#2177: Purchase of the Droids

UNCLE OWEN LARS, C-3PO, & LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Under attack by an Imperial Star Destroyer, protocol droid C-3PO and his partner R2-D2 safely escaped a battered Rebel capital ship and landed on the desert planet of Tatooine. Soon after, the droids were abducted by scavenging Jawas and sold to Owen Lars for use on his desert moisture farm. Luke Skywalker, nephew of Owen and a Tatooine youth, remained unaware that his uncle’s purchase of C-3PO and R2-D2 was to help launch one of the most pivotal destinies the galaxy had ever known…his own.”

Alongside its cast of very colorful lead and background characters, Star Wars also has quite a selection of quite average, not particularly colorful or unique in the slightest characters.  For the most part, these characters are rather easily overlooked by merchandising, but there are a few of them who are a touch plot relevant, such as Luke Skywalker’s aunt and uncle.  This poses the question:  how do you handle toys of these figures?  Kids aren’t exactly going to be lining up to buy a sort of paunchy middle-aged guy in a robe.  What sells him?  Colorful main characters of course!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Uncle Owen, C-3PO, and Luke made up the “Purchase of the Droids” set, part of the 1997 assortment of the Cinemascenes sub-line of Kenner’s Power of the Force II.  The set is based on, stay with me here, the scene where they purchase the droids.  I know, crazy.

UNCLE OWEN LARS

Man, where’s all the toy love for curmudgeonly uncles?  What’s that?  Nobody cares about them?  Well that’s…pretty accurate, I guess.  This isn’t the only time Owen’s seen action figure form, but it was the first, because there just wasn’t time to fit him into the vintage line.  I know, we were all very sad.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Owen sports an all-new, all-average-looking sculpt.  Perfect for the character!  He’s a bit more pre-posed than other figures from the same period; his right arm in particular is bent and angled in a slightly strange fashion.  I’m not entirely sure what they were going for there, and there’s really no pose it looks natural in.  The likeness on the face is about as good as any of these likenesses were.  He’s identifiable as the character he’s meant to be, and that’s really the main point.  Owen’s paintwork was a little more experimental than others from the line.  It’s a bit murky, but I guess that’s sensible for a guy who lives on a desert planet.

C-3PO

And here begins the slight tweaks for the major players.  There are actually a surprising number of 3POs in the Power of the Force line, though this is only the second one I’ve personally reviewed.  It’s worth noting that this one is actually pretty different from the first one.  He’s been brought more in line with the proper proportions for the character from the film, rather than the more stylistic interpretation of the first figure.  They also sharpened up the detail work a bit, and even added the restraining bolt that the Jawas placed on him when he was captured.  3PO’s paint work starts out with the same vac metalizing as the predecessor, but this one also gets a bunch of dirt and grime, depicting him as he looks after wandering Tatooine for a bit.  It’s definitely a unique look for 3PO and helps him stand out a bit from the other takes on the character.

LUKE SKYWALKER

By 1997, Power of the Force was just beginning to be neck-deep in Luke Skywalker figures, specifically of the “Farmboy” variety.  This figure would be the first of a whole bunch of Luke figures that would draw from the same base figure with a handful of changes here and there.  He was our first instance of the majorly slimmed down version of Farmboy Luke, which would later be used for no less than five separate versions of the character.  It’s not bad for a standard Luke, especially if it was your first time picking up one of this style.  I don’t have much to say about in light of having all of the other five.  He’s the one that comes in this set.  That’s his unique selling point.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I didn’t have this set growing up, I remember that my cousin did, and it was one of the things that was left at my grandparents’ house, meaning I would frequently get to play with it when he wasn’t around.  I don’t know what happened to them in particular, but I picked up this one from Yesterday’s Fun over the Christmas holiday last year.  It’s more part of my drive to complete the line than to own any one figure in the set, but it’s one of the few Uncle Owens, and I do have to admit I quite like the 3PO.

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#2004: Speeder Bike (w/ Luke Skywalker in Endor Gear)

SPEEDER BIKE (W/ LUKE SKYWALKER IN ENDOR GEAR)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at the first of three versions of the Imperial Speeder Bike released by Kenner in their Power of the Force II line.  The vehicle’s mold was first introduced in the vintage Return of the Jedi line, and was then re-packaged in the ’90s, with one of three different pilots.  I’ve already looked at the one with Leia.  Today, I look at her brother Luke, alongside his own Speeder.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The speeder bikes in these sets were all identical, meaning this one is exactly the same as the one I looked at alongside Leia two weeks ago.  I liked it then, and I still like it now.  I imagine I’ll still like it when I get around to the third variant of this set.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like the Leia figure included with the last one, this one has an Endor variant of Luke Skywalker.  Luke spends a little bit less of his time in this gear, but it’s still a fairly distinctive appearance for the character.  Like Leia, it had previously appeared in the vintage line, but this was the first we saw of it in this re-launch.  It would also be our only Endor Luke for a little while, as figures of him from Jedi tended to go for his, well, Jedi appearance.  As such, this figure’s sculpt would remain completely unique to him.  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.   Check out those sweet knee joints!  That was a pretty huge deal.  Luke’s head is rather similar to the Endor Rebel trooper, not only with the same helmet, but also a rather similar facial structure.  This Luke’s sculpt was notable for not including his outer vest; he was not the only version of Luke to omit it in this line, but he was the first one.  Like his sister, Luke has a removable rubber poncho piece.  This one’s not quite as nice.  It isn’t very well fitted to the figure, making him look really pudgy.  It also lacks the nice, subtle paintwork, meaning it’s just a lot of unpainted tan plastic.  This guy was packed with a variant of the green lightsaber included with the basic RotJ Luke, though this one was wider than that one so that his slightly enlarged grip can still hold it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, I only had one Speeder Bike, and it was this one.  I was definitely a Luke kid, so I needed to have another version of him, and the Endor one was one of my favorites.  That being said, I remember the actual figure didn’t get a ton of use; instead he was robbed of his poncho and speeder, which I gave to my standard Jedi Luke.  Looking back at this figure, I kind of remember why that was the case.  He’s not a bad figure, but he’s not as strong a figure as the Leia.

#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.

#1755: Luke Skywalker – Bespin Gear

LUKE SKYWALKER — BESPIN GEAR

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Sensing his friends are in critical danger, Luke Skywalker ventures to Cloud City before finishing his Jedi training. Unbeknownst to him, Darth Vader has prepared an elaborate trap with the darkest of intentions.”

Star Wars being one of the earliest franchises to cater specifically to merchandising, it’s also one of the ones to first introduce a commonplace concept: built-in variants. Not only were we privy to all sorts of situation-specific gear sets for the main characters, they were even given unique default looks for each film.  That Luke Skywalker from the first movie’s not going to do at all after Empire hits; you have to have his fancy new Bespin look!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker in Bespin Gear was released in the 1998 assortment of Power of the Force II.  He was actually one of the last prominent Luke variants to be issued in this line, and the last of the Empire looks, following the Dagobah and Hoth gear.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Yes, he gets an extra point of movement at his right wrist, since it was designed to be removable.  This Luke made use of the second standard PotF2 Luke head, which, while still not sporting a spot-on likeness, was certainly the superior of the two.  The rest of the sculpt was new to this figure, and it’s one of the best Lukes that this line produced.  Gone were the insane steroid-influenced proportions, and he’s only got a subtle bit of pre-posing.  The details on the uniform are nice and crisp, and even got the slight damage to his pockets that he received during his duel with Vader.  And, as mentioned above, the figure’s right hand can be removed, allowing for the replication of his injury from the film; this was a first for a Luke Skywalker figure.  This Luke also marked some innovation in the area of paint.  A lot of the PotF2 figures possessed only basic work, but in order to capture Luke’s mid-battle appearance, this figure’s been given a lot of accenting, especially on his jumpsuit.  This helps bring out a lot of the smaller sculpted details, and just makes for a slightly better looking figure.  Luke was packed with his lightsaber and his blaster pistol.  Luke was also one of the figures to be offered during the “Freeze Frame” era of the line, so he came with one of those little projector slides, showing off a still of Luke as he traverses through the corridors of Cloud City.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Have I mentioned Ageless Heroes yet on this site?  <checks backlog> Looks like I’ve touched on it.  Well, to elaborate, it was a comic book store that went out of business when I was 7 or 8.  They had a huge stock of ’90s toys (not a huge shock, what with it still being the ’90s and all), and they were clearing them out at really low prices.  My dad took me there I don’t know how many times, and I picked up quite the collection.  A lot of it was Marvel, but this guy was, I think, the one Star Wars figure I got.  He was actually still relatively new at the time.  The Bespin look has long been a favorite of mine, and this particular figure is definitely my favorite PotF2 Luke.

#1712: Luke Skywalker – Hoth Gear

LUKE SKYWALKER — HOTH GEAR

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Doesn’t it feel like I *just* reviewed this figure?  Well, I didn’t.  Well, I didn’t.  Reviewed a very similar figure, of course, because that’s the insanity of toy collecting.  But this one’s different, you see.  He…ummm….he’s got…goggles?  Yeah, let’s go with that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker in Hoth Gear was released in the 1997 assortment of Power of the Force II figures.  We’d had our first taste of Hoth figures the prior year with a Hoth version of Han.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s wearing the same cold-weather gear that we saw him wearing in the two-pack with a Wampa, but this figure depicts him a few moments earlier in the film, prior to the Wampa’s attack.  So he still has the goggles, and his face is un-scarred.  His sculpt is unique to him (though parts of it would be slightly re-tooled for a few later variants of this same gear), and it’s pretty decent.  He’s still a bit puffy and bulked-up, but with the cold-weather gear, that doesn’t feel quite so off.  The level of detailing on the outfit is quite sharp, and looks very good for the time, rivaling even more modern offerings.  My figure is missing his little head scarf thingy, which was a free-hanging piece that was prone to breaking off.  Luke’s paintwork is about what you’d expect.  Fairly basic and an overall decent match for what we see on the screen.  Application is clean, and there’s pretty much no slop.  Hoth Gear Luke was originally packed with his lightsaber and a blaster pistol, but mine has lost them in the years since I got him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember this figure being rather hard to come by, at least initially.  Stores still had tons of Hoth Han, and I was constantly having to explain that it wasn’t the same thing.  I eventually got him in the Farpoint Dealer’s room the year he was released.  If I recall correctly, it was the same dealer from whom I ultimately got my Princess Leia figure, that very same year.  It’s been a favorite of mine for a while, even if it is rather environment specific.

#1677: Wampa & Luke Skywalker (Hoth)

WAMPA & LUKE SKYWALKER (HOTH)

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

“Wampas are powerful furred bipeds that dwell in the snowy wastes of the ice world Hoth. These hulking predators have razor-sharp fangs and claws, yet move with surprising stealth, relying on their white fur for camouflage while hunting prey such as tauntauns.”

As with any good Star Wars line, Solo isn’t afraid to pepper in a few things from prior movies to keep the older fans happy.  A running sub-theme since TFA has been figures based on Empire.  Today’s offering, Luke and the deadly Wampa, continues that trend.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Wampa and Luke are part of the first assortment of deluxe sets from the Solo line.  They fulfill the same purpose as Last Jedi‘s Creature Sets (and, in fact, this is just a re-purposed Creature set, and one of the other two in the assortment is a straight re-release of one; only Enfys Nest’s Swoop Bike doesn’t fit that descriptor).

WAMPA

The Wampa’s a rather straightforward monster, really.  It’s just a space-yeti.  A simple adventure story trope with a sci-fi bend, perfectly emblematic of Star Wars at its best.  As a fairly humanoid monster, it’s also an easy choice for toys.  This is the third Wampa we’ve gotten at this scale.  The Wampa stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  If the articulation were perfectly mirrored as it is on most figures, that count would be 1 higher, but as it stands, this Wampa, like other Wampas, sacrifices a little articulation in the name of spectacle.  A more simple peg/swivel joint makes for a more easily removed right arm, thus allowing you to give the Wampa the “battle damage” inflicted upon him by Luke’s light saber slash.  The figure’s sporting an all-new sculpt; it’s somewhat aesthetically similar to the Black Series release, but this one’s more accurate to the movie design by my eye.  The level of detailing on the sculpt is definitely impressive.  He possesses some of the same issues of joints breaking up the fur that the Black Series Chewbacca had, but at this scale, and with the bulkier nature of his design, it’s less noticeable.  The paintwork on the Wampa is actually a fair bit better than the photos attached to this review might lead you to believe.  In person, the yellowish accenting on the fur is subtler, and not quite as garish.  It could perhaps be a little better, but I don’t hate it, and it’s certainly better than no detail at all.

LUKE SKYWALKER (HOTH)

Luke in his cold-weather gear is kind of a natural companion piece for the Wampa, since they spend their scenes on Hoth together.  Luke’s Hoth gear is a popular variant, from the vintage line onward.  It’s actually been released as recently as the Star Wars: Saga Legends Mission Packs, but despite that, this figure is an all-new one.  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation, if you count the moving scarf on his head.  The sculpt is pretty solid.  He’s based on his appearance post-Wampa attack, which seems sensible. That means no goggles and with some facial scarring.  It does a nice job of capturing the design, with some cool detailing on the quilting and such on the outfit.  The facial likeness is a good match for Hamill as seen in the movie, and the scarring even appears to have been sculpted, rather than being just painted on.  The pose is pretty nice as well, being a fairly basic standing pose that also looks nice dangling upside down from the ceiling.  The paint on this figure is pretty decent.  It’s fairly basic, and kind of subdued, but it matches the movie well.  Luke is packed with his lightsaber and his blaster pistol (which is technically inaccurate for the post-Wampa attack look, but the empty holster would be sort of silly).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking forward to this set ever since it was shown off during the initial Last Jedi showings.  The old Hoth Luke was a favorite of mine, and I’ve never had a Wampa figure.  Despite not being a “new” offering, it was near the top of my list of wants.  It’s one of the last items I found, as it would appear it’s the shortpack of the case, at least initially.  I really like this set.  The Wampa is one of the best small-scale Star Wars figures that Hasbro’s put out recently, and Luke’s nothing to slouch at either.

#1593: Luke Skywalker – Ceremonial Outfit

LUKE SKYWALKER – CEREMONIAL OUTFIT

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“In the main throne room of a Massassi temple, Luke Skywalker receives an honorary medal for his part in the destruction of the Imperial Death Star.”

There’s a lot of potential Luke Skywalker variants out there.  He got one distinct design for each movie, plus his pilot gear, and at least one other major look for each film.  For A New Hope, he actually has four distinct looks.  My personal favorite is one that doesn’t actually appear for all that long; it’s the snazzy dress outfit he wears during the film’s final scene, set during an award ceremony.  It’s had less figures than other looks, but as a variant of Luke Skywalker, it’s still had its fair share.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker in his Ceremonial Outfit was released as part of the 1997 assortment of Star Wars: Power of the Force II.  He was the seventh of the eleven Lukes in the line, and the second-to-last unique outfit, prior to the line switching over to variations of Farmboy Luke.  It was actually one of two Ceremonial Lukes released in 1997, the other being part of the Princess Leia Collection.  It was a good year for a look that hadn’t yet seen an action figure release.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  This Luke marked the debut of Kenner’s second POTF2 Luke head sculpt.  As noted in the past, it’s not really much closer than the first attempt at a Hamill likeness, but I do tend to prefer this one.  The rest of the sculpt is unique to this particular figure.  As far as this line goes, it was pretty solid.  Sharp detailing, reasonable proportions, and a fairly neutral stance, all of which add up to an above average figure from this particular line.  The paintwork on Luke is pretty standard stuff, which is to say the colors are a good match for the film and the application is all sharp.  There’s no slop to speak of, and everything stays within its appropriate lines.  Luke was packed with a blaster pistol and his medal from the ceremony, which are both missing from my figure, sadly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was a fairly early Luke in my collection, and is probably one of the Power of the Force figures I purchased closest to his initial release.  I got him from KB Toys, during a trip to the mall with my Grandmother.  He was purchased alongside a whole bunch of others, but the others were all meant to stay at her house, with this guy being the one who would be going home with me.  He’s remained a favorite of mine, and served as my go-to Luke for a good chunk of time.

#1565: Luke Skywalker – Millenium Falcon Gunner Station

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.

#1556: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS MIGHTY MUGGS (HASBRO)

Before Funko created the insane every property imaginable juggernaut that is Pop! Vinyl in 2009, there was Mighty Muggs, another attempt at creating a multi-property pop-culture-driven vinyl figure line.  Launched in 2007, Mighty Muggs were Hasbro’s go at the world of collectible vinyl.  They spanned Marvel, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and even Hasbro’s in-house properties G.I. Joe and Transformers.  With a tagline of “Made from 100% recycled Awesome,” the figures originally debuted on a 6-inch base body, before eventually being scaled down into Mini Muggs in 2011.  They would be scaled down once more, into Micro Muggs, in 2012, before going on hiatus as a whole (apart from an out of the blue SDCC-exclusive ROM in 2014).  In light of Funko’s immense success with Pops, it would appear Hasbro’s giving the brand another try, albeit with a slight…twist…I assure you, that’ll be funnier once you’re done with the review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke is figure 03 in the first six-figure assortment of Star Wars Mighty Muggs.  The assortment offers a mix of old and new trilogy designs, with Luke coming from the old, specifically from A New Hope.  It’s kind of his quintessential look, so it’s a god place to start.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall, putting him somewhere in-between the scales of the old Mighty Muggs and Mini Muggs.  So, if you have the old ones, you’ll still be starting over.  Perhaps not coincidentally, this sizing means that Luke is almost exactly the same size as his Funko compatriots.  Hasbro clearly knows the market they want to tap into.  Old Mighty/Mini Muggs had three points of articulation, at the neck and shoulders.  These new Muggs lose the neck joint, for reasons I’ll get into in a little bit.  Luke can still move at the shoulders, though, which I’m happy about.  The proportions of the new Mugg body are similar in a lot of ways to the original, but with a definite influence from the figures that have come since.  The main body is a bit squatter, and the head is larger in comparison.  I actually find these changes to be quite aesthetically pleasing.  Another change in this new incarnation is just how unique each figure is.  Old Mighty Muggs would deviate from the base body as little as possible, resulting in a very large number of figures that were sculpturally identical.  If Luke is any indication, that won’t be true this time.  He gets a unique hair piece, as well as a slightly tweaked right arm, holding his trusty lightsaber.  Once again, the changes are things I really don’t mind, and in the case of the hair, it was a direction Hasbro was already starting to experiment with at the end of the original line.  Another change in direction?  An action feature.  Mighty Muggs weren’t entirely without action features before, but they were far from the norm.  This time it’s standard.  Luke has three different facial expressions, made visible by pushing down on his hair.  It’s this feature that robs Luke of his neck movement.  Personally, I don’t mind, but I suppose an argument could be made that a non-mechanical rotation would have preserved the articulation.  Of course, then Hasbro wouldn’t have the gimmick to set them apart from the competition, so maybe that wouldn’t have been so great.  The paint is definitely where this guy really shines, and it mostly comes from those three expressions.  He’s got a standard determined stare, a grin, and an angry screaming one.  I like how they’re all three clearly the same guy, but still very distinctly different and incredibly expressive.  Very definitely the highlight of the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I didn’t have a huge collection or anything, I was definitely a fan of Mighty Muggs back in the day (at least in part via Christian, who had a larger collection than I).  I was a bit sad when they went away, and I always preferred them to Pops.  When I heard they were coming back, I was quite excited, and I was even more exited when I found them at my local TRU.  I came very close to buying a whole set of the Star Wars ones, but decided to try the line out with one, and went for Luke who I thought looked the coolest.  I’m very happy with my purchase, and I can definitely see myself grabbing more of these.  Here’s hoping they take off!

#1544: Luke Skywalker in Imperial Guard Disguise

LUKE SKYAWALKER IN IMPERIAL GUARD DISGUISE

STAR WARS: SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE (KENNER)

“The Empire’s victory in the Battle of Hoth has brought hard times for the Rebel Alliance. Han Solo has been frozen in carbonite by Darth Vader, and two huge bounties have been placed on the head of Luke Skywalker. The Emperor wants him alive, but Prince Xizor , underlord of the most powerful criminal organization in the galaxy, wants him dead. Worse still is that the diabolical Xizor is holding Princess Leia Organa prisoner in his castle on the Imperial Center of Coruscant. this is a tactical maneuver, part of a larger master plan to lure Luke Skywalker into his castle where he can be easily eliminated — the key step in Xizor’s plan to replace Darth Vader at the Emperor’s side. unaware of this danger, the young Jedi and Lando Calrissian sneak into Imperial City hoping to rescue Leia. Simplylaying foot on Coruscant is a dangerous act for these two: high on the Empire’s list of most-wanted outlaws, they could easily be recognized and captured — or assassinated. Disguising themselves as beggars, they “borrow” the armored uniforms from a pair of elite Coruscant stormtroopers. These troopers are some of the Empire’s finest, selected as home guards for the wealthiest and most cultured city in the galaxy. Joining forces with Chewbacca and Dash Rendar, Skywalker and Calrissian attempt to infiltrate Xizor’s nearly impenetrable stronghold and rescue the princess.”

1996’s Shadows of the Empire was important, in that it was the first time the public at large had been introduced to the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  It’s also an interesting experiment in marketing, essentially being a movie merchandising campaign that lacked a movie.  There were a handful of figures, mixed in with Kenner’s then running Power of the Force II.  Newcomers Dash Rendar and Prince Xizor got figures, of course, but there were also new variants of out heroes Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca, all of whom had to take on disguises during this new story.  I’ve looked at both Leia and Chewbacca, which just leaves Luke, who I’ll be reviewing today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker in Imperial Guard Disguise was released in the basic figure assortment of Kenner’s Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire line.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  This Luke uses the same head as all of the other early PotF2 Lukes.  It’s not the best likeness, but hey, here’s to consistency, right? The rest of the figure is brand new.  The packaging dubs his look as “Imperial Guard Disguise,” a name that tends to conjure up the red guards from Return of the Jedi, who look quite a bit different than the look Luke is sporting here.  However, the bio fills us in that this armor is actually from one of the elite Stormtroopers on Coruscant, making it a separate look entirely.  As with so much of the design work seen in Shadows, the armor is undeniably a product of mid-90s comic book design, meaning it’s a little divorced from the original trilogy designs.  His armor’s bulky and ultra padded, and seems to lack that used look we’re so accustomed to.  It’s a little hard to reconcile this as a design that would appear in between Empire and Jedi.  That being said, it’s hardly a terrible look.  In fact, it manages to be rather unique and helps this Luke to stand out a bit from the crowd of other Lukes from over the years.  The paint work on this figure is fairly decent, and, like the rest of his design, fairly unique.  The red’s a nice shade, and all of the application is pretty clean.  He’s packed with a removable helmet and half-cape to help complete his full disguise.  Since Luke lost his father’s lightsaber in Empire and didn’t build a new one until the beginning of Jedi, he of course needed a new weapon, so this figure included a taser staff weapon.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure was, I believe, my first Shadows of the Empire figure.  My cousin Noah had saved up to buy the PotF2 Millennium Falcon, and was along for the trip to go buy it.  Noah’s mother, who took us on the trip, agreed to get me one figure.  Luke was my favorite character, and this figure appealed to my 5-year-old self, so he was the one I picked.  I’d say having this guy in my collection already was probably what pushed me to pick up the Bounty Hunter Chewbacca instead of the normal one, and owning these two is certainly not a decision I regret in the slightest.