#1642: Sandtrooper

SANDTROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Where would the Imperial forces be without their plethora of environment-specific troops? More importantly, where would toymakers be without and endless supply of Stormtrooper variants to keep selling in rotation from now until the end of time?  They’d definitely have to get a little more creative, to say the least.  Interestingly enough, the Sandtrooper, the very first climate-specific Trooper wasn’t initially recognized as it’s own separate thing for quite some time, so it wasn’t until the ’90s that it actually got an action figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Sandtrooper was released in the 1996 assortment of Kenner’s Power of the Force II line.  As noted in the intro, this was the first time the design was released as a figure.  In fact, it was such an uncharted area that initial releases weren’t even called Sandtroopers.  They were “Tatooine Stormtroopers.”  Pretty crazy, right?  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Given the similarities between the two designs, you might think the Sandtrooper re-used a lot from the basic Stormtrooper.  Not the case, though.  Apart from the head and pelvis, the two figures are unique.  I mean, they still are clearly styled from the same basic look, and are the same figure in differing poses, but the two figures maintain mostly unique tooling nevertheless.  The PotF2 Stormtrooper is, of course, one of the goofiest, most 90s-ified figures in the line, so this guy follows suit.  I will give him this, though: he’s at the very least designed to actually hold his weapon two-handed.  It would be a little while before a standard Stormtrooper got that.  Similarities in design aside, the paintwork is the real dividing line between these two figures.  The Sandtrooper is, appropriately, covered pretty much from head to toe in sand.  Seriously, he’s just a real mess.  The figure handles this very nicely, making use of an airbrushed sort of look, which helps to keep him looking quite worn-in.  You definitely won’t be mistaking these two for each other, even without the orange pauldron.  The Sandtrooper is packed with a removable back pack, and a rather large blaster rifle, that, as noted above, he can actually hold the proper way.  Yay!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Sandtrooper is another figure in the ranks of Power of the Force figures I had access to but did not technically own as a child.  There was one at my Grandmother’s house, meant to be shared by my cousin and me.  When the figures were split up and sent home between the two of us, the Sandtrooper went with my cousin, who’d always been more of a trooper fan than myself.  I got this particular figure from the Farpoint charity auction this past year.  He’s just as goofy as his standard issue compatriot, but that doesn’t stop him from being fun.

Advertisements

#1635: C-3PO

C-3PO

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Designed as a protocol droid, C-3PO’s main programming function is to interact with human society. He is an interpreter fluent in over six million galactic languages, specializing in the areas of etiquette and translation – especially important during diplomatic missions. To aid in these tasks, he is equipped with microwave and olfactory sensors, photoreceptors, vocabulator speech units, energy transducers and broad-band antenna receivers. He was programmed with an elegant, human sounding voice, but more often than not C-3PO is heard whining and bickering with his companion, the astromech droid R2-D2.”

Hey, the Solo product officially dropped yesterday!  Yay…I guess?  I’ve not yet actually gone out and started tracking all of that stuff down, but I do have a metric ton of *old* Star Wars stuff to review.  I’m continuing with the Power of the Force theme I’ve had going for a little while now, and taking look at C-3PO!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

C-3PO was part of the first series of Kenner’s Power of the Force II line, hitting shelves in 1995.  He’s the third version of 3PO in the 3 3/4 inch scale, following up on the two from the vintage line.  As his design remained essentially the same for the entirety of the Original Trilogy, this figure serves to represent all of those appearances.  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  For 3PO, this was really about all the movement he’d ever need.  The figure’s sculpt is a fairly decent recreation of his film design.  As with all of the figures in this line, he was given a slight stylistic change-up, but it’s definitely more minor here than it was on other figures from the same assortment.  Compare him to, say, the first Han from this line, and you’ll see that he’s far less dramatically pre-posed and has his overall proportions far less changed from reality.  There’s actually a rather impressive level of detail on this figure’s sculpt, even managing to show through the vac-metalizing process and everything.  Clearly they had learned from their  experience with the vintage line.  Interestingly, though it wasn’t a selling point as it would be on later figures, this figure’s legs can be popped out of their sockets with relative ease, allowing for his slightly disassembled look from Empire.  Sure, it’s not 100% accurate, but it’s a fun little extra.  Though the figure is vac-metalized, that doesn’t mean he lacks paint like his vintage counterparts.  He gets the proper detailing for all of his wiring and such at his mid-section, a first for a 3PO figure.  The only minor issue with this figure’s paint is his right lower leg, which is gold like the rest of him, instead of its proper silver color.  Since the upper and lower leg were all one piece, there was unfortunately no way to do this correctly while still maintaining the shiny finish.  3PO included no accessories, but I’m not sure what you’d actually give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had 3PO growing up.  I don’t actually recall where he came from.  Shameful, I know.  Over the years, I ended up losing one of the legs, so a replacement was in order.  I ended up finding a second one at Yesterday’s Fun while vacationing with my family over the holidays.  As far as 3PO figures go, there are certainly better ones out there, but this figure’s actually held up a lot better to the test of time than many of his compatriots.

#1621: Momaw Nadon (Hammerhead)

MOMAW NADON (HAMMERHEAD)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

The smash success of both A New Hope and its tie-in line of toys in the late ‘70s created a demand that Kenner was having trouble meeting.  They needed more figures for their toyline, but had produced the major players, apart from the less exciting likes of Tarkin, or Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru.  They were out of named characters.  How do you solve this problem?  You give names to unnamed characters, specifically the very unique crop of aliens seen in the Mos Eisley Cantina.  Along the line, Lucasfilm decided that Kenner’s names weren’t quite cutting it, and introduced their own.  Thus, for his second figure, Hammerhead became Momaw Nadon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Momaw Nadon was released in the 1996 assortment of Power of the Force II figures.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  As an earlier entry in the line, Momaw has a fair bit of pre-posing going on here.  With that being said, there’s something about his more alien nature that makes it seem like less of an issue on this figure (though he has some slight difficulty with standing).  As far as detail work goes, Momaw’s actually pretty solid.  There’s plenty of texturing on the skin, which makes for some nice variety.  I quite like the hands, which are uniquely posed and very full of character.  His vest is an add-on piece, split at the sides to allow for removal.  It’s a little difficult to get over his head, but once you due, there’s an undergarment of some sort, which I suppose is a nice touch.  In terms of paint, Momaw is rather on the monochromatic side, being mostly shades of warm brown.  It’s more or less accurate to the source material, so there’s that.  No random turquoise or anything, like his original figure had, but that was what people wanted at the time.  The fools!  Momaw was packed with a big blaster thing, based on nothing he has in  the movie, but I guess he needed something, and it’s fun in a goofy sort of way.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Momaw was another figure picked up from the Farpoint charity auction.  Slowly but surely, I’m putting together a complete collection of Power of the Force II figures.  It didn’t start out that way, but here I am now, buying Momaw Nadon.  Once you buy a Momaw Nadon, there’s really no going back, right?

#1607: Han Solo – Cantina

HAN SOLO – CANTINA

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (HASBRO)

“Inside Mos Eisley’s cantina, Han Solo just negotiated a lucrative deal to transport two men to Alderaan – enough to pay off his debt to crimelord Jabba the Hutt. But it’s too late: bounty hunter Greedo has come to collect – though all the Rodian gets is a shot to the chest from Solo’s blaster.”

Towards the end of their run with Power of the Force II Hasbro officially started putting their name on the line, and also used this as sort of an excuse to circle back around and give us new and improved standard versions of the main characters.  After going a whole year with no Han Solo figures (which seems downright crazy if you ask me), they offered up a brand new figure of him in his classic smuggler’s outfit from A New Hope.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cantina Han Solo was released in the 1999 assortment of Power of the Force II figures.  He was designed specifically to go with a new version of Greedo, and is meant to directly recreate Han from the encounter with Greedo in the Mos Eisley Cantina.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He had knee joints!  You can’t begin to imagine how big a deal that was back in ’99.  It was all so that he could sit at a booth at the cantina.  A non-existent booth, but hey, that’s not the point.  Han’s sculpt is one of the finest the POTF2 line had to offer.  His proportions are actually pretty realistic, he’s slightly pre-posed but not extremely so, and he’s even got a pretty decent Harrison Ford likeness.  The detail work on his clothing, the shirt in particular, is quite impressively handled.  I also really like the posturing of his hands; it adds a lot of life and character to the figure.  Han’s paintwork is all pretty standard fare, but it’s still pretty good.  It’s all pretty cleanly applied, and matches up pretty well with the movie.  Han is packed with his usual blaster (which was notably less over-scaled than prior versions).  Also, as a 1999 release, he was part of the whole CommTech venture, so he comes with a CommTech stand.  I never actually got the reader, but it still works well as a somewhat unique looking stand, so there’s that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember getting this guy with some money I’d gotten for my 7th birthday.  My parents took me out to Toys R Us to use the money, and this guy was amongst the figures I bought.  I’m not entirely sure why, but I just liked him for whatever reason.  To this day, he remains perhaps my favorite Han Solo figure in my collection, and definitely one of my favorite Power of the Force II figures.  He holds up quite well!

#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.

#1579: Han Solo – Millennium Falcon Gunner Station

HAN SOLO – MILLENNIUM FALCON GUNNER STATION

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Two weeks ago, I discussed Kenner’s deluxe offerings from their Power of the Force II toyline.  Specifically, I looked at Luke Skywalker and the Millennium Falcon gunner station.  That particular item was designed to work in tandem with another of the deluxe offerings, Han Solo, packed with another of the gunner stations.  I’ll be looking at that particular item today!  And awaaaaaaay we go!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As with the prior set, Han and the Gunner station were released in 1997 as part of the third set of deluxe Power of the Force II figures.  This Han was based on his end of the movie gloved and headset-ed look, which has been the source of a few Han figures (such as the previously released 30th Anniversary one).  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  For whatever reason, he lost the waist movement.  Don’t know why, but there it was.  This figure is rather similar in construction to the first PotF2 Han, but he doesn’t actually share any parts with that figure.  He’s still got some of the wonky proportions, and the head isn’t the best likeness of Harrison Ford, but he’s definitely a bit toned down from the earlier offerings.  I’d place him about on par with the Bespin Han figure, where he’s still within the general confines of the line’s style, but looks a fair bit more like an actual human being.  That’s certainly a plus.  The paint work on Han is fairly standard stuff.  Nothing exceptional, but it’s certainly passable work, especially for the line.  There’s less slop here than on the corresponding Luke. The color palette matches the other Hans from the line, so he was certainly consistent.  Han didn’t include any small accessories, but he still had the gunner station, which was identical to the one that Luke came packed with.  If you had both stations, they could be connected by the platform running behind them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Luke when he was new-ish.  They also had the Han at that time, but I was a silly small child who only wanted Luke and not Han, so he went unpurchased.  It was only recently that I finally acquired this guy.  Lost In Time Toys had him out during one of their sidewalk sales in December, so I was able to pick him up for a pretty low price.  He’s a pretty solid offering for the time.  I could have seen him becoming my default Han had I had him back in the day.

#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.

#1558: Swoop Vehicle

SWOOP VEHICLE (w/ SWOOP TROOPER)

STAR WARS: SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE (KENNER)

“The Empire’s broad reach has included thousands of planets in the galaxy. With such a vast territory to police, the Empire often pays bounty hunters huge sums for the capture or elimination of certain “wanted” individuals. The mercenaries favored by the Empire are expert trackers and assassins, dangerous individuals who are highly intelligent and extremely skilled in both weapons use and air combat. A preferred vehicle of many of these elite bounty hunters is the swoop, a brawny speeder craft most often associated with gangs and outlaws such as the Nova Demons and the Dark Star Hellions; its toughness and incredible speed make it a perfect mount for bounty hunters.”

For the most part, Shadows of the Empire’s focus was placed on our recognizable heroes and villains, filling in a few gaps in their personal stories.  Totally new concepts weren’t a huge piece of it.  Sure, there were the likes of Dash and his ship the Outrider, but they were really just quick concepts thrown together to replace a popular character who couldn’t actually be in the story.  There were a few more original concepts, but mostly off to the side, such as today’s focus, the Swoop speeder!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Following in the vein of Return of the Jedi’s Speeder Bikes, here’s the Swoop.  It’s sort of the chopper of the galaxy far, far away, I suppose.  Of the three vehicles offered in Shadows of the Empire packaging, this is certainly the smallest.  It’s about 6 inches long and stands 2 1/2 inches tall.  The cannon on the side swings up and down, but beyond that there’s no other moving pieces.  Not a shock on a vehicle of this nature, though, and its not like the design really allows for them.  It’s a decent enough design for a bike in the Star Wars ‘verse, matching up alright with what we’ve seen in the movies, while also not being a total retread.  The sculpt is fairly well rendered, albeit perhaps not as intricately as some of the actual movie designs.  It lacks some of the smaller details that sold that whole “used future” aspect of the franchise.  Still, it’s a visually intriguing design, and it fits well with the rest of what Kenner was doing at the time.  The paintwork on the bike is pretty solid stuff.  A lot of red and silver, but it looks good, and there’s some pretty cool accent work on the larger sections of the bike.  Smaller details are handled via decals instead of actual paint.  The decals are fine, but they are a bit less advanced than the sort of thing you’d see now, thereby making them rather obvious.  That said, the bike certainly looks better with them than without them.  The bike includes a missile for the cannon, which has a spring-loaded feature.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the Swoop is its own dedicated pilot, simply dubbed the “Swoop Trooper.”  Very original name there.  The package proudly boasts that this figure is exclusive to this particular set, and, unlike a lot of Kenner/Hasbro’s “exclusive” pack-in figures, it actually stuck for this guy.  I’d guess that’s largely due to his obscurity…and reminder, this is a Star Wars figure I’m taking about here.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  The bike pilots all got extra articulation at the knees, which I was always a fan of, though he does end up losing the waist joint.  This figure also has a different neck joint; instead of the usual swivel joint, he’s got a hinge sort of thing, which allows him to look up and down instead.  The same joint had previously been used on the Biker Scout from the main Power of the Force II line, and, while I don’t mind it, it certainly made a bit more sense on that figure than it does on this one.  The Swoop Trooper’s design was, of course, created wholesale for the Shadows of the Empire event.  It’s alright, but, like a lot of the Shadows designs, it doesn’t necessarily fit the classic Star Wars aesthetic, instead falling into more typical ‘90s comics design concepts.  It’s certainly not a bad design, but I can’t say it’s a favorite of mine.  Still, it’s a decent sculpt of a decent design.  I certainly appreciate the presence of some shared armor elements between this guy and some of the other troopers (namely the knee pads from the Biker Scout).  In terms of paint, the Trooper is a bit of a step up from the bike, since there’s a bit more going on.  I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the assortment of browns, as they aren’t a super thrilling combo.  That said, application is all pretty clean, and he looks respectable enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Swoop bike was a rather recent addition to my collection.  I missed a lot of the Shadows of the Empire stuff when it was new, so I’ve been piecing it together little by little.  I found this set at Lost in Time during their winter sale.  Since it was like $5, I figured it was worth it to finally grab it.  Not the most thrilling thing to come out of the franchise, but it’s another solid offering from Kenner’s ‘90s Star Wars output.

#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.

#1523: Princess Leia Organa

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“After many unsuccessful attempts to bring change to the Empire as a senator, Princess Leia Organa became involved in the Rebel Alliance and immediately established herself as one of its most popular and influential leaders. Although it was extremely dangerous for someone of her prominence. Leia often participated in secret missions for the rebellion. It was during one such mission to recruit General Obi-Wan Kenobi that she obtained the technical readouts for the Empire’s new Death Star battle station. Moments before being captured by Darth Vader, Leia hid the plans in the droid R2-D2, who then escaped to the planet Tatooine to find Kenobi.”

Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve looked at both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in their Stormtrooper disguises, which they use to sneak into the Deathstar detention center.  I haven’t yet looked at the subject of their rescue (who ends up doing a little bit of the rescuing herself), Princess Leia Organa.  So, I’m going to amend that today, by looking at one of the worst Leia figures in existence.  Yay?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Princess Leia was released in the first series of Kenner’s Power of the Force II, where she wound up as the short-packed figure.  She was the first of several Leia figures from the line, and is based on her introductory look, her main appearance from A New Hope.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Despite Carrie Fisher being a good deal shorter than most of her cast mates, Leia isn’t noticeably shorter than the other figures in the line.  This was a trend that wouldn’t really be corrected until the line re-formated after The Phantom Menace.  Leia’s sculpt was unique to her, which is a good thing, because that means Kenner realized the horrible mistake they’d made and never allowed it to occur again.  I’m sorry, was that too harsh?  Yeah, I’m not much of a fan of this sculpt.  She’s preposed, she’s got really goofy proportions, her costume’s kind of strangely inaccurate, and, most importantly, her face looks not unlike a monkey.  Seriously, look at that face and tell me that doesn’t look at all like Zira.  None of the PotF2 figures had particularly great likenesses, but every other Leia in the line was way better than this.  I’m trying to find something positive to say about this sculpt…the hair’s not terrible, I guess?  Her paint’s pretty simple, since she’s mostly just molded in white plastic, which a little bit of paint here and there.  It’s not terrible.  Leia included two different styles of blaster pistol (both of which are missing from my figure), as well as a removable cape and skirt.  The cape is a bit baffling, as it just sort of continues the trend of Kenner clearly having no idea what Leia was actually wearing in the film.  I suppose this was a bit closer than the vintage release?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ah, this one.  This one’s an important one.  Why?  Because this is the figure that introduced me to my arch-nemesis: The Scalper!  Yes, in my quest for this figure, I had an unfortunate run-in with a horrid man-creature, which I detailed a few years ago in the ever so eloquently titled “GAHHHHHHHHH!  Suffice it to say, I did eventually get the figure through non-scalped means, thanks to some dutiful work on my parents’ part.  This was my first Leia, and I have aa whole story that goes with her, which gives her all this great emotional value.  It’s a shame the actual figure kind of sucks.  I mean, I’m glad I have her, but there’s no denying that she’s just a bad figure.