You never forget your first X-wing—even if you don’t take very good care of it.
Star Wars has always been a big part of my Christmas experience. Considering that Star Wars made its debut at the same time I was learning who Santa was and what he was about, it is not an amazing coincidence. As a kid, one of the very first things I can remember ever having envy over was a neighbor’s collection of Star Wars action figures. In the small town we lived in at the time, they weren’t easy to come by, but eventually I ended up with my first two action figures: C-3PO and R2-D2. Not too long after, I had many of the others, including Luke, Han, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan, etc. For the most part, I was oblivious that Kenner also made vehicles. Once I discovered the original Kenner X-wing, it moved directly to the top of my Christmas list.
The Kenner X-Wing on Christmas Morning
Santa didn’t disappoint me. Sure enough, when I woke up that Christmas morning, there was the Kenner X-wing waiting under the tree. If my memory is accurate, Luke Skywalker in his X-wing flight suit were also waiting for me there. The X-wing was a treasured toy at the time. I wore out the laser light and battle sound fairly quickly. However, considering that the laser was mounted on the front of the X-Wing, that didn’t bother me. Everyone knew the real laser cannons were mounted on the wings anyway. Besides, it was much more fun making the “pew pew” sounds myself.
The X-wing was fun to play with. For some reason, as a kid, I had trouble getting the S-Foils to properly open. Of course, back then, I just called them wings. Now, as a proper adult geek, I now know better. Ideally, the S-Foils opened and locked into position by pushing down on Artoo’s head. I either wasn’t pushing it hard enough, but I ended up making the wings flap more often than I had them prepared for attack. Speaking of Artoo, he was “hard wired” into the droid socket. At least, that is my current description. In reality, Artoo was really just a button. That meant I was usually carrying around my own R2-D2 in my pocket. Whenever Luke and Artoo got where they were going, I’d pull him out for the adventure. Even though Luke was famous for flying the X-wing in A New Hope, everyone got a turn in mine. Even Han Solo, which actually predicted a future Star Wars comic.
The odd dimensions of the Kenner X-wing never really bothered me as a kid. In fact, I hardly noticed them. The wings are a little too small for the fuselage and cockpit. In the eyes of a five-year-old, they get the job done.
Like all of my early Star Wars toys, my X-Wing didn’t last. The laser cannons fell off. They weren’t that secure to begin with. Eventually, the canopy disappeared. Years later, I’d get the “battle damaged” version of the X-wing from The Empire Strikes Back. I’d be lying if I said I was more careful with that X-wing. It suffered a similar fate as the first.
The LEGO X-wings
As I’ve grown older, my Star Wars collection has fewer and fewer action figures and vehicles in it. My collection primarily consists of art, books, and LEGO sets. On two separate Christmases, I’ve received a LEGO X-wing model. The first one was one of the very first Star Wars LEGO sets ever created. The second was the Red Five X-Wing Starfighter. This is one of the most fun sets I have ever assembled. I learned a lot about the design of the X-wing while building this model. Naturally, I’ve taken a lot more care of this model than my old X-wing toys. Regardless, unwrapping this set and building it brought back a little nostalgia for past Christmases when I was opening those original X-wings.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.