Tuesday, 30 July 2013


Inside the belly of the beast! A snowbound AT-AT graces the cover of the new COMPLETE VEHICLES. Images: DK BOOKS.


Written by Kerrie Dougherty, Curtis Saxton, David West Reynolds, Ryder Windham

Illustrated by Hans Jenssen and Richard Chasemore 

(Additional Illustrations by John Mullaney, Jon Hall)


Reviewed by Scott Weller

The incredible and diverse legacy of the STAR WARS saga's iconic land and spacecraft, as vital a part of George Lucas's opus success as the series main lead heroes and heroines would prove to be, continues to make an indelible mark on the imaginations of fans young and old within the splendid pages of DORLING KINDERSLEY's latest supreme, end note Cross Sections book, uniquely bringing the spectacle and wonder of the galaxies from the Prequel and Classic Trilogy universe together in one very satisfying and detailed place. COMPLETE VEHICLES, out now, is a marvel of modern industrial art and beauty within technological achievement, as DK's incredible visualists, primarily Hans Jenssen and Richard Chasemore (with additional work from John Mullaney and Jon Hall) show everything we want to know, and much, much more besides, about what makes the Empire and Rebellion, Republic and Separatists key technologies for war and peace work. There's a wonderful continued sense of continuity linked to the "Used Universe" that Lucas always wanted captured in and out of the saga, and this book exemplifies that heightened domain of plausible realism in a fantasy universe that still makes its mark as the greatest sci-fi movie experience yet.

A detailed look at EPISODE I's introductory Republic Cruiser.

Across 200 pages, and featuring four brand new cross-section artworks specially for this volume, the best and the brightest, the singular and the many are beautifully realised in the highest printed production standards possible. Personal favourites from the dense and grand Prequel Trilogy include EPISODE I's Pod Racers, with all the colourful craft and their equally colourful and often bizarre alien occupants from the Boonta Eve Classic, EPISODE II's exciting and zippy Jedi Starfighters and heavy weapons packed Republic Assault Ships, whilst EPISODE III, edging its design style ever nearer to the more grimy and guerrilla war-esque original movies, shows us the Republic and Separatists fighters that would eventually transmogrify into the X-wings and TIE fighters of old, alongside incredible and formidable dreadnoughts like fiendish droid General Grievous's immense Invisible Hand, looming large and brutally over that film's opening conflict above Coruscant. There's also smaller vehicles covered that are hard to see in the films, like the Republic Swamp Speeders, seen on the jungle world of Felucia as the epic and devastating ORDER 66 events begin, and even one important craft from a deleted scene-Yoda's all-purpose escape pod from the original conclusion of REVENGE OF THE SITH,  a moment which finally made its appearance on the 2005 DVD.

The odd but beautiful Millennium Falcon in the spotlight.

On the Classic Trilogy side, there isn't one vehicle presented in the book that's not to be savoured. From A NEW HOPE's swift Rebel Blockade Runner and mighty pursuant Imperial Star Destroyer whose first entrance changed movies and movie making forever, to former farmboy Luke Skywalker's trusty and rusty Landspeeder (one of the four new arts in the book). Then on to bigger and better things like the immense and truly evil-looking Death Star, finally destroyed by movie's end, but not before a second just as dangerous planet killer was on the drawing boards from the evil Emperor for the start of RETURN OF THE JEDI. In between them, there's the rich tapestry of metal, steel and duracrete marvels seen in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, from air traversing Rebel Snowspeeders to ground-pounding TIE bombers, and Darth Vader's immense Super Star Destroyer-part of a "Death Fleet" which also includes such hero killers as the lumbering AT-AT "Walkers" and their smaller but equally effective cousins, the "Chicken-Walker" AT-ST's. With the unique cross-section spread features, assisted by some great images from the LUCASFILM ARCHIVES, we finally get to see how some of these great marvels function on land, sea and space-how the TIE fighters depart Imperial vessels, the interior of the AT-AT with its ready to disembark Snowtroopers, and a unique perspective of JEDI's impractical yet flyable "bumblebee" that is the distinctive B-wing fighter, whose squadron sadly had an all-too brief an appearance during the vital end game that is the Battle of Endor.

General Grievous's Clone-crushing Wheel Bike from EPISODE III.

Now transferred to a slightly more accessible size for younger readers (with a handy Vehicle Technical Data section at the back), and with a warm and nostalgic foreword from ILM's legendary effects man and Prequel "wizard" John Knoll, make the COMPLETE VEHICLES a firm part of your STAR WARS book collection, in what will surely be a great primer for  the incredible mixture of old and new marvels ahead with EPISODE VII, coming in 2015.

AFICIONADO RATING. Spanning nearly twenty years of work, COMPLETE VECHICLES is a true labour of love and testament to STAR WARS from DORLING KINDERSLEY and LUCASFILM. 4.5 out of 5

Get hold of STAR WARS: COMPLETE VEHICLES here: Star Wars: Complete Vehicles: DK Publishing: 9781465408747: Books

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