#2729: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Hey, remember yesterday, when I was talking about a mid-90s line’s use of light-up features in order to re-introduce some of the core characters into the market place again?  Well, as it turns out, Toy Biz’s X-Men wasn’t the only line to try that.  Kenner’s Power of the Force did it too!  Everything’s better with lights, right?  Well, Kenner certainly felt so.  While I’ve looked at the line’s one outlier, R2, already, they also covered the original trilogy’s four most action-oriented force users.  I’m kicking my dive into the line-up off with our hero, Luke Skywalker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke was released in 1997 as part of Power of the Force‘s “Electronic Power F/X” sub-line.  Luke gets more to the actual point of the line-up than R2 did, actually focusing on one of the OT’s cool fight scenes, in his case the battle between Luke and Vader on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi….well, sort of, anyway.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he’s got 5 points of articulation.  He loses the usual waist joint, and also gets severe limitations on the right shoulder, both due to the electric feature.  Beyond that, none of the other joints really give him much actual range, due to the somewhat pre-posed nature of the figure’s sculpt.  He’s…sort of, like, mid-lunge, I guess?  Like, for stabbing?  I don’t know.  The actual sculpt’s not exactly Kenner’s finest work.  The head’s distinctly different from the original PotF2 Luke head that looked nothing like Mark Hamill, but still looks nothing like Mark Hamill, so it’s a lateral move.  The light-up features have a direct impact on the quality of the sculpt on the right arm and the torso, since that’s how the feature works.  The torso’s rather bulked up, especially at the back, in order to house the batteries, which give him sort of a hump back.  Not the most flattering thing, which is why he also gets the cape, which Luke doesn’t actually wear in the scene this is replicating, in order to hide the hump a bit.  The arm has been designed with the lightsaber built into it, with his hand kind of folded around it.  It’s kind of crude, and not really hand shaped, and the hilt is really wide, short, and basic in its detailing.  It’s definitely goofy looking.  There’s also this sort of cap piece that goes over the the actual blade.  I think it’s really just meant to be part of the packaging, but it’s not coming off of mine.  The actual light-up feature’s okay, I guess.  Not terribly bright, and barely noticeable in the photos here.  It’s also a little hard to activate, due to it being behind the cape. The paint work is all pretty basic work.  It’s not bad, but the right arm’s definitely a bit fuzzy.  Otherwise, pretty standard for the line.  Luke’s packed with a large base piece, meant to look like one of the halls from the Death Star.  Like R2, there’s an arm for moving him around, though this one doesn’t do the whole magnet thing; it’s just a basic peg set-up instead.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, this was actually the only of the “Power F/X” figures I had, because I was all about Luke, and I was all about a good gimmick.  Unfortunately, these figures, more than others from the line, don’t really stand up to play so well.  As such, my original Luke is in pretty rough these days.  Fortunately for me, All Time had four of the five figures in the set right as I was ramping up on filling in my PotF collection, and that gave me the opportunity to pick up this guy again, alongside the rest of the set.  This guy’s hella gimmicky, and hella goofy, but I can get behind it.

#2702: Luke Skywalker – Hoth

LUKE SKYWALKER — HOTH

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)

“While on patrol, Luke and his tauntaun are attacked by a vicious wampa. The creature hangs Luke upside-down in its cave, but Luke uses the Force to escape.”

Luke has been no stranger to variants in Star Wars: The Black Series.  As a rather major character in the franchise, I guess that’s pretty fitting.  His major variants largely hit earlier in the line’s run, generally a good deal before the rest of the others in their matching attire.  That has a tendency to drive the prices of said matching looks up a bit.  Fortunately, with the introduction of the Archive sub-line, Hasbro’s got an okay way of getting them back out on the market.  One of the more notable looks that gone without a follow-up was Luke’s cold weather gear from Hoth, which is the Luke variant for the latest round of Archive figures.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke is from the third assortment of The Black Series Archive, re-releasing a figure that was originally put out in 2015, packaged alongside the Wampa in the deluxe portion of the Blue Line iteration of the brand.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Luke’s articulation scheme is rather on the archaic side compared to newer offerings.  The range on a lot of the joints is far more restricted, and they tend to break up the sculpt a lot more than on recent figures.  The arms in particular suffer from both a lack of proper elbow movement, and from a curious lack of anything beyond cut joints for the wrists, which is just unheard of for the line.  A lot of this is due to the figure’s nature, beign built out of parts that are over five years old at this point.  Moreover, Luke is unfortunately from the line when it was kind of at is lowest, before Hasbro really found their footing again.  It’s rough to say the least.  The actual sculpting work’s not awful, at least.  Luke’s seen here post-wampa attach, so his goggles are missing, and he’s got some sculpted scarring on his face.  The face has a pretty decent likeness of Hamill, especially for earlier in the line.  The detail work on the gear is passable, though a touch softer than more recent releases tend to be. His head scarf is a cloth piece this way, which works better from a posing stand point, though it does wind up looking a bit flat and devoid of detail.  Luke’s paint work is generally pretty basic.  It could probably stand to have a little extra accent work, to bring out some of the sculpted details a little better, bit everything important is there.  There’s some slop on the edges of a few spots.  The belt buckle’s slightly misaligned and the skin tone of the the neck doesn’t quite cover the whole area it’s supposed to.  Luke gets the face print set-up in place of the original paint scheme, which is in some ways better, but not quite as hefty an improvement as it usually is.  Notably, it misses out on the blood detailing for the scarring, which was on the prior release.  Additionally, the eyes just don’t look quite right.  At first, I thought I just got a misaligned copy, but all of the ones I looked at were the same, so it looks to be line-wide.  It looks alright from a distance, but up close it looks weird.  In terms of pack-ins, Luke is obviously without the Wampa he was originally packed with, but he gets the lightsaber and blaster from the prior release.  The blaster’s pretty decent, but the lightsaber is of a notably lower quality than other versions; the hilt is molded in silver rather than painted, and the whole thing is a softer plastic than usual, causing the blade to pop out a lot easier.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke’s original release marked the period when the line was hardest to fine and generally at its lowest quality, which made it rather hard to stay invested at the time.  That, coupled with the higher Deluxe price point had me steer clear of this guy the first time around.  With all of the other Hoth figures as of late, I’d been hoping for an update or something.  Here’s an “or something”, I guess.  Given the era of the line this sculpt comes from, it’s about what I’d expected.  The articulation’s not ideal, and the sculpt could probably stand to be a little sharper.  In general, he just feels sort of half-formed.  The new paint does a little bit to dress him up, but ultimately, it feels out of place in the modern line.

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

#2641: Luke Skywalker – Endor

LUKE SKYWALKER — ENDOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Utilizing stolen schematics, the Rebel Alliance formulated a plan to destroy the new Death Star. Luke Skywalker joined his friends for this mission to Endor.”

Last year was the 40th anniversary of Empire Strikes Back, which translated to a lot of toy coverage for that particular movie.  Though it’s not an anniversary year, this year looks to be shifting to its follow-up film, Return of the Jedi.  Right out of the gate, we’re getting proper coverage for the film’s versions of the three main characters.  No stranger to Jedi-based figures in The Black Series, Luke has gotten yet another one, which I’m going to be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker (Endor) is part of the second assortment of the relaunched Star Wars: The Black Series, officially slated for an early 2021 release, but it hit some places a little earlier.  Luke is part of the RotJ-sub-set of the line, and is figure #4 in that set.  The same figure was also previously available as part of the “Heroes of Endor” set that Hasbro released as an online “con” exclusive mid last year.  As the name denotes, he’s based on the attire Luke wears during the mission to the forest moon of Endor.  In Luke’s case, it means he’s wearing a poncho and helmet atop his standard Jedi attire from the movie.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  For the most part, he’s made out of pieces re-used from the first Jedi Luke figure.  From the neck down, he’s the same as that figure, although, like last year’s Jabba’s Palace variant, he’s only got the standard flap attached to the front of the chest, and it’s glued in place.  Like that figure, he also ditches the belt piece from the first figure.  In an effort to fully differentiate the various releases, this one gets a new head, helmet, belt, and a cloth poncho.  The head’s not a bad piece.  It’s our third attempt at a Jedi Luke in this scale, and aside from the hair being a little bit matted down in order to fit the helmet (which is admittedly pretty minor and not too far off of his on-screen appearance), and the face in particular seems pretty good for a Hamill likeness of this era.  The helmet piece is just a touch rounder than it was in the film, but it’s not terribly far off, and the detailing is pretty sharp.  It fits nicely over the head sculpt and stays pretty securely in place.  The poncho piece is a cloth piece, and that’s honestly the best way to handle it.  The tailoring is pretty decent, and the belt helps to keep everything in place and looking pretty good.  The paint work on this guy is largely pretty basic.  It’s just molded plastic for most of the underlying body, but he gets the printing for his face.  It’s slightly misaligned on my figure, but isn’t terribly far off, and honestly looks okay from most angles.  The helmet also gets some extra detail work, with some scarring and weathering in place.  In addition to the removable helmet and poncho, Luke also gets his lightsaber.  It’s a shame didn’t also throw in his standard belt to allow for a full final duel Luke set-up, but the belt for the poncho still works in a pinch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I quite like the Endor Luke set-up, and I’ve been hoping to get him since early on in this line.  I’m actually a little bit surprised that it took quite this long to finally get him, but he’s a nice way of getting another Jedi Luke figure out there.  The Endor parts are all nicely put together, and the underlying figure’s not bad either.  Of course, I’m kind of expecting to see another variant on Jedi Luke sooner than later for…reasons.  Until then, this one will do well for all those people suddenly looking for a Jedi Luke for…reasons.

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

#2520: Luke Skywalker & Yoda – Jedi Training

LUKE SKYWALKER & YODA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“At the urging of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda agreed to instruct Luke Skywalker, developing his Jedi abilities.”

Since introducing the concept of a Deluxe line of figures into The Black Series, it’s felt to a degree that each release has sort of reinvented the wheel to work within this new price point.  Greivous was a slightly larger and more intricate figure, the Heavy Mando has one really large accessory, and the probe droid was just an entirely different style of figure.  Now, we’re just going for some sort of a two-pack set-up.  Really, I can’t complain too much, because it means I’m getting one of my favorite set-ups, Jedi Training Luke and Yoda!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Jedi Training Luke and Yoda are entry D4 in the Black Series line-up, signifying that their the fourth non-exclusive Deluxe item.  They mark the second deluxe this year, following up the Imperial Probe, and effectively close off the 40th Anniversary sub-set that figure kicked off.

LUKE

Luke’s Dagobah training gear is really just a dressed-down version of his main gear from Empire, but is still a pretty notable look.  It didn’t come to the toy world until the ’90s, but its had a few releases since then, including this one.  This figure is actually available two ways right out of the gate.  There’s this deluxe release, and then there’s a vintage carded one with just Luke and some paired down accessories.  It’s kind of an odd choice on Hasbro’s part, and feels like it’s splitting demand right off the bat, but time will tell how it does.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  To date, he’s Hasbro’s most posable version of Luke in the Black Series line-up, and I can definitely get behind that.  It puts him far more on par with the likes of Bespin Han than his prior, slightly stiffer variants were.  Really, the differences between this and Bespin Luke are pretty much night and day.  This Luke does seem a bit smaller when compared to prior versions, but he actually fits in better with some of the more recent figures than those older ones.  Hamill’s not a huge guy, and the build on this figure really feels about right.  The quality of the sculpt is pretty top notch, with a very realistic set of proportions, well-worked in articulation, and probably the best Hamill likeness we’ve gotten from Black Series.  It’s worth noting, however, that the hair placement seems to be rather off on a lot of copies of the figure, which can rather hinder the likeness. I picked myself the best out of a sample size of four, which worked out pretty well for me, but your mileage may vary.  The paint work on Luke is pretty solidly handled.  He’s got the now standard printed face, which works out quite nicely for the sculpt, and he’s also got some great accent work on both the hair and on the clothes, which offer up some additional depth to the sculpted details.  Both releases of Luke get his lightsaber and blaster (which are the same as previous releases), but the deluxe release also adds in a spare set of hands and the bag for carrying Yoda.  The hands are cool in theory, as they’re meant to let him do his handstand, but the arms are just a touch too loose on my figure to actually keep him standing up.  Oh well.

YODA

Yoda’s gotten four prior releases in The Black Series, including one just this year in the first series of the 40th Anniversary carded figures, all of which were built on the same body as the very first Black Series figure.  That’s a figure that is, at best, a less than stellar offering, and while some of that can be attributed to paint (because boy was that a mess), there’s a heck of a lot of it that was linked to it just having a poor underlying body underneath of that cloth robe.  So, for this latest take on Yoda, Hasbro’s opted to throw everything out and just sort of start from scratch.  Best call, really.  The figure stands just over two inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Pretty much, the first thing that you’ll notice when comparing this figure to his predecessor is how much smaller he is…well, overall.  The heads are pretty much the same size, and honestly pretty much identical in terms of sculpting.  It’s the body that’s much smaller, and much like Luke, that’s ultimately more accurate to the source material.  He also actually gets proper articulation in his legs this time, which is a huge plus in my book, and keeps the single joints in the arms instead of double, meaning his arms aren’t nearly as long this time.  Unlike the last time around, the robe’s not really designed for removal, since the belt is all one solid piece with no clasp on it.  I suppose you could take the robe off if you were really determined, but I’m really not.  Another area of major improvement between Yoda releases is on the paint front.  The original figure hit during one of the worst periods for the line in terms of paint quality, and as such looked pretty bad, with only the bare minimum of detailing, and some really poor quality application at that.  The Archive and 40th re-issues fixed the paint, but this all new version takes it even further, and gives us by far the most “life-like” (as much as a toy of a puppet can be that) version yet.  I also appreciate that they actually painted his flute this time around, as it makes the whole package look just a bit better.  The last Yoda got an okay selection of accessories, and this one’s technically got less, but they work a bit better.  He still has the cane, but he loses the snake and the light saber for a second head with his eyes closed, like when he’s lifting the X-Wing out of the water.  I really don’t miss the lightsaber, since it’s not OT anyway, and the snake was a pretty minor vintage throwback.  The new head is actually a pretty useful piece, so I’m glad to have it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Power of the Force Dagobah Luke was my first Star Wars figure, so I’ve got a soft spot for the design.  I was absolutely thrilled when this set was shown off, and I’ve been patiently awaiting its release.  I even held off grabbing the single carded Luke, because I knew this one was coming, and I wanted the whole deluxe set-up.  Luke’s not a standard design, but he’s the best Luke Hasbro’s released in this line.  The Yoda is also the best Yoda, but it’s really not even a close race on that.  He’s just demonstrably better than the prior release on every front.  This is definitely one of my favorite releases from The Black Series this year, and that’s saying a lot, because it’s been a really good year.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this set for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2492: Luke Skywalker – Snowspeeder

LUKE SKYWALKER — SNOWSPEEDER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“During the Battle of Hoth, Luke Skywalker led the Rebel defense against the Empire’s ground forces, giving the Alliance time to evacuate the planet.”

With no shortage of costume changes in A New Hope, Luke Skywalker kept his impressive wardrobe going for Empire, with not only a new standard get-up and some cold weather gear (because everyone was doing it), but also an upgraded version of his pilot gear from the first movie.  The differences aren’t huge, but they’re certainly more than enough to qualify for another figure, and in fact they have for about 20 years now.  We got Luke’s first pilot gear way back at the beginning of Hasbro’s Black Series line, but now we’re finally getting the tweaked version as well.  Let’s have a look at how that turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) is the second figure in assortment two of the Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary sub-line of The Black Series.  Like yesterday’s Rebel Soldier, he’s an all-new offering, and also like that figure, he’s already slotted for release in the main line later this year.  Luke is just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  This version of Luke is sporting an all-new sculpt, which is quite nice, because Hasbro certainly had some room to phone things in and try to re-use parts of the X-Wing pilot sculpt.  It wouldn’t be as accurate, nor would it make for as good a figure, so I’m glad they went the way they did.  He also continues the trend of the butterfly shoulders, which is great when it comes to lightsaber posing.  I definitely enjoy this thing becoming a regular feature.  I have one notable issue with this sculpt, and ultimately, it comes down more to personal preference than to anything truly wrong.  Under the figure’s removable helmet, he’s sporting an insulating cap over his head.  This is accurate to the updated uniform, and we see a number of the other snowspeeder pilots wearing them when their helmets are removed.  Luke, however, we only see with all of the head gear either on or off.  So, while this is *technically* accurate to the costume design, the figure sans helmet isn’t actually accurate to anything we see in the movie.  I would have liked to get him without the cap, but I guess I’ll just have to make due swapping his head with the Dagobah Luke once I get my hands on that (actually, I really wouldn’t be opposed to a Dagobah landing Luke without the cap and gloves.  That’d be a cool variant).  As it stands, with the helmet, he looks pitch-perfect, and that’s really the way most people will be displaying him anyway.  Luke’s paint work is all pretty solid.  The base work is all pretty clean, and he’s using the face printing, so that looks pretty good.  The eye on my figure is slightly off-set, but not terribly so.  Luke is packed with his lightsaber.  He doesn’t get the grapple he uses in the scene against the AT-AT, but fear not, it comes with the Snowspeeder.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I definitely dig the Snowspeeder gear and the whole Snowspeeder set-up in general, so I was pretty happy when this guy was shown off, and even happier to hear he was getting an all-new sculpt.  Though he may not look like much new or exciting outwardly, he’s got a lot to offer, and improves on the already pretty solid X-Wing Luke.  Now, can we get a Wedge to match, or is that too soon?

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2463: Luke Skywalker – Bespin

LUKE SKYWALKER — BESPIN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Luke battles Darth Vader on a narrow platform in Cloud City and rejects Vader’s urging to turn to the Dark Side and rule the galaxy with him.”

40 years and some change ago, in this galaxy, right here, the second Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back, hit theaters.  As Hasbro likes to use pretty much every five-year milestone as grounds for celebration, that means that this year we’re getting a bunch of throw-back Empire stuff in toy form.  Things kicked off with the Probe Droid, and, following in A New Hope‘s footsteps, there’s also a vintage-style-carded line of Black Series figures.  The first assortment was mostly re-hash, but I’m taking a look at the most unique of the bunch today with another go at Bespin Luke!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker (Bespin) is one of the five figures that makes up the first series of the Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary sub-line of Black Series figures.  The other four, Bespin Han, Hoth Leia, Yoda, and the AT-AT Driver are all straight re-cards of prior releases, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the case with Luke as well.  He’s a lot of re-use, to be fair, with everything below the neck being re-used from the very first Black Series Bespin Luke.  Like that figure, this one stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Black Series articulation hadn’t really gotten to be what it is now in 2014, when this mold first hit, so he’s admittedly a little bit archaic in terms of movement.  The elbows sit a little low on the arms, the range on the hips is quite restricted, and he’s got the up/down joint on both of his wrists, which is a little odd for posing.  All that said, it’s still a pretty nice looking sculpt, so I can’t totally dis the re-use.  He gets an all-new head, which updates him to the more modern style of separate pieces for the face and hair.  The original Bespin head was probably the weakest of the initial Luke head sculpts in terms of a Hamill likeness, so another go at it isn’t the worst.  This new sculpt is…different?  I hesitate to say better, but I also wouldn’t say worse.  In some ways, it’s a better match, but in others it’s more off, and in particular it seems a bit too large proportionally.  The new head is matched by a new paint scheme, which uses the face printing, thereby making him a little more lifelike.  I definitely like that, but I’m not quite as down for how stripped down the paint on his fatigues has become.  The wash on the original was one of the best parts of the figure, but this one loses a lot of that, and the details on the outfit subsequently become easier to miss.  This figure is packed with the same extras as the last version: a lightsaber and a blaster pistol.  They’re as good here as anywhere else.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

A re-issue of this guy’s been pretty much inevitable, given how hard to find the original had become, as well as the original hitting during one of the weakest periods of the line.  There were definitely improvements to be made, and while this figure makes some of them (namely the better paint on the face/hair), it’s really a trade-off.  This should have been an actual improvement, but it’s instead more or less an equivalent product.  It’s a shame, because I was kind of hoping we might get a more deluxe update on this guy, with extra parts to replicate more of the beating he takes during his Bespin duel.  Perhaps such a release could still happen later.

Luke was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2380: Luke Skywalker with Blast Shield Helmet

LUKE SKYWALKER w/ BLAST SHIELD HELMET

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Aboard the Milllennium Falcon, Luke Skywalker is instructed by Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the art of lightsaber battle and the ways of the Force.”

At the end of 1997, Kenner reworked their standard Luke Skywalker head for their Power of the Force line, in an attempt to bring him more in line with, you know, a real person, and not some sort of He-Man knock off.  The following year, they got to work making this new version of Luke the new standard, which included going back and updating their take on “Farmboy” Luke.  Apparently they really liked this updated Farmboy Luke.  In fact, they seemed to like him so much that they just kept releasing minor tweaks to the mold, just all over the place.  Lets, uh, look at another one of those, I guess?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker with Blast Shield Helmet was released in 1998 as part of the Power of the Force line.  This figure is designed to replicate Luke’s appearance while on the Millenium Falcon before they get brought in by the Death Star.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Construction-wise, this figure is more or less identical to the Luke included with the Purchase of the Droids set.  The only real difference between them is the belt piece.  While the Droids set version has a pair of binoculars on his belt, this one removes them.  Yay?  It’s different?  Technically it’s less?  Honestly, though, it’s not a bad sculpt, and a definite improvement on the original ANH Luke from the line, and this was the first single-carded release, so it was a valiant idea.  The figure’s paint does change things up a bit as well.  He’s decidedly got a cooler-toned color scheme.  I’m not sure if that was an intentional thing, but it fits with him being on the Falcon as opposed to on Tatooine.  Luke is packed with his father’s lightsaber and the blast shield helmet he uses while training.  It’s too bad they couldn’t also throw in the training drone, but I suppose this isn’t a bad little assortment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this figure as a kid (Gunner Station Luke was my on-hand version of this mold), and I can’t really say I had much of an undying need to get one, but as I’m trying to make my way to a complete run of Power of the Force figures, I have to pick up these guys at some point, right?  This one came in with a bunch of others at All Time last summer, and I used some trade credit to pick him up.  He’s not a bad figure, but it’s not easy to get particularly excited.  Just wait til I get to all of the other versions of this mold…

#2300: Luke Skywalkwer – Yavin Ceremony

LUKE SKWALKER — YAVIN CEREMONY

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

On Yavin 4, the Rebels hold a ceremony to award the heroes who bravely fought to destroy the Death Star.  Luke Skywalker receives his medal for bravery from Princess Leia.”

Do you ever have that moment where you have something really monumental and important in front of you, and you think to yourself really hard about how this is the absolute worst time to screw up, and you focus so hard on that only to inadvertently screw up terribly on something that you’ve managed to do correctly hundreds of times previously, to the point where it should be second nature to you?  Because we know Hasbro had that moment.  And today we’re looking at that moment.  Behold, Luke Skywalkwer—crap, I mean Skwalker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalkwer – Yavin Ceremony is figure 100 in the Black Series line-up.  Of course, thanks to re-numberings and exclusives, there are far more than 100 figures in the line, but getting to the number is a momentous occasion nevertheless.  And before we get any further, yes, you read all those instances of Luke’s surname above correctly; on the packaging for the momentous number 100 figure, Hasbro somehow managed to misspell poor Luke’s last name, the name of a whole saga, three times in two different ways.  As someone who’s worked in publication design, my heart goes out to the poor designer who let that slip through.  They’re probably never going to live it down.  The truth is, if this had been any other numbered release, I don’t know that it would have caught quite as much flack, but unfortunately it’s the big 100, the one that people who very well may have never bought another Black Series will hold onto, and the one that people are far more likely to keep in package.  Heck, I’m a loose collector, and even I’m hanging onto the box for this one.  Admittedly, in my case it’s purely for the typos, but the point still stands.  This one’s probably going to be well-remembered.  Well, enough about the box, let’s talk about the actual Luke Skwalker figure inside!  As the properly written section of his name denotes, he’s wearing his slightly more uniform-esque get-up from the ceremony on Yavin IV that ends the first film.  Though only seen in one scene in the main films, the look served as Luke’s primary attire for his portion of the Holiday Special (I know) and recently saw a resurgence when it was used prominently in Marvel’s Star Wars comics.  This figure was actually released a little earlier last year as a con-exclusive with several additional accessories and a Marvel-inspired box.  As has become the trend with such exclusives and their inevitable re-releases, the core figures in the two packages are essentially identical.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Apart from being shared with the exclusive release, this Luke has a unique sculpt.  It’s our first truly new OT Luke since figure 21, and the line’s come a long way since then.  The result is definitely the most technically impressive Luke we’ve gotten in The Black Series.  The articulation is definitely one area of notable improvement for the most part, although the hip joints on this guy have a weird set up which places a definite learning curve on using them.  I’m not much of a fan.  Like the Jabba’s Palace figure, this Luke uses the new style of head construction with separate pieces for the hair and face, which makes for slightly more depth in the sculpt.  On my figure the hair and head don’t line up 100% perfectly, but it’s close enough to work.  It’s honestly Hasbro’s best Hamill, displacing the Jabba’s Palace figure’s very brief moment with that title.  The body construction is in a lot of ways very similar to Bespin Han, which is fine by me, because that was a good lay out for a figure, and the designs of the two costumes are also pretty similar.  His paintwork is fairly standard for the line at this point.  The base color is all pretty clean, and he’s got the printed face which looks plenty realistic.  The con-exclusive release had a lot of extras, where as this one is comparatively pretty light.  Both figures include the blaster, and this figure also includes the medal, making him specific to the ceremony.  That’s all he gets, which leaves the rather glaring omission of a lightsaber.  He doesn’t have it during the scene in the movie, so I guess there’s that reasoning, but that didn’t stop them from including both a saber and a helmet with the pilot Luke.  It’s also not a new piece, so it feels like it should have been an easy inclusion.  I’ve got a few of my own, so I can loan him one, but it’s a little annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, Cermony Luke wound up as my default Luke for a good while, and as such I’ve always had something of a soft spot for this particular look.  I like that the comics brought the design back, and I was very happy to see this figure unveiled.  He’s a proper choice for the big 100 number, and even with the goofiness surrounding the packaging and its many errors, this is a really nifty figure, and probably the best Black Series Luke.

I picked up this guy from my friends All Time Toys, and he’s still available here.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2265: Luke Skywalker – Jabba’s Palace

LUKE SKYWALKER — JABBA’S PALACE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Luke Skywalker was a Tatooine farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known.”

And lo, the Post-Christmas reviews begin!

There were a few years running where my first post-Christmas review was invariably an Alien Queen, but after my friends and family ran out of Alien Queens to buy me, I’ve moved onto another theme, it would seem: Star Wars.  Honestly, it’s not all that new a concept, me getting Star Wars figures over the holidays, going all the way back to the Millenium Falcon I received for Christmas of ’96.  So, I guess I can dig it being the new trend.  So, let’s kick things off with a Luke Skywalker figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jabba’s Palace Luke Skywalker is a Walmart-exclusive Black Series offering.  Much like the two Captain Americas that they got last year, they also got two versions of Jedi Luke back to back.  Sometimes, I think Walmart’s toy buyer might be a little limited in their sights.  Whatever the case, this figure theoretically started showing up alongside the Triple Force Friday stuff back in October, though realistically, he started showing up shortly before the holidays.  This Luke is the second Return of the Jedi Luke we’ve gotten in the Black Series line-up, following the more end of the movie inspired version released back in 2014.  This one, as the name denotes, is based on Luke as he first appears in Jabba’s Palace, prior to ditching his vest and getting his robotic hand damaged. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  For the most part, he’s fairly reliant on parts from the previous Jedi Luke figure.  He uses the body of that figure, along with a new head, the right hand from Bespin Luke, and an all-new vest overlay piece. The new head is the real star attraction.  While I always felt that sculpt on the original Jedi Luke head was far better than the sub-par paint job allowed to show through, it’s never the less a little bit of an artifact of an older way of doing things, since the separate face/hair pieces have become the new way of doing things, and allow for a more realistic recreation.  This new sculpt follows that new styling, and is honestly one of Hasbro best attempts at a young Hamill likeness, at least as far as the face is concerned.  The hair I’m still a little iffy about, but it’s certainly not terrible.  The new vest piece is a decent overlay; it’s not too bulky.  Of course, it’s also not designed to be removed, which I was a little let down by, but if you don’t want it on the figure, it’s easy enough to remove, keeping in mind it’s not really going back on.  And, on top of that, after removing it, you’ll also discover that he’s missing the previous figure’s belt (which would have no doubt affected the look of the vest at this scale, so I get why it’s gone).  The figure is also privy to the improvements in paint since the last Jedi Luke.  That previous figure was honestly one of my worst experiences with iffy paint in the line, but this guy gets the new face print tech, which works very well for him.  There’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind seeing this paint on the old sculpt, just to see how the two pair off, but as is, this one looks very good.  This Luke ends up being a little better accessorized than the last one.  While he no longer has the swapable flap for the front of his uniform, he still gets his lightsaber (with a more accurately painted hilt this time), a cloth-goods cloak, and the blaster he steals from one of Jabba’s guards (re-used from Kanan Jarrus).  Not a bad assortment of extras, and certainly enough to make him worthwhile even if you have the prior figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking for this guy pretty much since Force Friday.  As a kid, I went as Jedi Luke for Halloween, so I’ve always had a soft spot for this costume design, and felt the old figure wasn’t doing it justice on the shelf.  I found this figure just before Christmas and actually bought him with some money I got from my Grandmother for the holiday.  He’s solid improvement without being a straight replacement.  I just kind of wish Hasbro would stop giving their best figures to Walmart as exclusives…

#2249: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

Oooooh, I bet you *really* thought I was done with the Galaxy of Adventures stuff, didn’t you.  Well, I mean, I was for a while…like almost a month…so I guess I kinda was.  I did get this guy before finishing the prior round of GoA reviews, and I did very much consider throwing him at the tail end of them, but ultimately thought that it might be a little much.  Would have made this intro funnier, though.  But that’s okay, I don’t like to be funny anyway.  As I noted in those reviews, the overwhelming focus of the first series of the line was on the newest trilogy, but the Original Trilogy isn’t getting overlooked entirely, and is in fact getting more focus in the next assortment.  It’s also getting more focus via the line’s very first exclusive offering, Luke Skywalker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker is a Walmart-exclusive Galaxy of Adventures figure.  He’s shipping in solid cases and started showing up about a month after the first round of product hit.  He’s not marked in any way as an exclusive, so it’s possible he may not remain so, but for the time being, that’s where he is.  There are a few versions of Luke to choose from, but for this release Hasbro’s opted for the Jedi Knight appearance, which pairs well with the Vader from Series 1.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall (he’s shorter than everyone but Rey) and he has 25 points of articulation.  Luke is an all-new sculpt, and matches stylistically with the rest of the line.  Like the others, his articulation is quite well implemented, allowing for a surprising amount of range, and the figure is also very sturdy on his feet.  In terms of level of stylization, Luke’s not quite as cartoony as Rey was, being more in-line with Finn’s sculpt.  There’s some definite changes made, but there slightly more restrained.  Similar to the others, there’s not really a Hamill likeness, but he still has a proper character likeness.  I will say, the eyes seem a touch wide for my taste, which is the only real complaint I have.  I was initially going to complain about his torso being a little bulky, but that was before I took him out and realized that the vest is actually a removable piece.  This allows for both major looks he sports from the movie, since there’s a fully detailed torso beneath.  I’m okay with the slightly bulky torso if it means having the extra option, and it certainly works a bit better here than on a more realistically styled figure.  The paintwork on Luke is overall pretty decent.  It’s certainly sharp and clean in its application.  Again, the larger eyes seem a little off to me, and I feel like he’s got a bit too much color in his face, but I can’t fault Hasbro for their attempts to keep him from looking under-painted.  Luke is packed with his second lightsaber, which is a fairly decent piece, but unlike all of the other sabers I’ve gotten from this line, the silver of the hilt from this one chips off really easily.  I don’t know why it’s different, but it’s my only true complaint about the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting and loving the whole Series 1 run of figures, I was definitely down for this guy, but wasn’t having a ton of luck finding him at first.  Fortunately, Max was able to point me in the right direction, and I boy were there a lot of this guy to choose from.  There are some slightly minor issues that I feel hold Luke back ever so slightly, but admittedly, Luke’s the one character in the line-up I really had any expectations about going in.  He’s still a really solid release in his own right.  I look forward to filling out more of the OT cast.