#3091: Luke Skywalker and Tauntaun

LUKE SKYWALKER AND TAUNTAUN

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

My last Power of the Force review before my great big gap in Power of the Force reviews was a creature set.  It was, specifically, the line’s largest creature set.  So, there’s quite literally no topping that.  I guess I’ll just go to the opposite side of the spectrum, and tackle one of the line’s smallest creature sets…which was also kinda borderline one of the line’s smallest vehicle sets, I guess, depending on how you look at it.  Can a living being be a vehicle?  And, what’s the over/under on how long the Tauntauns actually live, and where that places them on this whole vehicle scale?  Eh, I think I’m going to deep on this, you guys.  Let’s just get to the actual review.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Luke Skywalker and Tauntaun were released in 1997 as part of the Power of the Force line’s creature-based sub-set, alongside Han and Jabba, the Sandtrooper and Dewback, and the Jawa and Ronto.  It was the smallest of the 1997 sets, though that didn’t mean it was any cheaper.  It was the only Empire-based creature set from the first year, and one of three overall in the sub-set (with this set effectively being split up and re-paired for the other two Empire sets the following year).

The Tauntaun was obviously the selling point of this set, having not been released in figure form since Kenner’s original Empire line.  While the vintage releases both more or less just averaged the appearances of Luke and Han’s Tauntauns, this one decidedly adapts Luke’s, so as to properly pair off with him in the set.  The figure stands about 4 1/2  inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt on this one was unique at the time, though most of it would later see re-use for the Han and Tauntaun pack the next year.  The sculpt is a pretty solid one. It presents a slightly more active Tauntaun than its vintage counterpart, which seems more appropriate for how we see them in the movie, where they’re frequently in motion.  The details match up pretty well with the movie prop, though it is in some ways sporting some slightly more idealized proportions than the real thing.  The detail work isn’t bad, with some passable texturing on the fur, as well as plenty of extra work going into the harness and survival kit on the main body.  The paint work on this release is mostly pretty good.  There’s a lot of attempts at proper accenting which *mostly* work.  The shading on the fur and the white flecks for snow both work out.  The odd yellow on the arms and legs, not so much.  I’m not entirely sure what the aim was on those, but it missed.  The Tauntaun’s only real accessory is its harness/lead, which clips into the mouth, and allows for Luke to more properly hold on.

It makes very little sense to release Luke’s Tauntaun and not a Luke to go with it, I suppose.  There’s of course the single Hoth Luke release, but he notably lacks in the “being able to actually sit on the Tauntaun” department.  This one aims to fix that.  He stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  The extra articulation comes in the form of actual knee joints.  Pretty crazy to see those, especially on a figure of this era, but they did happen from time to time.  Check out his actual sitting action!  From the waist up, he’s effectively the same as his single-release counterpart, with one minor tweak to the left arm, so as to slightly reposition his hand.  Other than that, he’s the same, which is good from a consistency standpoint.  The paint work likewise is pretty close.  It’s solid work, with clean application, and all the major colors it needs.  Luke is packed with his blaster pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had the single Hoth Luke as a kid, and never got a ton of use out of creatures, so I never had this one.  I remember it, especially the way it lingered for a bit, but it just never really called to me.  As I’m working on a full set, I’m picking up a lot of items that I passed on over the years.  In some cases, it’s not so thrilling, but sometimes it leads to me discovering some items I really like.  This one’s part of that latter category, and I’m glad I finally got around to picking one up.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

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