This post looks at the vintage Star Wars diecast vehicles produced by Kenner in the USA in 1978 and 1979.
The vintage diecast series of vehicles produced for the original Star Wars film and then Empire Strikes Back is a somewhat overlooked area for collectors. I think there is also some confusion around what was released when, which I hopefully will make clear.
This post only covers the seven vehicles produced for the first Star Wars film. In a future post I will cover the re-issues and the four exclusive vehicles produced for Empire Strikes Back vehicles released in 1980.
Five of the seven vehicles from the initial Star Wars release were re-issued on Empire Strikes Back retail packaging. None of the vehicles were released for Return Of The Jedi.
The post doesn’t cover the international versions released apart from Palitoy in the UK. Most of the information in the post is still relevant to collecting international versions.
Despite the rather niche area the Star Wars diecast vehicles represent, they seem to have captivated the interest of a wide group of licensees all over the world. Takara, Toltoys, Kenner Canada, Palitoy, Meccano, General Mills, Harbert and Clipper all produced versions of them.
Below I list the seven vehicles produced. In brackets I specify whether the vehicle was produced for Star Wars A New Hope only or both films.
Tie fighter (ANH and ESB)
X-Wing fighter (ANH and ESB)
Land Speeder (ANH only)
Darth Vader Tie Fighter (ANH only)
Millennium Falcon (ANH & ESB)
Imperial Cruiser (ANH & ESB)
Y-Wing Fighter (ANH & ESB)
The Land Speeder was advertised in the trade only 1980 main Toy Fair catalog with ESB packaging, but no actual examples have been found.
KENNER STAR WARS 1980 TOY FAIR CATALOG DIECAST TIE BOMBER PAGE
In an early Kenner 1979 trade products supplement catalog, the series I vehicles were advertised. Only three vehicles were displayed since the Darth Vader Tie Fighter was still in prototype development.
KENNER 1979 STAR WARS SUPPLEMENT DIECAST PAGE
The third in-package catalogue (X-Wing cover) Kenner produced in 1978 was the first to advertise the Series I models.
KENNER STAR WARS X-WING IN-PACKAGE CATALOG 1978 FRONT COVER
The Darth Vader Tie Fighter was released a short time after the other three models in Series 1. Hence it was not ready for this catalog.
KENNER STAR WARS X-WING IN-PACKAGE CATALOG 1978 DIECAST PAGE
The fourth in-package catalogue (X-Wing cover with pink insert pages) Kenner produced in 1978 was the first to advertise the Series II models.
STAR WARS KENNER X-WING PINK 1978 IN-PACKAGE CATALOG FRONT COVER
The diecast vehicles displayed in this catalog were prototypes and not the production models.