Let's face it - the Rebel Alliance were not the most creative types when it came to naming their starfighters. A-Wing, X-Wing, Y-Wing etc... so it's a bit of a mystery how they came up with "B-Wing" as the name for this ship. While the rest of the fleet's names obviously derive from their overall shape, there's no way this ship looks even remotely like a letter "B".
However, according to Wookieepedia, anyway, the ship was designed by Joe Johnston and Bill George, along with the A-Wing, for Return of the Jedi. Supposedly the fighter designs were internally designated "A" and "B" and since George worked so much on "Fighter B" it became known as the "Bill-Wing" - later canonized as the "B-Wing".
Well good job, Bill, because the toy version of your fighter is one of the coolest Star Wars ships, ever. The rotating cockpit, while undoubtedly disorienting to the pilot, is an amazing play feature on this well-designed toy. And unusually for Kenner box art, this one actually shows the correct pilot figure!
Twisting the engine nacelle extends the wings into flight position.
Pretty pricy for the early '80s as well - even on sale this thing was nearly 22 bucks!
Detailed instruction booklet required to get the most out of this complex toy.
The box art tableau was fun to set up, with a good variety of figures and as noted above, the proper pilot for a change.
Lando is just hanging around trying to avoid work, as usual.
Ackbar and Madine brief the B-Wing Pilot...
...while Pruneface (I guess his appearance here proves he's a good guy? I always thought he was just one of Jabba's goons) and Nien Nunb discuss. Although NN looks like he's threatening Pruneface with grievous bodily harm.
Nicely detailed cockpit stickers.
Lastly, some beauty shots of this great-looking toy and its pilot:
|Nice detail on the laser cannons|
|Impressive size of the ship must have gone some way to justifying the price point|
|Slider switch at left controls wing configuration|