LUKE SKYWALKER – MILLENIUM FALCON GUNNER STATION
STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
In the ‘90s, the toy aisle was ruled by gimmicks. Whatever your toy was, it needed a cool gimmick. The trouble for Kenner’s just recently relaunched Star Wars brand was that it’s not super easy to work goofy ‘90s gimmicks into the confines of the established brand. In ’96, they gave it a go, offering up a Deluxe line, featuring four of the franchise’s heaviest hitters, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett, and a Stormtrooper, all packed with some big honking missile launching contraption. Suffice it to say, the line was not exactly the smash hit Kenner was hoping for, so they went back to the drawing board. The 1997 Deluxe offerings were all much more sensible, and by 1998, they’d even come up with a decent theme: Gunner Stations. Remember the gunner stations used by Luke and Han in their escape from the Death Star? Those were pretty cool, right? Well, Kenner certainly thought so, and offered up new figures of both Luke and Han, each packed with one of the stations. I’ll be looking at Luke today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Variations of Farmboy Luke weren’t exactly uncommon in 1998, but this one does give us a slight tweak that’s not been done as a figure since. Like the Smuggler Han figure I looked at a few months back, this figure depicts Luke with a headset, as well as the belt he took from his Stormtrooper disguise. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation. Unlike the last version of Farmboy Luke I looked at from this line, this particular figure comes from after the line had largely fixed those wonky proportions, so Luke no longer looks like he’s been juicing hardcore. I think there’s perhaps an argument to made for him looking a little flat in some places, but he certainly looks a lot better than he did. He’s also sporting a head based on the second style of standard Luke from this line. This head was definitely an improvement on the prior one, and while it’s still not a spot-on likeness of Hamill, it’s certainly closer than before. This particular version has been tweaked to give him the headset, which also means he’s got a full ear showing on one side, which I think was a first as far as Luke Skywalkers go. The paint on this figure is pretty standard. The application is all pretty clean, though there’s a bit of slop under his left eye. Overall, though, a solid effort.
THE GUNNER STATION ITSELF
Luke himself is really more of an accessory to the main selling point of this set, which is the Gunner station. Once assembled, the station is pretty sizable, standing about 7 inches tall and measuring 6 inches deep. The seat and turret are one connected piece, attached to the base via a hinge. The hinge isn’t particularly strong, so the seat ends up just resting on the platform beneath it if there’s a figure in place. There’s a faux-window piece that clips over the main gun, which does its best to sell this as being one of the Falcon’s two guns. That being said, aside from the window and the general shape of the gun, the overall layout of the station is a bit different from the one seen in the movie. I guess it’s more about the spirit, though. As far as paint goes, it’s confined to the main section of the gun, which has some slight blaster scarring, which looks reasonable enough. There’s also a decal back on the monitor, which replicates the screen in front of Luke in the movie. Beyond that, it’s just molded plastic. There’s also a sort of missile launching feature. The barrels of the gun can be fired in succession when you turn the gear at the back of the gun. It’s not spring loaded and the missiles don’t actually click into place or anything. which can be a bit on the annoying side when you’re picking this thing up and moving it.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When I was much younger, every year when school finished up, my Nana would take me and my cousin Rusty out and buy us a few small things as a small treat for finishing out the year. We were each given a set amount we could spend, and I had gotten one or two other things (what they were, I can’t for the life of me remember), and I still had a little bit left to spend, and I believe this guy was marked down. He was actually my go-to Luke for a good while, and stayed my stand-by Farmboy Luke until I started collecting as an adult.