Seen here for the first time, Galoob's Death Star II show's us a glimpse of what could have been, and a possible hint of things to come. Modeled to resemble the Death Star from Return of the Jedi this prototype shows us the dreaded battle station in mid construction. As an early version, this model displays a rough idea of what the final toy may have looked like, and a hint at where Galoob was going with deco. Clearly the 'finished' portions of the station are limited as far as detail, but the 'unfinished' areas show an incredible amount of variation in the surface. While some areas are left un-painted, it's clear to see what the final version of the toy may have looked like.


As is, one of the main features on this toy would have been the Death Star's main cannon. A projectile (most likely green) loaded into the center of the cannon's dish, can be activated by a small button at the top of the toy. While this feature works on the prototype, no projectiles came with this model. In addition, the Action Fleet Death Star opens along the trench to separate both hemispheres. Inside, the bottom hemisphere houses a small play area based on the Emperor's Throne Room. A trap door in the center pops up to reveal Palpatine's chair and a representation of one of the room's trademark view ports. The upper hemisphere houses storage for an Emperor mini-figure, and a slot for an extra projectile.

As with many of the ‘Lost’ items from Galoob, only the prototype of this toy exists. Tooling for the Death Star was never begun and as a result it's unlikely this exact version will ever be produced. On the bright side however, in talking with Hasbro about the Action Fleet line, it was mentioned a Death Star was one of the things they were very interested in covering. To date, very few details about the new Action Fleet line have surfaced. We have heard the initial release may include three Episode II based toys along with new versions of the Millennium Falcon and X-Wing Fighter. In addition to those, we hear there are three more sets listed as "to be determined." Is the Death Star among the yet un-named sets? It's possible, but if not, it's almost certain Hasbro will re-visit this project at some point and at long last take the Action Fleet Death Star off the Lost Toys list, and put it in our collections, where it belongs.

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Next September marks the twentieth anniversary of Hasbro's Kenner The Power Of The Force action figure collection. The line introduced a new generation of children to the wonderful world of Star Wars toys and ushered in the modern collectibles we all enjoy today. Our ever-inquisitive Probe Droid is actively searching all corners of the galaxy to find out if there is interest in products that commemorate this very significant 1995 release.
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