This figure was originally a mailaway in ’79 in anticipation of the then new movie. The figure was advertised on early packaging as having a removable, firing rocket. However, during this time, a child choked and died on a similar missile from Battlestar Galactica toys. Click here to read some newspaper articles about the incident. This event had a dramatic effect on future toys. Later versions of these Battlestar Galactica toys had the missiles glued in, so they could not fire. And a few years later the original Megatron toy which fired plastic bullets in Japan had that feature removed when it was released here.
Kenner tried a few different ideas before completely scrapping the feature. They tried changing the slot on the back that would help prevent misfires of the rocket, but it presented a new problem with another small part possibly breaking off and causing choking. In the end they did not release any rocket firing figures, but prototypes do exist on the collector market. Instead, kids received these in the mail, with an apology letter about the missing feature and a glued in rocket.
Now, in 2010 Hasbro has released this new version saying they are delivering back on the original promise. The new figure looks very close to the original, but with a few differences. It also includes two rockets. A smaller rocket to make the figure look like the original, but the firing mechanism doesn’t work with it. And a larger rocket which is the one that actually fires. This mailaway figure also comes carded instead of in a sealed bag like the original. I bought two of these, one to keep carded, and one to open, so I could fire the rocket.