#2643: Han Solo – Endor

HAN SOLO — ENDOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Han Solo volunteered to lead the mission to destroy teh new Death Star’s shield generator. He and his strike team landed on the forest moon of Endor, where they encountered Scout Troopers and Ewoks.”

While Luke and Leia got drastically re-designed looks for Return of the Jedi, Han wound up with an appearance that was generally pretty re-tread-y of his first movie attire.  It doesn’t make for thrillingly different figures, and that’s probably why when we do get Jedi-inspired Hans, they’re almost always from the Endor segment, which does at least throw a trench coat over his main look, just to mix things up a bit, I suppose.  That’s the look that finally got him in on the RotJ bandwagon for The Black Series, and that’s the figure I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han Solo (Endor) is another piece of the second assortment of the relaunched Star Wars: The Black Series.  He joins the similarly themed Luke and Leia figures from the same set, and is figure #5 in the RotJ sub-set.  Like the last two, he was also available in the “Heroes of Endor” boxed set earlier last year.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, a lot of this figure is shared with the Bespin Han figure from 2018.  I was overall pretty fond of that figure and his sculpt, so you’d think the re-use wouldn’t bug me…but it kinda does.  Mostly, it’s because they keep some of the stuff I didn’t like about it, and don’t really fix the handful of issues that were present.  The head proper is very similar to the last piece, but to my eyes it looks like the jaw’s a touch more prominent on this one.  I don’t know if that’s intentional or just mold variation, but it doesn’t really help the issues of the prior figure looking kind of narrow-shouldered for Han.  Nor does the new hair sculpt, which is just generally a bit poofier than the prior piece, again making the head look larger compared to the shoulders.  Additionally, the jacket piece has been swapped for a vest, which doesn’t have the same high-sitting collar as the jacket, which makes the neck look longer and thinner, which just makes the head look larger and thereby makes the shoulders look again smaller by comparison.  He also gets a new set of arms, which wind up looking rather on the scrawny side themselves; given how thin they are, but yet how baggy the sleeves are, Han must really not have any muscle mass to speak of under those sleeves.  The whole thing is topped off with the trench coat, which is a cloth piece to match Luke and Leia’s ponchos.  Trouble is, the coat just exacerbates the issues with the body, honestly, because it’s clearly tailored for a figure *slightly* bigger than this one.  This results in it dragging at his feet and hanging down over his hands, making it look not unlike Han is a small child who has stolen his father’s coat.  It’s not a very imposing or impressive look, and ultimately just adds to his gooniness.  It honestly looks a bit better when placed on the Bespin Han, if I’m honest. Of course, even then, the jacket is also missing the pockets on either side, and the pattern generally seems a bit too dark for what Han wears in the movie, so it’s always a bit of a compromise.  Even Han’s paintwork ends up a little rougher than previous entries, with some rather sloppy application on the shirt and belt, even going down to the strap for the holster.  The face also feels like it has a bit too much color going into it, making it look like Han is a bit flushed.  Han’s only accessory is his usual blaster pistol.  It’s the same piece as the Empire version, but this time with the proper color scheme.  It’s too bad they couldn’t also give him a few of the detonators or something, just to make the package a little more exciting.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Han’s Endor look has never been one of my favorites.  Even in the films, after the coolness of the Bespin look, this one seemed like a bit of a step down, at least to me.  It doesn’t help that it always seems to have rotten luck with figures.  This figure is, unfortunately, not an exception, either.  There’s no real smoking gun as to why this figure doesn’t work compared to the other two; it’s just a lot of small stuff that ultimately adds up to a figure that’s just not so great.  It’s a shame, because this one feels like one that could have really shined, but it’s instead the weakest in its respective series.  Oh well.  At least it’s another Han Solo for people to buy.

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.

#2642: Princess Leia Organa – Endor

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA — ENDOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Princess Leia Organa rendezvoused with the Rebel fleet and helped organize a plan to destroy the Empire’s new Death Star: they would head to Endor and knock out the space station’s shield generator.”

Princess Leia’s sure gotten a lot of toy coverage courtesy of Hasbro’s The Black Series, so it’s kind of amusing to think there was actually a pretty sizable gap between her earliest releases.  It mostly had to do with Hasbro’s rather poor choice of costume for the line’s first Leia, the somewhat ill-advised Slave Outfit Leia from Series 2 of the line. It wasn’t the greatest figure, and it wasn’t really an essential look, so fans held off, and that in turn scared retailers off of the character for a bit.  Fortunately, things have more or less re-oriented, and we’re more or less getting her at a yearly pace these days.  Leia’s got four prominent looks in Return of the Jedi, which looks like it will be getting most of the 2021 love.  We’ve already gotten her two looks from Jabba’s Palace, so now we’re doing a somewhat linear progression forward, and getting an Endor appearance to match her brother’s figure from yesterday!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Princess Leia Organa (Endor) is part of the second assortment of the relaunched Black Series.  She’s #3 in the RotJ line-up, and like Luke, she was also available earlier last year as part of the “Heroes of Endor” boxed set.  Leia is likewise in her combat gear from the Endor mission, which actually makes her a more prominent variant for the character than for Luke, since she hangs onto this gear through the film’s climax.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and she’s got 30 points of articulation.  In terms of movement, she more or less has the same movement scheme as the Hoth and Bespin Leias, which is to say she’s got a pretty darn solid movement scheme, which both poses well and hides the articulation decently while doing it.  The sculpt’s an all-new one, and a pretty darn good one at that.  In terms of build and size, it matches with all of the post-40th ANH Leias. The head sculpt is a rather respectable likeness of Carrie Fisher.  I don’t think it’s quite as spot on as the Bespin Leia, which is still my favorite to date, but it’s certainly not a bad one.  And, unlike Luke, there’s actually not too much compromising with the hair in order to let the helmet fit, which is nice to see.  The poncho is cloth, much like Lukes, but actually has a slightly different pattern, like it does in the film.  There’s a fully detailed version of her Rebel command uniform beneath the poncho piece, allowing for this figure to pull double duty as Leia late in the film.  I can definitely appreciate Hasbro’s willingness to not milk us for yet another version of the figure, since that’s tended to be how they’ve handled things in the past.  Ultimately, the scaling of various pieces looks a bit better with the poncho in place, but having the option is still nice. The helmet piece looks to be the same one used for Luke, which is sensible.  It works fine for this figure too, although I do prefer this one without the helmet.  The paint work on Leia is all pretty solid.  There’s the face printing again, of course, as well as a slightly more involved paint scheme under the poncho than we saw with Luke.  Leia’s only real accessory is a blaster pistol, which does feel a touch light.  But, with the sort of double nature of this figure thanks to the helmet and poncho being removable, it doesn’t feel quite as bad as it could have.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hoth Leia is really my default version of the character, but the Endor attire is a pretty close second.  It does add something of a commanding presence to the character, which I can really get behind.  I was hoping for both her and Luke in this style, so getting them both in one fell swoop works out even better than I’d hoped, really.  This figure ends up being the best of the three Endor variants, if I’m honest, and that’s probably for the best, because it’s also the one that feels the most one and done from this set.

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.

#2553: Princess Leia Organa – Ewok Celebration Outfit

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA — EWOK CELEBRATION OUTFIT

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“An accident during a furious speeder bike chase leaves the princess without a way of finding her Rebel companions. Befriended by Endor’s Ewok civilization, Leia is once again united with her friends, but under different circumstances.”

You know what’s just really the best variant of a main character in an action-oriented action figure line?  An outfit that never sees a single moment of action!  Or, at least, that’s what numerous Star Wars toy lines would have me believe.  Sometimes it works out, of course, and we get cool looks that *could* see some action, if you really wanted them to.  Sometimes we get looks that even *do* see action in later EU tales (Luke’s jacketed look from the end of A New Hope springs to mind).  Sometimes, however, you get today’s focus.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Princess Leia in Ewok Celebration Outfit joined Kenner’s Power of the Force II line in 1998.  This wasn’t the first time this look got a figure, or even the first time it was in PotF; a slightly different version was released alongside a re-packed Wickett figure as part of the Princess Leia Collection in 1997.  Like all the other Leia Collection figures, however, that figure used a lot of cloth pieces, making it stand out a bit from the core line’s releases.  This one instead was an all plastic variant.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  Both the neck and the hip joints are greatly restricted by the figure’s design, but on the plus side, the arms and waist are free and clear.  So there’s that, I guess.  These restrictions do not help with the already very non-action feel of the figure.  Also not helping is the figure’s pose, which is…I don’t know exactly what it is.  The legs are close together and sort of prim and proper looking, but there the arms are just slightly elevated…because?  I don’t know.  I got nothing.  The paint work is all very brown.  It’s accurate, but not super thrilling or eye-catching.  At least it’s well applied.  Leia is packed with a small blaster (hinting at her doing something more exciting than standing around, which doesn’t really track with the rest of the figure) and a freeze frame slide.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never been much for this particular Leia design, as I always have preferred her more practical get-ups, and her Endor tactical set-up is just a much better design to me.  This figure is one of those ones I have seen many times over the years, and I certainly knew I was going to have to get it some day now that I’m doing this whole complete run of the line thing.  I wasn’t really in much of a hurry, and really only snagged it because it was right in front of me.  Thrilling, I know.  Almost as thrilling as the figure itself, right?

#2496: EV-9D9

EV-9D9

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“EV-9D9 is ideally suited to its job as cyborg taskmaster in Jabba the Hutt’s palace. It was one of many droids in service to the crimelord.”

Hey, remember how I was reviewing Star Wars stuff all week?  Well, get settled in with that, because we’re just gonna keep that rolling one day further.  Of course, it’s no fancy Black Series offering today.  Nope, we’re instead going back to my old mainstay, Power of the Force.  I mean, hey, at least it’s somebody who hasn’t gotten any Black Series love, just to keep things different and interesting.  And it’s someone with a speaking role, even!  Let’s look at EV-9D9, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

EV-9D9 was added to the Power of the Force line-up in 1997.  He was one of a handful of Jabba’s Palace denizens added to the line-up that year, so he was quite at home (although he wouldn’t get an 8D8 to boss around until the next year).  This marked his second time getting a figure, following the vintage release, as well as his final time in figure form.  Poor EV, getting no modern day figure love.  That feels downright criminal.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The design doesn’t quite as easily lend itself to a waist swivel, so he doesn’t get that.  Sadly, he also lacks the moving mouth of the original release, which is definitely a sad omission.  On the plus side, the figure’s nice and stable when it comes to standing, so he won’t be faceplanting nearly as often as some of the figures from this line.  He also avoids the pre-posing of earlier entries, making him a nice basic figure.  The sculpt is quite nice, doing a respectable job of capturing the design of the prop from the film, while also being sharp and clean on the details. It’s just a really nifty little sculpt.  The paint work is also pretty decent for this era of figure.  All of the important details are there, and there’s even some pretty nice accenting on the bronze sections of his body.  EV-9D9’s only got one accessory, but it’s a pretty good one: it’s the podium he stands behind when administering R2 and 3PO’s jobs. Pretty central to the character, and rather sizable to boot,  so it’s a winner in my book.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

EV is another of the large batch of figures I picked up in late 2018 when I really started trying to fill in my collection for the line.  It’s definitely a figure I didn’t think much of when I grabbed it, but he’s a pretty solid figure, especially given the lack of further coverage of the character.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2482: Lando Calrissian in General’s Gear

LANDO CALRISSIAN in GENERAL’S GEAR

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Proving his impressive flying capabilities and natural leadership qualities during the battle of Taanab, Lando is appointed General in charge of the attack on the second Death Star.”

In addition to a whole stock of disguised looks for their infiltration of Jabba’s Palace at the film’s beginning, the heroes of Return of the Jedi all also get new, fancy, high ranking uniforms as the film progresses.  No longer content to just steal Han’s clothes, Lando picks up some new toggs to go along with his promotion to general within the Rebellion ranks.  It’s pretty standard Rebel officer fare, but with the addition of a cape, because if you’re gonna be as suave as Lando, you gotta have a cape!  It also serves as the perfect excuse to give Lando just a touch more toy coverage, thereby giving me more things to review.  Alright!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lando in General’s Gear was added to Kenner’s Power of the Force II line 1998, and was the third, and final, Lando to grace the line.  It’s honestly not terribly surprising; they really just added his looks in the order that they appeared in the films.  I suppose they could have throne us a curve ball and given us Lando in Smuggler’s Gear (i.e. Han’s clothes), but the world just wasn’t quite ready for that yet.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new, which actually surprised me a bit, because I could have sworn the head remained the same between all three Landos.  It’s very similar to the one used on the other two, but not quite identical; his features are a touch more refined.  The rest of the sculpt is notable because, despite the fact that by 1998 the line had pretty well abandoned the hard pre-posing of earlier years, this guy’s stance really isn’t neutral.  I mean, sure, it’s not quite as disco-ready as the first Lando, but he’s definitely got quite the wide stance going there.  Among other things, it makes it quite hard to get him into the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon, which is sad, given that’s really the primary purpose of this particular look.  Pre-posing aside, this is actually quite a nice sculpt.  The detail work is all pretty sharp, and the texturing on that removable cape in particular is really sweet.  The paintwork is pretty standard for this line, so application’s more on the basic side, but generally pretty clean.  Some of the details are a bit sharper than previous Landos, especially on the face, showing the line’s upward trend of improvement.  Lando was packed with a blaster pistol and a freeze frame slide showing him in the Rebel briefing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My Lando figure growing up was the Skiff Guard Disguise version, but I recall my cousin Rusty having this version of Lando among his collection.  In fact, through various interminglings of our collections, I believe I even managed to wind up with the cape floating around my collection for a good while.  The figure, however, I waited on.  He came from a large trade in at All Time, and was one of the few I didn’t already have, so boom, there he was.  He’s probably the best PotF Lando, truth be told, though maybe not quite as fun as disco Lando.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2475: Darth Vader with Removable Helmet

DARTH VADER with REMOVABLE HELMET

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Luke Skywalker removes his father’s head gear so that Anakin may look at at his son with his own eyes for the first time. Darth Vader became one with the light side of the Force when he rescued his son from the clutches of the Emperor.”

Remember last week when I was talking about the difficulty of coming up with credible variants for certain characters in Star Wars, given how little they change between installments?  Good, because it remains relevant for today’s review!  Darth Vader’s one of those tricky things to balance for toys, because the guy’s kind of the face of the franchise, but he also looks the same in all of his appearances (to the untrained eye, anyway).  For the vintage line, he only had one figure throughout the whole three movie run, and at the outset of Power of the Force II it looked like history might repeat itself.  That standard Vader did get a re-card, and even a slight tweak on posing to keep him on shelves, but by 1998, Kenner was doing revamps on all of the core characters, and Vader found himself on the receiving end of such a revamp, one which even gave us something we’d never seen on a Vader before: a removable helmet!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Darth Vader with Removable Helmet was added to the Power of the Force line in 1998, as the line’s third basic Vader release.  Unlike the line’s prior Vaders, which were all sort of amalgams of his designs from all three films, this one was the first to specifically replicate one design, in this case Return of the Jedi.  The figure stands a little over 3 3/4 inches tall (as they were back to acknowledging that Vader was taller), and had 7 points of articulation.  Just like the Bespin Luke figure from the same year, Vader is granted an extra point of movement on his right wrist, thanks to a removable hand (again making this a more Jedi-specific release).  I’ve actually looked at the bulk of this figure’s sculpt before, when it was used for the “Escape the Death Star” Removable Dome Vader release.  It really was the best sculpt Vader got out of PotF2, so I definitely can’t complain too much.  It’s far less beefy than the initial Vader, and even adds the missing inner robes that hadn’t actually been done in action figure form at this point.  The main distinguishing feature on this guy is the unmasked head, which is a pretty solid recreation of his unmasked appearance in the film, especially given the level of detail we typically got from this era of figure.  In terms of paint work, this figure marked another improvement for the line, with more than just the straight black of the initial Vaders from the line.  This guy also gets some of the proper silver detailing on his shoulders, plus all of the various colors he should have on his chest panel and belt.  And, of course, he gets a fully painted face under the helmet, complete with eyebrows, meaning he’s pre-Special Edition!  Vader was packed with his lightsaber (whose blade has a tendency to fade over time for this particular release), as well as a Freeze Frame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Add this Vader to the list of figures I didn’t have as a kid (which, to be totally fair, is all of the Potf2 figures I’ll be reviewing from here on out), but it’s one I very much wanted and never managed to get.  One of my parents’ friends had both this and the Bespin Luke when they were released, and I always wanted this guy to pair off with my own Bespin Luke, but I never quite managed it.  Over the years, I kept an eye out, but he doesn’t crop up as much as some of the other entries in the line, so it took a little while.  Fortunately for me, one wound up floating around the back room at All Time for a little bit, so I was finally able to snag him.  He’s definitely the best Vader for this line, so I’m very glad to have him.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2447: Dengar

DENGAR

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Why is it Dengar always ends up the last Bounty Hunter I review in a given Star Wars set?  I mean, it’s probably that he’s my least favorite.  That’s probably it.  I made a lot of fun of him in my review of the Black Series figure.  I guess I’ll spare him the mocking this time around.  Even if his idea of an imposing look is wrapping himself in toilet paper… I mean, in this day and age, I guess that could be seen as a status thing, couldn’t it?  That’s some pretty valuable armor, right there.  Perhaps Dengar was just getting ahead of the game.  Yeah, that’s it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dengar was added to Power of the Force in 1997, the same year as both Bossk and 4-LOM, making it a bounty hunter-heavy year.  While most of the bounty hunters were Empire-based, Dengar is actually based on his brief appearance from Return of the Jedi, as denoted by his lack of backpack.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and sports 6 points of articulation.  While the pre-posing was working its way out by this point, Dengar still gets just a touch of it, which has the unfortunate side effect of making him quite difficult to keep standing. That’s rather annoying.  Aside from that, the sculpt’s an okay offering.  Obviously, it’s not as technically impressive as the Black Series release, but for its era, it’s a fair recreation of his gear from the movies.  Some of the details are a little soft, but, well, that doesn’t look super out of place on Dengar.  By design, this guy’s a little schlubby.  Dengar’s paint work isn’t the most thrilling combo of colors, but it’s certainly accurate.  There’s also a fair amount of solid accent work on the grime and dirt, which makes him look appropriately like he’s been mucking around in…uh, muck, I guess.  Dengar is packed with two blasters, one long, one short, which is a solid arsenal.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My general dislike of Dengar goes back to when I was a kid, where I never really found him to be terribly impressive.  The result of that, of course, is that I didn’t own this figure growing up.  He got added to my collection in the last two years, as I’ve been really laying into this “complete run of PotF” thing.  He’s okay, but he’s still Dengar, and the fact that he’s so darn hard to keep standing certainly doesn’t help him out.

I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so 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.