The Empire is known for building to ridiculous scale. The Death Star. The Second Death Star. The planet-turned-weapon from The Force Awakens…, and if there is one thing all of the Empire’s or the First Order’s oversized mechanizations have in common, it is that they’re surprisingly easy to blow up.
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The same can be said for the AT-AT Walker. But who cares? These monstrous machines look cool. They make for some great special effects. And the scale and enormity of the bad-guys’ fighting machines makes the stakes for our lowly rebel heroes very high.
Perhaps that explains our fascination with them. It is that fascination that led to this effort to put a price-tag on an actual AT-AT Walker build. How much would it cost, in 2016, to produce a working facsimile?
Author’s note: you will need to suspend some disbelief in order to enjoy this exercise. Just a bit.
A note on the origins of the AT-AT Walker. Many Star Wars critics have lamented that these beast-like machines are too easy to topple. Students of history might see the origins in the elephant mounted troops, or even traditional Calvary. There’s also a healthy dose of port cranes, which were an omnipresent visual in Lucas’s northern Californian stomping ground.
On to the cost break down. Check out this infographic.
This guesstimate was put together by Best Casin, a group from the UK.
The annual cost of operation, itself, would be prohibitive–but we know they’re only good for about 3 minutes of constant fighting, so that is more of a moot point. But what is the actual total?
$226,500,000? That’s a steal. Considering a Navy F-35C costs in the neighborhood of $337 Million, the AT-AT would be a bargain.
If you want to check their sources, or run some basic accounting, here are some resources.