|First appearance||The Empire Strikes Back|
Harpoon and tow cable
A snowspeeder is a Rebel Alliance vehicle featured in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and several books, comics, and video games in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Snowspeeder models and replicas have been merchandised by several companies.
Origin and design
During production of The Empire Strikes Back, designer Joe Johnston conceived a ship that combined the body of an X-wing and the cockpit of the Y-wing. However, this design was scrapped for the T-47, which featured no elements from previous craft. Johnston's designs for the Snowspeeders have influenced later Star Wars designers, such as Tommy Lee Edwards.
The models were built in three different scales by Steve Gawley, Charlie Bailey, and Mike Fulmer of ILM, with the smallest (20 inches) used for motion control photography, and the largest (2½ feet) for hero and pyrotechnic shots. All models included motor-controlled flaps to imply maneuverability, and the largest version also possessed motor-articulated crew. Several full-scale props were built in London for the hangar, cockpit, and speeder crash scenes.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Rogue Group, led by Commander Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), pilots snowspeeders against Imperial AT-AT walkers during the Battle of Hoth. When their lasers prove ineffective the Rebel pilots turn to tripping the walkers with the snowspeeders' harpoons and tow cables.
The snowspeeders used on Hoth are modified Incom T-47 airspeeders initially used for civilians; they are modified to survive the "hostile environment of the ice planet Hoth". Expanded Universe material states that the Y-wing cockpit and other features were donated to the airspeeders. The two-man craft has an advanced power system and repulsorlift to compensate for additional armaments and armor, affording them a top speed of 1,000 km/h and combat speed of 600 km/h. The playable snowspeeder in Star Wars: Battlefront II is armed with concussion missiles and small tow-cable launcher.
Kenner released a toy snowspeeder in 1980. Kenner re-released an updated version utilizing the same mold in 1995 for their new 'Power of the Force' line. After Hasbro shut down the Kenner offices in 1999, it was released several times under Hasbro's brand name: in 2001 as a Wal-Mart exclusive in the "Power of the Jedi" collection, in 2006 as a Target exclusive in the "Saga Collection" line, and three versions of it in the 2010 "The Vintage Collection", including a Target exclusive packaged as the original 1980 Kenner version.
In 2009, Japanese model manufacturer Fine Molds released a 1/48 scale kit of the Snowspeeder.
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