expedition hoth

Models from The Empire Strikes Back

As I previously stated, one of my personal highlights of the Special Effects 2 exhibit at the Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry back in 1996 were all the Star Wars-related props and models. Here are two that you might recognize from the Battle of Hoth.

The first is, of course, an AT-AT — aka a “snow walker” — which was used by the Empire to launch a ground attack against the rebel base on Hoth. Depending on the scale of the other models in the shot, AT-AT models of all different sizes were used. Some of them were small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. This one is one of the larger models used. In the land before CGI, all the models in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back were animated using traditional stop motion techniques.

In the case next to the AT-AT was another Hoth ship, a Rebel Snowspeeder. If you look real hard — okay, you don’t have to look that hard — you’ll see me and my camcorder being reflected in the glass.

Empire Strikes Back Model/Playset

I had almost thought I had imagined this toy until I saw this ad in an 1982 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. It is a model of the ice planet Hoth from Empire Strikes Back. I had this toy, and I remember having it, but prior to seeing this ad, I was never sure if what I remembered was a Star Wars, Buck Rogers, or Battlestar Galactica toy. I’m not sure if that’s the result of the toy’s poor quality (I don’t remember it being that top shelf) or just the conflux of all those space-oriented shows. In any case, it was cool to see the ad and prove that I wasn’t having a phantom memory.