Growing up in a single parent home, I didn't have the luxury of getting the latest and greatest of toys. Money was tight needless to say, so trading with the neighborhood kids was how I got what I wanted. Of course, that never stopped me from drooling over toys that would take a shopping cart to get to the check out line. Yes, going to the toy aisle was always bittersweet, but thankfully most toy companies offered affordable choices that gave us less-advantaged kids an alternative.
Today I want to share one of those alternatives. Kenner was very good about providing a broad selection of toys that were cost-effective. Vehicles like the Millennium Falcon which retailed for about $29.99 where out of reach for a lot of families. That may not seem a lot, but remember it was 1984, so factoring inflation that same toy would cost 75 bucks today! Kenner saw this hole and filled it with its "Mini Rig" collection. These small vehicles and accessories where a fraction of the cost of their much larger siblings.
There were quite a few of these through the various collections starting with Empire Strikes Back, then expanding with the Return of the Jedi. These mini-rigs weren't even in the movies, well, with a few exceptions. This particular mini-rig that were viewing today, the Tri-pod Laser Canon, did have a part in Empire Strikes Back and is pretty faithful to its on-screen counterpart. For the most part, however, toy designers used their imaginations when designing these mini vehicles and did a good job of keeping these as believable as possible. Our Tri-pod Laser cannon was packaged in the Jedi box but was initially released along with the Empire Strikes Back decor. Naturally, action figures were sold separately. Lets take a look.
Design & Durability
Looking at the overall detail and I have to say this was constructed with strength in mind. The plastic is hard and robust, and each piece has details which make it an incredible display piece. With about nine separate parts, assembly is a breeze and is perfectly stable when standing. I love the rubber hose that leads to the ammo box as its very flexible so you can position it without grief, nice touch.
Remember, this is a budget-minded toy, but surprisingly there is a whole lot of value here. Being that things are removable, a broad imagination of a creative child can really create separate uses of the various parts. Another curious mechanism is that the rotating swivel makes a clicking sound. Unfortunately, it sounds more like a small machine gun rather than a Laser Canon. Still, cool to have. The ammo compartment is just that, a compartment where you can store various weapons and accessories.
There's not a whole lot to be said about Kenner's Tri-pod mini-rig. In my opinion, out of all the rigs from the Kenner lineup, I feel this one displays the best. It's fairly movie accurate, yet still retains playability. I loved mine growing up, and am glad Kenner filled that hole with these affordable, cool toys.