Friday, March 28, 2008

AT-AT Imperial Walker

Originally released in 1980, "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" has proven to be one of the most popular films of the series among many fans and critics.

In the opening scene when the Imperial Walkers came into view on Hoth, it was a jaw dropping awesome sight, much like the opening scene of Episode IV when it seemed like there was no end in sight to the Star Destroyer Devastator. The Imperial All Terrain Armoured Transport (AT-AT) walker was a major part of the Galactic Empire's army. It was one of the most heavily armoured land vehicles in the Imperial Army.

I remembered watching "The making of" way back then on TV (no DVDs then) and the AT-ATs used in "The Empire Strikes Back" and the brief appearance in "Return of the Jedi" were created with the use of stop-motion animation. The animators who brought the AT-AT Imperial Walkers to life in "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" based their movements on elephants (An elephant was also used as a Bantha in the first Star Wars film released in 1977, ridden by a Tusken Raider on Tatooine)

In reality, the AT-AT walker would have been a cumbersome, lumbering hunk of junk and an extremely easy target to bring down, being as BIG as it was and just as SLOW but in the world of Sci-Fi and Star Wars, its intimidating and powerful presence has earned it the distinction of being a formidable weapon.

When this toy came out in the late 70s, there was no way I was gonna get my hands on this beauty since I had no disposable income and asking my parents for the dough would have got me the kind of look that would've sent me six feet under, the look that says, "You wanna DIE is it?" Fast forward twenty-odd years to the late 90s when this toy was re-released, I wasn't going to let the opportunity pass me by again. Come hell or high water, I was going to own this. Enjoy the pictures :)

Serving as the "head" of the mechanical walker was a movable command section containing the command cockpit, with room for the commander, driver and gunner.

Positioned in the centre of the body section was a rectangular boarding hatch with sliding ramps where the AT-AT's complement of troops loaded and disembarked. Never seen how the troops disembarked although reading about it, it seems the AT-AT unloaded its troops by kneeling to three meters above ground level until the boarding ramp could extend outward (kinda like a camel or elephant - would have looked quite comical).

The famous scene reenacted - Luke Skywalker goes up under the belly and detonates a charge to bring the whole AT-AT crumbling down like Humpty Dumpty.

"My, what a HUGE lightsaber you have!" Someone certainly "rubbed" Luke the right way.


Dash MacBastard said...

Truly one of the greatest toys of all time.

alex teo said...

i totally agree!! a must have for any Star Wars fan

Unknown said...

My husband has been crazy about Star Wars since he was a kid and has the original AT-AT from the 1980's. Unfortunately, he no longer has the box and some pieces are missing but it still looks good. What year is that AT-AT in your photographs about 1995 or later?

alex teo said...

hi paula, the AT-AT you see was purchased in 1997, i think. thanks for looking :)

alex teo said...

You should check out the latest Millennium Falcon It's a beauty!!

Willy's Toys said...

I remember being like 10 years old begging my grandma to buy this for me at a collectible shop. I actually talked to her into it. =D
Check out my rendition of the classic AT-AT scene...

alex teo said...

great job convincing your grandma - you used the Jedi mind trick right? the picture you took at the link you posted is AWESOME!!!