#1900: Luke Skywalker: Rebel Commander – Bespin

LUKE SKYWALKER: REBEL COMMANDER — BESPIN

STAR WARS: HEROES OF THE REBELLION (SIDESHOW)

“The only son of Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker is the Jedi Order’s last remaining hope in restoring balance to the galaxy. Unaware of his own true potential or parentage, Luke has sworn himself to the rebel cause and fights valiantly alongside his compatriots in the Battle of Hoth. It is there that Luke has a vision of his fallen friend and mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi, who instructs Luke to travel to the Dagobah system and seek the great and powerful Jedi Master Yoda.”

When Sideshow was really just starting to get their foot in the door with their Star Wars line, the initially focussed more on getting out suitable variants of the franchise’s main characters, especially Luke, Han, and Leia.  Luke was definitely a favorite of theirs at the start, with his Jedi Knight variant kicking off the line, and versions from A New Hope and Empire following in short succession.  My personal favorite Luke look has always been his rebellion-issued fatigues from Empire, and I’ll be looking at Sideshow’s take on that design today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker (Rebel Commander — Bespin) was released in 2007 as part of Sideshow’s Heroes of the Rebellion line, which, of course, placed its focus on the Original Trilogy-era heroes of the Star Wars saga.  As with a lot of Sideshow offerings, there were two versions of this figure available: the regular release, and the Sideshow exclusive.  The figures proper are the same, but there were some extra accessories with the exclusive.  Luke stands just under 12 inches tall and he has 30+ points of articulation (whatever the proper count should be, he’s down two, due to this body being notorious for one half of the double jointed elbows being frozen in place).

The headsculpts for this line were, perhaps, not its strongest suit, but given what we were getting from Hasbro not long before, they were a breath of fresh air at the time.  Nevertheless, Luke was one of the slightly weaker offerings, though I think the biggest issue may have been a manufacturing issue of some sort.  For whatever reason, Luke’s head looks kind of flattened from certain angles; the left side of his face is sunken in too far compared to the right.  It strikes me as an issue with the molding process, but it afflicts the whole run of this figure.  It’s not terrible, though, and you can hide it with some careful posing.  Moving past that, it’s a fairly respectable ESB-era Hamill likeness.  The detail may not be 100% lifelike, but it’s certainly clean, and he’s recognizable.  The paintwork is a little primitive, and very thickly applied, but it looks passable.  The eyes on my figure are slightly goofy, and not quite as realistic as other figures from the line, but they’re still serviceable.

As you’d expect, Luke’s costume is a mixed media offering.  His shirt, jacket, and pants are all tailored cloth pieces, and they’re alright for the time.  The stitching is a little on the large side, and his shirt ends up having a much more involved collar than in the movie, due to needing to cover up his neck joint.  The pants suffer from being on the old Sideshow Buck, which was really starting to show its age at this point, and didn’t really look natural wearing much of anything.  The jacket is actually more accurate than it may appear in these photos, due to me being a dingus.  See, the collar is flipped down in the box, but it should be flipped up.  When it is, it looks a lot more like it should.  As seen here?  Well, it’s close, but looks slightly weird.  Luke’s belt is itself a mixed media affair, with a mostly pleather construction as the base, and plastic for the buckle and pouches.  His holster is quite impressive; the strap is magnetic, allowing for easy removal of the gun.  I always really liked that touch.  The boots are just a straight sculpted piece, but they’re still actually boots, as Sideshow hadn’t started doing molded feet at this point.

Luke was build on a modified version of the Sideshow Buck body, which had shortened arms and legs to reflect Hamill’s smaller stature.  The arms were a big deal for this release, as the Jedi Luke figure’s arms were standard length, making him look like a bit of a monkey.  The Buck body is the aspect of these figures that has aged by far the worst, and it was almost a decade old by the time it was used here.  Another decade hasn’t helped things.  It’s stiff and awkward, and just doesn’t look great with the clothes on it.  Or off it, I suppose.  It just doesn’t look great.

Luke was pretty well accessorized, with his lightsaber in two configurations (ignited and not), his blaster pistol, two pairs of hands (gripping R and L, trigger finger R, and open palm L), a stump for recreating the film’s most famous scene, and a display stand.  That was a solid offering for the main figure, but the exclusive upped the anti, adding in the auto-tourniquet he uses for his hand after the battle.  Sadly, mine’s just the basic release.  Guess my Luke’s stump won’t be getting proper treatment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke is one of the figures that actually got me into the Sideshow Star Wars line.  I had attempted to jump on the Hot Toys bandwagon by asking for a Hot Toys Dark Knight Joker for Christmas in 2008.  However, delay after delay after delay meant that wasn’t to be that year (it’s okay, things worked out better the following year), so my parents let me trade in the value of that figure for something else.  It ended up being enough for three of these guys, so I got a Luke, Han, and Leia right out of the gate.  In addition to being my favorite Luke design, this figure was also the cheapest version of the character on the market at the time, so he was an easy choice for me.  Ultimately, he’s far from a perfect figure, but he’s looked pretty nifty on my shelf for the decade I’ve had him, so I really can’t complain.

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