STAR WARS (KENNER)
Luke Skywalker has over 100 action figures, which is quite a few. More than just about any other main character from the franchise, in fact. There was a time, however, when he had just one. His very first figure was released by Kenner in 1978, and that’s the one I’m looking at today. There’s your intro.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Luke is one of the very earliest entries in Kenner’s Star Wars line. He was initially released in the Early Bird set, alongside Leia, Chewbacca, and R2, and later saw regular release as one of the line’s first 12 figures. He was also consistently carried throughout the run of the original trilogy’s line. My figure comes from the earliest of the single releases, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation (or at least he did; my figure had his head snap off, necessitating it being glued back in place). The figure sported a unique sculpt at the time (though the head would later see reuse on the Bespin figure from the Empire line), which is decent enough, at least in the context of the rest of the line. He’s not super detailed, nor is he the spitting image of Mark Hamill as Luke, but the main elements of the character have been conveyed pretty well, and he’s certainly not awful. His design has also been graced with very few real compromises, which wasn’t completely unheard of in this line, but it was pretty rare. As one of the three lightsaber wielding characters in the first film, he got one of the retractible blades that Kenner was experimenting with early in the line. The hilt of the saber is molded in Luke’s hand, and the majority of his right arm has been hollowed out. There was then a separate blade, which could be pushed up or down, as if he were igniting the saber. It’s not a particularly accurate rendition of the saber, and it requires Luke to hold his weapon in a way he never does in the film. Luke’s saber was molded in yellow, because, umm, reasons, I guess? Of course, you can’t see that from my figure, because they were also really easy to lose, which isn’t ideal. Still, it wasn’t the worst concept ever. In terms of paint, Luke is fairly simple; he’s got al the basic colors, and that’s about it. There were a number of variants on the hair color; mine has the more common bright yellow. Not super lifelike, but it’s about right for the time. Luke included no accessories.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When I was growing up, I had access to a lot of my dad’s old toys. His collection of Star Wars figures was one of the sets that was given to me to keep. Luke was by far my favorite of the set, and saw a lot of play time. His head broke off at some point, and there was a good five years in there where I never seemed to be able to hang on to both pieces at the same time. I eventually did find both pieces and get him put back together, so that was a small victory. The figure’s not perfect, but he’s a pretty good starting point, and he’d remain one of the better Luke figures out there for quite a while.