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The Elusive Star Wars Mini Rig

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

Mini-Rig


A Mini-Rig was a small toy vehicle developed and released by Kenner. Mini-Rigs were given a smaller size because of their lowered value. Besides the Mini-Rigs, Kenner also released three Body-Rigs.


Wave 1 - 1981

  • MLC-3 Mobile Laser Cannon

  • MTV-7 Multi-Terrain Vehicle

  • PDT-8 Personnel Deployment Transport

Wave 2 - 1982

  • CAP-2 Captivator

  • INT-4 Interceptor

Wave 3 - 1983

  • AST-5 Armored Sentinel Transport

  • ISP-6 Imperial Shuttle Pod

Wave 4 - 1984

  • Desert Sail Skiff

  • Endor Forest Ranger

  • One Man Sand Skimmer

  • Security Scout

  • The Imperial Sniper


Kenner's Star Wars Mini-Rig toys were a range of playsets and vehicles released in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The range of toys was released alongside the Kenner Star Wars Action Figures and formed part of the more significant Star Wars toy line. The first sets released in the range were the Imperial Troop Transporter and the Rebel Command Center, both released in 1978. The Mini-Rig scope included sets based on the original Star Wars trilogy and the animated series Star Wars Droids. In addition, the sets included features such as firing missiles and lights and sounds. The Mini-Rigs were discontinued in 1985, with the release of the final set, The Emperor's Throne Room.


MLC-3 Mobile Laser Cannon

Mini Rig MLC-3
Mini Rig MLC-3

The MLC-3 Mobile Laser Cannon was a compact, one-person tank designed for the Rebel Alliance to use in perimeter defense on the planet Hoth. It had two medium repeating blaster cannons and could move around on heavy treads. It also featured a removable transparent dome, giving it a unique look.


While the MLC-3 was designed to operate with a single pilot, its motion and attack circuits could be jury-rigged to run autonomously, firing randomly on a time program.

The MLC-3 was one of Kenner's Mini-Rigs, and like many of the toys in that series, it was an original design, though it has since appeared in Star Wars (1977).

Although the name "Mobile Laser Cannon" suggests that the MLC-3's weapons are lasers, they have been described as blaster cannons by The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia and StarWars.com.


MTV-7 Multi-Terrain Vehicle

Mini Rig MTV-7
Mini Rig MTV-7

The MTV-7 (short for "Multi-Terrain Vehicle") is a mini-rig designed by Kenner for the Star Wars franchise. It was first released in 1981, packaged with the Empire Strikes Back, and was part of a series of mini-rigs that allowed greater mobility and exploration in the Star Wars universe. The MTV-7 was designed as a scouting vehicle and featured a single pilot's seat, two large wheels, and spring-loaded legs to allow for superior mobility. It was also equipped with a movable laser cannon to defend against hostile forces. The MTV-7 was reissued in 1981 for a "Special Offer" version that included an AT-AT Driver figure and a yellow sticker on the front of its box. It was reissued in 1982 with a different sticker and a $1 rebate sticker. Finally, the MTV-7 was issued in a Return of the Jedi package in mid-1983 and stopped production. The MTV-7 was a popular toy and is fondly remembered by Star Wars fans and collectors.


PDT-8 Personnel Deployment Transport

Mini Rig PDT-8
Mini Rig PDT-8

The PDT-8 (short for "Personnel Deployment Transport") is a mini-rig designed by Kenner for the Star Wars franchise. It was first released in 1981, packaged with the Empire Strikes Back, and was part of a series of mini-rigs that allowed greater mobility and exploration in the Star Wars universe. The PDT-8 was designed to transport two Action Figures from one place to another quickly. It featured entrance ramps that open and close, movable laser machine guns, and movable side jet pod thrusters.


In 1981, the PDT-8 was released with a "Special Offer" version with a free 2-1b figure and a yellow sticker on the front of its box. It was reissued in 1982 with a different sticker and a $1 rebate sticker. However, unlike its MTV-7 and MLC-3 counterparts, the PDT-8 did not survive into the Return of the Jedi era and was cut from the line after 1982. Nevertheless, the PDT-8 is remembered fondly by Star Wars fans and collectors as one of the original mini-rigs and is still sought after.


CAP-2 Captivator

Mini Rig CAP-2
Mini Rig CAP-2

The CAP-2 (short for "Captivator") is a mini-rig designed by Kenner for the Star Wars franchise. Released in 1982, the CAP-2 was part of a series of mini-rigs that allowed greater mobility and exploration in the Star Wars universe. The CAP-2 was a menacing-looking vehicle with two long arms with claws for grabbing things, a rotating center body, and suction cup-equipped legs to allow it to cling to surfaces. It was used by spies of the Empire to capture Rebel prisoners and was the personal vehicle of Bossk, a bounty hunter in the Star Wars galaxy.


The CAP-2 was released in 1982 with Empire Strikes Back packaging, then reissued with a "Special Offer" version that included a free Bossk figure, a yellow sticker on the reverse, and a printed $1 rebate offer. It was then reissued in 1983 with a Return of the Jedi box. The CAP-2 is remembered fondly by Star Wars fans and collectors and is still sought after.


INT-4 Interceptor

Mini Rig INT-4
Mini Rig INT-4

The INT-4 (short for "Interceptor") is a mini-rig designed by Kenner for the Star Wars franchise. Released in 1982, the INT-4 was part of a series of mini-rigs that allowed greater mobility and exploration in the Star Wars universe. The INT-4 had an opening hatch, movable laser cannon, landing skids, and remote-controlled wings to fly short missions. In addition, it could fit in the body of an AT-AT, as the box showed it inside the giant toy.


The INT-4 was initially released in 1982 with Empire Strikes Back packaging and then reissued with a "Special Offer" version that included a free AT-AT Commander figure and a bright yellow sticker on the reverse of its box. It was then reissued with a $1 printed rebate offer. Finally, the INT-4 was reissued in a Return of the Jedi box in 1983 and then canceled after. The INT-4 is remembered fondly by Star Wars fans and collectors and is still sought after.


AST-5 Armored Sentinel Transport

Mini Rig AST-5
Mini Rig AST-5

The AST-5 (short for "Armored Sentinel Transport") is a mini-rig designed by Kenner for the Star Wars franchise. Released in 1983, the AST-5 was part of a series of mini-rigs that allowed greater mobility and exploration in the Star Wars universe. The AST-5 was an aerial scouting vehicle model and featured wings and an enclosed cockpit that could support a pilot. It was also equipped with movable laser cannon and was used by the forces of Jabba the Hutt to guard his castle.


The AST-5 was first issued in 1983, packaged with Return of the Jedi, and featured six mini-rigs on the back of its box. It was reissued in 1984 with a different sticker and four mini-rigs on the back. The AST-5 is remembered fondly by Star Wars fans and collectors and is still sought after.


ISP-6 Imperial Shuttle Pod

Mini Rig ISP-6
Mini Rig ISP-6

The ISP-6 (short for "Imperial Shuttle Pod") is a mini-rig designed by Kenner for the Star Wars franchise. Released late in 1983, the ISP-6 preceded the much larger and more popular Imperial Shuttle by about one year. The ISP-6 didn't come with any action figures but was priced at only USD 4.99; this mini-rig did pack a lot of fun and value for its small size.


The ISP-6 is a single-seat mini-rig measuring only 5 1/2 inches (14 cm) long from its nose to its tail, 7 1/2 inches (19 cm) wide with its wings extended, and 5 inches (13 cm) high. It features retractable wings with double-laser cannons, which can be rotated horizontally at 45°, and a surprisingly roomy cockpit accessed by an opening hatch-like domed canopy. The wide-open canopy provides easy access, and the cockpit is surprisingly roomy for such a small ship. Beneath the fuselage are two levers - one to fold up and lock the wings upright and the other to release the wings for flight.


The ISP-6 Imperial Shuttle Pod, despite its stubby snout-nosed appearance, is still symmetrically beautiful in its way and has the distinction of being released first (late 1983), about one year before its sleeker and much larger cousin, the Imperial Shuttle (released 1984). It was a fast, compact transport designed to be deployed from larger shuttles and armed with two defensive blaster cannons for operations in combat. The ISP-6 is remembered fondly by Star Wars fans and collectors and is still sought after.


Desert Sail Skiff

Mini Rig Desert Sail Skiff
Mini Rig Desert Sail Skiff

The Desert Sail-20 Skiff is a mini-rig designed by Kenner for the Star Wars franchise. Released in 1984, this mini-rig was one of the second waves of Return of the Jedi mini-rigs and was based on the repulsor lift utility vehicle seen in the movie. The Desert Sail Skiff was smaller than the larger Bantha-II cargo skiff and was designed to be a one-person personal flier. It has two blaster cannons located on each side of its lower hull.


Kenner's Desert Sail Skiff Mini-Rig was the only Sarlaac pit-related toy for two years. It retailed for around $4.99 (USD) and was released as part of the second wave of Mini-Rigs in 1984, and was packaged with a package illustration showing the character of Boba Fett piloting the sailing skiff across an arid terrain. This mini-rig was a long-time favorite of Star Wars fans and collectors and is still sought after.


Endor Forest Ranger

Mini Rig Endor Forest Ranger
Mini Rig Endor Forest Ranger

The Endor Forest Ranger is a mini-rig designed by Kenner for the Star Wars franchise. Released in 1984, the Endor Forest Ranger was part of a series of mini-rigs allowing greater mobility and exploration in the Star Wars universe. The Endor Forest Ranger was an aerial scouting vehicle model with wings and an enclosed cockpit that could support a pilot. It was also equipped with movable laser cannon and was used by the forces of Jabba the Hutt to guard his castle. The Endor Forest Ranger was initially issued in 1984, packaged with Return of the Jedi, and featured six mini-rigs on the back of its box. It was reissued in 1985 with a different sticker and four mini-rigs on the back. The Endor Forest Ranger is remembered fondly by Star Wars fans and collectors and is still sought after.


One Man Sand Skimmer


The Star Wars Mini Rig: One Man Sand Skimmer was released by Kenner's The Power of the Force toy line in 1985 as part of the Body-Rig series. It was part of the Single Body Transport collection and was designed to look like many of the vehicles used on the Tatooine Desert in Return of the Jedi. It features a movable sail and front laser cannon, which emits a clicking sound. Unfortunately, it is considered a tough toy to find because the Power of the Force line was canceled quickly, and the body rigs were not produced significantly. The One-Man Sand Skimmer was also released in Europe in a tri-lingual POTF box.


Security Scout


The Star Wars Mini Rig Security Scout was released by Kenner's The Power of the Force toy line in 1985 as part of the Body-Rig series. It was part of the Single Body Transport collection and was designed to resemble the vehicles used by the Rebels to scout for enemy troops on Endor. It features a sleek design and emits a clicking laser cannon. The Security Scout was released in the US on blister cards and in Europe in a tri-lingual POTF box. It is considered a tough toy to find since the Power of the Force line was canceled quickly, and the body rigs were not produced in significant quantities.


The Imperial Sniper


The Imperial Sniper was released by Kenner's The Power of the Force toy line in 1985 as part of the Body-Rig series. It was part of the Single Body Transport collection and was designed to resemble the vehicles used by the Empire to navigate through tight areas at supersonic speeds. It features movable wings and a maintenance hook which enables it to pick up miscellaneous Action Figures and other equipment for the Empire. The Imperial Sniper was released in the US on blister cards and in Europe in a tri-lingual POTF box. Unfortunately, it is considered a tough toy to find since the Power of the Force line was canceled quickly, and the body rigs needed to be produced in significant quantities.




Cheers,

Hophead Jon

(a genuine human)

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