When it comes to Star Wars vehicles, I have a special fondness for the AT-AT. It’s just so crazy. Big, lumbering, vulnerable around the legs. I’ve often wondered where or how it was used to its full potential. It got the job done on Hoth, yes, but did they go into that battle knowing they’d lose a few vehicles to the ingenuity of a not-too-bright blonde farmboy? Were the pilots thinking, “If only we were back on Coruscant, where this baby can really fly!” The lunacy of the design, combined with the fact that I found one under the Christmas tree one year when I was just a tiny little fanboy, earn the AT-AT a place in my heart for all time. Since it was one of the few Imperial vehicles I owned, it became Vader‘s favorite mode of transportation whenever he had places to go, people to kill. In his breathy baritone, Vader would say, “Should I take the Tie Fighter or the AT-AT? The wings are always popping off the Tie Fighter. But I don’t really need to stomp anything. Oh, what the heck. Let’s take the AT-AT!” Then, Vader and his cronies would leap into the AT-AT, which was inexplicably parked next to the Death Star and lumber off to torment Luke and the gang.
Now, let’s talk about Lego. Believe it or not, I never owned a single Lego when I was a kid. Not one block. My collecting habits were very specific. For me, it was all about Star Wars and He-Man. That’s it. I had a handful of Smurfs, some Muppets, Steve Austin, but I seriously think my parents would have dropped me off at the nearest Dickensian orphanage if I had tried to collect anything else. So I grew up Lego-less, and frankly, never really saw the appeal anyway. Besides assembling playsets, I never really understood the joy of putting something together and taking it apart, over and over. I never got into model kits, either. I think my attitude has always been, “Why should I do all the work?” Just let me buy the finished product. And yet, this Lego AT-AT intrigues me. It walks. It moves its head back and forth. It comes with General Veers, one of my favorite lackeys. It’s also $129.99. That’s a lot of dough for a pile of tiny plastic bricks. But I could put a leash on it and take it for walks and terrorize the neighborhood. I could send it off on errands, with the gentle reminder, “Look out for tow cables!”
Of course that would mean I’d also have to put it together. Let’s face it, there’s a very good reason I had to stop buying IKEA furniture (and not just because I turned 30). My lack of Legos as a kid has clearly impaired my ability to put anything together as an adult. Will I have to hire someone to construct my pet AT-AT? Will it just sit in its box, a symbol of potential greatness thwarted by my lack of engineering skills? Most likely, I will just put this out of my mind, holding out hope that the full-sized version will be available soon, maybe as part of a “clunkers for all-terrain armored-transport” program. Stomping my way down the 101 freeway could be the best possible use of an AT-AT ever. And then I would kill Wedge. Because he sucks.